Michy Batshuayi

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for AUDI

PL friendlies: Pedro scores elegant goal; CONCACAF stars Pulisic, Davies deliver

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It was a day for the stars of CONCACAF, with USMNT wizard Christian Pulisic and Canadian playmaker Alphonso Davies both having fine days for Chelsea and Bayern Munich, respectively.

[ MORE: USMNT backs USWNT ]

It was also a day short on defense, with nary a clean sheet to be found as Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea got on the board while conceding as well.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 (6-5 on pens.) Bayern Munich

Spurs have won the Audi Cup despite the best efforts of Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies, who scored what the kids call “a banger” to get the match to extra time.

Fellow young talent Jann Fiete-Arp also scored as Bayern erased a 2-0 deficit produced by Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela (Harry Kane and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou provided the assists.

Angers 1-1 Arsenal

Reiss Nelson pasted a Eddie Nketiah rebound home to give Arsenal a draw in France, where Farid El Malali had put Angers in front.

Liverpool 3-1 Lyon

A win is a win, even a sloppy one. The reigning Champions League winners got a nice victory in Geneva against good Ligue 1 opposition, with Harry Wilson and Roberto Firmino joining an own goal on the Liverpool side of the ledger.

The Reds went behind 1-0 when Alisson dropped a cross and was forced to concede a penalty.

Liverpool won for the first time in five friendlies. It’s now five matches without a clean sheet for the Reds, who were oh-so-stingy last season.

Red Bull Salzburg 3-5 Chelsea

Pulisic had a wonderful day, scoring two goals and winning a penalty for a third in the first half-hour of the match. Ross Barkley had a goal and an assist, while Pedro and Michy Batshuayi also scored in a defense-starved match.

Pedro’s goal was simply wonderful, the hit of the day on an afternoon with several beauties.

Pulisic makes Chelsea debut, but Blues lose in Japan

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While much of the country was still asleep, well before 8 a.m. on the east coast of America, Christian Pulisic made his Chelsea debut in the Blues’ preseason friendly against Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama, Japan.

[ MORE: Pochettino might have left if Spurs won Champions League ]

Pulisic came on as a 65th-minute sub and didn’t have a huge impact on the game. Chelsea lost the game 1-0 on an 88th-minute header from former wonderkid Leandro Damiao. The Blues have won just one of their three preseason fixtures thus far.

Chelsea weren’t without chances in the game, though, but various combinations of Pulisic, Michy Batshuayi, Pedro and Olivier Giroud proved to lack the finishing touch required on a number of occasions. Despite the result and his side’s poor finishing, manager Frank Lampard insisted he was happy with the overall performance.

David Luiz was named Man of the Match and handed a very peculiar award from shirt sponsor and tire company Yokohama.

Crystal Palace 5-3 Bournemouth: Zaha stars in eight-goal thriller (video)

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  • Wilfried Zaha involved in four of Palace’s five goals
  • Michy Batshuayi scores brace
  • Crystal Palace finishes on 49 points
  • Lerma scores stunner just before halftime

Crystal Palace and Bournemouth put on a show in the final match of the Premier League season, combining for eight goals in a 5-3 Crystal Palace win, Sunday afternoon at Selhurst Park. Wilfried Zaha, in what may have been his final game for the Eagles, was involved constantly in Crystal Palace’s attack and finished officially with two assists, though he played a role in two other goals as well.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe went again with 19-year-old Mark Travers in goal, and although he gave up five goals, he wasn’t at fault for nearly all of them, as the Bournemouth defense let Howe down.

With the victory, Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson finished with 49 points, the club’s highest total in the 38-game Premier League season era.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

This thrilling match for neutrals began with Crystal Palace in full control of the game. Luka Milivojevic came close to scoring inside five minutes, hitting the far post, but it was Batshuayi who finally put the Eagles in front. In the 24th minute, Zaha and Milivojevic worked together to create some space and Zaha’s cross into the middle took a deflection. The ball fortuitously fell right to the feet of Batshuayi, who slotted past 19-year-old Bournmouth goalkeeper Mark Travers.

Batshuayi scored again eight minutes later as Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s terrific cross on the ground from the right was put home to give Crystal Palace a 2-0 lead. Palace’s lead expanded to 3-0 in the 34th minute. James McArthur‘s pass found Zaha clear on goal. The Ivory Coast international’s shot was saved by Travers but re-directed off defender Jack Simpson in for another goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Just before halftime, Jefferson Lerma gave Bournemouth some life, as he unleashed an absolute blast from more than 30-yards out to make it 3-1, and give the Cherries some momentum heading into the break.

Despite more Crystal Palace pressure in the second half, Bournemouth scored again, as Jordan Ibe‘s low strike from just outside the box in the 56th minute took a deflection and went in past Vicente Guaita, making it a 3-2 game.

From then on, both teams traded goals as it was a wild, end-to-end affair in the second half. Zaha yet again made an impact on the goal, finding the overlapping run of Patrick Van-Aanholt, who fired home to make it 4-2. Joshua King‘s tap-in at the back-post off a corner made it 4-3, and yet Zaha found Andros Townsend on the counter attack, with the veteran attacker finishing past Travers to make it 5-3.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Zaha was subbed off late to a standing ovation at Selhurst Park, with plenty of speculation that he could be off to another club in the summer as he seeks a chance to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League.

PL At The Half: City owns the title advantage

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It’s all happening on Premier League Championship Sunday! Liverpool came into the day needing a win and Manchester City help to win its first Premier League title ever, and they had the lead for a bit on Sadio Mane‘s opener, and City stunningly fell behind, but Pep Guardiola‘s group has recovered to regain the advantage.

The rest of the table is lit as well, with Tottenham reclaiming third in the table thanks to Eric Dier‘s early goal with Chelsea held goalless at Leicester City. There’s still 45 minutes left to play!

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Here’s a quick look at what’s happening around the English top flight with all games at the halfway break.

Brighton 1-2 Man City

The unthinkable happened early on when Brighton took the lead when Glenn Murray got a touch from a corner. Sergio Aguero was on hand to immediately nullify the opener, flicking in through the legs of Matt Ryan on a David Silva feed, and Aymeric Laporte restored order and put City back on top of the Premier League table.

Liverpool 1-0 Wolves

Sadio Mane is the man to give Liverpool hope, scoring 17 minutes in to put the Reds on top of the league as it stood, before being pegged back in the table by Manchester City’s double. Wolves hit the bar before the break to give Reds fans a scare.

Leicester City 0-0 Chelsea

Chelsea has been relatively tame so far, with Ross Barkley and Gonzalo Higuain coming close but no breakthrough just yet, with the latter putting forth a candidate for Miss of the Season as he bundled an opportunity on the doorstep as the halftime buzzer sounded.

Tottenham 1-0 Everton

Eric Dier got things started just three minutes into the match as he pinged a loose ball into the back of the net on a corner with Everton failing to immediately clear.

Burnley 0-0 Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the crossbar in the opening minutes but Arsenal has not yet found a way through. Mateo Guendouzi had a pinpoint tackle to deny Burnley its biggest opportunity.

Manchester United 0-1 Cardiff City

The nightmare continues for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Cardiff opening the scoring on a penalty by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, despite Diego Dalot’s foul proving soft on replay.

Watford 0-2 West Ham

Mark Noble struck 15 minutes in with a stunning solo goal, weaving through the defense straight down the middle to complete a sliding finish. Manuel Lanzini doubled the lead eight minutes before the break.

Crystal Palace 3-1 Bournemouth

Michy Batshuayi was the man to kick off the scoring 24 minutes in, striking on a deflected Wilfried Zaha cross that fell to his feet. He struck again less than 10 minutes later, and Jack Simpson‘s own goal marked Palace’s third. Jefferson Lerma scored for Bournemouth right on the stroke of halftime.

Fulham 0-2 Newcastle

The Magpies opened the match with a quickfire double to silence the Craven Cottage faithful, with Jonjo Shelvey striking an absolute stunner of a volley, followed by a scrappy goal from Ayoze Perez.

Southampton 1-0 Huddersfield Town

Nathan Redmond hit a blistering strike four minutes before the break to put Saints up at the half.

Chelsea turn to CAS after losing FIFA transfer ban appeal

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Chelsea have lost their appeal with FIFA after being handed a ban on signing first-team players.

[ MORE: Pulisic back to his best?

The Premier League side were banned from signing new players for the next two transfer windows by world soccer’s governing body, after a lengthy investigation saw FIFA charge them with breaking rules regarding the signing of foreign players under the age of 18.

That means Chelsea will not be able to sign any new players until the summer of 2020.  FIFA have agreed to allow Chelsea to continue to sign players under the age of 16 from the UK, which is a small victory for the Blues.

However, the west London club said they are “disappointed” and will now launch an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to try and get the ban overturned.

“The Club notes that the FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea FC against the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. However, the Club is very disappointed that the transfer ban of two consecutive registration periods was not overturned. Chelsea FC categorically refutes the findings of the FIFA Appeal Committee. It acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”

So, Chelsea will take this case to CAS and that is their last chance of overturning this decision.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side have achieved their goal of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for next season, but the Italian coach knows it will be tough to kick on and challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title without reinforcements over the summer, especially if Eden Hazard leaves as expected.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic will be the only new arrival this summer after his January move to Stamford Bridge which saw him loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign.

But don’t get your violins out for Chelsea. They have a staggering number of players out on loan, and have stockpiled young talent for years. Next season is the perfect time to use the likes of Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kurt Zouma, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Michy Batshuayi and Mason Mount to bolster their squad.

In the grand scheme of things, a two window transfer ban isn’t ideal for Chelsea, but even if Hazard leaves this summer they could cope and finish in the top four again in 2019-20.