Premier League Sunday Preview: Chelsea host Manchester United, Spurs travel to Swansea

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On Sunday we have two more massive Premier League games coming your way.

First we take a trip to South Wales as Swansea host Tottenham Hotspur with Michael Laudrup’s side on a desperate run of form as they’re searching for their first PL win in eight games. While Spurs boss Tim Sherwood looks to keep his unbeaten league record going, and will be hoping another win can keep his side within touching distance of the top four.

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Then we head on over to London, as Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge with both teams on very different paths at the moment. United are struggling just to make the top four, as right now Champions League qualification would be like winning the PL title for David Moyes. While Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea’s main aim is to finish in the top four… but we all know the ‘Special One’ harbors ambitions of bringing the PL crown to West London to mark his homecoming in style.

A monster clash awaits as these two global heavyweights lock horns to round off Sunday’s games.

So (because it would be rude not to) let’s take a closer look at both games taking place live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra on Sunday.

Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur, live on NBCSN 8:30am ET

  • Swansea are without a win in seven PL games
  • Tottenham have won their last four away PL games
  • Spurs are unbeaten against the Swans in six league games (W5, D1)
source: Getty Images
Can Spurs extend their unbeaten PL record under Tim Sherwood?

There’s been no real worry about Swansea City getting sucked into a relegation battle this season, as the Swans attractive style of soccer has won them many fans across the soccer world. However after a dreadful spell in the league — Swansea haven’t won any of their last seven games and they’re hovering just three points above the drop zone — means a few worried looks will adorn the faces of home fans at the Liberty Stadium. Meanwhile Tottenham are on the up after Andre Villas-Boas left and Tim Sherwood has taken charge with four PL wins from five to begin his reign as Spurs boss. With Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor striking up a great partnership up top, Tottenham are an extremely dangerous proposition away from home and as will be aiming to keep up with the top four by putting in a clinical and ruthless display in South Wales.

Andros Townsend could return for Tottenham, as the England international scored for Spurs’ U-21 side during the week, while Swansea could welcome back Micherl Vorm, Roland Lamah, Dwight Tiendalli, Nathan Dyer and Pablo Hernandez from injury in a welcome boost for Laudrup.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United, live on NBCSN 11am ET

  • Jose Mourinho will get his 100th PL victory with a win over United
  • United are unbeaten in their last seven PL games (W5, D2)
  • The Red Devils have only won two of 10 games vs. top-half teams this season (W2, D3, L5)
source: AP
Who will win the battle of the dugout at Stamford Bridge? Mourinho is one short of 100 PL wins for Chelsea.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United. Jose Mourinho vs. David Moyes. London vs. Manchester. Whichever way you play this game up, it’s a massive one for so many reasons. With managerial changes at both clubs over the summer, it’s safe to say Chelsea are faring a lot better with their new manager in charge, Mourinho has begun to see a real improvement from his squad as they’ve ominously clicked into place and will sit just two points off top spot with a win. While David Moyes and United haven’t been quite so fortunate as the Red Devils are currently in seventh spot and 14 points off top spot. United have not fared well against the top teams this season, but strangely they have won five of their last six and they are unbeaten away from Old Trafford in seven. Maybe playing away from that pressure-cooker atmosphere gives them hope? Then again Mourinho has never lost in 70 PL home games in charge of Chelsea, with his first-ever PL home victory coming back in August 2004 against, you guessed it, Manchester United. Surely his remarkable record won’t be broken by the same team it started off against all those years ago?

All roads lead to a home win, but if history has taught us one thing, it’s that we should never underestimate Manchester United. Mourinho has said that this week but the fact that Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are both out through injury will boost Chelsea, as the Blues aim to pile more misery on Moyes.

WATCH: Miami United midfield unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.

Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham

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The big boys are looking to Salomon Rondon as a bargain striker.

Yes, $22 million is a bargain in the striker market these days.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

West Brom’s Venezuelan international, 28, stands 6’2″ and has a relegation release clause that is reportedly interesting Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, and West Ham United.

Atleti and Inter are in the Champions League next season, but Rondon played for new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, posting 25 league goals in two seasons.

He’s scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.

He also picked up three assists this season as the target man for Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, and Darren Moore (and was fouled more often than any other Baggie (Baggy?)).

Rondon and Marko Arnautovic next to each other would be a real handful for PL defenses. Then again, maybe he’ll stay loyal to West Brom and set the Championship scoring record next season.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”

Would Real three-peat be most impressive feat in UCL history?

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When Franz Roth’s 57th minute goal gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne in Glasgow on May 12, 1976, it marked the last time a club won three-consecutive European Cups.

Oddly enough, Ajax turned the trick in the previous three seasons to Bayern’s run, and Real Madrid won the first five from 1955-60 when the tournament required a side of its ilk win only four ties. By 1976, the tournament began with the Round of 32.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

While there were certainly reasons the tournament was more difficult, consider that travel was far more taxing on the body and officiating far less advanced if even impartial, what Real Madrid would do this weekend would be an incredible achievement.

Winning three-straight competitions in any of the elite league is insane, and the UEFA Champions Leagues is especially bonkers.

Yes, an injury to Neymar made the PSG defeat a little less impressive, but consider that Real has advanced to the final while playing a murderer’s row (especially in relation to their opponents). Juventus was next, and then Bayern Munich. Now, Liverpool.

While no one, maybe ever, should cry for Real Madrid, this third run is more impressive than the first two in that the club simply isn’t as strong as previous iterations. That’s evidenced by their relatively poor performance in La Liga play, finishing almost 20 points back of rivals Barcelona and three behind Atleti.

Real sold nearly $100 million worth of players this offseason than it bought, with Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos the biggest names through the door while Alvaro Morata, Danilo, and James Rodriguez skipped town.

Who knows what’s in the water in Real, but its veteran squad continues to produce big results. Cristiano Ronaldo is 33. Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric 32. Marcelo and Benzema 30.

If Real holds off Liverpool, there will be some myopic notes about how it should’ve been expected to win the match, but that ignores that in a competition as deep as ever, Real took on all comers and triumphed for the third-straight year.

In doing so, they are likely achieving the most impressive feat in modern UCL history, certainly at least since Porto won the 2003-04 tournament under Jose Mourinho… and that was a one-off.