Gandalf, Green Power Rangers, and Guy Patterson: Premier League Saturday Review

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Arsenal 3-1 Norwich City

Steve talked about the controversial penalty, a late decision that turned today’s match in Arsenal’s favor. Until that point (85th minute), Michael Turner’s first half goal had held up, with the Champions League-chasing Gunners left pursuing three points they couldn’t afford to lose.

But thanks to goals by Mikel Arteta (from the spot), Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, Arsenal got the result everybody expected – three points that temporarily vault Arsene Wenger’s team into third place:

Pos. Club GP Pts. Pts/G
3 Arsenal 32 59 1.84
4 Chelsea 31 58 1.87
5 Tottenham Hotspur 32 58 1.81
6 Everton 32 55 1.72

Chelsea and Tottenham don’t play in league this weekend, their derby rescheduled with the Blues still alive in the FA Cup.

Still, it’s a three-team race for two spots. Everton’s lingering, but they need two teams to trip over the next month. That’s not going to happen.

Everton 2-0 Queens Park Rangers

Queens Park Rangers are eight points from safety with five to play. This conversation’s no longer interesting. Time for another four-year plan.

As for Everton, it was a good result but no more than you’d expect from a team of their stature – a level that unfortunately is not going to include Champions League soccer. They’ll have to comfort themselves with finishing just outside the top four (again) while being the top-ranked team on Mersey (again).

Welcome to a Toffee-supporters’ purgatory. You can’t ask for more because you know your club’s hamstrung, but you can’t help but pine for those oh so elusive breaks that could finally bring glory to these otherwise strong but fruitless campaigns:

Why can’t an Arsenal, Chelsea, or Spurs collapse coincide with one of our best seasons so we can get back into Champions League? If for no other reason than variety’s sake, so we don’t have to go through this same routine every year, can we just finish fourth one more time? It’s all so monotonous.

source: ReutersReading 0-0 Liverpool

Meet Alex McCarthy. He’s young, he’s English — his favorite Power Ranger’s the green one — and he’s very happy to meet you. You’re not Philippe Coutinho, right? Good, because he’s not happy to meet Coutinho.

(I’m going to conveniently ignore he’s merely punching the ball.)

Based on reaction out of the Maejski Stadium, McCarthy may be your Player of the Week. The 23-year-old keeper (who has been on eight different loans in the last six years) made 11 saves in his first appearance since November. Liverpool put 28 shots toward goal, held 60 percent of the ball, and saw Luis Suárez hit the woodwork. Yet they left Reading with their 11th draw of the season, goalless for the second straight weekend.

As Brendan Rodgers put it in the most understated tone possible, “The game will be summed up by the great goalkeeping performance of young Alex McCarthy.” As other fans articulated it in their retweets:

source:

Aston Villa 1-1 Fulham

Hey, remember last week when Villa seemed to turn a corner at Stoke? They got points and goals, and it looked like everything was coming together. Tom Hanks was ready to make an 11-part HBO mini-series: Villans.

(Personally, I wouldn’t mind a “That Thing You Do” reboot. Or just a sequel. Guy Patterson trying to revitalize his career in music after realizing the family business is making him into his father? Faye recoiling as Guy’s new ambition reminds him of Jimmy’s overbearing ways? Tom – I’m writing the script on spec.)

Aston Villa may very well be turning the corner, but here’s the thing: When you’re only three points from the drop, draws at home are a great way to let other teams gain control of their own destiny, especially when the two you are trying to hold off (Sunderland and Wigan) now have matches in hand.

Fulham is a good team, but they’re also in that Premier League netherworld of having nothing to play for. They were on the road, and Villa seemed to be building momentum.

But that’s in the past. Time to regroup.

Southampton 1-1 West Ham United

Saints’ three-match winning streak was snapped, but hopefully they’re not above seeing this as progress. It wasn’t not so long ago that they were in the drop, playing at a level that would leave few surprised if they didn’t get a point at home from West Ham. Now both teams are on 38 points. Sitting 11th and 12th, the clubs have practically guaranteed themselves a second season in the Premier League.

Gaston Ramirez opened today’s scoring near the hour mark before Andy Carroll, with this third goal in two games, pulled West Ham even. Now up to five goals on the season, there’s still time for the Liverpool loanee to salvage a decent return on an injury-plagued campaign.

How much would it cost for West Ham to keep him? We all know that’s in the cards, right? He’s a unique player who comes with obvious benefits, but since moving to Liverpool in January 2011, Carroll only scored 11 league goals. Do you still have to pay a premium for his big Anglo-ness?

How much of their £30 million investment will Liverpool seek to recoup?

Portugal beats Uruguay as Bruno continues red-hot World Cup

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Portugal made it two wins from two games as Bruno Fernandes scored twice to beat Uruguay 2-0 and advance to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on Monday.

WATCH FULL PORTUGAL vs URUGUAY MATCH REPLAY

Fernandes was awarded the opening goal in the 54th minute, perhaps to the dismay of Cristiano Ronaldo, who immediately insisted the he got his head on the ball as it sailed over everyone — himself included, according to the review panel — and found its way into the back of the net from the opposite corner of the penalty area.

Ronaldo wheeled away in celebration, but five minutes later it was announced that Fernandes was being credited with his first World Cup goal, after tallying a pair of assists in Portugal’s opening win over Ghana.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Goal no. 2 was full of even more controversy. Fernandes slid the ball through Jose Gimenez’s legs and the Uruguayan center back’s trail hand touching the ball was deemed a handball offense upon video review.

The victory puts Portugal (6 points) in the driver seat atop Group H, with Ghana (3) the only other side still with a chance to win the group. Portugal will conclude group play against South Kore (1 point – 4th place) on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest Group G standings, schedule, scores ]

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How to watch Portugal vs Uruguay live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Everyone’s going to keep looking at Cristiano Ronaldo — it’s difficult not to turn your head with all the “Look at me” nonsense — but Bruno Fernandes is the real string-puller here. He’s playing well with Ruben Neves, while Ruben Dias and the back line will look to tighten things up after letting Ghana stay in the game.

Uruguay hero Luis Suarez has been here before, but his supporting cast is as good as ever. Rodrigo Betancur and Jose Maria Gimenez give La Celeste a chance at clean sheet every time they take the pitch.


Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Uruguay quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur

Brazil grinds out late win over Switzerland without Neymar

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Brazil were held in check for 82 minutes without Neymar, but the five-time world champions escaped with a 1-0 victory vs Switzerland to advance to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on Monday.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY

Casemiro hammered home a right-footed strike set up by Rodrygo’s clever first-time ball, just as Brazil appeared headed for a frustrating scoreless draw. Vinicius Junior had the ball in the back of the net not so long before Casemiro did, but the goal was ruled out for offside in the build-up, in a too-rare moment attacking fluidity.

The victory sends Brazil (6 points) through to the knockout rounds for an astonishing 20th straight World Cup appearance. Brazil’s only group-stage failure came in 1930, at the inaugural World Cup.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

The defeat is far from a tournament-ender for Switzerland (3 points – 2nd place), who need at least a draw (but preferably a win) against Serbia on Friday.

Brazil vs Switzerland
Photo: FotMob.com

[ MORE: Latest Group G standings, schedule, scores ]


No Neymar, no ideas

With Neymar (ankle) out for at least the rest of the group stage (maybe), Tite opted to bring Fred into the team and push Lucas Paqueta higher up the field against Switzerland. Brazil were, at times, brilliant going forward with Neymar playing off Richarlison’s strong hold-up and link-up play, making surging runs into space with a center back (or two) occupied.

Predictably, there was a disconnect between midfield and the forward line. Brazil were unable to create chances through the middle of the field, limited to hopeful crosses into the box where Switzerland’s towering center backs to comfortably clear. The stats and analytics really highlight Neymar’s impact, and the difficulties that Brazil have without him on the field, from the first half (and not much changed in the second half)…

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How to watch Brazil vs Switzerland live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Brazil will not have Neymar for this one and likely the rest of the group stage as the oft-fouled magician felt the sting of Serbian tackles in the opener. The Brazilians have had to play without their captain before and have a wealth of attacking options, but who will join Richarlison in providing the goals in a Ney-less attack.

The Swiss have all the tools to hang with Brazil, but how physical will they want to make it for the favorites? Granit Xhaka will be one to watch as the underdogs try to balance a desire to get forward with the danger of doing so against a potent Brazil.


Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Switzerland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Brazil vs Switzerland live

World Cup 2022 Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Cameroon, Switzerland schedule, fixtures, rankings

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World No. 1 Brazil was not given an easy ride to the knockout rounds with a tough draw in World Cup 2022 Group G this November.

Tite’s imperious Brazilians will be tested by savvy Switzerland, fierce Serbia, and a Cameroon side capable of anything on its day.

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

The group will feature classic midfield battles as Granit Xhaka, Casemiro, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will patrol that part of the pitch.

Who will claim the second spot in the group if Brazil does as expected and wins the group? Switzerland will be feeling very good after their tight win against Cameroon to kick things off. While Brazil took care of business against Serbia to set themselves up nicely.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group G.


Group G schedule

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Monday, November 28: Brazil vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

How To Watch Group G matches live

  • When: November 24-December 2, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group G table

1. Brazil – 6 points (+3 GD)
2. Switzerland – 3 points (0)
3. Cameroon – 1 point (-1)
4. Serbia – 1 point (-2)


Brazil

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Serbia

Current FIFA world ranking: 21
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Dragan Stojkovic
Key players: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Luka Jovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic

Switzerland

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Cameroon

Current FIFA world ranking: 43
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from CAF playoffs
Coach: Rigobert Song
Key players: Andre Onana, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Vincent Aboubakar, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

World Cup 2022 Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea schedule, fixtures, rankings

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Expect fireworks when a star-studded World Cup 2022 Group H puts Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Heung-min Son, and Thomas Partey in the same group this November.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

All World Cup groups have megastars but Portugal and Uruguay will be considered contenders if not favorites to reach the semifinals in Qatar.

Premier League fans will know players from every single team.

Portugal (Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo, Partey), Uruguay (Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur), Tottenham Hotspur (Son), and Ghana (Thomas Partey, Jordan Ayew, Jeff Schlupp) are among the PL players set to contribute to the cause.

After their narrow win over Ghana, Portugal is looking good to reach the last 16, while it will be an almighty scrap between the other three to join them.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group H.


Group H schedule

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Monday, November 28: Portugal vs Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Monday, November 28: South Korea vs Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

How To Watch Group F matches live

  • When: November 23-December 1, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group H table

1. Portugal — 6 points (+3 GD)
2. Ghana — 3 points (0)
3. South Korea — 1 point (-1)
4. Uruguay — 1 point (-2)


Portugal

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Ghana

Current FIFA world ranking: 61
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 4
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF via playoffs
Coach: Otto Addo
Key players: Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Jeff Schlupp

Uruguay

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur

South Korea

Current FIFA world ranking: 28
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Paulo Bento
Key players: Heung-min Son, Young-gwon Kim, In-beom Hwang, Woo-yeong Jeong