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Premier League roundup: Man City has a new second place side

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For the first time this season, Manchester United will finish a match week outside the Top Two.

[ MORE: Old Firm Derby finishes level ]

Jose Mourinho’s men stumbled to a third-straight draw on Saturday, and rampant Chelsea gleefully leapt over their former boss.

All that and plenty of tumult near the bottom of the table in this Saturday’s Premier League roundup.

Manchester United 0-0 SouthamptonRECAP

Chances were there before and after Romelu Lukaku was stretchered off the field following head-to-head contact with Wesley Hoedt, but make no mistake about it: Though United was ascendant, Saints could’ve easily had a lead were it not for David De Gea‘s continued heroics between the sticks for Manchester United.

Chelsea 5-0 Stoke City — RECAP

Antonio Conte saved Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Andreas Christensen from his usual Starting XI… and still waxed Mark Hughes‘ leaky Stoke City to the tune of 5-0. Davide Zappacosta finished the scoring in the 88th minute after Pedro, Willian, Antonio Rudiger and Danny Drinkwater (what a goal) scored for the now second place Blues.

Bournemouth 2-1 EvertonRECAP

Ryan Fraser likes his doubles, scoring in the 33rd and 88th minutes to give the Cherries a huge win, and end Sam Allardyce‘s loss-free run as Everton boss. Idrissa Gana Gueye scored in the 57th minute to temporarily restore level terms.

Huddersfield Town 0-0 BurnleyRECAP

Burnley missed its fair share of chances but will focus its frustrations on the penalty not awarded when Town goalkeeper Jonas Lossl got a piece of Jeff Hendrick in an 18-yard-box collision. The Clarets could be six points behind the “Big Six” as a result of the draw if other matches go against them.

Watford 1-2 Swansea City — RECAP

Carlos Carvalhal got the new boss bounce, but not before he saw Swansea City go down 1-0 at the feet of Andre Carrillo. The deficit stood until the 85th minute, when Jordan Ayew and Luciano Narsingh scored within five minutes to boost Swans to within sight of safety.

Newcastle United 0-0 Brighton and Hove AlbionRECAP

The Magpies will rue not finding the back of the net against Australian backstop Mat Ryan, who was very good against relegation-struggling Newcastle United. The visiting Seagulls move four points clear of the drop zone with the point, while Newcastle is just one point ahead of 18th place West Ham and 17th place Crystal Palace.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City — RECAP

Jamie Vardy took advantage of a rare Joel Matip error to put Leicester ahead, but that man Mohamed Salah scored twice to lift Jurgen Klopp into ecstasy at Anfield. The Reds are now fourth, three points behind Manchester United.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Manchester City 20 19 1 0 61 12 49 9-1-0 10-0-0 58
 Chelsea 21 14 3 4 39 14 25 8-1-2 6-2-2 45
 Manchester United 21 13 5 3 43 16 27 8-2-1 5-3-2 44
 Liverpool 21 11 8 2 48 24 24 6-5-0 5-3-2 41
 Tottenham Hotspur 20 11 4 5 39 20 19 6-3-1 5-1-4 37
 Arsenal 20 11 4 5 37 25 12 8-1-1 3-3-4 37
 Burnley 21 9 7 5 18 17 1 5-2-3 4-5-2 34
 Leicester City 21 7 6 8 31 32 -1 4-2-4 3-4-4 27
 Everton 21 7 6 8 25 32 -7 6-1-3 1-5-5 27
 Watford 21 7 4 10 30 37 -7 3-3-5 4-1-5 25
 Huddersfield Town 21 6 6 9 18 32 -14 4-4-3 2-2-6 24
 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 5 7 9 15 25 -10 3-5-2 2-2-7 22
 Southampton 21 4 8 9 20 30 -10 3-4-4 1-4-5 20
 Bournemouth 21 5 5 11 20 32 -12 3-3-5 2-2-6 20
 Stoke City 21 5 5 11 23 46 -23 4-2-4 1-3-7 20
 Newcastle United 21 5 4 12 19 30 -11 3-2-6 2-2-6 19
 Crystal Palace 20 4 6 10 18 32 -14 3-3-4 1-3-6 18

 West Ham United 20 4 6 10 22 38 -16 3-2-4 1-4-6 18
 Swansea City 21 4 4 13 13 32 -19 2-2-6 2-2-7 16
 West Bromwich Albion 20 2 9 9 14 27 -13 1-6-3 1-3-6 15

Zidane quizzed on Pogba: “We know what we want to do”

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Zinedine Zidane’s open flirtation with Paul Pogba continues, as the Real Madrid manager was asked about Manchester United’s star midfielder again on Saturday.

“We need to respect everybody, but the only thing I can say from the club is we know what we want to do,” Zidane said. “Something could happen before the end of August. We could have some changes.”

[ MORE: Wolves beat Man City in pens ]

On paper the purchase of Pogba makes sense to reloading Real, but the problem here is the sheer amount of paper the Madrid side has spent on players this season.

While sales of James Rodriguez, Dani Ceballos, and Gareth Bale could put Real in okay position regarding Financial Fair Play, buying Pogba would move the needle hard in the other direction considering the club has bought Ferland Mendy, Eden Hazard, Eder Militao, Luka Jovic, and Rodrygo.

Plus, Florentino Perez likes to buy only one Galactico per transfer session, and Hazard is undoubtedly this summer’s model.

That said, Real has assets that United could use in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s overhaul of the Old Trafford set.

UEFA gives partial stadium bans to Bulgaria, Romania for fan racism

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) Bulgaria will have to close part of its national stadium for European Championship qualifiers against England and the Czech Republic because of fan racism.

UEFA issued the order, saying Bulgarian fans were racially abusive during a 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic and a 3-2 loss to Kosovo last month.

Bulgaria hosts England on Oct. 14 and the Czech Republic on Nov. 17.

Romania has also been ordered to close part of its home stadium for a future under-21 game after UEFA ruled its fans behaved in a racist manner during the European under-21 championship last month.

Another racism case against Latvia was dropped.

UEFA also handed out various fines to Romania, Ukraine, and Greece for rowdy behavior by fans.

Transfer rumor roundup: Everton join Zaha chase; Matuidi to Man Utd?

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A roundup of Saturday’s biggest transfer rumors from around the world, including those involving a few Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: PL refs told to defer to VAR more, go to the monitor “sparingly” ]

Wilfried Zaha is one of the most wanted men in England, with Arsenal reportedly hot on his trail all summer. An deal between the Gunners and Crystal Palace is yet  to transpire, though, which has perhaps left the door open for Everton to sneak through and sign the 26-year-old Ivory Coast international.

Arsenal would obviously pay more in wages, but are yet to meet Palace’s valuation of their talisman. If Everton is the club that calls with the requisite figures on offer, it wouldn’t be the worst landing place for Zaha. With Arsenal yet to make a meaningful signing this summer, and the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny already gone or on their way out, the 2019-20 season could see the Gunners take a step back, opening the door for — you guessed it — Everton to break into the top-five… or -four.


Speaking of Ramsey, his arrival at Juventus has perhaps made Blaise Matuidi surplus to requirements, which means he could be available for cut-rate price.

Manchester United seem to be perennially in need of influential central midfielders, especially this summer after the departure of Ander Herrera and the failure of a signing that was Fred last summer. Man United have reportedly been in contact with Juve about the 32-year-old, as have Paris Saint-Germain and Everton.


Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is another midfielder who’s been linked with United, but he’ll likely just as much as, if not more than, the $59-million fee paid for Fred. Milinkovic-Savic seemed a surefire target for the world’s top clubs after a star’s showing at last summer’s World Cup in Russia, but the 24-year-old remained at Lazio and is still yet to move 12 months later.


Patrick Cutrone was one of Europe’s breakout stars of the 2018-19 season, now the 21-year-old AC Milan forward is reportedly high atop Wolverhampton Wanderers’ shopping list this summer. He won’t come cheap — Milan are expected to demand nearly $30 million — but he could offer some serious insurance in the event of an injury to Raul Jimenez.

PL refs told to defer to VAR more, go to the monitor “sparingly”

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Premier League interim chief executive Richard Masters says that referees have ben instructed “to use the referee review area a bit more sparingly” and rely on the numerous video-assistant referees (VAR) at their disposal to make simple calls upon review when video review is instituted in the PL next month.

[ MORE: Lukaku latest: Man United reject $67-million bid from Inter Milan ]

Following the 2019 Women’s World Cup, where far too many trip to the monitor were made by the center referees, the PL is keen on ensuring that “the Premier League or English football [is not] interrupted, or the pace of the game [is not] changed.” It sounds very much like a “less is more” approach  — quotes from the BBC:

“I think fans want to see those clear and obvious mistakes changed and put right. But they don’t want to see the Premier League or English football interrupted, or the pace of the game changed.

“I think the only difference you might see is the referees using the referee review area a bit more sparingly and relying more on the VAR for the more subjective decisions.

“But we are putting something new into the Premier League and if it needs to be refined or improved or tweaked we will look at it when the moment arises.”

In theory, this should work quite well for the PL. Many of the decisions that referees go to the monitor to review themselves could easily be made by the “fifth official.” If it’s obvious to the VAR and he/she can make the call with 100 percent certainty, the center ref should always take their decision in the name of keeping the game flowing. If the VAR isn’t so sure, or it’s a more subjective call that should be made by the person making 99 percent of the game’s calls, go to the monitor. But do so quickly.