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Premier League Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Arsenal

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  • Sides drew 0-0 at Emirates on Oct. 22
  • Boro winless in five vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time 64W-34D-33L

Middlesbrough hopes to congest the race for Premier League safety when it hosts stumbling Arsenal on Monday at the Riverside Stadium (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

This is the first of two matches-in-hand for 18th place Boro, which stands six points back of safety and has been tough to breakdown but unable to produce many goals. No one has scored fewer goals than Boro’s 22, but the Teessiders have allowed the fifth-fewest goals in the PL.

In the case of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger‘s bunch is six points back of fifth place Manchester United and 10 back of fourth place Man City. The Gunners have played one fewer match than the Red Devils and two fewer than City, but any further screw-ups will doom Wenger’s Top Four reputation.

What they’re saying

Boro boss Steve Agnew on facing Arsenal“They’re a really positive group, we’ve had meetings about how we the opposition can play and how we can hurt them when we have possession. Arsene Wenger has done a wonderful job and has brought so much success to Arsenal – they finished runners-up in the league last year and have won the FA Cup twice in recent years.   But we have to look at recent form. They’ve conceded goals – especially away from home – and that’s something we’ll look to exploit.”

Arsene Wenger on focusing on football: “We spend a lot of time in our society to focus on things that are superficial and not take care of the essentials. The essential in football is that we have to make sure of one thing. Good players on the football pitch. That’s what we have to take care of.”

Prediction

This all hinges on the pride of Arsenal. The Gunners will find a way to win if they should heart that matches their talent, but it’s hard to guarantee that now. A dedicated and desperate Boro will make that difficult. 1-0 Gunners.

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league

FIFA to send in emergency team to run Cameroon football

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.

The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.

FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.

CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.

FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”

Transfer Roundup: Tottenham complete signing of Sanchez, Clucas joins Swansea

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Tottenham reportedly broke the bank for its first transfer of the summer.

The North London club confirmed that it had completed a transfer with Ajax for defender Davinson Sanchez after the Colombian international passed a medical. According to The Telegraph, the deal is worth around $54 million, a club record. The deal is subject to acquisition of Sanchez’s work permit but given the transfer fee and him being in Colombia’s squad, it’s likely a mere formality at this point.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The 21-year-old defender brings speed and strength to Tottenham’s backline as well as a year of seasoning in the Eredivisie, which features plenty of attacking talent. Sanchez will battle with Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a place in Spurs’ three-man backline.

It’s a risk moving to a new club a year ahead of the World Cup, but Sanchez is hoping that with appearances in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League up for grabs, he can do well enough to keep his place in the Colombia National Team squad.

Here’s some more transfer news from across England:

(more…)

Liverpool bombard Hoffenheim with three-goal first half

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Liverpool got off to a flying start in the second leg of its UEFA Champions League tie with Hoffenheim.

With the loyal Anfield crowd behind the team, the Reds scored three goals in the first 21 minutes, two of them from Emre Can to put Liverpool well in control of the tie.

Can’s opener was followed by a goal from Mo Salah before the German international scored a wide-open goal at the back post to make it 3-0 and 5-1 on aggregate. Sadio Mane played a big role in both of Can’s goals.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann went to the bench right after the third goal and brought on Mark Uth, who promptly scored to bright a little hope back to the German club.

Here’s a look at the flying first half of goals for Liverpool.

Emre Can 10′

Mohamed Salah 18′

Emre Can 21′

Mark Uth 28′