Jay Rodriguez

Pulisic bags hat trick as Chelsea doubles up Burnley

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Christian Pulisic scored a perfect hat trick as Chelsea picked up its seventh-straight win in all competitions with a 4-2 defeat of Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

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Willian also scored for the Blues, who will finish the weekend in fourth place with 20 points.

Pulisic’s hat trick makes him the youngest hat trick scorer in Chelsea history.

Dwight McNeil and Jay Rodriguez scored in the final five minutes for the Clarets.


Three things we learned

1. Pulisic’s primal scream of relief heard across the ocean: Here’s the bell ringer, Christian Pulisic’s first Premier League goal. The Yanks’ 21-year-old scored his first Premier League goal in a matching minute,, seizing on a bad touch from Matthew Lowton and dribbling James Tarkowski before rolling a low shot across goal past Nick Pope. A quality strike to beat two quality players.

He let out of a primal scream in celebration as he waited for his teammates to join the celebration. All things considered, it’s difficult to imagine how good the moment felt for the USMNT’s top man. He’d add a second by cooking Tarkowski to his other side and getting a deflection, and had three key passes in an incredible first half.

The third came in the second half with a nice header, and the opened floodgates were greeted with relief by so many in Chelsea blue and beyond.

2. Burnley broken down: The Clarets entered the day having kept clean sheets in three of four matches at home this season. The fourth was a 3-0 loss to Liverpool, and Chelsea made sure that it showed its Top Four acumen. Lowton’s giveaway on Pulisic’s first goal was poor and the second came via deflection, but Burnley’s fight back after halftime was brief. Chelsea controlled the match and you’d hate to bear the brunt of what Sean Dyche will likely bring to the post match team talk.

3. Rodriguez scores stunning consolation goal: Pulisic wasn’t perfect, as he gave away the ball that led to Burnley’s goal with five minutes to play. And what a goal it was, as Rodriguez struck a swerving rocket from distance to flummox Arrizabalaga. What a hit. Memories in style and meaning of Daniel Williams for the USMNT against Brazil.

Man of the Match: Are you serious?


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Despite an early injury which appeared to be to his head, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma made a nice clearance of a dangerously swung corner in the 13th minute.

Pulisic scored his first Premier League goal when he seized on that turnover and used his pace and craft to roll a shot past Pope.

That snapped Burnley to life, and Kepa Arrizabalaga was necessary in a sequence which saw the backstop paw away a shot through traffic.

Ashley Barnes badly missed a back post header which should’ve tied things up in the 30th minute.

Pulisic got his second with another powerful dribble through the heart of the attacking third, getting past Tarkowski and hitting a shot that took a turn off Ben Mee for 2-0.

Burnley came out of the dressing room with vigor. Barnes butchered a point blank chance to make it 2-1 in the 50th, the poacher not ready for prime time, and Jay Rodriguez sent a shot into the arms of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

That’s when Pulisic got his hat trick. After Burnley rejected a corner kick back to the taker, Mason Mount swept another cross into the mix and the American nodded it home.

Willian soon got in on the action with a low shot from the right, and Chelsea was home free.

Rodriguez scored his sensational goal off a Pulisic turnover, and McNeil’s heavily-deflected shot made it 4-2 with two minutes left.

Pesky Burnley twice levels in draw at Aston Villa

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Chris Wood‘s late header gave Burnley its second equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday at Villa Park.

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Villa outshot the Clarets, had 60 percent of the ball, and passed it well, too, but Burnley dealt with Dean Smith‘s tactics of sending 27 crosses into the fray.

Jay Rodriguez scored Burnley’s other goal, with Sean Dyche‘s club up to 10th with nine points, while John McGinn and Anwar El Ghazi struck as Villa collected a point to sit 18th with five points.


Three things we learned

1. Fine margins again for Villa: Dean Smith’s men have out-performed their meager point total, as Villa’s five points are still Bottom Three. While the late disappointment against Crystal Palace as not their fault, this one was self-inflicted as the Villans lost sight of giant Chris Wood, who might as well have “This is our tactical approach” pressed onto his name plate. Not okay.

2. Dyche’s men never quit: Okay, we knew this. Everyone knows this, but Sean Dyche’s men make you look foolish every time you’re ready to doom Burnley into a relegation race. You keep thinking their Fortune will run out, that graft won’t win the day, and then Wood somehow powers his way to a late equalizer. The Clarets won’t tempt a European place this season, but we’d be silly to think of them as anything other than safe. Sorry in advance for the jinx, Burnley faithful.

3. Burnley’s backs bail out everyone else: Besides Wood’s finish, which didn’t exactly cap an outstanding day, the Clarets again put their back line under the gun. Keeping James Tarkowski is proving to be an outstanding bit of non-business for Burnley, who also got good performances out of fullbacks Matt Lowton and Erik Pieters. Both had assists, including the ex-Villa man Lowton on Wood’s equalizer.

Man of the Match: John McGinn was denied the opening goal when Conor Hourihane was spotted offside by VAR, but the soon-to-be 25-year-old Scot wouldn’t stay off the score sheet in scooping up his third Premier League goal.


McGinn thought he had his third goal early, with Hourihane ruled offside by VAR, but Villa would find the lead when El Ghazi used a cute touch of a Frederic Guibert cross to make it 1-0.

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Rodriguez found the equalizer off an Erik Pieters’ cross, getting his first goal in the Premier League for Burnley. It was his 34th goal in the top flight.

McGinn got his goal to restore Villa’s lead with a straight-forward finish, but Wood powered down a header off Matthew Lowton‘s finish to deliver 2-2.

Burnley to add Rodriguez, Pieters; Bournemouth adds full back

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A pair of Football League Championship fullbacks are moving to the Premier League, one of them a returnee.

[ MORE: Arnautovic leaves West Ham ]

Jack Stacey is leaving Luton Town for the shores of Bournemouth on a four-year deal.

The 23-year-old right back heads to the Cherries on the heels of the 75 career appearances with five goals.

“This is a great club with a fantastic manager who helps establish young players, so that made it an easy decision in the end,” Stacey said. “I believe I can thrive here and I can’t wait to get started.”

Bournemouth reportedly paid about $6 million for the back, and will also sell former club record signing Tyrone Mings for between $25-31 million.

Meanwhile at Turf Moor, Burnley has signed a left back and may reportedly be buying back one of its homegrown forwards.

The latter is Stoke City’s Erik Pieters, who arrives on a two-year deal with an option for a third. The Dutch fullback made 150 appearances for Stoke in the Premier League and spent last season in the Championship with the Potters.

As for the former, Sky Sports says Burnley is bidding $13 million to bring Jay Rodriguez from West Bromwich Albion. The one-time Southampton man turns 30 later this month.

Rodriguez made the first 128 senior appearances of his career with the Clarets, leaving in 2012 when his manager was Eddie Howe (now, of course, of Bournemouth. So this post comes full circle).

Transfer rumor roundup: Arnautovic to Man Utd; J-Rod, Jorginho buzz

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The transfer rumor mill has churned out two double-digit Premier League strikers and a Serie A second-place hero into Wednesday’s reading material.

[ MORE: Newcastle signs Dubravka ]


West Ham big man Marko Arnautovic and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho may seem like a combustible pair, but the Red Devils boss is apparently interested in seeing the mix.

Arnautovic, 29, engineered a $26 million move away from Stoke to West Ham last season, and came into form under David Moyes when he bagged 11 goals and six assists after going his first 11 matches without either.

Now the center forward who also plays either wing would perceivably be a depth move behind Romelu Lukaku. The move doesn’t seem the neatest fit given Arnautovic’s preference to play left wing and United’s glut of players on that side of the pitch.

West Ham is said to value Arnautovic at $67 million, which seems bonkers and a non-starter. Arnautovic did spent time under Mourinho at Inter Milan.


West Brom striker and former England man Jay Rodriguez is also wanted by Premier League teams after scoring 11 of West Brom’s 31 goals in Premier League play.

Rodriguez cost the Baggies around $16 million last season, when he signed a four-year deal with the Midlands club.

West Brom will be attempting to convince Rodriguez and/or Salomon Rondon to stick around and dominate Championship defenses, but Burnley and Bournemouth are said to be after Rodriguez.

“J-Rod” has spent time on the South Coast with Southampton, and started his career with the Clarets having been born in Burnley. He could team up with Chris Wood to lead Burnley into Europe.


Jorginho’s rumored move to Manchester City took another step on Wednesday, with the player’s agent admitting an offer has been made for the Napoli star.

“I know an offer to Napoli has arrived from Manchester City. We’re waiting for their response. I don’t think they have rejected offers. If Napoli find an agreement with City, we will assess everything,” Joao Santos told TMW. “Obviously, Manchester City would be very welcome, an opportunity not to be turned down. The coach is one of the best in Europe.”

Jorginho, 26, scored against Man City in the UEFA Champions League, and Napoli finished four points behind Juventus. He posted two league goals and four assists in Serie A, averaging 1.9 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game.

Manchester United 0-1 West Brom: Red Devils concede title

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  • Win clinches league for Man City
  • Foster makes key saves
  • Rodriguez scores winner

A shocking Jay Rodriguez goal gave West Bromwich Albion a rain-soaked 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, meaning United cannot catch crosstown rivals Manchester City in the race for the Premier League crown.

It’s a first Premier League title for Pep Guardiola, whose team has 87 points, 93 goals, and a 16-point lead on second place United.

West Brom is dead last in the Premier League, now nine points back of safety with four matches to play. But caretaker manager Darren Moore has picked up a beautiful feather for his cap in Manchester.

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Ander Herrera was denied an early penalty off a Romelu Lukaku feed, and United was very much on the front foot against Ben Foster and the Baggies.

Jesse Lingard thought he’d get a penalty for handball in the 64th minute, as the substitute tried to lead a United breakthrough.

Foster made an outstanding slap save on a Lukaku header in the 66th minute, and the Baggies dealt with a pair of ensuing efforts to keep it scoreless.

Lingard hammered a shot that took a slight turn off Chris Brunt, but it wasn’t spotted and West Brom got a goal kick.

Craig Dawson then headed a cross down to the center of the box, where Rodriguez dove to head an opener past David De Gea.

Foster collected a Chris Smalling header at the back post deep into stoppage time.

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