What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:
Soccer birthdays: Sevilla striker Álvaro Negredo, a Spanish international who was part of Spain’s Euro 2012 championship side, turns 27.
Big Important Story of the Day: We may know more today about Sergio Aguero’s knee injury. If it’s serious, as feared, defending English Premier League champion Manchester City may wade quickly back into the transfer market before the window closes in a week.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Joe Franchino
*Ahead on the blog today: The usual Monday deliverables, like MLS Player of the Week and Team of the Week. We’ll hear more about Richard Farley’s excellent adventures in England, too.
What you should watch on TV: Round 1 of English Premier League play concludes with a nice one: Everton and Tim Howard will try to contain mighty Manchester United, fortified with last week’s signing of former Arsenal marksman Robin van Persie. Match coverage begins at 2:55 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
If the MLS playoffs started today
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
- New York Red Bulls vs. Houston
- Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy
- San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle
We’ll leave you with this: I won’t tie this to any particular MLS match from the weekend, but I will say this: Some of Major League Soccer referees may need a re-take on their annual fitness tests. Or perhaps the standards need to be addressed. Because there are some guys out there who do not appear fit enough to keep up with matches, which means they can’t properly do their jobs.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is…
The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.
Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.
The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.
Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.
According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.
[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]
That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.
For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.
Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.
A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.
MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.
The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.
Nouioui collapsed on April 14.
The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.
GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.
FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.
[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]
The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.
UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.
FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”
Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.