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Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Huddersfield Town

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  • Spurs waxed Terriers 4-0 on Sept. 30 in first meeting since 1973
  • Town leads all-time 16W-13D-12L
  • Spurs unbeaten in 16 (all comps)

Huddersfield Town’s safety push meets a tall ask head-on when it challenges Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Spurs don’t take the opposition for granted, having won their last 15 matches against promoted sides.

[ MORE: MLS Roundtable | Predictions ]

Tottenham has won its last two league matches, both London derbies, by twin 1-0 scores over Arsenal at home and Crystal Palace away.

Town have won two-straight, but Spurs are a much bigger ask than Bournemouth or West Bromwich Albion. And the Terriers haven’t kept a clean sheet since Dec. 30.

What they’re saying

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino on the 16-match unbeaten run“We don’t think too much about this, we think about trying to win games and go further in all the competitions and trying to be in the top four in the Premier League. That (unbeaten run) is always an important thing because (it can lead to) better confidence and more trust in the way that you play, but we need to always think ahead and now the most important thing is to try to be better than Huddersfield and win another game.

Town’s Florent Hadergjonaj on meeting Spurs“It’s a big game against a big opponent at Wembley. A lot of players have very good feelings from Wembley after the promotion and they have a good, good feeling. For me it’s a new experience, big stadium, new stadium and I’m really looking forward to this game. Tottenham is a strong team, but we will try to do our best to get something out of this game.”

Prediction

It’s difficult not to be swayed by that 4-0 away. Spurs 4-1 at home.

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.