PL Sunday preview: Manchester Derby, Tyne-Wear Derby, Spurs’ title chances

Leave a comment

A pair of local derbies — one with top-four implications, the other a relegation six-pointer with two months remaining in the season — a title hopeful needing a win to stay in the race, and mid-table battle with European qualification implications … Sunday’s four-game slate of Premier League action has a little bit of everything.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Newcastle United vs. Sunderland — 9:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

The Tyne-Wear rivalry has been an exercise in futility in recent years, as both Newcastle and Sunderland flounder in the relegation zone for much of the year, only to escape at the tail end of the season. In the on-field derby, it’s been little more than a training exercise for the Black Cats, who have beaten the Magpies in six straight PL meetings by a combined score of 13-1 beginning in April 2013. Newcastle’s last derby win came nine tries ago, on Aug. 20, 2011. In their first meeting of the 2015-16 season, back in October, Sunderland triumphed at the Stadium of Light, 3-0.

Newcastle (24 points) currently sit 19th in the league table, with Sunderland a single point and spot ahead of them. Norwich City (28 points) currently occupy 17th and the safety that comes along with it. On the injury front, Newcastle will be without Paul Dummett (hamstring), while Papiss Cisse (knock), Fabricio Coloccini (calf) and Chancel Mbemba (heel) will all face late fitness tests to be available. As for Sunderland, Lee Cattermole (concussion) and Jeremain Lens (groin) are expected to return to action.

Southampton vs. Liverpool — 9:30 a.m. ET, on Live Extra

After knocking off Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, spirits are at an all-time high under first-year manager Jurgen Klopp, which makes Sunday’s trip to St. Mary’s Stadium a real banana skin-in-waiting. The two sides have already drawn at Anfield this season, 1-1 back in October, and they find themselves now separated only be goal differential (Saints’ +8 to Liverpool’s +6), sitting in eighth and ninth. James Milner will be suspended for Liverpool, while Roberto Firmino (undisclosed) and Alberto Moreno (hamstring) are both doubts to be available.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Leicester go 8 points clear again ]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bournemouth — 12 p.m. ET, on Live Extra

With Leicester City’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Tottenham once again sit eight points back as the side most likely to spoil the Foxes’ unlikely title triumph (it’s still unbelievably to weird to type that). When Spurs and Bournemouth met for the first time this season, back in October, the final score was 5-1 in favor of the visitors. Jan Vertonghen (knee) is still a week or two away from returning for Spurs, while Eric Dier is a slight doubt for Sunday with a slight knock. Alongside Bournemouth’s season-long injuries, Harry Arter (achilles) will undergo a late fitness test to determine his status for Sunday.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United — 12 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

Sunday will mark the 171st installment of the Manchester Derby, as Man City hope to hold off their city rivals in the race for a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League qualification next season. Ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium, four points is all that separates fourth-place City from sixth-place United in what can only be described as a thoroughly disappointing season for either side.

After winning for straight Manchester Derbies from April 2013 to November 2014, City are winless in the last two after drawing 0-0 in October. On the injury front, Vincent Kompany is once again out for an unknown period of time due to a calf injury, while Kevin DeBruyne (knee) remains out until next month, and Nicolas Otamendi could be available after picking up a knock in the Champions League on Tuesday. As for United, Wayne Rooney (knee), Phil Jones (knee) and Luke Shaw (broken leg) remain out long-term, while Ashley Young (groin) and Ander Herrera (groin) are both questionable.

Zlatan, Blessing tally braces in cathartic ‘El Trafico’ draw (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game in 200 words (or less):  “El Trafico” lives up to all of its hype, whether it’d be in Carson or in the heart of Los Angeles. Loaded with goals, subplots, heated fan bases, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela, it’s tough to find another rivalry in MLS as fierce and as provocative as Los Angeles’. Because just when one thought spectators uncovered the climax of the story, a plot twist from nearby Hollywood’s archives is screened. Whether it’d be Ibrahimovic’s fastest goal in derby history, Latif Blessing’s unexpected brace, or Vela’s goal and subsequent benching, it’s evident that there was no shortage of storylines. Both side’s 3-3 draw, as well, had no shortage of goals. It was a spectacle on Sunday.

Three moments that mattered

2′ – 15′ — Zlatan records brace in 13 minutes — Zlatan’s record-setting goal, followed by a routine finish to record his second of the night.

45′ — Blessing’s vital, first-half goal for LAFC    — Along with Zlatan, Latif Blessing was the night’s other bright spot.

89′ — Vela scores his 27th goal — Vela to the rescue…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Goalscorers: Ibrahimovic (2′), Blessing (12′) Ibrahimovic (15′), Pavon (16′),  Blessing (45′), Vela (53′)

Serie A: Milan stunned; Roma draw in six-goal thriller (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight.

Roma 3-3 Genoa

There were plenty of promising talking points in Roma’s season opening six-goal thriller against Genoa, but their draw certainly overwrote almost everything with red ink.

Edin Dzeko was one of the few highlights that remained in the clear. The 33-year-old – five seasons into his Roma spell -scored and assisted for I Giallorossi. Recent arrival, Davide Zappacosta, made his debut in the 78th minute.

Genoa, not necessarily impressive throughout the match, figured out a way to crack Roma’s defense. When they conceded, they’d respond. Stadio Olimpico saw six lead changes, with Christian Kouame’s diving header in the 70th minute splitting the points.

For a Roma that missed out on qualifying for the Champions League last season, the result is a low-blow right off the bat. For Genoa, who remained in Serie A by a miraculous goal, a six-goal thriller in Roma is music to their ears.

Udinese 1-0 AC Milan

Another Italian giant had a slow, first day at the office.

AC Milan, boasting a plethora of firepower, were outclassed by a well-prepared and structured Udinese.

Rodrigo Becão’s debut goal was the only difference between both sides. Milan, who are already three points behind favorites such as Juventus and Napoli, have plenty of questions to answer. The reported possible arrival of Angel Correa may certainly help on the attacking side of things, but Marco Giampaolo still has plenty of work laid out in front of him.

Banned from Europa League for overspending by Financial Play Fair Rules, Milan are expected to fully focus on the Serie A campaign, which they have yet to win since the 2010/11 campaign.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Sampdoria 0-3 Lazio 

Cagliari 0-1 Brescia

Verona 1-1 Bologna 

SPAL 2-3 Atalanta 

Torino 2-1 Sassuolo 

WATCH: Zlatan scores fastest-ever ‘El Trafico’ goal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

If someone was going to set a record in “El Trafico,” it was going to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic has become the scorer of the fastest goal in the rivalry’s history, after scoring the opener against LAFC two minutes into Sunday’s bout at Banc of California Stadium.

The 37-year-old’s strike inside the box came two minutes faster than Carlos Vela’s goal from the penalty spot earlier this season. The Swede has scored eight goals against LAFC in six matches, making him the leading goalscorer of the young rivalry.

Mexicans abroad: Weekend roundup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Scoring goals left and right, Raul Jimenez continues to bring smiles to Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters. Against Burnley,  the forward played hero with his last-second goal, earning Wolves a third straight draw.

In Spain, Diego Lainez registered his first minutes of the season, while Hector Herrera has yet to make his debut.

Diego Reyes is no longer a Fenerbahçe, as a move to Tigres nears. Lozano, now with Italian giants Napoli, awaits for his highly-anticipated Serie A debut.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.

Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers — Late into stoppage time, Jimenez converted from the penalty spot, and earned Wolves a valuable point at home against Burnley. It’s the 28-year-old’s first Premier League goal this season.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, West Ham — Chicharito was inactive this weekend due to a reported knee injury. On Saturday, West Ham edged Watford 3-1.

La Liga

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — For a second consecutive week, Herrera was an unused substitute for Diego Simeone’s side, who won 1-0 against Leganes.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis — Los Verdiblancos’ captain started and played 61 minutes in Betis’ 5-2 loss against Barcelona.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old recorded his first minutes of the season, playing the final 15 minutes in Betis’ loss to Barcelona.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and played all 90 minutes in Celta’s 1-0 victory over Valencia.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli — Recently integrated, Lozano didn’t suit up for Napoli’s entertaining 4-3 win against Fiorentina on Saturday.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — PSV are inactive this week.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Ajax are inactive this weekend.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Despite overlapping when attacking, Porto’s manager, Sergio Conceicao, continues to deploy Tecatito as a right back. The 26-year-old showed no problems throughout 90 minutes in Porto’s 2-0 statement victory over Benfica, though.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Logging in minutes won’t be a problem for Govea at the Belgium club, at least that’s been the case thus far. On Saturday, the midfielder started – for a fourth consecutive game – and registered 66 minutes.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Hector Moreno, Al Gharafa   The Qatari league is underway, and Moreno has made his debut. The center back started and played all 90 minutes in Al Gharafa’s 3-0 win over Shahania on Thursday.

Diego Reyes, Free Agent  Fenerbahçe released Reyes on Sunday. He is set to make a Liga MX return with Tigres after leaving for Europe back in 2013.

Juan Gerardo Ramirez Alosno, Roda JC — On Friday, the 21-year-old fullback started and played 66 minutes in Roda’s 2-1 loss against NEC Nijmegen.

Carlos Fierro, San Jose Earthquakes – The 25-year-old is slowly but surely finding himself in San Jose. On Saturday, Fierro logged nine minutes in the Quakes’ impressive 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Carlos Vela, LAFC – LAFC take on rivals LA Galaxy on Sunday.

Jonathan Dos Santos, LA Galaxy – LA Galaxy take on rivals LAFC on Sunday.