PL Saturday roundup: Tighter at top, bottom

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Things got a little tighter at the top of the table on Saturday, and extremely tight in the race for 17th place.

Hull City joined Swansea City on 27 points, while Spurs closed the gap on defeated Chelsea to 7 points.

All that and more in the roundup:

Chelsea 1-2 Crystal PalaceRECAP

Cesc Fabregas scored after just four minutes, and life looked good for the Blues for a few minutes. That’s until Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha nabbed a pair of quick goals, and Palace led 2-1 at the break.

Palace were fortunate to hold back Chelsea’s ensuing barrage, and also to see Andros Townsend‘s handball in the box uncalled, but the Eagles may’ve saved their Premier League status with the win.

Liverpool 3-1 EvertonRECAP

Everton’s defensive depth was always going to be tested by the Reds, and the Toffees simply couldn’t pass that exam as Merseyside went red. Philippe Coutinho scored a wonderful goal to highlight the Reds’ offensive output, which included goals from Sadio Mane and Divock Origi. Mane was injured in the game to cast a bit of shadow on the win.

Southampton 0-0 BournemouthRECAP

The hosts were ascendant for most of this one, but had trouble finding the back of the net. Bournemouth’s bid to win at St. Mary’s for the first time ever looked to be in good shape after the introduction of Jack Wilshere helped yield a penalty, but Harry Arter‘s plant foot gave way and the attempt sailed over the frame.

Manchester United 0-0 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

There’s little doubt the Red Devils were the better team, even without Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Juan Mata. Yet Ben Foster thrived between the sticks against his old club, and West Brom held United without a goal to hurt the Red Devils’ Top Four hopes.

Burnley 0-2 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

The Clarets held firm against Spurs’ pressure for some time, but Eric Dier took advantage of a mishit Jeff Hendrick clearance for his first goal since 2015. Then Son Heung-min finished a Dele Alli cross to bring Spurs to within seven points of Chelsea.

Hull City 2-1 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Andrea Ranocchia nabbed a late winner for Hull, adding offense to his stellar defensive record since arriving on loan from Inter Milan. West Ham took a lead on Andy Carroll‘s 50th Premier League goal, but Andrew Robertson scored to set the stage for Ranocchia.

Watford 1-0 SunderlandRECAP

Miguel Britos scored his first goal since joining from Napoli in 2015, boosting Watford while keeping the Black Cats rooted to the bottom of the table.

Leicester City 2-0 Stoke CityRECAP

Wilfried Ndidi scored an absolutely righteous goal, and Jamie Vardy added second half insurance as manager Craig Shakespeare became the first British manager to win his first four PL matches in charge of a side.

Liverpool fans warned, as Roma pledges support

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There was a terrible incident in Liverpool on Tuesday when a Reds supporter was set upon by Roma fans and left in critical condition.

Sean Cox, 53, was attacked outside a pub before Liverpool’s 5-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg win over AS Roma.

[ MORE: LFC 5-2 Roma | Klopp reacts ]

Liverpool has released its plans to keep supporters safe should they be among the 5,000 with tickets in Rome on Wednesday (via LiverpoolFC.com), pledging the “most comprehensive safety and security advice.”

The club has taken the exceptional measure of requesting an extraordinary meeting in the Italian capital, which will take place on Friday April 27. … At the behest of Liverpool, club officials will join AS Roma, UEFA and the relevant Italian police and security services to discuss specific ongoing concerns.

Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock backed up Roma’s police demand that Liverpool fans without tickets skip the trip to Italy. According to the BBC, Liverpool was asked to put fans names on their tickets to the game.

“While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel,” he said.

AS Roma, for its part, posted a photo of Cox with the statement, “His recovery and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now.”

Report: Gerrard on Rangers shortlist ahead of Old Firm Derby

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Could Steven Gerrard‘s first foray into management come against his old manager and in one of the most heated derbies in the world?

The BBC is reporting that the Liverpool legend is on the shortlist for Rangers as the Glaswegian side prepares to hire a new manager in its bid to reverse Celtic domination of the Scottish Premiership and the Old Firm Derby.

[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]

Brendan Rodgers has engineered a marvelous run of form for Celtic, who went unbeaten in the league last season. Rodgers is also a sought-after managerial candidate for bigger jobs in Europe, and may not be at Celtic if and when Gerrard is hired by its rivals.

Either Celtic or Rangers have won the Scottish top flight title dating back to 1984-85, when champions Aberdeen were led by some guy named Alex Ferguson.

Rangers are facing a Manchester United moment this weekend, traveling to Celtic Park for a Sunday derby against Celtic which would see their rivals clinch the Premiership with a win.

Celtic has a 10-point lead on Rangers and Aberdeen, and is extremely likely to win its seventh-straight Premiership title. The record for most consecutive Scottish titles is nine, shared by Celtic (1966-74) and Rangers (1989-97).

Sweden announces Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not return for World Cup

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s public flirtation and seeming committal to returning to the Swedish national team for the World Cup was a big tease.

Whether it’s his call or not is up for debate.

The Swedish Football Association reports that it’s spoken with Ibrahimovic and the 35-year-old LA Galaxy striker has declined the chance to return to the fold.

[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]

Sweden’s sporting director Lars Richt says Ibrahimovic has not changed his mind on international retirement despite his own words.

Sweden’s current team may have a role in that.

We imagine Richt and Sweden may be cushioning the blow for Ibrahimovic, especially if national team goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson is speaking on behalf of a team vibe when he speaks of Zlatan being “an individualist” who could ruin Sweden’s team-first concept.

Report: Fulham, NFL owner Khan agrees $700m price for Wembley

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Fulham owner Shad Khan also owns a National Football League team, and could have two top-flight teams from different nations playing in England soon.

For Fulham, the Cottagers are currently very much in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League and at the least will have a chance at qualifying through the playoffs.

[ MORE: TFC loses CCL Final in PKs ]

For the Jaguars, who have rarely needed all the seats in their stadium, it could mean a move to London if Khan goes through with what’s being reported as an accepted $700 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was also built with the design to host NFL games.

Here’s how ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith puts a bow on it (on one of the biggest days of the NFL calendar, nonetheless):

So it’s possible that there could soon be two iconic soccer stadiums in London with strong NFL ties, one which was built with NFL games in mind, and another that is owned by an NFL owner. The league is pouring serious resources into London.

It seems unlikely Khan would move Fulham from Craven Cottage, but there are other repercussions of this move for soccer in England.

There’s the potential for the England national team to no longer utlizie a permanent home, and the FA Cup and League Cup both potentially requiring new or rotating venues for their final rounds.

A lot to monitor here, and we’ll surely have all the details as they emerge from Khan’s crew.