Everton 4-2 Leicester: Toffees take wild game from start to finish

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Everton came into their matchup with Leicester City at Goodison Park having seen 22 goals fly into the back of the home nets in six Premier League games through 2017 so far. That total only climbed on Sunday.

Attacking play was on display from literally the opening whistle, as Everton scored 30 seconds into the match, setting the tone for a wild game from start to finish. The match saw three goals in the opening 10 minutes, five goals in the first half, and six goals overall.

The game was off to a flying start, as Everton set Goodison Park alight right from the opening kickoff. Kevin Mirallas barged his way through the Leicester midfield in the opening minute, and upon reaching the box, he was hauled down in the penalty area. Credit referee Bobby Madley for allowing play to continue, as the ball was touched to Tom Davies as Mirallas slid to the turf, and Davies smashed it in with his left foot for a 1-0 lead less than a minute in.

The home side, buoyed by its cracking start, poured men forward hoping to capitalize on the early momentum, and it would do them in. The early lead was wasted as Leicester hit on the counter with Everton stuck in the attacking half, and Islam Slimani put the Foxes back level.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester would complete the quick comeback and go in front inside 10 minutes in stunning fashion. With Jamie Vardy earning a foul on the left edge of the penalty area, Marc Albrighton delivered a simply stunning free-kick, picking out the top right corner from a very tight angle. Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles will be highly disappointed with his failure to read the flight of the ball, but the effort was deserving of a 2-1 lead.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

With Everton suddenly trailing, they turned to the Premier League’s leading scorer, and he delivered. Ross Barkley on the right flank put it on a plate with a pinpoint cross, and Lukaku was there for a simple and powerful header from point-blank range.

Everton should have had a third as the goal was gaping with five minutes to go until halftime. A slide-tackle by Davies sent the ball perfectly weighted to spring Barkley on the break, and while it looked that he had rounded Kasper Schmeichel, but the Leicester City goalkeeper recovered to get a slight touch and foil Barkley’s attempt.

But the Toffees would make amends on the ensuing corner, as Phil Jagielka rose high above the defense to glance a header into the far corner, putting Everton back in front 3-2. It’s the first time all Premier League season that two teams have combined to score five goals in the first half.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After the break, the fun continued. Lukaku bagged a brace, left entirely unmarked at the back post of a corner, and as the ball trickled to him, he thumped it home across the face of goal for a 4-2 Everton lead.

As the game ticked into the final 10 minutes, Leicester City looked to change the tide by bringing on attacking players Riyad Mahrez and Leonardo Ulloa. The latter found himself with a great chance immediately after coming on, but his 78th minute header off a corner pinged straight into the head of Idrissa Gueye directly in front of net. They got another big chance with three minutes to go as Ulloa headed a Mahrez cross on target, but it was stopped by Robles, and the rebound was cleared by Jagielka with Ahmed Musa looking to pounce.

The win left Everton in 7th position but brought them up level with Arsenal on points. For Leicester City, they miss the chance to pull into the top half of the table, instead sitting level on points with three other teams muddied in 11th place.

Five Thirty Eight unveils Top 426 soccer clubs in the world

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Perspective achieved?

Advanced statistical site Five Thirty Eight has put together a weekly ranking of the top and bottom club teams in the world, and its algorithm gives us a theoretical answer into where Major League Soccer fits into the club soccer landscape.

[ MORE: Julian Green back on transfer market ]

At its very base level, the rankings will give reason to check back all season. Can Manchester United break into the Top Three? Will an MLS side leap into the Top 100? Can the worst American club avoid the bottom slot?

Here’s the list of clubs, and Five Thirty Eight has also gone through the trouble of giving its statistical analysis of who’s best set-up to win leagues and even games.

A note on the methodology:

We’re using recent matches played between teams from different leagues, supplemented with league market values (from Transfermarkt), to assign a strength rating to every league that we’re forecasting. Our new league ratings also give us the ability to a calculate a global Soccer Power Index (SPI) rating for each team — a number from 0 to 100 that represents the overall strength of each team.

The Premier League and La Liga combine for six of the Top Ten teams in the world, with Real Madrid No. 1 and Man City, Manchester United, and Chelsea running Nos. 7, 8, and 9.

Brighton and Hove Albion is the lowest ranked Premier League club, 188th in the world. The only PL sides outside the Top 125 are the three promoted clubs. Swansea is 113th, the lowest (or highest) ranked PL side aside from the new promotions.

Brighton is 17 spots below MLS’ top representative: Toronto FC. The same web site ranked MLS as the 28th best league in the world earlier this month, between Denmark and Croatia.

New York City FC shows up next, at 259, then rivals New York Red Bulls at 267. The bulk of MLS clubs fit between 320 and 422, where Minnesota United brings up the rear. The study ranks 426 teams, with three Scottish clubs running 424-426.

[ MORE: Man City 1-1 Everton | 3 things ]

As for some other odds, Five Thirty Eight gives Manchester United the best odds to win the league at 31 percent, with Man City, Chelsea, and Spurs joining them with the best odds to place in the Top Four.

The average simulated season has United besting rivals City by two points, with 80. Tottenham (72) tops Arsenal (68) for fourth by four points, while No. 6 Liverpool finishes 10 points clear of Merseyside rivals Everton (57 points).

It’s no surprise that the three promoted clubs — Huddersfield Town, Newcastle, and Brighton — are the top bets to be relegated, with Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and Swansea City the next best bets to find life in the Championship.

Other notes:

— Manchester United is the fourth-best defensive team in the Premier League, behind only Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Juventus.

— Spurs are also in the Top Ten amongst defensive teams, a 8.

— Man City is the best offensive team in the PL, seventh in the world.

— Watford is this week’s highest PL riser, up 22 spots.

— MLS side Chicago Fire suffered the fourth biggest drop in the world this week (40 spots).

Five Thirty Eight is one of the best predictive web sites in the world, and one of the only ones who gave more than an outside shot (though still ranking it a long shot) of the 2016 United States presidential election turning out for the winner of the electoral college. So this is certainly food for thought.

Former Dinamo Zagreb boss injured after shooting

Mario Loncar/FENA via AP
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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) Controversial former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic was shot and injured in Bosnia on Monday, police and media reported.

Croatia’s state TV said Mamic was shot in his leg and taken to a local hospital on Monday. It said the injury was not life-threatening.

Police were searching for two possible assailants.

[ MORE: Five PL new boys to watch ]

Bosnian media said Mamic was attending a memorial for his father at a graveyard near the town of Tomislavgrad when two people fired at him from a nearby forest. Another report said it was a drive-by shooting.

Croatia’s TV said Mamic voluntarily left the hospital in Bosnia after doctors managed to stop the bleeding, and he went to the Croatian capital, Zagreb.

Bosnian police declined to confirm the identity of the victim by name, but said a man with the initials ZM and born in 1959 in the Croatian city of Bjelovar, just like Mamic, was shot and injured.

Mamic, known for his fiery temper, has been on a high-profile embezzlement and tax fraud trial in Croatia.

Prosecutors accuse Mamic, his brother, and two others of embezzling 15 million euros of the club’s money since 2008 and not paying 1.6 million euros in taxes.

Mamic, who remains Dinamo’s adviser, is still considered the most powerful man in Croatian football despite the charges.

Dinamo issued a statement, calling the attack a “murder attempt.”

It said the attempted “liquidation” of Mamic was not a surprise amid a “lynching campaign” against him by the Croatian media.

He was recently knocked off his yacht into the sea by an attacker believed to be a fan of rival Hajduk Split.

AP Writer Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade, Serbia.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

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With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

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Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm