Hull City 2-2 Everton: Snodgrass heroics cancelled by Barkley equalizer

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The team at the bottom of the table at the turn of the calendar year has only survived three times in Premier League history. Hull City may not have to worry about that.

Robert Snodgrass delivered two exquisite free-kicks, as the first crashed into the post but the second found the back of the net to give Hull City a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Ross Barkley rose high in the air six minutes from full time to peg back the home side, leaving the sides to share the points with a 2-2 finish. Still, the draw pulls Hull off the bottom of the table, leaving Swansea City a point in their wake.

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Hull City was the more incisive and attacking side in the opening few minutes, and they were rewarded after 6 minutes. A corner came in from Robert Snodgrass to the near post, and Curtis Davies met it there and nodded it across the face of goal. With all the defenders sucked up to the near post towards the initial ball, Michael Dawson was at the far post where Davies’ flick fell, and he whacked it into the back of the net for an early home lead.

The Toffees responded immediately, and nearly came level just seven minutes later. A ball into the box from Gareth Barry from the left met the head of Seamus Coleman, who powered the ball on net, but it clattered the inside of the post and unluckily came back out, cleared by the Hull defensive scrum.

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Nevertheless, it was clear Everton was the brighter side following the opener. They pressured David Marshall‘s box on numerous occasions through the 20th minute, when Hull had a chance of their own to go 2-0 up. A cross from Ahmed Elhomamady on the right met the crown of Dieumerci Mbokani who beat Coleman in the air, but his header was weak and cleared.

The game closed down, and it appeared Hull would take a lead into halftime, but just before the break, Hull City goalkeeper David Marshall had a horrible moment to gift Everton a goal. With a corner swung in by the Toffees, Mbokani got in Marshall’s way, looking to clear the ball with his head, and when Marshall rose behind him to punch clear, the ball clipped off the inside of his fist and instead went backwards into his own net, ticking the score to 1-1 after 45 minutes.

After the break, goals were there for the taking, but the woodwork denied both sides. Everton had a chance just two minutes after play resumed, as his shot pinged off Dawson and was tipped off the bar by a Marshall save. Then minutes later, Robert Snodgrass delivered a delicious, curling free-kick that slammed into the corner of the bar after having beaten Robles.

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He’d get another chance, however, after a soft foul was given outside the Everton box when Leighton Baines was judged to have pushed down Harry Maguire. Snodgrass presented another brilliant delivery, and this time it went in, curling around the wall and tucking just inside the top-left corner.

They again couldn’t hold on, as Everton struck six minutes from full time as a nobody closed down Leighton Baines on the end line left of the box. The England international whipped in a cross, meeting the head of Ross Barkley who rose to head in the equalizer. They nearly went on to win it, as substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed just wide a minute before added time.

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The points shared means Hull City moves to 13, off the bottom of the table but still four points back of safety. Swansea City now sits on the bottom, and they take on Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve. Everton, meanwhile, move to 27 points, but remain in seventh, still six back of Manchester United in front of them.

Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Diego Costa injured, but will stay with Spain squad for friendly

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa pulled up in Spain training on Sunday, and with the Blues in first in the Premier League and Costa in great form, there were obvious concerns.

With Costa struggling with leg and ankle injuries, the RFEF informed Chelsea that there was an issue, and Costa was pulled from training and sent for tests. X-Rays at the local hospital in Madrid were negative, and he’s rejoined the squad.

According to the RFEF, doctors will continue to monitor the 28-year-old and he will continue with the national team for the rest of the international break. With a World Cup qualification win over Israel already in the books and just a friendly against France to go on Tuesday, it’s odd that Spain would risk Costa moving forward, but they will continue to keep him around.

Costa has scored 18 goals this season to lead the Blues, and he scored in the win over Israel. Spain takes on France in Saint-Denis on Tuesday, with both teams leading their World Cup qualification groups. Spain has a goal-differential lead on Italy with both teams miles above the rest of the Group G, and France is ahead of Sweden by three points in Group A, with the Netherlands back in fourth.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.

Lletget diagnosed with foot sprain, escaping further damage

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Word has arrived from the LA Galaxy camp that will see USMNT fans feel relieved as Sebastian Lletget has escaped the news many feared.

The young attacker was impressive in the first 18 minutes of the United States’ 6-0 win over Honduras, but was injured minutes after scoring the opening goal and could not continue. Replays showed that Lletget got his foot caught underneath a defender in the process of a hard challenge on the right wing.

There was concern that Lletget would be out for a significant amount of time, but the Galaxy announced that after testing over the weekend, Lletget did not suffer any structural damage and was diagnosed with a left foot sprain.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Paul Arreola to roster, drops Lletget, Brooks, Morris ]

Lletget will visit a specialist on Monday to determine a plan for recovery, and it’s possible that he will still have to miss some time in the near future. The Galaxy visit Vancouver on Saturday, and his status for that match has to be considered up in the air. They then host Montreal on April 7.

While Lletget obviously misses out on the next USMNT game at Panama on Tuesday having already been dumped from the roster, he will most definitely be available for the June games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and will likely be an option for Bruce Arena given the manager’s history with Lletget at Los Angeles.

The United States have been struck with a collection of injuries that all occurred just before the international break, hampering the squad significantly. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Fabian Johnson all went down in the days before reporting for international duty, and the team lost Lletget and John Brooks in the Honduras win. Lletget’s departure could see Alejandro Bedoya into the starting lineup on Tuesday, with the Union midfielder having replaced Lletget in the Honduras match. Also in contention is Jermaine Jones, who could come in after his suspension and push Darlington Nagbe onto the wing.