10 things learned in the Premier League – Week 35

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What did we learn in the Premier League this weekend?

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in the USA ]

Here’s a look at 10 things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) share their observations from across the most recent Premier League games.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Let’s get to it, plugging in a bonus thought from West Ham – Everton as the PL waits to see if the relegation picture is sealed when Burnley meets Fulham on Monday (start time 3pm ET Monday online via NBCSports.com).

Oh man, the stretch run is delivering entertainment, consternation, and question marks when there was a penciled-in period.


1. Silly mistakes, disciplined Chelsea postpone City celebrations (Man City 1-2 Chelsea): This match was about exactly four moments, two that turned it from a City win into a likely draw, and two more that decided Chelsea would win rather than City. The champions-elect will lament all four mistakes ahead of the rematch later this month in the UEFA Champions League Final. First there was Sergio Aguero’s poor panenka a minute after Sterling had put City in front. A routine penalty might’ve put the match to bed, but Aguero went for a title-sealing flourish that went horribly awry. Then came the Chelsea goal by Ziyech, as Rodri thought he was fouled when he gave the ball away in his own half. And Anthony Taylor waved away a penalty shout from Sterling in the 88th minute to no avail, no lengthy review helping City’s cause despite apparent reason to put City at the spot again. The league leaders were left fuming and it reached extreme temperatures in the City technical area when Alonso delivered the stoppage-time winner (NM).

2. Shambolic defending costs Spurs (Leeds 3-1 Tottenham): As good as Leeds were, this was woeful from Spurs. Their defense made clangers galore throughout and on the first two goals basic defensive errors were costly. Failing to stop crosses plagued Spurs as Aurier had a torrid time and both Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld were dragged out of position on numerous occasions. Maybe Mourinho had a point when he kept blaming defensive mistakes on individuals rather than his tactics… (JPW).

3. Mane, Salah keep Liverpool knocking at the top-four door (Liverpool 2-0 Saints): Credit to the misfiring pair of Liverpool wingers — and yes, you can misfire while contending for a Golden Boot — for continuing their work while failing to find the target for much of the day at Anfield. Whether it was Fraser Forster making saves or one of the duo not hitting the target, Mane’s header of a Salah cross was a fitting first goal and it carried the day long enough for Thiago Alcantara to put it away and keep Liverpool dreaming of a Champions League return (NM).

4. Greenwood, Shaw put on a show for Southgate (Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester United): With Gareth Southgate watching on, the England boss will be impressed with Shaw and Greenwood, both of whom are pushing for a starting spot in his team at the Euros this summer. Shaw looks nailed on to be the starting left back, ahead of Ben Chilwell, while Greenwood has an almighty scrap with Rashford, Sterling, Foden, Mount, Grealish, Sak,a and others for one of the wide forward roles. Greenwood has now scored the most Premier League goals by a teenager for United, beating Wayne Rooney’s record, and is destined for great things. On this showing, both players are in great form and Southgate will be a happy man (JPW).

5. Emotional, relegated Big Sam a startling site (Arsenal 3-1 West Brom): Sam Allardyce has a well-maintained reputation as a no-nonsense coach who will get your club out of relegation trouble by hook or crook, but his record of never having failed to deliver safety is over and this particular journey could well be the last time he’s trusted with such a call. The Baggies had some impressive moments under the 66-year-old Big Sam but consider that they were 1W-4D-7L when they fired Slaven Bilic after a draw with Man City. They are 4W-7D-12L since that, an improvement but not one that has given them a realistic look at safety in some time. Seeing Allardyce emotionally react to the relegation was startling, a massive and bluster-driven personality humanized by failure. Is this it for him in the PL? (NM).

6. West Ham suddenly in European danger (West Ham 0-1 Everton):: David Moyes has rightly engineered Premier League Manager of the Year talk but it could all feel so flat as three losses-in-four (including a completed season sweep by Newcastle) has the Irons virtually out of the top four discussion despite a simple run-in. And with Brighton underappreciated and still in the mix to go down (at least at the time of posting), there are still chances for lost points before West Brom and Southampton finish the fixture list (NM).

7. Toffees pick up the pieces as defense leads the way (West Ham 0-1 Everton): Yes, there was plenty of good fortune in this win, but Carlo Ancelotti has his men well-positioned to seal European competition before a tough final day at UCL Final-preparing Man City. Ben Godfrey was very good and Allan is joined by the veteran calm of Gylfi Sigurdsson in a midfield that is complicated to unbalance. Seamus Coleman’s presence doesn’t hurt much, either, and Lucas Digne is marvelous. Everton is away to Villa on Thursday before Sheffield United visits Sunday and Wolves come around four days later. Nine points there could be enough for the Europa League without anything from Man City on Championship Sunday (NM).

8. Bournemouth Pt. 2? Foxes fail to seal top four deal… again (Leicester City 2-4 Newcastle): Last season saw Leicester City in second-place after 21 matches and third after 33 but the Foxes managed just four of 15 points down the stretch to bow out of Champions League qualification on the season’s final day. That run included a 4-1 loss at Bournemouth, and this loss is going to feel similar if Brendan Rodgers’ men stumble down the stretch. It hasn’t been quite as dramatic this season, but the Foxes have opened the third-place door as Friday’s result makes them 4W-2D-4L in their last 10 matches. Even worse? The Foxes drew at Southampton and gave up four to Newcastle, the two matches of promise on their PL run-in. A trip to Manchester United is next on Tuesday, then two with Chelsea — the FA Cup Final on Saturday before a league visit to Stamford Bridge — before finishing with Tottenham at the King Power. Could they possibly be back in the Europa League? (NM)

9. Wolves, Seagulls need finishers (Wolves 2-1 Brighton): It really is as simple as this: if Brighton and Wolves had a strike who could finish off chances consistently, they’d be in the top 10. Wolves lost Jimenez and although Fabio Silva is lively, he’s still too young, while Willian Jose hasn’t settled. As for Brighton, Neal Maupay, Danny Welbeck and Aaron Connolly work hard but they need more goals from that trio, or to buy a new man up top this summer (JPW).

10. Benteke burnishes form for EURO (Sheffield United 0-2 Crystal Palace): Four-time double-digit Premier League goal scorer Christian Benteke had become a bit of a punchline after scoring three, one, and two goals across his last three seasons, but he’s on seven through 27 matches for a double-digit pace this season for Palace. Benteke remains a part of the Belgium set-up and what might we see if the big striker joins up with Roberto Martinez’s men to produce a very decent EURO run this summer? (NM)

Lionel Messi goal, assist leads Argentina awakening vs Mexico

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Lionel Messi’s second-half goal gave Argentina’s World Cup hopes a massive lift as the Albiceleste broke through against stubborn Mexico to win 2-0 in Lusail on Saturday.

Enzo Fernandez, 21, also scored for Argentina in the win, which comes after a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in the opener.

STREAM LIVE ARGENTINA vs MEXICO

Mexico’s brave performance was broken by Messi’s splendid finish and now Mexico (1 point) needs to beat Saudi Arabia (3 points) and get help from Argentina (3 points) vs Poland (4 points) to make the Round of 16.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


Lionel Messi: Of course he did.

The world’s — maybe history’s — greatest ever player had a frustrating day and spent 65 minutes thinking this could’ve been his last World Cup match.

Twenty-five minutes later, he had a goal and an assist and Argentina was heading to Poland likely a draw or better away from going to the knockout rounds.

C’est la Messi.

Mexico executed Tata Martino’s masterful plan for over an hour and looked set to walk away with a point. Messi wasn’t getting the ball in dangerous spaces and Lautaro Martinez was so ineffective that he was taken off the pitch.

Then: One hesitation when Angel Di Maria spotted Messi. Two touches for the Atomic Ant. 1-0.

Messi would later assist young Enzo Fernandez’s goal to re-certify his status as one of the very best to do it in any team sport. Argentina only had 0.28 expected goals on the day but when you have two magic shots, it’ll get the job done.


Stars of the show

Lionel Messi

Nicolas Otamendi

Hector Moreno

Argentina vs Mexico
fotmob.com

Lionel Messi goal video: GOAT things

Enzo Fernandez goal video: Pearler of a finish delivers Messi assist


How to watch Argentina vs Mexico live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday Nov. 26
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

It’s Messi, of course, who says he’s playing in his final World Cup, but it’s also about who’s going to step up as a difference maker for Argentina. Lautaro Martinez had a goal taken off the board for a razor-thin offside versus Saudi Arabia, while Julian Alvarez had a shot saved in his sub’s role and both Paulo Dybala and Angel Correa were unused subs in the opener.

Mexico’s midfield was excellent to start the tournament. Will Hector Herrera again join Edson Alvarez and Luis Chavez is setting the tone for Tata Martino’s team? And can El Tri find a finisher after Henry Martin and Co. failed to find the back of the goal versus Poland.


Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Mexico quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (2nd place)
Coach: Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez

Belgium vs Morocco: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Belgium will look to get back to their best and make it two wins from two in the group stage but Morocco will make it extremely tough for Kevin de Bruyne and Co.

STREAM LIVE BELGIUM v MOROCCO

Roberto Martinez saw his side totally dominated by Canada in their Group F opener but they took their one big chance and won the game, largely thanks to poor finishing from Canada and Thibaut Courtois saving a penalty kick. The No. 2 ranked team in the world has to improve. Fast.

Morocco caused Croatia plenty of problems in their opening game and a draw was a fair result as their high-pressing caused Croatia a lot of problems. They will look to do exactly the same against Belgium and could have plenty of joy if Hakim Ziyech is found in dangerous areas in the final third.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Belgium vs Morocco. 


How to watch Belgium vs Morocco live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 8am ET – Sunday, November 27
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor 
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Kevin de Bruyne was almost apologetic after being named man of the match against Canada as he said he and his teammates really struggled in their World Cup opener. Belgium have to give their back three more protection as they are really susceptible to speedy wide players cutting in wide and teams playing direct and cutting out their midfield playmakers. Roberto Martinez will surely start the likes of Meunier and Onana in this game to try and give Belgium a little more control and solidity. Michy Batshuayi is expected to continue to fill in for the injured Romelu Lukaku once again.

Morocco will try and do exactly what Canada did to Belgium and they have the players to do it. Ziyech and Boufal will cause problems out wide and Morocco looked solid defensively against Croatia. There is a real whiff of an upset in the air around this one as Morocco will be roared on by their large group of supporters in Qatar.


Belgium quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 2
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Roberto Martinez
Key players: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard

Morocco Rica quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 22
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF
Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Key players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassine Bounou, Youssef En-Nesyri, Romain Saiss


World Cup 2022 Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica schedule, fixtures, rankings

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Japan and Spain sent early messages in Group E with an upset of Germany and demolition of Costa Rica, respectively, to start the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan reached the Round of 16 at the last World Cup and gave Belgium everything it could handle before bowing out 3-2, while Costa Rica surprised everyone in 2014 when it emerged atop a Group D with England, Italy, and Uruguay, then beating Greece in the Round of 16.

Of course, Spanish boss Luis Enrique and Germany’s Hansi Flick will be fancying themselves the favorites to emerge from the group, but the latter now knows better than ever before that anything can happen in Qatar after a 2-1 loss to Japan. Spain hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opener and they look the real deal.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group E.


Group E schedule (all times ET)

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Sunday, November 27: Spain vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
Sunday, November 27: Japan vs Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

How To Watch Group E matches live

  • When: November 23-December 1 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group E table

1. Spain — 3 points (+7 GD)
2. Japan — 3 points (+1)
3. Germany — 0 points (-1)
4. Costa Rica — 0 points (-7)


Spain

Current FIFA world ranking: 7
World Cup titles: 1 (2010)
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Luis Enrique
Key players: Rodri, Pedri, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba

Germany

Current FIFA world ranking: 11
World Cup titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup appearances: 20
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka

Costa Rica

Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz

Japan

Current FIFA world ranking: 24
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 7
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Key players: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada

Croatia vs Canada: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Newly famous international darlings Canada will try again for a number of firsts, when they face Croatia in their second game at the 2022 World Cup on Sunday.

STREAM CROATIA vs CANADA LIVE

Canada outshone many of the tournament’s heavyweights during the first round of group games, ultimately falling just short of their first World Cup point and, had things gone just a bit differently, their first win.

Group F is an intriguing one, with favorites Belgium struggling in their opener and Croatia and Morocco both failing to impress against one another. As things stand, it’s wide open for anyone (and everyone).

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Canada. 


How to watch Croatia vs Canada live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Sunday (November 27)
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

On one hand, Canada were downright brilliant when they made their World Cup return, 36 years in the making on Wednesday. On the other hand, they lost 1-0 to Belgium and are the only team in Group F without a point thus far. The Canucks won plaudits (and new fans) as they showed no fear whatsoever playing against the no. 2 team in the world and were comfortably the better side on the day, so said Belgium boss Roberto Martinez after the game. Alphonso Davies was denied by Thibaut Courtois from the penalty spot, with the game still 0-0 and Canada seeking its first-ever World Cup goal (yeah, that too). Sunday, perhaps.

As for Croatia, their opening draw with Morocco raised a few red flags for a nation that went all the way to the World Cup final just four (and a half) years ago. With five of 11 starters age 30 or older, Croatia have very little range and mobility, and no explosiveness anywhere in the side. Despite holding nearly 65 percent of possession in the game against Morocco, Croatia managed just five shots in 90 minutes (two on target) and a paltry 0.52 xG. If things don’t turn around on Sunday, it’ll be the end of an iconic era that, unfortunately, lasted one cycle too long.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic

Canada quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 41
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF (1st place)
Coach: John Herdman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio

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