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PL roundup: Man City, Spurs win late; Liverpool, Arsenal drop points

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A roundup of all the action on a wild Saturday in the Premier League…

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Manchester United 1-1 ArsenalFULL RECAP

Jose Mourinho has still never lost to Arsene Wenger, but Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford will have felt strangely similar to defeat for the Portuguese, as his Man United conceded an 89th-minute equalizer to Olivier Giroud, canceling out Juan Mata‘s opening goal 20 minutes earlier. The draw sees Arsenal’s lead on Tottenham shrink to a single point in the race for fourth, while United remain six points back of the Gunners for the final UEFA Champions League place.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester CityFULL RECAP

Yaya Toure is back, and Man City are level on points with Liverpool at the top of the PL table. The Ivorian legend returned from exile to bag a brace against Crystal Palce, as City took all three points at Selhurst Park. It was the first time Toure saw the field since the end of the 2015-16 season, the arrival of Pep Guardiola causing what seemed an irreconcilable rift between player and club. With Toure back in the fold, and engaged as ever, look out.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 West Ham UnitedFULL RECAP

Tottenham were second-best by some margin for 88 minutes against West Ham on Saturday, but the Hammers collapsed late on and gifted a quickfire brace to Harry Kane (89th and 91st minutes), which put to be Spurs’ four-game winless skid in the PL (seven games in all competitions) and extended their unbeaten start in the PL to 12 games. Harry Winks marked his full PL debut with Spurs’ first equalizer, a tap-in in the 51st minute. Michail Antonio scored the opening goal (with his head, of course), his sixth of the season, after 24 minutes. Slaven Bilic‘s side currently sits just one point clear of the relegation zone.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur scores his sides third goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on November 19, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Southampton 0-0 LiverpoolFULL RECAP

The good news: Liverpool kept their second clean sheet of the 2016-17 PL season. The bad news: they’ve been held scoreless themselves on both occasions, as was the case at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday. The chances were plentiful for Jurgen Klopp‘s side (15 shots in total), but the finishing was wasteful (just two on target). The two points dropped open up the door for Chelsea to go top of the table with a victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Sunderland 3-0 Hull CityFULL RECAP

Sunderland are three points closer to 17th place, as well as 18th-place Hull, after their 3-0 triumph over the Tigers at the Stadium of Light. Jermain Defoe bagged his 150th PL goal, which turned out to be the winner on the day, and Victor Anichebe completed the scoring with a second-half brace to give the Black Cats back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Now two points back of Hull, and three back of West Ham, David Moyes‘ side is two points ahead of where they were after 12 games last season.

Watford 2-1 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

Etienne Capoue and Roberto Pereyra put Watford 2-0 up on the defending champions before a dozen minutes had been played, and Leicester never quite recovered. Riyad Mahrez pulled a goal back in the 15th minute, from the penalty spot, but the Foxes would manage just one more shot on target the rest of the game, and Claudio Ranieri‘s side has already lost twice as many games this season (6) as they did all of last season.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Danny Simpson of Leicester City reacts during the Premier League match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road on November 19, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Everton 1-1 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

Bob Bradley was a painfully short few minutes from securing his first victory as a PL manager, Gylfi Sigurdsson having converted from the penalty spot in the 41st minute to put Swansea 1-0 ahead at Goodison Park, but Seamus Coleman spoiled the party in the 89th minute, to snatch a point for Everton, who remain seventh in the league table.

Stoke City 0-1 BournemouthFULL RECAP

On-loan Chelsea defender Nathan Ake scored the only goal, as Bournemouth snapped a two-game losing skid with a narrow victory over Stoke. Bojan Krkic smashed a spot kick off the crossbar for the Potters, and Eddie Howe‘s side reached the dizzying heights of ninth in the league table with all three points.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Middlesbrough vs. Chelsea — 11 a.m. ET,on NBCSN and online via Live Extra

Live, UCL last 16: Spurs v. RB Leipzig, Atalanta v. Valencia

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One Premier League has already found life in the Champions League knockout stage tougher than anticipated. Now, another takes the field hoping to fare better.

Spurs take the field looking to earn a hard-fought result against Bundesliga title contenders RB Leipzig at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at 3:00 p.m. ET. Jose Mourinho has spent much of the week reminding everyone how many obstacles the Spurs squad has faced after the news that Heung-Min Son could potentially miss the rest of the season with a broken arm, joining Harry Kane on the injured list.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Mourinho’s men have won three Premier League matches in a row, in good form coming into this match. They take on an RB Leipzig squad that sits just a point back of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race but has won just once in its last four league games, a 3-0 victory over Werder Bremen last time out. Striker Timo Werner, who is rumored to be of interest to Liverpool, has not scored since January 18, a five-match drought across all competitions. Leipzig is also struggling with missing players as Dayot Upamecano is suspended and both Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban are injured, so Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu is selected.

Meanwhile, Atalanta makes its Champions League knockout stage debut as the Italian side “hosts” Spanish club Valencia. The Serie A side was not allowed to play in its home Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia as it does not pass UEFA regulations, so they are playing all Champions League home games at the San Siro.

Chelsea loanee Mario Pasalic starts for Atalanta in midfield with rumors of a permanent move this summer to help fund the Hakim Ziyech deal. Since December 22, the Italian side has won five while losing just one in Serie A play, including a 2-1 win over Roma last time out that saw Pasalic score the winner.

Valencia counters with Uruguayan striker Maxi Gomez up front supported by Ferran Torres and Goncalo Guedes. The Spaniards are without Ezequiel Garay, Francis Coquelin, and Gabriel Paulista all through injury. Still, they managed a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid last time out in La Liga play on a 59th minute equalizer by Geoffrey Kondogbia’s first goal of the season.


Wednesday Champions League action

Tottenham Hotspur v. RB Leipzig
Atalanta v. Valencia

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Lucas Moura.

RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Mukiele, Klostermann, Halstenberg, Angelino, Laimer, Ampadu, Sabitzer, Nkunku, Schick, Werner.

Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti, Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens, Pasalic, Ilicic, Gomez.

Valencia: Domenech; Wass, Diakhaby, Mangala, Gaya, Kondogbia, Parejo, Soler, Torres, Goncalo Guedes, Gomez.

Watch Live: Man City v. West Ham

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Manchester City looks for a reaction in its first match after the UEFA sanctions were announced as they host West Ham at the Etihad on Wednesday (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Citizens will want to finish this season strong given the future uncertainty surrounding the club, and with Leicester City nipping at their heels, a strong performance will be imperative. Man City sits just a single point above the third-placed Foxes and a poor result could leave them vulnerable for when the two meet on Saturday.

[ STREAM LIVE: Man City v. West Ham ]

Man City’s lineup sees John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, and Fernandinho all sat on the bench. Nicolas Otamendi partners with Aymeric Laporte at the back with Rodri covering them in midfield. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva start in the middle with Bernardo Silva in the attacking midfield role, while Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero both start up front.

The match is massively important for West Ham as well, with the Hammers sitting 18th in the Premier League table a point off safety. The Hammers counter Man City’s attacking lineup with three at the back as Declan Rice provides cover per usual and captain Mark Noble partners with Tomas Soucek in midfield.

LINEUPS

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva; Bernardo, Jesus, Aguero.

West Ham: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Rice, Soucek, Noble; Snodgrass, Antonio.

Solskjaer admits Rashford’s season may be over, Euros in jeopardy

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Wednesday that Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford suffered a setback in his recovery from a stress fracture in his back, and that he may not return before the end of the Premier League season. In addition, Solskjaer admitted there is a chance that Rashford’s availability for England in this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament could be in jeopardy.

Speaking ahead of United’s visit tomorrow to Club Brugge in Europa League action, Solskjaer said that he hopes Rashford can make a return, but that it’s certainly in question as he will be out “another few months definitely.”

[ MORE: McTominay, Lindelof back fit ]

“It will just be touch and go towards the end [of the season],” Solskjaer said. “Hopefully we can get through this tournament and prolong the season. It takes time, I’m not a doctor. I was hoping he would recover quicker than what it looks like he’s going to be out for.”

When asked about his potential availability for selection at the Euros this summer, Solskjaer said, “If he’s not fit enough he won’t go.”

It seems that Manchester United expected Rashford to be back “He had a scan and it was maybe more severe, that fracture, than what we hoped for and expected, he felt fine the few days before that. And I’ve never had anatomy in school, so I didn’t know it just takes that time to recover.”

[ MORE: Neymar upset with PSG for extra rest ]

News of a potential injury to Rashford cropped up during the Premier League match against Norwich City game on January 11, when he was withdrawn after 59 minutes. Solskjaer admitted later that Rashford needed rest, but decided to risk the 22-year-old England international anyways against Wolverhampton Wanderers in an FA Cup replay four days later, a decision he later came to publicly regret. Rashford came off after just 16 minutes and it was later announced that he had aggravated his injury from a single stress fracture to a double stress fracture.

After the Wolves match, Manchester United announced a 2-3 month timetable for Rashford’s return, meaning he could be back by late March or early April. Now it seems he could be done for the year, and England’s Euro adventure may suffer as well.

Braithwaite to Barcelona imminent, could debut Saturday

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Barcelona is taking the controversial step of signing Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite outside the January transfer window, reportedly set to trigger his $19.4 million release clause. According to a report by ESPN, Braithwaite has already agreed to terms and will join the club immediately, possibly soon enough to make his debut on Saturday against Eibar.

The Catalan club was given an exception by La Liga after Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for the season, leaving the squad with just three healthy first-team forwards in Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and 17-year-old Ansu Fati. The injury to Dembele, which follows a long-term injury spell for Luis Suarez, led La Liga to allow Barcelona 15 days to sign a forward outside the window, provided it was either a free agent or a player already registered in the Spanish top flight.

Reports from all over Europe state that Barcelona attempted to negotiate with Leganes, but they held out for Braithwaite’s full release clause and Barcelona had little choice but to relent. The ESPN report states that Barcelona had come to an agreement with Getafe for Angel Rodriguez but Barcelona manager Quique Setien stepped in with a preference for Braithwaite due to his positional flexibility.

The controversial part of the situation is that Barcelona somewhat put itself in this spot by offloading forwards Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez in the January window without replacing them, and now have been saddled with an injury crisis. Many are upset that a big club like Barcelona is being bailed out by La Liga while Leganes suffers the loss of its leading scorer having already seen  Youssef En-Nesyri depart in the January window. Guillem Ballague reports that Leganes will appeal to La Liga for its own exception to sign an emergency player but as the rules stand, they cannot add a replacement for Braithwaite. The league office can authorize exceptions on a case-by-case basis, which they did for Barcelona, although policy has been to grant exceptions for long-term injuries.

The 28-year-old has scored eight goals across all competitions this season while Leganes has struggled at the bottom of the table all year long. They currently sit 19th in the La Liga table, two points clear of safety.