Wes Brown

Gold Cup Final Preview: Mexico and Jamaica battle for shot at Confederations Cup

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If Jamaica thought taking on the United States in the semifinals of the 2015 Gold Cup was a David vs. Goliath battle, they have an ant vs elephant matchup in taking on Mexico in the finals from Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

The Jamaicans weathered an attacking storm against the United States, but they’ll have to take on the villified Mexican squad that will have massive home-field advantage and have been the recipients of a number of generous refereeing decisions.

The winner gets the opportunity for a shot at the 2017 Confederations Cup in a playoff against the U.S. in October. Conspiracy theorists will have a ball as CONCACAF would surely prefer a Mexico vs United States playoff, but that won’t stop the defensively sound Reggae Boyz.

[ LIVE: Watch Gold Cup Final | Follow live ]

Head coach Winfried Schäfer has revolutionized this team into an organized, compact unit that rarely leaks at the back. After an impressive Copa America appearance where they frustrated Argentina and Uruguay, the United States pummeled their back line and still came up nearly empty. Wes Morgan was phenomenal in the air, and Mexico will be ill-advised to attempt the same cross-heavy attacking game-plan that failed their neighbors to the north in Atlanta.

However, for all their defensive abilities, Jamaica must still find a way forward. They weathered a U.S. attack that couldn’t finish, but it’s unlikely they would survive a repeat of that match. Set-pieces are their strength, and it will likely come down to those again. In addition, goalkeeper Andre Blake must be better, having made nine saves against the U.S. but nearly all of those he spilled before collecting.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage

Jamaica has plenty to go up against, but Mexico has some adversity as well. They’ve played the entire tournament without Javier Hernandez – and it’s showed – but now they’ll miss Carlos Vela due to yellow card accumulation, serving to sap it’s already thin attack even further.

There are two likely results on Sunday: either Mexico’s luck runs out and, like the United States, their poor performances catch up to them against Jamaica’s brick wall; or El Tri turns things around and Jamaica is helpless to stop a rejuvenated squad galvanized by its villainous casting it didn’t ask for but now must embrace. Things are sure to be feisty either way.

Free transfers? Full list of players released, retained by Premier League clubs

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With the transfer window officially opening for Premier League clubs on Wednesday, June 10, a full list of the players retained or released by all 20 PL teams from the 2014-15 season has been published.

Safe to say there are some tidy free transfers to pick up.

[ RELATED: U.S. U-20’s reach WC quarters ]

Although those players on the released section can still agree to sign new deals at their current clubs up until June 30 when their contracts officially expire, the likes of Glen Johnson, Abou Diaby, Micah Richards, John Guidetti, Didier Drogba, Ron Vlaar, Sylvain Distin, Paul McShane, Brad Jones, Jonas Gutierrez, Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wes Brown, Youssouf Mulumbu and Gareth McAuley have all technically been released.

Surely a few of those players will land elsewhere in the PL this summer?

Here is the full retained and released list from the Premier League’s website, while below are the players released by each Premier League club following the end of the 2014-15 season.

Use the comments section below to let us know who could be savvy pickups on a free for your club this summer.

Arsenal

Ajayi Oluwasemilogo Adesewo
Diaby Vassiriki Abou
Jebb Jack
Lipman Austin
Miyaichi Ryo
Ormonde-Ottewill Brandon
Vickers Josh

Aston Villa

Bent Darren Ashley
Burke Graham Dylan
Crooks Alfie
Herd Christopher
Hill Craig Dennis
Lewis Bradley
Nehemie Isaac
O’Brien Daniel William
Stevens Enda
Strain Thomas James
Vlaar Ron Peter
Wildin Courtney James

Burnley

Howieson Cameron Drew Neru
Reid Steven John
Wallace Ross

Chelsea

Drogba Didier

Crystal Palace

Ameobi Foluwashola
Chambers Michael John Miles
De Silva Kyle Mattew
Dobbie Stephen
Garvan Owen William
Hangeland Brede Paulsen
Price Lewis Peter
Ramage Peter Iain
Sow Ghassimu
Thomas Jerome William

Everton

Alcaraz Antolin
Distin Sylvain
Green George William
Langton Curtis John
Lundstram John David
McLaughlin Ben Padraic

Hull City

Cracknell Joseph
Dawson Leon Stanley
Dudgeon Joseph Patrick
Figueroa Rochez Maynor Alexis
Harper Stephen Alan
Mahon John
Margetts Jonathon Gary
McCawl Eoghan Martin
McShane Paul David
Oxley Mark Thomas
Rosenior Liam James
Sagbo Latte Yannick Anister
Topliss Sam David

Leicester City

Bakayogo Zoumana
Barrington Marcel
Dawson Adam Ryan
Gallagher Paul
Kennedy Kieran
Logan Conrad Joseph
Pepe-Ngoma Herve
Rowley Louis James
Taylor-Fletcher Gary
Upson Matthew James

Liverpool

Gerrard MBE Steven George
Johnson Glen McLeod Cooper
Jones Bradley
Lussey Jordan
Pelosi Marc

Manchester City

Drury Adam John
Guidetti John Alberto
Lampard Frank James
Leigh Greg
Oduro Dominic
Richards Micah

Manchester United

Amos Benjamin Paul
Cleverley Thomas William
Evans Callum Leeroy
McConnell Ryan Peter
Thorpe Thomas Joseph

Newcastle United 

Alnwick Jak
Campbell Adam
Gutierrez Jonas Manuel
Streete Remie
Taylor Ryan Anthony

Queens Park Rangers

Andrade Bruno Miguel Carvalho
Barton Joseph
Dunne Richard Patrick
Ferdinand Rio Gavin
Gibbons Jordan Leon Chidubem
Henry Karl Levi Daniel
Lennox Aaron Keith
Murphy Brian
Sendles-White Jamie Alexander
Wright-Phillips Shaun Cameron
Zamora Robert Lester

Southampton

Boruc Artur
Cropper Cody Joseph
Hooiveld Jos
Johns Christopher Patrick Adam
Rowe Omar Reiss
Sinclair Jake Tony

Stoke City

Adeloye Oluwatomisin
Alabi James
Coulson Samuel Philip
Grant Alexander Ian
Palacios Suazo Wilson Roberto
Parry Robbie Jay
Ricketts-Hopkinson Nathan Alton
Sorensen Thomas
Thomas Adam Christopher
Ward Charlie
Wheeler Elliot Peter
Wilkinson Andrew Gordon

Sunderland

Brown Wesley Michael
Burke Peter
Cartwright Andrew
Dixon Joel Stephen
McNamee Thomas Gerard
Reveillere Anthony

Swansea City

Atyeo Thomas David Benjamin
Cornell David Joseph
Donnelly Ruaridhri
Francis Corey Benjamin
Gallifuoco Giancarlo
Jones Joseph Michael
March Kurtis Charles
Obeng Curtis
Owen Gareth Thomas
Tancock Scott Russell
Tate Alan
Tremmel Gerhard

Tottenham Hotspur

Archer Jordan Gideon
Ceballos Cristian
Friedel Bradley Howard
Khumalo Bongani
McEneff Aaron
McQueen Alexander Luke
Miles Jonathan David

West Bromwich Albion

Atkinson Wesley
Baird Christopher
Birch Aaron
Davidson Jason
Garmston Bradley
Jones Alexander
McAuley Gareth Gerald
Mulumbu Youssouf
O’Sullivan Mani

West Ham United

Bywater Kieran
Cole Carlton
De Carvalho Anderson Luis
Demel Guy Roland
Jaaskelainen Juusi Albert
Maguire Sean
McCallum Paul Leon Miller
Potts Daniel

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Sunderland

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• Victory on Sunday would be the Black Cats’ third in five Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

• If Chelsea fail to win they will be only the second champions in the last 12 seasons to end with fewer than 86 points. Manchester United took the title with 80 points in 2011.

• The Black Cats have won just one of their 13 previous games on the final day of a Premier League season. (BBC Sport)

On Sunday, when Chelsea and Sunderland face off to conclude each’s 2014-15 Premier League season, neither squad will have much to worry about.

The last meeting between these outfits ended in a 0-0 draw back in November, Sunderland’s “parked bus” tactic working at its finest.

The Blues clinched the Premier League title weeks ago—on May 3—with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Since then, manager Jose Mourinho has noticed a small patch of inconsistency, as his side drew Liverpool at Stamford Bridge and lost 3-0 to mid-table dweller West Brom.

[RELATED: Premier League table | Stat leaders | Highlights ]

But aside from the latest problems, Chelsea has been at the pinnacle of English soccer for the majority of the season, and Mourinho and Co. continue to add awards to their trophy case marking the overall triumph of the past nine months.

Meanwhile, for Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat, avoiding demotion to the Championship became his main priority after the club sacked Gus Poyet in the middle of March. At that point, the Black Cats were just one point above the relegation zone and had lost to Aston Villa, 4-0, on home ground.

[RELATED: Behind the scenes at Stoke City with USMNT defender Geoff Cameron]

Advocaat was brought in to salvage what little positive action could be mustered late in the year, following weeks of disappointment for a side that should’ve never dwelled near the bottom-three for so long.

Sunderland’s draw to Arsenal last week ensured a five-game unbeaten run, an extension offer to the Dutch boss, and most importantly, survival.

Catch the action this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN, or online through Live Extra.

What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho reflects on personal attitude throughout season (ESPN FC): “I’m not the kind of person to regret. What you did, you did. What happened, happened. You cannot change things. Time does not go back…We had lots of mistakes against us, that’s the reality, but that’s football. Maybe ‘campaign’ is not a nice word. Maybe I would take that word out from my explanation and my comments, but that’s the reality.”

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher on Advocaat staying on as manager (The Guardian): “It’s been a remarkable turnaround since Dick came in,” said the Sunderland striker. He’s been great. He got his style of play in place and across to us straight away and it’s reflected in the points we’ve put on the board….He’s only been here for a couple of months but you could see what survival meant to him. He’s a very passionate man. We see it in training every day.”

Match injuries/absences

Most notably, Chelsea will not have Eden Hazard on the pitch due to his recovery from wisdom teeth surgery, while Cesc Fabregas will serve his one-game ban originating from a red card against West Brom.

Young center back Kurt Zouma, Ramires, Petr Cech and Oscar are all not ready to play because of injury.

Black Cats midfielder Sebastian Larsson has recovered from a mid-week problem and should appear for Sunderland. Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon is out with a knee condition. Other Sunderland players sidelined with injury: Wes Brown, Jordi Gomez, Liam Bridcutt and Danny Graham.

Prediction

Being a game that has little significance besides entertainment value, the result will hinge on the amount of effort players on both sides are willing to put forth. Chelsea 3-2 Sunderland.

Watch Live: Sunderland vs. Leicester City (Lineups and Live Stream)

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Boy, we have ourselves a relegation six-pointer on Saturday as Sunderland host Leicester City (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra) at the Stadium of Light.

This match will also be shown on NBCSN, as part of the Breakaway Show will will focus on the three big relegation battles.

Sunderland is two points above the relegation zone with three games left, while Leicester is three points off the bottom three with two games left as both sides have been in great form to drag themselves out of the drop zone in recent weeks. Dick Advocaat’s Black Cats have won two on the spin, while the Foxes have won six of their last seven and a win on Saturday would secure survival if other results go their way.

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Advocaat’s side finish with games against Arsenal and Chelsea, so they know a win at home to Leicester is a must if they want to stay up. Tension will be in the air.

In team news Sunderland bring in Liam Bridcutt and John O’Shea for the injured Jordi Gomez and Wes Brown, while Leicester make one change with Andy King coming in for Matty James.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Pantilimon; Jones, Coates, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Larsson, Cattermole, Bridcutt; Defoe, Graham, Wickham.

Leicester: Schmeichel; Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan; Albrighton, King, Cambiasso, Schlupp; Mahrez, Ulloa, Vardy.

Everton 0-2 Sunderland: Black Cats grab massive win as the “great escape” is on

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Sunderland beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, as Dick Advocaat’s side breathed new life into their battle against relegation.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Two second half goals, both courtesy of lucky deflections, from Danny Graham and Jermain Defoe did the damage as Everton dominated play but came up against a Sunderland side who were resolute in defense as goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon plus Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole were rocks at the back. The Toffees had 73 percent of possession but the closest they came was James McCarthy’s shot which cannoned off the post in the second half.

With the win Sunderland moves up to 14th place on 36 points, while Everton remain in 11th on 44 points.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Early on it was all Everton as the Toffees were patient in possession and in the seventh minute Leon Osman found some space in the box but slipped just as he curled his effort wide of the far post.

Everton continued to press for the opener and Ross Barkley had an effort blocked in the 20th minute following a great surging run down the right from Seamus Coleman. Before half time Sunderland finally showed some attacking intent but both Defoe and Connor Wickham fired effort off target.

In the 41st minute the Toffees had the best chance of the first half as Osman played in Romelu Lukaku but Pantilimon smothered the ball at his feet and then saved Osman’s follow up after Aaron Lennon had put the ball back into the danger area.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Sunderland came out fighting and had a chance through Graham as he threw himself as Sebastian Larsson’s effort but side-footed over. Everton then went close as Wickham headed clear from danger as Lukaku looked to pounce and then the first goal of the game arrived. In the 53rd minute Larsson’s cross from the right found Jordi Gomez and his goalbound effort was deflected into the net by Graham as Sunderland’s fans rejoiced.

The goal was Graham’s first in 28 appearances for the Black Cats since arriving from Swansea last season and it was the first goal Everton had conceded in 434 minutes at home in the PL. Everton responded well to going behind as Seamus Coleman dribbled through Sunderland’s defense as he juggled the ball and slammed just wide, while soon after McCarthy came closest for the Toffees as he slammed a shot against the foot of the post. Late on Everton had a huge shout for a penalty kick waved away as Coleman arrived at the back post to slot home but Defoe appeared to clip the right back as he tracked back. No penalty, and moments later Defoe wrapped up the win.

In the 85th minute John Stones was caught in possession and substitute Steven Fletcher ran into the box before laying it off to Adam Johnson who hit a shot across goal that deflected in off Defoe. 2-0 to Sunderland, as the great escape is well and truly on.

LINEUPS

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Baines (Garbutt, 74′) , Stones, Jagielka, McCarthy, Barry (Mirallas, 62′), Lennon (McGeady, 87′), Barkley, Osman, Lukaku

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, Brown, Coates, Cattermole, Gomez, Larsson (Bridcutt, 84′), Defoe, Wickham (Fletcher, 84′), Graham (Johnson, 74′)

Goals: Graham (53′), Defoe (85′)