First season back sees happy ending for Salvador Cabañas

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Defeating 3 de Febrero 4-0 on Sunday, Paraguayan club 12 de Octubre won promotion to the Paraguayan second division, a fitting end to Salvador Cabañas’s first season back in soccer (link in Spanish). After two years on the sidelines, the 32-year-old returned to his first club this spring, still carrying the bullet that nearly ended his life.

On Jan. 25, 2010, Cabañas was one of the best players in the Mexican Primera. He was the focal point of a Paraguayan national team that had qualified for South Africa’s World Cup. He was a recent South American Footballer of the Year, twice leading scorer in the Copa Libertadores, and the best player on one of Mexico’s biggest clubs: Club América.

Early that morning, Cabañas was assaulted in the bathroom of a Mexico City club, shot in the head. Initial fears for his life faded, though it was decided the bullet would never come out. Operations, intensive care, and physical therapy followed. Cabañas still spoke ambitiously about making that summer’s World Cup, though it was still unclear whether he’d even resume a normal life.

With these types of recoveries, normal life is usually a euphemism for regular, daily, independent functions. For you and me that might be walking the stairs to our apartment or being able to drive the car to work. For Cabañas, that meant soccer.

In January, Cabañas signed with his original club, 12 de Octubre, who had fallen to the third division since his spell with the team 11 years ago. This April, Cabañas made his debut, the first of 12 starts during Octubre’s title campaign.

He never found goal, not that it particularly matters. With the exception of the man himself, nobody’s judging Cabañas’s production. Even if they were, the goals would be footnotes in a much larger story, one which got its happy endin after Sunday’s victory.

Erling Haaland injury update: Man City star leaves Norway squad

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Manchester City star Erling Haaland has left the Norway squad after suffering a groin injury.

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Haaland, 22, joined up with Norway for their EURO 2024 qualifiers but has been sent back to Manchester City for treatment.

The Norwegian striker has been in stunning form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last three games in all competitions for City (including five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a hat trick against Burnley in the FA Cup) before the break.

He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.

However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.


What is the latest update?

Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, gave an update on Haaland’s injury.

“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”

Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.


Which games could he miss?

After the international break Man City are playing in the first game of the weekend as they host Liverpool on Saturday, Apr. 1 at the Etihad Stadium.

It seems like Haaland could be struggling to be fully fit for that game, and maybe even the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, so Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.

Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage. Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.

USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup

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After reaching the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT have a big 2023 coming up as they aim to build off a successful showing on the world’s biggest stage.

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For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson takes temporary charge and both the GM (Brian McBride) and Sporting Director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months.

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for 2023, with plenty more games to be added based on their potential qualification for the 2023 Gold Cup on home soil.


How to watch USMNT

TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español:
Universo, Telemundo Deportes
Streaming en Español: Peacock


USMNT upcoming schedule

* Friendly | ** CONCACAF Nations League | *** 2022 World Cup

2023

vs. Serbia* — Jan. 25, 10 pm ET — Loss 2-1 | Recap & highlights
vs. Colombia* — Jan. 28, 7:30 pm ET — Draw 0-0 | Recap & highlights
at Grenada** — March 24, 8 pm ET — St. George’s, Grenada
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Orlando, Florida
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details 

2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 (USMNT yet to qualify)


USMNT games in 2022

vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0


USMNT at 2022 World Cup

Group B
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0

Last 16
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1


USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis

at El Salvador — Sept. 2Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1

vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1

vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1

vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0

at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0 
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2 


Final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings

Canada — 28 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +16 – automatic qualification
Mexico — 28 points (QUALIFIED) GD +9 – automatic qualification
USMNT — 25 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +11 – automatic qualification


Costa Rica — 25 points (PLAYOFF) GD +5


Panama — 21 points (ELIMINATED)
Jamaica — 14 points (ELIMINATED)
El Salvador — 10 points (ELIMINATED)
Honduras — 4 points (ELIMINATED)

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Premier League top-four race: Current form, key fixtures, odds, predictions

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The Premier League’s top-four race appears set to be heated and last until the final day(s) of the 2022-23 season, with as many as four sides battling for one final spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

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Tottenham currently find themselves in pole position, but inconsistent performances and questions over Antonio Conte’s tenure as manager have allowed Liverpool and a host of others into the race.

So who is going to seize the chance? Newcastle’s gotten back to winning ways and would be set for third place based on goal differential and points-per-game, though Manchester United will fancy the opportunity to stake its claim despite being alive in a host of competitions.

Brighton is also on a top-five pace when matches-in-hand are considered, and the Seagulls look prepared to challenge for a place in the Champions League well into the stretch run.

Below is a look at the key fixtures, current form, odds and predictions for the four sides currently chasing a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.


Remaining fixtures for top-four contenders

Tottenham: Everton (A), Brighton (H), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (A), Manchester United (H), Liverpool (A), Crystal Palace (H), Aston Villa (A), Brentford (H), Leeds (A)

Liverpool: Fulham (H), Manchester City (A), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Leeds (A), Nottingham Forest (H), West Ham (A), Tottenham (H), Brentford (H), Leicester (A), Aston Villa (H), Southampton (A)

Newcastle: Brighton (H – to be rescheduled), Manchester United (H), West Ham (A), Brentford (A), Aston Villa (A), Tottenham (H), Everton (A), Southampton (H), Arsenal (H), Leeds (A), Leicester (H), Chelsea (A)

Brighton: Newcastle (A – to be reschedule), Manchester United (H), Brentford (H), Bournemouth (A), Tottenham (A), Chelsea (A), Manchester City (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Wolves (H), Everton (H), Arsenal (A), Southampton (H), Aston Villa (A)


Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League top-four

Saturday, April 1: Manchester City vs Liverpool – 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 2: Newcastle vs Manchester United – 11:30am ET
Tuesday, April 4: Chelsea vs Liverpool – 3pm ET
Saturday, April 8: Tottenham vs Brighton – 10am ET
Sunday, April 9: Liverpool vs Arsenal – 11:30am ET
Saturday, April 1: Manchester City vs Liverpool – 7:30am ET
Saturday, April 15: Chelsea vs Brighton – 10am ET
Sunday, April 23: Newcastle vs Tottenham – 9am ET
Sunday, April 23: Brighton vs Manchester City – 11:30am ET
Thursday, April 27: Tottenham vs Manchester United – 3:15pm ET
Sunday, April 30: Liverpool vs Tottenham – 11:30am ET
Saturday, May 6: Newcastle vs Arsenal – Date/time to be confirmed
Saturday, May 13: Arsenal vs Brighton – Date/time TBC
Sunday, May 28: Leeds vs Tottenham – 11:30am ET
Sunday, May 28: Chelsea vs Newcastle – 11:30am ET
Sunday, May 28: Southampton vs Liverpool – 11:30am ET
Sunday, May 28: Aston Villa vs Brighton – 11:30am ET


Current form (As of March 7, 2023)

Tottenham’s last 5 results: DWWLW
Liverpool’s last 5 results: LWWDW
Newcastle’s last 5 results: WWDDD
Brighton’s last 5 results: WDDWD


Key injuries

Tottenham: OUT: Rodrigo Bentancur (torn ACL – out for season), Hugo Lloris (knee – out until mid/late March), Yves Bissouma (broken foot), Ryan Sessegnon (thigh)

Liverpool: OUT: Luis Diaz (knee – out until after international break), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Joe Gomez (undisclosed), Calvin Ramsay (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Naby Keita (knock), Arthur Melo (thigh)

Newcastle: OUT: Joelinton (suspension – two games remaining), Emil Krafth (torn ACL – out for season), Ryan Fraser (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Fabian Schar (head)

Brighton: OUT: Adam Lallana (thigh – out for season), Jakub Moder (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Tariq Lamptey (knee), Levi Colwill (undisclosed)


Premier League top-four odds (As of March 7, 2023)

(Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM ) BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links.

Manchester United: -650
Liverpool: -125
Tottenham: +200
Newcastle: +240
Brighton: +550


Prediction for Premier League top-four

4. Liverpool – 72 points
5. Tottenham – 66 points
6. Brighton – 64 points
7. Newcastle – 60 points


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Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

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After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.

Now we are approaching the final few months of the campaign, it is so tight up and down the Premier League table.


Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

As we head into the final months of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest and although Manchester United briefly surged into the picture, they look more likely to cement their spot as the third best team in the Premier League.

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The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.


What about the top four and European places?

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle and for the moment have hunted down Newcastle, while Liverpool is back in the Champions League picture after their return to form and Chelsea looks like a top six finish is their ceiling. For now.

Surprising Fulham, Brentford, and Brighton are all hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns. Can one of them surprise and qualify for Europe?


Who are the candidates for relegation?

Southampton, West Ham, and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table.

Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Wolves, Leeds, Everton and Crystal Palace all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three as the race to stay in the Premier League intensifies. This could be the craziest relegation scrap in Premier League history.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – March 19

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard



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