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Premier League Preview: Hull City vs. Swansea City

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  • Tigers won 2-0 on Aug. 20
  • Then again in FA Cup
  • Swans lead all-time 30W-16D-27L

Will Swansea City’s improved form could help it shake a three-match losing streak against Hull City when the two sides meet at the KCOM Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 10 a.m. EDT on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com)?

Swans have won three of five, with their only losses coming to Manchester City and Chelsea. They’ve also a relegation six-pointer in that mix, topping Leicester City.

Hull’s looked much better as of late, but is four points back of safety and six points behind 16th place Swansea. Its 3-1 loss to Leicester last week has it just two points ahead of 20th.

Both sides had midseason shakeups on the bench as Paul Clement replaced Bob Bradley (who has replaced Francesco Guidolin) at Swansea City, while Marco Silva took over for Mike Phelan.

What they’re saying

Hull’s Lazar Markovic, on loan from Liverpool“It’s so good to be in the Premier League again. It’s the strongest league in the world and I’m very happy to be back. It is also correct that I have unfinished business here in England and the Premier League. That is one of the reason why I am back here, along with wanting to help this club achieve what it deserves – to stay in this league.”

Paul Clement on Swans’ goals for season“Our target is to finish 17th or above, nothing more than that. It’s still very close at the bottom. At any time the gaps (between teams) can change, both for us and against us. We have a little advantage in the table over Hull at the moment, but it’s not much. When you look at their statistics and ours – possession, shots, shots on target, crosses – the two teams are very similar, and I expect a very good game of football.”

Prediction

It’ll be a tricky go for Swans at the KCOM. Look for each side to strike in a 1-1 draw.

At long last, Butland returns to full training with Stoke

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Stoke City’s long-coming goalkeeping dilemma will come to a head soon, as Jack Butland is back in training.

A year ago today, the Potters confirmed that star backstop Butland would miss EURO 2016 with a broken ankle. He’d need multiple surgeries as recovery dragged on and on.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

That was more palatable thanks to the play of Lee Grant, who arrived on loan from Derby County but became a permanent Potter in January. Grant has been a key part of Stoke’s season.

Butland is contracted to Stoke through 2021, and he’ll ascend to the starting gig sooner rather than later. But Grant is in the catbird seat for now, and at least will have made himself attractive to other clubs seeking a keeper.

Report: Everton linked with $4 million swoop for Canada’s Larin

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The Sun only hits on a few of the many transfer rumors it tosses around, but this one bears a second look for fans of Everton, MLS, and Canada.

Everton is already eyeing replacements for Romelu Lukaku, according to the report, and is hunting for a bargain in Canadian national teamer Cyle Larin.

Larin, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City SC after an electric career at UConn.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He’s since scored 35 goals in 63 matches for the Lions, picking up three in his first two matches of the 2017 season. The 6-foot-1 Ontario native has five goals for Canada in 19 caps.

The Sun says Larin would cost close to $4 million, a fraction of what the Toffees will get if they sell Lukaku.

Fan dies after falling off football stadium in Brazil

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SAO PAULO (AP) A Brazilian football fan has died after falling 25 meters from the top of Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo onto a parking lot.

The height is equivalent to an eight-story building.

Bruno Pereira da Silva, aged 23, suffered head injuries and died upon arrival at a local hospital on Sunday.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He and other fans were attempting to jump to a section of the stadium where they could get a better view of the Sao Paulo state championship match between Sao Paulo and archrival Corinthians. The game ended 1-1.

Friends of da Silva told Brazilian media Silva was attending his first football match.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers: CRC, Honduras get off the mat

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The two traditional CONCACAF powers are riding high following Friday’s round of World Cup qualifiers, while the two other sides to qualify for Brazil 2014 are licking their wounds.

Honduras and Costa Rica both found themselves on the wrong side of shutout losses to the United States and Mexico, while Trinidad and Tobago injected itself into the discussion with a home win over Panama.

[ WATCH: CONCACAF qualifiers on Telemundo ]

What’s cooking for Tuesday? Read on:

Honduras vs. Costa Rica — 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Two sides which love to play physical, on-the-edge soccer meet on the heels of Friday losses. Expect Jorge Luis Pinto’s Catrachos to adapt after a 6-0 beatdown at the hands of the U.S., but they’ll have to do much, much better at home.

The dates at Estadio Morazan have to be the key for Honduras to climb into the Top Three, and it’ll be buoyed by memories of its 3-1 win over T&T two rounds ago. As for Costa Rica, Los Ticos aim to respond from conceding their first two goals of the Hex.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico — 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Kevin Molino’s strike gave T&T its first three points of qualifying, but its odds of getting a result against visiting Mexico aren’t nearly as good. The Soca Warriors desperation will be easy to see, as June’s qualifiers include trips to the U.S. and Costa Rica.

El Tri now has wins in two of its trickier Hex matches after adding Friday’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica to its upset of the Yanks in Columbus. Ten points through four matches would be exemplary; A draw or loss leaves the door open for Costa Rica to summit the Hex table.

United States vs. Panama — 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Read our extensive preview here, but the upshot is this: The United States can rise into the Top Three by beating Panama, while Los Canaleros will be happy to scoop a draw to stem any bleeding cause by Molino and T&T.