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Premier League Saturday roundup: Drama central

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What. A. Day. Late winners, red cards, controversy, upsets.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The seven Premier League games on Saturday produced just about everything.

[ MORE: PL standings |  Schedule

Below is a look back at all the action from Saturday’s seven games in the PL.


Manchester United 1-1 BournemouthRECAP

1-1 doesn’t even go close to telling the story of this game. United led through Marcos Rojo‘s first Premier League goal but Bournemouth scored a penalty kick via Joshua King. Then, things got tasty. Tyrone Mings and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were going at it the whole game and the former looked to stamp on Zlatan’s head while he was on the floor, then Zlatan connected with an elbow on Mings’ head moments later. In the melee which ensued Andrew Surman was shown a second yellow card as Bournemouth played the entire second half with 10 men.

[ LISTEN: 2 Robbies on Saturday’s action ] 

Zlatan had the chance to the be the hero, once again, but his penalty kick was saved by Artur Boruc and United were held to a seventh draw in their last 11 PL home games. Frustration for Jose Mourinho as his men lost ground in the top four race, while Ibrahimovic and Mings could well get retrospective bans.


Liverpool 3-1 ArsenalRECAP

Alexis Sanchez was left on the bench and it backfired badly for Arsene Wenger as Liverpool secured victory. First half goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane set Jurgen Klopp‘s side on their way and even though Sanchez jumped off the bench at half time to spark life into Arsenal and set up Danny Welbeck‘s strike, Wenger’s men lost for the third time in four games as Georginio Wijnaldum scored late on.

Liverpool again rose to the occasion against a top four rival as they remain unbeaten against the top six this season, while Arsenal’s top four hopes are in real jeopardy with Liverpool leapfrogging them in the table.


Watford 3-4 SouthamptonRECAP

What. A. Game. Watford took the lead through Troy Deeney early on but Saints came roaring back as Dusan Tadic first scored and then set up Nathan Redmond to make it 2-1. Then Stefano Okaka equalized late on but Manolo Gabbiadini made it 3-2 (he’s now scored six goals in four games for Saints) and Redmond added another to make it 4-2 before Abdoulaye Doucoure scored a late consolation for the Hornets. Claude Puel‘s Saints have now scored 10 goals in their last three games and have put their EFL Cup final heartbreak firmly behind them.


Leicester City 3-1 Hull CityRECAP

What a difference one week makes. Leicester have won back-to-back PL games for the first time this season as they continue to prove life is just fine after Claudio Ranieri. Caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare has overseen two-straight 3-1 wins against Liverpool and now Hull but the Foxes had to fight back from 1-0 down. In fact, it’s the first time this season that Leicester have won after going behind as Sam Clucas put Hull ahead. However, Christian Fuchs made it 1-1 at half time and then second half goals from Riyad Mahrez and a late own goal from Tom Huddlestone sealed the win. The reigning champs are finally pulling away from the relegation zone.


Swansea City 3-2 BurnleyRECAP

Another thriller took place at the Liberty Stadium as Paul Clement celebrated wildly thanks to Fernando Llorente’s late winner. The Swans went ahead through a Llorente header but then a controversial penalty kick was awarded to Burnley (Clarets striker Ashley Barnes handled the ball but referee Anthony Taylor gave a spot kick) and Andre Gray made it 1-1 before adding another in the second half to make it 2-1. Martin Olsson made it 2-2 with 20 minutes to go and then Llorente popped up in stoppage time to hand Swansea a fifth win in nine games under Clement. Swansea now have 27 points and some breathing space from the bottom three.


West Brom 0-2 Crystal PalaceRECAP

A simply massive away win for Palace as Sam Allardyce‘s men are out out of the drop zone. A goal in each half from Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend proved the difference for the Eagles against a West Brom side who had an off day after reaching 40 points after just 26 games. For Palace, they’re on 25 points and have given themselves hope ahead of a tough run of games.


Stoke City 2-0 MiddlesbroughRECAP

Routine win for the Potters as two first half goals from Marko Arnautovic saw them past goal-shy Middlesbrough. The Potters dominated from start to finish and Aitor Karanka‘s Boro, the lowest scorers in the PL, have now slipped into the relegation zone and are just three points off the bottom. As for Stoke, they’re up to ninth place and just five points behind West Brom in eighth.


“I’m not a bad guy” – Convicted murderer, new club defend signing

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A week ago, we brought you the story of goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes finding a new club despite a conviction for ordering the torture and murder of his mistress, whose body was then fed to dogs. The two were having a disagreement on child support.

Fernandes, 32, was set free from jail on a technicality and has since been signed by Boa Esporte in Brazil. He said he couldn’t “throw in the towel” on his career because he believed in himself.

Fans were outraged with the team, major sponsors pulled their funding, and an activist group even hacked Boa Esporte’s web page.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

And the club is digging in its heels.

Boa Esporte’s president, Rone Moraes da Costa, reacted to protests by saying he’d rather move the team than not give Fernandes a chance to resurrect his career.

As for Fernandes, he clearly is having trouble explaining why he’s getting another chance. From The Guardian:

“What happened, happened. I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happens in life – I’m not a bad guy. People tried to bury my dream because of one mistake, but I asked God for forgiveness, so I’m carrying on with my career, dude. I’m starting over.”

One mistake. Wow. There are few clubs in the world which fit the bill of being the majority of fans’ least favorite team, but Boa Esporte could get there. Surely there must be more to the story?

Nothing new about the challenges facing USMNT

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This next week may define a generation of USMNT players, but only if it goes poorly.

That may sound overly dramatic, but it isn’t. The United States started 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, earned its coach a firing, and now stares down its status in the confederation.

Honduras is coming on Friday, far from a pushover. Then it’s off to Panama for another tricky tie. In a vacuum, coming up short in one of the two isn’t the end of the world, but the Yanks will be expected to take a minimum four points. Even that would be a disappointment to many.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

The crutches are gone, aside from any being used by injured players back in Germany (Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson chief amongst them). Fifteen of Honduras’ players play domestically, and Panama isn’t much better in overall quality.

Frankly, and it’s been written before, the United States should outclass both of these foes. If Bruce Arena’s bunch doesn’t, well, it spells woe for the country’s soccer development as a whole.

For now, supporters and players have been able to cling to the thought that Jurgen Klinsmann was responsible for the Yanks’ struggles. In some ways, he most certainly was to blame for setbacks like the CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico and the pathetic performance against Costa Rica that earned him a firing.

Several of the United States’ current elder statesmen have built legacies that can survive big hits. Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey may go down in history as the two biggest stars in program history (There will be an argument for both as No. 1 along with Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna). DaMarcus Beasley is an all-timer, too.

Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, and Jozy Altidore are on track for that, too, and there’s an argument to be made the trio is already there, especially for Cameron, who’s a mainstay in the Premier League. Each has found success in Europe after getting their starts in Major League Soccer, and have etched their names into the national record books.

There’s still very little reason to believe the USMNT will miss the 2018 World Cup even with the 0-2 start. The class is just too much to consider the Yanks will finish below Panama, Honduras, and Trinidad and Tobago over the course of 10 matches (The fourth place side gets a shot at an Asian side like Saudi Arabia, UAE, or Uzbekistan in a two-legged affair).

But turning it around has to start now. The Yanks have to handle their business in these qualifiers, and make at least the Gold Cup final to build momentum toward Russia. Anything short of that is abject failure.

Again, this absolutely should happen, starting Friday. Even given the poor start, losses or even a pair of draws this week would be legitimately shocking, and set the program back ages. Howard set it up well Tuesday when he pointed out that the U.S. has gotten to points like this before, and they always belly up to the bar and outlast all comers.

A lot of fans have this nagging voice in their heads, asking nefariously, “What if they don’t?”

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.

Report: Guardiola close to adding $43m Benfica goalkeeper

@edersonmoraes93
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Year Two of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City could feature another big goalkeeper purchase.

Claudio Bravo hasn’t panned out in sky blue, and Joe Hart doesn’t look likely to be coming back. Wily Caballero is getting the lion’s share of the minutes right now, playing every minute aside from a trio of FA Cup matches since February.

[ MORE: Podolski scores screamer in German finale ]

$43 million is the fee noted by Abola when it comes to the latest target for Guardiola, a neck-tattooed Brazilian by the name of Ederson.

The Benfica backstop, 23, has 20 clean sheets in 32 appearances this season. He signed a new six-year deal in late January, but money may talk here.