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Muntari’s ban rescinded by Italian federation

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Sulley Muntari won’t be suspended after walking off the pitch against Cagliari.

[ MORE: Messi’s four-game suspension lifted by FIFA ]

The Italian federation announced on Friday that the Pescara midfielder won’t have to serve his one-match ban for walking off the field in last week’s match.

The 32-year-old Ghanaian was shown two yellow cards against Cagliari, with the first coming after Muntari protested to the referee about receiving racial abuse from the stadium’s fans.

Muntari ultimately walked off the field as a statement against the alleged racist acts, earning him a second yellow card from the head official.

Pescara will host Crotone on Sunday.

Aston Villa – Crystal Palace stream: How to watch, team news, start time

Aston Villa - Crystal Palace stream
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Aston Villa – Crystal Palace preview: Dean Smith’s Villans need a win over Crystal Palace to keep hope of remaining in the Premier League alive (Watch live at 9:15am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Villa has just left a brutal run of fixtures and finds itself seven points back of safety with four matches to play. If that figure remains seven with three to play, well, the math is grim even with West Ham as the last name on that fixture list.

WATCH ASTON VILLA – CRYSTAL PALACE STREAM LIVE ONLINE

Palace’s European hopes have settled into a valley, eight points away from the 42 points and 14th place.

Team news

Both Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings start for Villa along with John McGinn in the middle and Pepe Reina at the back.

It’ll be the usual suspects for Palace, with possible subs including James McCarthy, Andros Townsend, and Max Meyer.

 

How to watch Aston Villa – Crystal Palace

Kickoff: 9:15 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Add this season mark to the list of crazy Lionel Messi records

Lionel Messi records
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Barcelona is a long shot to claim a third-straight La Liga title but that isn’t stopping Lionel Messi from setting new standards.

Messi slipped Arturo Vidal through for the lone goal of Barcelona’s win at Real Valladolid on Sunday, collecting his 20th assist of the league season in the process.

The helper makes Messi the second player this century to record 20 goals and 20 assists in a top five European league season after his former teammate Thierry Henry did it with Arsenal (24+20). Messi has 22 goals this season.

He’s also the first player to do it in La Liga, and the first to record 20 assists in a La Liga season since another former teammate, Xavi Hernandez.

Messi is one of eight players in Europe’s top five leagues to score 20-plus goals and one of only two with 20 assists (Thomas Muller). Only five others have double-digit goals and assists: Kevin De Bruyne, Serge Gnabry, Jadon Sancho, Alassane Plea, and Mikel Oyarzabal.

Barcelona hosts Osasuna and visits Alaves on the final two match days of the season. Can he match or even beat Henry’s goal output? He has 30 goals in 28 career appearances against the aforementioned opponents.

Real Madrid will edge closer to wrapping up the league with a win at Granada on Monday. Zinedine Zidane’s men are on an incredible and near-imperious run, having won eight-straight games and riding a 457-minute league shutout streak.

Real currently leads Barca by a point with a match-in-hand, then finish with Villarreal and Leganes.

Wolves – Everton stream: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

Wolves - Everton stream
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Wolves – Everton preview: Slipping European hopefuls meet at the Molineux when Wolves host Everton on Sunday (Watch live at 7am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees hit the road with 45 points, five points behind the Europa League places after picking up just one point in two outings.

As for Wolves, a pair of losses has them six points off fifth place and seven points back of the top four as UCL footing is looking more like it will require a UEL title.

STREAM WOLVES – EVERTON LIVE ONLINE

That, of course, could all change with a win on Sunday

Team news

Joao Moutinho, Diogo Jota, and Adama Traore all miss out for Wolves.

Leighton Baines gets a start for Everton and will captain the side.

How to watch Wolves – Everton

Kickoff: 7 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Sheffield United hammer sloppy Chelsea

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Sheffield United – Chelsea was a hammering, by the Blades, as they beat the Blues 3-0 and thoroughly deserved all three points at Bramall Lane.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

David McGoldrick scored twice and Olle McBurnie added another as Sheffield United were ruthless and Chelsea hapless defensively as Frank Lampard was left seething following a host of defensive mistakes.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch: How did he perform? ]

With the win Sheffield United move up to sixth place and have 54 points for the season, while Chelsea stay in third on 60 points but have given Leicester and Man United an edge in the Champions League battle.


Three things we learned, Sheffield United – Chelsea

1. Blades sharp: Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United have beaten Spurs, Wolves and Chelsea at home over the last week to reignite their season. What a finish to an incredible first season back in the top-flight for the Blades. Wilder doesn’t want to talk about the Champions League but if they beat Leicester, Everton and Southampton in their final three games, they will be right in the hunt. At the very least it seems like Sheffield United will be in the Europa League next season. What a season they’re having as McBurnie and McGoldrick were a handful and they are so well-drilled in the 3-4-3 system.

2. Defensive issues remain for Chelsea: They couldn’t stop the Blades combining out wide and they allowed crosses to come in, then were caught ball-watching on the opening two goals. Frank Lampard had a face like thunder on the third goal too, as Jorginho didn’t track back and Rudiger shanked a clearance. Chelsea missed N’Golo Kante but the last few weeks is the story of their season. Big wins against Man City and Palace wedged in-between defeats to West Ham and Sheffield United. Sloppy defensive issues is their biggest problem and they have to bring in new defenders to change that, or work a lot harder tactically to stop the same things happening time and time again.

3. Half time subs have no impact: Chelsea tried to switch things up and went to a 3-4-3 for the second half, but it still didn’t work. The Blues looked more solid defensively but lost rhythm in attack and it seems like Lampard still doesn’t know his best lineup as he changes the combinations and partnerships game after game.


Man of the Match

David McGoldrick – Scored twice, his first Premier League goals, as McGoldrick finished off chances, stretched Chelsea and proved why he is so important to Sheffield United’s entire attack. Great center forward display.


Pulisic looked sharp early and George Baldock was booked for clattering the USMNT winger but Sheffield United pinned Chelsea back.

Ben Osborn skied over from a corner after Kepa flapped at the cross, then Pulisic headed just over but it was the Blades who took the lead.

Baldock whipped in a cross for McBurnie and his volleyed deflected twice and was brilliantly saved by Kepa but McGoldrick reacted quickest to tap home and make it 1-0.

The Blades doubled their lead before the break as Enda Stevens whipped in a delicious cross which McBurnie headed home at the near post. 2-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At half time Chelsea made a formation change with Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger coming on as Lampard switched to a 3-4-3 and tried to match the Blades man-for-man.

The second half saw the Blues have more possession but Sheffield United looked dangerous on the break and remained solid.

Moments after replacing Pulisic, Olivier Giroud volleyed just wide as Chelsea went with two central strikers up front for the final 25 minutes.

Jon Egan nearly flicked home at the near post but Kepa saved and at the other end Cesar Azpilicueta had a shot which deflected wide and from the resulting corner Abraham couldn’t finish at the back post.

McGoldrick finished Chelsea off late on as he tapped home from Lys Mousset’s cross to make it 3-0.