Xherdan Shaqiri

PL roundup: Unstoppable Man City; Reds, Spurs held

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Sergio Aguero’s hat trick helped Manchester City put pressure on their neighbors, as a 6-0 win boosted City atop the Premier League table by three points before Manchester United takes the pitch Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Elsewhere, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur failed to turn dominant performances into wins, allowing Newcastle United (!!!) into the Top Four mere weeks after the Magpies started their season 0-2.

What a league.


Watford 0-6 Manchester City — RECAP

Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick and Man City made it 15 goals in three matches following a 4-0 thumping at Feyenoord in the Champions League and last weekend’s 5-0 win over 10-man Liverpool. Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling also scored for City.

Liverpool 1-1 BurnleyRECAP

The Reds outshot their visitors 35-5, but only Mohamed Salah found the score sheet after Scott Arfield gave the Clarets a first-half lead.

Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke CityRECAP

The Magpies sit fourth after starting 0-2, as Christian Atsu scored his first Premier League goal and captain Jamaal Lascelles acquired a second-straight match-winner following Xherdan Shaqiri‘s pretty equalizer.

Huddersfield Town 1-1 Leicester CityRECAP

Laurent Depoitre scored his first Premier League goal, but Jamie Vardy‘s penalty was his fourth of the season as the Terriers and Foxes split the points at the John Smith’s Stadium.

 

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea CityRECAP

The hosts boasted a load of quality chances, attempting 25 shots, but Swans backstop Lukasz Fabianski helped make sure the visitors’ zero shots on target were enough for an away point.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Gareth Barry played in his 632nd Premier League match, making his 600th start. Only Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs played as many matches, and no one has started as many. The game, unfortunately, made sure Barry’s achievement was the only thing of note.

Crystal Palace 0-1 SouthamptonRECAP

Roy Hodgson’s first match in charge of the Eagles oversaw an infamous record, as Palace became the first time in Premier League history to open its season with five-straight scoreless performances. Steven Davis scored for Saints.

Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City: Three-straight for Magpies

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  • Atsu gives NUFC lead
  • Shaqiri equalizes
  • Lascelles nabs winner

Jamaal Lascelles scored late and Christian Atsu nabbed his first Premier League goal as Newcastle United held off Stoke City to win its third-straight with a 2-1 decision at St. James Park on Saturday.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored for Stoke, and was the center of attention for much of the match.

Newcastle rises fourth for the time being with nine points, while Stoke sits 13th with four points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rob Elliott intervened in the fifth minute as Stoke made its first dangerous charge into the Newcastle end.

While Stoke was in control, many American eyes were focused on DeAndre Yedlin as the right-sided man returned from injury. Deployed as a right back, he made a huge interception outside his 18, then fired an overlapping run alongside Matt Ritchie to find the ball in the Stoke end moments later.

And Newcastle scored on a counter, with Ritchie delivering the ball to Atsu.

Joselu didn’t realize the time he had with Chancel Mbemba‘s cross into the box, flicking a first-time effort wide of the far post against his former club.

Ritchie had a 31st minute free kick from the right, but his effort cruised into Butland’s arms.

Joselu had another crack at it in the 34th minute, but couldn’t push the effort beyond a sliding Butland. That turned into another free kick from the right, but Erik Pieters blocked the hard-hit cross.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Joselu continued his snakebitten day versus Stoke in the 46th minute when Atsu found him inside the 18 only to watch the Spaniard blaze over the bar.

Stoke leveled it up through Shaqiri, who had been remonstrating at the referee during the first half and carried that fire and the ball for a 58th minute strike that curled around Elliott.

Ayoze Perez had a goal ruled offside a minute later. And Atsu was denied a goal and the crowd a penalty when Kurt Zouma got the slightest of touches on an intervention before chopping down the attacker.

Newcastle reclaimed the lead through its captain, as Lascelles rose high for a corner to nod off Kevin Wimmer and into the net. It was 2-1 in the 70th.

Stoke City 2-2 Man United: Thriller in the Potteries

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  • Stoke unbeaten at home v United since 2013
  • Potters have 1 defeat in last 6 PL games v United
  • Choupo-Moting scores twice
  • United drop first points of season

Stoke City and Manchester United drew 2-2 in an entertaining clash at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Geoff Cameron injured ]

The Potters took the look through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting but United came roaring back with Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku scoring either side of half time to put them 2-1 up. However, Choupo-Moting nodded home to level things up once again and Stoke held on for a point against the Red Devils.

Jose Mourinho’s United remain top of the Premier League table and are unbeaten, but they only sit above Man City on goal difference. As for Stoke, they now have five points from their opening four games.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Early on United dominated possession but failed to create a decent chance as Stoke, in their solid 3-4-3 formation, looked to hit the Red Devils on the break.

The first big chance of the game arrived when Eric Bailly played a wonderful long ball forward which found Marcus Rashford who forced Jack Butland into a smart save at his near post.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Stoke grew into the game as the first half wore on with Xherdan Shaqiri forcing David De Gea into two saves after the Potters grew in confidence.

The hosts weathered plenty of United attacks and then took the lead two minutes before half time. Mame Biram Diouf’s cross from the right was knocked home by Chopou-Moting and the Cameroon international scored his first goal for the Potters as United conceded for the first time this season. 1-0 to Stoke.

Stoke’s lead did not last for long with a corner from the left in the first minute of first half stoppage time flicked on by Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba‘s header hit Rashford on the back of the head and then went in. 1-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

USMNT star Geoff Cameron was subbed off at half time after suffering what looked like a hamstring injury and Stoke did not look comfortable at the back.

Lukaku raced clear after a fine through ball from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and after Butland saved his initial attempt brilliantly the Belgian tidied up to put United 2-1 up.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Less than six minutes later Stoke were level. First Jese forced David de Gea into a fine save but from the resulting corner Choupo-Moting rose above Phil Jones at the back post and nodded home his and Stoke’s second of the game. 2-2.

Game on.

Antonio Valencia surged forward and smashed a low effort just past the post as United pushed for a winner late on and Lukaku knocked an effort over after a fine cross from Anthony Martial.

Butland made one final superb stop in stoppage time as a corner for United caused havoc. The ball hit Kurt Zouma and bounced towards his own goal but Butland was their to claw the ball away as Stoke held on for a big point.

PL Sunday preview: Liverpool host Arsenal; Chelsea vs. Everton

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Four games featuring four of last season’s top-five sides, as well as the no. 1 hopeful to join those very Premier League elites this season, will bring the third week of the 2017-18 season to a close on Sunday…

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — United keep 100% record; City win late ]

Chelsea vs. Everton — 8:30 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Chelsea are the defending PL champions, but also one of a handful of sides which appear to be far from finished with their transfer dealings as the deadline for the summer window looms large (Thursday), while Everton spent big (and early, and often) well before August arrived. Despite Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham last weekend, Antonio Conte‘s Blues look far from settled ahead of Sunday’s visit by Ronald Koeman‘s Toffees.

Conte feels another central midfield is required to bolster his squad, as is fullback/wingback depth beyond starters Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses — only time will tell is Roman Abramovich grants his manager’s wishes during the final five days of the transfer window. Everton’s first two results — victory over Stoke City, and a 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Monday — were each achieved courtesy of goals scored by Wayne Rooney, who’s made the intended, immediate impact at the start of his second spell at the club. Chelsea won both PL meetings between the two sides last season, by a combined score of 8-0.

INJURIES: Chelsea — OUT: Eden Hazard (ankle), Gary Cahill (suspension) | Everton — OUT: Davy Klaassen (foot), Ross Barkley (hamstring), Morgan Schneiderlin (suspension), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Seamus Coleman (leg), James McCarthy (knee), Yannick Bolasie (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Sandro Ramirez (heel)

[ MORE: Mourinho’s moves pay off as United stay perfect ]

West Bromwich Albion vs. Stoke City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Three sides entered this third weekend of the PL season with six points from their first two games. You might have guessed one of them — Manchester United — but probably not the other, at least not prior to the start of the season: Huddersfield (dropped points against Southampton on Saturday) and West Brom. The Baggies welcome Stoke to The Hawthorns on Sunday, as Tony Pulis looks to extended his unbeaten record against the Potters after winning four of his first five meetings with his former club. The arrival of 20-year-old Oliver Burke from RB Leipzig this week has Pulis believing his side, and his new signing, have only begun to scratch the surface.

“We’re really pleased to get him in – the lad has got a tremendous talent,” Pulis said. “He’s got a fantastic, raw ability but he has now also got the experience of going away from the comfort of his own area to a foreign country and experiencing life. He’s gained the experience of playing for a top club in the Bundesliga with top coaches. That will have broadened his horizons and been good for his development.”

INJURIES: West Brom — OUT: Hal Robson-Kanu (suspension); QUESTIONABLE: Jommy Evans (hamstring), Claudio Yacob (hamstring), Gareth McAuley (thigh) | Stoke — OUT: Ibrahim Afellay (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Xherdan Shaqiri (hamstring)

[ MORE: Bilic in trouble as West Ham fall to 3rd straight defeat ]

Liverpool vs. Arsenal — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The weekend’s marquee matchup pits a pair of teams, Liverpool and Arsenal, expected to finish the season fighting one another for a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League qualification. The theories go as follows: Liverpool could struggle to replicate last season’s fourth-place finish once the current campaign’s Champions League begins, while Arsenal will struggle to rebound from finishing fifth last season because their summer signings were massively impacted by the lack of CL football, not to mention they have the Europa League to slog into this time around.

Whether he stays or leaves for Barcelona, the next five days will signal the end of the Philippe Coutinho transfer saga (the star Brazilian will not be available for selection on Sunday). The ay Jurgen Klopp sees it, continuously competing in the CL is the only way for Liverpool to return to the very top of the game.

“It’s a big influence on the transfer market, especially if we do it more often,” he said. “If you talk to a player, they really often (mention it) … especially players we talk to because we don’t have to talk to players which are not better than our players because it’s difficult to find. Or even if you try to extend a contract with a player in the squad, ‘Yeah, I want to play Champions League’ and I always think, ‘It’s your job to do it with us together, so don’t ask that we do a job and you cannot play Champions League — do it with us together.'”

INJURIES: Liverpool — OUT: Philippe Coutinho (back), Adam Lallana (thigh), Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring), Mamadou Sakho (knee) | Arsenal — OUT: Santi Cazorla (achilles), Calum Chambers (groin), Jack Wilshere (fitness)

[ MORE: Spurs have a new right back on the way, for $30 million ]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley — 11 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

The only narrative you need to know — and the only one Tottenham hope to squash on Sunday — is Spurs’ dreadful record at Wembley, which is to serve as their home this season, since it was rebuilt and opened in 2007. In 11 games at England’s national stadium, Spurs have won just twice, and lost eight times. Last weekend’s loss to Chelsea ended Mauricio Pochettino‘s 19-game home unbeaten run (14 straight wins) which covered the entirety of the 2016-17 season, the club’s final campaign at White Hart Lane.

Of course, Spurs have rarely, if ever, faced an opponent the size of Burnley at Wembley. The step down in quality (all due respect to the Clarets) could be exactly what Spurs need to hush talk of the Wembley hex and send them into the international break with renewed confidence. Putting the month of August into the rearview mirror should also help Harry Kane, who’s yet to score a first-team goal for Spurs during the opening month of the season at any point in his career, after being held goal-less by Newcastle United and Chelsea.

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Danny Rose (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) | Burnley — OUT: Jonathan Walters (ankle)

Must watch goal, save highlight amazing Opening Weekend

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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Short of being someone who simply prefer a great goal to an amazing save, choosing between these two outstanding plays is a very difficult.

Everton backstop Jordan Pickford saved the Toffees’ opening day win with an eye-rubbing flying save of Xherdan Shaqiri in a 1-0 win over Stoke City.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

It was the Potters’ only shot on goal, a much-needed change of pace for the ex-Sunderland keeper, but Pickford made his save feel like it counted double.

But is it more impressive then Stephen Ward‘s outstanding shot to give Burnley a 2-0 lead in its 3-2 win at Chelsea?

Even separating the goal from the occasion, Ward’s strike is fantastic. If it came off the left foot of a bigger name — and maybe on a day without soccer mayhem in the PL — it would be everywhere.

Let it run through your retina real quick.