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Top PL Storylines: Chelsea looks to hold off Spurs in title race

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The Premier League is heading down to the home stretch with just over a month and a half remaining, and both ends of the table continue to feature intriguing matchups.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s PL picks — Week 32 ]

Will Chelsea hold off Spurs for the title? Do any of the three current relegation sides have a shot at climbing out the league’s cellar? Check out the weekend’s most intriguing matches below:


Spurs hope to keep title hopes alive

Tottenham vs. Watford — 7:30 a.m. EDT Saturday online via NBCSports.com

With the season winding down, Spurs are going to need some help from Chelsea if they are to capture the PL title. Mauricio Pochettino‘s side will receive a massive lift over the weekend as Harry Kane is expected to return after missing the last three matches, however, starting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris remains sidelined and backup Michel Vorm could also be in doubt.

Meanwhile, Watford is sitting comfortably in 10th place heading into Saturday’s clash, but history isn’t on their side as they travel to White Hart Lane. The Hornets haven’t beaten Spurs in a league match since 1985, although they’ve only met seven times in the PL.

The Hornets have won two straight league matches while Spurs enter Saturday winners of five consecutive fixtures as they attempt to challenge at the top of the table.

Foxes push for top half finish, while Koeman aims for top five

Everton vs. Leicester City — 11:00 a.m. EDT Sunday online via NBCSports.com

Although the Foxes won’t be repeating as PL winners in 2016/17, Craig Shakespeare’s story continues to grow since replacing Claudio Ranieri back in February. Leicester is still unbeaten since Shakespeare took over, and a top 10 finish is very much in sight for the Foxes in addition to their UEFA Champions League aspirations.

Everton has enjoyed plenty of success this season, but with the continued rumors surrounding striker Romelu Lukaku, it’s a wonder as to how long the Toffees will be able to keep their prized possession. The Toffees enter the weekend in seventh place, and although a top five position is just three points away, both Arsenal and Manchester United currently hold two matches in hand just above Ronald Koeman and co.

Relegation battle heats up

West Ham vs. Swansea City — 10 a.m. EDT Saturday online via NBCSports.com

The Swans aren’t dead in the water just yet with their eight wins on the season, but they surely need at least a point on Saturday to boost their fortunes with seven matches remaining. Fernando Llorente and Kyle Naughton may not be able to go for the visitors, while goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is also a question mark for the Swans.

West Ham hovers just five points above the bottom three, and a loss on Saturday would drastically change the club’s standing with about a month and a half remaining. The Hammers have lost five straight PL matches, so it could be a very opportune time for Swansea to come to town.

Eight matches remain for Blues

Bournemouth vs. Chelsea — 12:30 p.m. EDT Saturday online via NBCSports.com

The Blues are eight matches away from hoisting the PL title once again, and the return of Victor Moses could lift an already dangerous Chelsea attack on Saturday. Otherwise, Chelsea remains quite healthy heading into the home stretch, and after the club’s midweek victory over Manchester City, the PL crown seems more and more within reach.

Seven points separate the Cherries from 18th spot meaning Bournemouth will likely be in the clear the rest of the way. Bournemouth’s only home win over Chelsea came all the way back in 1988, making Saturday’s test a difficult one. This is especially the case as the Blues have lost just once all season to a team outside of the top six.

Cristiano Ronaldo announces birth of twin sons via surrogate

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal’s third-place match at the 2017 Confederations Cup this Sunday.

He has bigger things to sort out.

Ronaldo, 32, was released from Portugal’s squad late Wednesday after their defeat on penalty kicks to Chile in the Confed Cup semifinals in Russia.  The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar will now travel to visit his new twin sons, who were born via a surrogate earlier this month, with Ronaldo set to meet them for the first time after captaining Portugal in Russia over the past few weeks.

According to reports from Portuguese TV channel SIC, the surrogate mother was based on the west coast of the U.S. (I can already hear you guys asking ‘does that mean they’re eligible to play for the USMNT?’). Ronaldo is now the father of three children after already having a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.

Reports also suggest that his 22-year-old girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez is five months pregnant, so soon he could be a father for the fourth time. He would then be able to field a five-a-side team of Ronaldo’s for indoor games…

Below is the post from Ronaldo confirming his departure from Portugal’s squad, which the national team also confirmed, as he is set to meet his new children for the first time.

“I was in the service of the national team, as always, body and soul, even though my two sons were born. Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve the main sporting objective that we wanted, but I am sure we will continue to give joy to the Portuguese.

“The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national picker have today had an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget. I’m very happy to finally be with my children for the first time.”

Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.