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PL roundup: Chelsea go 9 points clear; in-form Man Utd win again

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in the Premier League…

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Crystal Palace 0-1 ChelseaFULL RECAP

Have Chelsea already won the PL? It’s a question which Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino tackled (below video) even before the Blues moved to 11 league games without dropping a point with another dominant defensive display, away to Crystal Palace. Diego Costa scored the game’s only goal, his PL-leading 13th of the season, two minutes before halftime, and that was all Antonio Conte‘s side would require. In those 11 wins, Chelsea have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 25-2, including three straight 1-0 victories since last conceding a goal to Manchester City on Dec. 3.

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester UnitedFULL RECAP

Speaking of winning streaks — albeit of the significantly shorter variety — Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired Man United to their third straight victory, away to West Brom, with a goal early in each of the first and second halves. Jesse Lingard set up the first with a delightful cross from the right wing after five minutes (WATCH HERE), and Wayne Rooney fed the big Swede for his second of the game, his 11th of the season, 11 minutes into the second half. The Red Devils are now level with Tottenham Hotspur (who play on Sunday) on 30 points for fifth in the league table, just four and three back of Arsenal and Manchester City (who play each other on Sunday) for third and fourth, respectively.

Stoke City 2-2 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

Jamie Vardy was sent off after 28 minutes for a lunging challenge on Mame Biram Diouf, and the Foxes duly fell 2-0 behind before the halftime interval, thanks to Bojan Krkic‘s penalty kick in the 39th minute and Joe Allen‘s fifth goal of the season two minutes into stoppage time. Then, it all came crashing down for the Potters, who conceded twice in 14 minutes at the tail end of the second half, first to Leonardo Ulloa and finally, in the 88th minute, to Daniel Amartey, in settling for a 2-2 home draw against the defending champions.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City (L) is shown a red card by referee Craig Pawson during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Leicester City at Bet365 Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

Another game, another putrid defensive display from Swansea, who have now conceded 11 goals in their last four league games (three losses, one win). Alvaro Negredo finished from near the penalty spot after 18 minutes, and directly from the penalty spot just before the halftime hour. Marten De Roon completed the rout on 58 minutes, and just like that, Bob Bradley‘s Swans suddenly find themselves back in 19th place, only clear of 20th on goal differential.

West Ham United 1-0 Hull CityFULL RECAP

West Ham are another side suddenly streaking, having won two league games in a row for the second time this season, and the first time since Oct. 22. Saturday’s home triumph over Hull, in which Mark Noble scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot in the 76th minute, propels Slaven Bilic‘s side to the dizzying heights of 13th place in the league table.

Sunderland 1-0 WatfordFULL RECAP

Patrick Van Aanholt, ever the goal-scoring threat at left back, put Sunderland ahead of Watford in the 49th minute, and that’s how proceedings would finish at the Stadium of Light. With their fourth win of the season (and third in six games), David Moyes‘ Black Cats are up to 18th and now just a single point behind Crystal Palace one place outside the relegation zone.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Bournemouth vs. Southampton — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Manchester City vs. Arsenal — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley — 11 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Coutinho rocket helps LFC to PL Asia Trophy (video)

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Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.

Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.

The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.

We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.

Transfer rumor roundup: Latest on Alexis, Neymar to PSG; Van Dijk

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Neymar and Alexis Sanchez to Paris? Brazil and Chile’s finest living as one? Reunited and it feels so French?

The latter’s talents will see Arsenal’s resolve tested by a $46 million bid, according to Sky Sports, though Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been adamant that Sanchez will not be sold this summer.

Reports circled last year that Arsenal was prepared to offer Sanchez and Mesut Ozil record deals to stay at the club, though PSG has reportedly met with Sanchez and his agent with ideas of incredible $650,000 per week wages at the Parc des Princes.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

A source also told Sky Sports that it would take “a miracle” for Neymar to remain at Barcelona, so that Sanchez/Edinson Cavani/Neymar trident could be coming to a theater near you.


Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is hopeful of convincing Virgil Van Dijk to stay at St. Mary’s, but for now he’s been forced to ask the defender to take time away from the club.

Van Dijk, hopeful to engineer a move to a UEFA Champions League club, has not been in the preferred mental state for Pellegrino.

“When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I need to work with a player that works at 100 percent to defend Southampton. This is the decision. I had to say: ‘OK, if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK, you have to train alone until this period of time.'”

Liverpool publicly ended their interest in Van Dijk following Southampton complaints, and the club maintains it will not sell the influential center back.


West Ham’s loan move for Joe Hart could see both of its 2016-17 goalkeepers leaving the London Stadium. Multiple reports say Darren Randolph could be off to Middlesbrough, with Adrian also heading to the Northeast to play for countryman Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.

Must watch Milivojevic free kick leads Palace past WBA (video)

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Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Bakary Sako led Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the third place game of the PL Asia Trophy.

Palace had lost 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal, while West Brom fell to Leicester City in penalty kicks after trading goals over 90 minutes.

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Milivojevic’s free kick, won by Wilfried Zaha, was super. Whipped in with force and a wicked curl, Baggies keeper Ben Foster didn’t have a chance to reach it with his dive.

Sako created his goal with a darting move off a long dribble, though it needed a pair of deflections to get behind Foster.

The Baggies had their chances, and Julian Speroni made an outstanding save on Matty Phillips late in the match.

STREAM LIVE: Liverpool-Leicester duel for PL Asia Trophy

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Goals from Bakary Sako and Luka Milivojevic spearheaded Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the PL Asia Trophy third place game, and now Liverpool and Leicester City tangle for the title.

The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a 2-0 semifinal win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.

Here are the lineups for Leicester City and Liverpool: