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Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. West Ham

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  • Chelsea sit in 4th place, two points back of Man City
  • West Ham sit in 17th place, three points above the relegation zone
  • The Hammers have lost four of their last five matches. Chelsea meanwhile is looking for win seven in its last eight Premier League games.
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 13 home Premier League meetings with West Ham (W9), last losing to the Hammers by a 3-2 scoreline in September 2002.

Chelsea look to keep pace in the top four and get back to winning ways as Frank Lampard‘s side hosts a London derby against struggling West Ham United (Watch live, 10:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSports.com).

Chelsea dropped a 2-1 scoreline last week to Man City, and then was compounded with a wild 2-2 draw with Valencia in mid-week UEFA Champions League action. Defense has been an issue, as Chelsea has allowed two or more goals in three of its last four matches.

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Saturday’s match could be a big boost of confidence for Lampard’s men though, as West Ham comes to Stamford Bridge. The Hammers are in horrendous form recently under former Man City title-winning coach Manuel Pellegrini. Defensively the team has been all over the place, especially without Winston Reid, though Reid is back in training. However, based on current form, even a Chelsea team without Tammy Abraham, out with injury, should be just fine, with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic running havoc along the wings.

Injuries/suspensions

Chelsea: OUT – Tammy Abraham (hip)

West Ham: OUT – Issa Diop (suspension), Winston Reid, Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere (all injured)


Projected lineups

Chelsea: Kepa – Azpilicueta, Tomori, Zouma, Emerson – Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic – Pulisic, Batshuayi, Willian

West Ham: Roberto – Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Felipe Anderson, Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko – Haller


What they’re saying

Frank Lampard on facing a struggling West Ham: “I expect West Ham to bring passion and effort. They are in a difficult place because of their recent run, and sometimes that can bring out the best in players. You look at people in their team like Mark Noble and Declan Rice, players that care for the club, and they want to react to a manager who is a top manager so I am expecting a reaction from them. We know they have individual quality in forward areas so I am taking the game nowhere near lightly. It is a tough match.”

Mark Noble on improving West Ham’s defense: “We have to defend better as a team but that side of the game does seem to have become ‘uncool’,” he observed. “The philosophy of football seems to have changed. Maybe it doesn’t look that great if the ball is near the touchline and you run over and smash it into the crowd so your team can get back into shape. Instead now, you maybe try and step over, pass it back to the ‘keeper who kicks it straight up in the air and results in a 50/50 challenge. The teams who defend best normally do well.”


Prediction

West Ham faces Chelsea at arguably the worst time. For a team in need of a pick-me-up, to have to go to Stamford Bridge and face one of the quickest, most dynamic attacks in the Premier League will leave some West Ham players with serious nerves in the tunnel before taking the field. Chelsea should have no issues, and though it’s a London derby, the hosts should take all three points.

Chelsea 3-1 West Ham

Mourinho off to perfect start; Tottenham beat West Ham

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LONDON — Jose Mourinho got off to the perfect start as Tottenham’s manager, as his side won 3-2 at West Ham United to secure their first Premier League away win since January.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

After a tough week for Spurs’ players after Mauricio Pochettino was fired and then Mourinho hired, they delivered a dominant display as they outclassed bitter rivals West Ham from start to finish.

First half goals from Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura set Spurs on their way and Harry Kane added a goal in the second half as Mourinho celebrated wildly on the sidelines. Michail Antonio scored a late consolation for the Hammers.

With the win Spurs momentarily moved up to sixth place in the table, while West Ham are now without a win in seven as Manuel Pellegrini‘s continue their alarming slump towards the bottom.


3 things we learned

1. Mourinho off to perfect start: It doesn’t get much better than this for Mourinho. His Spurs side were solid, albeit it against a lackluster West Ham, and were lethal in attack. There was a clear plan to get the ball wide to Moura and Son as quick as possible and it worked. Spurs looked more like a counter-attacking team than one that pressed high as that was the biggest change from Poch to Mou. It worked a treat and Mourinho has settled in very well at Spurs.

2. Dele Alli delivers: During the week Mourinho revealed what he said to Dele Alli. “I asked him if he was Dele or Dele’s brother. He told me he was Dele. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Play like Dele.’” And boy did he prove he was the real Dele Alli. An assist for Son’s goal and a big hand in Moura’s with a majestic flick while he was on the ground showcased his undoubted quality. Dele now needs to deliver on a more regular basis.

3. Hammers need Haller to regain his mojo: This was poor from West Ham as Pellegrini could well lose his job in the coming days and weeks. There was no bite, no grit and no real plan in their derby game against their biggest rivals. Sebastian Haller looked lost up top as the Frenchman wasn’t bothered about holding the ball up and his first touch was abysmal. He scored three goals in his first three games for the Hammers but has scored just once since August and he is low on confidence and support. Haller needs to regain his mojo and West Ham need to give him support. The 3-2 scoreline didn’t tell the story of just how bad Spurs were.

Man of the Match: Dele Alli – His flicks and tricks set up this win for Spurs and he looked back to his best. He tired in the second half but Mourinho has shown he will but his faith in the English playmaker. Dele repaid that faith.


Mourinho thought he’d got off to the perfect start as Dele Alli played in Kane who slammed home, but the offside flag chalked off the goal as Spurs didn’t get the goal their bright start deserved.

At the other end Ryan Fredericks cross found Haller at the back post but Paulo Gazzaniga saved thanks to a deflection from Serge Aurier. Spurs then sat back and struggled to get in the game but Roberto pushed Heung-min Son’s effort from distance away and Lucas Moura then headed wide.

Felipe Anderson was then set free and as he raced towards goal he lost his composure as his pass was behind Sebastian Haller. Toby Alderweireld went close from two set pieces and Son and Kane were then denied by Declan Rice after two lovely flowing moves.

But Son wasn’t to be denied as Alli found him in the box and he made space for himself before smashing a shot on goal which Roberto should have saved but the ball went in. Mourinho punched the air with delight and moments later Son was clattered by Fredericks who should have been sent off.

Before half time Dele Alli delivered a majestic flick while he was on the floor to set free Son and his cross was finished by Moura as Mourinho slid on his knees in celebration.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Spurs should have been 3-0 up at the start of the second half as Moura was played in and raced clear but instead of shooting or picking out Dele Alli, he did neither.

Soon they were 3-0 up as Kane headed home Serge Aurier’s cross to leave Spurs’ fans, players and manager in dreamland.

Kane was almost in again soon after as Spurs were lethal on the counter and Mourinho stood on and watched calmly on the sidelines as his side eased to their first Premier League away victory since January.

West Ham were poor throughout but substitute Michail Antonio did grab a fine goal but that did little to ease their woes, as they also had a late goal correctly chalked out by VAR due to offside and Ogbonna finished in stoppage time to make it 3-2.

Aside from conceding the two late goals, this was the perfect start for Tottenham’s new manager as Jose Mourinho celebrated with the Spurs fans at the final whistle.

Preview: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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There will be plenty of 2005 U-17 World Cup final shades at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

On that clear night in Lima, Peru, the likes of Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos wrote history for Mexico, as they powered El Tri to its first-ever World Cup title over a favorite Brazilian side, who was composed of Marcelo, Renato Augusto, and Anderson, in a 3-0 win.

14 years and some change later, both youth powerhouses meet again in the same tournament, for the same silverware, and with the same pressure looming over them from entire nations who expect nothing but excellence from their respective teams.

But of course, to the Brazilians, there is a sense of added pressure given the fact that they’re on home soil.

“We’re familiar with Mexico’s quality,” Brazilian forward, Veron, said ahead of the final. We know they are a great team. But we’re Brazil, and we have five stars on our chest. We intend to play our best match and get the result that makes history.”

As it stands, Mexico is the clear-cut underdog, having barely crept into the knockout stages and being composed of players with far less notoriety to its Brazilian counterpart, who boast three players with three goals or more in the tournament.

That said, Mexico pose as a balanced, reliable, and pragmatic team under coach Marco “Chima” Ruiz. Throughout the six games this tournament, El Tri have found the back of the net 14 times and have conceded a mere three goals (two of which came against Italy). With four goals and two assists in only 344 minutes, Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez has proven to be the team’s most productive player going forward.

Asked who he would rather take between France or Brazil in the final, the Mexican American answered with the same confidence that has made him one of the most exciting players in the tournament.

“It doesn’t matter which of the two it is, we’ll beat them,” he said.

It’s 90 minutes for either team to make history, again. A win for Brazil will raise the number of U-17 stars to four, while Mexico can claim its third with another historic performance. Will Brazil’s high-flying attack crack Mexico’s solid defense? If Alvarez starts, will he rise to the occasion and guide Mexico to another U-17 title?

That has yet to be seen; the second final between two, routine winners awaits the first whistle.

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 10

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Tottenham Hotspur, we’re angry with you.

No, not because you’ve floundered after we had you pegged as the team best able to provide a third entrant to the Premier League title race, but, well…

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

…You’re making our power rankings way too difficult.

Spurs, on one hand, have drawn last place Watford, barely beat Southampton, and lost to Newcastle and Brighton.

On the other, they’ve hung tight enough with Liverpool, Leicester City, and Man City, drawn Arsenal, and bashed decent-looking Villa and Palace.

It doesn’t just make it challenging to place Spurs on this table, it makes it challenging to evaluate the quality of other teams’ results against them!

Alas, we’ll try. Because it’s our job. That’s why.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Southampton — Nine goals allowed at home. Which repercussion was more harsh on Saints, the players and staff donating their wages to charity, or consecutive matches away to Man City.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 9-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

19. Norwich City — Their seven losses are the most in the league, and they need to find something from two-straight winnable matches (Brighton, Watford).
Last week: 19
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

18. Watford — Improving, to be sure, but probably looking past a Chelsea visit to next week’s trip to Norwich City.
Last week: 20
Season high: 18
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

17. Newcastle United — Losing Sean Longstaff to a red card against a West Ham midfield which can handle itself at home is a problem.
Last week: 17
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham


16. Everton — A proper contender against contenders, but Marco Silva‘s men bring significantly less focus and intensity when the opposition is lesser.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 3-2 at Brighton
Up next:  11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Spurs

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — A very nice VAR-aided win over Everton, and Graham Potter‘s men will hope to ride momentum to another three points.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low:18
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Everton
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

14. West Ham United — Winless since the defeat of Man Utd (five matches), Manuel Pellegrini has to get Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson back to their best.
Last week: 15
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

13. Bournemouth — Also winless in four with a stiff incoming test.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Watford
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United

12. Burnley — Into a four-match run which demands results (Sheff Utd, West Ham, Watford, Palace) if this is going to be a second top half season in three attempts.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 4-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

11. Wolves — Deserved more than a point against Newcastle, but there have been too many matches like that for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men this season. Willy Boly‘s injury is extremely challenging. Saturday at the Emirates could be a barnburner.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Arsenal

10. Tottenham Hotspur — Tricky little run ahead, starting at inconsistent before a trip to Serbia and visit from Sheffield United. We’ll soon know if the slump has truly been addressed.
Last week: 13
Season high: 2
Season low: 13
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton

9. Aston Villa — Rebounded from the loss at Man City to advance in the League Cup, but gets a well-rested Liverpool at Villa Park.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Man City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

8. Arsenal — A mess, but a fun one.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 8
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Wolves

7. Manchester United — Massively improved, though the Paul Pogba question hangs over Old Trafford as the club gets results without him.
Last week: 12
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

6. Sheffield United — Not a bad point in London.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at West Ham United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

5. Crystal Palace — Looks like we were wrong about the Eagles, who have been truly impressive and steady thanks to Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Leicester City

4. Leicester City — The way the Foxes reacted to the blood in the water at St. Mary’s tells you all you need about the attitude at King Power.
Last week: 4
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 9-0 at Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Crystal Palace

3. Manchester City — The injuries are mounting up, but a visit from Saints should be pretty straight-forward. The four match stretch that follows (Atalanta and Liverpool away, Chelsea and Shakhtar at home) is far from it.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

2. Chelsea — Saturday’s visitors are stingier these days, but Chelsea’s league win streak should continue at Vicarage Road.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-2 at Burnley
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Watford

1. Liverpool —  How many times have the Reds been the better rested team in a PL match? Klopp’s gamble of playing the kids versus Arsenal looking doubly fortunate now.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Tottenham Hotspur
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

Giovanni Reyna, United States begin U-17 World Cup run

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The U-17 World Cup began Saturday in Brazil, with the next generation of world stars taking the stage.

All eight teams to play scored, with Brazil’s Joao Peglow (Internacional) and Nigeria’s Samson Tijani accounting for two goals each.

The United States begins its run on Sunday with a 4 p.m. ET kickoff in Cariacica against Senegal, one of three tricky opponents in Group D with Japan and the Netherlands.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores hat trick ]

Raphael Wicky’s U.S. roster has a clear standout in Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, the son of legendary USMNT midfielder Claudio Reyna.

Giovanni is one of four Europe-based players on the squad, joined by Fulham goalkeeper Damians Las, Leicester goalkeeper Chituru Odunze, and Freiburg mid Maximillian Dietz.

Gianluca Busio of Sporting KC is an exciting player to watch with plenty of first team experience, and Griffin Yow (DC United), Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids), and Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas) also have broken into their MLS sides.

New York City FC has put three players on the roster, matching Seattle Sounders for the most.

The U.S. is joined as a CONCACAF entrant by Canada, Haiti and Mexico. The Canadians lost 4-1 to hosts Brazil while Haiti starts play Sunday v. South Korea and Mexico begins Monday versus Paraguay.

Saturday’s U-17 World Cup results

Nigeria 4-2 Hungary
New Zealand 1-2 Angola
Brazil 4-1 Canada
Ecuador 2-1 Australia

Sunday’s U-17 World Cup fixtures

France v. Chile — 4 p.m. ET
U.S. v. Senegal — 4 p.m. ET
Japan v. Netherlands — 7 p.m. ET
South Korea v. Haiti — 7 p.m. ET