Premier League Roundup: Great escape is on for Fulham, Cardiff as basement boys win

Leave a comment

It ain’t over ’til it’s over… and these boys are hanging on in there.

Fulham, Cardiff City and former strugglers Crystal Palace all won on Saturday, as the Cottagers and Bluebirds have now given themselves a real chance of Premier League survival.

With four games to go it is so tight at the bottom of the PL standings, with just five points separating Cardiff in 19th and Aston Villa in 14th. Norwich, Swansea, West Brom and Aston Villa are now looking anxiously over their shoulders.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Tottenham surged back to draw 3-3 with Baggies, after being 3-0 down, while Stoke and Everton bagged yet another win as the PL’s two form sides keep rolling on. The Toffees have now moved into the fourth and final Champions League place.

In case you missed any of the pulsating action, don’t fret my friends, we have you covered. Below are recaps, analysis and video highlights of every single PL game from Saturday.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa

The Eagles are in 12th place and almost getting a nosebleed. Jason Puncheon scored his third goal in two games, as the tricky winger slammed home with 15 minutes to go. Aston Villa are in free-fall but boss Paul Lambert still thinks there are ‘lots of games left’ to turn it around. Umm, Paul, it is mid-April. Palace are safe, Villa definitely aren’t.

Fulham 1-0 Norwich City

Hugo Rodallega was Fulham’s match-winner for the second straight weekend, as the Cottagers picked the perfect time to win back-to-back PL games for the first time since October. Norwich were pretty decent, under new boss Neil Adams, but couldn’t beat an inspired David Stockdale in goal for Fulham, as the Canaries now face Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in their final four games. Fulham are two points behind the Canaries, with a much easier run-in. Could these two flip-flop by the end of the season?

Southampton 0-1 Cardiff City

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Bluebirds have put a week of turmoil behind them to give themselves a big chance of beating the drop. It was only their second away win of the season, as Juan Cala’s cool finish in the second half sunk the Saints. Cardiff’s Norwegian boss said his team will ‘won’t give up until it’s over’ and on this showing, they will take this to the final day of the season. Great spirit and grit from Cardiff, while Saints will be shaking their heads in disbelief after dominating yet another game.

Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle United

The Potters are on a roll, with five wins in their last seven games catapulting Mark Hughes’ side just three points behind Newcastle United in ninth. Erik Pieters scored the only goal of the game, as his lofted cross somehow looped in past Tim Krul to give Stoke all three points. Newcastle are unraveling at the seams, as they have now lost four-straight games without scoring. Is Alan Pardew’s time on Tyneside about to run out?

Sunderland 0-1 Everton

Everton move into fourth position after a gutsy win away at basement club Sunderland. The Black Cats acquitted themselves well throughout but just didn’t have that killer instinct around the box. The lone goal of the game was an own goal, as Wes Brown put into his own net to hand the Toffees all three points. Note for USMNT fans: Jozy Altidore didn’t make the matchday squad yet again.

West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Dear oh dear, West Brom… what is going on? For the second-straight home game the Baggies let a big lead slip, as they drew 3-3 again in an awful case of Déjà vu. Leading 3-0 after 31 minutes, Pepe Mel was already spending his win bonus as goals from Matej Vydra, Chris Brunt and Stephane Sessegnon put West Brom in a commanding position. Then Spurs came roaring back, as the got a lifeline before half time with Jonas Olsson’s own goal, then Harry Kane scored another to make it 3-2 with 20 minutes to go. The Baggies nearly held on, then Christian Eriksen popped up in stoppage time to seal a remarkable comeback for Spurs.

VIDEO: Breaking down some celebrated Premier League derbies

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The kickoffs aren’t coming back soon, so we’re finding solace in anticipating the biggest matches on the Premier League calendar.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Certain rivalries are circled on the fixture list when it arrives each summer, the sort of games that seem to level the playing field regardless of the gulf in class.

Is Arsenal struggling? No better way to bounce back than Spurs.

Liverpool sliding a bit? It’ll snap back to form when Everton hits Anfield.

PST lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright has prepped up for several of these derbies over the years, and here’s a cheat sheet for those new and a tasty summation for those missing their hated foes.

Liverpool-Manchester City

Arsenal-Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool-Everton

Manchester City-Manchester United

Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur

Bournemouth’s Howe takes voluntary pay cut, first PL manager to do so

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is the first Premier League manager to take a pay cut due to the coronavirus suspension.

Howe joins Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, first team technical director Richard Hughes, and assistant manager Jason Tindall in taking “significant, voluntary” pay cuts.

Howe is the longest-serving manager in the PL. He started with Bournemouth’s academy in 1994 and spent just a few short seasons away from home (Portsmouth and Swindon Town) during his playing career.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The club has also furloughed employees throughout the organization. From a Bournemouth statement:

There is no script for moments like this. No tactics and no set plays to find a winning formula. But as a board we are continually looking at ways to ensure the future of the club and our employees is protected when the season returns.

We have also advised a number of staff across all areas of the club that they will be temporarily furloughed, as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

These measures have been taken to safeguard the financial stability of the club during what is such an uncertain period, not only in football but for businesses in all industries across the world.

Surely Howe won’t be the last during this uncertain time for clubs and businesses all over the world.

Ex-Marseille president first coronavirus-related death in Senegal

Pape Diouf
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images
1 Comment

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) Pape Diouf, a former president of French soccer club Marseille, died Tuesday in Senegal after contracting the coronavirus. It was the West African country’s first COVID-19-related death, according to the health ministry. He was 68.

Diouf, who was president of Marseille from 2005-09, had been treated since Saturday in intensive care in Dakar, health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.

Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

“I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.”

Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region.

In its most recent count, Senegal has reported 190 cases of the coronavirus, with 45 of those having recovered.

Diouf was a charismatic and popular leader who was close to the fans and players at Marseille, the only French team to win the European club title.

“Pape will forever remain in the hearts of Marseille people and (is) one of the great architects of the club,” Marseille wrote under a photo of Diouf.

Shortly before his time at the club ended, Diouf signed Didier Deschamps as the new coach and Deschamps won the French league title and League Cup in his first season in charge. It was Marseille’s first league title in 18 years.

Deschamps, who coached France to World Cup success two years ago, described Diouf as “a man of convictions, a spirited man, passionate about football” adding that his “sudden and brutal death deeply saddens me.”

“I could measure his popularity, which was immense with the Marseille people whose hearts he had won,” Deschamps said on L’Equipe’s website.

The French soccer league called Diouf’s death “a moment of immense sadness for French soccer.”

Diouf was born in Chad to Senegalese parents. After arriving in Marseille at the age of 18, he became a sports journalist and then a players’ agent.

Diouf was not afraid to take risks in signing unheralded players, such as the diminutive Mathieu Valbuena from third-tier side Libourne in 2006 when he was 21.

The 1.67-meter (5 feet, 5 inches) Valbuena went on to prove Diouf right, and all the doubters wrong, playing 52 times for France.

“A great man with a great heart,” Valbuena said. “We were hypnotized by his speeches, he had a lot of charisma.”

Diouf was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in 2012, one of the country’s highest honors.

Pugmire reported from Paris. AP reporter Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal contributed.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Griezmann plus cash could finally get Neymar back to Barcelona

Neymar
Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Neymar’s long-rumored return to Barcelona hasn’t quite reached the point of exhaustion, but it’s close.

A new report has said Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain may be coming to terms with what’s been a fairly obvious swap deal for some time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

According to Sky Sports, PSG would send Neymar to Barcelona in return for French hero Antoine Griezmann and money.

The $167 million price tag attached to Neymar is significantly more than the $110 million on Griezmann, and there’s no doubt the former is more of a gamechanger at this point on their careers.

While Neymar gets both the #whenhealthy and #whenavailable tags to his rep, he’s scored 18 times with 10 assists in 22 matches across all competitions this year.

Before the full phrase ‘Ligue 1’ exits your lips, he’s scored against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, Galatasaray, Liverpool, Anderlecht, and Red Star Belgrade in his three seasons with PSG.

Griezmann is a full year older than Neymar and, while one of the world’s elite attackers, he’s a step below the Brazilian’s tier. He’s also said to want to keep finding his way at Barca, with Gerard Pique and others ready to lend support.