Premier League Saturday Roundup: Chelsea win classic; Stoke stun Man City

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Wow. What a Saturday.

Seven games produced stunning goals, drama, shocking results and just a heck of a lot of fun. This is why the Premier League is dubbed the most exciting league in the world. PL, if you are listening, don’t ever change.

[RELATED: Watch full match replays]

Below are recaps, highlights, reaction and more from all seven games as 24 goals were scored. Enjoy reliving one of the best PL Saturday’s in recent memory.

A day like today is why we love this game. Heaven.

Burnley 0-0 Manchester United

Louis van Gaal is still searching for his first win as United boss and the Red Devils could have lost to Burnley. David Jones hit the bar and went close for the home side, while United failed to carve out any clear-cut chances. Angel di Maria made his debut as he impressed but ran out of steam. Work to do for United, as LVG is not a happy man.

Everton 3-6 Chelsea

Where do we start with this one? Chelsea went 2-0 up inside three minutes through Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic, then Everton pulled one back just before half time through Kevin Mirallas. Chelsea went 3-1 up thanks to Seamus Coleman’s own goal, but then Steven Naismith made it 3-2. Shortly after Nemanja Matic made it 4-2, but Samuel Eto’o scored on his debut against his former club to make it 4-3. Moments later, Ramires scored to make it 5-3 and then Costa grabbed his second and Chelsea’s sixth to seal an incredible win. What a game. This will go down as a Premier League classic. After the game Mourinho called his side “killers” while Martinez bemoaned the mistakes.

Manchester City 0-1 Stoke City

This game wasn’t a classic, but it was certainly the biggest shock of the season so far. Stoke City beat the reigning champions Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium as Diouf scored a wonderful game-winner. The Senegalese forward ran 80-yards before slotting home past Joe Hart as the Potters stunned City.

Newcastle United 3-3 Crystal Palace

Goals galore at St. James Park as Palace jumped into an early lead as Dwight Gayle scored less than a minute in. Daryl Janmaat then equalized with his first Newcastle goal, but Jason Puncheon put Palace ahead after half time. Late on Aarons and Williamson scored for Newcastle to make it 3-2, but a last-gasp equalizer from Wilfried Zaha — following his loan move back to Palace from Manchester United — made it 3-3 as another entertaining match played out.

Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sunderland

QPR are off and running! A strike from Charlie Austin right on the stroke of half time made it 1-0 and that turned out to be the game-winner at Loftus Road. Not as much drama as we saw in other games, but this result was hugely important for QPR as it marked their first win of the season.

Swansea City 3-0 West Brom

The Swans made it three wins from three after a stunning home display against the Baggies. Nathan Dyer scored twice, one in each half, and Wayne Routledge’s stunning volley was the pick of the bunch in a stunning win. The Baggies were bad, but Swansea were very, very good.

West Ham United 1-3 Southampton

First win in the Premier League for Ronald Koeman’s side who put on a stunning second half display to blow away the Hammers. West Ham went 1-0 up after Mark Noble’s deflected effort from distance but Morgan Schneiderlin  equalized right on half time. Saints then dominated as Schneiderlin grabbed another and Graziano Pelle scored his first PL goal to seal a deserved 3-1 win. The home fans were not happy, as Sam Allardyce is under pressure.

Reports: LA Galaxy trades Gyasi Zardes to Columbus for Ola Kamara

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According to a reports by the LA Times and by ESPN, the LA Galaxy have traded US international Gyasi Zardes along with allocation money to the Columbus Crew for striker Ola Kamara.

Both reports state that Columbus will receive $400,000 in guaranteed allocation money in the deal, plus another $100,000 should Kamara score 12 goals next season to trigger the incentive.

Zardes was once a force along the wing for Bruce Arena and the Galaxy, but the 26-year-old has declined heavily in the last two seasons as injuries and poor form have held him to just eight goals over the last two seasons, including just two last campaign. Meanwhile, Kamara has been a star for Columbus in his first two years in Major League Soccer, scoring 16 goals in 2016 before netting another 18 last season, leaving him third in the league in goals scored over those two seasons.

The LA Times report states that Kamara will earn a new contract after the trade, giving him a raise over his current $482,500 yearly salary.

Zardes is an interesting case who shouldn’t be given up on just yet. A homegrown player for the Galaxy, he scored 17 goals in the 2014 season, including on in the MLS Cup Finals as the Galaxy won it all. He earned a seemingly permanent place on the USMNT as a result, and has 37 caps to this date. However, his goalscoring form has since evaporated, leaving him with no more than six goals in an MLS season since, and has just six goals in those 37 caps for the national team.

The Galaxy will need to acquire an additional international roster spot in order to activate Kamara for the season opener on March 4th against Portland, as they have filled up their seven spots as of now.

Bruce Arena opens up about USMNT World Cup failure

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Former US Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena has opened up about the failure of the team to reach the 2018 World Cup, culminating in an embarrassing and humbling 2-1 defeat at Trinidad & Tobago that left the USA on the outside looking in.

During a Q&A session in Philadelphia, Arena takes some blame but also dishes out a lot more, throwing everything from team chemistry, a weak player pool, weak mentality on the field, and even the national team’s communications department for the nightmare scenario that came to fruition in Couva.

“There are a lot of excuses, but at the end of the day you find a way to get off that field with a point,” Arena said to Straus, before laying out all those excuses he referred to. First up? The team chemistry, which was laid bare after injuries to John Brooks, Jordan Morris, and Sebastian Lletget.

“It wasn’t the same team with the right chemistry. It just didn’t seem like everyone was on the same page with the right mentality and the same understanding of what everything was about,” Arena said Friday. “The chemistry of the group wasn’t right. It wasn’t the character you see out of a U.S. team. And the second part, realistically, was that we didn’t have the most talented players and when we had injuries, it hurt us.”

Arena said there were signs of life in June after a win over Trinidad followed by a quality point against Mexico. However, it all came crashing down during a brutal week in early September that ultimately doomed the United States. After a stunning 2-0 loss to Costa Rica, Arena made a whopping seven changes to the starting lineup, none of which worked as a listless USMNT had to scrap and claw for a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Honduras. While Arena said the leaders on the team like Michael Bradley and Tim Howard were there when they were needed, “there were a couple of bad eggs like you have on every team. We were well aware of it.”

The 66-year-old blamed the pre-match buildup to the Trinidad & Tobago team as part of the issue, throwing the communications department under the bus for energizing the home side. “Behind the scenes there were mistakes on our part, probably,” Arena said in what began sounding like an admission of guilt. “Our social media, our communications department, sent out everything humiliating the Trinidad federation on the training facility, which was the game field for that day. It got them all fired up and when we kicked off on that day, it was a battle.”

Arena then railed against those who questioned his tactics or player choices after the disaster, saying, “You got some answers for me the day before the game? During the game? I’m listening. Everyone the day after, you’re a bunch of phonies. I don’t want to hear about it the day after. We’re all the best coaches the day after.”

It took everything Arena had to admit he may have played a part in the failure to qualify, and even then, he did so with plenty of restraint. “I accept that responsibility,” Arena said. “That’s why I resigned so quickly. I accepted my responsibility. That’s the way it goes. I don’t feel good about it, but that’s life.”

Michael Carrick to retire after the season, join Man United coaching staff

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho announced Friday night that 36-year-old midfielder Michael Carrick will retire after this season and join the Red Devils’ coaching staff.

Carrick has made just one appearance for Manchester United this season, back on September 20th in an EFL Cup match against Burton Albion. He has been on the sidelines recovering since an irregular heartbeat was discovered after he felt “strange” in the second half of that game. However, Carrick has been training with the team since November and Mourinho confirmed he could finish out his career on the pitch.

“[He had] a few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” Mourinho said to the media ahead of Manchester United’s match against Burnley on Saturday morning. “He is a very important player for us. I think it is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem.”

Mourinho confirmed that the club has offered him a position on the team’s coaching staff, and that he expects Carrick to accept.

“We are all happy and in the end of the season I expect him to join,” Mourinho said, “unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.”

Carrick has spent his entire career in the city of London. He began his career in the West Ham youth system, making his professional debut in 2005 and spending five years with the Hammers before moving to Tottenham in 2004. He spent two seasons at White Hart Lane before joining Manchester United in the summer of 2006, where he would go on to 460 appearances across all competitions, scoring 23 goals and assisting 36 others. He has won five Premier League titles with Manchester United, as well as a Champions League, an FA Cup, and three League Cups.

Brighton nabs club record signing Jurgen Locadia

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Brighton & Hove Albion have secured a new striker for the stretch run of the Premier League season, signing Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven for a club record fee.

Locadia cost Brighton $19.3 million, breaking their old transfer record, set just last August when they brought Jose Izqueirdo from Club Brugge, by about $500,000.

The 24-year-old Dutchman has nine goals and six assists this season in 15 Eredivisie appearances for PSV, although he’s missed their last three games reportedly with a hamstring injury. He scored four goals in one game against FC Utretcht back in late September.

“We are delighted to have signed Jurgen, and pleased to welcome him to the club,” said Brighton manager Chris Hughton in the official club release. “He is a player we have been aware of for sometime, and it’s been no secret we have wanted to add a striker of his type. He is a strong, powerful and quick center-forward, with a real eye for goal and will increase our attacking options in the second half of the season.”

Locadia made his Eredivisie debut with PSV in style back in 2012, scoring a hat-trick against VVV Venlo in a 6-0 win. He would go on to score a career-high 13 goals in his first full season in 2013/14, eventually racking up 62 goals for PSV across all competitions in 176 appearances.

A PSV youth product, Locadia has been in the national team picture, riding the bench for a pair of World Cup qualifiers in October, but has not received a cap for the Netherlands. He was in the national youth setup as well, making appearances for the U-17 and U-21 sides.