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Premier League roundup: Foxes can smell title, West Ham laments PK, big win for Norwich

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Leicester City took another step toward winning the Premier League, Norwich City took a stride toward staying up, and Crystal Palace is still without a Premier League win in 2016.

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Those are just some of the talking points from an under-the-radar Saturday in England’s top-flight.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Leicester City — RECAP

Still top of the league. Still top of the leeeeeague. They’re Leicester City, and they’re still top of the league.

Foxes look increasingly likely to win the Premier League, as old pals Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez linked up to give Leicester City a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park. The lead is 8 points ahead of Spurs’ Sunday match against Bournemouth, while Saturday’s hosts are slipping closer to the relegation zone, with Norwich winning and Sunderland and/or Newcastle to pick up points on Sunday. There have been no Premier League wins for Palace in 2016. Zero.

Chelsea 2-2 West Ham UnitedRECAP

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19:  Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea is challenged by Michail Antonio of West Ham United resulting in a penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on March 19, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Oh, this one was controversial. West Ham led twice thanks to Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll goals, but Cesc Fabregas scored a pair of equalizers to stop the Irons from reaching the Top Four. The first one was a gorgeous free kick, but the second was the conversion of a suspect penalty. Ruben Loftus-Cheek appeared to either trip over his feet or catch the very edge of Michail Antonio‘s boot just outside the West Ham, but the penalty was given and converted by Fabregas (who actually completely stopped his momentum on the PK attempt). Slaven Bilic was furious, and the Irons are a point back of fourth-place Man City.

Everton 0-2 Arsenal — RECAP

Everton played very poorly, and Arsenal made the Toffees pay dearly at Goodison Park. First Danny Welbeck was the beneficiary of some very smart football before sliding around Joel Robles, and then Alex Iwobi scored his first Premier League goal as the Toffees never really looked like a comeback was possible.

 

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Norwich CityRECAP

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19:  Robbie Brady of Norwich City celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City at The Hawthorns on March 19, 2016 in West Bromwich, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Sunday’s Tyne-Wear Derby got a whole lot more intense after Norwich City won to push Sunderland into the drop zone with Newcastle United. Robbie Brady scored for the Canaries, who picked up their first win in any competition since Jan. 2. Norwich is three points clear of 18th place Sunderland, and four ahead of 19th place Newcastle.

Watford 1-2 Stoke CityRECAP

The Potters carried the play, and the day, although Troy Deeney scored late to produce a bit of drama at Vicarage Road. Jon Walters had a goal and an assist for Stoke, and Joselu scored the other goal as Stoke sits 7th.

Swansea City 1-0 Aston VillaRECAP

A sloppy affair at the Liberty Stadium saw the home side take all three points after Brad Guzan punched a free kick off Federico Fernandez and in. Swansea is almost certainly staying up, while Villa is all but in the Championship.

SUNDAY
Newcastle United vs. Sunderland — 9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
Southampton vs. Liverpool — 9:30 a.m. ET (Premier League ExtraTime)
Manchester City vs. Manchester United — Noon ET (NBC)
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bournemouth — Noon ET (Premier League ExtraTime)

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Leicester City 31 19 9 3 54 31 23 9-5-1 10-4-2 66
Tottenham Hotspur 30 16 10 4 53 24 29 8-5-2 8-5-2 58
Arsenal 30 16 7 7 48 30 18 8-3-3 8-4-4 55
Manchester City 29 15 6 8 52 31 21 10-1-4 5-5-4 51
West Ham United 30 13 11 6 47 35 12 7-5-2 6-6-4 50
Manchester United 29 13 8 8 37 27 10 8-4-2 5-4-6 47
Stoke City 31 13 7 11 34 37 -3 7-2-6 6-5-5 46
Southampton 30 12 8 10 38 30 8 7-3-5 5-5-5 44
Liverpool 28 12 8 8 43 37 6 5-5-3 7-3-5 44
Chelsea 30 10 11 9 45 41 4 5-7-4 5-4-5 41
West Bromwich Albion 30 10 9 11 30 37 -7 6-4-6 4-5-5 39
Everton 29 9 11 9 51 41 10 4-4-8 5-7-1 38
Bournemouth 30 10 8 12 38 47 -9 5-4-6 5-4-6 38
Watford 30 10 7 13 30 32 -2 5-4-7 5-3-6 37
Swansea City 31 9 9 13 31 40 -9 6-5-5 3-4-8 36
Crystal Palace 30 9 6 15 32 40 -8 4-2-10 5-4-5 33
Norwich City 31 7 7 17 32 54 -22 4-5-6 3-2-11 28

Sunderland 29 6 7 16 35 54 -19 4-4-6 2-3-10 25
Newcastle United 29 6 6 17 28 54 -26 4-5-5 2-1-12 24
Aston Villa 31 3 7 21 22 58 -36 2-4-9 1-3-12 16

Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

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The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

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Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


Prediction

The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea sit 4th, with 29 points
  • Everton sit 18th, with 11 points
  • Last meeting: Everton 2-0 Chelsea

Everton’s start to the 2019-20 Premier League season has been beyond woeful (4W-2D-9L in 15 games) for any club, let alone one that had dreams of breaking into the top-six this season, resulting in manager Marco Silva losing his job on Thursday. Now, fewer than 48 hours later, the Toffees have to pick themselves back up and face a top-four side for the third straight game when Chelsea visit Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Having lost three straight PL games, including defeats to second-place Leicester City and leaders Liverpool this week alone, the next few weeks will go a long way toward seeing Everton leave the relegation zone in the rearview mirror or sink deeper and deeper into the muck of a season-long relegation battle. A piece of potentially positive news for Everton ahead of Saturday’s game: they are currently three games unbeaten against Chelsea (1W-2D-0L).

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As for the Blues, this could turn out to be a decisive week in their season. After losing to West Ham United last weekend, Frank Lampard‘s side bounced back with a win over Aston Villa on Wednesday. Then came the best news of all on Friday: Chelsea’s transfer ban has been cut in half and they will be able to sign players in January, meaning their young, thin squad can be bolstered as the look to solidify their Champions League place for next season.

With a floundering side like Everton next up on the fixtures list, the chance to move further clear of the Champions League chasing pack is perfectly ripe. Tammy Abraham (hip) returned for the game against Villa and scored the opening goal to take is season’s tally to 11 (second, behind Jamie Vardy). The 22-year-old has benefited more than anyone from what turned out to be Chelsea’s one-window transfer ban, doing more than enough to secure his place for the second half of the season, no matter what business they do in January.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee)

Chelsea: OUT – Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rudiger (groin)


Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford — Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne — Schneiderlin, Davies, Sigurdsson — Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Chelsea: Kepa — James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta — Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Pulisic — Abraham


What they’re saying

Interim Everton boss Duncan Ferguson: “I’m a coach at the moment so I don’t think that is something I am considering at this time. It is my dream to be Everton manager but I am also realistic. Who wouldn’t want to be manager of Everton? There will be many top managers who want this job.”

Frank Lampard, on the new-manager bounce: “[Marco] Silva tried everything for the club and I’m sure that he will go on to manage well elsewhere. They might have an extra energy tomorrow as they rally.”


Prediction

Chelsea have far too much balance between defense and attack to hand Everton the glaring opportunities they will need to beat a genuine top-four side. That said, there’s far too much talent in that squad to continue to get beaten every time out, and perhaps seeing someone else take the blame will lift the burden off them and allow them to perform. Everton 2-2 Chelsea.

Klinsmann gets first point as Hertha Berlin manager

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann claimed his first point since returning to coaching as his Hertha Berlin team let slip a two-goal lead to draw with Frankfurt 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

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Hertha was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Sebastian Rode hammered the ball in from a corner for Frankfurt to deny the Berlin team the win.

Hertha is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th and winless in its last six league games, while Frankfurt is 10th.

Dodi Lukebakio gave Hertha the lead with a shot through Frederik Ronnow’s legs. That goal was assisted by Marko Grujic, who later made it 2-0 with a header from a free kick.

However, Frankfurt almost immediately replied with a header of its own from Martin Hinteregger, the Austrian defender with five Bundesliga goals.

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Frankfurt’s fans expressed their disapproval of the video assistant referee after it ruled out two goals for the hosts. There was a rare disallowed own goal when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft palmed a cross into his own net but was found to have been pushed while jumping.

Klinsmann took over Hertha last week on a temporary deal until the end of the season, after Ante Covic was fired with the team under threat of relegation. Klinsmann hadn’t coached since being fired in 2016 by the United States, and last worked at a club in 2009 at Bayern Munich.