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Fulham defender Mawson undergoes knee surgery after bizarre injury

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Fulham owns the worst defensive record in the Premier League, and while things have improved under new manager Claudio Ranieri, the club now has to navigate an injury to its best center-back that occurred in bizarre fashion.

Alfie Mawson, who joined this summer in one of the more infamous spending sprees in Premier League history, was withdrawn at halftime of the 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town just before the new year. At the time, Ranieri offered little information on the injury other than it was a knee problem and that he wasn’t sure how long Mawson would be out.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of Fulham’s home match against Tottenham at Craven Cottage this weekend, Ranieri finally opened up on Mawson’s injury, revealing exactly how the defender was struck down…doing one of the most mundane daily tasks a professional soccer player can participate in.

“It was a very strange injury,” Ranieri said. “He changed his boots. It was unbelievable.”

That’s right, London-born defender was injured lacing up new kicks.

Ranieri didn’t offer much more, failing to specify the extent of the injury or even what knee was hurt. Mawson missed the start of the Premier League season as he recovered from offseason knee surgery, but Ranieri did not say whether the new problem was present in the same area. “I don’t know if it was the same knee or the other,” Ranieri said. “It was a very strange injury.”

It’s been a rough season for Mawson, who was inadvertently punched in the face by his own goalkeeper Sergio Rico just two matches earlier, down in a heap and tended to by trainers in a lengthy delay, although he was able to continue and complete the full 90 minutes. The 25-year-old struggled to find a place in the team early in the season as he adapted to his new squad, but eventually found his way into the starting lineup consistently and even became Fulham’s most consistent defender despite the club’s Premier League-leading 49 goals conceded this season.

In addition to Mawson’s ridiculous injury, Fulham has also dealt with turmoil surrounding Aboubakar Kamara, who has clashed with teammates on the field of late. He stole a penalty off designated penalty-taker Aleksandar Mitrovic in the Huddersfield match and proceeded to miss – which drove Ranieri to claim “I wanted to kill him” after the match – and then was involved in an on-field argument with Mitrovic in the 4-1 loss to Arsenal last weekend. Kamara was dropped from the squad for the most recent match against Burnley, and is reportedly set for another game on the sideline this weekend.

The season has been a wild and weird one for Fulham, which fell 2-1 to Burnley last time out on a pair of own-goals despite Burnley failing to record a single shot on target of its own. The club sits 19th in the Premier League table, five points back of safety.

Own goals gift Burnley big win over Fulham (video)

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  • Schurrle scores 2nd minute masterpiece (video)
  • Fulham produces two own goals in three minutes
  • Clarets win third-straight (West Ham, Huddersfield, Fulham)

Burnley inspired a pair of Fulham own goals to come back for a 2-1 defeat of Fulham at Turf Moor on Saturday.

The win gives the Clarets three-straight, and pushes them three points clear of the drop zone.

Andre Schurrle scored a beautiful goal for the Cottagers, who tossed aside the lead and remains 19th with 14 points. That’s five points behind 17th place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Denis Odoi set up Schurrle for the opener, though it may be generous to call the very decent pass a set up considering the German’s work in crafting a beauty.

Schurrle’s perfect run settled Odoi’s arrow over the top of the Burnley defense with one touch before taking the ball off the volley and sending Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton in shoulder shrug country. A stunner.

But Fulham gave that goal back and then another for good measure, both via own goals. Burnley’s Jeff Hendrick inspired the first with a 20th minute blast that turned off Joe Bryan and past Sergio Rico, and three minutes later it was 2-1 when Odoi.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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Lucas Vietto was in prime position to level the score in the 51st minute after Aleksandar Mitrovic won a header into his path. He beat Heaton, but James Tarkowski somehow kept the ball away from goal with a prone and fortunate goal line clearance.

Chris Wood took a knockdown from Ashley Barnes and hit just over the bar, the advantage staying at one.

At the other end, Vietto’s cross through the box took a deflection wide for a corner kick and Tim Ream‘s header across goal was absent receiver.

Vardy pushes Leicester City past Everton

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  • First PL match of 2019
  • Everton out shoots Foxes 17-8
  • Keane error lets Vardy score
  • One win in eight for Everton

Jamie Vardy‘s second half goal was all Leicester City needed to move past Everton and into seventh place with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Tuesday.

Marco Silva‘s seat will be feeling hotter with Everton a possibility to finish the match day in the bottom half of the table. The Toffees have 27 points.

Leicester has 31 points, four back of sixth place Manchester United.

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After a sleepy 45 minutes highlighted by Jonjoe Kenny striking the bar for Everton, the second half at least provided a goal.

A Michael Keane mistake gave the ball away to Ricardo Pereira deep in Everton territory, and Pereira quickly found Jamie Vardy.

Vardy did what he tends to do when given a terrific chance, beating Sergio Rico and celebrating the first Premier League goal of 2019 with an acrobatic celebration.

Keane’s rough day could’ve gotten worse if referee Martin Atkinson had a quick whistle, but was rightly let off the hook when a Leicester header struck his arm later in the frame.

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Fulham hit Huddersfield with stoppage-time winner

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  • Mitrovic wins it in stoppage time
  • Fulham climb to 18th, one point from safety
  • Huddersfield stuck in 20th, five points adrift

Huddersfield Town don’t appear particularly long for the Premier League, as David Wagner‘s side sits bottom of the table heading into 2019 following a stoppage-time defeat to fellow relegation battlers Fulham.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fulham entered Saturday’s 19th-versus-20th showdown at Craven Cottage without a win in their last six PL games — same as Huddersfield — and were mere minutes from making it seven games without a trio of points. Then, Aleksandar Mitrovic became the hero.

In a game that saw few chances of real quality from open play, Huddersfield went close when Philip Billing unleashed a long-range effort with his left foot. The ball skipped off the ground halfway to goal and crossed up goalkeeper Sergio Rico who couldn’t keep hold of the ball and spilled it to no one in particular.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Fulham were awarded a penalty in the 81st minute, but even those don’t always go according to plan when you’re stuck in the relegation zone and desperate for a bit of luck.

Aboubakar Kamara played the ball off the outstretched arm of Chris Lowe, but that was only the beginning of the drama. Kamara and Mitrovic argued over who would step up to the spot and take the penalty kick, and Kamara eventually won the debate. He then proceeded to hit a soft, knee-high penalty at Jonas Lossl for a comfortable save.

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Huddersfield appeared content with the scoreless draw and slowly retreated deeper and deeper. The one time they pushed numbers forward — for a set piece in the 91st minute — would be their undoing. Ryan Sessegnon spearheaded a quick counter-attack the culminated with his through ball to send Mitrovic into the box one on one with Lossl. The big Serb made no mistake with the chance he was given.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Fulham nabs first clean sheet of season in draw at Newcastle

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  • Fulham’s 1st clean sheet of season
  • NUFC without shot on target
  • Three penalty calls unheard by Atkinson

Newcastle United couldn’t find a way past creaky Fulham, something no team has failed to do this season, as the Magpies drew the Cottagers 0-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Referee Martin Atkinson was the star of the show, turning down three penalty kick shouts: Two for handballs and another when Salomon Rondon was brought down in the box.

The Magpies now have 17 points and sit in 15th place, five points clear of the drop zone. Fulham earned its 10th point and remains in 20th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle provided some chances for Fulham, but the most dangerous moment came courtesy the Magpies attack.

Jamaal Lascelles headed a free kick back across goal, with Fulham’s Dennis Odoi clearing the danger of a bounding ball through the six.

There was a scary incident in the 32nd minute, as Sergio Rico‘s two-handed clearing attempt made solid connection with Alfie Mawson‘s header. Both Rico and Newcastle’s Salomon Rondon called for medical attention as Mawson appeared to have been knocked cold for a moment.

There were shouts for a penalty when unheeded when Matt Ritchie saw his shot blocked into a Fulham defender’s arm.

The danger was limited in the second half, with Paul Dummett popping a header over the goal in the 75th. And Kenedy‘s shouts for a penalty when pulled by Joe Bryan went unrealized by Martin Atkinson.

Bryan hit a left-footed shot wide of the goal in the 79th, and Aleksandar Mitrovic twice-threatened Newcastle in the final five minutes. The Cottagers were shouting for a penalty when the second effort was blocked by a mess of Newcastle defenders.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]