Dwight McNeil

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AT HALF: Joelinton puts Spurs down; Barnes scores again

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Two of the Premier League’s traditional Top Four contenders have already dropped points this weekend, and dominant Spurs may join them after making another first half mistake at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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Spurs and Wolves are both trail at the break, though the latter is being out-performed by Burnley at home. Tottenham, however, appears to be on the verge of its equalizer.


Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Newcastle UnitedSTREAM

If we told you that one team would score before the half-hour mark, stringing together 15 passes and making a defense look a bit unorganized, you certainly would’ve been mouthing Harry Kane.

Uh-uh. Joelinton.

Wolves 0-1 BurnleySTREAM

Everything Ashley Barnes touches is turning to gold.

Burnley’s cantankerous striker has his fourth goal of the season after just two matches and a dozen minutes.

Chesting the ball on the run, Barnes lashed a 20-yard effort near post for a stylish goal that gave the Clarets a surprise 1-0 lead at the Molineux.

It was a well-earned Dwight McNeil headed flick that got the ball to Barnes, who hit one of those shots that seems to make the ball shrink on its way past the keeper.

 

Classy Arsenal beat Burnley

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Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to make it two wins from two to start the new season. It is the first time in 10 years Arsenal have won their opening two games of a Premier League season.

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The Gunners took the lead early on through Alexandre Lacazette but a stubborn Burnley wouldn’t go away and Ashley Barnes equalized in a somewhat fortuitous manner before the break.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winner as Dani Ceballos dazzled on his full debut in the Premier League.

Up next for the Gunners is a trip to Liverpool followed by a north London derby against Tottenham. It is then we will see just how good this Gunners side really is.


3 things we learned

1. Ceballos is the real deal: The Spanish midfielder worked so hard defensively and oozed class on the ball. He is the replacement for Aaron Ramsey and was absolutely sensational. If he keeps playing like this, Arsenal may not be able to afford to buy him permanently next summer…

2. Defensive issues remain: There were a few shaky moments at the back for the Gunners. David Luiz‘s first start saw him take a few risks on the ball, while Bernd Leno flapped at a few crosses. Arsenal looked better defensively with Guendouzi in front of the defense, but they are far from being a solid outfit.

3. Burnley were Burnley: Sean Dyche‘s side didn’t have much of the ball but they created dangerous chances from set pieces and as long as they were only one-goal down, they were always a threat.

Man of the Match: Dani Ceballos – He will become a firm fans favorite at the Emirates Stadium. Silky on the ball, the Spaniard dug deep defensively and dictated the tempo of the game. A fine home PL debut for the Real Madrid loanee, who whipped in the corner for Lacazette’s goal and then won the ball back to create Aubameyang’s goal.


Arsenal were rampant early on and after Lacazette’s header was denied by Nick Pope, the French striker wriggled free from the resulting corner and made it 1-0.

Ashley Barnes flashed an effort just wide soon after as Burnley responded well to going behind with several high balls into the Arsenal box causing the Gunners defense problems.

Before the break Ceballos, who was running the show, orchestrated a fine counter attack which ended in Pope denying Matteo Guendouzi. Moments later Burnley were level as Dwight McNeil‘s deflected shot found Barnes and he bundled the ball home under pressure from Guendouzi to equalize against the run of play.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Arsenal thought they’d retaken the lead right on half time but Nacho Monreal was flagged for offside as he pulled the ball back for Reiss Nelson to smash home. VAR checked the decision and no goal was given.

Nicolas Pepe came on at half time as Arsenal cranked through in the second half, with the home side dominating the play and Pope making several saves.

Ceballos, once again, was the heart of their game-winning goal as he won the ball back in a dangerous area and Aubameyang raced towards goal before curling home at the near post.

Premier League friendly roundup: West Ham, Crystal Palace win; Everton falls twice

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With two weeks to go before the start of the season, there were a number of Premier League teams in preseason friendly action Saturday morning, and almost all of them came out victorious.

Early in the morning, Manchester City topped Yokohama FM in Japan 3-1, with Kevin De Bruyne impressing for the defending Premier League champions.

[ MORE: Man City tops Yokohama FM 3-1 ]

West Ham United visited Craven Cottage and came away with a 1-0 win thanks to Manuel Lanzini‘s 18th minute goal. The defense for the most part kept Fulham in check and the Hammers were in control for the entire first half. The Whites only found one good opportunity with 12 minutes to go as Aboubakar Kamara came close, and Andriy Yarmolenko nearly scored at the death for West Ham.

Everton played a pair of matches, with the Opel Cup featuring two 60 minute games against Sevilla and Mainz. The Toffees dropped both games, falling to Sevilla 1-0 before dropping to Mainz 3-1. A penalty was the difference in the opening game against Sevilla, while Lewis Gibson scored in the losing effort against the German side. Robin Quaison did the damage for Mainz with a pair.

Aston Villa came out on top of Charlton Athletic 4-1 as Scottish international John McGinn scored twice. His second was an absolutely blistering solo effort that came when he stole the ball in the attacking third, skipped around a foul by a defender, rounded the keeper on the end line and scored from a tight angle.

Anwar El Ghazi and Andre Green were also on the scoresheet as Villa heads into its final week of preseason preparations, with one more friendly coming next weekend against RB Leipzig.

Leicester City got a winner from Youri Tielemans in the 84th minute as the Foxes topped Stoke City 2-1. The Belgian finished off a cutback from Ben Chilwell for the winner, which added to Marc Albrighton‘s strike on the hour mark. The two goals were required to wipe off Stoke’s 70th minute goal by Nick Powell. The game was marred by a horrible ankle injury to Ryan Shawcross which had the home fans spooked for quite some time at bet365 Stadium.

Bournemouth got goals from Jordan Ibe and Dominic Solanke as the Cherries topped Brentford 3-1. Ibe was especially bright, opening the scoring just before halftime and assisting the third from 20-year-old Sam Surridge. A pair for Bournemouth against Lyon and Lazio on back-to-back days in early August are the final tuneups before the season.

Burnley drew with Wigan 2-2, throwing away a two-goal lead they built in the opening 10 minutes thanks to goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil. The Clarets were pegged back by a James Tarkowski own-goal just before halftime and Joe Gelhardt’s equalizer past the hour mark. Burnley controlled much of the first half but they were forced to defend for significant stretches after the break.

Brighton clobbered Birmingham City 4-0 as Glenn Murray got on the scoresheet early and a Shane Duffy second-half pair finished things off. It was all seagulls, as Jurgen Locadia also found the back of the net and Martin Montoya struck the crossbar 15 minutes from time. Only the first 15 minutes of the second half saw Birmingham City truly threaten, and Brighton was able to weather the storm. New manager Graham Potter utilized a three-CB defense and it worked wonders in the opening 20 minutes, working a team goal finished off by Murray before Leandro Trossard stole a poor pass by the goalkeeper and fed Locadia for a turn-and-shoot.

Sheffield United also took a four-goal haul to victory, topping nearby Barnsley 4-1. Callum Robinson scored twice and Ben Osborn scored on his debut for the club as the Blades won for the fourth this this preseason. Ravel Morrison also made his club debut, seeing time in the final 15 minutes.

Watford secured a 1-0 victory over QPR as main man Etienne Capoue scored the game’s only goal in a repeat of the same opponent, scoreline, and goalscorer from the FA Cup 5th round last season. QPR had chances and moments throughout the game, but Capoue took charge past the half-hour mark in an otherwise drab first half.

Crystal Palace obliterated Bristol City 5-0 as everything was working for the Eagles in their preseason tuneup. Christian Benteke provided a thumping header while Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp were also on target in the match. Wilfried Zaha was not in the squad for Palace but they certainly didn’t miss him as Luka Milivojevic controlled the midfield powerfully and the attacking threat was constant.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Trio chasing Dortmund youngster, Everton eyes Traore

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As teams motor towards preseason, front offices are hoping to wrap up deals to give the squad plenty of opportunities to gel rather than make late additions that are sometimes jarring to team chemistry. Still, there are holes to be filled and as dominoes fall, some moves affect others as the transfer window rolls on.

Borussia Dortmund has produced a stunning amount of young wingers who have gone on to become massive assets to the German side. First Christian Pulisic arrived and netted the club millions in a move to Chelsea this summer. He was pushed out by fellow teen winger Jadon Sancho who has turned into a valuable piece himself. Behind the England youngster is Danish youth international Jacob Bruun Larsen who broke into the first team setup last season alongside Sancho and made 24 Bundesliga appearances, scoring two goals and assisting two more.

According to English tabloids, Larsen is on the watch list of several Premier League clubs and, like Pulisic, could be considered expendable by the German side after the explosion of Sancho last season. Among others, the Daily Mail has linked Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool to the 20-year-old who would cost somewhere in the region of $19 million, a relatively cheap price in a market that more and more values young talent more than anything.


French television program Telefoot reports that Everton is chasing former Chelsea winger Bertrand Traore who has spent the last two seasons at Lyon. The 23-year-old has come into his own in France, scoring 20 goals in 65 league appearances with Lyon.

According to the report, Traore would cost somewhere in the vicinity of $34 million, tripling Lyon’s investment two years ago when the brought Traore to France from Chelsea. That price could also increase should the three clubs find themselves in a bidding war. Traore could pair well with Richarlison, either playing on the left wing or through the middle.


Aston Villa is back in the Premier League after winning the Championship playoff, and now they look to strengthen the squad to prepare for a long stay in the top flight. One target mentioned is Bristol City defender Adam Webster who has been with his current club just one season after joining from Ipswich Town last summer.

Webster, 24 years old, started all but three of Bristol City’s league games last season and scored three goals. The Bristol Post report states that Villa has seen a $15 million bid rejected as the Championship club apparently holds out for an offer as high as $38 million, a strong position for a club in the second tier, but the new Premier League side feels they can negotiate that price down to meet somewhere in the middle.

Bristol City has sent a couple of players to the Premier League in the past few years, with Bobby Reid going to Cardiff City and Joe Bryan moving to Fulham both last summer.


According to Spanish publication El Dorsal, Newcastle is fearing the imminent departure of star attacker Ayoze Perez, who has been linked with moves to Spanish sides Valencia and Real Betis. The report states that Perez, who scored 12 Premier League goals last season and 42 in his Newcastle career, would net somewhere in the vicinity of $25 million, a surprisingly attractive price for a dangerous 25-year-old attacker.

The links are nothing new for Perez this summer, who last month was connected to Valencia by Spanish radio station Radio Cope, and now English tabloids claim that the La Liga side has held talks with Perez’s agents.


Real Madrid is hoping to keep Ajax attacker Donny van de Beek on its radar with uncertainties surrounding Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen, according to Spanish publication AS. The report claims, as many have before it, that Zinedine Zidane prefers Pogba but Florentino Perez are hoping to pull off a move for Tottenham star Eriksen.

There are roadblocks to both moves, however. Any approach for Pogba would be extremely expensive and while Pogba has been rumored to be unsettled at Manchester United with the club missing out on the Champions League, the club at this point seems unwilling to sell one of its most valuable assets. Eriksen is a more realistic option financially, but the AS report says talks for the Danish playmaker have “ground to a halt.”

With that in mind, they have kept in touch with van de Beek who impressed in Ajax’s Champions League run and is considerably younger than the other two options at just 22 years old. However, he would be a more long-term move as the Dutch international would have to battle to beat out the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.


English tabloids have claimed that Tottenham and Juventus are chasing Burnley’s Dwight McNeil who made 21 Premier League appearances for the Clarets last year on the left wing. The 19-year-old England youth international arrived in Burnley’s youth system from the Manchester United academy in 2014 and has come through the Burnley setup, becoming a regular in the squad in mid-December of last season, scoring three goals and assisting five.

The teen has made six appearances for the England U-20 side, scoring and assisting in the 4-0 win over Guatemala back on June 11 in his last showing.

An aging Juventus squad is hoping to get younger, claims The Sun, while Spurs will also consider a bid in the range of $38 million.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Burnley

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Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea can climb third in the Premier League with a defeat of improved Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are the first team to play their 35th match in the group of four Premier League clubs vying for third- and fourth-place this season.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Burnley meanwhile knows a win would seal its already-likely place in the Premier League for 2019-20. Even a draw would probably do the trick given Cardiff City’s immense disadvantage in goal differential.

It’s really a must-win for the Blues’ Top Four hopes, because Chelsea will want cushion given a four-match PL, Europa League run of Manchester United, Eintracht Frankfurt, Watford, and Eintracht Frankfurt again.

What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Sarri on the Europa-PL schedule congestion: “It’s not easy for us, we have to play only four matches but we have to try. I think in the last four matches it will be difficult for every team involved in fighting for the top four, not only for us. And so we can see some very strange results in the last part of the season; we have to fight and to see at the end.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on transfer rumors for young star Dwight McNeil: “His worth to the team I’m more interested in, and that’s the way he’s delivering performances. I like his assuredness, he’s quiet, he’s calm, but there’s a toughness in there, particularly to have the ball. That’s something that can come and go with players, but he’s certainly got that desire to grip a game with the ball, ‘give me the ball, I want to do something’. That’s a powerful thing.”

Prediction

The Clarets will put up a good fight, but the extra day’s rest will be plenty for Chelsea, who may just claim a Top Four place and the Europa League… if it can deal with a tricky finish to the season. The tough run of fixtures means the Blues know at home to Burnley is a must-win. Chelsea, 3-0.