Southampton 0-3 Chelsea: Blues cruise to victory after classy display (video)

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Chelsea eased to a relatively comfortable 3-0 victory against Southampton at St. Mary’s on New Year’s Day, as the Blues scored three times in the second half to win their fourth game in their last five and keep the heat up on leaders Arsenal.

Fernando Torres opened the scoring with an instinctive header, before Willian scored with a powerful strike from outside the box and fellow sub Oscar rounded off the win late on. Jose Mourinho’s substitutions won him the game, as Willian in particular was spectacular after coming off the bench and swinging the game in Chelsea’s favor.

As for Southampton, they struggled to create any clear cut chances as their recent woes continued with just one win from their last nine games.

With the victory Chelsea are third and just two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, while Southampton stay in ninth.

Chelsea started the game superbly as Torres twice went close early but was denied by Jose Fonte’s superb block with his first chance, as Saints lived dangerously in the opening minutes.

Andre Schurrle also smashed an effort just wide as Chelsea dominated from the offset, while Southampton teammates Dejan Lovren and Fonte accidentally collided with the former needing length treatment as his teeth looked to be badly damaged.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Torres and Ramires then combined to put the latter clean through but Kelvin Davis raced off his line to clear the ball superbly as the Saints survived yet another close call. However after weathering the early storm in torrential rain and driving winds at St. Mary’s the home side almost scored twice as Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez linked up well only for Ashely Cole to clear the danger. Soon after that Jay Rodriguez also went close as Chelsea’ defense got out of a mix up with Cole again cleaning up the danger.

Before half time Davis came quickly off his line once again to thwart Chelsea, and that sparked Southampton into life as Lallana latched onto Calum Chambers’ great ball from the right but Cesar Azpilcueta blocked the shot wonderfully from Saints’ skipper.

The end-to-end nature of this match continued until half time, but the teams went in locked at 0-0.

At the start of the second half a massive goalmouth scramble saw Fonte and Rodriguez denied by valiant Chelsea defending, as the Saints looked to go ahead early in the half.

But it was Chelsea who should have gone ahead as Oscar went clean through moments after coming off the bench, but instead of slotting home he rounded Davis and then took a dive which was spotted by Martin Atkinson. The Brazilian attacker was then booked for simulation, as somehow he preferred to try and get a penalty kick instead of slotting home a goal. Mourinho was not a happy man.

Yet soon after Chelsea were celebrating a goal, as Oscar cut in from the right and his curling effort struck the post and bounced up perfectly for Torres to head home from close range in the 59th minute. Southampton brought on Rickie Lambert to try and get back into the game, and Saints’ England international headed straight at Petr Cech from close range with a glorious chance for an equalizer.

However the chance came and went as Willian smashed in a second for Chelsea in the 70th minute, as the Brazilian winger turned the game on its head after coming off the bench to devastating effect. Saints looked a beaten side after that, as Chelsea stormed forward to try and put the result beyond all doubt.

Oscar did just that in the 81st minute as he raced clear of the Southampton defense and then his shot deflected past Davis as Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

LINEUPS

Southampton: K. Davis, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw (Clyne, 45), Cork (Lambert, 60), Schneiderlin, S. Davis (Ward-Prowse, 76), Lallana, Rodriguez, Ramírez

Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Schurrle (Willian 52), Mata (Oscar, 52), Hazard (Essien, 85); Torres

Goals: Torres (59), Willian (71), Oscar (81)

UEFA Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

Champions League playoffs
Photo by Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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American defender Henry Wingo and manager Jesse Marsch face big weeks as the second legs of the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoffs take center stage Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wingo’s Molde drew Ferencvaros 3-3 in the first leg but those three away goals loom large as the American and his Norwegian club head to Hungary.

[ MORE: Champions League qualifying scores ]

Meanwhile, Marsch saw his Red Bull Salzburg come back from an early deficit in Israel to take a 2-1 advantage over Maccabi Tel-Aviv back to Austria.

Salzburg are very heavy favorites to win and advance to the Champions League group stage for another year.

Marsch has also been linked with an impending transfer for USMNT teen Brenden Aaronson, one of at least eight Americans to watch as the European transfer window reaches its conclusion next month.


How to watch the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round

Kickoff: 3 pm ET Tuesday and Wednesday
Stream: CBS All-Access (subscription required)


UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.

First legs (Roundup)

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK
Gent 1-2 Dynamo Kiev
Molde 3-3 Ferencvaros
Olympiakos 2-0 Omonia

Tuesday

Ferencvaros 0-0 Molde (Ferencvaros win on away goals)
Dynamo Kiev 3-0 Gent (5-1 on aggregate)
Omonia 0-0 Olympiakos (0-2 on aggregate)

Wednesday

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv


UCL second leg odds (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Ferencvaros (+108) v Molde (+215) | Draw (+230)
Dynamo Kiev (-118) v Gent (+280) | Draw (+235)
Omonia (+325) v Olympiakos (-130) | Draw (+235)
Midtjylland (+170) v Slavia Prague (+155) | Draw (+195)
PAOK (+105) v Krasnodar (+220) | Draw (+235)
Red Bull Salzburg (-834) v Maccabi Tel-Aviv (+1300) | Draw (+600)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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ProSoccerTalk is now on video as well as in written format. Unleash the beast, as they say.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Each week ProSoccerTalk writers Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards will tell us what they learned from the Premier League action, rank their top five PL players based on current form, preview the upcoming weekend and handle any other news from around the soccer world.

Expect opinions, analysis and insight, as well as plenty of friendly banter along the way and maybe a beer or two…

Basically, they have these chats on their own anyway so we thought we would record them and let them loose on the Premier League, USMNT and everything in-between. This is going to be a lot of fun and a lighthearted look at all of the action from across the soccer world each week.

With JPW is based in England and heading to Premier League games and traveling to stadiums/ training grounds, plus Andy and Nick based Stateside, we will be checking in with them regularly to get their views on just about anything when it comes to Pro Soccer. Because, well, ProSoccerTalk.

Follow the ProSoccerTalk lads on Twitter below, and click play on the video above to watch ProSocccerTalk this week in full.

League Cup: How to watch, start times, odds, predictions

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The League Cup’s fourth round features two interesting tactical duels in that the tournament gives us rematches of a pair of Premier League matches from the weekend, right down to the locations.

Brighton will hope Manchester United’s Wednesday trip to the Amex Stadium isn’t as lucky as the Red Devils’ 3-2 triumph over the Seagulls, while Arsenal heads back to Anfield on Thursday with designs on a measure of revenge for Monday’s 3-1 loss in league play.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

While Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United are built a bit deeper — easy, Red Devils fans — due to squad necessity for European competition, Graham Potter’s Seagulls don’t have it as simple as chopping and changing (though Brighton has looked plenty good with its depth so far in this tournament.

How will the tactician plot his overthrow of United? And will Mikel Arteta do anything different with Arsenal to help thwart the high line Liverpool used to limit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Monday (if the Gabonese star even plays)?

[ MORE: JPW’s 3 things from Liverpool-Arsenal ]

Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho saw Spurs on beat Chelsea on penalties on Tuesday.

Three lower league remain and will be playing their fourth League Cup matches of the month compared to the PL’s three outings. Those who win this week will have a lot longer to wait for the quarterfinals, which won’t be held until December.


League Cup fourth round kickoff times and odds (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Tottenham (+420) v Chelsea (-180) | Draw (+360) — 2:45 pm ET Tuesday
Newport County (+560) v Newcastle (-230)  | Draw (+340)— 12:30 pm ET Weds
Burnley (+625) v Manchester City (-275) | Draw (+375) — 2 pm ET Weds
Brighton (+300) v Manchester United (-120) | Draw (+250)— 2:45 pm ET Weds
Everton (-145) v West Ham (+350) | Draw (+280)— 2:45 pm ET Weds
Brentford (+135) v Fulham (+185) | Draw (+225)— 12:30 pm ET Thursday
Aston Villa (-150) v Stoke City (+360) | Draw (+275)— 2 pm ET Thursday
Liverpool (-105) v Arsenal (+230) | Draw (+270)— 2:45 pm ET Thursday

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


League Cup fourth round predictions

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea
Newport County 1-3 Newcastle United
Burnley 0-3 Manchester City
Brighton 2-1 Manchester United
Everton 2-2 (EFC wins in penalties) West Ham United
Brentford 1-1 (Brentford wins in penalties) Fulham
Aston Villa 2-0 Stoke City
Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal


How to watch League Cup fourth round streams and start time

Kickoff: Tuesday through Thursday
Online: Select games on ESPN+
Updates: Follow League Cup scores via NBCSports.com

Premier League player Power Rankings

Player Power Rankings
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Premier League player Power Rankings are here!

Our third player Power Rankings of the 2020-21 season have arrived, as all 20 teams have played and we are coming off yet another high-scoring matchweek in Premier League history with 36 goals scored across the 10 games.

Simply put: once again it was incredibly tough to put 20 players in this list based on the crazy results across the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Stars from Liverpool, Leicester City and Everton dominate our third player Power Rankings and there are plenty of new signings who have impressed early in the season.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t going to be in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the player Power Rankings.


1. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Even
2. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – New entry
3. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – New entry
4. James Rodriguez (Everton) – Down 2
5. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – New entry
6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
7. Allan (Everton) – New entry
8. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 4
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – Up 6
10. Fabinho (Liverpool) – Down 4
11. Tariq Lamptey (Brighton) – Down 4
12. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 1
13. Patrick Bamford (Leeds) – Up 3
14. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) – New entry
15. Timothy Castagne (Leicester) – Up 2
16. Jack Harrison (Leeds) – New entry
17. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
18. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham) – New entry
19. Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – Even
20. Illan Meslier (Leeds) – New entry