Aiden McGeady

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Sunderland adds Premier League vets McGeady, Vaughan

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Sunderland have added two attackers in a bid to return directly to the Premier League.

One will be quite familiar to many soccer fans, as Aiden McGeady comes from Everton having spent time with Celtic and Spartak Moscow.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

The 31-year-old Irishman scored eight goals on loan for new Sunderland boss Simon Grayson while at Preston North End last season. He has 90 caps and five goals for the Republic of Ireland.

The other attacker is a bit more of an unknown despite having seven Premier League goals to his name, the last coming in 2011 at Everton.. James Vaughan had a career season after dropping down to League One last season, where he scored 24 times in 37 matches.

The Black Cats have now added four players, all with connections to Everton (Earlier this window Sunderland added Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway on loan from the Merseyside set). That’s a bit ironic given that longtime Toffees boss David Moyes left Sunderland this offseason.

WATCH: McGeady’s Marseille turn helps PNE lead Arsenal

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Callum Robinson scored the goal, but my, oh my, did Aiden McGeady provide the highlight as Preston North End took a seventh minute lead on Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup match in Deepdale.

McGeady cut back on one Arsenal man before using a 360/Marseille turn to burn a couple more en route to goal.

[ MORE: FA Cup roundup ]

He found Jordan Hugill, who poked a ball near McGeady for the finish past David Ospina.

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“It’s not chess” — Ireland assistant Roy Keane blasts softness after loss

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If we’re talking about a friendly between Ireland and Belarus, well, something truly remarkable must have occurred in Cork.

That Belarus upset hosts Ireland 2-1 is notable, but we speak more of the words uttered by a certain assistant manager.

[ MORE: Top 25 players at Copa America ]

And that manager’s name is Roy Keane, the irrepressible personality and longtime Ireland and Manchester United midfielder. From the BBC:

“I wanted to kill some of them last night,” he said.

“They should count their blessings they’ve managed to get on the flight – a reality check for one or two players who thought they were good players.”

Those comments alone breach the normal coach speak and make us raise an eyebrow, but Keane is looking toward a brutal Euro group that includes Italy, Belgium and Sweden.

[ MORE: Hodgson explains England roster choices ]

Here’s another beauty from Keane, a frank, brutal and probably fair assessment of winger Aiden McGeady:

“He can do a lot better but maybe that’s the story of Aiden’s career,” added Keane.

The hits kept coming when it came to the “modern player” and concern with health. Here’s where Keane was really feeling it, from Sky Sports:

“People have talked about not playing much football or players carrying knocks; I’m worried if players aren’t carrying knocks.

“You’re supposed to get knocks because you’re supposed to be tackling people, you’re supposed to be hitting people at pace.

“That’s part of the game. It’s not chess we’re playing.”

Bring on the Euro, and let’s have Keane take all the press conferences in place of manager Martin O’Neill.

Premier League Sunday preview: Everton host Man City; Chelsea, Saints also in action

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League action kicks off with the defending champions, Chelsea, who find themselves mired in struggles and controversy — for right now, at least — at the start of the 2015-16 season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s full PL roundup ]

Sunday’s schedule finishes up with the last side not named Chelsea to win the PL title, just two years ago, Manchester City, who just last week put a real hurting on the Blues. We’re also still in the process of getting to know one of the newly promoted sides, Watford, who are set to face last year’s Cinderella side, Southampton.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea — 8:30 am ET, on USA and Live Extra

Chelsea come into Week 3 the talk of the PL, but for all the wrong reasons. Not only did they lose 3-0 to Man City last week, but manager Jose Mourinho continues to create unwanted and unflattering headlines for the club and his team. Since it’ll be fun to say the following and unlikely to happen for a very long time again: Chelsea currently occupy 18th place in the Premier League, which is the third and final relegation place. West Brom are one spot below them, also on one point from two games.

The Blues are expected to be without midfielder Oscar for a second straight game, while while West Brom have no new injuries to report (goalkeeper remains out following knee surgery last season). The home side won each of these two sides’ meetings last season (2-0 at Stamford Bridge and 3-0 at The Hawthorns), though West Brom’s victory came after Chelsea had already clinched the league title.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays | Standings | Stats ]

Everton vs. Manchester City — 10:30 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

While Chelsea toil away at the bottom of the table (for the time being), no one is flying higher than Man City, who are one of two teams (Liverpool) possess a 100 percent win record to go along with their league-leading +6 goal differential after two games. A return to grace for captain Vincent Kompany (two goals and two clean sheets in two games) has City firing on all cylinders these early days. On the other side, life is pretty good for Everton, as Roberto Martinez’s side has returned to its expected region of the league table, currently seventh, after struggling to an 11th-place finish a season ago.

Fabian Delph (hamstring) remains out of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad and it was announced this week that Pablo Zabaleta would miss close to a month with a knee injury. Meanwhile, the Toffees will be without Leighton Baines and Aiden McGeady. Man City took four points from their two meetings with Everton last season, winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 at Goodison Park.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra | Premier League all-access  ]

Watford vs. Southampton — 11 am ET, on Live Extra

Will this be a season of regressing to the mean for Southampton, who finished seventh a campaign ago (currently 17 with one point from two games), or can they establish themselves as a perennial top-half team? One stumbling block this year will undoubtedly be Europa League fixtures Thursday nights and league games being played on Sundays, as is the case this week. For Watford, a pair of draws (2-2 away to Everton and 0-0 at home against West Brom) have been a very good platform for Quique Flores’ bunch to build on in their first season back in the PL.

Saints will once against be without midfielder Jordy Clasie (hamstring) and defender Ryan Bertrand (knee), while the Hornets have a mostly clean bill of health. It’s been almost four years since these two sides last met in the Championship.

England and Ireland play out to 0-0 snoozefest in pre-Euro friendly

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It’s the end of the club season in Europe, and that was never more evident than at the Aviva Stadium as England and Republic of Ireland played a friendly match, or so we’re told.

With the two sides looking to warm up for Euro 2016 qualifiers coming up in the next few days, things looked bleak as a sleep-inducing 0-0 draw saw little action, with supporters resorting to randomly booing Raheem Sterling and trading barbs via song to keep themselves busy.

Without a shot on target in the first 45 minutes from either team, the eventual ending was wildly evident by halftime as the jokes rang through Twitter with those looking to stay awake:

England actually had some efforts on goal early in the second half but it didn’t come to anything as Wayne Rooney struck a weak free-kick and a Phil Jones header went over the bar on separate chances before the hour mark. Ireland’s Jonathan Walters had a great chance as well on 62 minutes but with just Joe Hart to beat, he struck right at the Manchester City goalkeeper and Aiden McGeady bundled the rebound.

The most intriguing moment was watching Martin O’Neill ring the changes in the second half, as most notably Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given came on for his 123rd cap and immediately proceeded to scuff a clearing boot, lucky not to gift England a goal. Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson refused to give 18-goal scorer Charlie Austin a chance to break the deadlock.

The poor ESPN commentating team tried their best to make things interesting, but even they succumbed to the terrible atmosphere, saying things like, “I don’t think there will be a DVD of this one anytime soon.”

Anyways, this game happened, and now it is over, which is probably best for us all.