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Premier League Weds. preview: Spurs, Man Utd get off the mat

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There are six Premier League matches on Wednesday’s docket, and they carry varying amount of intrigue.

[ MORE: 20 percent off Premier League Pass ]

Here are our best bets to prioritize your day of midweek soccer.


Wolves vs. Chelsea — [ STREAM ]
Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

Unbeaten for so long, Chelsea is now just a point ahead of fifth place Spurs. Wolves also started well, but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have taken just one point from its last 18.

Everton vs. Newcastle — [ STREAM ]
Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

The Toffees were stung by a last-second loss to rivals Liverpool at Anfield, and will be counting on a rebound performance against a Newcastle team it has beaten on five-straight occasions. As if Sunderland-raised goalkeeper Jordan Pickford needs any motivation to get back up following his derby error…

Fulham vs. Leicester City  — [ STREAM ]
Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

Claudio Ranieri‘s last place Cottagers get a visit from the team he led to a miraculous Premier League title in what will be an extremely emotional encounter.

Burnley vs. Liverpool — [ STREAM ]
Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

The Clarets have earned a result against the Reds in consecutive seasons, but are not having a good season thus far. Turf Moor will be bustling. Will Burnley give it life?

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton — [ STREAM ]
Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

How will Spurs respond to their miserable second half North London Derby loss? And how will Saints react to the firing of Mark Hughes? Anything’s possible at Wembley Stadium.

Manchester United vs. Arsenal — [ STREAM ]
Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

No explanation needed here; Old Trafford has been a tough venue for Arsenal, but the Gunners’ form is remarkably stronger than their hosts. Arsenal won an FA Cup match at United three and a half years ago, but last won a league encounter at OT in 2006. And there was that 8-2…

FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton v. Derby County

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Southampton and Derby County chase the final spot in the fourth round proper of the 2018-19 FA Cup with a replay at St. Mary’s on Wednesday.

[ FOLLOW: FA Cup scoreboard ]

The clubs drew 2-2 at Pride Park on Jan. 5, with a Nathan Redmond 2-0 lead going to waste for the Premier League visitors.

The victor gets a trip to the Crown Ground to face League One’s Accrington Stanley on Jan. 26.

Full fourth round fixture list

Jan. 25
Arsenal v. Manchester United

Jan. 26
Accrington Stanley v. Derby County or Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v. West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City v. Bolton
Doncaster Rovers v. Oldham Athletic
Man City v. Burnley
Middlesbrough v. Newport County
Newcastle United v. Watford
Portsmouth v. Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City v. Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town v. Wolves
Millwall v. Everton
AFC Wimbledon v. West Ham United

Jan. 27
Crystal Palace v. Spurs
Chelsea v. Sheffield Wednesday

Jan. 28
Barnet v. Brentford

Leeds’ Bielsa admits he spied “all the rivals”; How widespread is spying?

AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File
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Managerial darling Marcelo Bielsa spoke out Wednesday as fallout continues from a Leeds United scout caught spying on Derby County last week.

Bielsa says he’s spied on every team the club has played in the Championship this season.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

How rare is this? And how big of a role has it played in Leeds’ 4-point lead in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League? From the BBC:

“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all opponents,” he said. “All the information I need to clarify, I gather it without watching the training session of the opponent, so why did I send someone to watch them? Just because I thought I wasn’t violating the norm. I gathered information that I can obtain in another way.

“We feel guilty if we don’t work enough, it [watching the opponents train] allows us to have less anxiety and in my case I am stupid enough to allow this kind of behavior.”

The 63-year-old Argentine has spent time at Lille, Lazio, Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, and Espanyol in addition to running the national teams of Argentina and Chile.

It does raise the question of how much spying is done in soccer. We know that the NFL’s New England Patriots cheated during a game against the New York Jets and that MLB teams try to steal signals, but sneaking around a training session… is that okay? Should it be?

55-goal Martinez re-ups with Atlanta through 2023

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Josef Martinez has signed a new deal with Atlanta United, with a contract tying him to the club through the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

Martinez, 25, has 55 goals in 61 games for the Five Stripes since arriving from Torino in 2017, a strike rate unlike anything the Venezuelan had been able to do in his career with the Serie A club, Young Boys, or Caracas.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

That development has him happy to lock down a new Designated Player deal in Georgia, one that certainly would raise his transfer value. From AtlUtd.com:

“This means a lot to me because of the affection that the fans have shown me, that the fans show all of the players. It’s unique,” Martinez said. “They recognize the effort that you give and they know you did everything to win, and I think that’s why we love playing here. I have to thank everyone. My teammates, the city, my family and friends, because this is a dream I’ve always had. I’ve said before that I don’t want to go anywhere because this is my home. You can expect more work, more intensity, because that’s who I am. I want to win. I want to do everything for my teammates and for the city.”

With neither Newcastle nor Real Betis ready to meet Atlanta’s transfer fee for Miguel Almiron, the Five Stripes are in a bit of a bind with a reported deal for expected DP Pity Martinez despite having the league maximum three DPs in Martinez, Almiron, and Ezequiel Barco. Perhaps the European clubs are trying to force Atlanta’s hand.

Men In Blazers Podcast: De Gea heroics; Liverpool, Man City wins

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Rog and Davo applaud David De Gea‘s goalkeeping heroics in Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham. Plus, wins for Liverpool and City in the title race.

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