Michael Duff

Burnley defender Michael Duff has red card rescinded, will be available vs Hull City

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Burnley won’t get their valuable three points back, but there’s some respite from a 1-0 loss to West Ham over the weekend.

37-year-old defender Michael Duff had his red card rescinded on appeal by the FA after referee Jon Moss sent off the Burnley man in just the 23rd minute, forcing the Clarets to chase the game a man down for over an hour.

Duff was ruled to have brought down Cheikhou Kouyate in the penalty area, and Moss sent him off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Mark Noble slotted home the penalty, and West Ham cruised from there.

With the club now bottom of the league table and seven points back of safety, they mathematically cannot lose from here on out in order to have any shot at staving off relegation. Burnley manager Sean Dyche was furious about the decision after the game, producing a fantastic quote knowing it could be a critical moment in determining whether his team can maintain its Premier League status.

“I’ve got no problem with the fact it’s a penalty. I think there’s a stadium full of people who are very surprised it’s a sending-off,” Dyche said. “I can only imagine their manager was surprised. Their staff were certainly surprised. I think the subs were surprised it was a sending-off. I think the groundsman was surprised it was a sending-off, I think the linesman was surprised it was a sending-off. I think there was a tube station nearby where they were surprised it was a sending-off.”

“When you really need decisions to be right, in my opinion it wasn’t right. It’s a massive moment in a game like this. That changes everything. It’s hard enough to win games at this level 11 v 11.”

As stated, any loss from here on out would doom Burnley to the Championship just a year after they were promoted. They would also be condemned to the drop should they drop any points and Sunderland pick up any points the rest of the way. Even if they win out, one win by Sunderland would confirm relegation for the Clarets.

Thankfully, Burnley will now have Duff available against Hull City, who are also fighting for their Premier League lives. That match was thought a few weeks ago to be a vastly important relegation six-pointer, and while it still is for Hull, to Burnley they’re all of equal importance from here on out.

Premier League roundup: Big day for relegation battlers

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Seven Premier League games took place on Saturday, as plenty of teams at the bottom secured big wins to shake up the relegation picture.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

Leicester, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Sunderland all prevailed, while poor old Burnley and QPR went down fighting away from home but their days in the top-flight looked numbered.

[ RELATED: Standings | videos | schedule ]

In the top half there were only wins for Liverpool, Swansea and West Ham as Manchester United slipped up at home to West Brom to breath new life into the top four race.

Below are recaps, reaction, videos and more from another busy day around the PL.

Aston Villa 3-2 EvertonRECAP

A double from Christian Benteke put Villa 2-0 up at half time. Romelu Lukaku scored a PK to put Everton back in the game but Tom Cleverley made it 3-1 before a late consolation from Phil Jagielka set up a tense finish. Huge win for Villa who now sit on 35 points. Everton’s six-game unbeaten run is over.

Manchester United 0-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Jonas Olsson turned out to be the hero for the Baggies, as Manchester United lost their third-straight PL  match. That’s something the Red Devils haven’t done since 2001 and their recent struggles have come at a pivotal stage of the season with the top four race now back on. Robin van Persie had a second half penalty kick saved by Boaz Myhill as West Brom won at Old Trafford for the second time in a row and are now seven points clear of the relegation zone with three games left.

Liverpool 2-1  QPRRECAP

Liverpool went ahead early on as Coutinho curled in a beauty but then QPR equalized with just over 15 minutes to go as Leroy Fer volleyed home. A crazy last 10 minutes then played out as first Steven Gerrard had a penalty kick, which Nedum Onuoha gave away, saved by Robert Green and then Onuoha was sent off for two yellows. In the 87th minute Gerrard rolled back the years and glanced home a header to make it 2-1.

Sunderland 2-1 SouthamptonRECAP

Two penalty kicks from Jordi Gomez sealed the win for the Black Cats as Dick Advocaat’s side boosted their survival chances. Sunderland still remain in the bottom three but are just one point off safety with three games to go. Saints’ lone goal came via Sadio Mane, who finished well after a defensive mix up, but Ronald Koeman’s men were lackluster and lost ground in the race for a top six finish.

Leicester City 3-0 Newcastle UnitedRECAP

The Foxes’ wonderful form continued as they raced into an early lead and never looked back. Leonardo Ulloa gave Leicester the lead after 38 seconds and Wes Morgan added another on 17 minutes. Newcastle were all over the place and Ulloa scored a penalty kick three minutes into the second half to put the game beyond doubt. The Magpies then had Daryl Janmaat and Mike Williamson sent off as they are now just two points above the drop zone with three games to go. Leicester have now won five of their last six and is one point above the bottom three.

West Ham United 1-0 BurnleyRECAP

It was a nightmare start for Burnley at Upton Park as Michael Duff was sent off and Mark Noble scored the resulting penalty kick to give the Hammers a lead after 25 minutes. The Clarets never fully recovered and despite the Hammers being wasteful, they secured their first win in five matches. Burnley is now eight points from safety with three games left. It’s time to start waving goodbye to the PL, Burnley fans.

Swansea City 2-0 Stoke CityRECAP

The Swansea scored twice late in the second half to grab all three points and keep their record-setting season going. Garry Monk’s boys took the lead through Jefferson Montero and Ki sealed the victory in the final minute. Stoke had Marc Wilson sent off late on for two yellows.

West Ham United 1-0 Burnley: Noble PK leaves Clarets waiting for miracle

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Burnley’s safety dreams are all but dead after West Ham United used a first-half penalty to win 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

The Clarets have 26 points with three matches to play, and would need to win all three and see a complete collapse from several teams in front of them.

Mark Noble’s converted penalty puts West Ham in ninth place with 47 points.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Burnley found themselves in a bad spot early, as Michael Duff chopped down Cheikhou Kouyate in the box to earn a red card and a West Ham penalty. The red may’ve been harsh, but Mark Noble converted the deserved penalty to make it 1-0 Hammers.

The Clarets fought, though, and Adrian had to do very well to stop Ashley Barnes strong header of a Kieran Trippier cross.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

West Ham United out shot Burnley 29-8, and went 7-2 on target. They also won 13 corners to Burnley’s three.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell, Amalfitano, Noble, Kouyate, Nolan (de Carvalho, 79′), Downing, Valencia (Cole, 82′)

Goal: Noble (PK, 24′)

Burnley: Heaton, Arfield, Ings, Trippier, Jones, Shackell (c), Barnes, Mee, Boyd (Keane, 45′), Taylor (Wallace, 81′), Duff (Sordell, 79′).

LIVE – Premier League, at the half: Villa flying; Liverpool, Hammers lead

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There are five games going on in the Premier League right now, and there have been plenty of goals flying in.

A busy first half has seen Aston Villa race into a commanding lead, while Saints and Sunderland traded quickfire goals. Liverpool is ahead, as is West Ham, and the only game with no goals is between Swansea and Stoke.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

Click on the link above to watch the second half of any game you so choose.

Here’s a quick recap on what’s happened so far…

Aston Villa 2-0 Everton

A double from Christian Benteke has the Villans cruising at the break. Can Everton come roaring back?

Sunderland 1-1 Southampton

A penalty kick from Jordi Gomez put the Black Cats ahead but moments later Sadio Mane finished well after a defensive mix up.

Liverpool 1-0 QPR

Liverpool went ahead early on as Coutinho curled in a beauty. That is the difference so far, but QPR are still in this.

West Ham 1-0 Burnley

Nightmare for Burnley at Upton Park as Michael Duff was sent off and Mark Noble scored the resulting penalty kick to give the Hammers a lead.

Swansea City 0-0 Stoke City

Stalemate in south Wales so far. A win would take Stoke ahead of Swansea.

Premier League Playback: Chelsea brilliant, not boring, as title inches closer

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CHELSEA: BORING OR BRILLIANT?

Towards the end of Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal on Sunday the home fans at the Emirates Stadium were growing increasingly frustrated with the away side thwarting attack after attack. “Boring, boring Chelsea” was the chant that reverberated around the stadium as Jose Mourinho had masterminded another sublime defensive display to inch his side one point closer to the Premier League title and quelling the threat of his nearest challenger.

[ RELATED: Three things we learned | Mourinho wins tactical battle ]

Asked afterwards what he thought about the chants from Arsenal’s fans and being labelled boring, Mourinho delivered the best response possible to silence the Gunners faithful.

“I think boring is 10 years without a title. That is very, very boring,” Mourinho said. “You support the club, you are waiting, waiting for so many years without the Premier League. I think that is very boring. Maybe they were not singing to us, because when you are at home and you want to win the game and you take out your number nine. Maybe for the home fans they want more. They want to play Giroud and Welbeck together up front to try and win the game in the last period. I think we have a very good performance and the ‘boring team’ is the team with the second [highest] amount of goals in the Premier League and is the best team in goal difference.”

How do you come back from that burn from Mourinho? You don’t.

Chelsea is now 10 points clear at the top of the PL table and if they beat Leicester City on Wednesday that lead will be increased to 13 points with four games to go. Only Arsenal can catch them if they win all of their remaining five matches and Chelsea do not pick up any more points this season. So, that is why Mourinho selected to defend first and try and make other teams beat Chelsea, rather than his side beating itself.

Due to injuries ruling out Diego Costa and Loic Remy, plus Didier Drogba only fit to start on the bench, Mourinho showed his tactical genius as he played Oscar in a “false nine” position in the first half which worked wonderfully well as Willian, Ramires and Eden Hazard supported from deep-lying roles. Oscar had to be withdrawn at half time due to the terrible challenge from Arsenal’s goalkeeper David Ospina, which should have resulted in a penalty kick, that left him needing a trip to hospital. But the fact that Chelsea got in behind Arsenal on at least four occasions in the first 45 minutes proved that playing a “false nine” in the future should not be out of the question.

As for their defensive prowess, they way they funneled Arsenal’s attackers into central areas was majestic. John Terry’s performance had Mourinho saying it was the “best he’s ever played” for him at Chelsea as the Blues’ captain celebrated his inclusion into the PFA Team of the Year in fine style. Terry, 34, and Chelsea handled Olivier Giroud masterfully with the English center back winning aerial balls, organizing the back line and urging his side to stay compact. Arsenal missed the pace and width players like Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck provide and only when Wenger brought them on late in the game did the Gunners get in behind and around Chelsea’s blue wall. As the stat above suggests, Chelsea didn’t do anything new against Arsenal as their defensive dominance against their London rivals continues. Arsenal only had one shot on target and failed to score at home in the PL for the first time this season and for the first time since Feb. 12, 2014.

Premier League Schedule – Week 34

Result Recap & Highlights
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea Recap and watch here
Burnley 0-1 Leicester Recap and watch here
Crystal Palace 0-2 Hull Recap and watch here
Everton 3-0 Man Utd Recap and watch here
Man City 3-2 Villa Recap and watch here
Newcastle 2-3 Swansea Recap and watch here
QPR 0-0 West Ham Recap and watch here
Saints 2-2 Tottenham Recap and watch here
Stoke 1-1 Sunderland Recap and watch here
WBA 0-0 Liverpool Recap and watch here

They have now shut the Gunners out in each of the four games Mourinho has played against them since he returned to the PL at the start of last season, which includes two 0-0 draws away from home, and the Portuguese coach is now 13 games unbeaten (seven wins, six draws) against Wenger. Just as free-flowing, attractive, attacking soccer is widely admired, there’s also a supreme art in defending correctly and resolutely. The hours Mourinho spent on the training ground in the lead up to the game against Arsenal made all the difference, as he knew that as long as his side didn’t lose then there would be no real risk of them fluffing their lines and not winning the PL crown this season.

His masterplan to grind out wins and points in the final stages of the season is nothing new either. Mourinho is the only manager in history to have won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. He knows how to get it done at the pivotal stage of the season. How many times have we seen his teams lighting it up early in the season with scintillating displays and the shackles off, then grinding out wins at the business end of the season? In short, the answer is a heck of a lot. And also, this notion of being boring… Chelsea is still the second highest goalscorers in the PL. Not bad for a boring team.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Yes in an ideal world it would be great to see a team rip up opponents playing expansive, orgasmic soccer like the great Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United sides of the past, but it is not easy to do what Chelsea does. Mourinho needs each and every one of his players to buy into his philosophy of switching tactics in the latter stages of the season. In Terry he had a leader on the pitch who understands what is needed to win the PL crown and Chelsea’s skipper is getting ready to lift his fourth title and third under Mourinho. Here’s what Terry thinks about those “boring” jibes from Arsenal’s fans.

“We are definitely not boring and if we do go on to win it, nobody’s going to remember the performances when perhaps it’s not been that exciting,” Terry said. “We’ve dug deep and other teams haven’t, and that is why they are so far behind us. Possession is great. We could see that from the Manchester United game last week. Possession and tippy-tappy football’s great, but if you are not winning games you’re not going to win the league.”

HAZARD, KANE SCOOP DESERVED PFA AWARDS

On Sunday evening the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) announced the winners of their season awards as Eden Hazard was voted as the best player in the PL by his peers for the 2014-15 season and Harry Kane picked up the young player of the season award. It’s hard to argue with either selection.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Hazard, 24, also finished second behind Kane in the young player of the season vote to display his dominance. The Belgian winger has scored 13 goals and assisted eight but don’t let those rather modest numbers deceive you. Go around the PL and ask other players who is the toughest to mark. Hazard’s name is always at the top of the list. He has created 88 chances, more than any other player, and has also completed the most dribbles in the PL (155) on his way to being the most fouled player. The speedy, combative Belgian was a worthy winner of the PFA’s top prize as he is so often the creative spark for Chelsea as they inch towards the title. As for Kane, well, what superlative hasn’t been used to describe his breakout season? Just 21, he has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Spurs and didn’t even start his first PL match of the season until November. Remarkable. He can score with both feet, makes intelligent runs, can hold the ball up well and is great in the air.

The one gripe I had with the PFA awards was the Team of the Season selections. Here’s a list of 10 players who should have made the squad.

While here is the actual 11 players who were voted by their fellow PL players as the best this season.

RELEGATION PICTURE

Man, it is getting tight down there. Leicester City grabbed a huge win away at Burnley as the Clarets’ season may well be defined by two second half minutes when all is said and done. First, Matt  Taylor stepped up and slammed a penalty kick against the post. Then, a defensive mix up between Tom Heaton and Michael Duff allowed Jamie Vardy to prod the ball home and give the Foxes the 1-0 win, which is their fourth-straight victory and moves them out of the bottom three.

[ RELATED: Latest PL standings | schedule | stats ]

Elsewhere Hull bagged a huge win at Palace thanks to two goal from Dame N’Doye but the Tigers have a horrendous set of games coming up  against Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United as they sit just one point ahead of Sunderland who slipped into the bottom three despite their draw at Stoke. As for QPR, they squandered a glorious chance to grab three points at home as Charlie Austin had his poor penalty kick saved by Adrian and the R’s drew 0-0 with West Ham to leave themselves four points from safety with four games to go. Another club looking helpless is Newcastle United as seven-straight defeats has seen them fall to just five points above the drop zone. Surely the Magpies won’t go down?

Here’s a look at how the bottom seven is shaping up in the standings. It’s anybody’s guess as to who will go down, but Burnley and QPR are looking increasingly likely to drop straight back into the Championship. Can they replicate Leicester’s heroics of recent weeks to make one final push?

source:

ROCKET MEN! WATFORD COMING UP

Sir Elton John, Honorary Life President of Watford FC, will be a happy man after the Hornets sealed promotion to the Premier League over the weekend.

[ RELATED: 10 things you should know about Watford ]

On Saturday Watford beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 in their penultimate Championship match of the season and with other teams slipping up, that meant the Hertfordshire club is heading back to the big time.

It all came as quite a surprise as everyone expected the race for promotion to go down to the final day of the season but a freak set of results sealed the deal for Watford. As you can see in the video above taken on the team bus (listened to the one guy “I don’t normally get emotional…”) by Mexican international defender Miguel Layun, the moment promotion was sealed was pretty special.

As for who can join them, if Bournemouth wins against Bolton on Monday afternoon the Cherries will all but seal their place in the PL for the first-time in club history. If they win they no other team could surpass their points total but a massive swing in goal differential is the only thing that could. Here’s a breakdown of the entire playoff and promotion picture entering the final week of the Championship season.

USMNT UPDATE: GUZAN’S BLUNDER, HOWARD ROLLING

There’s no hiding when a goalkeeper makes a bad mistake and U.S. national team man Brad Guzan had one of those moments on Saturday just three minutes in. As the ball was played back to Guzan by Ron Vlaar, the American tried to swing his left foot at the clearance but got it horribly wrong as the ball bounced off his standing foot and skewed straight to Sergio Aguero to tap home. Awful moment for Guzan who has been so reliable for Villa. Guzan’s side ended up losing the game 3-2 late on (after an impressive rally from 2-0 down went to waste) and remain in serious danger and just two points above the bottom three.

[ RELATED: Geoff Cameron’s blog for PST ]

Elsewhere, Geoff Cameron started at right back for Stoke in their 1-1 draw with Sunderland but limped off late on with a hamstring issue. Rounding off the Americans in action in the PL, Tim Howard kept another clean sheet as Everton defeated his old side Manchester United 3-0 in the Toffees’ biggest win of the season so far.

Premier League Playback comes out every Monday as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here