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League Cup wrap: Final round pre-Premier League clubs rolls on

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Premier League teams know all but one of the teams they could draw in the EFL Cup following a wild Tuesday in England.

Ten ties went to penalty kicks and only one remains on the docket before the 13 PL clubs who are not in European competition join the fray.

[ MORE: Ramos takes shots at Klopp ]

The draw will take place at 2 p.m. ET Thursday before Sunderland faces Sheffield Wednesday in the final first round match.

Carlisle United 1-5 Blackburn Rovers

Adam Armstrong and Bradley Dack each scored twice, and Dack added a pair of assists in leading the Championship side to a comfortable road win. The 24-year-old Dack was last season’s League One Player of the Year.

Middlesbrough 3-3 (4-3 in PKs) Notts County

The visitors led thrice, but Ashley Fletcher equalized twice and Enes Mahmutovic also level the score in a wild affair at the Riverside Stadium. Tony Pulis played 17-year-old Stephen Walker in the match, with the teen scoring his penalty and also assisting a goal.

Oldham Athletic 0-2 Derby County

Chelsea loanee Mason Mount scored for Frank Lampard‘s Rams, who also found the scoresheet via an own goal.

Elsewhere
Nottingham Forest 1-1 (10-9 in PKs) Bury
Blackpool 3-1 Barnsley
Crewe Alexandra 1-1 (3-4 in PKs) Fleetwood Town
Grimsby Town 0-2 Rochdale
Leeds United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
Macclesfield Town 1-1 (4-2 in PKs) Bradford City
Mansfield Town 6-1 Accrington Stanley
Port Vale 0-4 Lincoln City
Preston North End 3-1 Morecambe
Rotherham United 3-1 Wigan Athletic
Scunthorpe United 1-2 Doncaster Rovers
Sheffield United 1-1 (4-5 in PKs) Hull City
Tranmere Rovers 1-3 Walsall
Bristol City 0-1 Plymouth Argyle
Bristol Rovers 2-1 Crawley Town
Cambridge United 1-4 Newport County
Cheltenham Town 2-2 (6-5 in PKs) Colchester United
Exeter City 1-1 (4-2 in PKs) Ipswich Town
Millwall 0-0 (3-1 in PKs) Gillingham
MK Dons 3-0 Charlton Athletic
Norwich City 3-1 Stevenage
Oxford United 2-0 Coventry Citty
Portsmouth 1-2 AFC Wimbledon
QPR 2-0 Peterborough United
Southend United 2-4 Brentford
Swindon Town 0-1 Forest Green Rovers
Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 (7-6 in PKs) Northampton Town
Yeovil Town 0-1 Aston Villa
Reading 2-0 Birmingham City
West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Luton Town
Sunderland vs. Sheffield Wednesday — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday

Amid European interest, Geoff Cameron close to Stoke exit

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USMNT veteran Geoff Cameron is close to leaving Stoke City following their relegation from the Premier League last season.

Cameron, 33, hasn’t featured for Stoke this season in the second tier. He missed the season opener at Leeds United due to flying home to the USA to be with his father who suffered a stroke, and he wasn’t included in Gary Rowett’s 18-man squad for their 1-1 home draw against Brentford on Saturday.

Pro Soccer Talk understands Cameron is getting plenty of interest from elsewhere in Europe and has a $9.5 million buyout clause in his contract. We understand Cameron has been eager to move on since the end of last season when the Potters were relegated from the Premier League, but is relaxed about the situation with a few weeks of the transfer window to go outside of the Premier League in England and across most of Europe.

A report from the Daily Telegraph stated that Cameron, Charlie Adam, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Giannelli Imbula are all allowed to leave before the end of the transfer window for Football League clubs which is on August 31.

Pro Soccer Talk understands that clubs from Spain, Germany and Scandinavia want to sign Cameron with Odense BK in Denmark, Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and Rayo Vallecano in La Liga potential destinations for the holding midfielder, who can also play at center back and right back.

Cameron has spent the past six seasons in the Premier League at Stoke and was a regular under both Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes. He joined Stoke from the Houston Dynamo in 2012 after becoming an MLS All-Star and reaching an MLS Cup final during his five years in the league.

The versatile Massachusetts native has made 55 appearances for the U.S. national team as he played a starring role at the 2014 World Cup.

Cameron had previously been linked with a move back to MLS with the LA Galaxy, but the contract offer wasn’t deemed to be viable.

Five X-factor Premier League summer signings

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They’ll make differences in their teams for very different reasons.

If the following five players have big seasons, they are talented enough to push their teams multiple spots up the table.

Some could be focal points, while others valuable substitutes but one thing is for sure: their signings slid under the radar given their respective abilities (or in one Fulham man’s case, the lateness of the hour).

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  

5. Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 22-year-old’s progression has been infuriating at Schalke, and Palace getting him on a free transfer is a fine risk. Is he the player who scored six Bundesliga goals in 1800 minutes as a teenager, and posted 5G-6A in 2015-16, or the one whose most starts in a single season is 27?

4. Ben Gibson, Burnley — Gibson was very impressive for Middlesbrough in their relegation campaign, and he only shined his stock under defensive wizard Tony Pulis in the Championship. If Burnley makes the Europa League group stage, Gibson will be huge for Dyche.

3. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Fulham — Buying Jean Michael Seri was a coup for the midfield, but bringing in a fellow Frenchman to balance out the center of the park? Wow. The 22-year-old is a hard tackling, opportunistic machine who will disrupt the opposition and connect the defense to the forwards. Huge.

2. Xherdan Shaqiri, Liverpool — The ability to sub out a winger or midfielder with a player who, on his day, is as lethal as any shooter in the world? Not too bad, Mr. Klopp.

  1. Jack Wilshere, West Ham United — There’s no debating how important Wilshere was to Arsenal when heathy, and his cross-London move could make all the difference in the world as West Ham tries to get the ball to its finishers.

Season Preview: Finally some stability for Crystal Palace under Hodgson?

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Crystal Palace at a glance

Premier League titles: 0 (highest finish: 3rd – English First Division, 1990-91)

FA Cups: 0 (best finish: runners-up – 1990, 2016)

League Cups: 0 (best finish: semifinals – 1993, 1995, 2001, 2012)

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Since the start of the 2014-15 season, five managers (including Tony Pulis, who resigned two days before the campaign began) have been in charge at Selhurst Park (average tenure: 290 days). Somewhat surprisingly, Palace have managed to finish 10th, 15th, 14th and 11th during those four tumultuous seasons. Relegation seemed a distinct possibility in each of the three (particularly last season, when they started the season without a point — or a goal — in the first seven games), and yet, here we are in August 2018, previewing Crystal Palace, Premier League club.

Roy Hodgson arrived to replace Frank De Boer (just five games into his tenure) on Sept. 12, and while results didn’t take an immediate 180-degree turn, the Eagles lost just two of their following 12 games after finally getting on the board. Hodgson steadied the ship from October to January, hit a bit of a rough patch (in successive games against three of the PL’s top-five finishers) in February and March, and finished with five wins (and just one loss) in the final eight games of the season. Add it all up, and you’ve got 44 points (11 clear of the relegation zone).

Perhaps the only question that matters ahead of the 2018-19 season is whether or not Hodgson can carry that momentum over to the new season and guide Palace to a handful of points in August and September.


Palace will finish top-half because… they genuinely have one of the most talented starting units outside of the top-six (and one or two others). They managed to keep hold of Wilfried Zaha, who’s very much at home as a very unconventional striker, as well as Mamadou Sakho and Luka MilivojevicCheikhou Kouyate will make them much tougher in midfield, and Max Meyer could turn out to be an absolute steal as a midfield playmaker.

Palace will end up in a relegation battle because…. they’re Crystal Palace, and it’s kind of what they do. While they’ve finished fairly high the last three years, it’s been an absolute slog to get there. A similar start this season, followed by a failed bailout by [insert English relegation-battling specialist here], and it could all go wrong very quickly.

Best possible XI:

Hennessey

Ward — Tomkins — Sakho — Van Aanholt

Milivojevic — Kouyate — Meyer

Townsend — Benteke — Zaha

Transfers In: Cheikhou Kouyate ($12.5 million, West Ham United), Max Meyer (free, Schalke), Vicente Guaita (free, Getafe)

Transfers Out: Yohan Cabaye (free), Lee Chung-yong (free), Bakary Sako (free), Damien Delaney (free)

Ranking their offseason: C

The squad was already quite talented, but a bit more depth was certainly needed, particularly in the attacking half. Getting out from under Cabaye’s crippling wages was a massive win itself, and Meyer could make a real impact over 24 or 36 months, but it doesn’t feel like quite enough for this season. Considering what was done this summer by the other clubs aiming to finish between 10th and 17th, one or two more signings (for decent money) before the deadline would be welcome.

Star player: Zaha was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, and a couple other PL clubs, all summer long, but fortunately for Palace, Tottenham don’t actually sign players during the transfer window, so the 25-year-old looks set to tear it up in south London for another season.

Coach’s Corner: Hodgson has been everywhere (nine different clubs and three national teams at multiple age levels) during his 36-year managerial career, so there’s nothing he hasn’t seen (Palace is his fifth job in the PL). Despite not scoring a single goal in the first seven games, Palace still managed to finish 9th in goals scored last season, so he’ll let them play.

PST Predicts: At this point, Palace feel like part of the PL furniture, destined to finish 12th or 13th season after season. It’s not a bad place to be, but they’re a few players away from dreaming of breaking into the top-eight.

Akinfeev, Russia knock Spain out of World Cup

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Igor Akinfeev made an unbelievable stop on Iago Aspas to end a riveting round of penalty kicks as Russia eliminated Spain from the World Cup on Sunday.

A Russian own goal was equalized when Artem Dzyuba scored a 42nd minute penalty, but Spain could not break down Russia over 120 minutes.

Akinfeev, who struggled in the 2014 World Cup, made nine saves in regulation and stopped penalties from Isco and Aspas as David De Gea couldn’t get to any of Russia’s four finishes.

Russia will face the winner of Denmark or Croatia in the quarterfinal.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Spain went ahead on the own goal, as a Nacho-won free kick from the right bounded off the back of Sergei Ignashevich’s right calf during a tussle with Sergio Ramos in the 12th minute.

La Furia Roja wasn’t scared off by the slow start, and Aleksandr Golovin kept up a fine World Cup with a give-and-go that ended with a curling shot just wide of the far post.

Russia would get its chance to make it 1-1 when Dzyuba headed a corner back across goal and off the raised hand of Gerard Pique. He finished his chance.

The Russian crowd continued to get behind its men, who closed up shop in a bus-parking that would make Tony Pulis crowd. Andres Iniesta broke through the lines, but his pass was turned wide of the goal.

Not much shame in that, but the hosts could not find the clinical finishing required to get a goal in regulation.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Spain continued its possession and control in the first period of stoppage time, with Marco Asensio forcing Igor Akinfeev into a save.

Akinfeev has had a redemptive tournament after a rough 2014 World Cup saw him spill a South Korean goal into his net, and he made several stops as the match moved toward penalty kicks.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Akinfeev stopped Isco on Spain’s third chance and made an unreal stop on Iago Aspas’ bid to force Russia to a fifth kick.