Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

PL roundup: Chelsea go 9 points clear; in-form Man Utd win again

Leave a comment

A roundup of Saturday’s action in the Premier League…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Crystal Palace 0-1 ChelseaFULL RECAP

Have Chelsea already won the PL? It’s a question which Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino tackled (below video) even before the Blues moved to 11 league games without dropping a point with another dominant defensive display, away to Crystal Palace. Diego Costa scored the game’s only goal, his PL-leading 13th of the season, two minutes before halftime, and that was all Antonio Conte‘s side would require. In those 11 wins, Chelsea have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 25-2, including three straight 1-0 victories since last conceding a goal to Manchester City on Dec. 3.

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester UnitedFULL RECAP

Speaking of winning streaks — albeit of the significantly shorter variety — Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired Man United to their third straight victory, away to West Brom, with a goal early in each of the first and second halves. Jesse Lingard set up the first with a delightful cross from the right wing after five minutes (WATCH HERE), and Wayne Rooney fed the big Swede for his second of the game, his 11th of the season, 11 minutes into the second half. The Red Devils are now level with Tottenham Hotspur (who play on Sunday) on 30 points for fifth in the league table, just four and three back of Arsenal and Manchester City (who play each other on Sunday) for third and fourth, respectively.

Stoke City 2-2 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

Jamie Vardy was sent off after 28 minutes for a lunging challenge on Mame Biram Diouf, and the Foxes duly fell 2-0 behind before the halftime interval, thanks to Bojan Krkic‘s penalty kick in the 39th minute and Joe Allen‘s fifth goal of the season two minutes into stoppage time. Then, it all came crashing down for the Potters, who conceded twice in 14 minutes at the tail end of the second half, first to Leonardo Ulloa and finally, in the 88th minute, to Daniel Amartey, in settling for a 2-2 home draw against the defending champions.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City (L) is shown a red card by referee Craig Pawson during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Leicester City at Bet365 Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

Another game, another putrid defensive display from Swansea, who have now conceded 11 goals in their last four league games (three losses, one win). Alvaro Negredo finished from near the penalty spot after 18 minutes, and directly from the penalty spot just before the halftime hour. Marten De Roon completed the rout on 58 minutes, and just like that, Bob Bradley‘s Swans suddenly find themselves back in 19th place, only clear of 20th on goal differential.

West Ham United 1-0 Hull CityFULL RECAP

West Ham are another side suddenly streaking, having won two league games in a row for the second time this season, and the first time since Oct. 22. Saturday’s home triumph over Hull, in which Mark Noble scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot in the 76th minute, propels Slaven Bilic‘s side to the dizzying heights of 13th place in the league table.

Sunderland 1-0 WatfordFULL RECAP

Patrick Van Aanholt, ever the goal-scoring threat at left back, put Sunderland ahead of Watford in the 49th minute, and that’s how proceedings would finish at the Stadium of Light. With their fourth win of the season (and third in six games), David Moyes‘ Black Cats are up to 18th and now just a single point behind Crystal Palace one place outside the relegation zone.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Bournemouth vs. Southampton — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Manchester City vs. Arsenal — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley — 11 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Follow Live: Jamaica hosts Honduras in first Gold Cup match in Kingston

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Curacao v. El Salvador as the undercard, host Jamaica will make history on Monday evening ahead of its match v. Honduras in Kingston.

The evening at the National Stadium at Independence Park represents the first time that Gold Cup will be held in the Caribbean, an historic achievement as CONCACAF looks for ways to continue growing the game across the entire region.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

Although it struggled in World Cup qualifying, Jamaica seems like it has turned a new leaf and after a 2-0 win over the U.S. Men’s National Team in Washington D.C. earlier this month, the Caribbean nation is riding plenty of confidence and is looking to make yet another deep run at the Gold Cup. Standing in its way is plucky Honduras, who always seems to come up with goals when it’s least expected and manages to put together a strong defense to make things difficult for opponents.

It should be a fun opener in front of a partisan, but decidedly local crowd in Jamaica.

Report: Barcelona in negotiations with PSG to sign Neymar

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In a stunning development, Neymar could be returning to the Camp Nou as early as this summer.

Brazilian media giant Globo Esporte reported Monday afternoon that Barcelona is currently negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain over the signing of Neymar. According to the report, the deal could include a payment of around $112 million along with one or more players moving to Paris, including Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti.

[READ: USWNT: We have the best, and second best team]

There’s so many layers to this deal, so let’s break it down.

The news that Neymar could return to Barcelona comes on the heels of an interview by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and France Football, in which he called out Neymar, stating “nobody forced him to sign here,” and that Al-Khelaifi said earlier in the interview he didn’t want “to see stars anymore.”

“I want players willing to give everything to defend the honor of the jersey and to join the club project,” Al-Khelaifi told France Football. “Those who do not want, or do not understand, we see each other and we talk to each other. There are of course contracts to be respected, but the priority now is total membership of our project…nobody forced him to sign here. Nobody pushed him. He came knowingly to join a project.”

Meanwhile, Neymar has plenty of time now to think of his future. Ever since moving to PSG, it feels like he’s been stricken by the injury bug. While he’ll probably go down as a Brazil legend when he retires, he’s on the precipice of being a what if player, as in, what if he wasn’t injured for parts of the last two World Cups, and for picking up an ankle injury that’s kept him out of the 2019 Copa America.

It’s been ankle injuries as well in February of each of the last two seasons at PSG that has effectively ended his season just as it was reaching the important stages, the start of the UEFA Champions League knockout stage.

Remember, Neymar decided to force his way out of Barcelona and move to PSG in an effort to break the hegemony of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or and truly write his name in the history books. Instead, his time in Paris will be remembered abroad more for his antics, injuries, and of course, the incident with the fan at the Coupe de la Ligue final.

Of course, that’s not to say Neymar didn’t have success in France. He’s scored an incredible 49 goals in 55 games in all competitions, including in both Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League. But ultimately, Neymar wasn’t able to score goals when it mattered, like in the Champions League knockout stages or in high-pressure games.

At Barcelona, Neymar achieved some of his biggest club success and took his game to new heights after being a raw diamond needing polishing at Santos in Brazil. Perhaps Neymar has realized that it’s better to play in Messi’s shadow, and potentially win the UEFA Champions League again, than try and stake it out on his own. Neymar has a good relationship with Messi and Luis Suarez, among other South Americans on the team, and on paper he’d clearly be a big upgrade at left wing over the duo of Ousmane Dembele and Neymar’s Brazil teammate, Philippe Coutinho.

The deal makes sense for both sides, but will it get done? That’s the big question this summer, and it will remain unanswered until the second of September, the close of the Spanish transfer window.

Watch Live: Copa America — Japan v. Chile

Getty Images
1 Comment

It may be hard to remember, since it didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but Chile is actually the twice-defending Copa America champions.

[ LIVE: Watch every single Copa America game ]

La Roja look to defend their title with the final opening game of the tournament, facing Copa America invitee Japan at the Estadio Morumbi in Sao Paulo. After both Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal announced they were leaving the national team following the failure to qualify for the last World Cup, both veterans are back and starting as Chile looks to find its 2015 and 2016 form under new manager Reinaldo Rueda, the former Colombia, Honduras and Ecuador coach.

Chile will face an interesting test in Japan, as the Samurai Blue have taken mainly an Under-23 side as it prepares for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and potentially making a deep run. Many of the starters are making their first senior international caps for Japan, as it looks to gain crucial international experience against a strong side.

Hit the link above (or click HERE) to watch Monday’s primetime fixture (in Spanish) and check back on PST for a full roundup of the day’s action down in South America.

You can watch every single game from the tournament live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBC Sports App. All you have to do is click on the links below.

How Twitter reacted to VAR decisions in France v. Nigeria

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The introduction of Video Assistant Referees to top level soccer has been criticized at times, but more often than not has been given the benefit of the doubt.

That seemed to change on Monday, as France was aided by two controversial VAR decisions, which helped the European nation defeat Nigeria, 1-0, in the final group stage game for both countries at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Both VAR decisions, the first to award a penalty and especially the second, to award a retake, were planned by both journalists, fans, and even former players on social media in real time.

Here’s some reaction below to the big controversy from this afternoon’s match.