Fulham end losing streak, beat Everton (video)

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  • Fulham end run of nine-straight defeats
  • First defeat in 4 for Everton
  • Cairney, Babel score
  • Parker’s first win as caretaker boss

Already-relegated Fulham won their first game since Jan. 29, as the Cottagers beat Everton 2-0 on Saturday.

The Cottagers had plenty of chances and put two of them away in the second half, with Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel scoring to hand Fulham’s caretaker boss Scott Parker his first victory, and points, in charge.

With the win Fulham move on to 20 points for the season, while Everton remain on 46 points as their battle for a top seven finish took a hit.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fulham were lively on the break early on but Everton went close as Andre Gomes fizzed a ball towards the near post which almost found Dominic Calvert-Lewin but Fulham cleared.

Mitrovic was making a nuisance of himself, as usual, and beat two Everton defenders and the offside trap but hit his shot right at Jordan Pickford.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Everton’s Bernard and Gomes then both had shots blocked after good play from Richarlison, and the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

From a corner Mitrovic sent in a towering header which Jordan Pickford brilliantly pushed over the bar. Mitrovic then hit the bar with a curling effort as the home side looked more dangerous heading into the second half.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Fulham got the goal their dominance deserved, as Ryan Babel worked his way into the box and squared for Cairney to slot home.

At the other end Everton had a goal chalked off for a foul on Sergio Rico, while Fulham were dangerous going forward as Ryan Sessegnon had the ball in the net but it didn’t count as Mitrovic fouled Kurt Zouma.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Idrissa Gueye skied an effort way over when in a good position, and then Dominic Calvert-Lewin clipped the outside of the post after being played in superbly by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Everton were made to rue those missed chances, as Babel raced clean through on goal and dinked over Pickford to make it 2-0.

The win was a deserved one for Fulham, as Everton lost ground in their battle for European qualification.

Watch Live: Four Premier League games, 10am ET

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Four Premier League games kick off at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, with some huge encounters in the relegation battle taking center stage.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Wolves travel to Southampton, Burnley host Cardiff in a massive relegation battle, while Fulham host Everton and Bournemouth travel along the South Coast to Brighton.

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You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all four games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Burnley v. Cardiff City – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Southampton v. Wolves – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Fulham v. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Analyzing the relegation situation: One from six to go down

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Huddersfield Town and Fulham have already been relegated from the Premier League, but there is still an almighty scrap for at least six teams to stay out of the bottom three.

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Cardiff City is currently five points from safety with six games to go, so Neil Warnock‘s side are the favorites for the drop, but with some winnable games coming up in their run-in, is feels like the Bluebirds have another few surprise results up their sleeve.

[ PST Roundtable: Predicting the run-in

Below we take a look at the relegation situation, with Cardiff, Southampton, Brighton, Newcastle, Burnley and Bournemouth still involved in the scrap.


Cardiff City
Current position, points: 18th and 28 points
Fixtures remaining: 6 games – Burnley (A), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Crystal Palace (H), Man United (A)
How many points needed: 12 points
Key in the run-in: Warnock’s men need to keep games tight and hope to nick points from set-piece situations. They must beat Burnley, Fulham and Brighton to have any chance of survival.


Southampton
Current position: 17th and 33 points
Fixtures remaining: 6 games – Wolves (H), Newcastle (A), Watford (A), Bournemouth (H), West Ham (A), Huddersfield (H)
How many points needed: 7 points
Key in the run-in: Saints have a pretty favorable run of games, on paper, with home matches against Bournemouth and Huddersfield must wins. The trip to Newcastle will likely determine if they’re going to continue their push away from the bottom three under Ralph Hasenhuttl, with Danny Ings‘ fitness key.


Brighton & Hove Albion
Current position: 16th and 33 points
Fixtures remaining: 7 games – Bournemouth (H), Cardiff (H), Wolves (A), Tottenham (A), Newcastle (H), Arsenal (A), Man City (H)
How many points needed: 7 points
Key in the run-in: Four home games left for Brighton, but they face Arsenal, Spurs and Man City, so the game against Cardiff looks massive in their battle against relegation. Not an easy schedule, and they need to get service to Glenn Murray if they’re going to pull clear.


Newcastle United
Current position: 15th and 35 points
Fixtures remaining: 5 games – Leicester (A), Southampton (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A)
How many points needed: 5 points
Key in the run-in: This should be pretty straightforward for Rafael Benitez’s side. If they grab a win against Southampton or Brighton, they are pretty much safe. Some defensive injuries have left them short in recent weeks, but they will have enough to get them over the line.


Burnley
Current position: 14th and 36 points
Fixtures remaining: 5 games – Cardiff (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)
How many points needed: 4 points
Key in the run-in: What a few weeks for Burnley, as Sean Dyche‘s men may already be safe. That said, the Clarets will want one more win to make sure and if they don’t beat Cardiff it is tough to see where that will come from. Chelsea, Man City, Everton and Arsenal is a daunting last four games, but Burnley have put themselves in a great position.


Bournemouth
Current position: 13th and 38 points
Fixtures remaining: 5 games – Brighton (A), Fulham (H), Southampton (A), Tottenham (H), Crystal Palace (A)
How many points needed: 2 points
Key in the run-in: Eddie Howe‘s side have been in terrible form during the second half of the season, but their remaining games aren’t too tough. A win against Brighton or Fulham should do the trick but if they don’t, and the teams below them pick up a few wins in the next couple of weeks, all of a sudden Bournemouth will be looking over their shoulders a little.

PL clubs top $341 million in agent fees amid consideration of stricter rules

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Premier League clubs spent over $341 million in agent fees over the last calendar year, according to the figures published by the FA Thursday morning. The spending is up from $277 million the year before.

According to reports over the past few days, the English governing body is looking to crack down on agent fees, looking to put a stop to “dual representation” that sees agents take cuts of a transfer from both the clubs and players involved. As the system currently stands, players fork over a portion of their new salary to agents as a fee for brokering the deal on their behalf, while clubs also shell out to agents a significant chunk of the transfer fee received.

The reports state that the FA is looking into implementing rules as soon as the summer transfer window that state an agent can only be paid by a player and not by a club, significantly reducing an agent’s haul. FIFA is reportedly looking into a less stringent rule that would cap the transfer fee percentage a club can pay an agent in any specific deal.

In its current construction, the system encourages agents to broker as many transfers as possible to earn more transfer fee cuts, rather than working for the players to earn them the highest salary possible. This often causes agents to push players towards transfers they may otherwise not have looked for. Should the FA ban Premier League clubs from paying agent fees, it could cause agents to steer their clients away from Premier League clubs towards other leagues that would continue to pay them hefty fees.

In the figures released by the FA, Liverpool spent the most on agent fees over the last calendar year, contributing $56.5 million, almost 17% of the total league figure. The Reds made Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson the most expensive shot-stopper in the world this past summer, also securing midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho for big money.

Second was Chelsea who contributed $35.3 million to agents after Kepa Arrizabalaga broke the Alisson figure for most expensive goalkeeper while also capturing midfielder Jorginho from Napoli. Manchester City was third with $31.7 million spent on middle-men, spending big on Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez.

Manchester United was fourth just a tick over $27 million, while Cardiff City came in last with just $3.6 million spent as they sit five points back of Premier League safety. Also notably, newly promoted Fulham managed to fork out just $10.8 million – 12th most in the league – despite a massive spending spree last summer that saw them spend over $100 million on players.

USMNT’s Ream speaks out after his Fulham side is relegated

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Fulham lost its ninth-straight Premier League match on Tuesday, dooming the London side to relegation.

Fittingly, the Cottagers allowed four more goals in the loss to see their total of conceded goals reach 76.

[ RECAP: Watford 4-1 Fulham ]

USMNT center back Tim Ream has been with Fulham since 2015, and was the club’s Player of the Season when they won the Football League Championship playoffs last season.

Hopes were high when Fulham spent loads of dough to bring in Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andre Schurrle, Jean-Michael Seri and others for their return to the Premier League.

Unlike fellow promoted spenders Wolves, Fulham did not find the right mix and is relegated in a three-manager PL season for the second time this decade.

The latest manager, Scott Parker, said he was dealing with “pure disappointment.” Ream, he was just angry. From the BBC:

“We haven’t shown a togetherness, unity, desire, passion,” Ream said. “We’ve shown it in bits and pieces, in the first half then go dead and flat. We need to find it from somewhere. Guys need to speak up more in training sessions. What we do in the match is a product of what we do between Monday to Friday.”

Ream said there was a harsh team talk following the 4-1 loss at Watford, and he’ll be interested to see what follows at Craven Cottage.

“There were some home truths,” Ream said. “We’ll see if it resonates with the guys. We will approach the remaining games like we have for every game. We will go out to try to get points, albeit meaningless points.”

Parker vowed to do his part in delivering something to supporters over the final weeks of the season.

“The team and the players owe it to the football club and fans to out in the last five games and give something back, although it’ll be very little,” Parker said.

“The next five games, we will crack on.”