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Salzburg star Minamino signs for Liverpool, will join in January

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LIVERPOOL, England — Takumi Minamino will become the first Japanese player for Liverpool.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Rashford excited for Manchester Derby in League Cup semis ]

The Premier League leaders announced the signing of the 24-year-old Minamino on Thursday, saying he will officially join on Jan. 1

“It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player,” the Japan attacking midfielder said. “I’m so excited that the moment has come true.”

Minamino made a big impression in two games between Liverpool and Salzburg in the group stage of the Champions League this season.

[ MORE: Klopp: “So many strange things happened” in CWC semifinal win ]

A midfielder who can also play as a forward, Minamino joined Salzburg from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka in 2015. He reportedly had a release clause of $9.5 million.

Shinji Okazaki won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, while Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton) and Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal and Fulham) are among other Japanese to have played in England’s top division.

Pulisic Watch: USMNT star scores again for Chelsea

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Christian Pulisic Watch is in full flow as the USMNT star is having a wonderful start to the restart for Chelsea.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch, Analysis ]

Pulisic, 21, is probably the best player in the Premier League since the restart. Think about that.

As the Eden Hazard comparisons continue, Pulisic just keeps getting his head down and working hard, bamboozling defenders and scoring goals. The Pennsylvanian Messi has now scored three goals in five Premie League games since the restart and he has nine for the season to keep his status as the Premier League’s top goalscorer this season aged 21 or under.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In our latest ‘Christian Pulisic Watch’ we look at his latest superstar display for Chelsea as he was trending worldwide throughout Chelsea’s clash at Crystal Palace.


2nd minute: First touch of the ball out on the left flank as Palace try and snap into the tackles.

5th minute: Dropping deeper centrally to try and pick up the ball.

6th minute: Ran into the box as Willian raced clear of the stricken Gary Cahilll, and proved to be a decoy run as Willian found Olivier Giroud to make it 1-0.

8th minute: Pulisic hooks the ball on centrally to start an attack as Willian tries to get a shot off but it is cleared.

15th minute: Kepa throws the ball out to him but James McArthur closed him down and he plays it back to Azpilicueta.

17th minute: Switches flanks with Willian and is now playing out on the right. McArthur again snaps into a tackle to stop him wriggling away.

22nd minute: Snapping into tackles as he tries to close down Patrick van Aanholt.

25th minute: Giroud lays the ball off to him and he loses it with McArthur once again snapping

27th minute: GOALLL! Pulisic is back on the left and he is set free by Willian. He works the ball onto his left foot and smashes home at the near post. What a strike. His third goal in five Premier League games since the restart.

29th minute: Cuts inside from the left and is tackled in the box by Joel Ward. A constant threat.

31st minute: Back on the right flank now as he switches with Willian again. Finds Willian with a lovely pass but the Brazilian sees his low shot saved.

35th minute: Wins a free kick and Luka Milivojevic is booked for bringing down Pulisic on the left flank.

41st minute: Works hard to try and keep hold of the ball on the right flank as Palace came back strongly after going 2-0 down, with Wilfried Zaha’s stunner making it 2-1.

45th minute: Pulisic is taken down by Joel Ward now. Palace trying to rattle the young American winger.

46th minute: Fast start to the second half as he tries to find Giroud, then almost gets on the end of a cross in front of Vicente Guaita.

48th minute: Involved in the build up and almost gets on the end of Reece James cross at the near post.

53rd minute: Makes a run into the box but Olivier Giroud’s header can’t quite find him. Pulisic then runs at Palace’s defense centrally but three Palace players eventually stop him.

63rd minute: Quiet 10 minutes or so for Pulisic as Palace have plenty of the ball.

74th minute: Doing lots of work defensively as Palace pull a goal back to make it 3-2, just after Abraham scored for Chelsea.

86th minute: Keeps trying to make runs centrally and is in the box when Abraham dragged a shot wide.

90th minute: Accelerates away from his marker and his cross finds Willian who sees his shot blocked. Pulisic left about four Palace players in his trail.

Welbeck’s Goal of Year candidate sends Watford past Norwich City

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Danny Welbeck’s incredible overhead goal gave Watford three huge points and likely sealed Norwich City’s fate in the bottom three as the Hornets picked up a huge 2-1 win at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Craig Dawson also scored for Watford, who joins West Ham four points above the bottom three on 31 points.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Emiliano Buendia put Norwich ahead early but the Canaries couldn’t find the end product on a day they arguably deserved a point.

WATFORD – NORWICH CITY FULL MATCH REPLAY

Norwich now sits 10 points back of safety with only 12 available in its remaining fixtures, a perilous path at that considering West Ham-Watford and West Ham-Aston Villa will see teams ahead of it catch points.


Three things we learned

1. Hornets safe(r), Canaries almost done: The rate that the bottom five have been winning lately means Watford’s 31 points feel a lot safer than they probably should. Conversely, Norwich City needed this one. The Canaries still have West Ham and Burnley but will also need to beat Chelsea and Man City away to beat the drop. Sorry, Norwich faithful, but that would be the greatest escape in the history of great escapes.

2. Welbeck’s still got something special in his locker: The former Arsenal and Manchester United forward has endured a lot of struggles, most of them injury-related, but he reminded us of his special talent with a terrific bit of improvisation to produce his first PL goal with Watford. Welbeck’s overhead kick came with tremendous athleticism from 15 yards or so after a cross from Ismaila Sarr was deflected to him at the back post. Stunning stuff, and his first PL goal since scoring for Arsenal on Aug. 25, 2018, versus West Ham.

2. Canaries don’t quit: There’s something admirable about Norwich continuing to scrap despite clearly possessing the least depth in the league following big injuries to defenders. Norwich had more of the ball but couldn’t find a way through, which isn’t a new problem. Emiliano Buendia is a special talent, Teemu Pukki a good finisher, and there are quality pieces in Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons, but Norwich doesn’t have enough to produce goals; Buendia’s beauty was the Canaries’ fifth in PL play in 2020.

Man of the Match

Etienne Capoue — The ex-Spurs man is such a good ball mover, even apart from his assist on Dawson’s opener. Capoue completed 95 percent of his passes including a pristine 5-of-5 on long balls (SofaScore). He won duels and made two interceptions in helping the Hornets come closer to safety.


Watford – Norwich City recap

Watford’s Ben Foster made a flying save on a 3rd minute free kick.

It was a warning, and Buendia delivered on the warning with a well-hit left-footed shot across goal after Onel Hernandez dribbled from left to right to find the Argentine.

It was level within moments, as Dawson got the back post to meet Etienne Capoue’s cross and power a header off Tim Krul and into the goal.

Danny Welbeck was on the doorstep in the 42nd minute but couldn’t keep his header from sailing over the bar.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Foster made a great save to deny Max Aarons and Buendia in quick succession nine minutes after halftime.

Welbeck put the Hornets ahead with a sensational bicycle kick goal when Ismaila Sarr’s cross was deflected into the air.

Arsenal – Leicester City stream: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

Arsenal - Leicester City preview
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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Arsenal – Leicester City presents a litmus test for two big names seeking to put a stamp on young tenures at Premier League clubs.

Mikel Arteta and Brendan Rodgers match wits at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday with pivotal table positioning on the line (Watch live at 3:15pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Leicester’s 58 points are good enough for third place but a tepid run-of-form saw the side slip from a virtual guaranteed spot in the Champions League to a possible Europa League competitor.

STREAM ARSENAL – LEICESTER CITY LIVE

Arsenal meanwhile has driven itself into eighth place after a very poor start to the season, its 49 points six points behind fifth-place Manchester United and nine behind the visiting Foxes.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers signed a new deal with Leicester despite being linked with the Arsenal job before Arteta took the reins in North London.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]


Team news

Neither James Maddison nor Ben Chilwell are able to go, the latter joining the walking wounded in the Foxes’ 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace.

Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi remain on the outside-looking-in for Arsenal.

What they’re saying

Leicester forward Ayoze Perez on chasing the UCL“We need to make sure we protect what we’ve done so far and we can celebrate something important for us. (Manchester United on the last day) could be like a final you know. We’ll see. Football is not predictable at all. We’ve still got a couple of tough games to play. Hopefully by then we are already qualified. It would mean a lot (to qualify). I’ve not made my debut in the Champions League and It’s something you dream for always. The way we’ve done it, and for Leicester, it could mean a lot. It’s not done yet.”

Mikel Arteta on Arsenal’s Champions League hopes“I think we have to win every game and then wait and pray. It’s not about a game, we need to go game-by-game. A few weeks ago we were really far from thinking about Europe and we are a little bit closer at the moment so lets go game by game and see where that takes us.”

Odds and ends (full matchweek odds)

Arsenal is favored to win at +125 compared to Leicester’s +220, via DraftKings. A draw goes for +245.

Jamie Vardy and James Maddison scored in a 2-0 Leicester win over the Gunners at the King Power Stadium earlier this season.

Arsenal – Leicester City Prediction

Leicester could handle the loss of Chilwell but the absence of Maddison has been notable even in the win over Palace. Both teams have tremendous creators and Youri Tielemans has been wonderful for Leicester, but Arsenal have a bit more and the Foxes do have the injury issues even if both of their ailing stars can go. Arsenal 2-0.

How to watch Arsenal – Leicester City stream, start time

Kickoff: 3:15 pm ET Tuesday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Report: Canada’s David agrees terms with Lille

Jonathan David to Lille
Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images
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Linked with some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, Canadian starlet Jonathan David is opting to stay closer to his current club.

Gent playmaker David, 20, had been linked with Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Arsenal with reports saying his agent was targeting a club somewhere between the quality of the Belgian top-flight and the UEFA superpowers, with Lazio, Porto, Ajax, Lyon, Everton, and Leicester City in that group.

If the reports are true, his agent is getting his way with David agreeing to terms with Ligue 1’s Lille, who are in the Europa League next year following a fourth place finish in France.

RMC reporter Mohamed Bouhafsi reports that Lille has offered $28 million to Gent, who would like to get $34 million. Seems like a bridge that can be crossed.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

It takes little more than an hour to drive from Gent to Lille.

The move could signal changes for Lille, who has a bevy of young attackers including American forward Timothy Weah, ex-Chelsea man Loic Remy, transfer rumor mill mainstay Victor Osimhen, and French youth international Jonathan Bamba amongst others.

David’s 18 goals tied for the Belgian league high with ex-Hull and Norwich man Dieumerci Mbokani, and scored five more goals in the Europa League including markers versus Saint-Etienne and Roma.

He has 37 goals and 15 assists in three seasons with the Belgian powers.

The Brooklyn-born David also has 11 goals in 12 caps for Canada, though those admittedly came against some of the minnows of CONCACAF.