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PL Saturday roundup: Chelsea unbeaten in seven, Bradley earns first win

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On a day where three of the league’s top sides continued their push towards a Premier League title, Swansea City and Crystal Palace provided viewers with one of the games of the season to date.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Swans earned its first victory under American manager Bob Bradley, after netting two goals in second-half stoppage time.

Meanwhile, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool were all victorious at the top of the table, as the PL’s elite continue to apply pressure on each other.

Here, we take a look back at Saturday’s action from around England’s top flight.

Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham — RECAP

The Blues remain atop the PL following Saturday’s massive win at Stamford Bridge, and in the process, Antonio Conte‘s men ended Tottenham’s unbeaten start to the 2016/17 season. Goals from Pedro and Victor Moses paced Chelsea to its seventh straight victory. Tottenham’s lone tally was the first allowed by the Chelsea backline during its win streak, which saw Conte shift his tactics to a 3-4-3 system.

Swansea City 5-4 Crystal Palace — RECAP

Easily in the conversation for Game of the Year through 13 matches, Swansea City has the monkey off its back as Bob Bradley has guided his side to a PL win for the very first time. The Swans controlled the match with 15 minutes remaining and a 3-1 lead, however, Palace did not quit and pulled back three goals in nine minutes to take the lead. Fernando Llorente provided the late-game drama for the Swans, scoring twice in stoppage time to lift Bradley’s side above Sunderland to 19th place.

Burnley 1-2 Manchester City — RECAP

Dean Marney gave Burnley an emphatic first-half lead off of his fantastic volley from distance, but it was Sergio Aguero that helped the Citizens claw back and take the three points back to Manchester. The Argentine striker equalized prior to halftime before scoring once more on the hour mark at the Turf Moor. City sits level on points (30) with Liverpool, but Pep Guardiola‘s side trails slightly based on goal differential.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Dider Ndong of Sunderland compete for the ball during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield on November 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland — RECAP

While Divock Origi and James Milner helped guide Liverpool to another victory as the club continues to soar, the Reds did receive some deflating news as Philippe Coutinho was forced out of Saturday’s match and stretchered off the field. A hard challenge from Didier Ndong left the Brazilian in some serious pain, and now the Reds will await the results of the tests to come on Coutinho’s right leg.

Leicester City 2-2 Middlesbrough — RECAP

A pair of Alvaro Negredo finishes looked like they would be enough to give Middlesbrough the three points on the road, but penalty kicks proved to be the savior for the Foxes. Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani each netted from the PK spot at the King Power Stadium to give Claudio Ranieri‘s men a share of the points on the day. Leicester sits 13th in the table on 13 points, while the Boro trails by one point.

Hull City 1-1 West Brom — RECAP

West Brom remains in the top half of the PL table, but Michael Dawson‘s second-half finish served as a massive lift for Hull on Saturday. The Tigers remain 18th in England’s top flight, however, Mike Phelan‘s side is level on points with Crystal Palace and West Ham. West Brom nicked the lead after the hour mark when Gareth McAuley headed home a Matthew Phillips corner kick.

Totti’s loyalty one of the great soccer accomplishments ever

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During the prematch ceremony to celebrate the retirement of Roma legend Francesco Totti, there were fans crying. There were mascots crying. There were family members crying. There were players crying. The man himself was crying.

When 25 years with one club, no celebration can keep back the tears that naturally follow such a glorious career. Instead, an entire stadium paid tribute in one massive outpouring of emotion.

He was never flashy, he was never self-concerned, he never attracted the spotlight. All Francesco Totti did was give and give and give to his club. As the Italian’s career progressed, the game changed around him, with more and more money flowing through a landscape that gave players every reason to change teams as often as possible.

Through it all, Totti stayed put.

Roma’s Francesco Totti enters the field for his final salute to his fans after an Italian Serie A soccer match between Roma and Genoa at the Olympic stadium in Rome (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino).

At the end of it all, 25 years produced 618 league appearances, and 782 appearances overall. He scored 250 Serie A goals on the nose, and another 66 amid all other competitions. Those are just numbers, and Totti gave Roma far more than a laundry list of big numbers.

But for now, we focus on the bookkeeping, because even those are staggering. 250 league goals leaves Totti 2nd all-time in Italy, behind just Silvio Piola, but even the great 1938 World Cup champion never scored more than 143 league goals for a single club. Only three active players have over 100 league goals.

Totti racked up 618 Serie A appearances, his final one a 3-2 win over Genoa that earned Roma a Champions League group stage spot. That total is good for third all-time, one (for now) behind the great Gianluigi Buffon and 29 back of all-time leader Paolo Maldini. Maldini, who retired in 2009, also spent his entire career with one club in AC Milan, an equally commendable accomplishment. But in the modern game, 8 years adrift of Maldini’s playing days, the overwhelming temptations to move clubs make what Totti has done even more remarkable. Plus, he out-lasted Maldini’s career by a year (24 vs. 25 years active).

A note: only two players in the top 30 list in Serie A appearances are still active: Buffon, and 34-year-old Alberto Gilardino, who has played for 11 clubs in his career and is still 104 appearances back of Totti.

Past all the numbers stands a humble man who served one fanbase as loyally as humanly possible. Totti’s accomplishments are not only among the greatest in the history of the game, but it also may never be surpassed by anyone as long as we live.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.