Premier League Weds. preview: Chasing down Chelsea?

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Only two Top Seven teams played as the Premier League kicked off its midweek matches on Tuesday, and both dropped points.

[ BUNDESLIGA: In-form Kramaric tops Bayern ]

Everton and Manchester United drew 1-1 at Old Trafford, giving Arsenal a chance to go fifth and the Top Four the opportunity to secure breathing room from both United and Arsenal.

Realistically, most eyes will be on Chelsea. The Blues fell to Crystal Palace last week and that got the wildest of imaginations running; What if the personalities that self-destructed last season are off the boil? It’s incredibly unlikely, but Spurs, Man City, and so many others are dreaming of a rot infestation at Stamford Bridge.


Chelsea vs. Manchester City
3 p.m. EDT, NBCSN – [STREAM

Of course Tottenham supporters will be pulling for Pep Guardiola‘s bunch on Tuesday, as Chelsea’s Premier League lead could be down to four points if the Blues lose and Spurs beat Swansea City.

That’s easier said than done, of course, with the Blues stung by a shocking loss to Crystal Palace and likely quite ornery. Antonio Conte will be up for a tactical battle with Guardiola, and we should all reap the benefits.

Arsenal vs. West Ham United
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM]

The Gunners welcome a reeling West Ham side which has dipped back into the relegation zone, but nothing’s a given when it comes to Arsenal these days. Arsene Wenger‘s crew will know that it can catch Manchester United with a win. The Irons would probably take a point right now.

Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

Like Leicester City, Palace has leapt up the table with a series of wins. The Eagles could finish Wednesday as high as 13th if results go their way, although one would have to be a three-goal win at St. Mary’s. That seems unlikely, with Saints daydreaming of ninth by getting three points of their own.

Hull City vs. Middlesbrough
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

This could really be it for the visitors: lose to Hull and you’re at least five points out of safety (more if Swans can steal a point from visiting Spurs). Hull’s league-worst goal differential means its tiebreaker game is weak. Is this where Boro finally finds some goals?

Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime– [STREAM

Unfortunately for Paul Clement‘s Swans, Spurs will not be caught off guard by a trip to the relegation-threatened Welsh side. The opportunity to see more than a sliver of light at the top of the table will have Hugo Lloris and Co. raring for yet another win and, at worst, a tighter grip on second place.

Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
3 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

Both Jurgen Klopp and Eddie Howe love to play an entertaining style, so neutral viewers could do far worse than scheduling a couple of hours for Wednesday’s to-do at Anfield. Even without Sadio Mane, this one should have fireworks.

Mourinho bemoans ‘very bad’ preseason for Man United

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MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has described the team’s preseason as “very bad” because of the disruption caused by the World Cup and the absence of Alexis Sanchez for the tour of the United States.

Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones will not return to training with United until close to the start of the new season because their countries got to the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia.

Sanchez wasn’t among the United squad heading across the Atlantic because there was an issue with his visa after the Chile forward accepted a 16-month suspended sentence in Spain over a tax issue.

Mourinho said “preseason is very bad, I have to say that,” adding that “I am worried because I am not training with all my players.”

On Sanchez, Mourinho said “he’s very sad, it’s not good for him or me, not good for anyone. There is no one to blame — the club is making an effort. I have to respect the U.S. authorities in their process of selection of visas. I hope he will come to join us.”

Mourinho said he is set to start the season with Sanchez, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial as his strike force.

United flew to Los Angeles on Sunday and will play five games, including three International Champions Cup matches against Real Madrid, AC Milan and Liverpool, during its stay.

United plays its first English Premier League game of the season on Aug. 10 against Leicester at Old Trafford.

WATCH LIVE: U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals Wed. night

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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open is back, with all four quarterfinal matchups set for Wednesday night.

[ MORE: USWNT names veteran team for Tournament of Nations ]

It’s a mixed bag of haves and have-nots from the 2018 MLS regular season still alive in the competition. Current holders Sporting Kansas City are still alive and have been drawn away to the Houston Dynamo (8:30 p.m. ET), in something of a grudge match for Houston after coughing up a 2-0 lead and losing to Sporting KC 3-2 last month.

Los Angeles FC host Portland Timbers (10:30 p.m. ET) in a rematch of Sunday’s league clash at Banc of California Stadium (a 0-0 draw). Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC open the night’s action at Talen Energy Stadium (7 p.m. ET), followed by Chicago Fire taking on the only remaining lower-division team still in the competition, Louisville City (7:30 p.m. ET).

All games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, direct links below.

STREAMS

Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC — WATCH
Chicago Fire vs. Louisville City — WATCH
Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City — WATCH
Los Angeles FC vs. Portland Timbers — WATCH

Miami City Commission sends Beckham stadium to Nov. ballot

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David Beckham and his business partners, the Mas brothers, are one top closer to securing the stadium deal required to bring an MLS expansion franchise to the city of Miami — maybe, but also maybe not.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Pogba wants Juve move, Grealish to Spurs? ]

The Miami City Commission voted on Wednesday to place a referendum on the November ballot, paving the way for Beckham and Co.’s privately-funded complex on city land currently occupied by a golf course. The final vote tally was 3-2 in favor of sending the issue to ballot. A previous Commission session was conducted, and ended, last week without a final vote taking place as the fifth and final member had yet to make up his mind.

Beckham and partners used the last week, between Commission meetings, to put a full-court press on Miami’s general public, local media and the last remaining member of the Commission.

[ MORE: PHOTOS: 2018-19 Premier League jerseys ]

The key, and most contentious, part of the proposal is (at least) $35 million worth of toxic waste which must be removed from the site. That number could very easily double or triple once clean-up begins, and Beckham’s group would be on the hook for the total cost.

The proposed stadium would seat roughly 25,000 fans and would be just one part of the 58-acre park which will also include retail, restaurants and hotels.

Sarri hopes to convince Hazard, Courtois in face-to-face meeting

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The coming days and weeks will be immensely tense times for players, coaches, directors and fans of Chelsea alike — but, for no one more so than new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, who faces the very real prospect of losing arguably his two best players before managing his first game at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Pogba wants Juve move, Grealish to Spurs? ]

Forward Eden Hazard has made it pretty clear he’d prefer a move to his yet-unnamed “preferred destination,” and goalkeeper Thibut Courtois has said he’d like to continue playing with Hazard, either in west London or elsewhere. Sarri hopes he’ll have a chance to persuade the Belgian duo to stay another year, or longer, but he doesn’t plan on doing so until they return from their offseason breaks, at which point he can meet with them face to face — quotes from the Guardian:

“Clearly the players you are referring to are very high-level players and I would like to keep them. But a telephone call without looking them in the eye will not give me any certainty.

“I would like to meet these players face to face and talk to them and understand what the best thing is for everyone to do. Before that I would also like a player to come on the pitch for four or five days with me to have a clear idea of what the plan is.”

Given that the Premier League’s transfer window will close before the upcoming season’s opening weekend (Aug. 9), the period of time during which Hazard and Courtois will be available to meet with Sarri, and the amount of time to reinvest and replenish the squad should they leave, will be an extremely narrow window. After finishing third-place at the 2018 World Cup, they could very easily be away until the final 48 or 72 hours of the window.