Exploratory drilling: Paris Saint-Germain 1, Chelsea 1

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NEW YORK – Yankee Stadium welcomed two of world soccer’s richest teams on Sunday, with a late Lucas Piazon goal pulling back Nene’s first half opener, leaving Paris Saint-Germain and drawn Chelsea 1-1.

Players of Note:

  • Nene played at the center of a PSG forward line that stayed off Chelsea’s defense, intent on hitting them with a head of steam when they got the ball. Used predominantly in wide positions last season, the Brazilian’s Sunday deployment showed why it’s very difficult to imagine a starting XI without him in the team.
  • Ezequiel Lavezzi seemed to tire by the end of the first half, the former Napoli attacker having spent the first 40 minutes charging at Chelsea’s defense as if he were still at the San Paolo. The way Carlo Ancelotti deployed his forwards, you wonder if Lavezzi will make PSG more reliant on generating chances through transition … not that we can make too many conclusions when Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not around.
  • Javier Pastore played left-center in midfield, but with Lavezzi pinching in from that side, Pastore had a lot of space when he pushed forward from midfield. The set up also afforded him room when he got the ball, with PSG’s goal coming after he was able to break down Gary Cahill and put a shot of the left post. Nene put home the rebound.
  • For the second match in a row, Eden Hazard played behind Romelu Lukaku in Roberto Di Matteo’s 4-4-2 variant. Though it remains a bit difficult to see how Chelsea would play this formation when their full team is together, Hazard as a number 10 has the virtue of giving Chelsea a clear focal point in attack. Tonight, nothing came of it, though his skill on the ball was obvious.
  • And Frank Lampard is clearly going to remain an important part of this team. Paired with John Obi Mikel in the middle, Lampard constantly looked for chances to get forward and present an outlet in the space behind Chelsea’s attackers.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Romelu Lukaku’s two goals against Seattle seemed more a function of Seattle’s defense than his own skill. But doubles being doubles, he got some benefit of the doubt. Against PSG, however, he was a non-factor, shut down by Alex and (mostly) Mamadou Sakho.
  • Gael Kakuta, sent out on loan each of the last two years, did himself no favors on Sunday. Particularly with the new players Chelsea’s brought in, Kakuta doesn’t seem to have a place at the club.
  • Kevin De Bruyne is one of those players that may squeeze Kakuta out, even if he’s rumored to be going out on loan. While he didn’t do anything spectacular on Sunday, he showed a versatility that could prove valuable during the course of a season, playing both narrow and very wide in his first half in left midfield, often offering support through the middle.
  • Chelsea’s defense looked susceptible to PSG’s speed, and while the attacking trio of Nene, Lavezzi and Kévin Gameiro is a talented group, most teams in the Premier League can replicate their speed. Gary Cahill, in particular, was too easy to attack. Perhaps that changes when Branislav Ivanovic is to his right (Sam Hutchinson got the start on Sunday).
  • Paris Saint-Germain played very narrow down their left, the movement of Lavezzi leaving a lot of space for Pastore and Sylvain Armand (starting a left back) to get forward. It seemed a perfect scenario for Siake Tiene, the attacking left back who started on the bench; however, after coming on in the second half, the Ivorian defender failed to make a significant impact.
  • Mathieu Bodmer, getting the start at the base of midfield, was tonight’s example of PSG’s insane depth. A solid performer for years in Ligue 1, Bodmer has almost no chance of cracking Ancelotti’s starting XI. Yet tonight, he did a good job breaking up play in the middle of the park, once time jumping up to take the ball off David Luiz, nearly creating a goal scoring chance.
  • Luiz twice went on runs from deep, one time making it all the way to the byline before cutting the ball back, earning a corner. It was one of Chelsea’s brighter moments of the first 45 minutes.
  • Lucas Piazon, however, made sure Chelsea had a better second half, scoring the equalizer from his surprise deployment as a number nine. The 18-year-old is better thought of a somebody who plays withdrawn from the line, be it as a winger, attacking midfielder, or a supporting striker. In the 81st minute, he scored while leading the attack, lunging at a pass from Ramires for Chelsea’s only score.
  • The equalizer came after a late surge spurred on by the heavily partisan, pro-Chelsea crowd. The Blues’ support came to life when John Terry was brought on in the 63rd minute, the Chelsea captain getting a vociferous but mixed reception. It was hard to tell if the cheers outnumbered the boos, but given the make up of the crowd, it seems Chelsea fans are near-split on their captain’s controversial offseason.
  • Overall, Paris Saint-Germain looked like a team that was one week ahead in their preparation, which makes sense given Ligue 1 starts the weekend before the Premier League kicks off. The final score was even, but before a late surge from Chelsea, PSG looked the more dangerous side.

Tottenham – Newcastle United: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Tottenham – Newcastle United: Can Newcastle United score an upset against travel-weary Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)?

Spurs have gone from London to Bulgaria to Southampton to Macedonia and are now back in London for Sunday’s match-up with a Newcastle team that surprised them at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a little over a year ago.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Spurs bent Shkendija in Europa League play on Thursday, with Heung-min Son posting a goal and two assists over 90 minutes. Harry Kane and Giovani Lo Celso came off the bench in what could be a sign of Jose Mourinho’s intent for Sunday.

Newcastle has been off since Wednesday’s 7-0 demolition of 10-man League Two side Morecambe in the League Cup. Steve Bruce did the trick without fitness-question Allan Saint-Maximin as well as rested Jonjo Shelvey and Callum Wilson.

STREAM TOTTENHAM – NEWCASTLE UNITED LIVE

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Tottenham – Newcastle United this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Tottenham – Newcastle United (INJURY REPORT)

Tottenham Hotspur – QUESTIONABLE: Sergio Reguilon (ankle) | OUT: Gareth Bale (knee), Japhet Tanganga (thigh)

Newcastle United – QUESTIONABLE: Allan Saint-Maximin (ankle), Jamal Lewis (eye) | OUT: Matty Longstaff (thigh), Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee)


What they’re saying: Tottenham – Newcastle United

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho on Tanguy Ndombele’s 90 minutes versus Shkendija: “He played very well. Of course in a game where I can imagine our percentage of ball possession was very, very high and our percentage is high he feels obviously much more comfortable. However, even without the ball he had recovery, he had duels, he had defensive transition. It was a really positive game from Tanguy, really happy.

Newcastle’s Steve Bruce on meeting Spurs: “We can’t think we can go and play against the top teams and match them just in a game of football. We have to do something different, tactically. We did it well against the top teams last year. Let’s hope we can do the same again this year.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Newcastle United is not expected to get anything out of this, +600 to win and +360 to take a point compared to Tottenham’s -225 to win.

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Prediction: Tottenham – Newcastle United

The Magpies can take some hope from Palace’s consecutive wins away to Manchester United, but Spurs should deliver the goods. Questions about Saint-Maximin’s fitness even if he does play ask even more, as does the fact that Steve Bruce has been keeping Miguel Almiron on the bench to start matches. Throw in Bruce versus Mourinho and it’s safe to expect Spurs to overcome their travel-weary legs and post a 3-1 win.


How to watch Tottenham – Newcastle United stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Serie A: Inter win 7-goal thriller with 87th, 89th-minute goals (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s results in Serie A, where Inter Milan scored twice in the final five minutes of regular time to beat Fiorentina 4-3…

[ MORE: Transfer news: Rice in, Jorginho out at Chelsea; Skriniar to Spurs ]

Inter Milan 4-3 Fiorentina

This is your weekly reminder that Serie A remains the most underrated, insane top-flight league in the world — particularly in the last-game-of-the-day time slot, at 2:45 pm ET. Seven-goal thrillers capped off by a late goal, or two, are more of the rule than an exception.

Anyway, Inter Milan’s title dreams looked set to begin with a home defeat to last season’s 10th-place finishers until Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D’Ambrosio scored an 87th-minute equalizer and an 89th-minute winner, respectively.

Inter started in a hole, down 1-0 after just three minutes. Lautaro Martinez pulled Antonio Conte’s side level in first-half stoppage time, but it was hardly an ideal start to the season. Federico Ceccherini put the ball into his own net in the 52nd minute to put Inter ahead.

The lead lasted just five minutes and just as quickly turned into a deficit, as Gaetano Castrovilli and Federico Chiesa bagged goals in the 57th and 63rd minutes. That, of course, only served to set the stage for the end-of-game heroics.

Torino 2-4 Atalanta

Saturday’s other thriller only featured six goals, though it still proved to be highly entertaining as well.

Andrea Belotti fired Torino ahead after 11 minutes, but Atalanta were level through Alejandro Gomez just two minutes later. Eight minutes after that, Luis Muriel put them 2-1 ahead. It was 3-1 in the 42nd minute, but Belotti scored again to make it 3-2 just a minute later. Marten de Roon restored a bit of breathing room and made it 4-2 with the game’s final goal in the 54th.

After finishing third, four points behind Inter and five behind champions Juventus, it’s a strong start for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side in 2020-21.

Other Serie A results

Sampdoria 2-3 Benevento
Cagliari 0-2 Lazio

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Spezia v Sassuolo — 6:30 am ET
Hellas Verona v Udinese — 9 am ET
Crotone v AC Milan — 12 pm ET
Napoli v Genoa — 12 pm ET
Roma v Juventus — 2:45 pm ET

La Liga: Real Madrid steal late win against 10-man Betis

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s results in La Liga, where Real Madrid were quite fortunate to come out with three points…

[ MORE: Transfer news: Rice in, Jorginho out at Chelsea; Skriniar to Spurs ]

Real Betis 2-3 Real Madrid

Opposition own goal? Check. Opposition red card? Check. Late-game penalty kick? Also check. The defending La Liga champions needed all of that in a span of 35 minutes, and a bit more, to escape their trip to Betis with three points.

Things started off well for Zinedine Zidane’s side Federico Valverde put Los Blancos ahead after 14 minutes, with a little help from Karim Benzema. The 1-0 scoreline didn’t survive until halftime, though, and neither did the 1-1. Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho each scored two minutes apart for Betis just before the break.

Real Madrid got back to level terms three minutes after the restart, thanks to an own goal from Emerson. 20 minutes later, Emerson was shown a straight red card for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity. Things went from bad to worse for Betis in the 82nd minute, when Marc Bartra was deemed to have handled the ball inside the box following video review. Sergio Ramos stepped up and sealed the win with a delicate chip down the middle.

Full-blown crisis averted, for now, after drawing with Real Sociedad on the opening day of the season.

Valencia 1-1 Huesca

This season looks set to be a hugely difficult one for Valencia as the club endures untold financial hardship and looks to sell off as much of the first-team squad as possible in an attempt to balance the books.

Saturday’s draw with newly promoted Huesca was simply the latest chapter, of which there will be many, of struggle for Javi Gracia’s side.

Other La Liga results

Alaves 0-0 Getafe
Elche 0-3 Real Sociedad

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Osasuna v Levante — 6 am ET
Eibar v Athletic Bilbao — 8 am ET
Atletico Madrid v Granada – 10 am ET
Cadiz v Sevilla — 12:30 pm ET
Real Valladolid v Celta Vigo — 12:30 pm ET
Barcelona v Villarreal — 3 pm ET

Fulham – Aston Villa: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Fulham – Aston Villa: How early is too early to call a game “must-win” in the Premier League? Perhaps we will find out on Monday (Watch live at 12:45 pm ET, online via Peacock), when bottom-of-the-table Fulham host Aston Villa at Craven Cottage.

FULHAM – ASTON VILLA STREAM LIVE

Scott Parker’s side has had a torrid start to life back in the PL — not at all dissimilar to the way their last stint ended — and find themselves with zero points and seven goals conceded after their first two games. Losing 3-0 to Arsenal on the opening day of the season wasn’t altogether surprising, but following that defeat with four more goals conceded to Leeds United last weekend will undoubtedly have done a number on the Cottagers’ confidence.

Villa, on the other hand, have played just once and secured a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United earlier this week. A win on Monday would see Dean Smith’s side start the season with back-to-back PL victories for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Fulham – Aston Villa this Monday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Fulham – Aston Villa (INJURY REPORT)

Fulham – No injuries or suspensions

Aston Villa – OUT: Bjorn Engels (thigh), Tom Heaton (knee), Wesley (knee), Ahmed Elmohamady (thigh)


What they’re saying: Fulham – Aston Villa

Scott Parker, on a “must-win” game: “I don’t see it as drastic as a must-win. We want to win. I know it’s either high or low in a drastic world, but we need to stay level and take realism of where we are in the campaign and where we are as a team. We will try everything we can to take some points and be up to the challenge. I don’t think we’re the only team at this present moment in time who have let in some goals in the first two games. It’s not ideal, of course not. Villa at home on Monday is a game we’re going to try to get three points.”

Dean Smith, on needing another signing: “We’re always looking in the market, we’re probably one short in the squad at the moment so we’ll keep looking at that. I think there’s seven days left until the window shuts internationally, another seven days domestically. Our sporting director at the moment has got his finger on the pulse, hopefully we might get one more in and maybe a couple more out.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

This one is just about a coin flip with Fulham (+185) ever so slight underdogs to Villa (+150). In a game that could go either way like this one, the draw (+225) might just be the safe middle ground.

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Prediction: Fulham – Aston Villa

There’s not much to separate these two sides right now, and there likely won’t be much ground between them come the season’s final table. There should be a few goals, but that’ll be more down to poor defending than excellent attacking quality from either side. Fulham 2-2 Villa.


How to watch Fulham – Aston Villa stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:45 pm ET Monday
Online: Stream via Peacock