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PL roundup: Man City one win away; Liverpool storm back

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the Premier League…

[ MORE: Bayern Munich obliterate Dortmund in season’s final Der Klassiker ]

Everton 1-3 Manchester CityFULL RECAP

The vast majority of Man City’s game this season have felt like they were over before they even began; others, like Saturday’s 3-1 triumph away to Everton, were all but over after four minutes, and reduced to a mere formality after 12. Leroy Sane opened the floodgates inside the first five minutes, followed by Gabriel Jesus before the quarter-hour mark, and then Raheem Sterling in the 37th minute. Yannick Bolasie pulled a goal back in the second half, but that was as close as the Toffees would get. With a 16-point lead and only seven games left to play, the magic number is six — the number of points won, or combination of points won and Manchester United points dropped, required to clinch the title.

Manchester United 2-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

Man United clearly won’t catch the “noisy neighbors” in the title race, but Jose Mourinho’s men are finishing the PL season in fine form after notching their fourth straight win on Saturday. Romelu Lukaku made it 1-0 after five minutes (assisted by Alexis Sanchez), and the Chilean completed the scoring just 15 minutes later, as United held Swansea at arm’s length for the remainder.

Crystal Palace 1-2 LiverpoolFULL RECAP

Liverpool fell behind Palace following Luka Milivojevic‘s 13th-minute penalty (given away by Loris Karius), but the Reds roared back to life and victory in the second half. Sadio Mane tapped home to make it 1-1 in the 49th minute, followed by Mohamed Salah‘s 29th league goal in the 84th minute. The victory keeps Liverpool five points clear of fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur, though the Reds have played two more games thus far.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Burnley — FULL RECAP

Burnley have seen off nearly all challengers in the race for seventh (and trail sixth-place Arsenal by only two points, having played one more game), with only Leicester City still knocking on the door following Saturday’s 2-1 win away to last-place West Brom. Ashley Barnes scored a stunner in the first half (WATCH HERE) and Chris Wood made it 2-0 in the 73rd before Salomon Rondon pulled back a late consolation goal in the 83rd.

Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City — FULL RECAP

Speaking of Leicester, the Foxes are unbeaten in their last four league games following a a late 2-0 win away to Brighton. Vicente Iborra scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute, followed by Jamie Vardy‘s insurance goal in the 95th. There were nine red cards in the game, including two for Wilfred Ndidi, who was sent off in the 87th minute.

Watford 2-2 BournemouthFULL RECAP

It was a back-and-forth affair between Watford and Bournemouth, as the Hornets blew a pair of one-goal leads to eventually drop a pair of points at home. Kiko Femenia put the home side 1-0 ahead in the 12th minute, but Joshua King converted from the penalty spot just before halftime. Roberto Pereyra made it 2-1 four minutes into the second half, but Jermain Defoe stole the point in the 91st minute.

Newcastle United 1-0 Huddersfield Town — FULL RECAP

After an appalling start to the season, Newcastle have all but guaranteed their top-flight status for next season, reaching 35 points with a 1-0 win over fellow PL new boys Huddersfield. Ayoze Perez scored the game’s only goal, in the 80th minute, to give Rafa Benitez‘s side back-to-back wins and a seven-point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone.

West Ham United 3-0 Southampton — FULL RECAP

Southampton, on the other hand, have not fought off relegation quite as effectively in recent weeks. Saturday’s 3-0 loss away to West Ham leaves Saints without a win in their last five league games. Joao Mario bagged the opener in the 13th minute, followed by a first-half brace from Marko Arnautovic, in the 17th minute and then again in the third minute of stoppage time.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Arsenal vs. Stoke City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Newcastle takes three points at Sheffield United

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Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey scored goals and VAR made its presence felt as Newcastle United toppled Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Thursday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Its Newcastle’s fifth result from six following a loss to Chelsea, while Sheffield United sees the end of its seven-match unbeaten run.

The Magpies pull into 11th place with 19 points, two spots below the Blades on goal differential.

Sheffield United meets Norwich City on Sunday, when Newcastle hosts Southampton.


Three things we learned

1. Blades make rookie mistake in VAR era: The linesman’s flag was raised when Andy Carroll flicked a header into the Blades final third, but Shelvey kept running onto the ball and referee Stuart Atwell allowed play to continue into the 1v1 chance between the midfielder and Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Shelvey passed around Henderson and into the goal, the backstop apparently spotting the flag and assuming the call. Big mistake, as VAR negated the linesman’s flag.

2. Bruce rewarded for lineup risk, and ASM breaks down the door: Manager Steve Bruce pulled the plug on big money striker Joelinton‘s automatic spot in the Starting XI, installing veteran center forward and hometown hero Andy Carroll in that spot. Carroll was solid with Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron on his flanks, and won the pivotal assist in the second half.

Saint-Maximin is either the league’s best dribbler or a fixture in the debate, but he’s been unable to find the back of the goal whether through fine saves or misfired shots. Raise your hand if you had 50-50 header for his first Premier League marker. Didn’t think so. If this busts down the door, look out.

3. Magnificent Martin deserves a rest: Newcastle backstop Martin Dubravka was the biggest factor in the result, as the Slovakian national team goalkeeper was at his shot-stopping best. He was stopping all of the Olivers, with fine stops on McBurnie and Norwood in the first half and a well-controlled box in the second 45.

Man of the Match: Dubravka — Respect to Carroll, but the keeper made six saves on the night for a richly-deserved clean sheet.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

A deflection off Miguel Almiron forced Martin Dubravka into a fine reaction stop in the sixth minute.

Newcastle then had the ball for a spell without real threat, as Blades’ Oli McBurnie’s curl wide in the 15th minute was the next moment of danger for either side.

The Magpies scored soon after, Saint-Maximin rising high to thump a header inside the post after Andy Carroll laid off for Javi Manquillo‘s cross.

McBurnie then forced an incredible save out of Dubravka when George Baldock sent a terrific cross into the heart of the box.

Almiron gave away a dangerous free kick in first half stoppage time, but Dubravka was again there for a two-handed parry of Oliver Norwood‘s rip.

VAR made its voice heard in the 71st minute, when it ruled that

Everton must think bigger than retread replacement for Silva

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Marco Silva is out as Everton manager, the Toffees turning the page on a disappointing execution of their ambitious vision.

Despite plenty of investment, Silva’s Everton wasn’t able to do much of anything good and now sits in the Premier League’s Bottom Three after 15 match days.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Silva ]

Silva’s men finished eighth in the league during his first season, but the best he can say about his truncated sophomore campaign is that the club are into the League Cup quarterfinals.

So what will Everton do now? Well, Duncan Ferguson is in charge for the Toffees’ Saturday visit from Chelsea, though the club has vowed to “swiftly” find their next full-time boss.

Frankly, the club could do its next man a favor by taking its time, as the post-Chelsea fixtures are Manchester United, Leicester City in the aforementioned cup fixture, and Arsenal.

Back on topic, what the Toffees should do is appoint a man with vision. While it would be tempting to slide into the comfortable slippers that are David Moyes, appointing him or some Sam Allardyce or Mark Hughes type would be another step in the wrong direction.

That’s because this is truly an opportunity for the right coach to take the club in a tremendous direction. Everton might be in the drop zone, but its talent is a mile ahead of true relegation candidacy.

Whoever is hired — and this is why Big Sam is probably holding aloft a boombox outside Goodison Park — is going to “save the Toffees” and earn another season at the helm. Allowing that to be some retread would be a mistake.

Rafa Benitez isn’t going to come to Goodison Park because of his relationship with Liverpool, but a a manager of his ilk should very much be in play. The Toffees boast a still-improving star forward in Richarlison and two proper fullbacks in Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibe.

Richarlison is 22, Alex Iwobi is 23, and Moise Kean just 19 and adapting to a new country. Defenders Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, and Michael Keane are all under 26. A manager who can develop and fine tune talent will have a field day with this roster. Imagine Dominic Calvert-Lewin reaching his potential.

Their 9.1 shots allowed per game is a figure bettered by only Man City and Chelsea. The side has been prone to allowing those shots to be dangerous ones, but there’s every reason to believe that fixing their fourth-worst goals conceded total should happen soon given some adequate goalkeeping performances.

Jordan Pickford is England’s No. 1, but hasn’t been right for the Toffees. Logically, he’ll get back to at least average and start stealing some points. The goals are going to keep coming, and likely increase with the wins; Everton is eighth in the xG table.

The Premier League is better when Everton is a good side. The Toffees are not going to be relegated this season, and need to approach that hiring with that mindset. Get someone worth believing in, not just blind hope and a nod to the past.

Watch Live: Arsenal v. Brighton, Sheffield Utd v. Newcastle

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Matchweek 15 of the 2019-20 Premier League season wraps up on Thursday, with two more midweek clashes featuring two mid-table sides, and two more from much nearer to the relegation zone, in action.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

First up, PL new boys (and 9th-place side) Sheffield United will host 14th-place Newcastle United, who sit just two points outside the relegation zone ahead of kickoff. 45 minutes later, 10th-place Arsenal will host 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion in Freddie Ljungberg’s first home game as Arsenal interim manager.

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The schedule for Thursday’s two games is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


2:30 p.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Newcastle United [STREAM]
3:15 p.m. ET: Arsenal v. Brighton & Hove Albion [STREAM]

Marco Silva fired by Everton

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Marco Silva has been fired as manager of Everton, making him the fourth Premier League manager to lose his job in the last 16 days.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Silva reported for a regular day’s work at Everton’s training ground on Thursday, a day after suffering a 5-2 defeat to local rivals Liverpool, all while a conference call was expected to take place involving the relevant figures: owner Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale and director of football Marcel Brands.

15 games into the 2019-20 PL season, the Toffees currently sit 18th in the league table with less than a point per game — relegation territory — on the back of three straight losses and just four wins all season. Silva’s only victory since mid-October came against fellow bottom-four side Southampton nearly a month ago.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (now up to nine) on the season thus far, but many of the sides to which they’ve lost (newly promoted Aston Villa, 12th-place Bournemouth, newly promoted Sheffield United, 11th-place Burnley, 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion and 19th-place Norwich, to name a few) that forced them further and further down the table and made relegation a semi-serious threat, at least for the time being.