Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

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

Belarusian Premier League roundup: BATE Borisov pick up win, end early-season drought

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Belarusian Premier League – the only active European top-flight league at the moment – continued on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Rukh 0-1 BATE Borisov

With an early goal from midfielder Stanislav Dragun, BATE Borisov, Belarus’ most successful team (15 league titles) and a regular face in European competition, earned their first win of the season. Kirill Alshevsky, who took over at the helm prior to the season, had started his spell on a two-game losing streak.

BATE, despite not winning the possession battle decisively, generated twice as many shots on target as the visitors, registering a total of 11 shots throughout 90 minutes at Borisov Arena.

A winner of 13 straight Belarusian Premier League titles – spanning from 2006 to 2018 – pressure began looming over BATE after starting the 2020 campaign with back-to-back lackluster results. BATE, who lost to Arsenal in Europa League’s Round of 32 in April 2019, were outscored 5-2 in the first, two games of the league.

Dinamo Minsk, the second most successful Belarusian side, also picked up their first three points on Friday, following a slower-than-usual start to the season. Meanwhile, defending champion Dinamo Brest fell 2-1 to Slavia-Mozyr, dropping to eighth on the table.

Elsewhere in Belarusian Premier League 

Shakhtyor 0-0 Nerman

Dinamo Brest 1-2 Slavia-Mozyr

NWSL extends league-wide training moratorium through May

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NWSL is extending its league-wide training moratorium another month amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced on Saturday.

All NWSL teams will be unable to partake in team trainings until at least May 5, extending its previous training moratorium that was set to expire on Sunday, April 5. The 2020 season – which was set to start on April 18 – is expected to start by the end of June, according to NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird.

“We’ve been just communicating with our players and we’re targeting for the end of June for our season to start,” Baird told The Equalizer. “I say that with conviction and hope, but … we’re gonna adhere to the public health guidelines that are in place at the time and I don’t think that we can predict what they are. But our strategy is in place.”

Earlier this week, Major League Soccer and United Soccer League extended their training moratorium through April 24 and April 19, respectively.

Report: England manager Gareth Southgate agrees to 30 percent pay cut

Getty Images
Leave a comment

England manager Gareth Southgate has agreed to a 30 percent pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic, our partners at Sky Sports reported on Saturday.

[ MORE: What PL clubs are doing to help during coronavirus ] 

Southgate’s move, which is reportedly expected to be confirmed by the Football Association (FA) next week, comes hours after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) released a statement on behalf of the Premier League players responding to proposed pay cuts.

A FA spokesperson told Sky Sports the following: “The financial implications of the coronavirus are not yet known however, as a not-for-profit organization, we want to ensure that we take the appropriate course of action to support the wider organization and our employees.

“We will make a further announcement on our next steps in due course.”

On Friday, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – and a handful of technical staff personnel – became the first Premier League manager to take a voluntary pay cut. Howe’s “significant, voluntary” pay cuts were done in light of the club furloughing non-playing employees throughout the organization, joining Tottenham, Norwich, Newcastle and Liverpool.

Spanish league and players still far apart on salary cuts

Getty Images
1 Comment

MADRID (AP) The Spanish league and players are still far apart on the size of the salary cuts they need to take to help reduce the financial impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with the footballers saying the organization wants them to carry nearly half the total losses.

The league and the players’ association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses that could reach nearly 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.

The players have said they are willing to reduce their salaries, but not as much as the league or the clubs want.

“After analyzing the current circumstances of the sector and given the distance in conversations with the players’ association, it is necessary to adopt measures in view of the serious economic crisis that COVID-19 is causing in the Spanish soccer industry,” the league said in a statement.

It also added that government furloughs are “an exceptional mechanism to avoid and mitigate the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector, and thus guarantee its subsequent recovery.”

According to media reports, the league expects losses of 957 million euros ($1.03 billion) if the season is canceled, with 303 million euros ($327 million) lost if it resumes with games in empty stadiums and 156 million euros ($168 million) of deficits if it continues with fans.

The players said the total cuts in salaries requested by the league would account for 451 million euros ($487 million) if the top flight cannot restart.

The reduction in salaries being discussed reportedly varies depending on the clubs, and also on whether they are playing in the Champions League or the Europa League.

Team captains met with the players’ association late Friday to discuss their options after the league earlier in the day called for all clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs to reduce labor costs while the stoppage of play continued. The furloughs help the clubs and guarantee players their jobs once the crisis is over.

The league said it is responsible for preserving an industry that represents 1.37 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs about 185,000 people.

Atlético Madrid and Barcelona were among the clubs to resort to the furloughs in recent days. Both reached an agreement with players to reduce their salaries by 70 percent, and guaranteed the wages of other employees were unaffected.

There are nearly 125,000 cases of the new coronavirus in Spain, which on Saturday surpassed Italy as the country with the second-most infections behind the United States. The death toll in the nation stands at 11,744.

The government is expected to extend lockdown measures until April 26, likely keeping the Spanish league suspended until then.

The league has said the season won’t resume until authorities deem it safe for everyone’s health. It said it will recommend a “minimum of 15 days” of practice before the games can restart, though it suggested recently the training period may begin with restrictions before the lockdown is removed.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni