Ramadan Sobhi

PL roundup: Race for 2nd gets tight; Swans’ sad song

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Get caught up on all eight of the Premier League’s Boxing Day fixtures…

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Liverpool 5-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

No team in the PL (this side of Manchester City’s rabid pursuit of an unbeaten 38-game season) routinely overwhelms and engulfs opponents so casually as Liverpool. They did it to Arsenal last Friday (before giving it all back in five minutes’ time), just as they did to the Gunners back in August, just as they did it to a hopeless, destined-for-relegation (20th place, five points adrift of safety) Swansea side on Tuesday. Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino (twice), Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bagged the goals and extended the Reds’ unbeaten run to 11 PL games (seven wins). More importantly, due to another result in the northwest of England, Jurgen Klopp‘s side is now just five points back of second-place Manchester United. The gap between second and sixth is now just nine points, and would shrink to six if Arsenal beat Crystal Palace on Thursday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 SouthamptonFULL RECAP

Harry Kane‘s calendar year of 2017, following Tuesday’s hat trick:

  • 39 PL goals (in 36 games) — top PL scorer in a calendar year
  • 8 hat tricks (all competitions)
  • 6 PL hat tricks — five more than any other player
  • 1st player since David Villa (2009) to score more goals than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a calendar year

For those keeping track at home, he’s now just seven short of the century mark in the PL — his stated goal for the 2017-18 season — and the ETA isn’t moving forward in weeks anymore, but months instead.

Chelsea 2-0 Brighton & Hove AlbionFULL RECAP

Somehow, Chelsea appear to be the side to which no one is paying much attention right now — with the headlines being dominated Man United’s failed challenge to Man City, and the three-way battle for fourth, it would appear being comfortably the third- (coming for second-)best team in the PL this season is a bit of a non-story for some. Alas, Antonio Conte‘s side is cruising right along and moved to four games unbeaten with a comfortable victory over Brighton on Tuesday. Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso got the goals, and the Blues now trail United by just a single point for second.

Manchester United 2-2 BurnleyFULL RECAP

In an attempt to distract the public from his side’s failed PL title bid, Jose Mourinho, who this summer became the first manager in world football history to spend 1 billion pounds on players throughout his managerial career, has taken issue with the way Man City have gone about spending to build arguably the best squad in PL history. This, of course, occurred only moments after United came back from 2-0 down to draw Burnley at Old Trafford. Mourinho remains as predictable as his sides are expensive and stodgy.

Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham UnitedFULL RECAP

Bournemouth and West Ham began the day in 18th and 17th place, respectively, and that’s exactly where the two sides finished after a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Vitality Stadium. The game swing back and forth for the whole of 90 minutes, as the Hammers went 1-0 ahead early on, the Cherries responded and jumped out to a 2-1 lead then fell 3-2 behind, and the points were ultimately split following a controversial, 92nd-minute equalizer.

Watford 2-1 Leicester City — FULL RECAP

Watford’s bid for a top-half finish got a big boost on Tuesday, as Marco Silva‘s 10th-place side beat Claude Puel‘s 8th-place Leicester City at Vicarage Road and snapped a four-game losing skid that saw the Hornets drop from top-six contention down to the double-digit places. Leicester went ahead through Riyad Mahrez in the 37th minute, but Molla Wague equalized just before halftime and Kasper Schmeichel scored an own goal in the 65th. When you’ve lost four in a row, you’ll take a victory any way you can get it.

Huddersfield Town 1-1 Stoke City — FULL RECAP

Speaking of top-half dreams — no, not Stoke — 11th-place Huddersfield dropped a pair of points against relegation-threatened Stoke. Tom Ince put David Wagner‘s Terriers ahead after just 10 minutes, but Ramadan Sobhi equalized for the Potters right on the hour mark. At this point of the season, both sides will take every point they can get as the march toward 40 continues.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Everton — FULL RECAP

After a torrid start to the season, Everton are suddenly seven games unbeaten in the PL (four wins) and miles clear (up to 9th) of the relegation zone. Who says “the Sam Allardyce effect” isn’t real? Speaking of which, that’s back-to-back 0-0 draws for the Toffees — against Chelsea, and now West Brom. 18 games without a win for West Brom.

Huddersfield 1-1 Stoke City: Sobhi snares point

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  • Sobhi scores 2nd PL goal in four days
  • Ince nets first PL goal since Feb. 2014
  • Stoke moves 13th

Ramadan Sobhi‘s equalizer snagged a point for Stoke City against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Tuesday.

Tom Ince scored for Huddersfield Town, which sits 11th with 23 points. That’s three points ahead of 13th place Stoke.

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Ince released his goal-scoring frustration by belting Collin Quaner‘s cut back into the goal, as the Premier League’s leader in shots without a goal saw his fate change early.

Jonas Lossl did his part to keep it 1-0 at the other end, as Town cleared the ball off the line at least two if not three times depending on how you qualify your chances.

A spectacular offering from Steve Mounie almost doubled Town’s advantage after halftime, with his overhead kick heading over the frame.

Town had the better of the chances at the game’s second goal, but Sobhi’s the one who found it. Joe Allen played a ball behind the backs and the Egyptian leveled the score.

Referee Anthony Taylor resisted the urge to call a penalty for Town when Aaron Mooy was taken down by Allen.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Stoke City 3-1 West Brom: Potters grab huge win

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  • Stoke stop run of three-straight defeats
  • West Brom are currently on longest ever winless streak, no win in 19
  • Joe Allen bags goal, assist

Stoke City battled to a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

The Potters raced into a 2-0 lead at half time thanks to Joe Allen and Erik Choupo-Moting but Salmon Rondon made it 2-1 and despite plenty of pressure from the Baggies, Ramadan Sobhi scored late on to seal the three points.

Stoke move up to 14th place on 19 points, while West Brom remain second from bottom with Alan Pardew yet to win a game in charge.

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The Potters took the lead early on as Allen scored his first goal since February. USMNT man Geoff Cameron won the ball in central midfield and Choupo-Moting’s shot was blocked but fell into the path of Peter Crouch who crossed for Allen to finish. 1-0.

That opener eased the nerves for Stoke but Salmon Rondon twice went close as he first missed an absolute sitter but was deemed to be offside, and then Jack Butland denied the Venezuelan international with a fine stop down low.

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Right on half time Choupo-Moting doubled Stoke’s lead as he latched onto Allen’s pass, the calmly rounded Ben Foster to slot home.

2-0. Too easy for Stoke.

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It was way too easy for West Brom to get back into the game at the start of the second half as a long ball over the top from  of Stoke’s defense found Rondon and he slotted home to make it 2-1. Game on.

The home fans grew increasingly nervous in the second half as Butland kept out Jonny Evans and Jay Rodriguez, plus Mame Diouf should have done put the game to bed for Stoke but Foster denied him.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Stoke did score in stoppage time as Ramadan made the most of Foster coming up for a set piece and the Egyptian slotted into an empty net to send Stoke’s fans wild.

Jese disciplined for walk-out, granted personal leave by Stoke

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Jese Rodriguez has been disciplined, in an undisclosed manner, by Stoke City after the Spanish striker left the bench and stadium upon being an unused substitute during last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Swansea City.

[ MORE: Key battles in this weekend’s Manchester derby ]

With 20 minutes left to go in the game, manager Mark Hughes made his second and third substitutions in tandem — Ibrahim Afellay and Ramadan Sobhi replaced Darren Fletcher and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting — at which point Rodriguez, out of frustration, walked down the tunnel and left the bet365 Stadium.

Asked this week whether or not Rodriguez, who has made just two short appearances as a sub in the last six weeks, has apologized to Hughes and the rest of the squad, the Potters’ boss believes the player’s heart is in the right place and that the apology is understood, and accepted, without necessarily being spoken — quotes from the BBC:

“He made a mistake. He’s been disciplined for that. He understands it wasn’t the right decision at that time.”

“Not in so many words because his English isn’t great but he understands that it was incorrect.

“It’s been addressed, we’ve obviously highlighted what he needs to do in the future. He’s a little bit frustrated, he wants to play, as all players do.”

According to the BBC, Rodriguez has also been granted conditional leave in order to travel home to the Canary Islands and be with his son who was born prematurely, in June. As a result, he will be unavailable for Saturday’s trip to Wembley Stadium to take on Tottenham Hotspur (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Watch Live: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Stoke City

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Chris Hughton looks to lead his Brighton and Hove Albion to a fifth-straight result as the Gulls welcome Stoke City to the Amex Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).


The Gulls have won two and drawn two, powered by goals from Glenn Murray and the playmaking of Pascal Gross.

Stoke’s 3-4-1-2 has Ramadan Sobhi, Eric Choupo-Moting, and Xherdan Shaqiri attacking the final third.


Brighton and Hove Albion: Ryan, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Stephens, Propper, Knockaert, Izquierdo, Gross, Murray. Subs: Krul, Hemed, Goldson, Schelotto, Suttner, Brown.

Stoke City: Grant; Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Ramadan; Choupo-Moting. Subs: Haugaard; Berahino, Jese, Afellay, Martins Indi, Adam, Crouch.