10 things we learned in the Premier League — Matchweek 30 & FA Cup

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What did we learn during Matchweek 30 of the 2021-22 Premier League season?

With just four matches on the PL docket, we’ll need FA Cup action to get to 10 things we gleaned from a wickedly-tantalizing weekend in England, where Tottenham and Arsenal keep setting the stage for the soon-to-be resechedule North London derby and Man City clinched a second meeting with Liverpool in two April weeks.

[ MORE: How to watch PL 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: PL highlights ]

Let’s get to it.


Ten things we learned in the Premier League — Matchweek 30 and FA Cup

1. Priorities? Priorities! Priorities will decide fate of Premier League season (Saints 1-4 Man City, Nottingham Forest 0-1 Liverpool): April is going to be bonkers. That’s what we’ve learned as Manchester City and Liverpool have been drawn against each other in an FA Cup semifinal, which means the Premier League’s biggest powers will meet in the league in Manchester and a tournament semifinal at Wembley all while both are in the thick of the UEFA Champions League, a cup super-sought by both for different reasons.

So how will Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp treat that fortnight next month? Clearly both have spent an overwhelming amount of cartoon money and have the depth to play 3-4 huge matches in that period of time, and both will have all fires burning for the first tilt, but how will it shake out once these four dates have passed?!?

April 5: Benfica vs Liverpool; Man City vs Atletico Madrid — UCL
April 10: Man City vs Liverpool — Premier League
April 13: Liverpool vs Benfica; Atleti vs Man City — UCL
April 16-17: Liverpool vs Man City at Wembley — FA Cup

There’s no clear path here, as Liverpool will have to travel back from Portugal even if Man City at home faces a much stiffer UCL test. And how will each side’s UCL fate following their second legs affect their mindset for the FA Cup tie. This is juicy. (NM)

2. Crystal Palace ahead of schedule, a threat for Chelsea (Palace 4-0 Everton; Boro 0-2 Chelsea): The same logic as above will make Chelsea’s focus on the Premier League and FA Cup a bit off, especially considering cup semifinal rivals Crystal Palace will be targeting an FA Cup Final as a sign that Patrick Vieira is more than a honeymoon. An Eagles side that was wildly turned over now is led by a seemingly Selhurst-sated Wilfried Zaha, who sounded a warning to the rest of the Premier League.

“Amazing,” Zaha said, via the BBC. “It’s crazy that this is the first year we’ve played together you can see the progress already. There’s more to come from this side.”

Game on, Mr. Tuchel (NM).

3. Robust Gunners look set for fourth (Aston Villa 0-1 Arsenal): Arsenal still has a few big tests to come (Tottenham away, Chelsea away, West Ham away, and Manchester United at home) but defeating Villa feels like a huge win in its top-four push. Arsenal was without Aaron Ramsdale in goal but looked as solid as ever as Bernd Leno came in and did his job, while Ben White and Gabriel continue to look reliable and durable at center back with Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey expertly shielding them. Arsenal is now a consistent team and even if they sometimes struggle to score goals, you get the sense they will hang in most games and that they aren’t going to be their own worst enemies. That is a huge culture change and that is why with 10 games to go they are the favorites to finish fourth. (JPW)

4. Set-piece status gives weary West Ham legs a chance, but tank runs dry after Europa League triumph (Spurs 3-1 West Ham): West Ham’s crowd — in this case, away fans — often comes to life at the mere prospect of getting corners because it knows how deadly the Irons can be from set-piece situations. A 10th goal off a corner kick this season, flicked back by Craig Dawson for Benrahma to cooly finish, made that excitement a justified one. But Tottenham, for once, was the benefit of midweek action for the opposition and ran the Irons off the pitch over the final 20 minutes. David Moyes plays a thin roster but will have to find more players to trust next season because injuries to Jarrod Bowen and Angelo Ogbonna are really taxing their hopes. (NM)

5. Schmeichel injury threatens UECL plans (Leicester City 2-0 Brentford): Kasper Schmeichel had to truck through the final 10 minutes with an injury that clearly kept him from operating at his typical clean standard. The Danish goalkeeper is one of the Premier League’s underrated players and is integral to their hopes of claiming European honors and finishing as high up the table as possible. Hopefully he’ll be fine and Schmeichel will have the international break to get right, but this is a real big question mark for Brendan Rodgers (NM).

6. Results all that matter for Marsch this season… but what a comeback! (Wolves 2-3 Leeds): Jesse Marsch undoubtedly has much larger long-term plans for Leeds than “scrape and claw our way to 17th place,” but that can all wait until this summer and next season. It’s just four games into his Premier League career, and Marsch has guided his side to six points (2W-0D-2L) and dragged them farther from the relegation zone than they’ve been all season. Barring an incredible collapse down the stretch, Leeds appears set for a third season in the Premier League. It’s safe to say the American is doing quite well to ingratiate himself with his new supporters. (AE)

7. Son, Kane partnership buzzing along (Spurs 3-1 West Ham): When these two are firing, is there a better attack pairing in the league. That’s not to say that Son and Kane would be your choice over Foden and Sterling, Mane and Salah, or even Saka and Lacazette, but there’s something special in the air between the South Korea and England captains. If Spurs were a board room, the boss would be pointing to Kane and Son and using finger quotes while clearly enunciating the word “synergy.” Antonio Conte knows how to get an attack buzzing, and this one is buzzing like it was early last season. (NM)

8. Leicester wins the best-of-3 beautiful goal competition (Leicester City 2-0 Brentford):: All three goals were feasts for the eyes, each the sort that make it a joy to be in the stadium (or watching on your screen, s, of course). Which one was best? Castagne’s hammer from distance after returning from injury? Maddison’s spell-binding free kick? Wissa’s hope to one-up Castagne? You could make an argument for any of the three, but we’ll take Castagne for a slightly-raised degree of difficult on the competition. (NM)

9. Villa plays scared in latest big test for Gerrard (Aston Villa 0-1 Arsenal): Steven Gerrard’s decision to start with Emiliano Buendia as an extra man in midfield — sacrificing Danny Ings up top — seemed to set the tone for this subdued display. This was a very anti-Gerrard performance from Villa. They didn’t play with any gusto, should have been 3-0 down at half, and they were too scared to keep the ball or try to go forward. It was very much a safety-first display, even though in the second half they were much better when they did throw caution to the wind. This display was even stranger as Gerrard’s side had a full week of preparation compared to Arsenal having less than 48 hours. They’re still having a decent season as they push for a top 10 finish, but this was lackluster. And that’s putting it nicely. (JPW).

10. Carnage at Elland Road (Wolves 2-3 Leeds): Patrick Bamford was sadly hurt again and will capture a lot of the headlines, but Leeds’ English center forward was only one of six players to leave Friday’s game due to either injury or red card. Ruben Neves was forced off two minutes after Bamford. Diego Llorente followed in the 40th minute and Mateusz Klich joined him in first-half stoppage time. Eight minutes into the second half, Illan Meslier and Raul Jimenez collided as they both made a play for a 50-50 ball. Meslier left the game with an injury, and Jimenez was sent off. That’s five injury subs and a red card, for anyone keeping score at home As much as the injuries will hamper Leeds in the coming days and weeks, the red card was undeniably the turning point of Friday’s game, and might also be the same for their season and Premier League status. (AE)



Argentina overcomes blown two-goal lead, beats Netherlands in penalty shootout

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Lionel Messi scored one goal and assisted another before the Netherlands hit Argentina twice in the final 20 minutes, but the Albiceleste survived a penalty kick shootout to reach the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup on Friday.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY

Argentina will now face Croatia, who shocked the world and beat Brazil earlier on Friday, in the first semifinal on Tuesday.

The opening goal came from virtually nothing, as Messi dribbled through midfield with four orange shirts between him and the goal, and three shading out Nahuel Molina, the eventual goal scorer. It mattered not one bit at all. Messi slipped the ball not only through one line of defenders, but also back across one lane of traffic, stopping it on a dime for Molina to receive it in stride and tuck it inside the far post.

Messi got his goal at the penalty spot in the 73rd minute, atoning for his missed spot kick against Poland during the group stage. At 2-0, with barely a quarter-hour remaining, Argentina had one foot in the semifinals and Messi was just over three hours of football from lifting the World Cup trophy.

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

As brilliant as Messi was in attack, Argentina’s defensive performance was suffocating and controlling (for a time) as they allowed just one shot in the opening 82 minutes, before a frantic final eight minutes, which included a goal to make it mighty interesting late on with long ball after long ball to substitute Wout Weghorst. And, it was Weghorst who headed home the first Dutch goal after Steven Berghuis whipped a fantastic cross into the box.

10 minutes into second-half stoppage time, with the entire world watching and waiting to see if he could get the ball over the wall and back down under the crossbar, Teun Koopmeiners slipped a clever ball toward the penalty spot for Weghorst to collect and sweep it past Emiliano Martinez.

Martinez made saves to deny Virgil van Dijk and Berghuis in the first two rounds of the shootout, as Argentina raced out to a 3-1 advantage after three rounds. Things got interesting when Enzo Fernandez pulled his attempt wide of the post in round no. 4, but Lautaro Martinez hammered the ball past Andries Noppert to end it at 4-3.

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


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

Kick off: 2pm ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Louis van Gaal is looking for arguably the only major trophy to escape his reach with the World Cup, and Virgil van Dijk isn’t too far behind his manager. Jurrien Timber’s joined VVD in a very good back three, Cody Gakpo had been the breakout player of the tournament in all likelihood before Goncalo Ramos captured the world’s attention with his hat trick for Portugal on Tuesday.

Enzo Fernandez has been shining along with Messi, while Nicolas Otamendi has turned back the proverbial clock at center back in a tour de force for the CONMEBOL powers.


Netherlands quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong

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

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World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, quarterfinals, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

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The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and this tournament in Qatar has been sensational as the knockout rounds will capture the imagination of the globe.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan, Australia and Morocco made the last 16 with so many huge shocks during the tournament, but the Atlas Lions are the only one of the trio to survive into the quarterfinals. Germany, Denmark, and Belgium all crashed out in the group stage.

In the quarterfinals Croatia dumped out red-hot favorites Brazil on penalty kicks to blow the tournament wide-open, while Argentina edged past the Netherlands on penalty kicks in an epic encounter.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

The other side of the bracket sees Morocco meeting Portugal for the right to tangle with the winner of England vs France.

So, yeah, the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final should be dynamite. Bring. It. On.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Knockout round kick-off times: 10am, 2pm (both 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 A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H | Full tables


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Croatia 1-1 Brazil (Croatia wins 4-2 on penalties) – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Netherlands 2-2 Argentina (Argentina wins 4-3 on penalties) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Morocco vs Portugal (preview) – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: England vs France (preview) – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – Tuesday, December 13: Argentina vs Croatia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – Wednesday, December 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – Saturday, December 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – Sunday, December 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am


Round of 16 results

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Netherlands 3-1 USA – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3: Argentina 2-1 Australia – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: France 3-1 Poland – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: England 3-0 Senegal – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Japan 1-1 (AET, 1-3 PKs) – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Brazil 4-1 South Korea – Stadium 974, Doha

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Morocco 0-0 (AET, 3-0 PKs) Spain – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Portugal 6-1 Switzerland – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail


Group stage results

Group A

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands  – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Group B

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group C

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 0-2 Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail

Group D

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Group E

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 2-1 Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Costa Rica 2-4 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Group F

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Croatia 0-0 Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights Canada 1-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group G

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 1-0 Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Serbia 2-3 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha

Group H

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-1 Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah


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

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Can red-hot Portugal find a way past Yassine Bounou and Morocco when the World Cup quarterfinals hit Qatar on Saturday?

Match 60 of the tournament will see Bounou riding high after stopping three of four penalties faced in the Round of 16 versus Spain, but Portugal won’t be thinking about going more than 90 minutes after scoring a half-dozen goals against Switzerland.

STREAM MOROCCO vs PORTUGAL LIVE

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a fourth-minute goal to lead Portugal past Morocco in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, but Morocco’s yet to lose in Qatar.

The Atlas Lions needed penalties to beat Spain in the Round of 16, while Portugal had no such trouble in clobbering Switzerland 6-1.

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

Here is everything you need for Morocco vs Portugal.


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

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday December 10
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Bounou — spelled Bono on his jersey — was sensational in penalties, but Morocco’s defenders limited Spain to a single shot on target. Romain Saiss has been especially good in the middle of the back line while Achraf Hakimi and Noussair Mazroui have been effective out wide, going forward and defending.

Portugal put Goncalo Ramos in the Starting XI for Cristiano Ronaldo and the 21-year-old center forward scored three goals and added an assist against Switzerland. Bruno Fernandes has been wonderful for Portugal, while Ruben Neves and Rafael Leao were able to get through the match with small sub roles and should be rested if called upon by Fernando Santos, who is seeking a World Cup to go with his EURO crown.


Morocco 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

Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancel

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England vs France: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Match 59 of the 2022 World Cup features a pair of European heavyweights duking it out for a place in the semifinals when England faces France on Saturday.

[ MORE: Lineup projections for England vs France ]

Didier Deschamps’ France is bidding to become a back-to-back World Cup winner, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions are tournament-hardened and have shown their explosive nature three times this tournament.

STREAM ENGLAND vs FRANCE LIVE

France beat Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 match while England overcame a dodgy start to pound Senegal 3-0.

Neither team can say its faced a test like this in the tournament, and this could be a fantastic fight in Qatar.

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

Here is everything you need for England vs France.


How to watch England vs France live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday, December 1
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

England will look to Harry Kane, though the question remains who will flank the Tottenham center forward. Marcus Rashford’s been very good but Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden got the starting spots against Senegal and it paid off for Southgate.

Kylian Mbappe has been borderline unstoppable and will test Harry Maguire, John Stones, and friends and Antoine Griezmann pulls the strings in behind and Aurelien Tchouameni continues to strengthen his reputation in the center of the pitch.


England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Pickford

France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

Follow @NicholasMendola