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PL Saturday roundup: Mane stars against Spurs; Arsenal, United win

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Many of the Premier League’s elite came away with victories on Saturday, however, one side saw its title hopes stomped on. Five teams currently sit within two points of another for the second spot in England’s top flight.

Meanwhile, the relegation battle continues to be a heated one, with six teams currently separated by three points at the bottom.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Here, we take a look back at Saturday’s action from around England’s top flight.

Arsenal 2-0 Hull City — RECAP

Controversy was the name of the game at the Emirates Stadium, however, the Gunners managed to come away with a critical three points against relegation side Hull City. Alexis Sanchez was at the center of the drama, after having scored the game’s opener by knocking the ball over the line with his hand in classic Diego Maradona fashion. The Chilean added a second in stoppage time after converting from the penalty spot to move the Gunners into third in the PL.

Liverpool 2-0 TottenhamRECAP

Sadio Mane was dearly missed for the Reds while he was away on African Cup duty but Liverpool is surely grateful for his return. The speedy attacker tallied twice in the opening stanza at Anfield, and that was enough for the Reds to make the top of the league all the more congested. Spurs struggled to break down the Liverpool back line for much of the afternoon, and now Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has its hands full for the second spot.

[ LISTEN: 2 Robbies discuss Liverpool’s win ]

Manchester United 2-0 Watford — RECAP

Jose Mourinho’s side has now gone unbeaten in 16 matches. 16. Juan Mata and Anthony Martial booked their names on the scoresheet at Old Trafford as United now sits 11 points out of the top spot in the PL. Watford sits on 30 points and in 12th place in England’s top flight.

Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton — RECAP

The scoreline was certainly at least somewhat positive for the Boro, but it won’t draws won’t be enough to keep them comfortable in the relegation race after staying winless in their last eight fixtures. Meanwhile, Everton remains unbeaten in its last eight, but Ronald Koeman‘s side currently sits 18 points out of the top spot in the PL.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Southampton players celebrate their win in the Premier League match between Sunderland and Southampton at Stadium of Light on February 11, 2017 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Sunderland 0-4 Southampton — RECAP

It was a less than ideal performance from the hosts at the Stadium of Light, and the Black Cats remain at the bottom of the PL because of the result. Manolo Gabbiadini netted a brace in the opening half before Shane Long and an own goal finished off the lopsided scoreline for Southampton. The Saints moved into 11th place following the victory.

Stoke City 1-0 Crystal Palace — RECAP

Joe Allen continues to prove to be one of the most-underrated signings of the season after the Welshman netted his sixth goal of the campaign on Saturday. While Palace’s run in the PL looks to be nearing an end with each passing defeat, Stoke currently sits in ninth place.

West Ham 2-2 West Brom — RECAP

Jonny Evans played hero for West Brom with a stoppage-time equalizer at the London Stadium after West Ham appeared to have the points in the bag. Goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini gave the Hammers a lift after Nacer Chadli had given the Baggies an early advantage. The draw keeps the two sides in the top half of the table, with West Brom ahead by five points and in eight place.

Delph completes transfer to Everton

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Everton has added an England international in a move to bolster its midfield.

The club announced that it had signed Fabian Delph to a three-year contract, after an undisclosed permanent transfer from Manchester City. Delph comes to the blue half of Liverpool after spending the last four seasons at Manchester City, where he began as a central midfielder but was quickly pushed out wide as a left back, and only featured 20 times in all competitions for the Sky Blues last season.

“Every time I have played against Everton, whether it was home or away, straight away the first thing that comes to mind when you see the fans is passion,” Delph said on Everton’s website. “The Everton fans seem to know football, seem to understand it, it seems to be in their blood and they really back the team. You are always going to hear Evertonians and I’m excited to play at home and hear them when I am playing. I’m really happy to be here, I’m going to give absolutely everything – nothing less than 100 per cent.

Although it feels like he’s been around forever, Delph is actually still only 29-years-old, and should still have a few years left in the tank to help propel Everton to the next level. At the least, Delph adds steel and technical ability in the middle of the park, where he could likely partner with Andre Gomes, who made his move to Everton permanent this summer from Barcelona.

Delph also adds versatility, and that should help him stay in the Everton lineup, should it need him out wide or to play in the center of the park.

However, the most important aspect Delph brings is the winning mentality. Even though he didn’t play a massive role, Delph has had the opportunity to train and play alongside the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, all winners in their careers who do whatever it takes to get three points and win a title.

Bringing that attitude and mentality to Everton is huge for the club, which needs a lift after the departure of Wayne Rooney and other big names who have departed since the end of the David Moyes era.

Report: Ajax in negotiations to sign El Tri’s Alvarez

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One of the Mexico National Team’s brightest stars appears to be heading to Ajax, where he could potentially be the replacement for one Matthijs de Ligt.

According to a report in Voetbol International, a publication in the Netherlands, Ajax technical director Marc Overmars confirmed the club’s interest in signing Club America and El Tri defender Edson Alvarez. Club America are reportedly demanding nothing less than nearly $17 million for Alvarez, who has in just two years become a regular for El Tri.

[READ: USMNT’s Boyd signs with Besiktas]

The report states that Wolverhampton Wanderers – which has Alvarez’s El Tri teammate Raul Jimenez – and PSV Eindhoven were also interesting in signing Alvarez.

The 21-year-old made his debut for Club America as a right back under long-time Liga MX manager Ricardo La Volpe in 2016, and just a few months after his club debut, he was already playing for the national team. He was included and featured at the 2017 Gold Cup, becoming Mexico’s youngest scorer in the competition (at age 19) and he then started all four of Mexico’s games at the 2018 World Cup, including against Neymar and Brazil in the Round of 16.

Alvarez has continued his strong play over the past year and has moved into more of a centerback and holding midfielder role at times. He played as a No. 6 for Mexico in its 1-0 win over the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2019 Gold Cup final, at times dropping into the back line to defend while providing support in the attack.

As Alvarez is still young but continues to grow, it’s a perfect time for him to join Ajax. There, he’ll face even better attackers than in Liga MX, and he’ll have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders to play for a prestigious club like Ajax. The pressure to perform will only make him better, like it’s helped countryman Hirving “Chucky” Lozano across the Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven.

Interestingly, Alvarez would be the second summer signing for Ajax with a North American connection. Defender Kik Pierie was actually born in Boston, while his father was studying at Harvard Medical School, though he’s been raised almost entirely in the Netherlands and has featured for the Oranje internationally.

USMNT’s Boyd signs with Besiktas

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Add another American to the list of players who will be playing in UEFA competitions this fall.

Turkish giant Besiktas announced on Monday that it had signed winger Tyler Boyd to a four-year contract in a transfer from Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes. Boyd has had a pretty impressive last six months, from scoring six goals in 14 games with Ankaragücü in the Turkish Superlig on loan, to scoring goals and making the Gold Cup roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

The New Zealand-born pacey winger completed a one-time switch to play for the USMNT in May, and he went on to score a brace in the USMNT’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana. While Boyd made five appearances for the U.S. this summer, he was left on the bench as the U.S. bowed out to Mexico, suddenly appearing out of Berhalter’s plans as quickly as he entered them.

Regardless, this is a great move for Boyd, assuming he can get some first team minutes. It’s a big step up from Ankaragücü to play for Besiktas, which not only includes the heated Istanbul derbies against Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, but next season will also include at least six matches in the UEFA Europa League. By finishing third in the Turkish league, Besiktas earned a place direct in the Europa League group stage.

Of course, like we saw this summer with the USMNT, Boyd has to break into a more talented group of players and earn minutes, both for league and European matches. If he’s not playing much, it’s possible we won’t see much of him with the national team, as Jordan Morris gets regular playing time as well as others in that position like Timothy Weah, Corey Baird and possibly Kenny Saief, now that he’s back with Anderlecht.

Boyd is undoubtedly a talented player. Hopefully, this move up in stature and pressure can help the 24-year-old take his game to a new level.

Report: Manchester United “miles” apart on Maguire deal

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Yesterday, the English tabloids exploded with reports that Manchester United was nearing a deal with Leicester City to make Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world with a $100 million deal nearly completed. Some even went so far as to suggest a medical would take place on Monday – today.

Now, there seems to be an about-face as ESPN senior writer Mark Ogden reports that the two sides are “miles away” on a potential deal, as his source describes it.

According to the report, Manchester United’s last bid of $50 million is much closer to their valuation of the player, and while Leicester City is holding out for a world record bid, the two sides have not made much movement towards an agreement. They are willing to go up to $75 million with another bid, but that is still well off the Leicester City price tag.

Ogden writes that Manchester United’s first choice was Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, but he is nearing completion on a move to Juventus, and if the reports over the last few weeks are to be believed, Manchester United was never really in play. De Ligt was handed significant wages at Juventus, something Manchester United may not have been willing to do.

They turned their sights towards Maguire, but with three weeks left in the transfer window, there apparently needs to be significant work done on a deal to move it across the finish line. Ogden writes that there is “confidence” within Manchester United that Maguire wants the move, but that’s nothing if the two clubs can’t come to an agreement.