Nicklas Bendtner

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Eriksen hat trick puts Denmark in World Cup (video)

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Only two spots remain in Russia after Denmark overcame an early scare to belt the Republic of Ireland in the second leg of their UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff in Dublin on Tuesday.

Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen scored thrice in the Danes’ 5-1 win over Martin O’Neill’s Irish, who led on Shane Duffy‘s opener.

[ USMNT: McKennie goal, Horvath howler ]

Andreas Christensen made it 1-1 and Eriksen’s first had Denmark up at the break. Ireland’s hopes went down the drain when Eriksen bagged two more in the second half, and “Lord” Nicklas Bendtner converted a 90th minute penalty to bag the berth.

The only remaining spots will be settled in the next 24 hours, as Honduras-Australia and Peru-New Zealand take qualifying to the wire.

Premier League roundup: Big boys roll

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Lopsided wins was the order of the day in the Premier League on Saturday as plenty of the big boys came back from the international break firing on all cylinders.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Below is a roundup of all seven games on Saturday, with videos, recaps and reaction.

Right, let’s get to the goals and drama…


Manchester City 5-0 LiverpoolRECAP

Manchester City had a 1-0 lead on Sergio Aguero’s history-making goal — he now has more PL  markers than any other non-European player — when Sadio Mane‘s high boot took both he and Man City goalkeeper Ederson out of the game. With Liverpool down a man, Man City feasted with a pair each from Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane.

Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea — RECAP

It was anything but easy for Chelsea despite building a 2-0 lead on goals from Alvaro Morata and ex-Foxes star N'Golo Kante. Old reliable Jamie Vardy drew and scored a penalty kick, and Chelsea had to hold on for all three points at the King Power Stadium.

Everton 0-3 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

Harry Kane scored twice but may not have been Man of the Match as teammate Christian Eriksen put on a mesmerizing display and joined Nicklas Bendtner on the most goals for Danish players in the Premier League. Everton’s murderous run of fixtures to start the season continues next week when Wayne Rooney returns to Manchester United next weekend.

Stoke City 2-2 Manchester UnitedRECAP

Jose Mourinho’s men dropped their first points of the season as they fought back from 1-0 down at Stoke City to lead 2-1, but then Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored his second of the game to grab the Potters a point. Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku were on the scoresheet for United who remain unbeaten and top of the Premier League, but only on goal difference ahead of crosstown rivals Manchester City.

Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth — RECAP

Well that’s more like it, Gooners: Arsene Wenger‘s man came out of the gates with pride and skill, getting two goals and an assist from Danny Welbeck in a breakout win. Alexandre Lacazette scored a beauty, too, as the Gunners moved back into the top half of the table.

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 West Bromwich Albion — RECAP

Ex-Ingolstadt man Pascal Gross scored the first Premier League goal in Brighton history, then added another as part of a two-goal win at the Amex on Saturday. Tomer Hemed nabbed Brighton’s third goal, and James Morrison scored for West Brom.

Southampton 0-2 WatfordRECAP

Abdoulaye Doucore and Daryl Janmaat led the Hornets to a solid road win at St. Mary’s, as Saints lost their first PL match under Mauricio Pellegrino.

EFL Cup wrap: Chelsea, Arsenal score four; Everton, Leicester ousted

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The EFL Cup — formerly known as the League Cup — is into the third round, with eight of 16 fixtures played Tuesday around the United Kingdom.

[ MORE: More of today’s EFL Cup goals ]

It was a day for new boys at Arsenal, and a celebration of veterans at Chelsea, while Everton was stung by a longtime Toffee now wearing yellow.

Nottingham Forest 0-4 Arsenal

Granit Xhaka gave Arsenal a halftime lead when he sent this wrecking ball towards the Forest goal. Lucas Perez added a second half brace, as the Gunners cruised to a win despite the Forest debut of ex-Gunner Nicklas Bendtner.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nabbed the fourth, and USMNT talent Gedion Zelalem subbed into the match for the final 7 minutes.

The second Perez goal was class grunt work with a deft finish.

Leicester City 2-4 (aet) Chelsea

When you’re eye level with the keeper and so is the ball, just do what Shinji Okazaki did and nudge it over the line. Poor Asmir Begovic was outfoxed by Leicester’s Japanese striker, and again later when Okazaki bounded the ball off the ground from close range to make it 2-0.

Gary Cahill forced a ball across the Leicester line before halftime to halve the deficit, and Cesar Azpilicueta volleyed a 49th minute clearance home to level things at 2.

Sitting on yellow, Marcin Wasilewski put Leicester in an awful spot with a high elbow to Diego Costa during second half stoppage. The Foxes would need to play with only 10 men in extra time.

Cesc Fabregas only needed two minutes of the first frame of extra time to belt home a winner, as Hazard teed him up with a back heel straight from the playground. He added another soon after to dust this one up.

From 2-0 to 4-2, and having to contend extra time? Claudio Ranieri will not be pleased.

Newcastle United 2-0 Wolverhampton

DeAndre Yedlin proved playmaker on Matt Ritchie‘s opener, while Yoan Gouffran added a second, and Newcastle avenged its league upset from the weekend.

Derby County 0-3 Liverpool

Ragnar Klavan was the unlikely opening goal scorer, Philippe Coutinho the more likely second Red to tally. Divock Origi added the third Liverpool goal in the 54th minute, as Jurgen Klopp‘s bunch cruised.

Bournemouth 2-3 (aet) Preston North End

The Cherries went down 1-0 after 10 minutes, but avoid an upset at the Vitality Stadium when Lewis Grabban converted a 53rd minute penalty and Dan Gosling gave Bournemouth its first lead with under 15 minutes to play.

Simon Makienok leveled things with his second goal of the night, and we were off to extra time where  — wouldn’t you know it? — the Dane completed his hat trick to send the Cherries out of the EFL Cup.

Everton 0-2 Norwich City

Ghosts of Goodison past haunting Everton, as Steven Naismith had the Canaries up at the break. Josh Murphy tore into this shot in the 74th minute to insure the lead (and, as it turns out, ensure the win).

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Reading

Reading had a 1-0 lead and made it 2-0 with 10 men after a red card to ex-Manchester United back Tyler Blackett.

Leeds United 1-0 Blackburn

Garry Monk got a winner from Kiwi striker Chris Wood to avoid extra time in a very even contest.

Wednesday
Swansea City-Man City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Northampton-Man Utd — 2:45 p.m. ET
Southampton-Crystal Palace — 2:45 p.m. ET
QPR-Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
West Ham United-Accrington Stanley — 2:45 p.m. ET
Fulham-Bristol City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Stoke City-Hull City — 3 p.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur-Gillingham — 3 p.m. ET

Javier Mascherano thanks Nicklas Bendtner for changing his career

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Javier Mascherano has won 13 trophies at Barcelona and is highly regarded as one of the most talented and well-respected footballers in the world.

One man Mascherano thanks for his success is…Nicklas Bendtner?

[ MORE: Blatter wont back candidate ]

In an interview with The GuardianMascherano looked back on one tackle he made on Bendtner in 2011, and how it changed his career.

At the time, Bendter was playing for Arsenal. Barcelona held a 4-3 aggregate lead over the Gunners in the last 16 of Champions League play, when Bendtner moved in on goal in stoppage time with a chance to advance.

Mascherano, who at the time was a midfielder, made a crucial sliding tackle to block Bendtner’s shot, and Barcelona won the match. They would go on to win the Champions League title that season.

[ MORE: John Terry to miss Chelsea’s FA Cup match vs. Man City through injury ]

After that challenge, Mascherano transitioned from midfield to defense and has been a first-choice center-back at Barca ever since.

That tackle marked a before and after.

Honestly, after five, six months I thought it was unlikely I’d be here long: my characteristics seemed to go against everything Barcelona stood for. That moment marked me.

If Bendtner had controlled the ball and gone the other way, he’d have got away from me and … uffff! … I don’t know what would’ve happened. But it happened the way it happened and we ended up winning that Champions League. Things worked out well.

Mascherano has developed into a top defender for Barcelona, continuously making timely tackles and using vision from his midfield days to spread the ball around the pitch. He is also extremely versatile, one of the standout players for Argentina in the 2014 World Cup as a midfielder.

Thanks, Nicklas.

Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Nolito to Arsenal, Bendtner back to Premier League

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Newcastle has added a pair of midfielders — one French, one English — while Liverpool’s acquired a former Premier League standout center back as the January transfer window finds another day off the calendar.

[ MORE: Liverpool adds QPR’s CaulkerShelvey at Newcastle ]

Everton is still hopeful to land Andriy Yarmolenko from Dynamo Kiev, but Tuesday’s development has to do with players leaving Goodison Park. On top of the exit of Steven Naismith, Darron Gibson and Aiden McGeady are expected to take off. Naismith is the only one linked with a club by name, and that’s Norwich City.

Nicklas Bendtner
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Bild claims that Danish star and Arsenal outcast Nicklas “Lord” Bendtner could be on his way back to the Premier League, leaving Wolfsburg to join Newcastle United. It’s hard to imagine Bendtner is an upgrade over Aleksandar Mitrovic or Papiss Cisse.

[ MORE: PSG threatens legal action towards rapper M.I.A. ]

The BBC points to a Spanish report which claims Arsenal is ready to bid $18 million to lure Nolito away from Celta Vigo. Dropping that much dough on a 29-year-old isn’t exactly old hat for Arsene Wenger, but Nolito has been getting Spain call-ups and was La Liga’s Player of the Month in each of the last two Septembers. He has 8 goals and 5 assists in 15 appearances this season.

Sky Sports says the only way Dwight Gayle is leaving Crystal Palace is on a permanent transfer, as loans are not interesting to the Selhurst Park club. Gayle, 25, has four goals in just seven appearances this season.