Premier League roundup: Chelsea, Man City stumble as Arsenal makes up ground

1 Comment

The final heavy match day in the Premier League for 2014 had goals, ejections, upsets and disallowed scores.

[ RELATED: PL standings | videos | PL stats ]

Below are recaps, reaction, analysis, videos and more to wrap up a crazy Sunday in the Premier League. Enjoy!

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Manchester UnitedRECAP

Frustration reigned at White Hart Lane for manager Louis van Gaal and his Red Devils. Juan Mata was brilliant for United, but the side just couldn’t find the goal to pull away from London with all three points. It’s now nine-straight matches without a loss for LVG and company.

source: Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – Premier League

Manchester City 2-2 BurnleyRECAP

Sean Dyche’s side orchestrated a stunning second-half comeback after Manchester City looking ready to cruise into the new year in style; Fernandinho and David Silva both scored classy goals for City as it built a 2-0 halftime lead, but George Boyd and Ashley Barnes helped Burnley to another point as they look to make up for a tough start to the season and earn Premier League safety.

Southampton 1-1 ChelseaRECAP

Jose Mourinho was quite frustrated after his Blues failed to take three points away from St. Mary’s. Eden Hazard scored a lovely goal to cancel out Sadio Mane’s torching of John Terry, but Chelsea couldn’t find a second goal to take advantage of City’s 2-2 draw.

Newcastle United 3-2 EvertonRECAP

The goals started early and came often for the Magpies and Toffees, who were both dealing with a variety of injuries. Arouna Kone scored his first goal for Everton since arriving in 2013 to start the scoring, but three different Newcastle players netted before Kevin Mirallas rounded out the score line with a late shot past 21-year-old backstop Jak Alnwick.

source: Getty Images

West Ham United 1-2 ArsenalRECAP

The Irons will feel hard done by thanks to Alex Song’s early disallowed goal, and rightly so, but Arsenal dominated from that point forward. Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck converted chances for the Gunners, who could’ve had many more. West Ham pulled one back, but always looked destined to finish second on the day.

Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

A pall was cast over the action at Loftus Road, as QPR and Air Asia executive Tony Fernandes was dealing with the disappearance of Air Asia flight QZ8501. The game never really found its stride, as the two sides split the points in the first match since Palace sacked Neil Warnock.

Stoke City 2-0 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Mame Biram Diouf provided both goals as Mark Hughes and company had the upper hand on a cold afternoon at the Britannia Stadium.

source: Getty Images

Hull City 0-1 Leicester CityRECAP

Nigel Pearson’s Foxes picked up their first win since September as Hull City failed to build momentum from a 3-1 win at Sunderland on Boxing Day.

Aston Villa 0-0 SunderandRECAP

Fabian Delph’s 49th minute red card failed to inject life into a miserable match at Villa Park.

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

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

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

UEFA Champions League
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

Leave a comment

Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]