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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.

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.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.