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Premier League Saturday Roundup: Champs shocked, Spurs held, City survives late

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One day into the new Premier League season, we already have a number of surprising results.

Hull City and West Bromwich Albion – teams who both struggled through bad press, managerial turmoil, and a frustrating transfer window this summer – both picked up wins over teams who seem to be trending upwards.

Hull City 2-1 Leicester CityRECAP

Nobody thought Leicester City’s title defense would be easy, or even possible, but most expected them to ease past managerless and transfer-less Hull City on opening day. Most thought wrong. Robert Snodgrass was creative and scored the winner as the Tigers, under caretaker manager Mike Phelan, picked up a confidence-building win over the defending champions.

Crystal Palace 0-1 West BromRECAP

Building on Hull’s win, West Brom surprised a rising Crystal Palace squad at Selhurst Park behind a header from Salomon Rondon, who looked most dangerous during an otherwise listless match. Similar to Hull, West Brom has had a rocky summer, stymied on a number of transfers and forced to question if Tony Pulis would stick around. However, they faced a Palace side that looked timid in the final third and Rondon, last year’s leading scorer for the Baggies, started off on the right foot.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at Etihad Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Manchester City 2-1 SunderlandRECAP

Pep Guardiola made a statement when he benched incumbent goalkeeper Joe Hart, but it didn’t matter as the City attack was in charge. For much of the match City was in control, and while Jermain Defoe thought he earned Sunderland a point with a 70th minute equalizer, pressure from the hosts was too much at the end amid defensive tactics from David Moyes. A Paddy McNair own-goal with four minutes was the difference as City survived.

Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke CityRECAP

Boro looks like an exciting and stout Premier League side, and went ahead through new signing Alvaro Negredo. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last as Xherdan Shaqiri – invisible for much of the early going – deposited a beautiful free-kick into the back of the net to equalize.

Burnley 0-1 SwanseaRECAP

Leroy Fer produced a late, 82nd minute winner to give Swansea all three points at Turf Moor. The goal was just after Swans defender Federico Fernandez should have scored earlier in the second half but missed poorly from close range. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was also needed as he denied Sam Vokes just after halftime.

Southampton 1-1 WatfordRECAP

The two sides finished level in a matchup of first-time Premier League managers. Nathan Redmond scored an impressive volley on his Saints debut to peg Watford back after Etienne Capoue had given the visitors the lead with his first goal for the club. Watford’s Ben Watson was sent off late after a last-man foul, a selfless sacrifice after Southampton was threatening on the break.

Everton 1-1 TottenhamRECAP

Ross Barkley put the hosts in front, but Erik Lamela headed home an equalizer in the second half as both teams had to settle for a disappointing draw. Spurs will be even more concerned that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris went off injured, as the club announced he had a hamstring problem and will be assessed in the coming days.

Watch Live: Arsenal v. Brighton, Sheffield Utd v. Newcastle

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Matchweek 15 of the 2019-20 Premier League season wraps up on Thursday, with two more midweek clashes featuring two mid-table sides, and two more from much nearer to the relegation zone, in action.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

First up, PL new boys (and 9th-place side) Sheffield United will host 14th-place Newcastle United, who sit just two points outside the relegation zone ahead of kickoff. 45 minutes later, 10th-place Arsenal will host 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion in Freddie Ljungberg’s first home game as Arsenal interim manager.

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The schedule for Thursday’s two games is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


2:30 p.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Newcastle United [STREAM]
3:15 p.m. ET: Arsenal v. Brighton & Hove Albion [STREAM]

Marco Silva fired by Everton

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Marco Silva has been fired as manager of Everton, making him the fourth Premier League manager to lose his job in the last 16 days.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Silva reported for a regular day’s work at Everton’s training ground on Thursday, a day after suffering a 5-2 defeat to local rivals Liverpool, all while a conference call was expected to take place involving the relevant figures: owner Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale and director of football Marcel Brands.

15 games into the 2019-20 PL season, the Toffees currently sit 18th in the league table with less than a point per game — relegation territory — on the back of three straight losses and just four wins all season. Silva’s only victory since mid-October came against fellow bottom-four side Southampton nearly a month ago.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (now up to nine) on the season thus far, but many of the sides to which they’ve lost (newly promoted Aston Villa, 12th-place Bournemouth, newly promoted Sheffield United, 11th-place Burnley, 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion and 19th-place Norwich, to name a few) that forced them further and further down the table and made relegation a semi-serious threat, at least for the time being.

Atleti escapes major punishment for fans’ Griezmann threats

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid escaped major punishment Wednesday after its fans made threatening chants against former player Antoine Griezmann during last weekend’s La Liga match against Barcelona.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

The Spanish league had denounced the club after some fans chanted “Die Griezmann” in Sunday’s match, won by Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

The Spanish soccer federation said it would fine Atletico $333 because the game was disrupted, but it did not cite the chants against Griezmann. The fine was prompted mainly because fans threw objects — including an umbrella — onto the field.

The Spanish league had denounced the club to the federation’s anti-violence committee, saying about 2,000 fans from Atletico’s “ultras” section made the chants for about 20 seconds before the start of the second half, and again later in the game.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

Griezmann left Atletico for Barcelona at the end of last season in a transfer worth more than $132 million.

The France forward was jeered nearly every time he touched the ball at the Metropolitano on Sunday. It was his first match at Atletico’s stadium since leaving the club.

Klopp to take first team to Club World Cup, leave youth for EFL Cup

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Jurgen Klopp has chosen his strongest possible Liverpool squad to take to the Club World Cup later this month, leaving a reserve- and youth-laden team behind to compete in the EFL Cup during the same period.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Liverpool will head to Doha, Qatar, for the Club World Cup, where they’ll play their semifinal fixture against one of Monterrey (Mexico), Al-Saad (Qatar) or Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia) on Dec. 18. The day prior, on Dec. 17, the Reds will also play away to Aston Villa in the quarterfinals of the League Cup. With the club’s star-studded first team in Qatar, progression to the semifinals of the League Cup will be down to a team full of teenage prospects.

Only defender Joel Matip and midfielder Fabinho, both of whom are currently injured and unavailable, were left out of the Club World Cup squad.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

Players suffering from illness or injury prior to Liverpool’s first Club World Cup game can be replaced in the squad up to 24 hours before kickoff.

Liverpool’s Club World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Adrian, Andy Lonergan

Defenders: Virgil Van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Neco Williams

Forwards: Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, Rhian Brewster, Divock Origi