Premier League Weds. preview: Chasing down Chelsea?

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Only two Top Seven teams played as the Premier League kicked off its midweek matches on Tuesday, and both dropped points.

[ BUNDESLIGA: In-form Kramaric tops Bayern ]

Everton and Manchester United drew 1-1 at Old Trafford, giving Arsenal a chance to go fifth and the Top Four the opportunity to secure breathing room from both United and Arsenal.

Realistically, most eyes will be on Chelsea. The Blues fell to Crystal Palace last week and that got the wildest of imaginations running; What if the personalities that self-destructed last season are off the boil? It’s incredibly unlikely, but Spurs, Man City, and so many others are dreaming of a rot infestation at Stamford Bridge.


Chelsea vs. Manchester City
3 p.m. EDT, NBCSN – [STREAM

Of course Tottenham supporters will be pulling for Pep Guardiola‘s bunch on Tuesday, as Chelsea’s Premier League lead could be down to four points if the Blues lose and Spurs beat Swansea City.

That’s easier said than done, of course, with the Blues stung by a shocking loss to Crystal Palace and likely quite ornery. Antonio Conte will be up for a tactical battle with Guardiola, and we should all reap the benefits.

Arsenal vs. West Ham United
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM]

The Gunners welcome a reeling West Ham side which has dipped back into the relegation zone, but nothing’s a given when it comes to Arsenal these days. Arsene Wenger‘s crew will know that it can catch Manchester United with a win. The Irons would probably take a point right now.

Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

Like Leicester City, Palace has leapt up the table with a series of wins. The Eagles could finish Wednesday as high as 13th if results go their way, although one would have to be a three-goal win at St. Mary’s. That seems unlikely, with Saints daydreaming of ninth by getting three points of their own.

Hull City vs. Middlesbrough
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

This could really be it for the visitors: lose to Hull and you’re at least five points out of safety (more if Swans can steal a point from visiting Spurs). Hull’s league-worst goal differential means its tiebreaker game is weak. Is this where Boro finally finds some goals?

Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime– [STREAM

Unfortunately for Paul Clement‘s Swans, Spurs will not be caught off guard by a trip to the relegation-threatened Welsh side. The opportunity to see more than a sliver of light at the top of the table will have Hugo Lloris and Co. raring for yet another win and, at worst, a tighter grip on second place.

Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
3 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

Both Jurgen Klopp and Eddie Howe love to play an entertaining style, so neutral viewers could do far worse than scheduling a couple of hours for Wednesday’s to-do at Anfield. Even without Sadio Mane, this one should have fireworks.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz, File
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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.

How to stop Alexis? “Padlock, tie him up,” says Sevilla boss

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“Well, maybe we can lock him up with a padlock or tie him up with rope.”

Vincenzo Montella has mixed it up with Alexis Sanchez in the past, and he’s not relishing the need to stop him again without using non-traditional means.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The Sevilla boss, 43, said he “remembered well” the Manchester United star from the Chilean’s playing time at Udinese,.

“He has improved his style a lot during his career and I think he can be a really good player in transition,” Montella said. “I think they have really good speed in attack.”

That padlock joke wasn’t the only quality quip from Montella, who said of Paul Pogba:

“He is a complete player. I hope he doesn’t play.”

Sevilla hosts United at 2:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.