Everton 2-0 West Ham: Lukaku shreds Hammers again

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  • Romelu Lukaku scored against the Hammers again
  • Lukaku set one up for Ross Barkley
  • Everton keeps its third clean sheet of the season

Every team has its boogey opponent, and for West Ham, it’s Everton and Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku scored against the Hammers for the seventh straight match, and he set one up for Ross Barkley as well, as Everton got back to winning ways at Goodison Park.

West Ham owned the first dangerous moments of the match, with Pedro Obiang rifling over from near the penalty spot under pressure in the 11th minute, while Dimitri Payet had an attempt pushed wide by Joel Robles moments later.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Hammers carved up Everton in midfield early on, causing Ronald Koeman to pace nervously on the sidelines while offering some agitated thoughts to his players. Everton had a moment of danger down the other end as Romelu Lukaku led a break down the left. His pull-back fell to no one, but the ball wasn’t cleared before Gareth Barry nearly curled in a stunner, just firing over the crossbar from distance. Replays showed a shot from Yannick Bolasie struck the arm of a sliding Mark Noble, but no penalty was given.

As Everton collected themselves at the back and built forward, Lukaku had a big chance on 21 minutes, in on goal on a ball threaded through the box, but he couldn’t collect with his right foot and the chance was lost. An even better chance was spurned on 25 minutes as Ross Barkley collected on the spot from Bryan Oviedo, and a touch right opened things up, but Adrian produced a stunner of a save to keep Barkley out on the deflection.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The rest of the first half was uneventful, but Everton struck first after the break through the main man Lukaku. A poor clearance saw the ball fall to Seamus Coleman in the box. His shot was blocked and sent off to the right, but Yannick Bolasie crashed the rebound and poked it to Lukaku standing all alone directly in front of net who nodded home with his head for his 50th league goal for Everton.

Andre Ayew came on past the hour mark in place of the booked Obiang for his first appearance since the season opener when he injured his hamstring. West Ham nearly had an equalizer with 20 minutes left on a beautiful curler from Noble, but Robles kept it out with an acrobatic leaping save.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Everton doubled the lead with 15 minutes to go and effectively ended the game. Lukaku was again involved, holding the ball on the end line to the right, and as Barkley snuck in at the far post, Lukaku effortlessly flicked the ball over the defensive line at the feet of Barkley, and the 22-year-old blasted the ball into the back of the net on the volley.

The win for Everton is its first since September 17th and moves the Toffees up to 18 points, one point back of Chelsea in fifth with the Blues set to play later Sunday. For West Ham, Slaven Bilic and company remain on 10 points, stuck in 16th position.

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

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Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

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PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.

Unhappy in Madrid, Bale ‘more excited’ to play for Wales

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Thanks to the ongoing FIFA-mandated international break, life is currently pretty good for Gareth Bale, who says he “definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales” compared to when he’s playing — or not playing — for his club, Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Bale confirmed on Friday what the entire world has known for a couple of years now: that he’s thoroughly unhappy at not being allowed to leave Madrid this summer; that he never truly adapted to his home since the summer of 2013; and that his on-field performance has suffered for those reasons, as well as his extensive injury history — quotes from the BBC:

“With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable. I definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales.

“I’ve been with most of the players, especially the older ones, since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.

“But it still doesn’t change what I give on the pitch. I always give 100 percent wherever I am, and that’s what I always strive to do.”

As for how Bale has been painted by the Spanish media, he says he only pays attention to the negative coverage when his friends since him “funny pictures or whatever they write,” but it’s clear he feels like an outsider and that’s a key reason he was so keen to leave the club and country when a(n even more) mega-money offer came from China this summer.

“I’ve heard some stories but I don’t really take notice. My friends tend to send me some funny pictures or whatever they write.

“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me. On one, it said ‘triple bogey’ and I’ve never had a triple bogey. At least give me an albatross! It’s funny.”

Unfortunately for Bale, he’ll have to continue playing nice with manager Zinedine Zidane, until January at least.