Robert Huth

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Leicester refreshes center back corps with $22M Maguire

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Perhaps the two top targets on relegated sides have now been snapped up by Premier League sides ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Jordan Pickford left Sunderland for Everton on Thursday, and Hull City defender Harry Maguire had helped to fund the Tigers promotion push by signing with Leicester City.

[ MORE: Everton adds $30m Klaassen ]

Maguire cost the Foxes nearly $22 million following a strong season at the KCOM Stadium that saw the 24-year-old center back, who can play on the right, manage three goals and three assists in 36 appearances.

Leicester needed to refresh its center back corps after Wes Morgan and Robert Huth struggled to replicate their star performances in 2016-17. This is another smart move which follows the January buy of Wilfried Ndidi, who helped save the Foxes’ season.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Lindelof arrives at Man United for medical

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Manchester United’s latest signing has arrived in Manchester. Well, Carrington, to be exact.

Defender Victor Lindelöf, ahead of his now-confirmed transfer to Manchester United, arrived at the club’s training ground to undergo his medical. Manchester United confirmed Saturday that they had agreed a deal with Benfica over the Swedish defender, reported to include a nearly $40 million transfer fee.

Lindelöf started 40 times for Benfica at centerback in the Portuguese league and UEFA Champions League combined, scoring one goal and helping earn 23 shutouts.

The 22-year-old, who has already made 12 appearances for Sweden and started for them at Euro 2016, is expected to slot into the Man United starting lineup next season, possibly alongside Eric Bailly, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling rumored to be leaving the club.

Here’s a look at more transfer news around the Premier League:

(more…)

Premier League Preview: Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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  • Drew 1-1 at WHL on Oct. 29
  • Last five head-to-head: 1W-3D-1L
  • Spurs lead all-time 52W-21D-34L

Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur aim to finish their season in good form, one year after finishing 1-2 in the Premier League (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

King Power Stadium saw the Foxes win the league last year, with Spurs the runners-up.

Tottenham is now locked into second place and enters the match with 80 points, 10 behind Chelsea.

Leicester’s 43 points are good enough for 11th, two points behind Southampton, West Bromwich Albion, and Bournemouth. The Foxes can still finish eighth by winning Thursday vs. Spurs, again on Sunday, and getting a little help from Saints.

The Foxes are limping to the finish line due to injuries, not form. Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Andy King, Danny Drinkwater, and Nampalys Mendy are among those who are either big question marks or ruled out for Thursday’s match.

Tottenham took a shot, too, as Danny Rose needs surgery and could miss the beginning of next season.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

What they’re saying

Leicester’s Craig Shakespeare on the injury woes: “It means other people get their opportunities. The players can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I expect us to have a real good go, to finish as high as we can.”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino on next season’s motivation“Next season and during the summer we need to find a way to inspire them, to motivate them to push further in our performances and to find different ways to play. Then try to add more quality, maybe, if we are capable of finding this type of player that can help us for the next season to play better, to be better and try to compete better in different periods of the season.”

Prediction

Closer than you think, but Spurs will continue to pile up points by denying Leicester more than a few sniffs at goal. 2-1 Tottenham.

PL Sunday preview: North London derby; clarity for the top-four?

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images & Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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There’s Super Sunday, and then there’s this Sunday, when six of the top seven sides in the Premier League will be in action…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Manchester United vs. Swansea City — 7 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Injury crisis — noun: see, also: United, Manchester

With five games to go in the PL season, and a top-four place very much within reach — as well as the Europa League trophy — Jose Mourinho is without a half-dozen players whom would have been considered automatic first-choice starters at the season’s start (see below). Fortunately for him, he’s got players like Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan beyond anxious for additional playing time.

Following a 0-0 draw with Manchester City on Thursday, Man United have climbed to within two points of third-place Liverpool (with a game in hand), and control their own destiny as far as finishing in the top-four goes. Following three straight defeats to Swansea in 2014 and 2015, order has somewhat been restored with the Red Devils winning the last two meetings between the sides. As badly as United need three points to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the Swans need them more in their bid to stave off relegation from the PL (they currently sit three points back of 17th-place Hull City, with a better goal differential).

INJURIES: Man United — OUT: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (knee), Paul Pogba (leg), Marcos Rojo (knee), Juan Mata (groin), Marouane Fellaini (suspension), Chris Smalling (knee), Phil Jones (toe) | Swansea — OUT: Angel Rangel (foot), Nathan Dyer (achilles), Wayne Routledge (hernia)

Everton vs. Chelsea — 9:05 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Sunday’s trip to Goodison Park, where they are winless in their last two visits (PL and FA Cup), looks to be Chelsea’s toughest remaining fixture as Antonio Conte‘s side seeks to lift the club’s fifth PL trophy (sixth in all eras). After a pair of losses in four games’ time saw their lead cut from 10 points to four, the Blues reasserted themselves as the team to beat with an FA Cup semifinal victory over Tottenham Hotspur, their last remaining challenger, and a convincing 4-2 victory over Southampton in league play on Tuesday.

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: Seamus Coleman (leg), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), James McCarthy (hamstring), Yannick Bolasie (knee), Muhamed Besic (fitness) | Chelsea — OUT: None

[ MORE: Sunderland officially relegated to Championship ]

Middlesbrough vs. Manchester City — 9:05 a.m. ET, on NBCSports.com

Following that 0-0 draw in the Manchester derby, Man City remain fourth in the league table, a single point back of Liverpool (with a game in hand). Given the mathematics involved, their margin for error is greater than any of the three sides fighting for the final top Champions League places. With that said, a loss away to 19th-place Boro would be horrendous, season-defining result — one that would take their destiny out of their own hands and see them rely on results elsewhere to finish top-four in Pep Guardiola‘s first season.

INJURIES: Boro — OUT: Victor Valdes (ribs); QUESTIONABLE: Grant Leadbitter (hamstring) | Man City — OUT: John Stones (knock), Ilkay Gundogan (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Sergio Aguero (back), David Silva (ankle), Gabriel Jesus (fitness)

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

It was confirmed on Friday that Sunday’s North London derby would be the very last meeting between Tottenham and Arsenal ever played at White Hart Lane, as the 118-year-old stadium will be demolished this summer as construction on Spurs’ brand new, 61,000-seat stadium continues. As fate would have it, not only can Spurs round out the White Hart Lane era with another famous derby when at the Lane, but Sunday also offers Mauricio Pochettino‘s side the chance to do something the club has failed to do in each of the last 22 seasons: clinch a finish above Arsenal in the league table.

Everything is in Spurs’ favor, too, as they’ve won eight straight league games for just the third time in club history (the first time in the PL era), by a combined score of 23-4. Following back-to-back 4-0 wins, over Watford and Bournemouth, their title hopes were kept alive by a brilliant, late strike from Christian Eriksen on Wednesday at Selhurst Park. At the same time, Arsenal were fortunate to top Leicester City courtesy of a comical own goal scored by Robert Huth. If any of those things — stadium nostalgia, form, or current standing in the league (Spurs sit second, 14 points clear of the Gunners — mattered, we’d hand Spurs the three points now. But, this is still Spurs we’re talking about, and why would we ever skip out on the North London derby?

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Erik Lamela (hip), Harry Winks (ankle), Michel Vorm (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Danny Rose (knee)| Arsenal — OUT: Santi Cazorla (achilles), Shkodran Mustafi (thigh); QUESTIONABLE: Laurent Koscielny (knee)

Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City: Only an own goal

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  • Chances at a premium
  • Monreal forces Huth own goal
  • Arsenal moves sixth
  • Foxes six clear of drop

Nacho Monreal‘s desperate shot ricocheted off Robert Huth‘s chest and gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Entertainment value wasn’t high over the course of the match, as Arsenal had trouble piercing Leicester’s congested back four.

Arsenal is now three points back of Manchester United and four behind Man City before Thursday’s Manchester Derby.

Leicester is six points clear of 18th and has played one less game than most of the teams chasing them.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal had most of the ball to start the match, but needed to make the first big stop. Petr Cech kept the match goalless when he flew to stop a left-footed whip from Riyad Mahrez.

At the other end, Mesut Ozil set up Theo Walcott for a chance that prodded a solid save from Kasper Schmeichel.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Wilfried Ndidi was again a monster in the middle third for Leicester, arguably the main reason the Foxes have rebounded from their relegation plight.

Arsenal had a chance pushed away from danger by Robert Huth after Alexis Sanchez misjudged his time on the ball in front of goal in the 56th minute.

Schmeichel then dove to slap away a deflected Francis Coquelin shot.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Laurent Koscielny went down in pain after landing awkwardly in the 79th minute, leaving a gap in space that Shinji Okazaki would’ve exploited were it not for a block from Gabriel Paulista.

Leicester’s Yohan Benalouane should’ve seen red with 10 minutes to play following a leaping boot to the back of Olivier Giroud, but only a foul was given.

Ndidi made a sliding intervention on Mesut Ozil in the 85th minute, another terrific bit of work from the Nigerian.

That’s when Huth’s unlucky moment lifted Arsenal to the lead.