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Weekend friendly preview: Home preseason stretch

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The Premier League season is just around the corner. How do we know? The Community Shield is Sunday, with less than a week to go before the campaign opener.

But teams have just a little more preparation to do. On Friday, four Premier League teams were in action, and three found victory lane.

Huddersfield Town torched Bundesliga side RB Leipzig 3-0 in Austria. Steve Mounie started things off in the 10th minute with a header off brilliant combination play down the left, while 22-year-old Adama Diakhaby grabbed the second right on the hour mark, and Philip Billing finished it off six minutes later.

West Ham topped French club Angers 1-0 in Austria as well on a goal from Mexican international Chicharito, largely thanks to the strong hold-up play of Marko Arnautovic on the left touchline.

That wraps things up for the Hammers, who will open their season next Sunday against Liverpool.

Also winning is Brighton & Hove Albion, beating Ligue 1 side Nantes 2-1 at home. They went 2-0 up on goals by Tomer Hemed and Pascal Gross, before conceding in the 80th minute. Finally, Bournemouth was the only Premier League club to lose Friday as they fell 2-0 to rising La Liga club Real Betis.

The list below is the remaining friendly schedule before the season starts, with most of it to come this weekend. Many teams with just one tuneup left will look to put their likely Premier League starting lineup out on the field together, so fans can get an idea of what the teamsheet will look like next weekend.


Arsenal
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Lazio (Stockholm, Sweden)

Bournemouth
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Olympique Marseille (Vitality Stadium)

Brighton & Hove Albion
–NONE–

Burnley
–NONE–
Burnley has already begun its season with the early rounds of Europa League qualifying

Cardiff City
–NONE–

Chelsea
Tue, Aug 7 – vs. Lyon (Stamford Bridge)
Chelsea also has the Community Shield vs. Manchester City on Sun, Aug 5

Crystal Palace
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Toulouse (Selhurst Park)

Everton
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Valencia (Goodison Park)

Fulham
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Celta Vigo (Craven Cottage)

Huddersfield Town
–NONE–

Leicester City
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Lille (Lille, France)

Liverpool
Sat, Aug 4 – Napoli (Dublin, Ireland)
Tue, Aug 7 – Torino (Anfield)

Manchester City
–NONE–
Manchester City has the Community Shield vs. Chelsea on Sun, Aug 5

Manchester United
Sun, Aug 5 – vs. Bayern Munich (Munich, Germany)

Newcastle United
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. FC Augsburg (St. James Park)

Southampton
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Borussia Monchengladbach (St. Mary’s Stadium)

Tottenham Hotspur
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Girona (Girona, Italy)

Watford
Sat, Aug 4 – vs. Sampdoria (Vicarage Road)

West Ham United
–NONE–

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
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MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

UEFA Champions League
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]