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.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Watford

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  • Chelsea are without N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses (both hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf) is still absent.
  • Watford remain without Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl (both thigh), plus long-term absentees Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee).
  • Watford have not won against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 1986, but the Hornets have won 10 points of a possible 12 on the road. 
  • Chelsea have lost three of their first eight matches this season. No team has ever lost this many of their opening eight matches and still won the Premier League title.

Watford heads south for another London derby with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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The Hornets have had an amazing start to the season and currently occupy fourth place on 15 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea, which has lost two-straight Premier League games. The Blues have struggled without N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata and there have been reports of grumbles from the squad about dissatisfaction with Antonio Conte‘s training methods, but the Chelsea coach has brushed those rumors off.

Meanwhile Watford is coming off a confidence-boosting win last weekend against fellow Londoners Arsenal, and the club is looking to take down another big club for a second-straight week.

What they’re saying

Watford manager Marco Silva on his team’s start“I want everybody to be really calm. We did really in the first eight matches but it’s too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being under pressure: “‘Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”

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Prediction

Chelsea has its back against the wall but the team’s overall quality should be enough to see them through with all three points against Watford. The Hornets luck runs out in Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hold on for a late win. Chelsea 2-1 Watford

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.