2018/2019 Premier League

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Premier League Preview: Fulham v. Liverpool

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  • Fulham manager Scott Parker could have forward Andre Schurrle (virus) available, but Alfie Mawson and Marcus Bettinelli (both knee) remain sidelined for Fulham.
  • Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson is ruled out after sustaining an ankle injury in midweek, although Naby Keita (minor injury) could return. 
  • The Reds are unbeaten in their last 11 PL matches against promoted sides (W10 D1), winning the last eight in a row. They have scored 31 goals and conceded just four in that run since a 2-0 loss at Hull City in February 2017.

Liverpool showed in midweek that they have the quality to make another deep run in the UEFA Champions League. Now, back in Premier League action, Liverpool will look to jump-start major pieces of their attack with a trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on Sunday (Watch live, 10:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Mo Salah has scored 17 Premier League goals this season, but none in the past five games in all competitions. Likewise, outside of a brace last week against Burnley, Roberto Firmino hasn’t scored in six of seven games played since the start of February. Against Fulham’s struggling defense, those two found find their form in front of goal.

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It’s been a rough season meanwhile for Fulham, which looks incredibly likely to be relegated to the Championship. Fulham hasn’t won since January, is on its third manager of the year, and needs 12 points to survive another season in the Premier League. Against Liverpool, it might be a case of just hoping for a draw, or keeping the score close.

What they’re saying

Fulham coach Scott Parker on facing a title contender: “Hopefully we’ll have an influence on the title race. We’ve got some very good footballers at the club and we need to start getting the best out of them. They have a chance at the weekend in front of the cameras to prove how good they are. If we play the way we want to play, we can cause an upset and we can get points. I’ve seen an upturn daily in the players in the way they’re training. Their standards have gone up tenfold.

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp on the impact of beating Bayern: “Last year I think when we came through it was always about a sensational, free-flowing kind of football in a specific way: scoring from all areas, stuff like that. This was, from my point of view, the most mature performance we had so far in all European competitions since I am in and I like that a lot. It was really good. I said after the game, in a game like this it’s pretty rare that one team is shining completely and the other team has a bad hair day or whatever. It doesn’t happen a lot, so you have to work for each yard, for each inch, and that’s what the boys did. In the decisive moments you have to be there defensively and offensively. It was really good, I was really happy and it was not to expect in that way. People spoke about ‘Bayern was not really like Bayern usually is’ – I would say all the credit to my boys because we didn’t let them. That’s all we have to do in game like this.”

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Prediction

Liverpool can go top of the league with a win, and even coming off the emotional high of beating Bayern Munich, they should still have more than enough quality to defeat Fulham. Liverpool 3-0 Fulham

 

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Everton boss Marco Silva has defensive duo Seamus Coleman (illness) and Leighton Baines (back) available, although Phil Jagielka (knock) is ruled out.
  • Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma is unable to play against his parent club. The Blues could have striker Gonzalo Higuain available after he missed the midweek Dynamo Kiev win through illness.
  • Everton has failed to score in their last five Premier League meetings with Chelsea. They last failed to score in six consecutive league matches against an opponent between 1972 and 1979, a run of seven against Southampton.

Chelsea looks to build on its morale-boosting 5-0 win in midweek over Dynamo Kiev with a trip north to face Everton this Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). It’s been quite the turnaround for Chelsea, which has won six games in the last month after a torrid run in the Premier League in January and early February.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Chelsea’s recent form has enabled them to stay in the hunt for the top four in the Premier League. With Arsenal and Manchester United off and both above them, Chelsea can overtake the pair and move into the top four with a win by a five-goal margin. It would represent a major turnaround after Maurizio Sarri was on verge of being sacked.

Everton meanwhile had another embarrassing moment in what’s been an underwhelming season. Last week’s 3-2 defeat to Newcastle saw them blow a two-goal lead for their 13th defeat of the year. The pressure keeps growing for Marco Silva and his job may be in jeopardy with another poor performance.

What they’re saying

Everton manager Marco Silva on Everton fans making an impact against Chelsea: “If the fans can repeat [that] atmosphere, we will be delighted about that. It is a quality team we are playing against, we have to show our quality also. With our fans, with the atmosphere we can achieve at Goodison again, they can push us to achieve the three points. I want to have some words to the fans who were with us at Newcastle, too, they didn’t deserve that result. I am 100 percent sure of that. Now we are back at home and if the fans can repeat what they did in the derby, it will be fantastic.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on the win over Dynamo Kiev: “We started very well. We wanted to start in this way because it was important to score after the result in Stamford Bridge. We were able to score after five minutes. For the opponent it was a difficult situation. We played a very good first half. In the second we managed the result. It was a wonderful performance for 90 minutes.”

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Prediction

Chelsea are in strong form recently while Everton can’t seem to catch a break. Even going on the road, the Blues are certainly the favorites to win and I expect they’ll find a way. Chelsea 2-1 Everton

Late Boly goal saves Wolves in draw with Newcastle (video)

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  • Willy Boly‘s 95th minute header earned a draw for Wolves
  • Newcastle sit just one point above the relegation zone
  • Miguel Almiron made his Newcastle debut

Willy Boly saved the day for Wolverhampton Wanderers at home as they drew, 1-1 with Newcastle on Monday evening. The tall French centerback rose highest to head home a dramatic mistake from Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in the fifth minute of extra time, saving a point for Wolves and denying the Magpies three vital points for the second consecutive match.

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With the draw, Newcastle sit just one point above Southampton and the relegation zone, with 25 points from 26 games.

Wolves meanwhile are in seventh place, with 39 points on the season.

Earlier in the second half, Isaac Hayden put Newcastle up front with a blast of a strike that Rui Patricio couldn’t keep out, and it seemed Newcastle were well on their way to victory against a Wolves side that seemed to be missing that cutting edge. Newcastle were later boosted offensively by the introduction of record signing from Atlanta United, Miguel Almiron, off the bench in the 72nd minute.

In the first half, Wolves certainly had more thrust and attacking vigor, working Newcastle’s right and left side early and often. However, the Magpies were resolute defensively, including the U.S. Men’s National Team’s DeAndre Yedlin at right back. Neither side was able to create too much on goal, but it seemed like whichever team tired or made the mistake first would be punished.

That happened when Wolves fell asleep in the 56th minute. Fabian Schär has acres of space to run into, and his through ball on the ground found the midfielder Hayden advancing into the box. Hayden fired on goal and perhaps surprised Patricio, scoring inside the near post to give Newcastle a lead.

With Almiron on, it seemed as if Newcastle may add to the lead. Almiron showed no fear in running at the Wolves defense but clearly isn’t at his sharpest after two months without a game.

However, it was a crucial mistake in the game’s final moments that saved a point for Wolves and stole two from Newcastle. Manager Rafa Benitez might rue this moment should Newcastle go down, missing out on four of the last six points available due to goalkeeper errors.

PL Sunday preview: Man City v. Arsenal, plus Man United in action

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Manchester City’s title hopes are on the line while Arsenal and Manchester United fight for a place in the top four in what should be an incredibly important day of matches.

[READ: USMNT takes down Costa Rica]

Manchester City v. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

With a loss to Newcastle last weekend, Manchester City’s margin for error continues to shrink as it fights to win the Premier League again. However, it will be a tough task against an Arsenal side with three wins in its last four, including a confidence-building victory over Chelsea.

Working in Manchester City’s favor is the history and form of Sergio Aguero, who has scored seven goals in his last 11 matches against Arsenal. Man City has won its last three matches against Arsenal and if they make it four, it will be the first of that occurrence since 1937, according to the Premier League.

In the past, Manchester City’s midfield passing and vision would be talented enough to break down Arsenal’s porous backline. However, Arsenal seems to have shored up its defense, which could make for an interesting matchup against the likes of Kevin De Bruyne.

On the other side, Arsenal has a chance to debut its new signing, Dennis Suarez. Suarez was the only first team signing to come in this winter, when Arsenal requested reinforcements along the wings and fans wanted in in defense. But Suarez could play anywhere across the front three and in attacking midfield. An interesting storyline related to this is what Arsenal manager Unai Emery does with Mesut Ozil. The German playmaker made his first start since Boxing Day in last Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Cardiff at home, but with Suarez in the fold, is Ozil now out for good?

INJURIES: Manchester City —  OUT: Vincent Kompany (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Benjamin Mendy, Ederson (both knee injuries) | Arsenal — OUT: Sokratis, Danny Welbeck (both ankle), Rob Holding (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Laurent Koscielny (jaw), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (knee), and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (foot)


Leicester City v. Manchester United — 9:05 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s 100 percent record as Man United manager came to an end last Tuesday in a surprise 2-2 draw at home against Burnley, where the Red Devils came back down to earth a bit. Late goals from Paul Pogba and Victor Lindelof saved Man United’s blushes but it was only a matter of time before they delivered a sub-standard performance. However, Solskjaer’s formula, allowing his players the creative license to attack, especially down the wings, has paid dividends handsomely since the Norwegian took over as manager in December.

A bonus for Man United fans on transfer deadline day was not only the departure of long-time midfielder Marouane Fellaini for China, but the announcement of a new contract for Anthony Martial. The young French winger has looked promising this season, and could make a big impact for Man United down the stretch as they work to secure a top-four finish.

As for Leicester City, Claude Puel‘s side has been in a terrible rut recently. Yet, the Foxes have somehow managed to draw or beat Liverpool (draw), Chelsea and Manchester City (both wins) since late December. It seems that against some of the bigger clubs, they rise to the occasion, especially when those clubs leave space in behind for Jamie Vardy and co. to attack on the counter. In fact, Vardy is tied with Aguero and Gylfi Sigurdsson for the most goals against Man United since the start of the 2014-2015 season, scoring four in that span. Youri Tielemans, Leicester City’s new signing and a talented Belgian midfielder, could make his debut against Man United at home. Tielemans, who – fun fact – once displaced Sacha Kljestan at Anderlecht as a 16-year-old, never really settled in at AS Monaco over the last 18 months. Perhaps a change of scenery for him will help. Puel’s side will surely avoid relegation, but another big result against a top-6 side could help the Frenchman’s case to remain as manager for the long term.

INJURIES: Leicester City —  OUT: Daniel Amartey (ankle) | Manchester United — OUT: Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Anthony Martial (knock); PROBABLE: Paul Pogba (knock), Chris Smalling (toe)

Premier League Roundup: Chelsea-Bayern negotiations at a standstill, Blues offer Morata, and more

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Negotiations between Chelsea and Bayern Munich are reportedly at a standstill over a transfer clause.

As Bayern Munich continues to push to sign young English winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea has insisted that the transfer agreement include a buy-back clause, according to The Times of London. Hudson-Odoi, possibly seeing the path to the first team at Chelsea blocked by veteran players, has reportedly decided his development would do best in Germany, even at the biggest club in the nation.

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The report states that Chelsea has requested the buy-back clause after missing out on Romelu Lukaku and having to pay well above market value for Nemanja Matic. This clause could have helped Chelsea also bring back players like Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne after both of them left Chelsea on transfers.

At this point, with all the pressure from Bayern and Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea will eventually agree on a deal. It’s just a matter of it coming for a deal in the summer, or whether the star young English winger will leave this month.

Here are some more notes from around the Premier League:

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