Lineups and discussion: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Swansea City

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While news surrounding Spurs’ season continues to be dominated by Gareth Bale’s inevitable departure, the team is actually playing games. And with today’s visit from Swansea, both teams’ second match of the season, Tottenham has a chance at a six-point start, something that would place them no lower than fifth come the end of round two.

Of course, Bale won’t be in the team today, the Welsh international still nursing an ankle injury that’s kept him from playing for the better part of a month. His absence was felt last week, with Spurs unable to score from open play in their 1-0 win at newly promoted Crystal Palace. Though Tottenham kept 58 percent of the ball, they were only able to put three shots on target, the same as their hosts.

It will be up to Roberto Soldado, last week’s goal scorer, to change that. Likewise, Nacer Chadli and Andros Townsend, starting in place of the injured Aaron Lennon, will have to find a way to carry over some of the team’s Europa League form, with Spurs having won 5-0 at Dinamo Tiblisi mid-week. Etienne Capoue, who like Townsend was brought into the team in Georgia, maintains his place in the starting XI, with Gylfi Sigurdsson dropped from the team that faced Palace.

Swansea, who’ve lost their last three meetings with Tottenham, are coming off a 4-1 loss to Manchester United in their home opener, a match where clinical finishing from Robin van Persie and failings in Swans’ defense doomed Michael Laudrup’s side to a disappointing start. Like Spurs, though, Swansea moved on from their first week problems in Europa League, posting a 5-1 win over Petrolul Ploiesti on Thursday.

Laudrup’s made two changes to the team that faced Manchester United last Saturday. In midfield, Jonathan de Guzman comes in for Leon Britton at the base of midfield while Pablo Hernandez is in for Nathan Dyer on the wing. That means Ivorian attacker Wilfried Bony, the team’s much-hyped summer signing from Vitesse, won’t get his first Premier League start despite scoring on his debut.

If you’re not near NBCSN for the 11:00 a.m. Eastern kickoff, head over to NBC Sports Live Extra to check out streaming options for this as well as the league’s other 11:00 a.m. kickoff: Cardiff City vs. Manchester City.

Starting Lineups

Tottenham: Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Etienne Capoue, Moussa Dembele, Paulinho; Andros Townsend, Roberto Soldado, Nacir Chadli.

Swansea: Michael Vorm; Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; José Cañas; Jonathan de Guzman; Wayne Routledge, Jonjo Shelvey; Pablo Hernandez; Michu.

 

Scenes from around the UCL final

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We’re just hours away from kickoff in Kiev, Ukraine, and the streets are lined with football supporters ahead of the year’s biggest club final.

Liverpool and Real Madrid will meet at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Saturday, as the latter aims for its fourth UEFA Champions League crown in five seasons.

Let’s take a look at the sights around Ukraine and abroad ahead of the UCL final.


Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox took to Twitter to show their support for the Reds, with both teams owned by John Henry.

Los Blancos go for an unprecedented fourth UCL title in five years, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. aim to assert their dominance once again.

Reds legend John Arne Riise took part in Liverpool’s last UCL title in 2004/05, and holds the giant piece of silverware once again.

Supporters from both sides are out in full force in Kiev, with the Reds hoping to spoil yet another UCL triumph for Madrid.

Supporters all over the world will have their eyes on the most important club competition in football, with the Champions League hosting viewing parties in Shanghai, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Report: Napoli’s Sarri in as next Chelsea manager?

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Antonio Conte hasn’t been relieved of his managerial duties at Stamford Bridge; at least not yet, however, reports out of Italy are suggesting the Blues are in line for a new boss.

Gazzetta del Sport is reporting that Chelsea is preparing to hire Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, who remains under contract with the Serie A side.

The report says that Sarri is preparing his staff to make the move to London, although both managers are currently tied to their clubs.

Additionally, Sky Italy has stated that an agreement in principle has been reached between Sarri and Chelsea, assuming Conte leaves the Blues.

Chelsea wouldn’t have to pay Sarri’s $9 million release clause if they wait until after Thursday to complete a deal.

Conte endured an up-and-down 2017/18 season with the Blues, however, Chelsea did manage to close the year on a high note with an FA Cup title.

Meanwhile, Sarri has held his post at Napoli since 2015, guiding the club to top three finishes in all three seasons in Italy’s top flight.

Video: Modric, Milner show off in training ahead of UCL final

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The UEFA Champions League final hasn’t even kicked off yet, and Liverpool and Real Madrid are already trying to show each other up with some gorgeous golazos.

[ MORE: Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s UCL final ]

Both sides had their final training sessions on Friday, and there were several unforgettable moment for each club.

We start with Real, who even got manager Zinedine Zidane involved in a crossing and finishing drill with some of his players.

This is where Luka Modric’s stunning volley came into play (below).

Meanwhile, in an inter-squad scrimmage amongst Liverpool’s team, James Milner unleashed this brilliant curling effort into the top corner (below).

LIVE: Aston Villa, Fulham battle for Premier League promotion

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The task is quite simple for the two sides competing at Wembley Stadium on Saturday; win and you’re back in the Premier League.

Aston Villa and Fulham will battle it out for the third and final promotion spot into the PL (12 p.m. ET) after boasting tremendous 2017/18 campaigns.

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For both clubs, there is a significance about restoring their role as a PL club, with Fulham last competing in the top flight four seasons ago and Villa two seasons removed.


Aston Villa: Johnstone; Chester, Snodgrass, Grealish, Hourihane, Jedinak, Hutton, Terry, Elmohamady, Adomah, Grabban. Bench: Whelan, Hogan, Bree, Onomah, Bjarnason, Kodjia, Bunn.

Fulham: Bettenelli; Fredericks, Sessegnon, Odoi, McDonald, Johansen, Cairney, Ream, Targett, Mitrovic, Kamara. Bench: Button, Fonte, Ayite, Norwood, Piazon, Christie, Kalas.