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Assessing the Premier League relegation scrap
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Assessing the Premier League relegation scrap

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The Premier League’s relegation race is absurdly tight.

Three teams between 17th and 19th have the exact same record after 31 matches and are separated by only four goals of differential after Aston Villa picked up a point at Newcastle on Wednesday.

West Ham (-19), Bournemouth (-21), and Villa (-23) each have seven wins, six draws, and 18 losses.

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Watford sits a just point above the group with a match-in-hand which will be played Thursday at struggling Burnley.

Then there’s Norwich City, six points back but hopeful if only because the teams in their windshield have been dreadful.

[ MORE: Martial reacts to hat trick ]

There are four 6-pointers left between the five teams in question and three involve West Ham United.

Five teams, two spots (assuming Brighton isn’t dragged into the mess). Here’s what they have moving forward.

Thursday

Burnley v. Watford — 1 p.m. ET

Saturday

Aston Villa v. Wolves — 7:30 a.m. ET

Sunday

Watford v. Southampton — 11:30 a.m. ET

July 1

Bournemouth v. Newcastle — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal v. Norwich City — 1 p.m. ET
West Ham v. Chelsea — 1 p.m. ET

July 4

Norwich City v. Brighton — 7:30 a.m. ET
Manchester United v. Bournemouth — 10 a.m. ET
Chelsea v. Watford — 3 p.m. ET

July 5

Liverpool v. Aston Villa — 11:30 a.m. ET

July 7

Watford v. Norwich City — 1 p.m. ET

July 8

West Ham v. Burnley — 1 p.m. ET

July 9

Bournemouth v. Tottenham Hotspur — 1 p.m. ET
Aston Villa v. Manchester United — 3:15 p.m. ET

July 11

Watford v. Newcastle United — 7:30 a.m. ET
Norwich City v. West Ham — 7:30 a.m. ET

July 12

Aston Villa v. Crystal Palace — 9:15 a.m. ET
Bournemouth v. Leicester City — 2 p.m. ET

July 15

Everton v. Aston Villa
West Ham v. Watford
Man City v. Bournemouth
Chelsea v. Norwich City

July 18

Manchester United v. West Ham
Norwich City v. Burnley
Watford v. Man City
Bournemouth v. Southampton
Aston Villa v. Arsenal

July 26

West Ham v. Aston Villa
Arsenal v. Watford
Man City v. Norwich City
Everton v. Bournemouth

Ex-Newcastle winger Solano detained for breaking coronavirus curfew

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Former Newcastle, Aston Villa and West Ham winger Nolberto Solano was briefly detained by police in Peru after breaking the nation’s coronavirus curfew.

Solano told Peruvian national radio station RPP that he was invited to a friend’s home for a meal and it went on longer than expected.

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“Those who know me know that I have tried to handle myself in the best way,” Solano said. “I went to a lunch and end up in a situation like the one at night that was not a party, it was just a meeting, a lunch that I was invited by a friend who we always visited. Obviously I am very sorry for all this and I apologize for the case.

“I am not going to justify it, the whole country is in the same situation, one puts oneself in the shoes of people who must live day by day, it is very hard for them, but the most important thing is, health, without that we can not do anything.”

Peru’s government on March 18 announced a curfew from 8:00 p.m. local to 5:00 a.m. local to cut down on the spread of the coronavirus.

Solano is currently an assistant coach for Peru, working with head coach Ricardo Gareca. Solano earned 95 caps for Peru, though he was not able to lead them to the World Cup despite his talent and speed along the wing.

The 45-year-old came up with Peruvian club Sporting Cristal and later played for Boca Juniors before getting snapped up by Newcastle. Solano played eight seasons with Newcastle, wowing the crowds with his athleticism between 1998-2004 and again from 2005-2007. Solano played all over England, featuring for Aston Villa, West Ham, Leicester City, Hull City, and Hartlepool United. Since his playing days, Solano served short spells as a manager, first for Peruvian giant Universitario and then for Jose Galvez. Randomly, he coached a Canadian semi-pro team for a few months in 2014 before it lost its license.

Overall, Solano played 302 Premier League games with 49 goals and 62 assists.

Preview: Liverpool v. West Ham

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  • A win for Liverpool sees them equal Man City’s all-time record of winning 18 top-flight games in a row
  • Liverpool unbeaten in 43 PL games
  • West Ham have lost a league-high 19 points from winning positions

Liverpool v. West Ham takes center stage at Anfield on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Reds aim to reclaim their 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

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Jurgen Klopp‘s side remain unbeaten this season and with five more wins needed to guarantee the Premier League title, the finishing line is in sight. As for David Moyes and the Hammers, they are scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table and their daunting run of fixtures makes them one of the favorites for relegation.

In team news Liverpool are without captain Jordan Henderson who has suffered a hamstring injury and will be out for the next three weeks.

West Ham are without the injured Ryan Fredericks who suffered a shoulder injury in the 2-0 defeat at Man City on Wednesday.


Projected lineups

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

West Ham: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Soucek; Masuaku; Antonio


What they’re saying

Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s UCL defeat at Atletico Madrid: “I could not fault for a second the attitude and application of the team in Madrid last Tuesday. The intensity of our performance was really pleasing and I told that to the boys. There was nothing from last week that should set us back. We should look at it the other way. An opportunity to immediately strike back. We have a talented opponent coming to our home and they want to leave with the win. This is enough motivation. I will be happy if we take this approach into the match tonight. We’ll need to be at our very best – we know that.”

David Moyes on West Ham’s relegation scrap: “In the main many of the supporters I have spoken to have been very supportive and really understanding. We went there [Man City] hoping to get something from the game. We’ve tried other formations and other players that haven’t worked either. We’re trying to find situations and look for situations that will help us. I’ve never classed staying up at any club a success and I never will. And certainly not a club the size in West Ham. I have a job to do, we have a job to do to stay up, unfortunately.”


Predictions

Well, there is only one outcome here. Liverpool are going to win and West Ham are going to try their best to keep the score down. This may be tighter than we all think and West Ham did draw with Liverpool at home last season. That said, David Moyes knows the pressure is off in this one, even with West Ham in 18th place and in the relegation zone. They will be focusing the game at home against Southampton next week and will sit back and play a 5-4-1 and try to use Michail Antonio‘s pace on the break. Liverpool will have too much for them to handle. 3-0 win for Klopp’s boys.

Arsenal overruns West Ham with 3 second half goals

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Who saw that coming?

With three goals in a nine-minute span in the second half, Arsenal overcame a one-goal halftime deficit to comfortably beat West Ham, 3-1, on Monday night at the Olympic Stadium. It was a complete reversal after a second half where Arsenal didn’t attempt a single shot on target in the first half and were second-best in winning duals and second balls.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

But it was the Arsenal stars who helped the club when it was effectively on its knee, facing a tenth-straight match without a win. Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and youngster Gabriel Martinelli secured all three points for Arsenal.

On the other side, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is in a whole host of trouble. West Ham sits just one point above the relegation zone after 16 league matches, and Pellegrini was expected to take the Hammers to the next level.


Three things we learned

1. Arsenal stars finally step up: With Arsenal on the verge of another demoralizing defeat, the club’s expensive strike force helped turn the tide in the second half. Martinelli, Aubameyang, and Pepe all played a huge role, and their goals, arguably against the run of play, were more than enough to inject some excitement into the club.

2. No Luiz, No Problem: Arsenal may have found its new starting centerback combination. After multiple error-prone performances with Sokratis playing alongside David Luiz, Arsenal boss Freddy Ljunberg went with Calum Chambers to partner Sokratis. The end result was a much more organized backline, and fewer mistakes, leading to fewer allowed goals.

3. Pellegrini on the hot seat: Pellegrini will have a nervous few days ahead of him. Despite a rare win over Chelsea last week, West Ham has now dropped successive defeats, first to Wolves and now Arsenal, leaving West Ham on the edge of relegation. Could Pellegrini last until January?

Man of the Match: Arsenal’s defense deserves credit, but goals win games, so Man of the Match has to go to Nicolas Pepe. The Ivory Coast international absolutely earned his massive transfer fee on Monday, scoring a beautiful curler and then setting up Aubameyang with a chip into the box.


In the run up to kickoff, and even halftime, Arsenal had plenty of obstacles to overcome.

Right back Hector Bellerin was forced out of the starting lineup during pregame warmups, and left back Kieran Tierney couldn’t finish the match, having to be substituted midway through the first half.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Arsenal interim coach Freddie Ljungberg also made some big lineup decisions. Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz were dropped, with Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli starting up top and Calum Chambers moving inside to centerback. It took 60 minutes, but those moves paid dividends in the end.

However, before then, West Ham controlled the first half, even with less of the ball. The Hammers showed more desire and determination than Arsenal, winning many second balls, and it led to the opening goal. A corner kick in the 38th minute pinballed in and out of the box, with Arsenal twice failing to clear it. Eventually, the ball fell to Pablo Fornals, who chipped a ball into the middle of the box. West Ham centerback Angelo Ogbonna, still up in the box after the corner kick, dashed onto it and though it went off his shoulder, deflected off an Arsenal defender and in for a goal. VAR checked it, as it does with every goal, but the decision stood, and it was well deserved.

West Ham even looked more likely to score a second late in the first half and then early in the second half, as Arsenal couldn’t string many passes together in their own third or the final third.

In the 60th minute, it was like a flip was switched. Suddenly, West Ham provided no pressure on Arsenal’s backline when it had the ball, allowing Arsenal to easily break the lines. After two passes getting through a half-dozen defenders, the ball ended up on the left wing with Aubameyang. Aubameyang crosses into the center and with a first-time finish, suddenly Martinelli put Arsenal level at 1-1.

In the 66th minute, again Arsenal broke through West Ham’s midfield quite easily. Dribbling forward, Mesut Ozil passed into the middle to Aubameyang, who fed Pepe wide. Pepe, who was one-on-one with Aaron Cresswell, cut inside and curled home a beauty to make it 2-1, Arsenal.

Three minutes later, Aubameyang and Pepe teamed up again. Pepe cut inside, but instead of shooting, he slyly chipped a ball into the box. Aubameyang waited for it and as he was inside, scissor kicked the ball in to make it 3-1.

With West Ham shellshocked, Arsenal held on late for a huge win, moving the club back into the top half of the Premier League table.

This story will be updated.

At the half: West Ham lead struggling Arsenal

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They say in derbies that form goes out the window, but it didn’t seem that apparent for Arsenal on Monday evening.

West Ham United is 45 minutes away from a second major win in three Premier League games as the Hammers hold a 1-0 halftime lead over Arsenal. Angelo Ogbonna’s headed goal off a Pablo Fornals cross is the difference so far.

After two straight poor performances for Arsenal, manager Freddie Ljungberg must have hoped for a better reaction in a London derby. Instead, Arsenal has been slow in passing, slow to second balls and not as determined as West Ham to win. Every possession gained is giving West Ham confidence, which led to the goal. The goal came after a couple of pinball rebounds following a corner kick, but the Hammers’ determination to score helped them go in front.

To make matters worse for Arsenal, Kieran Tierney suffered another injury, forcing him off the field in the first half and compelling Ljunberg to bring on Sead Kolasinac, despite him being short on fitness too.

Arsenal has a massive 45 minutes ahead. Should West Ham win, it would go level with Arsenal. If the Gunners lose, it’s their 10th straight match in all competitions without a win and it drops them into the bottom half of the league table.