Americans Abroad Review: Cameron scores, super sub Bedoya earns PK, Johnson a hero for Hoffenheim

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Busy week abroad, so let’s get right to it:

The extreme highs and lows of the Premier League have hit Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan in recent weeks. One week after keeping a clean sheet against PL power Chelsea, Guzan was on the business end of a 4-1 beatdown at the hands of Stoke City, with the fourth goal coming from a USMNT teammate as the Potters are now three points ahead of the Villans.

Geoff Cameron finished a cut back pass from Marko Arnautovic to complete the visitors’ win at Villa Park. And while Arnautovic celebrated as if he scored, it was another feather in the cap of one of Stoke’s most consistent players. Cameron’s goal was his second of the year and he picked up an assist against Villa the first time the teams met up this season. He’s now played 2700 minutes this year, all but 90 of Stoke’s PL total, surpassing his 2637 played last season.

Jozy Altidore saw his first full 90 minutes in a Premier League match for the first time in three matches but it did not help him end his goal drought as Sunderland fell to Norwich City 2-0. Next up? A Wednesday date at Anfield.

Everton isn’t making it easy on its fans’ hearts nor its keeper’s mind, as Tim Howard had to hold on tight in order for Everton to beat Swansea City 3-2. The Toffees are in the driver’s seat to catch No. 5 Spurs, two points back with two matches-in-hand.

To the Championship, where Danny Williams did not feature in Reading’s 2-1 win at Birmingham City. The home team did have Americans Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood for the entire match, with the latter featuring in several good chances in the loss.

Oguchi Onyewu went 90 minutes for Sheffield Wednesday in its 1-0 loss at Doncaster Rovers. Wednesday remains in 15th place, 13 points ahead of the drop. Tim Ream played the whole match for Bolton as they earned another point towards ensuring safety in a 2-2 draw with Yeovil Town. They are nine points clear.

Icelandic-Alabaman forward Aron Johannsson earned and missed a penalty kick in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle. He was unable to add to his Eredivisie goal total during 73 minutes of action.

Terrence Boyd played the entire game for SK Rapid Wien as they beat RK Pellets WAC by a 3-0 score. He did not score or assist.

In Ligue 1, Ale Bedoya and Nantes earned their first league win since mid-January with a 2-1 decision over Montpellier. He played the final 40 minutes, earning a penalty kick that was not converted by Itay Shecter (the video makes it hard to tell whether theatrics played a role or Bedoya was properly felled). He was a nuisance for the visitors as a super sub and was unfortunate to not find his way on the scoresheet.

There was good news and bad news for Hertha Berlin’s John Anthony Brooks, who was in the starting lineup and went the duration. The problem with his featuring? They were skunked by Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0.

The Bundesliga was better to Fabian Johnson, whose cross became the match-winning assist after Anthony Modeste headed home in the 89th minute. The goal helped Hoffenheim offset the two blown leads in the match.

In Mexico, Tigres midfielder Jose Torres left the game after 31 minutes with an injury in a 2-0 home loss to Queretaro. There were assists for two Americans in Tijuana’s 3-1 win over Puebla. Edgar Castillo had a helper for the winners, while DaMarcus Beasley grabbed an ‘A’ on Puebla’s lone goal. Herculez Gomez played 15 minutes in the win, while Michael Orozco completed the entire loss.

Cruzeiro relegated from Brazilian top flight for first time

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Brazilian side Cruzeiro was relegated from the top flight for the first time in the club’s 98-year history following a 2-0 defeat to Palmeiras on the final day of the season.

Cruzeiro required victory and a loss by Ceara at Botafogo to stay safely in the Brazilian Serie A, but neither came to pass.

Palmeiras midfielder Ze Rafael scored in the 58th minute to send the visitors on their way, with fellow midfielder Dudu finished things off in the 84th minute. Referees ushered the players off the field immediately after the conclusion of the match as Cruzeiro fans rioted in the Mineirao stadium, ripping out seats, setting off smoke bombs, and clashing with police.

Cruzeiro finished 17th in the 20-team table, three points back of Ceara in 16th. In the Brazilian top flight, the bottom four teams are relegated. CSA, Chapecoense, and Avai were also relegated. Cruzeiro had won the Brazilian Serie A as recently as 2013 and 2014, winning four titles in its history. They also have six Copa do Brasil titles, most recently winning the league cup in 2017 and 2018.

Flamengo ran away with the championship, finishing on 90 points, 16 points clear of second-placed Santos and third-placed Palmeiras who both finished level on 74 points. Palmeiras had challenged for the title, but fell off at the end of the season with a five-match winless run through November.

Premier League Preview: West Ham United v. Arsenal

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Two struggling London sides meet Monday when West Ham United hosts Arsenal (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The sides might’ve expected they’d be within close proximity at this point on the fixture list, but two wildly disappointing seasons means the three points between the Gunners and Irons comes with the former in 11th and the latter 16th.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s been nine matches since Arsenal beat someone, 11 since it happened in the Premier League. West Ham hasn’t been much better, winning once in its last 10.

Freddie Ljungberg has yet to win as Arsenal interim boss, while West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini could see his current stint in London end without more results like the Nov. 30 win at Chelsea.

Monday versus Arsenal would qualify.


Injuries/suspensions

West Ham United: OUT —  Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid. QUESTIONABLE — Michail Antonio.

Arsenal: OUT — Dani Ceballos. QUESTIONABLE — Rob Holding.


Probable lineups

West Ham United: Martin; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks; Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.

Arsenal: Leno; Kolasinac, Sokratis, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s Antonio sees an opportunity: “The only three teams that are really performing are Liverpool, Leicester and Man City. Everyone else is getting beaten, and it means we’ve had a missed opportunity so far this season. We started the season off brightly, the best start we’ve had for four years, but then we’ve had a slump. Everyone’s having a slump and this is our slump. Now it’s time for us to start turning up. We’ve been in this situation before and we know how to dig in and pull ourselves up again.”

Arsenal’s Ljungberg on setting targets: “I don’t think we should stop talking about the top four, but for us it’s about concentrating on what we’re doing here now and not look up, down, sideways. We just need to work on our own game and our own confidence.”


Prediction

Really, you wouldn’t want to predict anything from these sides right now besides goals. We’ll give an edge in desperation to the hosts and a 2-2 draw.

La Liga: Sevilla held at Osasuna, Getafe maintains UCL fight

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Sevilla was held to a 1-1 draw at 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, giving both Real Madrid and Barcelona space at the top of the La Liga table.

Munir El Haddadi put the visitors 1-0 up just 11 minutes in, but Ezequiel Avila struck just before halftime to share the points. Sevilla was held to just two total shots through the opening 45 minutes, and despite Osasuna defender Oier Olazabal being shown a second yellow card with 29 minutes to go, Sevilla still managed just 11 total efforts through the 90 minutes, with four on target.

Getafe continued its battle for a top four spot as they won 1-0 on the road at Eibar. Angel Rodriguez bagged his eighth goal of the season to secure the win, cropping up in the 67th minute to finally put Getafe through. They had been turning the screw for some time, forcing Marko Dmitrovic into a pair of big saves just before the opener which came from an absurdly tight angle after Angel had rounded the goalkeeper. The win leaves them fourth, level with Real Sociedad on 27 points.

They were allowed to close the gap after Real Sociedad was held scoreless in a 0-0 draw at 14th placed Real Valladolid. The visitors put just two of their 14 shots on net, and dropped to fifth thanks to Getafe holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Athletic Club also fell back in the race for a top four spot, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road at Real Betis. Joaquin scored a first-half hat-trick, with all three goals coming in the opening 20 minutes to give him five in his last three games. Inaki Williams brought Athletic Bilbao one back before halftime from the spot, and Yuri Berchiche made things interesting with a minute to go, but that was all they could muster as the visitors fell to sixth on 26 points, above Atletico Madrid on goal differential with the two yet to play head-to-head.

Celta Vigo made it interesting as Iago Aspas scored a man-down goal, but Leganes held on for a 3-2 win over the 10-man visitors. Oscar Rodriguez had a first-half brace to help the hosts to a 3-0 lead, but Nestor Araujo and Aspas helped Celta Vigo make things interesting. Still, a 71st minute second yellow card for halftime substitute Gabriel Fernandez hampered the visitors in their efforts for a comeback, leaving Celta Vigo in the relegation zone, a point back of safety, with Leganes is four points behind them in 19th.

Gerrard reacts to Rangers’ Old Firm heartbreak in final

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Steven Gerrard lined his Rangers side up for success, but fate was cruel to the Liverpool legend.

Rangers lost the League Cup Final to their Old Firm rivals on Sunday despite out-shooting the Bhoys by a 16-5 margin, winning a penalty, and playing almost a half-hour up a man.

[ RECAP: Rangers 0-1 Celtic ]

“To a man we were very good … by much the better side,” Gerrard said. “But unfortunately that’s not what gets you a trophy.”

But Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster stopped Alfredo Morelos’ penalty, three minutes after goal scorer Christopher Jullien was offside on the lone goal of the game.

Scotland doesn’t yet use VAR, and Gerrard doesn’t love VAR but he likes it more than he likes Scottish officials.

“There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR,” he said, via the BBC. “I’d be a liar if I said I was 100% in favour of it, but the one thing I do know is that officials up here need support.”

Now he has the task of getting his men to rebound ahead of its biggest non-derby in ages, as Rangers need at least a draw against Young Boys at home on Thursday to advance to the Europa League knockout rounds

“It’s a bit raw right now… It’s up to me to pick the players up. One thing I will say is I’ll stay with these players on the evidence of today because they gave me absolutely everything. We might have to suffer a bit short-term. I need to pick them up a bit physically and mentally for Thursday which is huge but our day will come on the evidence of today.”

Gerrard has done a very good job with Rangers, who are two points back of Celtic in a two-horse race for the Scottish top flight title. Celtic has won eight-straight titles to improve their total to 50, four less than the Rangers.