Premier League roundup: Pogba stars in derby; Merseyside snoozer

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Double Derby Day started with a snooze and ended with Manchester snapping the day awake with Manchester United’s comeback win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Bayern wins Bundesliga (again) ]

All that and more inside the Saturday roundup.

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester UnitedRECAP

The hosts looked comfortable and dominant in building a 2-0 halftime lead on goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan, but perhaps the pressure of knowing a derby win would clinch the league title was too much to handle for the blue side of Manchester.

Paul Pogba scored two goals in 97 seconds, Chris Smalling snatched a match-winner, and Alexis Sanchez played a role in all three goals as Jose Mourinho’s men stymied City’s title hopes for the time being with a thrilling 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Everton 0-0 Liverpool — RECAP

Sam Allardyce‘s Toffees couldn’t finish their chances against a “B Team” Liverpool which still controlled the ball and outshot Everton 10-6 in a dull Merseyside Derby draw.

 

Watford 1-2 Burnley RECAP

The Clarets won their fourth-straight in ensuring their status as a Europa League participant if seventh place qualifies for the tournament. Sam Vokes and Jack Cork scored twice in three minutes to lead a comeback after Roberto Pereyra put the Hornets in front. Burnley is six points clear of Leicester with six matches each to play.

Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

Christian Eriksen had a goal and an assist, and Harry Kane also started and scored as Spurs insured their Top Four hopes with a win at relegation-threatened Stoke City. Paul Lambert‘s men got a goal from Mame Biram Diouf, but are four points back of safety.

Leicester City 1-2 Newcastle United RECAP

Rafa Benitez never got his star striker in the transfer market, but has turned Newcastle United into a likely Premier League participant next season with terrific defense and creative play. Chelsea loanee Kenedy again starred, Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez both scored wondeful goals, and the Magpies moved into 10th, 10 points clear of the drop zone with a win. Jamie Vardy scored late to ruin Martin Dubravka‘s shutout.

 

Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace — RECAP

Lys Mousset and Joshua King each scored equalizers, the latter quite late in the match, as Bournemouth managed a point against Roy Hodgson‘s resilient Eagles. Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic each scored stunners for Palace.

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Swansea CityRECAP

Jay Rodriguez scored for caretaker manager Darren Moore, but Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham nabbed a point for 15th place Swans. The Welsh side finishes the day four points clear of the drop zone.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Huddersfield TownRECAP

A quarter hour with a man advantage wasn’t enough for Huddersfield Town to complete its comeback bid at the Amex Stadium. Solly March scored early for hosts Brighton, who saw Davy Propper sent off for a tackle on Jonathan Hogg after the Gulls gifted an equalizer to Steve Mounie.

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.

Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.