Which PL clubs are primed for fast restarts?

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With the Premier League season restarting on June 17, certain teams have a real chance at having a fast start and hitting the ground running as their remaining schedule, stars returning from injury and a clean slate will help them out in the final nine weeks of the season.

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Below we take a look at the Premier League teams set for a quick restart, especially in the opening three matchweeks of the season, as there is still plenty to play for up and down the table with the relegation battle, top four spots and Europa League qualification up for grabs.


Wolves

Wolves
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Wolves are primed for a late Champions League push as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have been dealing with the Europa League/Premier League Thursday, Sunday grind all season long and they coped with that extremely well with their small squad. Now that they’ve had a break and the rest that everybody said they needed, they have a wonderful schedule to start off with.

In their first three games after the restart they play against West Ham United, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, three teams who are all deep in relegation trouble. That can go one of two ways as Wolves have struggled against teams who sit back and defend and then try to hit them on the counter and from set pieces. But there’s no doubt that Wolves really should be getting three wins on the trot to restart the season and that would put them right in the hunt for a top four finish. Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore, Diogo Jota and Co. are licking their chops in anticipation.


Norwich City

This pick may surprise you, but I’m going to go with Norwich City. Their first three games after the restart are against Southampton, Everton and Arsenal and the Canaries have shown that against the bigger teams, especially at home, they can cause upsets. The suspension may have come at a very good time for them because Daniel Farke’s side we’re just losing a little bit of impetus in early 2020. Now the likes of Teemu Pukki, Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Beundia have a really good chance at finishing their debut seasons’ in the Premier League in style.

The big problem for Norwich this season has been defending but if they can find a way of shoring things up at the back they certainly have the attacking talents to hurt teams late in the season. So, watch out for the Canaries to go on a charge and if the bottom side in the Premier League can do that, plenty of teams above them will be looking over their shoulders and getting very nervous in the relegation battle.


Bournemouth

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On paper Bournemouth simply have to win two of their first three games back after the restart if they’re going to have any chance of staying in the Premier League this season. Eddie Howe’s side have been in woeful form in recent months but they do have David Brooks returning from injury and several key defenders are also now fully fit too so that’s a big boost for the Cherries ahead of this crucial run in to try and save their Premier League status.

In their opening three games they host both Crystal Palace and Newcastle down at the Vitality Stadium and Bournemouth have to win those two matches to set themselves up for what they hope is a successful battle against relegation. They have a horrendous schedule in their final seven games and play plenty of the big boys. They have looked lackluster in attack so far this season, which is very unlike Bournemouth under Eddie Howe, but with Brooks coming back he gives them a different dimension. They do have a lot of options up top with Harry Wilson, Brooks, Callum Wilson and Josh King ready to step up. Now is the time to shine, lads.


Chelsea

It has been a poor second half of the season for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea but they did show signs of getting their act together before the suspension arrived in March and now they have both Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic back fit and ready to start. They really need to hit the ground running to try and seal this top four spot as quickly as they possibly can.

Chelsea face both Aston Villa and West Ham in their opening three games and also host Manchester City who may not have much to play for at that point, with Pep Guardiola maybe experimenting a little bit with his lineup. Lampard really needs his Chelsea side to regain the early season form which made them, at least for a little while, look like title contenders.

With so many young players in this Chelsea squad in their first full season in the Premier League, this break came at a very good time for the Blues because these youngsters were looking a bit jaded but now they should be fresh, fit and raring to go. If Chelsea can shore things up defensively they have all of the attacking talents to cause teams across the PL plenty of problems. That said, with Manchester United, Sheffield United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Wolves all breathing down their neck for a spot in the top four, Chelsea only have a three point gap to fifth place Man United before the restart. That should give them all the motivation they need to kick on and get as many wins on the board as quickly as they can.

Leicester City smashes Man City through Vardy hat trick

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Manchester City – Leicester City: Jamie Vardy’s hat trick included two of three Leicester City penalties as the Foxes punished Man City 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

James Maddison scored a spectacular goal in a substitute performance and Youri Tielemans converted a Maddison-won penalty to salt away the points.

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Riyad Mahrez had given Man City a lead over his former team but Leicester had a 2-1 lead by halftime. Nathan Ake scored late off a Mahrez corner kick for City’s second goal.

It’s the first time Pep Guardiola has seen his team concede five goals at home, and also the first time a team has scored three penalties in a game.

Leicester City goes atop the table in joining Everton as 3-0 teams, while Man City falls to 1-1.


Three things we learned: Manchester City – Leicester City

1. Rodgers gets a signature win: Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has been seeking a win over a notable rivals since getting hammered by Liverpool and Man City in consecutive affairs during last season’s festive fixtures. This absolutely qualifies, and to do it in the first of 12 weeks without Wilfred Ndidi makes the win all the more impressive.

2. Pep’s point made: Guardiola had been grousing about his injuries all week and it might’ve all seemed a bit silly given the riches of Man City, but when Ferran Torres and Liam Delap entered the game as subs and you looked to the bench to see they were merely chosen over a bunch of defenders and youth, well, yup. Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus, and Sergio Aguero all missed out.

3. Vardy loves the spot: Vardy knows how to make the most of any contact in the box and he’s even better once he sorts the ball on the spot. He has five goals on the young season and is not showing any signs that he’s 33 years old (aside from, perhaps, his limping gait).

Man of the Match

Tielemans is the club’s the most important player to the team now that Ndidi is out, but Nampalys Mendy filled in admirably against the top attack in the league.


Manchester City – Leicester City recap

Ex-Leicester City striker Riyad Mahrez has torn the cover off a goal to give Man City an early lead over his former club.

A loose ball fell to the Algerian near the back of the 18 and Mahrez absolutely smashed the ball into the upper reaches of the goal.

Schmeichel made a solid save on Raheem Sterling in the 18th minute as City bid for a second, and the goalkeeper also caught a Fernandinho header off a free kick.

Leicester had a chance on the break but James Justin passed instead of shooting with Ederson way off his line and it was broken up by Man City.

Rodri had the ball in the goal off a De Bruyne free kick but was offside and the score stayed 1-0.

Kyle Walker then wrestled Vardy to the box in the 37th minute. He doesn’t miss many penalties, that Vardy.

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He’d provide the go-ahead goal on a combination play often seen from Man City, as Youri Tielemans sent Timothy Castagne racing to the end line. The Belgian’s cutback was cheekily turned past Ederson by the back leg of Vardy.

Vardy drew his second penalty off a push from Eric Garcia and City was in real trouble.

Schmeichel saved a De Bruyne effort in the 62nd minute and Liam Delap headed over the goal minutes later.

De Bruyne picked out Raheem Sterling at the back post with 23 minutes to play only for the Englishman to head over the goal.

There wasn’t much for Man City to like aside from Ake’s goal, 71 percent possession and a 15-7 shot edge doing little.

West Ham – Wolves: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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West Ham – Wolves: David Moyes will be watching from home after testing positive for COVID-19, though he reportedly remains asymptomatic, when his West Ham United side welcomes Wolverhampton Wanderers to the London Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 2 pm ET, online via Peacock).

WEST HAM – WOLVES STREAM LIVE

In recent history, West Ham have had an absolutely torrid time against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side since they won promotion from the EFL Championship. The Hammers have found the back of the net zero times, and collected zero points, in four meetings since Wolves returned to the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of West Ham – Wolves this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: West Ham – Wolves (INJURY REPORT)

West Ham’s Issa Diop and Josh Cullen join Moyes on the sideline after positive COVID-19 tests.

Nelson Semedo makes his Wolves debut behind Adama Traore on what’s a frightening right side. Ex-Liverpool man Ki-Jana Hoever is on the bench for Wolves.


What they’re saying: West Ham – Wolves

Stand-in manager Alan Irvine, on Moyes’ absence: “I’ve spoken to him several times this morning. He is not feeling any symptoms and hasn’t felt them any way through, so obviously it’s a bit frustrating for him, but he’s fine and he’s getting on with other things. Of course, David will be the manager and everything we do will be run through him. He will make the decisions on everything.”

Nuno Espirito Santo, on facing a team with COVID-19 cases: “We are not concerned, I wish David and the players the fastest recovery. What happened to West Ham can happen to any one of us. It’s tough when you are preparing for a game and you cannot be on the touchline. Now we’re not concerned, we’re confident and we trust the authorities to keep things safe for us.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Everything points to a win for Wolves (+105) with West Ham (+270) made slight home underdogs, which should spell out everything you need to know about the Hammers. Best-case scenario for Moyes and Irvine would be to snatch a draw (+240).

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction: West Ham – Wolves

West Ham might get out of the starting block at some point this season, but Wolves are hardly the ideal opponent you want to see when you have zero points and very few positives to start the season. Misery begets misery, and West Ham are in for a bit more. West Ham 0-2 Wolves.


How to watch West Ham – Wolves stream and start time

Kickoff: 2 pm ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Bayern Munich win streak stopped short of Guinness World Record

Bayern Munich streak
Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images
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The Guinness World Record people can cancel their midweek trip to Munich, unless they want to go for pleasure in place of business.

Coritiba’s 2011 world record for wins (24) is safe after Bayern Munich failed to match it in a 4-1 loss to Hoffenheim on Sunday at PreZero Arena, also ending a 32-match unbeaten run for Hansi Flick’s Bavarians.

[ MORE: Schalke fires Wagner ]

Maybe a slightly-weakened Bayern was weary from Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup defeat of Sevilla in Hungary.

Maybe Bayern men overlooked Hoffenheim with Wednesday’s German Super Cup date with rivals Borussia Dortmund on the docket

Or maybe it was just inevitable given the quality of football teams in the world and the fact that Hoffenheim played pretty well.

Regardless, Bayern made it five big German teams to drop points this week when Andrej Kramaric scored twice to join Munas Dabbur and Ermin Bicakcic in sending Hoffenheim to all three points (Borussia Dortmund lost Saturday, while Leipzig, Gladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen all drew).

Joshua Kimmich was good as usual for Bayern and brought the score to 2-1 by halftime, but Kramaric’s goals came in the 77th minute and deep in stoppage time as Hoffenheim overcame 28 percent possession to win.

Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka started on the bench in favor of Joshua Zirkzee and Corentin Tolisso, but entered the match in the 57th minute and could not produce an equalizer.

Hoffenheim joins Augsburg as the lone 2-0 teams in the Bundesliga, though Freiburg can join them Sunday with a win over Wolfsburg. All the burgs.

Newcastle’s Bruce: Handball rule ‘nonsense’ hurting the game

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Given most of the words coming out of Steve Bruce’s mouth, you would’ve thought the penalty given late in a 1-1 draw between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United hurt his side.

But Bruce did not mince words when asked about VAR awarding Newcastle a stoppage-time penalty for Andy Carroll’s late header onto the back of Eric Dier’s arm that allowed Callum Wilson to take a point for the Magpies at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

In fact, toss in the penalty given against Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward on Saturday and Bruce thinks the managers should approach the Premier League and demand change.

“I can understand why Spurs are going to go berserk and the way Roy Hodgson reacted yesterday,” Bruce said after the game. “It’s a total nonsense. Look we got one today and we should be jumping for joy and through hoops but I’d be devastated if it was against us. The handball rule has been around for years but the decisions are, for me, ruining the spectacles. It’s great for me today but I think we have to get together as the managers, coaches and go to the Premier League and say it must stop.”‘

What will the Premier League do about the rule and how VAR interprets it? Stay tuned…

Newcastle moves to 1-1-1 on the season to match Spurs but the Magpies did little to deserve the point aside from Karl Darlow’s 11-save day between the sticks.

It was Newcastle’s first penalty conversion after missing the only one awarded to them in 2019-20 and two of three in 2018-19.