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Premier League friendly roundup

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With just 13 days to go until the 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off, a whole host of clubs were in action on Saturday across the globe as preseason reaches its climax.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

From Arsenal hammering PSG in Singapore to a bunch of PL clubs playing against second-tier Championship sides on home soil, the run-outs for new boys continued.

Below is a look at all of the PL clubs in action on Saturday, with only Burnley and Huddersfield not playing.


Leicester 1-2 Udinese – Lasagna and Machis struck in the first half for the Serie A side against the Foxes in Austria. Ricardo went close and then linked up with Kelechi Iheanacho who made it 2-1, as Claude Puel is without stars Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy but Leicester’s squad is looking deeper than last season.


Dijon 0-2 SouthamptonShane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini with a goal in each half for Mark Hughes‘ men as they completed their preseason trip to Switzerland with a win against Ligue 1 Evian.


Ipswich Town 1-2 West Ham United – The Hammers took the lead early as record signing Felipe Anderson headed home at the back post, but Harrison soon put the Tractor boys level with a tidy finish and went close soon after. Mark Arnautovic scored the winner as Manuel Pellegrini‘s side continue their impressive preseason form.


Reading 0-4 Crystal PalaceAlex Sorloth gave Palace a first half lead as he hammered home a cross from Wilfried Zaha and the Eagles didn’t look back. In the second half Roy Hodgson‘s side added another three goals with Zaha grabbing two and James Tomkins nodding home Andros Townsend‘s fine cross.


Nottingham Forest 2-0 Bournemouth – A goal either side of half time gave Forest the victory against PL side Bournemouth with Tendayi Darikwa and Gil Dias on the scoresheet. The Cherries kept Costel Pantillimon busy but couldn’t break through at the City Ground.


Brentford 1-2 Watford – The Hornets fell behind as Ben Foster parried out a free kick and Ollie Watkins put Brentford in front. Maxi Pereyra caused problems and forced Brentford into an own goal to level the scores, then Andre Gray continued his fine form as he made it 2-1 in the first with his third goal of preseason. That turned out to be the winner.


Birmingham City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion – Second-tier Birmingham took the lead as Kieftenbeld volleyed home in the first half. And the Seagulls levelled in the final minute as new boy Yves Bissouma scored a beauty. The midfielder promises to be some signing from Lille.


Burton Albion 1-5 Cardiff City – The Bluebirds comfortably beat Championship side Burton after falling behind as Junior Hoillet’s dangerous free kick led to an own goal, Kenneth Zohore made it 2-1, then a beauty from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing made it 2-1 and second half goals from Bobby Reid and Callum Paterson completed the rout.


Derby County 2-1 Wolves – Joao Moutinho made his debut for PL new boys Wolves and although his fellow Portuguese international Patricio saved well, David Nugent was on hand to give Derby the lead. Wolves equalized through Diogo Jota who finished after Ruben Neves crashed against the bar, but Frank Lampard‘s side won it late on as Chelsea loanee Mason Mount scored the winner.


In action later on Saturday…
Manchester United v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Manchester City
FC Porto v Newcastle United
Inter Milan v Chelsea
Rennes v Everton
Athletic Bilbao v Fulham

Four-star Manchester United wins Europa League group

Manchester United Mata Greenwood
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Manchester United is in fine feather and showing it, smashing AZ Alkmaar in a stylish 4-0 win at Old Trafford in Europa League play on Thursday.

Juan Mata had a goal and set up two others, while Mason Greenwood scored twice after Ashley Young opened the scoring in a group-claiming victory.

[ MORE: Saka leads Arsenal comeback ]

United wins the group with 13 points, conceding just twice in six matches.

The Red Devils have won three-straight matches, as AZ joins Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the loss column. Up next is a Sunday visit from Everton in the Premier League before Wednesday’s League Cup quarterfinal visit from Colchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed starts to James Garner, Brandon Williams, and Axel Tuanzebe, bringing youngsters Ethan Laird and Tahith Chong off the bench.

Greenwood, 18, now has six goals in 22 senior appearances, while Mata, 31, gets on the score sheet for the first time this season.

For his career, the award-winning Spaniard is doing okay, though: 125 goals and 149 assists in 542 senior appearances.

Ljungberg hails ‘amazing’ teen Saka after game-changing performance

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Arsenal phenom Bukayo Saka‘s big day spurred the Gunners to a top seed in the Europa League knockout rounds.

Arsenal went behind on two deflected goals in the second half’s first 25 minutes, but Saka answered with a goal and an assist in three minutes to take a point from Belgium in a 2-2 draw at Standard Liege.

[ RECAP, VIDEO: Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal ]

Saka was at the heart of it of all good things Arsenal, the 18-year-old handed plenty of responsibility. despite his tender age.

“He was amazing,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg. “He was a bit upset with me before the game that he had to play wing-back and full-back. He’s a tremendous talent.”

Saka had four key passes to go with his goal and assist, winning six of eight duels while producing two tackles and an interception.

Ljungberg said Arsenal hasn’t sent its young players on loan enough, though that hardly applies to Saka given he was 17 until September.

The injured Gunners used Konstantinos Mavropanos, Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson in the Starting XI, and brought Gabriel Martinelli off the bench.

“I feel sorry for our young players,” he said. “A lot of them haven’t been on loan, they’ve not had that exposure to men’s football. Some of them made mistakes but they’ll learn from those mistakes and won’t do them again.”

Smith-Rowe was loaned to RB Leipzig last season and Nelson starred on loan at Hoffenheim. Mavropanos played first team football for Greek Super League side PAS Giannina in his late teens.

Arsenal joins Premier League sides Wolves and Manchester United in the knockout rounds, having lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea at the end of last season.

The Gunners beat West Ham on Monday and host Manchester City at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Arsenal uses thrilling comeback to win Europa League group

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Nothing Arsenal-related is allowed to be easy, it seems.

The Gunners used a goal and an assist from Bukayo Saka to come back from a two-goal deficit and draw Standard Liege 2-2 in Belgium on Thursday, winning its Europa League group when Vitoria came back to beat Eintracht Frankfurt on a wild afternoon of soccer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal trailed on second half goals from Samuel Bastien and Selim Amallah, but rallied behind Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette to score a second-straight win for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Saka sent in a laser cross in the 78th minute and Lacazette did quite well to power it under the bar.

He’s loving this competition, having made a serious entrance earlier in the tournament versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The 18-year-old now has two goals and five assists across all competitions this season.

The Gunners needed just three more minutes to tie the score on a day they outshot the hosts 15-11.

Saka showed his nose for goal to tie the score five minutes later with a dribble to the top of the 18 and a sly finish to the keeper’s left.

This was all happening around the same time Vitoria scored twice in three minutes to take a 3-2 lead on Eintracht Frankfurt.

Standard Liege goes from the knockout rounds to nothing in a blink, while Eintracht goes from winning the group to second.

The field for the Europa League is looking fierce, with Inter Milan, Benfica, Ajax, Club Brugge, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, and Red Bull Salzburg joining the competition via transfer from the UEFA Champions League.

Arsenal joins Premier League sides Wolves and Manchester United in the knockout rounds, having lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea at the end of last season.

The Gunners beat West Ham on Monday and host Manchester City at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 17 is here in the Premier League as the games continue to come thick and fast during the festive season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Liverpool 3-1 Watford – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

Crystal Palace 3-1 Brighton – (Monday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Leicester 3-0 Norwich – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Southampton 1-1 West Ham – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Sheffield United 2-1 Aston Villa – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Man United 2-1 Everton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Arsenal 3-3 Man City – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Wolves 1-2 Tottenham – (Sunday 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Burnley 1-2 Newcastle United – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM