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Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Everton

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  • Toffees won 2-0 on Oct. 23
  • Irons took 4 points last season
  • Everton leads all-time 68W-30D-37L

Everton aims to keep its slim Top Five hopes alive when it attempts to sweep West Ham United for the fourth time in five seasons (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Romelu Lukaku should be a big part of that as he looks to build his 4-goal lead in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has 24 goals on the season.

It hasn’t been a great couple months for West Ham, which the club is looking to turn around having picked up four points in the last two weeks (albeit against relegation candidates).

What they’re saying

West Ham’s James Collins on stopping Lukaku“Of course, Lukaku has got a good record against us, and we probably haven’t defended as well against him as we could have done in games gone by. Physically, he has got everything, he is big, strong and he can finish so it’s going to be a tough game. He’s obviously on top of his game, but I’m happy with the way I’m playing at the minute, so I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against one of the best strikers in the Premier League.”

Everton boss Ronald Koeman on away form: “It’s all about the attitude and having that in the same way when we play at home and away. Of course, it’s going to be slightly different because at Goodison we have the backing of 39,000 home fans. When those fans are against you [in an away game], that makes a difference. But we need to start well, start aggressive and try to score. We need a little bit more of that mentality away from home.”

Prediction

Something has to give between Everton’s road form (three matches in 13) and the Hammers being better away from the London Stadium than inside its walls. We expect that to sway toward the better quality on Everton, which wins 2-0.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.