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Premier League wrap: Safety shakeup for Swansea, Hull, Palace

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The Premier League day began with a thunderous Manchester City win over Crystal Palace, but started to nap through 45 minutes of four 10 a.m. ET matches.

My, did that change.


Swansea City 1-0 EvertonRECAP

What a day for Paul Clement and Wales’ Premier League mainstay, as Fernando Llorente scored early and Swansea pursued a second while defending doggedly in a massive win which moves it a point ahead of Hull City in the race to avoid the drop.

As for Everton, which was shutout for the third-straight match, it’s hard to fake desperation. That said, Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku, and Ross Barkley combined to miss or just miss on a half-dozen quality chances.

Hull City 0-2 Sunderland — RECAP

This seemed like the easiest part of Hull’s run-in, but the relegated Black Cats mustered goals from Billy Jones (?!?) and Jermain Defoe and shocked the KCOM Stadium and put the Tigers into 18th place after Swans’ win.

Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace — RECAP

Manchester City was fantastic, as Gabriel Jesus, David Silva, and Nicolas Otamendi all had shouts as Man of the Match. City moves level with Liverpool, four points ahead of fifth place Manchester United and nine ahead of sixth place Arsenal.

As for Crystal Palace…

Confident Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce on Friday: “Here, nothing happens in the middle. It doesn’t seem the ideal place for Guardiola’s brand of passing football. Yet, he says he knew all about it before he came. It’s no surprise because I was a fan of the Premier League as a teenager, as an adult, as a player and as a manager.”

Less confident Sam Allardyce on Saturday: “We simply lost control and Manchester City scored more and more. … My team was unrecognisable from what I’ve seen over the last two or three months – hopefully that is a one-off and the lads have got it out of our system ahead of the biggest game of the season next week at home to Hull. But [we were] very disappointing here.”

Bournemouth 2-2 Stoke CityRECAP

Adam Smith helped produce a pair of goals for the hosts, but an own goal and a Mame Biram Diouf marker made sure both teams got the points they needed to clinch another season in the Premier League.

Burnley 2-2 West Bromwich Albion — RECAP

Ashley Barnes set Sam Vokes up for a first half goal, then watched as Vokes rescued a point for Burnley after Salomon Rondon and Craig Dawson scored to put the visitors ahead. West Brom has one win in its last nine matches.

Leicester City 3-0 Watford — RECAP

Manager Craig Shakespeare has presided over 22 points won in Leicester’s last 10 matches, and goals from Riyad Mahrez, Marc Albrighton, and Wilfried Ndidi have the Foxes within distance of eighth place.

De Gea signs new Man United contract

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Dave stays.

David De Gea has finally signed a new contract at Manchester United.

After months of talks, the 28-year-old has agreed to a new four year contract, which also includes the option to extend by another year.

Speaking to the club website about extending his stay at Old Trafford, De Gea was delighted to finally sign the deal.

“It has been a privilege to spend eight years at this great club and the opportunity to continue my career at Manchester United is a genuine honor,” De Gea said. “Since I arrived here, I could never have imagined I would play over 350 games for this club. Now my future is fixed, all I want is to help this team achieve what I believe we can and win trophies again, together.

“As one of the senior players in the squad, I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here. I still feel that I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club’s tradition of success and reward our fans for their support. I am committed to continue repaying the fans for all of the care that they’ve shown me during the good times and the bad.”

More to follow…

Mane: Feud with Salah is over

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Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are friends again.

Sort of.

Following Mane’s angry reaction to not being passed the ball by Salah in their win at Burnley before the international break, there were concerns that the relationship between the two star forwards would impact their play on the pitch.

But speaking to French outlet Canal+ after their 3-1 win against Newcastle United on Saturday, Mane put a lid on the matter.

“With Salah? It’s forgotten,” Mane said. “Sometimes you have to say things face to face. These are things that happen in football, sometimes it happens that I am not given the pass. But we have reconciled and become the good friends we were before.”

That’s that then.

Salah posted the following video ahead of the weekend, which says it all.

Mane scored twice on Saturday to continue his stunning start to the season, so it hasn’t impacted his form. But Salah, the Egyptian King and darling of Anfield, has come out of this worse.

Liverpool fans, generally, were on Mane’s side in this disagreement and the Senegalese attacker has been applauded for his response.

Will this impact Salah’s confidence and the fluidity of Liverpool front three? Probably not.

As Mane said, these things happen in football but it does prove that despite all of the success something has been brewing behind-the-scenes at Liverpool.

Arsenal “too scared” of Watford in collapse

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Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka admitted the Gunners were “too scared” of Watford as they collapsed in the second half.

Leading 2-0 at half time thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal were totally outplayed in the second half as Watford roared back to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Speaking after the game, Xhaka said the Arsenal players were not confident enough to see out the game.

“No-one wanted the ball. In the end we are happy to take a point,” Xhaka said. “We didn’t show our game in the second half, we were too scared… Every team in the Premier League is strong enough to score but you have to keep calm, to show good character, to be mentally strong. We weren’t today.”

If only this was a rare occurrence for Arsenal.

Under Unai Emery their defensive collapses have been frequent, and this issue even dates back to Arsene Wenger‘s final few seasons in charge.

Arsenal were their own worst enemies on Sunday.

Instead of playing the ball out of dangerous areas they tried to play short goal kicks time and time again and were caught in possession on several occasions. David Luiz gave away a penalty kick, Xhaka and Mateo Guendouzi were overrun in central midfield in the second half and in the end they were lucky to grab a point.

Trying the same things time and time again and expecting different results is just bonkers, and that is what this Arsenal squad is going.

Luiz, Bernd Leno, Sokratis and Xhaka are players Arsenal have built their defensive core around, and the same issues keep cropping up when they are in the team. Adding Luiz to the mix after losing Laurent Koscielny was a risk and it seems like a move which will backfire for the Gunners.

It is true that defenders Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are all close to returning from injury, so when that happens perhaps we will see a newfound defensive solidity and things will improve.

Then again, it’s likely neutral everywhere will be grabbing their popcorn whenever Arsenal play this season because you’re guaranteed entertainment at both ends of the pitch.

Galaxy hammer Sporting KC; Zlatan: “I’m the best ever in MLS”

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LA Galaxy smashed Sporting Kansas City 7-2 on Sunday, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick then called himself the best player in MLS history.

Just a casual Sunday for Zlatan, then…

Ibrahimovic, 37, scored a hat trick as LA raced into a 7-1 lead after falling 1-0 behind early on as Felipe Gutierrez scored both of Sporting’s goals.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Ibrahimovic was typically humble after his hat trick which means he now holds the record for the highest scoring season in Galaxy history with 26 goals.

“I think I am the best ever to play in MLS. And that’s without joking,” Ibrahimovic said. “Scoring goals is easy, you just have to be like Zlatan and it’s coming.”

Zlatan is now two goals behind Carlos Vela in the race for the Golden Boot in MLS with four games remaining, and he’s now scored 48 goals in 52 games since arriving in MLS.

Joe Corona, Uriel Antuna and Sebastian Lletget grabbed the Galaxy’s other goals as they won for the first time in five MLS games to boost their chances of making the playoffs in the congested Western Conference.

With the defeat Sporting KC’s hopes of reaching the playoffs is all but over.

Check out the highlights in full below. It will take quite a while to sort through the nine goals, so set down and soak in Zlatan’s brilliance.