Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Swans 1-1 Crystal Palace: Spoils split at Swansea

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  • Palace converts penalty
  • Swans level through Ayew beauty
  • Swansea remains 20th

Jordan Ayew scored a sensational second half goal to give Swansea City a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic converted a penalty for Palace’s lone goal.

Swans finish the day four points back of 17th place West Ham, while Palace is two points ahead of the drop.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Tammy Abraham thought he’d played Luciano Narsingh in for a penalty kick, but the referee was unmoved when Jeff Schlupp‘s challenge took down the Dutchman.

An uncharacteristic bumble from Wilfried Zaha in the Swans’ box stopped Palace from a 34th minute lead. And the Ivorian just missed with a toe poke redirection in the 41st.

Yohan Cabaye lorded over a stoppage time free kick, but a training ground routine for Zaha did not yield a dangerous cross.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek sold a penalty kick, and Palace had a chance to go ahead in the 59th minute. Milivojevic finished with power.

Swans started to buzz as the half wore on, and Ayew gave Swans a deserved equalizer on a day his brother scored back in London. Ayew worked around a defender and let fly an arrow to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Premier League Preview: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
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  • Leicester leads all-time 26W-18D-23L
  • Foxes 3W-1D vs. Eagles since Oct. 2015
  • Palace won at Leicester in Feb. 2015

The Claude Puel revolution at Leicester City has the Foxes surging up the Premier League table, and Saturday’s visitors from Crystal Palace are making moves of their own (Watch live Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Leicester has won four-straight matches, the latest a 4-1 beatdown of Southampton at St. Mary’s, and returns to King Power Stadium with a chance to make a dent on the five-point deficit between the Foxes and the Top Four.

 

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

After beginning the season 0-7, Crystal Palace has claimed 14 of 30 points to move from 20th to 18th on the table. Roy Hodgson’s men have two wins and four draws in their last six matches.

What they’re saying

Leicester’s Harry Maguire on the task at hand:

Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek on his high-flying loan spell from Chelsea: “It’s what you aspire to be when you’re younger. Right now it’s a case of trying to improve as much as I can and to keep the performances up. As long as I’m enjoying it I think I’ll do well, so I’m really happy. The experience of playing week in week out and the physical side of things, getting my body used to playing games – sometimes three in a week – has been a massive thing for me, especially when I haven’t played for two years regularly. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to get away from Chelsea, to play regular football, get my body used to it, get more robust and I think once you have that then it’s a platform to play better.”

Prediction

This could be a fun one, with names like Zaha, Townsend, Loftus-Cheek, Vardy, Mahrez, and Gray ready to bless the match with pace and creativity. Goals have come in bunches when Leicester’s on the pitch, and we’ll call it 2-1 to the Foxes.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Bournemouth: Defoe scores beauty brace

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  • Defoe opens, closes first half scoring
  • Milivojevic, Dann score
  • Key saves from Begovic, Speroni

Christian Benteke missed a stoppage time penalty kick and Bournemouth held on for a point at Selhurst Park in a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Jermain Defoe‘s brace included a gorgeous finish, making amends for Luka Milivojevic and Scott Dann goals.

Palace remains 20th with 11 points, while Bournemouth is 14th with 16.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A clever short corner caught Palace looking poor, with Defoe sprung all alone — by an illegal pick — near the penalty spot to bury a side-footed offering.

Palace was immediately ready to level, but a timely intervention stopped Mamadou Sakho at the goal line following fine work from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Eagles leveled when Wilfried Zaha was chopped down in the box, and Milivojevic had no problem with his penalty attempt.

Dann used a Yohan Cabaye cross to make it 2-1, but only briefly as Defoe scored this wonder goal (top).

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jordon Ibe snapped the game back into life in the 70th minute when he forced Julian Speroni into a diving parry.

And it was a hard foul that brought a different kind of vigor to the match, with Lewis Cook‘s sliding challenge on Zaha leading both players into yellow cards.

Asmir Begovic made a great reaction stop when Loftus-Cheek’s deflected effort teased the near post. An ensuing corner was toe-poked wide of the goal by Milivojevic.

Charlie Daniels then cut down Zaha, but Benteke remained ice cold with a poor penalty attempt which was saved by Begovic.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City: Sakho keeps Eagles rising

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  • Shaqiri, Loftus-Cheek trade goals
  • Sakho nabs winner
  • Palace 2W-2D-2L in last six

Mamadou Sakho‘s late goal drove Crystal Palace to a 2-1 late win at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as the Roy Hodgson regroup is well and truly on in South London.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek canceled out Xherdan Shaqiri‘s first half goal within moments.

Palace now has eight points and can see safety for the first time this season. Stoke sits 15th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A slow start eventually saw Stoke City look superior, and Wayne Hennessey made a nice save on Xherdan Shaqiri 1v1.

At the other end, Lee Grant robbed James McArthur.

Roy Hodgson took McArthur off for Christian Benteke at the break. Could the big man make a difference in his second substitute appearance following a long layoff?

The aforementioned actors all played a role in a defining stanza of the match. Benteke lashed over goal moments before Shaqiri converted a chance at the other end.

Yet Palace battled back to equalize quickly through Loftus-Cheek. And Yohan Cabaye‘s late drive off the post allowed Sakho to snag three big points for the hosts.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sneaky good: Early “stars” of the Premier League

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I have a “smell test” for players who leap off the pitch when taking the eyeball test during Premier League play.

If, upon moving to advanced statistics sites for performance reviews, these players are still shining, then there’s a good chance they are as important to their club as it seems at first blush

[ MORE: Stats of Premier League wkend ]

Of course guys like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero are going to pass muster. But what about some guys a bit off the radar?

Are there names the numbers say we should be watching a bit more closely, so it’s not a surprise when guys like Idrissa Gana Gueye or Sam Clucas net surprising transfer fees or international acclaim?

It seems logical, and we’ve to a pair of sites which use different algorithms to rank Premier League players and saw who turned up high in both…

Lukasz Fabianski, Swansea City
WhoScored: 37th
Squawka: 1st

Paul Clement‘s side sits 14th with only two goals scored, which is possible when your backstop doesn’t allow much to beat him. Fabianski was outstanding as Swans held Spurs scoreless this weekend.

Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur
WhoScored: 15th
Squawka: 16th

The 24-year-old defender is averaged 3.3 key passes per game, better than everyone in the league not named Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. They aren’t defenders.

Maya Yoshida, Southampton
WhoScored: 56th
Squawka: 14th

Playing behind Oriol Romeu — and without Virgil Van Dijk — Yoshida has a goal to go with his six clearances and 3.8 aerials won per game

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Crystal Palace
WhoScored: 22nd
Squawka: 26th

The on-loan Chelsea man was wanted by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and a number of other locations, and has thrived despite only appearing in three matches and being on a troubled team. He’s averaged 4.7 dribbles a game and has been fouled 4.3 times per match.

Christopher Schindler and Aaron Mooy, Huddersfield Town
WhoScored: 10th (CS), 14th (AM)
Squawka: 24th (CS), 37th (AM)

It’s possible that Town has just been an analytics darling, as Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre also have good marks, but the Terriers have conceded just three times this season in front of Jonas Lossl. These two are a big part of the limited chances faced by the keeper, and Mooy has been holding it down for a continent the last two years.

Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City
WhoScored: 11th
Squawka: 4th

His goal this weekend shows his capacity in the final third, but Otamendi has been a steady part of the defense as Pep Guardiola sorted out mercurial youngster John Stones and dealt with the health of Vincent Kompany.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle United
WhoScored: 35th
Squawka: 49th

His numbers may be tilted by a pair of match-winning goals for high-flying Newcastle, but the big man had to get in the box to get them.