Tottenham peg back Norwich amid VAR drama

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Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a wild 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, as VAR drama, own goals, penalty kicks and general madness took center stage.

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Mario Vranic gave Norwich the lead before VAR drama denied Teemu Pukki a second and then Christian Eriksen made it 1-1. Serge Aurier‘s own goal put Norwich back in front but Harry Kane‘s late penalty set up a wild finish, but Spurs couldn’t complete the comeback.

With the point, Norwich sit bottom on 13 points and Tottenham are in fifth on 30 points, two points off the top four.


3 things we learned

1. Norwich unluckiest team in PL: Yep, it’s official, Norwich are the unluckiest team in the Premier League. Week after week Daniel Farke‘s side pour their heart out and VAR calls go against them, they cough up leads, deflections don’t go their way and they are generally unlucky. They sit bottom of the table with the smallest budget in the league, so perhaps no surprise there, but Norwich deserve to be further up the the table.

2. 3-5-2 not the way forward for Spurs: Mourinho changed it up at half time as Spurs were struggling to keep the ball and couldn’t get out of their own half in a 3-5-2 formation. Tottenham aren’t great defensively and they’ve conceded 12 goals in Mourinho’s first eight PL games in charge, so they might as well play a 4-2-3-1 formation and be an attack-minded team.

3. Kane’s quality shines through: He won the penalty kick and drove Spurs on, and without Kane Spurs would be nowhere near the top four. Kane has scored four goals in his last five games but aside from that his leadership has dragged Spurs back into the top four hunt.

Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki – Didn’t stop running, had a goal chalked off and bullied the Spurs defense into conceding a second goal. Pukki didn’t score, but he is the main reason Norwich got something out of this game.


Norwich started well as Stiepermann forced Paulo Gazzaniga into a fine stop down low.

At the other end Spurs were dangerous on the break as Kane set up Alli but he blazed over the bar and then Kane himself was clean through but Tim Krul saved well as he stood tall.

Ryan Sessegnon had a shot blocked well but then Norwich hit Tottenham with a sucker-punch.

Vrancic surged into the box and slotted home after a superb tackle Emiliano Buendia, as Norwich took a shock lead.

It looked as though the Canaries had doubled their lead as Pukki raced and clear and sent a trademark finish into the far corner, but VAR intervened and the Finnish striker was judged to be offside by half a shoulder as it remained 1-0.

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At half time Mourinho brought on Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura for Jan Vertonghen and Juan Foyth as Spurs went to a back four and ditched their 3-5-2 system.

A moment of huge controversy arrived early in the second half as Jamal Lewis was adjudged to have handled as the last man right on the edge of the box and only a yellow card was given.

But from the resulting free kick Eriksen’s deflected free kick flew in to make it 1-1 as Spurs were rampant in the second half.

Alli then hooked home from a tight angle but he was clearly offside and just when it looked like Spurs would surge towards victory, Serge gave Norwich the lead…

With Pukki in on goal, Toby Alderweireld cleared and the ball hit Aurier and went into his own net to make it 2-1 as Tottenham’s players, coaching staff and fans held their heads in disbelief.

Spurs did draw level though, as Kane was set free on the break and he won a penalty kick by cutting inside as Christoph Zimmermann brought him down. Kane slotted home the penalty kick to make it 2-2 and then sub Erik Lamela tested Krul from distance with a powerful effort.

In the end Spurs couldn’t break through as Norwich held on for a point in their battle against the drop.

Barcelona v. Bayern Munich: How to watch, as Bayern batter Barca

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Barcelona – Bayern Munich is a massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Friday (start time, 3pm ET) and here is everything you need to know ahead of the epic clash in Lisbon, Portugal.

And it delivered early on.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Thomas Muller scored the opener. David Alaba scored a peach of an own goal. Ivan Perisic smashed home. Serge Gnabry and then Muller both grabbed another goal each for Bayern. Both teams had a plethora of chances. And that was just the opening 32 minutes!

Check out the goal videos here, as there was sublime quality in attack from Bayern and Barcelona just couldn’t handle the Bavarians.

PREVIEW: Barcelona – Bayern Munich

Many believe the 2019-20 Champions League winner will be one of these two teams, as they face the winner of Manchester City v. Lyon in the semifinal.

Barcelona and Lionel Messi have the disappointment of losing their La Liga title in recent weeks to spur them on in the Champions League, while Bayern Munich swept all before them in Germany this season with Robert Lewandowski scoring 53 goals in 44 games in all competitions.

After just a few months in charge, Barca boss Quique Setien likely needs to win the Champions League to keep his job as Messi is firing in attack but Barca are still suspect at the back. As for Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick, who has masterminded a masterful turnaround since taking charge last November, he and the Bayern hierarchy will see this as the Bavarians’ best chance to win the Champions League since they last did so in 2013.

[ MORE: Key battles in UCL quarterfinals ]

Below you will find all of the details you need on Barcelona – Bayern Munich in what is set to be the game of the Champions League season so far as both teams love to attack.


How to watch, stream Champions League: Barcelona – Bayern Munich

Dates: August 12, 3pm ET kick off
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


Team news

Barcelona have Ousmane Dembele on the bench. The Frenchman hasn’t featured in nine months and had surgery on his hamstring in February, but he could be a great option off the bench. The rest of the lineup is as expected with De Jong and Vidal charged with supporting Messi and Suarez up top and Antoine Griezmann on the bench.

Bayern are without Benjamin Pavard who has an ankle injury, while Alphonso Davies shook off a slight adductor problem to start and experienced duo Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Perisic start for Bayern.


What they’re saying

Antoine Griezmann on Barcelona’s mindset: “We are looking forward to it, we have worked well tactically and we are ready to play the game. We know it will be difficult, but we know what we have to do to qualify for the semifinals. It will be a very good match. We hope to take advantage of the quality we have. We are in a good moment and we can play a good game. We have to be together, up front and at the back, and try to have the ball as much as possible.”

Hansi Flick on the style of play he wants from Bayern: “Defensively to win the ball – and offensively, purposefully and consistently to score goals. The intensity of our actions is crucial. We also want to play attractive possession football. The most important thing is that we see ourselves as a team and that everyone knows what their task is. Every player has to get involved and be able to rely on his neighbor on the pitch. This is extremely important to us.”


Odds – Full matchweek odds

It is not often that Barcelona (+235) are the underdogs but they are here, and that shows you how good Bayern Munich (+115) have been in recent months. Bayern will be wary of Messi but with Lewandowski banging in goals for fun and a stable midfield and defensive unit behind him, the Bavarian giants are the favorites for a reason. The tie at +255 provides value and this should be a goal-fest.


Prediction

If this turns into a straight shootout, you would probably fancy Barcelona to advance with Luis Suarez, Messi and Antoine Griezmann in attack. But Bayern will keep it tight, look to slow play down and then launch counters which Lewandowski can finish. I think this game will be stretched and become the attacking feast all neutrals are hoping for, but the Germans are just a more ruthless and solid team right now. Barcelona 1-3 Bayern Munich.

Alexander-Arnold wins Premier League’s Young Player of the Year

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Trent Alexander-Arnold is a sensation and the 21-year-old right back has been named the Premier League Young Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

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Alexander-Arnold has been a revelation since bursting onto the scene at the end of the 2016-17 campaign and his marauding runs from right back, stunning long-range passes and wonderful free kicks were a key part in Liverpool winning the Premier League title.

He set a new record for Premier League assists for a defender, as he racked up 13 throughout the season and was so often a difference maker in tight wins for the Reds. The local lad has well and truly done good with a Champions League, World Club Cup and Premier League trophies in his first few seasons as a pro.

The England international beat Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Jack Grealish and Dean Henderson to the award and there can be no arguments with this decision.

Here’s a look at just a few of TAA’s highlights from 2019-20.

The big question now around Alexander-Arnold is this: how far can he go?

He is much more than just an outlet for Liverpool at right back. He somehow dictates so many of their attacks from the right back position, which is no mean feat, and given that Jurgen Klopp plays a 4-3-3 formation he is also expected to dig in and do plenty of defensive work. Somehow he does that, as well as surging forward and providing an attacking outlet.

Alexander-Arnold could easily move into midfield or play as a forward and it would not be surprising to see Klopp bring in a new right back when one of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane eventually move on, then he could move TAA into the attack.

A defender who does his job at the back but contributes in attack, consistently and with quality, is so hard to find.

Alexander-Arnold is a modern day full back and his form this season suggested he can become one of the best right backs in the game. If he isn’t the best already.

Who else is close to him in the world game? Think about it. Keep thinking. Yep. You can’t think of anybody better than him, can you? Joshua Kimmich? Dani Carvajal? Aaron Wan-Bissaka? Kimmich and TAA are close but Kimmich doesn’t offer what TAA does in attack, even though he is also capable of playing much further forward and in midfield.

The early years of Alexander-Arnold’s career has proven he is versatile and can become a more attacking player, but he’s done such a great job at right back, is it worth the hassle in moving him from that position? Whatever happens and wherever you put him he will provide quality deliveries, assists and clever runs.

Europa League semifinals: How to watch, start time, prediction

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Man United – Sevilla and Inter Milan – Shakhtar Donetsk are a pair of highly intriguing Europa League semifinals, featuring four clubs from four different leagues, set for Sunday and Monday, respectively (start time, 3pm ET each day).

United reached the final four by narrowly escaping the upset threat of Copenhagen in extra-time; Sevilla broke Wolverhampton Wanderers’ hearts with a late winner in the quarterfinals; Inter held on to an early lead to beat Bayer Leverkusen; and Shakhtar, interestingly enough, have perhaps the most momentum following a 4-1 drubbing of Basel.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Reminder: from the quarterfinals onward, this year’s Europa League features single-leg ties, meaning the winners on the night will book their place in the final.

Ahead of this week’s semifinals, below is a look at how to watch Man United – Sevilla and Inter Milan – Shakhtar Donetsk in the USA, the betting odds, predictions and much more.


What they’re saying ahead of Europa League semifinals

Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “Let’s see if we’ve developed throughout the season because we’ve had two semifinals before. We want to go to the next step. Semifinals, that’s a good effort, decent, but it’s not good enough. It’s not good enough for Man United still. … Let’s make sure that hurt that we felt in both the other cups that we’ve gone out, that can be our maybe marginal difference. The difference that we want it more than them.”

Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui: “We are going to play against Manchester United in the next match — they’re the biggest team in the world but we’re going to be prepared for them. We’re focused on the next game, against a top, historic side, one of the best in the history of the sport who are in great form. We will give our best as we always do. To play against them will be really tough, but we’ll go into it believing we can beat them.”


Europa League semifinals odds

Man United – Sevilla – Full Europa League, Champions League odds

United are slight betting favorites at +150 and Sevilla checking in at +195. That’s about as tight as odds can get. Given how close this one is expected to be, +215 to tie is perhaps the most intriguing prospect.

Odds for Inter – Shakhtar

There’s certainly a great deal of value to be had with Shakhtar set as hefty underdogs at +350. Inter are the heavy favorites at -132, representing very little betting value unless you’re absolutely certain they’re a lock to win it.


Prediction for Man United – Sevilla

United have conceded just two goals in the Europa League dating back to the start of the calendar year (five games), which creates a thoroughly difficult challenge for Sevilla, who have scored just three goals in four games during the same period. This should be a low-scoring affair and United do just enough to come out on top, 1-0.

Prediction for Inter – Shakhtar

Upset special, anyone? Shakhtar have largely flown under the radar and received very little attention during their run to the semifinals, but they have plenty of firepower to hang with Inter in this one. One thing is a near-certainty: there will be goals. It ends 2-2 and goes to penalty kicks, where Inter only just survive.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com

Report: McKennie’s transfer from Schalke to Hertha falls apart

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Weston McKennie transfer update: The lifecycle on the American midfielder’s proposed move from Schalke to Hertha Berlin was short and sweet, and is now no longer.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Sancho staying at Dortmund; Chilwell to Man Utd, Chelsea ]

According to a report from Bild, the move has fallen apart and a number of stumbling blocks are to blame.

Firstly, the transfer fee Schalke wanted for the 21-year-old was reportedly too high for Hertha to stomach. They are said to be seeking roughly $48 million. McKennie would also be due a fairly significant pay increase upon completing a transfer.

Then came the issue of convincing McKennie that a move to Hertha would be beneficial for his career. He is said to have had major questions about Hertha’s viability as contenders for European qualification — they finished 10th this season, two places and two points above Schalke. The fact that Schalke are outside of Germany’s European places is undoubtedly a driving force in any and all Weston McKennie transfer rumors set to be spread this summer.

[ MORE: Arsenal sign Willian on free transfer from Chelsea ]

According to the report, McKennie prefers a move to the Premier League. While he is unlikely to meet the standard of the PL’s top-six sides and therefore would appear to go against his logic regarding the move to Hertha, McKennie’s willingness to forego a place in Europe highlights the draw that many young players feel toward playing in England.

McKennie has previously been linked with moves to Southampton, Everton and Newcastle United.