Premier League roundup: A wild return for the top flight!

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The Premier League kicked off with a furious Friday match between Arsenal and Leicester City, and kept that vibe going when Saturday began at Vicarage Road.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A wild draw between the Reds and Hornets is a highlight of the first Saturday of PL football for the 2017-18 campaign, and the day definitely did not rest over the remaining six matches.

[ MORE: Lineups, stats, box scores ]

Welcome back, you beautiful league, you.


Watford 3-3 LiverpoolRECAP

Marco Silva‘s men went nickname-appropriate, refusing to leave the Reds’ lead alone until Miguel Britos won a 1v1 battle with Simon Mignolet to prod Richarlison’s rocket home in stoppage time (Multiple Liverpool-supporting friends texted wildly about obstruction and offside, so probably should be noted).

Stefano Okaka gave Watford an eighth minute lead, and Abdoulaye Doucouré made it 2-1 before half only to see the Reds claim a 3-2 lead with two goals in three second-half minutes.

Philippe Coutinho did not play, while Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and possible Man of the Match winner Sadio Mane scored for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp‘s men continued last season’s underwhelming work versus perceived lower half sides, at least for a day.

Chelsea 2-3 BurnleyRECAP

Of all the things expected from Stamford Bridge on Saturday, it’s safe to say the reigning champions going down 3-0 and finishing with nine men were not part of the plan.

Sam Vokes scored twice and Stephen Ward scored a stunner as the Clarets built a 3-0 lead against 10-man Chelsea, down a man thanks to a 14th minute challenge from Gary Cahill. Substitute striker Alvaro Morata made it 3-1 before Cesc Fabregas was sent off, then Morara assisted David Luiz to make it 3-2.

Everton 1-0 Stoke CityRECAP

Hate him or love him, there’s something right about Wayne Rooney scoring the lone goal in his long-awaited Premier League return to Goodison Park.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Huddersfield TownRECAP

This was perhaps the biggest surprise of the day given the newly-promoted side’s status as visitors to a Palace side which finished last season red hot behind its attack. Instead Steve Mounie scored twice to join a Joel Ward own goal as Town ruined Frank De Boer‘s Palace opener.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 BournemouthRECAP

Ahmed Hegazy‘s header was enough for the hosts as Tony Pulis‘ men start the season on the right foot.

Southampton 0-0 Swansea CityRECAP

Swans were under siege for most of the day, but an ineffective Manolo Gabbiadini and a bit of bad luck helped the Welsh side to a point at St. Mary’s.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester CityRECAP

Pep Guardiola‘s club didn’t have its finishing boots for most of the match, but looked very much the well-organized and possession-oriented unit. A plucky day that will give Brighton hope, Man City fans will just look to the next test.

VIDEO: Top 10 players in the world as soccer resumes

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Who are the top 10 soccer players in the world right now as the season is about to resume in multiple leagues?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With the Bundesliga in full flow for a few weeks, Spain’s La Liga will return next week and the Premier League and Serie A will follow the week after.

Given that there are so many superstars scattered across those four leagues, here’s a list of the top 10 players set to be in action over the summer months as we will be treated to a sort of bonus World Cup with multiple leagues spreading out games over multiple days as top four, title and relegation battles take center stage.

From Manchester to Milan and Barcelona to Berlin, there will be so many superstars in full flow in the coming months.

Of course, the Ligue 1 season in France is canceled so we can’t watch Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for at least a few months. If we could, the Paris Saint-Germain duo would be high up on the list of top 10 players in the world right now as the soccer world gets ready to resume in empty stadiums.

Top 10 players in the world who will be in action this summer

10. Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

9. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

7. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

6. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

5. Bruno Fernandes (Man United)

4. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Liverpool, Man United show support for Black Lives Matter

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Liverpool and Man United have joined the growing number of clubs and players across the world offering their support to the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA and honoring George Floyd.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN last Monday there have been widespread protests across the USA.

A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Over the weekend Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed messages of support on their jerseys, while USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram took a knee after he scored in the Bundesliga.

On Monday Liverpool players posted a photo of their entire squad taking a knee around the center circle at Anfield during a training session with the message Black Lives Matter and Unity is Strength, while Man United star Marcus Rashford released a powerful statement on the widespread protests across the USA.

Paris Saint-Germain and France superstar Kylian Mbappe also posted an image on social media with the caption “police with us, not against us.”

Across the soccer world clubs and players are speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and honoring George Floyd.

Report: MLS threaten lockout, players on the clock

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Reports have emerged that MLS may lock out their players as the owners put the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) on the clock when it comes to negotiating a plan for the 2020 season during the coronavirus pandemic.

Per a statement released by the MLSPA late Sunday, they say that players have formally submitted a package to the league so that “players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so.”

However, it is believed that package has been countered by the owners and the league want a decision by Tuesday or will sanction a lockout.

The MLS players’ statement detailed that they voted in favor of “economic concessions for the 2020 season, modifications to the recently agreed-upon CBA, including its extension by a year, and their agreement to participate in a summer tournament in Orlando.”

They also accepted salary reductions across the board, reduced bonuses and additional concessions to existing and future terms of the CBA.

Multiple reports, including this one from ESPN’s former USMNT striker Hercules Gomez, states that MLS owners are giving the players until Tuesday to come to an agreement or they will shut the league down.

MLS reportedly say they have already given the players their best offer and they are not budging, with a report from Jeffrey Carlisle of ESPN saying that the league want the players to take a 8.75 percent pay cut, while the players have agreed to 7.5 percent. There is also the ‘force majeure clause’ which would allow either side to back out of a CBA due to a diastrous event such as the coronavirus pandemic.

The top-flight of soccer in North America has been shut down since Mar. 12 and talks have been ongoing for several weeks between MLS and the MLSPA regarding the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the league.

With players making big concessions across the board, the fact that MLS shot that offer down so quickly suggests both sides still have a long way to go around the virtual negotiating table. Time is running out.

Right now, the 2020 MLS season looks like being a mini-tournament in Orlando for six weeks to hold things over and who knows what comes after that. But given the location of many of their teams in states which still have strict lockdown orders, plus fans not being allowed to attend sporting events across the country, the situation appears bleak for MLS for at least the next few months and probably much longer than that.

Man United extend Ighalo loan deal

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Man United have announced they have extended the loan deal for Odion Ighalo.

The initial loan deal for Ighalo, 30, was due to run out on May 31 but Man United came to an agreement with his parent club Shanghai Shenhua to extend the loan until January 31.

In a statement the Red Devils said the loan extension would “enable Ighalo to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a huge fan of the Nigerian international striker, who was signed as cover for the injured Marcus Rashford in January and scored four goals in eight games in all competitions.

“They [Shanghai Shenhua] have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club. It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us,” Solskjaer told MUTV.

Ighalo has given United more than a Plan B option up top since he arrived. The former Watford striker has held the ball up, brought other attacking players into play and scored a stunner against LASK in the Europa League. He has truly taken his chance at the club he supported as a boy and he deserves this extension.

Now that Rashford is back fit as the suspension allowed him to recover, how often will Ighalo play for Man United? He will likely get plenty of minutes in the FA Cup and Europa League, plus jump off the bench in the majority of Man United’s Premier League games and start a few. Ighalo won’t start every game but he’s proved he can be trusted to deliver goals, hold up the ball and add an extra dimension to United’s attack when they need it late on in matches.

Many people ridiculed Solskjaer and Man United for making his loan move in January but Ighalo has proven the doubters wrong and he’s perfect for a back-up option to Rashford and Anthony Martial in attack.

Extending this loan deal makes sense for everyone.