Southampton 0-3 Everton: Lukaku, Barkley give Toffees easy win

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  • Lukaku opened the scoring after 21 minutes 
  • Belgian doubled the lead on stroke of half time
  • Barkley curled home late to seal win
  • Pelle had Saints’ best chance with a volley in second half
  • Everton only had 1 clean sheet in 17 PL away games before this

Everton cruised to a 3-0 win away at Southampton on Saturday, as the Toffees scored twice in the first half through Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley wrapped up the win late on.

Roberto Martinez men looked the more dangerous throughout at St Mary’s and Southampton struggled defensively while creating few chances. With the win, Everton now has four points from their opening two games and Saints have just one point after this humbling defeat.

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Everton started the brighter of the two teams and deservedly went ahead in the 21st minute after an electric counter attack. Southampton had a corner cleared and Ross Barkley raced down the pitch, feeding the ball into Arouna Kone who clipped in a perfect cross for Lukaku to head home. Boom. 1-0 to the Toffees and just 17 seconds had passed from Saints having a corner at one end of the pitch and the ball hitting the back of their own net at the other.

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The home side tried to gather themselves before the break but lost the ball in possession easily and could easily have been 2-0 down on 29 minutes. Lukaku again ran at the heart of Saints’ shaky defense and he played in Barkley who had his tame shot saved by Maarten Stekelenburg, then Tom Cleverley fired a follow-up miserably wide.

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That was a warning sign Saints didn’t take notice off and although Victor Wanyama headed over in the 35th minute, it was 2-0 to Everton right on the stroke of half time. That man Lukaku was again a menace, as he won the ball in midfield, drove forward and played a great one-two with Barkley before sweeping the ball home for his and Everton’s second. The Toffees were cruising.

In the second half Saints came out all guns blazing an in the 52nd minute Graziano Pelle sent a volley goalwards that Tim Howard saved well. New signing Oriol Romeu looked composed in possession but picked up a yellow card just three minutes into his debut.

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Pelle had a few other chances in and around the box, as the Italian international headed over from a Steven Davis corner at the back post, but it was Everton who had the last word. Barkley found space on the left hand side of the box and curled a sumptuous effort into the far corner for his second PL goal in as many games this season.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Bayern Munich kicking the tires on big Zaha bid

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A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.

90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.

A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.

Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.

Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.

And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).