Bournemouth, Watford draw in six-goal thriller

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  • 5 goals scored in 13 first half minutes
  • Bournemouth fight back from 2-0 down
  • No win in three for Watford, Bournemouth

Bournemouth and Watford drew 3-3 at the Vitality Stadium Wednesday, as the Cherries and Hornets shared six goals in an incredible first half.

Watford went 2-0 up as Troy Deeney scored twice, but Bournemouth then scored twice through Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson to make it 2-2. Soon after Ken Sema put Watford 3-2 up, but then Ryan Fraser made it 3-3 with five goals scored in just 12 first half minutes.

The second half saw both teams have chances to win it, but a draw was a fair result in an entertaining encounter. With the point Bournemouth are in 12th on 27 points, while Watford climb to eighth on 29 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Jefferson Lerma lashed a shot over from the edge of the box as Bournemouth started well, but Watford were soon ahead. Abdoulaye Doucoure surged forward from midfield and found Sema on the right. His cross was attacked by Deeney who sent a header into the net.

David Brooks then went close to an equalizer as Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson combined to set him up, but Ben Foster kept out Brooks.

Watford then went 2-0 up as Dan Gosling gave it away to Gerard Deulofeu and the Spaniard then went on a rampaging 40-yard run. Eventually the ball found its way to Deeney who slotted home his and Watford’s second of the game.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Doucoure then curled a shot inches over as the Hornets dominated, but Bournemouth pulled two goals back quickly. Steve Cook‘s header across goal was headed on target by Gosling and despite Foster saving, Ake was on hand to make it 2-1. Game on.

Then Wilson nodded home another set piece to make it 2-2. But there was time for another few goals before half time, as Sema drilled in a low shot for his first PL goal to make it 3-2. But moments later Stanislas squared for Fraser to slot home and make it 3-3.

Josh King almost made it 4-3 right on half time but headed wide, as both teams looked like scoring every time they went forward. Amongst all of that Doucoure should have been sent off for lunging in on Fraser as Watford were lucky to keep 10 men on the pitch.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

In the second half the scoring inevitably slowed down, but Wilson almost scored from another set piece.

A long free kick into the box found the Bournemouth striker and his powerful head was right at Foster who acrobatically pushed the ball over.

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Foster then denied King brilliantly as Bournemouth pushed hard for the winner, and at the other end Cook lunged in for a wonderful last-ditch tackle as Roberto Pereyra was in on goal.

Deulofeu then curled just wide as Watford cranked up the pressure late on, as Tom Cleverely wanted a penalty kick after his the ball was handled by Ake in the box but nothing was given.

The game ended 3-3 after a thrilling first half blitz.

De Ligt not fazed by price tag after move to Juventus

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If you can’t beat them, buy them. That appears to be Juventus’ philosophy as it continues its quest for the Champions League title.

[ MORE: Pochettino might have left if Spurs won Champions League ]

In 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid against Juventus to eliminate the Serie A champion from Europe’s premier club competition. A few months later Juventus signed him.

This year Matthijs de Ligt scored the goal that eliminated Juventus from the Champions League in April as he captained Ajax to the semifinals. On Thursday, Juventus signed the Netherlands defender.

Juventus is an overwhelming favorite to win a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title but it is desperate to end its long wait for European success.

Since Juventus’ last title in 1996, it has finished runner-up five times in the Champions League.

[ MORE: Conte calls Lukaku an “important” part of his plans at Inter ]

“We want to win them all: this is the mentality of Juventus,” said De Ligt at his first news conference as a Juventus player on Friday. “I’m 19, I can still improve and I want to do that. It’s important to work hard every day and to learn, and I hope to become a better player.”

De Ligt became the most expensive defender in Serie A history when he completed an $85-million transfer from Ajax.

But the teen is not fazed at the price tag.

“Of course, when a club buys you for a big amount of money, there’s a lot of pressure, but pressure is normal in football,” De Ligt said. “I think pressure is the most important thing and if you want to be a good player, you have to deal with it.

“It’s not a big deal for me. I’ll just play my game, work hard and show it on the pitch. In the end, everyone will see how I deal with it, but it’s not going to be a problem.”

[ MORE: Report: Barcelona logs bid for Neymar ]

A photo emerged during the week of De Ligt wearing a Juventus shirt as a child and he admitted he grew up idolizing Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro, who captained Italy to World Cup success in 2006.

“The photo of me in a Juventus shirt was taken when I was about six or seven, at that time Fabio Cannavaro was a defender that I admired,” he said. “I always had a good feeling about Juventus and I’ve always been a fan.”

Another reason De Ligt chose Juventus was because of new coach Maurizio Sarri, who replaced Massimiliano Allegri at the end of the season.

“I spoke to Sarri on the phone before coming, just to get to know each other,” De Ligt said. “He was one of the reasons that I wanted to join here, I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and I like his footballing philosophy and how he prepares his defense.”

Pulisic makes Chelsea debut, but Blues lose in Japan

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While much of the country was still asleep, well before 8 a.m. on the east coast of America, Christian Pulisic made his Chelsea debut in the Blues’ preseason friendly against Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama, Japan.

[ MORE: Pochettino might have left if Spurs won Champions League ]

Pulisic came on as a 65th-minute sub and didn’t have a huge impact on the game. Chelsea lost the game 1-0 on an 88th-minute header from former wonderkid Leandro Damiao. The Blues have won just one of their three preseason fixtures thus far.

Chelsea weren’t without chances in the game, though, but various combinations of Pulisic, Michy Batshuayi, Pedro and Olivier Giroud proved to lack the finishing touch required on a number of occasions. Despite the result and his side’s poor finishing, manager Frank Lampard insisted he was happy with the overall performance.

David Luiz was named Man of the Match and handed a very peculiar award from shirt sponsor and tire company Yokohama.

Conte calls Lukaku an “important” part of his plans at Inter

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So much for diplomacy. Antonio Conte is downright recruiting Romelu Lukaku to join him at Inter Milan, and he’s doing it through the press for all to hear.

[ MORE: Pochettino might have left if Spurs won Champions League ]

The rumors linking Lukaku with a move away from Manchester United have been swirling all summer, but as of yet the two clubs haven’t been past the “bid(s) made and rejected” portion of proceedings. As such, Conte is prepared to go a step further in courting the 26-year-old Belgian, stating his longstanding admiration and calling him “an important players for us” — quotes from the BBC:

“You know I like this player. In the past, when I was Chelsea’s coach, I tried to bring him to Chelsea.

“As I said before, I like this player and consider him an important player for us to have a good improvement but at the same there is a transfer market.

“We know very well which is our situation at the moment and we will see what happens but for now Lukaku is a United player.”

Man United paid $96 million for Lukaku just two years ago, so it would be unwise to expect them to let him leave for anything short of $80 million, if Inter are lucky.

Pochettino: I might have left if Spurs won Champions League

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Mauricio Pochettino admits that might have left Tottenham Hotspur had the north London club found a way to beat Liverpool in last month’s UEFA Champions League final.

[ MORE: Harry Winks says trophies for Spurs are “round the corner” ]

In Pochettino’s mind, reaching the pinnacle would have caused everyone at the club — from the players, to the rest of the coaching staff, and even himself — to “behave differently.” If/when Pochettino wins his first major trophy as a manager, he won’t be one to rest on his laurels for more than a day or two — quotes from the BBC:

“When you touch the glory, you behave differently, the players behave differently, the challenge becomes different.

“If the result had been different, maybe you can think it is a moment to step out of the club and give it a possibility for a real new chapter with a new coaching staff.

“But, to finish like this? I am not a person who won’t face problems or avoids difficult situations.”

Fortunately for the long-term viability of the club, Pochettino is set to begin his fifth season as Tottenham manager. Still, though, Spurs’ best shot at a trophy remains in the cup competitions, with Manchester City and Liverpool seemingly set to lead the Premier League for the foreseeable future.

One player who might not be around long enough to enjoy any of Spurs’ future successes is Danny Rose. While the entire first team is in Singapore for preseason, Rose is back in London after being granted time “to explore prospective opportunities with other clubs.”

Pochettino says Rose has 10 days to sort out a transfer for himself — with PSG and Schalke both reportedly interested abroad — otherwise “he will be normal with the team” once they return to north London.