Everton beat lackluster Crystal Palace

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Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday as Carlo Ancelotti continues to work his magic on the Toffees.

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Bernard and Richarlison twice gave Everton the lead with classy goals after Christian Benteke had briefly drawn a poor Palace side level thanks in part to a big mistake from Jordan Pickford.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his great form to make it 3-1 late on and he could have added another too. With the win Everton move on to 36 points and up to seventh in the table, while Palace are six points off the drop zone but have played a game more than most of their rivals.


3 things we learned

1. Everton in European battle: All of a sudden Everton are one point off fifth place. Carlo Ancelotti has won five of his first eight Premier League games in charge of the Toffees and they have lost just once under the veteran Italian coach so far, and that was 2-1 at Man City. At the start of this season under Marco Silva they were supposed to be in a push for European qualification. Finally they are and if the Toffees can clean up sloppy defensive errors they can sustain this push for Europa League qualification. They have a tough run of games coming up but they have momentum.

2. Palace, Zaha low on confidence: There is always one team which sinks towards the relegation scrap and it looks like being Crystal Palace. Wilfried Zaha has gone off the boil and that has coincided with Palace not winning any of their last seven games, winning just one of their last 11 in the PL and they’ve now lost three straight. The Eagles have gone from top six hopefuls to relegation candidates in a matter of a month. Scoring goals has been a problem all season long as Zaha has three goals all season and Jordan Ayew is their top scorer with six. Palace now have a slightly more favorable run of games but their next four against Newcastle, Brighton, Watford and Bournemouth now seem like must win.

3. Richarlison’s quality clear: Many people raised several eyebrows when Barcelona reportedly put in a $105 million bid for Richarlison late in the January transfer window. But should we be that surprised? The Brazilian striker is just 22 years old and he already has 27 PL goals in 97 appearances in the competition and Palace couldn’t handle his direct running and threat in the air and in the box. Alongside Calvert-Lewin he has someone to feed in attack and the duo have a great understanding.

Man of the Match: Richarlison – Scored a superb goal, his header lead to another and ran Palace’s defense ragged.


Lucas Digne‘s free kick was pushed away by Vicente Guaita early on as Everton took the game to Palace.

At the other end Palace hit the post from a tight angle as Patrick Van Aanholt‘s low effort took a deflection onto the woodwork.

Everton deservedly took the lead less than halfway through the first half as Theo Walcott whipped in a delicious cross from the right and Bernard was on hand to volley home at the Gwladys Street End.

That was Walcott’s final act of the game as he was forced off through injury and Djibril Sidibe replaced him after a short delay as he took his time in the tunnel area.

Bernard almost set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin who couldn’t get on the end of the ball as the attempted a diving header.

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Palace started the second half well as Yerry Mina failed to clear and Zaha failed to make the most of a good opportunity at the back post.

Zaha then played in Benteke after Palace won a few second balls and the Belgian striker sent a tame effort on target which somehow squeezed through Jordan Pickford and in. It was Benteke’s first Premier League goal in 34 games and it sprung Palace into life.

Moments later a corner caused havoc at the near post as the ball hit Benteke and then hit the post as Everton were all over the place defensively.

Everton then regained the lead as a long ball forward was flicked on by Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison raced onto it and finished calmly into the bottom corner.

In the closing stages the game turned into an end-to-end encounter as Benteke was then denied brilliantly by Pickford who spread himself to save his header from close range.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was then denied just as brilliantly by Vicente Guaita as he danced through the Palace defense but the Spanish goalkeeper saved his dinked effort.

Everton dominated late on and Richarlison’s header from a corner hit the bar and Calvert-Lewin was on hand to wrap up the win with his sixth goal in eight games under Ancelotti.

Transfer news: King to Man United; Tagliafico to Arsenal

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In the latest transfer news Josh King has been linked with a move to Man United this summer as several top clubs are circling, while Ajax and Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico could be heading to Arsenal.

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First up, our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have a beauty of a report which states that four of the Premier League’s top six clubs want to sign Bournemouth striker Josh King.

King, 28, was the subject of a late bid form Man United in the January window but the Cherries turned it down as they needed him to help with their relegation battle. Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admitted it was tough on King and the players also revealed he was it was tough to see the move blocked, as he came through Man United’s youth academy and the Norwegian international is close with Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. King has scored 46 goals in 154 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth and has been instrumental since they were promoted to the top-flight in 2015. King loves Man United and this would clearly be a good fit for all concerned.

Per the fresh report, Man United are keen on King because he can play centrally and wide and with Odion Ighalo’s future uncertain amid his loan move from Shanghai Shenhua, Solskjaer wants to add one more striker this summer. King has one year left on his contract and Bournemouth are expected to cash in on him but Chelsea are also said to be interested, as well as two other ‘top six’ clubs.

Bournemouth rejected a $25 million offer for King in January but they would snap anybody’s hand off for that this summer given the financial situation due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact King will have just one year left on his current deal. Bournemouth have already been burned by not extending Ryan Fraser’s contract and he is set to be out of contract on July 1.

Tagliafico
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Heading from Manchester to London, Arsenal are said to be interested in Ajax and Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico.

The Gunners continue to be linked with plenty of defenders and even though it is believed Mikel Arteta will not have a big transfer budget in the upcoming transfer windows, Tagliafico for $25 million is a steal.

According to the Sun, Arsenal want the 27-year-old as Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar recently said that Tagliafico, Andre Onana and Donny van de Beek are free to leave this summer if their transfer value is met. Tagliafico is said to be keen on a fresh challenge and wants a move to the Premier League.

Do Arsenal need a left back? Teenage star Bukayo Saka has been splendid out of position at left back this season but both he and Arsenal are keen to move him back into his natural position as a left winger, while young Scottish left back Kieran Tierney has struggled with injuries throughout his debut campaign in the Premier League.

Tagliafico can also play as a left-sided center back and with the Gunners experimenting at times with a 3-4-3 formation, he would give them flexibility and defensive options. It is clear Arsenal need to improve defensively and Tagliafico is a very solid left back who is good on the ball and is also a goal threat at the other end of the pitch.

Cologne deny Fortuna with amazing late comeback (video)

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Relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf thought they had secured a massive win away at FC Cologne in the Rhine Derby on Sunday as Kenan Karaman and Erik Thommy struck in each half to put them 2-0 up, but the hosts struck twice late on to grab a dramatic 2-2 draw.

Anthony Modeste and Jhon Corodba were the heroes for Cologne, who blew a 2-0 lead last week to draw 2-2 at home with Mainz but this time out they were on the other end of a comeback.

It didn’t look like being Cologne’s day for vast swathes of the game as at 1-0 to Fortuna, Florian Kastenmeier saved Mark Uth’s penalty kick in what looked like a key moment for Uwe Rosler’s Fortuna who are embroiled in the Bundesliga relegation battle.

The draw sees Fortuna move onto 24 points as they sit in 16th place, which is the relegation playoff spot. After a big win for 17th place Werder Bremen this weekend, plus heavy defeats for Mainz, Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt above them, the Bundesliga relegation battle has become extremely intriguing. A note for USMNT fans: midfielder Alfredo Morales put in a tireless 90 minute shift in central midfield.

Cologne sit 10th on 34 points and are in the hunt for Europa League qualification.

Fortuna went ahead early on as Karaman found some space in the box and his shot deflected in as the away side led at the break.

Cologne were handed the perfect opportunity to get back into the game in the second half as Uth first hit the post, then was denied by Kastenmeier before he was scythed down in the box as a penalty kick was awarded.

Uth, who scored a penalty kick last week, appeared to take the ball off Cordoba and Kastenmeier produced a fine save down low as Fortuna celebrated wildly once the ball was cleared.

Buoyed by that penalty save, Fortuna went up the other end moments later and doubled their lead as the ball found Thommy at the back post and he curled a sumptuous effort into the far corner.

Fortuna believed they were home and dry.

With 88 minutes on the clock, the Cologne comeback began as Modeste headed home superbly to make it 2-1 and give his side hope of grabbing a point.

 

In the 91st minute the equalizer arrived in similar fashion.

Fortuna ran out of steam and another cross from the right found Cordoba who nodded home to snatch a point for the hosts.

The draw felt like a win for Cologne and it was a sickening blow for a Fortuna side who badly need all three points in their battle against the drop.

Crucial week ahead for the Premier League

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The upcoming week is a huge one for the Premier League as a key vote and serious talks are set to take place with regards to restarting the 2019-20 season.

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All 20 clubs will meet on several video conference calls to discuss the protocols around a return to full-contact training, subject to government approval, as players, managers and the Premier League will discuss the details with medical experts. The UK government have yet to release details about stage two of a return to training for professional athletes and several Premier League stars have revealed their angst about returning to training.

Clubs will then vote on a return to full-contact training on Wednesday and depending on the outcome of that vote, that will shape further talks. If full-contact training is given the thumbs up, it is expected that on Thursday clubs will then discuss the plan to either restart the season in mid-June or curtailment plans which would see the table potentially decided on a points-per-game basis.

The Premier League confirmed over the weekend that from 1,744 tests on players and staff across the first two rounds of COVID-19 tests, eight positive tests have been recorded with players from both Watford and Bournemouth confirmed to have the virus.

Players will again be tested on Monday and Tuesday and the results of those tests will be key in seeing how the strict protocols at training grounds are working.

All 20 clubs unanimously voted in favor of a return to small-group training and they are all said to be in favor of a return to action, although some have publicly aired reservations.

The next few days seem pivotal as to whether or not the final 92 games of the Premier League season will be played and all eyes will be on the vote on Wednesday, if the UK government can provide details on the new protocols.

With the Bundesliga off and running, La Liga set for a June 8 restart and Serie A planning for a mid-June restart, the Premier League are correctly being cautious when it comes to a restart. Sooner or later they need to vote on a path forward and this week will be crucial.

Leipzig smash Mainz; crowd noise experiment success (video)

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RB Leipzig kept their Bundesliga title push on track with a resounding 5-0 win at Mainz on Sunday as a crowd noise experiment equally stole the headlines.

Remember: Leipzig beat Mainz 8-0 earlier this season and this latest big win pushed them back into third place and five points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who face second place Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side scored early and often with Timo Werner grabbing a hat trick, plus Youssef Poulsen and Marcel Sabitzer adding a goal each. In truth, Leipzig should have won by more in a one-sided game which was talked about around the world due to a crowd noise experiment which included cow bells, drums and more broadcast on TV feeds but not in the stadium itself.

Throughout the game, crowd noise was played over the world feed and heard by the TV audience in the USA and elsewhere as supporters’ chants, cheers and jeers could be heard as a sound engineer played certain sound tracks at certain moments with wonderful timing. It was certainly a success and made watching the game more enjoyable for the TV audience as camera angles were also used cleverly to not show empty seats as much as possible.

As for the game itself, Leipzig went 2-0 up early on as Werner and Poulsen both finished calmly from fluid moves down the right.

First, Laimer popped up on the right wing and crossed for Werner to steer home at the near post, then Sabitzer appeared down the right and his clipped crossed was nodded home by the unmarked Poulsen.

Leipzig were all over Mainz in the first half as Werner was denied by goalkeeper Muller, then Poulsen shanked his effort wide from a good position and Nkunku slotted wide as they could have easily lead by four or five at half time.

They did lead by three goals as Leipzig launched another fine counter and Poulsen set up Sabitzer who found the top corner with ease.

Wave after wave of Leipzig attack continued in the second half as Werner scored his second and Leipzig’s fourth with another poacher’s finish.

Mainz simply couldn’t handle Leipzig’s movement and dropped deeper and deeper throughout as Werner finished off Poulsen’s quick free kick to put a bow on a comprehensive win for the Bundesliga and Champions League title chasers.

Even the (manufactured) home crowd at Mainz couldn’t help but applaud the five-star display from Leipzig.