Premier League Roundup: Top of the table dead even after highest-scoring New Year’s Day in PL history

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Premier League teams combined to score the most New Year’s Day goals in league history, with 13 of them ensuring the top of the table is as tight as possible on Jan. 1.

Manchester City’s 3-2 win over Sunderland and Chelsea’s shocking 5-3 loss at Tottenham has the league’s two top teams even on wins, points, goals scored, goals allowed and (obviously) goal differential.

Wow. What a day. Let’s dig into it.

Tottenham Hotspur 5-3 ChelseaRECAP

An absolute thriller of a London derby gave Tottenham a rare and well-deserved win over Chelsea, with Harry Kane leading the way with a pair of goals, a drawn penalty and an assist. That’s four of the five goals scored for Spurs, who took advantage of a tough day for John Terry (who would later score).

Manchester City 3-2 SunderlandRECAP

Five goals in 16 minutes made for a crazy second half at the Etihad Stadium, with Yaya Toure and Stevan Jovetic staking the hosts to a 2-0 lead before a pair of former Citizens, Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson, leveled the score. It was Frank Lampard, though, who won the day for City with his 73rd minute goal. The Citizens are now tied with Chelsea for the top spot in the Premier League.

Southampton 2-0 ArsenalRECAP

‘Twas not a day to remember fondly for Wojciech Szczesny, as the Arsenal keeper was caught out of goal by Sadio Mane and later allowed a Dusan Tadic goal to allow Southampton to provide some breathing room between the two clubs (and ultimately for Spurs to jump their London rivals on the table).

Newcastle United 3-3 BurnleyRECAP

A wide-open game and a tale of two halves, as a dominant Newcastle first half was half-negated by a horrible own goal from Paul Dummett. The Magpies led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but George Boyd again played hero for the Clarets with a final frame equalizer. Newcastle remains mid-table, while Burnley is inching its way close to escaping the drop zone.

Stoke City 1-1 Manchester UnitedRECAP


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Peter Crouch and Ryan Shawcross combined for a 2nd minute goal, and United could only find an equalizer on a perfect day to make up ground on Chelsea. Radamel Falcao was again a goal scorer for the Red Devils.

Liverpool 2-2 Leicester CityRECAP

The Reds led 2-0 on a pair of suspect at-best penalties when Leicester struck back with two strong goals in three minutes. Steven Gerrard converted both penalties for Liverpool, while David Nugent and Jeff Schlupp scored in the Foxes’ comeback.

Hull City 2-0 EvertonRECAP

What in the world has happened to Roberto Martinez and Everton. For one thing, they’ve been without Tim Howard but that doesn’t excuse being out shot 14-9 by the Tigers. Ahmed Elmohamady and former Toffees striker Nikica Jelavic scored for Hull, who found a bit of breathing room in their race to avoid the drop.

Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Swansea CityRECAP

Wilfried Bony ruined Harry Redknapp’s dreams of a perfect start to 2015. The Ivorian’s stoppage time goal kept Leroy Fer’s 20th minute tally from being the match-winner, and has QPR just two points above the relegation zone.

West Ham United 1-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Tony Pulis got his first up-close look at the reclamation project that awaits him, and he’ll have to wonder where the attack will come from if West Brom sells Saido Berahino. The young English striker’s 42nd minute goal allowed the Baggies to stay ahead of the drop zone by a single point.

Aston Villa 0-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

There wasn’t much to like from either team, as USMNT and Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan may’ve been the star of whatever show there was on a tough day for excitement at Villa Park.

How will USMNT line up versus Costa Rica?

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Saturday brings a first look at the United States men’s national team in 2020, though Gregg Berhalter’s bunch won’t look anything like its best self.

The Yanks have an almost exclusively MLS roster for the match, with Hobro’s Christian Cappas, Wolfsburg II’s Uly Llanez and unattached 17-year-old Bryang Kayo in the fold.

Many of Berhalter’s best MLS stars won’t be in Carson either for the 3:55 p.m. ET Saturday kickoff. Jordan Morris, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley are the biggest names.

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Ronald Gonzalez’s Ticos will be similarly hampered, although more of Costa Rica’s A-side play in MLS and domestically.

We’ll leave the breakdown of the visitors for a later date, but who will rep the U.S. in Saturday’s Starting XI?

The travel roster includes keepers Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, and Matt Turner, as well as defenders Aaron Long, Walker Zimmerman, Reggie Cannon, Julian Araujo, Chase Gasper, Justen Glad, Mark McKenzie, and Sam Vines. Listed midfielders Sebastian Lletget, Jackson Yueill, Brenden Aaronson, Cappis, Kayo, and Brandon Servania are joined by forwards Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Jonathan Lewis, Jesus Ferreira, and Ulysses Llanez.

Goalkeeper is anyone’s guess, but Johnson’s got the most run of the three during the Berhalter era. The younger Turner or more accomplished Hamid may step in there.

It would be surprising to see any other center backs besides Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long given what we know of Berhalter and his respect for regulars. Reggie Cannon should start at right back and it’s between Chase Gasper and Sam Vines for the left. We’ll choose Vines out of intrigue.

Jackson Yueill, Paul Arriola, Sebastian Lletget, and Gyasi Zardes are safe bets to start, and this would seem a spot to give Jonathan Lewis more than subs’ run. That leaves one spot, and we’re pegging Brandon Servania to be the one chosen of four midfielders aged 17-20.

There’s also the matter of whether FC Dallas striker Jesus Ferreira will be internationally cleared to play Saturday. We sure hope he will be!

How do you think Berhalter will line them up?


How Berhalter may go

Johnson

Cannon — Zimmerman — Long — Vines

Yueill — Servania

Arriola — Lletget — Lewis

Zardes


What we’d like to see

Turner

Cannon — Zimmerman — McKenzie — Vines

Yueill — Cappis — Servania

Arriola — Ferreira — Lewis

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Report: Sheffield United in ‘advanced talks’ for $22M Norway star

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Sheffield United is ready to add one of the game’s brightest young talents to its blossoming Premier League side.

Norway midfielder Sander Berge is the name, and he’s been linked with Liverpool amongst others over the past few months.

Berge turns 22 next month and already has 20 caps for Norway in addition to 113 senior appearances for Genk in Belgium and 43 more for Valerenga in his home country.

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The defensive midfielder has chipped in six goals and four assists. He won the Belgian Super League with Genk last year and has a career-best four goals so this season.

It shows what success brings to a club, as Sky Sports reports that Berge turned down a move to Bramall Lane in the summer.

The fee is said to be $22 million, which isn’t small but completely reasonable given his stature for club and country.

This may move may join the Lys Mousset purchase as one of the Blades’ smartest bits of business, especially as Chris Wilder‘s men look for success on multiple fronts. Their success as a newly-promoted side is one of the great stories of the European season, and a place in Europe would be a fantastic achievement.

From The Yorkshire Post:

“It is going well, no doubt about it,” Wilder said. “On the Premier League front and in the Cup. You probably would not think it, but the win at Millwall has given me an enormous amount of pleasure in confirming, not even seeing, what my team is about. Players have come in with the likes of the skipper (Billy Sharp) and other players who are really driving it forward and want to produce individual performances and the atmosphere is good.”

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Espanyol identify 12 fans who racially insulted player

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BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish club Espanyol says it has identified 12 fans who racially insulted an Athletic Bilbao player in the Spanish league last weekend.

Espanyol said on Monday in a statement that nine of the fans were club members and would face punishment that could include suspension or a full-time ban.

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It said a report of its analysis of the video images of Saturday’s game at RCDE Stadium were sent to authorities.

The club reiterated its “categorical condemnation of any displays of violence and racism.”

The fans made monkey noises directed at Athletic forward Inaki Williams, who is black. Television images showed Williams confronting the section of Espanyol fans who taunted him after he was substituted late in the game in Barcelona.

The Spanish league said it will seek a partial stadium closure for Espanyol and will raise the incident with the Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee, which handles disciplinary issues.

Transfer rumors: West Ham want $44M midfielder, Barca eyes Rodrigo

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West Ham United is being linked with a big transfer splash, and it’s not even a striker.

Uruguayan midfielder Nahitan Nandez is the man in question, and West Ham is reportedly tempting Cagliari with a $44 million offer this January.

Nandez, 23, arrived from Boca Juniors for less than half that fee this summer, and has chipped in a goal with three assists for Tommaso Giulini’s sixth-place Serie A side.

He’s got 31 caps for his national team, and is averaging 1.5 tackles per match with Cagliari. Nandez is also averaging a key pass and 1.1 successful dribbles per league outing.

Football-Italia says that Cagliari will try to tie Nandez to a new deal with a $44 million release clause if the move to West Ham is unsuccessful.

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Meanwhile Barcelona’s pursuit of a Luis Suarez replacement isn’t limited to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to Marca.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu admits that Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno is interesting his coaches.

“We don’t talk about players from other teams. But [Rodrigo’s] name is on the table of the coaches, and a replacement will arrive. I do not know whether it will be from Barcelona B or from outside. I like many players.”

The Spaniard has eight goals in 21 caps, and turns 29 in March. Rodrigo has four goals and 10 assists in 23 matches across all competitions this season.

Valencia beat Barcelona this weekend to send the Blaugranas three points back of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.