Premier League Roundup: Chelsea blow it, Swansea, Spurs and Palace win

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Nervy nail-biters were the order of the day in the Premier League, as we’re still no clearer to unraveling the picture at both ends of the standings.

Although at the top of the standings, title-chasing Chelsea suffered a hammer blow in their quest for the PL crown as they wee beaten at home under Jose Mourinho for the first time ever. Bottom side Sunderland were the victors, as a late penalty means Mourinho tastes defeat at home for the first time in 77 PL matches. Incredible.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Swansea City were the big winners down the bottom as they beat Newcastle, while Crystal Palace sealed their fifth-straight win to secure their place in the PL next season. As for the teams in the relegation zone Fulham loss at Spurs, Cardiff drew at home to Stoke, while Sunderland bagged that crucial win at Chelsea.

If you missed any of the action, don’t worry we have you covered.

Below are the recaps, brief analysis and video highlights to satisfy your PL needs. Enjoy… what a Saturday!

Aston Villa 0-0 Southampton

Stalemate at Villa Park, as Saints spurned three glorious chances to win with Rickie Lambert (twice) and Adam Lallana the guilty parties. Aston Villa thwarted Saints’ attempts and had a few half chances of their own, but Paul Lambert’s side were more than content to grab another point as they ease away from the relegation zone. Saints had a late penalty appeal turned down, as they remain in eighth spot with Villa in 12th on 35 points. They are five points clear of the drop zone with three games left, so the Villans, just, should be around in the PL next season.

Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City

The Bluebirds missed a big chance to draw level with Norwich outside the relegation zone, as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s boys ran out of steam at home. Stoke City took a first half lead through a dubious penalty, as Marko Arnautovic slammed home on his birthday. Then Howard Webb pointed to the spot for a second time after the break, with Peter Whittingham scoring for Cardiff. The Bluebirds had a goal disallowed for offside, but in truth they had their ‘keeper David Marshall to thank for a string of fine saves, plus the woodwork helped them out. Still in the battle against the drop, but time is running out for Cardiff.

Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland

Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home run in the Premier League as Chelsea’s manager is over, as Sunderland delivered a hammer blow in the Blues’ hopes of lifting the title. Samuel Eto’o gave Chelsea an early lead but Connor Wickham equalized within six minutes as Sunderland dug in to frustrate the title chasers. Despite relentless pressure, it was the Black Cats who scored late on to win it, as U.S. international Jozy Altidore won a slightly dubious penalty kick in the 82nd minute which Fabio Borini slotted home. Afterwards Mourinho lost the plot in his TV interview, launching a tirade against the referees, as the ‘Special One’ and Chelsea saw their title hopes dashed by the bottom club. Sensational.

Newcastle United 1-2 Swansea City

A stoppage-time penalty kick from Wilfried Bony sealed a valuable three points for Swansea, as the South Wales side all but secured their Premier League status. Newcastle had taken the lead through Shola Ameobi midway through the first half but Bony headed home a lovely equalizer on the stroke of half time to send the teams in level. Both sides pushed for the winner but the pivotal moment arrived in time added on as sub Marvin Emnes raced clear and was brought down by Cheick Tiote in the box. Swansea are now on 36 points and should be safe, while Newcastle have lost five-straight games.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham

Spurs were sloppy for most of the first half and although they took the lead against Fulham, thanks to Paulinho’s tap-in from a sublime Chirstian Eriksen free kick, the Cottagers had most of the play. Steve Sidwell equalized two minutes later, as the Lilywhites were showing exactly why they’d won two-straight before their trip to White Hart Lane. Spurs were much better after the break and youngster Harry Kane scored his third goal in three games for Spurs with a deft header, before Younes Kaboul knocked home yet another stunning delivery from Eriksen. Fulham were handed a lifeline 15 minutes from time as Eriksen handled in the box, but Sidwell saw his spot kick saved by Hugo Lloris as Spurs held on for the win. Tottenham stay in sixth, while Fulham remain two points from safety with three games to go.

West Ham United 0-1 Crystal Palace

A club record five wins in a row has seen the Eagles soar to 11th place, as Tony Pulis’ men are absolutely flying. A narrow win, thanks to Mile Jedinak’s penalty kick, away at London rivals West Ham means they are mathematically safe and now have their sights set on finishing in the top half of the standings. As for West Ham, they huffed and puffed but were unable to break down a stubborn Palace team with Andy Carroll, amongst other, spurning good opportunities to score.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says goodbye to the LA Galaxy

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has bid adieu to Major League Soccer, thanking the LA Galaxy for “making me feel alive again.”

The Swedish superstar averaged nearly a goal per game with the Galaxy, and was rumored to be in line for another two years at the club.

[ MORE: Columbus acquires Nagbe ]

Perhaps those reports, and maybe AC Milan’s struggles to score goals, have made more suitors come forward. Time will tell.

The Galaxy said the decision was a “mutual parting of ways” and thanked the player for his work both on and off the pitch.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

Zlatan’s full thoughts, below, were a bit more Zlatanny.

Klein will have his hands full in replacing Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 times in 53 matches, but the Galaxy have always managed to bring in big names.

Getting a star playmaker is even more important as El Trafico rivals LAFC have rewritten the MLS record book and snared plenty of attention in California and across the league.

Columbus acquires Nagbe from Atlanta for $1M in allocation

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Darlington Nagbe is headed for a reunion with old boss Caleb Porter.

Columbus has sent over $1 million in allocation money to Atlanta United in order to claim the influential midfielder.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

Porter coached Nagbe at the University of Akron and the Portland Timbers, and has 25 USMNT caps but has turned down Gregg Berhalter’s requests for service.

Nagbe made 46 appearances across all competitions for the Five Stripes this season, scoring twice with five assists. He has 313 matches played between Portland and Atlanta.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“Darlington Nagbe is a proven winner and the type of player who can be a difference-maker in our team,” Crew SC president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “In addition to his skill set, we believe that Darlington is someone whose character and values fit well within our organization. As we stated heading into this offseason, we continue to look both domestically and internationally for players that will make our team better, and we believe Darlington is an important part of those efforts.”

It’s a bold statement from Columbus, who had a reputation for getting the most of its talent under Berhalter but faded under Porter after a hot start. The Crew began 2019 with a 4-1-1 record but lost 13 of its next 15 matches.

Of course, being MLS, the Crew then only lost 2 of their final 13 matches. Shoulder shrug emoji.

NYCFC teen agrees move to Borussia Monchengladbach

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New York City FC’s impressive academy has earned one of the bigger transfer market payoffs in MLS Homegrown history, and will join the current Bundesliga leaders after next season.

Joe Scally, 16, is headed to Borussia Monchengladbach on a $2 million transfer with a sell-on clause, and will spend the 2020 MLS season with his boyhood club. Scally has played in the Open Cup, but has not debuted in an MLS match.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

The $2 million figure is on the edge of Top 30 for departing MLS players, according to Transfermarkt, just behind Cyle Larin’s move from Orlando City to Besiktas.

Scally appeared 11 times for the U.S. U-17 national team, going 90 minutes in all three matches and assisting on the lone American goal at the World Cup in Brazil.

From Borussia.de:

“Joe Scally is a top American talent who we have been following for a long time. We see a lot of potential in Joe and we are looking forward to him joining up with us in January 2021. Until then, we will work together with New York City FC to prepare him for his move to Germany,” said Borussia’s sporting director, Max Eberl.

Not sure just how long they could’ve been following a 16-year-old, but we digress.

Scally will join U-17 teammates Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg) on the books at a Bundesliga club. Recent U-17 call-ups Pablo Soares (Gladbach) and Noah Jones (RB Leipzig) are also with clubs in Germany’s top flight.

Last month, NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna told me that Scally was the perfect example of a young player trusting a club’s preference of changing his position.

“The perfect example is Joe Scally on the U-17 World Cup team. He came to us from a club in Long Island as an athletic box-to-box midfielder. He was very strong, but we saw him as an outside back. The lesson that we now we share that with our players, don’t get upset if you move to a position, but Joe Scally understood, never complained, he played wherever he was told to do, and now he’s a right back now, 16 years old going to the World Cup after being in our academy for two and a half years.”

Looks like it’s worked out.

Spanish court to decide fate of Spanish league game in USA

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish court will decide whether the Spanish league will be allowed to play the Villarreal-Atletico Madrid game in the United States next month.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Madrid to hear arguments from the league and the Spanish soccer federation, which is against taking the regular-season match abroad.

The league has called for an injunction to force the federation to give its approval. It accuses the local soccer body of unfair competition.

The league also needs the approval of UEFA and American soccer bodies to be able to play the match, which is scheduled for Dec. 6 in Miami.

The commercial court hearing the case is expected to issue a ruling within the next few days.

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