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MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 0-3 New England Revolution

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One game, 100 words (or less): Through Jermaine Jones made his Major League Soccer debut, the drama of Saturday’s match was resolved before the U.S. international was subbed on.

With two goals in the first 21 minutes, the visiting Revolution took advantage of a lackadaisical Toronto defense, scoring twice from distance to build an early lead. Seeing little resistance from their hosts, the Revs added a third near the hour, completing an easy 3-0 win at BMO Field.

Goals

Toronto FC: None.
New England: Lee Nguyen 2′, Kelyn Rowe 21′, Teal Bunbury 58′

Three moments that mattered:

21′ – More at Bradley’s expense – After opening the scoring through Lee Nguyen in the second minute, New England doubled their lead via Kelyn Rowe, who dribbled past Michael Bradley to create an open shot just outside the Toronto penalty area. Just as on the opener, where Bradley failed to show any urgency to get to a pass from Mark Bloom, Toronto’s biggest star was caught in first gear, with two long shots swaying the match toward New England.

58′ – The final word – It was another play that started with Bradley, though a number of errors occurred after the U.S. star’s contribution to this one. Attempting to switch play just inside New England’s half, Bradley put his pass off Nguyen, with the rebound sparking a New England counter. Moments later, Charlie Davies was playing across the Toronto area to Teal Bunbury, who finished into an empty net to make it 3-0.

65′ – Wasting no time – He’s only been training with New England for four days, but with his team leading 3-0, Jermaine Jones was given room for an extended run out. By the time he stepped onto the field, the game may have been over, but the near-half-hour of playing time will come in handy mid-week. With Scott Caldwell picking up his fifth yellow card, Jones is likely to get his first MLS start on Wednesday against Sporting.

Lineups

Toronto FC: Joe Bendik; Nick Hagglund, Bradley Orr, Daniel Haber, Mark Bloom; Dominic Oduro (Jackson 68′), Collen Warner, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio (Daniel Lovitz 62′); Luke Moore (Dwayne De Rosario 80′), Gilberto
New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, José Gonçalves, Darius Barnes; Scott Caldwell; Teal Bunbury (Steve Neumann 65′), Lee Nguyen (Diego Fagundez 76′), Daigo Kobayashi (Jermaine Jones 65′), Kelyn Rowe; Charlie Davies

Three lessons going forward:

1. Michael Bradley is not “best player in CONCACAF, Michael Bradley” right now – At his best, Bradley is in that discussion. Right now, he’s clearly not. Typically so active in all phases, Bradley looked worn out, almost injured at points on Saturday. Unfortunately for Toronto, those points included the day’s first two goals.

source:
Via WhoScored.com, New England’s average positions shows Kelyn Rowe, number 11, is still spending much of his time in the middle of the park. Though switching wingers often makes wide midfielders’ average positions deceptive, New England’s second goal shows the damage Rowe can do coming in from the left side.

2. Kelyn Rowe wide. Again. – Lee Nguyen’s partnership with Daigo Kobayashi has had the benefit of settling which midfielder’s Maverick and which one is Goose. Last year, when Rowe was healthy, it wasn’t as clear. Now, with Rowe back healthy, it’s been difficult to fit him into the team, though Jay Heaps may have found a solution.

Leaving Kobayashi in the middle (as the team’s done over the last two games) preserves Nguyen’s comfort zone, while starting Rowe wide allows New England to leverage his skill as needed. Rather than be a second focal point, Rowe can pick his moments to come in and take advantage of space created by his central partners.

On Saturday, that skill produced the game’s second goal, one that permanently put the match in New England’s control. While other teams could probably use those talents through the middle, for New England, a wide-to-in Rowe can complement what already works.

3. Life without Defoe – We’ve looked at Toronto’s attack sans the former England international before. Today, this absence was glaring. The starting duo of Gilberto and Luke Moore combined for zero shots on target.

Where this leaves them:

  • Toronto’s now in the three-way tie for third in the East, one that could be broken if Columbus gets a result at Monday. A New York win (tomorrow) and a Crew result leaves Toronto in sixth place come Monday morning.
  • New England is back in the East’s top five. One of three teams with 33 points, the Revs technically sit third thanks to their 10 wins (one more than Toronto; two more than Columbus).

Premier League Preview: Arsenal vs. Norwich City

NORWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal and Johan Elmander of Norwich City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on May 11, 2014 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
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  • Arsenal is unbeaten in last six matches
  • Teams drew 1-1 back in November
  • Norwich has lost two straight

Arsenal hosts Norwich City on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) with the Canaries seeking life in their relegation battle.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

Three matches remain and Arsenal sits in a precarious position, despite occupying third in the Premier League. Level on 64 points with Manchester City, the Gunners are in search of three points in order to create separation in the battle for the final automatic Champions League qualification spot. In the event Arsenal finishes fourth, Arsene Wenger‘s side would have to go through qualifying in the competition.

[ MORE: Sunderland travels to Stoke looking to extend unbeaten run to three ]

The Canaries have lost two straight to bottom half sides, following a thrilling 3-2 victory over Newcastle in early-April. With only three wins to back them up in the new year, Norwich really needs to turn up the dial as the PL season winds down. Sunderland’s form has increased and a string of Newcastle results has Norwich scrambling. Being on the road at the Emirates doesn’t necessarily help their case either.

What they’re saying…

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “I have no doubt because I am committed and when I do something I do it 100%. I am always committed to give my best as long as I am at the club. I don’t worry too much about the rest, what other people say.”

Norwich boss Alex Neil : “The bottom line is we have to go there with the intention of bringing something back, be it three points, which would be great, or a point. Whatever the case may be. We just want to go there and play as well as we can, and if we do that then we have a chance against them.”

Prediction

It’s quite simple. Norwich needs a victory, and as much as they have shown this season, it simply doesn’t seem like they have enough to complete the task. Arsenal wins 2-0, a massive gut-punch to the Canaries with three games to play.

Follow @MattReedFutbol

Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Sunderland

during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Sunderland at Carrow Road on April 16, 2016 in Norwich, England.
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  • Stoke is winless in last four matches
  • Four points in two games have Sunderland in 17th

Stoke City hosts Sunderland on Saturday from the Britannia Stadium as the Black Cats look to stay afloat in the Premier League (Watch live, 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

With Stoke sitting in the midst of mediocrity this season, Mark Hughes and his side have very little to play for when they meet Sunderland. Hughes’ men have allowed 12 goals in the past three matches, while only a single finish themselves. Despite boasting powerful names like Marko ArnautovicXherdan Shaqiri and U.S. National Team defender/midfielder Geoff Cameron, the Potters have certainly underachieved and Sunderland will look to capitalize.

[ MORE: PST discusses Leicester’s success and how they got here ]

Sunderland has caught a bit of a hot streak over recent weeks, pulling off key results against Norwich City and Arsenal. Striker Jermaine Defoe has been a savior for the Black Cats, posting 13 goals on the season for a side that has only mustered up 39 as a team. With Sunderland lumped together with Norwich and Newcastle in the relegation battle, Sam Allardyce and his squad need a result to keep momentum rolling forward.

What they’re saying

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: “I’m not one to hide behind injuries – I’ve never done that – but the reality is that we haven’t been at our best form because maybe key individuals aren’t available and we’ve had to make changes within games at times.”

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: “We are in good form at the moment… but I would expect Mark will have Stoke really revved up and he will want to stop this very poor run of performances. But I do hope they’re as bad as they have been in the last three games!”

Prediction

While Stoke may be playing for a top-half finish this season, the pressure remains firmly on Sunderland with four games left to play. Last week’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal has the Black Cats believing they can stay up next season, and I believe they’ll put out a result on the road. The two sides will finish in a 1-1 draw, leaving Sunderland fans to turn to Crystal Palace-Newcastle and Arsenal-Norwich.

Follow @MattReedFutbol

VIDEO: Previews of every Premier League game – Week 36

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23:  Louis van Gaal manager of Manchester United celebrates with winning goalscorer Anthony Martial of Manchester United after victory in The Emirates FA Cup semi final match between Everton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on April 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Week 36 is a huge one in the Premier League.

[ VIDEO: Top 5 storylines

Leicester City can win the title, the top four race is intense, there’s a scramble for the top six and the relegation battle is stressing fans out.

Everything is on the line with three weeks of the season to go. This is magic.

[ MORE: Week 36 TV schedule

So, let’s take a look at each game this weekend with previews of all of them below.


Newcastle United vs. Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, USA Network) – [STREAM]

Arsenal vs. Norwich City – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Manchester United vs. Leicester City – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Swansea City vs. Liverpool – (Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Stoke City vs. Sunderland – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

West Brom vs. West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Everton vs. Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Southampton vs. Manchester City – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Watford vs. Aston Villa – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: This is it, don’t get scared

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Gary Cahill of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on November 29, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Week 36 of the Premier League season is here and we have a full slate of action.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live online ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Click play on the videos below to hear my score prediction and preview of each game.

[ VIDEO: Top 5 storylines

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Newcastle United 2-0 Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, USA Network) – [STREAM]

Arsenal 3-1 Norwich City – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS… 

Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Swansea City 1-1 Liverpool – (Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Stoke City 1-1 Sunderland – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

West Brom 2-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Everton 2-1 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Southampton 3-1 Manchester City – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 Aston Villa – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]