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Australia beat Honduras, qualify for 2018 World Cup

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“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie… Oi, Oi, Oi!”

Australia have qualified for the 2018 World Cup with the Socceroos beating Honduras 3-1 in the second leg of their inter-confederation playoff in Sydney on Wednesday.

Qualification marks the fourth-consecutive World Cup tournament for Australia and just the fifth in their history.

Locked at 0-0 from the first leg in San Pedro Sula last week, Australia’s captain stepped up big time with Mile Jedinak scoring a second half hat trick via a deflected free kick and two penalty kicks.

Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis scored with the last kick of the game for Honduras but the CONCACAF side were deservedly beaten by Australia in front of 76,080 fans at Stadium Australia.

Remember, Australia finished out of the automatic spots in Asian qualifying and just to get to this playoff against Honduras they had to play a two-legged playoff against Syria, which they won in extra time in the second leg.

Ange Postecoglou’s men did it the hard way, but they’re in.

As “Down Under” from Men At Work blasted over the sound system at the final whistle and fireworks flew over Sydney Harbor, it’s quite clear what qualification meant to Australia and the party in Oz will go on for some time.

Below are videos of Jedinak’s goals as Tim Cahill will be heading to his fourth World Cup tournament and a dogged Australia side will be the team from Pot 3 that nobody wants to face.


Jedinak gave Australia the lead as his free kick deflected off Henry Figueroa

2-0 to Australia after a handball was called against Bryan Acosta

Jedinak makes it 3-0 after a lunging tackle from Johnny Palacios brought down Robbie Kruse

Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford: Deeney adds to Eagles miserable run

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  • Palace has lost 6 of 7
  • Deeney braces move Watford eighth
  • Adebayor scores for Eagles

Troy Deeney won and converted a PK, then scored a late winner as Watford took all three points from Selhurst Park in a 2-1 win on Saturday

Palace’s 2016 struggles continued, with Emmanuel Adebayor‘s equalizer going for naught. The Eagles now have one point in seven matches and continue their free fall down the PL table.

Papa Souare took a late red for a hard tackle, to add insult to Palace’s injury.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It took just a quarter-hour for Watford to seize the lead, as Mile Jedinak wrapped up Deeney with both arms, and the Hornets captain tumbled in the box to earn a PK he’d finish to make it 1-0.

But Palace equalized just before halftime, working hard to keep a long throw in play before crossing for Adebayor to put a looping header past Heurelho Gomes.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Adebayor could’ve made it 2-1 if not for a sweeping single leg save from Gomes after a dangerous Wilfried Zaha sent a low ball through the six.

With Palace looking okay to pick up another needed point, Deeney was Johnny-on-the-spot to trap and belt home an ineffective header from Damien Delaney.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace

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  • The match is Jose Mourinho’s 100th PL game in charge at Stamford Bridge (W76-D22-L1)
  • Chelsea clinched the title against Crystal Palace last season
  • No PL team has won more points than Palace away from home in 2015

It’s hard to get points against Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, but that’s what Crystal Palace will try to do when they travel across London to face Chelsea on Saturday¬†(Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra).

The game will be Mourinho’s 100th Premier League home match in charge of Chelsea, and he has lost just once in the previous 99. However, Chelsea has gotten off to a slow start this season with four points from three matches, conceding seven goals in the process.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ] 

Much of the early season talk at Stamford Bridge has centered around John Terry’s role in the side, but he will not feature against Palace while serving a suspension after being sent off last weekend against West Brom. That means Gary Cahill will be back in the starting lineup alongside Kurt Zouma, as the club continues to its pursuit of John Stones before the transfer window closes.

Yannick Bolasie will be available for Crystal Palace after missing the Eagles’ win last week against Aston Villa due to the death of his father. Bolasie’s inclusion is¬†a big boost for Alan Pardew’s side, as the speedy winger is dangerous on the attack and will look to expose Chelsea’s back-line, which has been suspect to start the season. However, captain Mile Jedinak is out after suffering a hamstring injury midweek in the League Cup.

What they’re saying

Jose Mourinho on Chelsea’s slow start:¬†“We have played one match at home, two matches away and have four points which is not what we want but it is not a drama. We know we can improve and are going to improve. This is the Premier League and when you are five points behind the leader in another league, that can be complicated. In the Premier League it is not complicated.”

Palace’s Joel Ward on the opposition:¬†‚ÄúWhen you look at the top clubs, if they have a bad result or something doesn‚Äôt quite go their way they‚Äôre always looking for a response so you can never underestimate teams like Chelsea. People say that it‚Äôs a good time to play them but they‚Äôve got world class players that can win games on their own. Their quality does shine through at times.”

Prediction

Crystal Palace has started the season strong and Chelsea has struggled, but this could be a statement game for Jose Mourinho’s men. After winning away against West Brom, the Blues return home to the fortress that is Stamford Bridge, and they could silence some critics with a big performance. Chelsea 3-1 Crystal Palace.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (Lineups and Live Stream)

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Arsenal was shocked on the season’s opening weekend, and will hope to avoid two straight defeats to start the season as they travel to Crystal Palace at 8:30am ET on Sunday, live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

The Gunners have not lost their first two games to start a league season since the inaugural season of the Premier League 23 years ago, but Selhurst Park has become an increasingly difficult place to play.

Palace eviscerated newly promoted Norwich City in the opening week, dominating them on the break away from home, but it will be interesting to see if the club deploys the same tactics in front of their home fans.

Their pace allows them to play this style, with Wilfried Zaha, James Puncheon, and Yannick Bolasie all possessing high-level speed to support Connor Wickham up front in the striker’s first start for his new club. They have a solid base with Yohan Cabaye behind them as well, but captain and fellow holding midfielder Mile Jedinak fails to start for the second straight match. Marouane Chamakh and Julian Speroni are the only injured Eagles, the pair with longer-term problems.

WATCH LIVE: CRYSTAL PALACE VS ARSENAL ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

The Gunners have responded in turn by bringing in Alexis Sanchez after sitting him in week one due to fitness concerns. In turn, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who had a fantastic preseason – sits on the bench. Hector Bellerin makes the starting lineup after injury concerns, but Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, and Danny Welbeck are all out.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: McCarthy; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souaré; McArthur, Cabaye; Zaha, Puncheon, Bolasie; Wickham.
Subs: Hennessey, Mariappa, Jedinak, Mutch, Lee, Bamford, Murray.

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis; Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott.

Premier League Sunday preview: Man City vs. Chelsea in the main event of Week 2

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It’s time, ladies and gentleman, for the main event.

No, you’ve not stumbled upon a boxing website, but instead a preview of Sunday, Aug. 16th’s monumental slate of games in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Saturday’s Premier League roundup ]

Sure, there’s only two games on tomorrow’s¬†docket, but boy oh boy, are they a couple of big ones. When the 2014-15 season came to an end, all four teams found themselves inside the top 10. The PL title won’t be decided on Sunday, but when one of Manchester City and Chelsea lift the trophy come May, Sunday’s meeting will have played a big part in the triumph and failure of either side.

Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal ‚ÄĒ 7:30 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

Following a strong finish to the 2014-15 season, an even stronger summer transfer window and a dominant performance last week, Crystal Palace are very easily one of the trendiest picks to move into and finish inside the top third¬†of the league this season. On Sunday, they’ll face a far more formidable foe than Norwich City, their opponents in Week 1 ‚ÄĒ Arsenal.

Following their opening week defeat to West Ham United, Arsene Wenger’s are set to open their 2015-16 home campaign as they visit¬†Alan Pardew’s Eagles at Selhurst Park. The Gunners will once again be without midfielders¬†Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky (injuries), both of whom would be quite¬†useful against Palace’s stout central midfield unit led by Mile Jedinak, James McArthur and Yohan Cabaye. The last of that bunch, a club record ($15 million) signing from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, scored on his Palace debut last week.

For Arsenal, much criticism this week has fallen on the Gunners’ toothless attack (22 shots in a 2-0 loss to West Ham) and suspect defense (two miserable, mistake-ridden goals conceded). Arsenal won both games between the two teams last season, each by¬†a score of 2-1.

ARSENAL SEASON PREVIEW | CRYSTAL PALACE

Manchester City vs. Chelsea ‚ÄĒ 10:30 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

This is, for all intents and purposes, the main event of the second week of Premier League action. With both Man City and Chelsea expected to be very much in the title race, you could even call it the main event of the season. While the defending champion Blues struggled to a 2-2 draw with Swansea City on opening day, City put in the opening weekend’s most emphatic performance when they ran roughshod over West Bromwich Albion.

Jose Mourinho will be without goalkeeper Thiabut Courtois (suspension) and midfielder Oscar (injury) for their trip to the Etihad Stadium. On the other side, Manuel Pellegrini could be without either one or both of Yaya Toure and Fabian Delph for the season’s first matchup between major title chasers. City’s previously shoddy defensive unit was much improved in Week 1, though we’ll have a much better sense of where¬†Aleksandar Kolarov,¬†Eliaquim Mangala, Vincent Kompany and Bacary Sagna (left to right) stand as quartet after they face the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas for 90 minutes.

For Chelsea, talk all week long has surrounded Mourinho and his decision to remove¬†a pair of team doctors from the bench ahead of¬†this weekend’s game; not on his side’s underwhelming performance in Week 1 ‚ÄĒ something which will surely please the Portuguese¬†greatly.¬†City and Chelsea¬†drew each of their 2014-15 league meetings, both by a final score of 1-1.

MAN CITY SEASON PREVIEW | CHELSEA