Associated Press

Serie A: Juventus secures Scudetto, AC Milan and Roma both slip

Leave a comment

A massive day in the jam packed Serie A Champions League race nearly saw AS Roma take over the fourth spot in the table from AC Milan, but Inter came to the rescue to save their rivals’ coveted spot.

AC Milan held the fourth and final Champions League spot coming into the day, but slipped with a 1-1 draw at 14th placed Parma, only able to put three of its 15 shots on target and conceding an 87th minute on a free-kick by Bruno Alves that left Gianluigi Donnarumma completely frozen, unable to reach his near post.

That cancelled out a 69th minute header by Samu Castillejo at the near post that perfectly deflected across the face of goal and under the crossbar into the back of the net. Otherwise, however, AC Milan was toothless in the attack. They completed just three of 11 attempted one-on-one take-ons and only seven of their 110 completed attacking-third passes were in the penalty area.

With the door open, Roma looked to have taken advantage with an early lead over third-placed Inter. Stephan El Shaarawy opened the scoring 14 minutes in, a beautiful curling right-footed effort from well outside the box that found the inside of the far post. It stayed that way past halftime but Inter struck back through a diving header by Ivan Perisic at the back post just past the hour mark. The scoreline remained 1-1 the rest of the way, leaving Roma still out of the top four, a single point back of AC Milan with Atalanta and Torino two behind Roma.

While a formality for some time now, Juventus took care of struggling Fiorentina 2-1 at home in comeback fashion thanks to an own-goal from German Pezzella. That confirmed their eighth straight Serie A title, leading by 20 points over Napoli with five matches to go. Juve fell behind in the ninth minute when a scrum in front of net saw the ball squirt out to Nikola Milenkovic for an easy finish into an open net. Juve weathered Fiorentina hitting the post before Alex Sandro leveled things up prior to halftime with a fabulous near-post header from an incredibly difficult angle.

Elsewhere, Lazio fell at home to Chievo Verona, effectively dropping them out of the crowded Champions League race. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was sent off in the 34th minute for a moment of petulance, kicking out at Mariusz Stepinski. That left Lazio with a personnel disadvantage for nearly an hour, and they didn’t last long, conceding twice in quick succession after halftime to Emanuel Vignato and Perparim Hetemaj who put Chievo 2-0 up by the 51st minute. Vignato’s featured a silky move just outside the top of the box, while Hetemaj headed home the eventual winner when Adam Marusic horribly misjudged a Fabio Depaoli cross. The loss for Lazio leaves them in ninth place on 52 points, five points back of fourth.

Torino remained in the hunt for a European place after a 1-0 road win at Genoa, with Cristian Ansaldi finding the back of the net in the 58th minute thanks to a wonderful late run, found on a lay-off after great hold-up play from Alex Berenguer at the top of the box. Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu also chipped in with four saves, including a big one just after the half-hour mark diving down to his right to stop a header.

Udinese picked up a valuable point in the relegation battle in a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo thanks to an 80th minute own-goal by Pol Lirola that leveled the score late. Still, after holding Sassuolo to just two shots on target, Udinese will be disappointed not to put more distance between them and 18th placed Empoli just four points back.

Empoli remained on 29 points after falling 4-2 to SPAL despite holding a 57%-43% possessional advantage throughout the match. They allowed seven shots on target by SPAL leading to a brace from Andrea Petagna plus goals from Sergio Floccari and Mirco Antenucci.

Predicting the 2020 MLS standings

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The 2020 Major League Soccer season is almost here and it is time to assess the offseason for each of the 26 teams and predict how they will stack up in the standings.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Our writers have been asked to predict where each team will finish in the table this season and with two new teams arriving in Nashville SC and Inter Miami, plus plenty of changes in terms of players and coaches across MLS, this was not an easy task. At all.

As we all know by now, Major League Soccer loves to keep it weird and plenty of teams will no doubt surprise us all. Until then, we are going with our hunch.

Below we reveal how we think both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will look at the end of the 2020 regular season.


Joe Prince-Wright

Eastern Conference
1. Atlanta United
2. New York City FC
3. Toronto FC
4. Philadelphia Union
5. D.C. United
6. New York Red Bulls
7.  Inter Miami
8. Montreal Impact
9. New England Revolution
10. Columbus Crew SC
11. Chicago Fire
12. FC Cincinnati
13. Orlando City SC

Western Conference
1. LAFC
2. LA Galaxy
3. Sporting Kansas City
4. Seattle Sounders
5. Minnesota United
6. Real Salt Lake
7. Portland Timbers
8. Colorado Rapids
9. FC Dallas
10. San Jose Earthquakes
11. Houston Dynamo
12. Vancouver Whitecaps
13. Nashville SC


Nick Mendola

Eastern Conference
1. NYCFC
2. Atlanta United
3. Toronto FC
4. DC United
5. Philadelphia Union
6. Chicago Fire
7. Columbus Crew
8. Montreal Impact
9. FC Cincinnati
10. New England Revolution
11. Orlando City
12. Inter Miami
13. New York Red Bulls

Western Conference
1. LAFC
2. Portland Timbers
3. LA Galaxy
4. Sporting KC
5. Seattle Sounders
6. FC Dallas
7. San Jose Earthquakes
8. Colorado Rapids
9. Vancouver Whitecaps
10. Houston Dynamo
11. Real Salt Lake
12. Minnesota United
13. Nashville SC


Andy Edwards

Eastern Conference
1. New York City FC
2. Atlanta United
3. Toronto FC
4. Philadelphia Union
5. D.C. United
6. Montreal Impact
7. New England Revolution
8. Columbus Crew SC
9. Inter Miami
10. New York Red Bulls
11. Chicago Fire
12. Orlando City SC
13. FC Cincinnati

Western Conference
1. Seattle Sounders
2. LAFC
3. LA Galaxy
4. Real Salt Lake
5. FC Dallas
6. Sporting Kansas City
7. Colorado Rapids
8. Portland Timbers
9. Minnesota United
10. Houston Dynamo
11. San Jose Earthquakes
12. Vancouver Whitecaps
13. Nashville SC


Kyle Bonn

Eastern Conference
1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. NYCFC
4. RBNY
5. Philadelphia
6. D.C. United
7. NE Revs
8. Inter Miami
9. Columbus
10. Orlando City
11. Montreal Impact
12. FC Cincinnati
13. Chicago Fire

Western Conference
1. LAFC
2. Seattle
3. Portland
4. RSL
5. LA Galaxy
6. FC Dallas
7. Minnesota
8. San Jose Quakes
9. Sporting KC
10. Houston
11. Vancouver
12. Nashville
13. Colorado

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

Leave a comment

The Premier League TV schedule is set and we have your stream links as Matchweek 28 is going to be a lot of fun. Get in there.

Remember, there are eight games this week due to the League Cup final between Aston Villa and Man City.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule and Premier League stream links for the coming days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Friday
3 p.m. ET: Norwich v. Leicester – NBCSN [STREAM]

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Crystal Palace – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth v. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Newcastle v. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham v. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Watford v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]

Sunday
9 a.m. ET: Tottenham v. Wolves – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Everton v. Man United – NBCSN [STREAM]

In the Mixed Zone with JPW: Episode 2

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NBC Sports’ Pro Soccer Talk lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright shares his behind-the-scenes access into the Premier League mixed zones highlighting the intriguing interviews from this week’s marquee matches.

This week, JPW shares his mixed zone interviews from Southampton-Aston Villa, Chelsea-Tottenham and Man United-Watford, talks Champions League and previews Matchweek 28.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

He also spoke exclusively with Will Smallbone, Southampton’s latest top academy product who made his PL debut in their win against Aston Villa.

“We’ve had quite a lot of players come through the ranks and you look up to them when you’re younger. To come through myself and hopefully do the best I can, it is very special,” Smallbone said.

To listen to more from the mixed zone with Joe Prince-Wright as he takes you deep inside stadiums, subscribe to In the Mixed Zone with JPW Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow him on Twitter @JPW_NBCSports here.

Click here for In the Mixed Zone with archive ]

Click play below to listen to Episode 2 in full.

Handshake bans as coronavirus precautions hit soccer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The threat of coronavirus has already led to Europa League games being played behind closed doors, games in Serie A being postponed and now clubs across Europe are telling their staff to not shake hands as the virus continues to spread.

Premier League clubs are taking extra precautions as both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have asked visitors to their training grounds to fill in a health form when they arrive, Bayern Munich have told players not to sign autographs for fans or take selfies for them, while games across Europe have been impacted as Switzerland have banned all games until mid-March and five Serie A games will be played in empty stadiums.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce explained to reporters that staff and players will no longer be encouraged to shake hands when they arrive each day around their training ground.

“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands as soon as we see each other every morning – we’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,” Bruce confirmed. “Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.”

Bruce was asked if he remembered any precautions like this is in the past.

“No, not at all. Look, in confined areas like we’ve got here… There was a time over Christmas when if there’s a virus knocking around – which is not coronavirus – then you have to be careful so we’re a bit mindful of it, the fact that a bug can sweep through. We had four or five at Christmas and two of my staff, so you stay at home, basically. But it’s always something you’re looking at,” Bruce added.

West Ham’s manager David Moyes has revealed that West Ham have a similar plan in place, with fist bumps allowed but no handshakes and every Hammers player has been given some hand gel to use.

“After consulting with the medical team, we have supplied all the players with hand gel to keep with them,” Moyes said. “We’ve also agreed to no shaking hands at the moment, just fist bumps. If we score tomorrow, of course they’ll be able to celebrate.”