Steven Fletcher

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Arsenal’s Debuchy, Sunderland’s Fletcher headed to Ligue 1 sides

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A pair of Premier League veterans are making moves to France.

That Arsenal right back Mathieu Debuchy would be going back home on loan isn’t a terrible surprise, but the other name might really have you scratching your head.

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Debuchy left Lille in 2013 and made an instant impact alongside friend Yohan Cabaye at Newcastle United, earning a move to the Emirates Stadium. But he’s set to get some playing time at Bordeaux, which recently sold a pair of stars to the PL in Henri Saivet (Newcastle) and Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland).

Sunderland is loaning Scottish striker Steven Fletcher to Marseille. Top of mind, the 28-year-old Fletcher is the first British player to head to OM since Joey Barton in 2012.

Fletcher has been little used by Sam Allardyce, and has four goals for club after scoring 7 for Scotland in 2015.

The move seems a bit shortsighted for Allardyce, though that could be a board room demand given Sunderland’s acquisitions in January. Debuchy is surplus at Arsenal and an understandable move.

Premier League preview: Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland

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  • Both teams won on road last season
  • Palace leads all-time series 16W-13D-15L.
  • Sunderland four points back of safety

Two well-traveled English managers face mighty different tasks on Monday when Sunderland visits Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace. (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Palace’s Alan Pardew is looking to build on his solid return to life in South London soccer, as a win would boost his club to within two points of the Top Five.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s Sam Allardyce has learned, yet again, that players are really, really, really, really important if you’re going to win games in the Premier League, and that he doesn’t have the quality needed to survive in the top flight.

Allardyce has just one win through four matches in charge of the Black Cats, and that was a red card-aided derby win over struggling Newcastle United.

What they’re saying

Palace chairman Steve Parish on a potential American sale: “If it all goes ahead then it’ll be great for Crystal Palace Football Club, but we all know that these deals are complicated things so if it doesn’t go through then we’ll still be in a good position. I’ve said that we hope to get things done before Christmas if possible but we’ll see – I’ll keep you informed.”

Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher on life with Big Sam: “I think he’s got his own way of playing; we’ve seen that at the other clubs he’s been at and obviously with our last manager it was different. With someone new, they come in and want us to play the way they play and every player has to adapt to it. We’re working on it in training and in games as well. The matches come thick and fast over Christmas so sometimes you don’t have a chance to go over it.”


Is there reason to think Big Sam could out-fox Pardew, even given a lack of player quality? That comes down to how Sunderland handles Yohan Cabaye and Yannick Bolasie. It also matters whether Younes Kaboul is going to be bad Younes or decent-enough Younes. Call it 1-1, and some hope for the Black Cats.

Newcastle protesting Coloccini’s derby dismissal

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Newcastle United is thin at center back already, which makes the red card given to Fabricio Coloccini in Sunday’s derby loss to Sunderland hard to stomach.

Many understand referee Bobby Madley’s decision to award a penalty kick to Sunderland for Coloccini’s shoulder barge into onrushing Steven Fletcher, but public opinion seems to be on the Magpies’ captain’s side when it comes the red card awarded for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity.

[ MORE: Jagielka to miss two months with knee injury ]

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot was close to scooping the ball up when Fletcher flailed his arms and hit the turf. DOGSO? Maybe not, and Newcastle is protesting the decision.

From the BBC:

A Regulatory Commission will hear the appeal on Tuesday afternoon.

If the dismissal stands, the defender will miss Newcastle’s home game with Stoke on Saturday.

We expect the suspension to stand, though Madley’s peculiar performance bears another mention. Madley dealt out three yellow cards to NUFC, while giving noted hard man Lee Cattermole multiple verbal warnings but no cards.

Premier League roundup: Drama, goals galore on wild opening day

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Five games took place on the opening day of the Premier League season, and they came with plenty of goals and drama.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

Leicester City hammered Sunderland, Manchester United crept past Tottenham, Bournemouth were downed by Villa on their PL debut, while Everton drew with Watford and Palace beat Norwich. But the best game of the day came at the end as Chelsea drew 2-2 with Swansea in an absolute cracker at Stamford Bridge. It had it all.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule | standings ]

All in all, and I think you will agree with this, it was great to have the PL back.

Below you will find videos, recaps, reaction and more from all five games.

Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur RECAP

Louis van Gaal’s five new signings all played a part as the Red Devils beat Spurs 1-0 on the opening day of the season. The only goal of the game came against the run of play as Spurs’ bright start was interrupted when Kyle Walker tried to challenge Wayne Rooney but instead toe-poked the ball into his own net for the first goal of the 2015-16 season. Spurs had a great chance early on when Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen carved open United’s defense but the latter lobbed his effort over. Eriksen tested United’s new goalkeeper Sergio Romero late on, but he was up to the challenge as a tight game went United’s way.

Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City – RECAP

Jose Mourinho’s men got their title defense off to an inauspicious start against Swansea at Stamford Bridge. Oscar’s free kick gave Chelsea an early lead, but Andre Ayew scored on his debut to make it 1-1. Willian’s deflected effort but the Blues ahead before the break and in the second half the moment of the match arrived as Thibaut Courtois flicked Bafetimbi Gomis and referee Michael Oliver awarded Swansea a penalty kick and showed Chelsea’s goalkeeper a red card. Gomis scored the resulting spot kick and despite some heavy pressure from the Swans, Chelsea held on for a point.

Leicester City 4-2 SunderlandRECAP

What a start for Claudio Ranieri in charge of the Foxes as his side raced into a 3-0 lead at half time. Jamie Vardy’s header got things going early on, then Riyad Mahrez scored twice before half time to stun Sunderland. The Black Cats improved in the second half, with Jermain Defoe pulling one back, but Marc Albrighton scored another to make it 4-1. Steven Fletcher pulled another one back for Sunderland, but it ended 4-2 at the King Power Stadium with Leicester momentarily top of the league.

Everton 2-2 WatfordRECAP

Newly promoted Waford got a point away at Goodison Park on the opening day and the Hornets were a few minutes away from grabbing a win. Mexico international Miguel Layun put the 1-0 up in the first half, but Ross Barkley equalized in stunning fashion to make it 1-1. Late on Odion Ighalo put Watford 2-1 up, but Arouna Kone scored just two minutes later as the Toffees fought back to grab a point.

Bournemouth 0-1 Aston VillaRECAP

Second half substitute Rudy Gestede powered home a header just 13 minutes into his debut to hand Villa an opening day win for the third-straight PL season. Tim Sherwood handed six players their debuts and after struggling in the first half, Villa improved in the second but Bournemouth and Eddie Howe will feel hard done by to lose in the sun down on the South Coast. Marc Pugh and Dan Gosling went close in the first half, while Matt Ritchie had some chances late on to snag an equalizer, but Bournemouth’s first-ever game in the PL ended in defeat.

Norwich City 1-3 Crystal Palace – RECAP

The Eagles bagged an impressive win away from home as goals either side of half time from Wilfried Zaha and Damien Delaney put them 2-0 up. Substitute Nathan Redmond pulled one back for Norwich with a long-range goal, then Cameron Jerome had a goal disallowed and the Canaries thought they should have had a penalty when Sebastian Bassong went down. Late on Palace debutant Yohan Cabaye wrapped up the win, as Alan Pardew’s side started off this season exactly the way they finished last year.

Leicester City 4-2 Sunderland: Foxes run wild behind Albrighton, Mahrez

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  • Foxes top of table
  • Sunderland allows three in first 25 minutes
  • Mahrez nets brace
  • Albrighton with goal, two assists

Marc Albrighton had a hand in three goals and Riyad Mahrez netted twice as Leicester City cruised past Sunderland in both teams’ Premier League season openers on Saturday at King Power Stadium.

Claudio Ranieri’s Premier League return was a success, as Jamie Vardy also scored for Leicester, while Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher tallied for Sunderland.

The win boosts Leicester atop the table on goals scored, sending Sunderland bottom.

[ WATCH: Watch full match replays ]

Leicester took the lead on a free kick from the left of goal. Marc Albrighton send in the cross, and Vardy flicked it to the back post, where it bounded off the post before Costel Pantilimon could track it down.

Then Albrighton sent in another cross, which Riyad Mahrez may’ve headed ever so slightly. Uncleared, it went in the same far post. Pantilimon must’ve felt like he’d wandered into a bit of a replay. 2-0 Foxes.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sunderland’s captain didn’t do them any favors when he stumbled to ground, allowing Mahrez to tumble over him and win a penalty. Mahrez easily converted, and it was 3-0 before the match hit 25 minutes.

The Black Cats didn’t find much of a rally from their halftime talks, and Leicester threatened to add to its score line several times as the second half unfolded at King Power Stadium.

But it was Sunderland who would score next, with Jermain Defoe collecting a through ball from Adam Johnson, taking a touch and hammering past Kaspar Schmeichel. 3-1, 60′.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

Albrighton made sure to restore the three-goal advantage when Younes Kaboul failed to clear a ball at his feet. With under 25 minutes to play, the Foxes were up 4-1.

Fletcher again narrowed the gap when he leapt to use the back of his head and finish past Schmeichel off a Jeremain Lens looping pass.