Premier League roundup: Chelsea, Man City, Man United, Arsenal roll

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That was quite a day of Premier League action, and with all eight matches in the books we can finally exhale (for now).

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With just Newcastle-Norwich and Swansea-Stoke remaining in this match week, the league saw nearly three goals per game on Saturday.

[ MORE: Standings | schedule | stats ]

And one of the more exciting matches was scoreless.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 LiverpoolRECAP

Jurgen Klopp’s debut didn’t disappoint in terms of his exuberance, as the German manager watched over an entertaining but goal-free match at White Hart Lane. Without Christian Benteke and Danny Ings, Liverpool started Divock Origi up top and couldn’t produce a goal, but neither could Harry Kane and unfortunate Christian Eriksen. Spurs sit seventh, one point ahead of the eighth-place Reds.

Watford 0-3 ArsenalRECAP

An uninspired first half, one Arsene Wenger credited to the international break, had Odion Ighalo and the Hornets dreaming of their first win over the Gunners in three decades. But Arsenal produced a second half ripe for soccer lovers most places outside of Hertfordshire, getting goals from Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and even Aaron Ramsey in a thrilling and fluid second half. Arsenal is tied for second with Man Utd, two points back of Man City.

Everton 0-3 Manchester UnitedRECAP

This was a litmus test for the Toffees, one which never got to the lab. Everton lost legendary manager Howard Kendall before the game at the age of 69, and didn’t find its footing against goals from Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin. United can leapfrog City for first in the league come next weekend’s Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.

Crystal Palace 1-3 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Dwight Gayle saw red for a Palace side that picked up a fortunate penalty kick but ultimately sunk to the magic of Dimitri Payet and his Hammers. The French midfielder seems to be devising ways to beat Premier League defenses on a minute-by-minute basis, and West Ham is benefitting to the tune of fourth place on the table.

Chelsea 2-0 Aston VillaRECAP

Diego Costa scored an easy goal and had a part in Alan Hutton scoring an own goal, with Willian and an Aston Villa defender helping each be possible. Jose Mourinho’s club moves to 11th with 11 points, while Villa stays in the drop zone with a meager quartet of points.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 SunderlandRECAP

Tony Pulis‘ Baggies started the match laying back. Yep, laying back against Sunderland. Three cheers for conservatism. But they opened up as the match moved forward, and Saido Berahino‘s controversial collision with Costel Pantilimon led to the young English striker’s goal, ruining Sam Allardyce‘s debut as Sunderland boss.

Southampton 2-2 Leicester CityRECAP

Saints got goals from a pair of defenders, then watched as the Premier League’s most consistent scorer took the advantage away. Virgil Van Dijk and Jose Fonte, baby, netted for the hosts before Jamie Vardy stunned St. Mary’s with his eighth and ninth goals of the season. The draw leaves Leicester fifth and Saints eighth.

Manchester City 5-1 BournemouthRECAP

So… City loses Sergio Aguero, who was coming off a five-goal bender against Newcastle, and finds a hat trick from Raheem Sterling and a brace from Wilfried Bony in a dominant run over defenseless Bounemouth. City’s atop the Premier League by two points ahead of a visit to Old Trafford for next weekend’s derby.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mari to Arsenal; Defoe makes permanent Rangers move

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League outfits.

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Arsenal are reportedly hours from adding a defender to Mikel Arteta‘s squad.

Flamengo’s Pablo Mari has reportedly arrived in London and set for a medical at Arsenal, Sky Sports reports. The 26-year-old Spaniard will join the North London side for the remainder of the season with an option to buy.

It won’t be Mari’s first time signing for a Premier League side, however.

In 2016, the center-back signed with Manchester City, but never featured for the defending champions, instead making appearances for Girona, NAC and Deportivo La Coruna on loan.

Jermaine Defoe is not returning to Bournemouth.

On Saturday, Rangers announced that Defoe signed a pre-contract to join Rangers on permanent basis in the summer.

The storied 37-year-old English striker has 20 goals in 57 appearances since joining the Scottish giants last January on a 18-month loan. Defoe’s new contract runs through the 2020-21 season, a one-year deal.

“It’s fantastic news,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told the club’s website. “It’s something we have been working on over the weeks and it is great to finally get that done and dusted.”

“He is an incredible professional with the way he goes about his work on and off the pitch – he is a credit to himself and his family. And also on the pitch, which is the main thing. He is still contributing heavily – he is a major part of this group, this team and this squad and hopefully together we can go and share some success as I think he deserves that.”

This season, Defoe has scored 16 goals in 28 games.

Crystal Palace are in talks to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco, according to Sky Sports.

Carrasco, 26, wants to leave Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang and is currently training in Belgium, ahead of a return to European play.

Carrasco has scored 24 goals in 52 appearances since making a move to China from Atletico Madrid in February 2018.

Norwich City are actively pursuing Danel Sinani, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old Luxembourg winger is out of contract with Luxembourg side FC Dudelange this summer. If the parties involved can’t reach a deal this week,  the Canaries are reportedly ready to propose a pre-contract agreement.

Mourinho hints Spurs to sign Lo Celso permanently: ‘I think the boy is earning the decision’

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Tottenham Hotspur loanee Giovani Lo Celso is closer to permanently stay in North London than he is to return back to Sevilla.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints draw and force 4-th round FA Cup replay ]

The 23-year-old Argentine, who arrived at Spurs from Real Betis last summer on a season-long loan, experienced a rocky start in the Premier League. Lo Celso – with only 44 minutes of English top-flight playing time under his belt – suffered a hip injury with Argentina, ruling him out two months in the fall.

Since, the attacking midfielder has worked his way up Jose Mourinho’s pecking order, featuring heavily in the Portuguese’s scheme over the past few months. Most recently, on Saturday, Lo Celso displayed his well-balanced virtues in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Following the match, Mourinho addressed questions on whether or not his club is going to sign the midfielder on a permanent contract. Praiseworthy of Lo Celso’s learning abilities, Mourinho hopes the midfielder will be a part of the club’s long-term plans.

“It’s not an obligation, it’s an option,” Mourinho said of Lo Celso, who is reportedly available at reduced price of $35 million. “I think the boy is earning the decision. He’s making an easy decision for the club to execute the option.”

“Incredible evolution since I arrived,” he added. “Barely played a game, I think he played against Red Star Belgrade, with me a little bit difficult to come in the first few weeks. But he understood what we wanted. Good learner, good kid and I think by himself he made the decision that the club is going to execute the option. That’s normal, he earned it.”

With Christian Eriksen on the verge of departing the London side, Mourinho and company will have additional funds to land Lo Celso this winter before his price spikes in the summer.

Everything points to the creative midfielder having a future in London, but will Spurs brass follow suit and make it official soon?

Netherlands forward Rob Rensenbrink dies at age 72

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Rob Rensenbrink, the forward who was centimeters away from delivering the Netherlands a World Cup title in 1978, has died at age 72, the Dutch football association said Saturday.

“We have heard with sadness of the death of football legend Rob Rensenbrink,” the association said in a tweet.

Rensenbrink played most of his club football in Belgium with Club Brugge and Anderlecht, where his weaving runs earned him the nickname “Snake Man.” He also played briefly for the Portland Timbers in the United States in 1980.

He was a regular for the Netherlands national team in its period of dominance in the 1970s.

He played 46 times and scored 14 goals for the Dutch team known for its slick, position-swapping “total football.”

But he will always be best remembered for the goal he didn’t quite score in the 1978 World Cup final.

With the scores tied at 1-1 between the Netherlands and host Argentina and the seconds ticking away in injury time of the final in Buenos Aires, Rensenbrink’s shot hit the post. The match went to extra time and Argentina scored twice to win 3-1.

It was the second straight World Cup final defeat for the Netherlands, which has appeared in three finals and lost them all.

Rensenbrink was diagnosed with a muscle disease in 2012 and died as a result of the illness, according to Dutch national broadcaster NOS.

Anderlecht said he died Friday night.

“Thanks for everything Robbie!” the Belgian club wrote on its website. “We will never forget you.”

Serie A roundup: Ilicic powers Atalanta in historic win over Torino (video)

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Atalanta’s historic and overpowering win over Torino highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Torino 0-7 Atalanta

Josip Ilicic scored a hat-trick, including a center-line strike, as Atalanta humiliated Torino 7-0 on Saturday, handing the hosts their worst home loss ever in Serie A play.

With only nine men on the field towards the end of the match for Turin-based side, Atalanta were able to capitalize, elevating their goal count to 57 goals in 21 games this season. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men, who are back in Champions League contention, lead the league in goals.

Robin Gosens and Duvan Zapata, who scored a minute before the break, added to Ilicic’s first of three. A three-goal advantage after the first 45 minutes foreshadowed what Torino was going to encounter in the second half: more goals.

Eight minutes into the final 45 minutes of Saturday’s bout at the Olimpico di Torino, Ilicic quick-fired two more past an exposed Salvatore Sirigu.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Luis Muriel took the field for the visitors. And just six minutes after his first foot on the natural surface, the Colombian striker had a brace to his name.

“All we can do is apologize,” Torino coach Walter Mazzarri said. “In so many years of my career I had never had such a game.”

In fourth place with 38 points, Atalanta look to increase their seven-goal performances this season to three as they host struggling Genoa in a weeks time. Torino, on the other hand, meet AC Milan on Tuesday in the quarterfinal’s of the Coppa Italia.


SPAL 1-3 Bologna

Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa