Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Aston Villa (Lineups and Discuss)

Leave a comment

Both sides claim to be safe from the relegation fight, but both Crystal Palace and Aston Villa would love to emerge from Selhurst Park clutching all three points (Watch live at 10:07 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

Villa and Palace are each on 34 points after having played 32 matches. It’s the visitors that are having a tougher time of it at the moment, however. Since beating Chelsea a month ago, Villa have lost three in a row, by a combined score of 10-3. The Villa even managed to lose 2-1 to Fulham last weekend, giving the Cottagers an immense boost in their fight for safety.

Tony Pulis, meanwhile, is proving his worth as a manager that never lets his side get relegated. Now in 14th, seven points clear of the drop, Palace are looking like a side that will still be in the Premier League next year. They’re helped by losing just one of their last four – and still bolstered by beating Chelsea two weeks back.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

Paul Lambert makes four changes to the side that lost to Fulham last weekend. Although Christian Benteke will remain sidelined until next season, the Villa manager is thrilled to have Gabby Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi back to start. The other change is Ciaran Clark in to help in defense, with Lambert changing from a 4-3-3 to a fluid 3-5-2/5-3-2 against Palace.

It’s an unchanged team for Palace, with Pulis deciding that if the lineup is good enough for an emphatic win at Cardiff, it’s certainly good enough for a home victory against Aston Villa. The manager will be looking for Jason Puncheon to create another big punch, with the attacker netting twice last weekend.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, Ledley, Jerome

Subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Ince, Gayle, Murray, Chamakh

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Bertrand, Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Holt

Subs: Bennett, Weimann, Albrighton, Sylla, Bowery, Tonev, Steer

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

twitter.com/RealMonarchs
Leave a comment

Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

Getty Images
Leave a comment

TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.