Ranieri’s Fulham edge Southampton in thriller

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  • Fulham have lost just one of last 15 home league games v. Saints
  • Saints without a win since Sept. 1
  • Fulham without a shutout in their last 17 PL games, conceding at least twice in 15 of those

LONDON — Claudio Ranieri‘s first game in charge ended in victory as Fulham beat Southampton 3-2 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

The Premier League’s bottom club before the start of play, Fulham went 1-0 down as Stuart Armstrong scored but they turned it around in the first half with goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle. Armstrong made it 2-2 in the second half with a fine goal but Mitrovic scored again as the Cottagers grabbed their first win since August.

With the victory Fulham now have eight points, the same as Southampton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

The first big chance of the game fell to Southampton as Armstrong’s low drive was parried by Sergio Rico and Fulham’s goalkeeper then reacted superbly to deny Gabbiadini’s rebound.

Fulham went close from a corner but Calum Chambers‘ header was saved down low by Alex McCarthy.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Saints did get the lead their pressure deserved, as a cross into the box found Armstrong and his low drilled effort found its way past Rico and in.

But before the break Fulham drew level as Maxime Le Marchand kept the ball in down the left and cross for Mitrovic who nodded home. 1-1. Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Right on half time Fulham hit Southampton with a sucker punch as Ryan Sessegnon got free of his marker brilliantly, then sent a cross to the back post which Schurrle tapped home. 2-1, and Ranieri was working his magic.

The game turned into an end-to-end encounter in the second half as Mitrovic launched a counter and was denied by a superb low stop from Alex McCarthy, then Saints equalized.

Armstrong collected a back heel from Cedric and curled home a stunner to make it 2-2.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Just when it looked like Saints would take control of the game Fulham went ahead again. A cross into the box from Cyrus Christie found Mitrovic and the Serbian volleyed home his second and Fulham’s third to make it 3-2.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg came close to drawing Saints level again but Rico pushed his powerful shot away, then Michael Obafemi twice went close as Fulham held on for a vital win.

Hodgson speaks out after Zaha reveals racial abuse

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Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha awoke to vile racist messages on his social media feeds prior to Sunday’s visit to Aston Villa from an account claiming to represent an AVFC fan.

The winger posted them on Twitter and both Palace and Villa — as well as the soccer world at large —  have leapt to the defense of the Ivorian.

“This is an absolute disgrace and should not be happening,” Tweeted Palace along with a RT of Zaha’s shared examples. “We stand with you, Wilf, and anyone else who has to suffer such horrific abuse.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa added a message rejecting the messages and promising both Palace and Zaha that the Midlands club would find the offending party and issue him a lifetime ban.

The commentary from the offending account included Ku Klux Klan and Blackface imagery as well as gross personal attacks.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson commented on the incident during our pregame coverage (above).

“It’s important. It’s being highlighted very much at the moment with the Black Lives Matter. Everyone seems to be making such an effort to eradicate this type of behavior. It’s very sad on the day of a game that player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse but I think it’s right that Wilf made people aware of it. I don’t think this is something you should keep quiet about.

“It’s very good that our club, Aston Villa, and the Premier League are doing everything they can to find out who this despicable individual is and one can only hope that he’ll get identified, called into account, and he will pay for these actions. There is literally no excuse at all. He wants to put off one of our best players but to do it in the way he’s chosen to do it is inexcusable.”

Toronto FC-DC United postponed due to COVID-19 tests

Toronto - DC United postponed
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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It happened just like that, after a day’s worth of hype for Sunday morning’s MLS is Back Tournament debuts from Toronto FC and DC United.

Two COVID-19 tests — an unconfirmed positive COVID-19 test and an inconclusive one — were enough to postpone the 9am ET kickoff from Orlando, where the participating teams are living for the month-long affair.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

MLS will announce details for the rescheduled match later Sunday.

Nashville SC and FC Dallas have been withdrawn from the tournament due to a series of COVID-19 tests while LAFC star Carlos Vela removed himself due to concerns for his growing family.

From TorontoFC.ca:

Under the league’s health and safety protocols, clubs are tested the day before each match.  The results of yesterday’s tests for D.C. United and Toronto FC produced an initial unconfirmed positive COVID-19 case for one player and an inconclusive test for another player.  Because of the arrival time of the clubs in Orlando, the league’s protocol called for retesting both teams this morning and to await the results of those tests prior to playing the match.

Wolves throttle sorry Everton

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Wolves overran sleepy Everton to snap a two-game losing skid with a 3-0 win at the Molineux on Sunday.

Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota, and Leander Dendoncker scored for Wolves, who are back within four points of the top four before Manchester United and Leicester City stage their 35th matches.

 [ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Wolves face Burnley, Palace, and Chelsea, and will be considering a berth in the top four with a little help on the out-of-town scoreboard.

Everton remains 11th with 45 points and will finish the season with Villa, Sheffield United, and Bournemouth.

WATCH WOLVES – EVERTON FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Everton awakened from European dreams: Carlo Ancelotti’s 2020-21 plans officially start now. The Toffees are five points back of the Europa League with three matches left and could be seven or eight behind should there be a winner of the North London Derby later Sunday. It just hasn’t come together for the Toffees starting with the myriad injury troubles for Jean-Philippe Gbamin — out until 2021 — in his bid to take over for influential Idrissa Gana Gueye. There were other long-term injuries like Andre Gomes as well as the continued decline of Jordan Pickford, but there are too many bright spots for this side to be bottom-half. A mentality shift must be coming to Goodison, but you would’ve expected that to be cemented over the coronavirus pause.

2. Podence deputizes: January buy Daniel Podence has found it hard to find a place in Nuno Espirito Santo’s Starting XI but he’s taking his chances well. Podence forced a good save out of Jordan Pickford early, then won a penalty. He converted four of his five dribble attempts and claimed 67% of his ground duels (SofaScore).

3. Carlo needs a keeper: Carlo Ancelotti has gone out of his way to defend Jordan Pickford in the past and it’s certainly nice to have an England keeper as your No. 1 if you’re a Premier League boss, but the Toffees aren’t firing on to Europe any time soon with shot-stopping of his quality. Pickford nearly fumbled a ball over the with the score line 2-0. He’s still capable of the show-stopping saves but he’s not producing them as often and he’s not as consistent with the average to above average stuff he consistently displayed while making his name at Sunderland.

Man of the Match

Ruben Neves — He is a special, special talent. Neves’ assist on Jota’s goal was just marvelous and capped off a day of both tidy and ambitious passing. He’s been one of their best players since the restart, a physical force with technical gifts.

LOOK. AT. THIS. PASS.


Wolves – Everton recap

A slow-enough start was highlighted by Lucas Digne’s sliding intervention on Raul Jimenez in the 18.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford then had to make a low save at the near post on Daniel Podence following a slick 1v1 move.

Yerry Mina didn’t last the first half thanks to a thigh injury, replaced a half-dozen minutes before halftime by Seamus Coleman.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Podence drew a penalty off Digne in stoppage time, sending Raul Jimenez to the spot. The Mexican center forward did not miss.

Everton took off Leighton Baines and handed a PL debut to 18-year-old January signing Jarrad Branthwaite.

Wolves made it 2-0 within moments and at the expense of the debutant, Dendoncker staying in front of Branthwaite to nod Pedro Neto’s free kick on goal.

Pickford nearly fumbled a low shot into his own goal but Goal Decision System proved he rescued the ball when it was half over the line.

Aston Villa – Crystal Palace stream: How to watch, team news, start time

Aston Villa - Crystal Palace stream
Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images
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Aston Villa – Crystal Palace preview: Dean Smith’s Villans need a win over Crystal Palace to keep hope of remaining in the Premier League alive (Watch live at 9:15am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Villa has just left a brutal run of fixtures and finds itself seven points back of safety with four matches to play. If that figure remains seven with three to play, well, the math is grim even with West Ham as the last name on that fixture list.

WATCH ASTON VILLA – CRYSTAL PALACE STREAM LIVE ONLINE

Palace’s European hopes have settled into a valley, eight points away from the 42 points and 14th place.

Team news

Both Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings start for Villa along with John McGinn in the middle and Pepe Reina at the back.

It’ll be the usual suspects for Palace, with possible subs including James McCarthy, Andros Townsend, and Max Meyer.

 

How to watch Aston Villa – Crystal Palace

Kickoff: 9:15 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com