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Boro’s Gibson called to England after injury to Man Utd’s Smalling

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Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Middlesbrough in its return to the Premier League, and that overshadows how well the Northeast club has defended its own goal.

Ben Gibson has been a huge part of that, and now he’ll earn the chance to represent his nation thanks to an injury to Chris Smalling. Gibson will join England ahead of Sunday’s home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

[ MORE: Podolski leads Germany past England ]

Gibson has far and away been Boro’s best player, leading the side in blocked shots and clearances. The blocked shots total is tied for ninth in the Premier League, 11 behind current leader and new England teammate Michael Keane.

Smalling’s undisclosed injury is a bigger problem for Manchester United, which had already lost center back depth on England duty when Phil Jones was hurt.

Premier League roundup: Chelsea delight, Arsenal misery

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Here’s what you may have missed from a seven-match day across England, including West Brom advertising for its “Behind the Badge” series (Watch Ep3 at 4:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN) with a defeat of reeling Arsenal.

West Bromwich Albion 3-1 ArsenalRECAP

Craig Dawson scored a pair of goals and Hal Robson-Kanu added another as West Bromwich Albion heaped misery on Arsenal with a fourth Premier League loss in five outings.

Crystal Palace 1-0 WatfordRECAP

Troy Deeney headed a pinpoint effort… into his own goal as Palace gained some breathing room in the relegation battle.

Stoke City 1-2 ChelseaRECAP

Gary Cahill conceded the penalty that allowed Jon Walters to cancel out Willian‘s opener, and then scored the winner as Chelsea moved closer to coronation.

Everton 4-0 Hull CityRECAP

Hull was down 1-0 when it went down to 10 men, and Romelu Lukaku scored a brace in stoppage time to lead the Toffees sixth.

Sunderland 0-0 BurnleyRECAP

The Black Cats wasted a few chances and now sit seven points back of safety.

Bournemouth 2-0 Swansea CityRECAP

Alfie Mawson has been good of late for Swans, but saw Benik Afobe‘s shot take a turn off of him and defy Lukasz Fabianski to make it 1-0. Afobe added another, and the Cherries scooped up back-to-back wins for the first time since March 2016.

West Ham United 2-3 Leicester CityRECAP

Leicester’s heroes of 2015-16 were on point Saturday, as Riyad Mahrez, Robert Huth (!!), and Jamie Vardy all scored and Kasper Schmeichel made some key saves to make sure Manuel Lanzini and Andre Ayew’s goals were in defeat. It’s four-straight wins for the Foxes.

For more on Saturday’s action, listen to the latest 2 Robbies podcast.

Sunderland 0-0 Burnley: Not much to see at Stadium of Light

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  • Burnley winless on road
  • Clarets move 8 points clear of drop
  • Sunderland 7 back of safety

Sunderland got its first home point in four tries, but won’t pleased with a scoreless draw against visiting Burnley at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Burnley had the better of possession, but the Black Cats would’ve liked to see one of their match-high five shots on target beat Tom Heaton.

The Black Cats remain 20th with 20 points, while Burnley sits 12th with 32 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

George Boyd flubbed a chance to put Burnley ahead early, or at least test Jordan Pickford, but the Clarets were better out of the gates.

Ultimately, the miserly half found Sunderland hitting two of just three combined shots on target.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Burnley felt it had a shout for a penalty after a sloppy fight for the ball inside the 18, and Sunderland nearly added insult to injury on the counter attack.

Billy Jones dove low to head Sebastian Larsson‘s terrific cross just wide of the far post after a bit of solid hold-up play from Adnan Januzaj.

A back pass gaffe nearly put Burnley in front, but Jordan Pickford bailed Sunderland out when he palmed away Sam Vokes‘ effort.

Premier League AT HALF: Foxes flying, Stoke level with Chelsea

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Arsenal’s continued struggles kicked off Match Day 29, which flows on with six mid-morning matches around England.

[ STREAM: Any Premier League match ]

Bournemouth will host Swansea City in the 1:30 p.m. EDT match.

West Ham United 1-3 Leicester City

When Robert Huth is on the board…

The Foxes’ form reversal under Craig Shakespeare looks very real, as Huth has a goal sandwiched between Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy offerings. Manuel Lanzini has West Ham’s marker, as the Irons look set to keep on underachieving at home.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Watford

Palace started hot and should’ve won an early penalty in a match with plenty of fouls and physical play.

Stoke City 1-1 Chelsea

Willian put the Blues on the board first, but Jonathan Walters converted a 38th minute penalty to knot it up before the break.

Everton 1-0 Hull City

Ross Barkley to Tom Davies to Dominic Calvert-Lewin was the combination early as the Toffees have a deserved halftime lead.

Sunderland 0-0 Burnley

Not much cooking at the Stadium of Light.

Rashford, Livermore, Keane get England call-ups

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Gareth Southgate has made plenty of changes to England’s national team roster for this month’s matches against Germany and Lithuania.

The Germany match is a friendly on Wednesday in Dortmund, while Lithuania is the opponent for a UEFA World Cup qualifier at Wembley on March 26.

[ MORE: Boro, Karanka part ways ]

Six Manchester United and four Southampton players lead the way. Three Spurs follow their Premier League counterparts.

Torino’s Joe Hart is called into the team along with Burnley’s Michael Keane, West Brom’s Jake Livermore, and Southampton’s Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse.

Jermain Defoe gets his first call-up since leaving England for Major League Soccer, while Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford is in the squad with Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane absent with injuries.

Full England roster

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Torino), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Fraser Forster (Southampton)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Michael Keane (Burnley), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)