Soccer birthdays: Tim Ream turns 25 and doesn’t look a day over 17. Burn. All he wants for his birthday is start and win against Millwall. And a trip back to the English Premier League. And a call up to the United States national team. And a bunch of other things, too, probably. But he’ll settle for a pie. He’s easy like that.
Big Important Stories of the Day: What you’re going to be doing this weekend. Oh, did you mean soccer-related story? That would have to be the run-up to Saturday’s New York Red Bulls-Chicago Fire match (on–shameless plug–NBC!!!!!). The winner gets into the playoffs. The loser will have to wait at least another week to book their ticket to the postseason. Talk about pressure. No, seriously, what are your thoughts about pressure?
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Briana Scurry
*Ahead on the blog today: Steve Davis returns with some Europa League recaps and, of course, a look ahead at your weekend in MLS action. Plus, he promised to sing a little bit if ya’ll asked really nicely.
What you should watch on TV today: Man, I’m really not sure. Celta de Vigo vs Sevilla? Or take a break and prepare for the weekend. We won’t tell anyone.
If the MLS playoffs started today (following 28 rounds):
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
- Chicago vs. New York Red Bulls
- Vancouver Whitecaps at Seattle
- San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
- Real Salt Lake vs. L.A. Galaxy
PST background noise while blogging today: SD singing. Obviously. Now ask nicely and you shall receive.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is…
Week 9 of the 2016-17 Premier League season is here.
[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]
It all kicks off with Bournemouth hosting Tottenham Hotspur (7:30 a.m. ET live NBCSN andonline via NBC Sports.com) at the Vitality Stadium with two teams full of young English players to go head-to-head.
Then Arsenal welcome Middlesbrough (10 a.m. ET live NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com) to the Emirates with Arsene Wenger‘s side searching for a seventh-straight win in the PL, while Boro have won just one of their opening eight games.
Rounding things off on Saturday, Liverpool and West Brom clash at Anfield (12:30 p.m. ET live NBC and online via NBC Sports.com) in a battle between two different styles. Can Tony Pulis‘ pragmatic approach shut down Jurgen Klopp‘s fluid offensive machine?
On Sunday Manchester City host Southampton at the Etihad (8:30 a.m. ET live NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com) with both teams coming off the back of disappointing defeats away in European action. Then comes the big one: Chelsea vs. Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (11 a.m. ET live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com). Jose Mourinho is returning to the Bridge for the first time since he was fired last December and he’ll likely get a very warm reception from the home fans. Will his United side again frustrate a big-name opponent away from home?
You can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App, plus you can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at 10 a.m. ET for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App,
If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here. They are available soon after the final whistle, but rights limit us to a certain number each week. Looking for game highlights? Try this. Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
7:30 a.m. ET: Bournemouth vs. Tottenham – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Hull City vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Watford – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Everton – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham vs. Sunderland – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC [STREAM]
8:30 a.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Southampton – NBCSN [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Chelsea vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM]
Maybe he just got sick of the criticism, and of (relatively) keeping his cool.
Maybe he just doesn’t care anymore.
Regardless of the “why”, there’s a lot to love about this season’s Arsene Wenger.
[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines — Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge ]
Wenger has slowly built up his hope and expectations for the club. The Gunners “have a better chance” to win in the Champions League. They’re “stronger with every win“, and need humility.
And Wenger is taking it to the jungle to explain that last part.
“I believe that humility is to understand that you start again from zero and that you are in a jungle. We live in a jungle where everybody wants to eat you, and you have to survive by keeping your vigilance. That’s what competition is about. Every day you have to fight again to survive.
“The love to win and the competitiveness of the Premier League is very exciting. We are all in that [jungle] together.”
Arsenal hosts Middlesbrough on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
- Liverpool leads all-time: 59W-37D-32L
- Teams drew both matches last season
- WBA last won at Anfield in 2013
West Brom has hope for a big Anfield upset when it visits Liverpool this weekend (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBC Sports).
The Baggies are have picked up points in three of their last five trips to Anfield, and have a 4-4-4 league record against the Reds since returning to the Premier League in 2010.
[ MORE: USWNT’s Holiday has tumor removed ]
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to rule anyone out for Saturday’s match, and the in-form Reds will have to break down a side that’s unbeaten in four.
What they’re saying
Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren: “Every game is a ‘win’ game for us – we have the quality to beat everyone, when you look at the teams we have played already. It’s just about a winning mentality. If we can keep that, at the end of the season we can be proud.”
West Brom boss Tony Pulis: “We know Liverpool is going to be a really tough game. Their front five are exceptional. Jurgen Klopp is passionate and that is important in the game and important for Liverpool. They’ve got a good chance this year. The games that are coming up are difficult but ones we should embrace. Anfield is wonderful.”
Pulis has done a fine job setting his team up to defend, and his counterattack will think well of breaking down Liverpool. But this one’s at Anfield, with the Reds in the international spotlight to end Saturday’s Premier League slate.
It doesn’t feel like an upset is in the cards, especially with the Reds still seething from last week’s scoreless draw vs. Manchester United. Call it Liverpool, 3-0.
T’s are crossed and i’s dotted on Neymar’s new contract, keeping him at the club through the 2020-21 season.
Neymar, 24, will make his 100th La Liga appearance with his next step onto the pitch.
Lionel Messi’s deal runs through 2017-18, and Luis Suarez’s goes through 2018-19.
[ MORE: Guardiola on Aguero omission ]
He’s scored 59 goals in league play, and has 91 total when you include all 150 of his matches in a Barca kit.
Neymar is on a similar scoring rate to last season, when he netted 31 times. The Brazilian also has 49 international goals in 73 caps.