Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao celebrates his goal against Deportivo La Coruna during their Spanish first division soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid December 9, 2012. REUTERS/Susana Vera (SPAIN – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
There are eight Premier League games in Week 26 as the EFL Cup final sees Southampton and Manchester United both out of PL action.
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With the FA Cup break over, we are now looking forward to plenty of big battles across the league as some teams try to scramble for points in their quests to finish in the top four, while others are scrapping away for their lives at the wrong end of the table.
With 13 games to go, it’s all getting rather tense out there…
Below you can find previews, team news and score predictions on every game coming up this weekend.
Tottenham vs. Stoke City
Everton vs. Sunderland
Chelsea vs. Swansea City
West Brom vs. Bournemouth
Leicester City vs. Liverpool
Crystal Palace vs. Middlesbrough
Hull City vs. Burnley
Watford vs. West Ham
Manchester United and Southampton contest the EFL Cup final at Wembley Stadium this Sunday as the first trophy of the domestic season in England is up for grabs.
[ MORE: Follow EFL Cup final live ]
Jose Mourinho’s United go into the clash on a roll after losing just one game in their last 25 in all competitions, while pushing themselves back into the top four hunt and reaching both the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Europa League.
As for Southampton, Claude Puel‘s men are the undisputed underdogs but will fancy their chances of causing an upset after beating both Arsenal and Liverpool to make it to their first League Cup final since 1979 and just the second in their 132-year history.
Below is a look at how both teams could line up on Sunday, with some analysis on how it could play out.
—– De Gea —–
— Valencia — Bailly — Smalling — Blind —
—- Herrera —- Fellaini —-
—- Mata —- Pogba —- Rashford —-
—– Ibrahimovic —–
Subs: Romero, Young, Rojo, Jones, Martial, Lingard, Rooney
United have some injury concerns ahead of the final with both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick limping off against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday in the Europa League. Mourinho believes they’re big doubts to play at Wembley. That means one of Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial will come in for Mkhitaryan and it will probably be Rashford who has looked increasingly dangerous in recent weeks.
The back four picks itself and with Carrick likely out, you’d expected Ander Herrera to be joined by Marouane Fellaini in midfield. The only other question is whether or not Wayne Rooney will be fit enough to play some part after spending over three weeks on the sidelines. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead the line and his partnership with Paul Pogba will test Southampton’s makeshift defense severely.
—– Forster —–
— Cedric — Stephens — Yoshida — Bertrand —
—- Romeu —- Davis —-
—- Redmond —- Tadic —- Ward-Prowse —-
—– Gabbiadini —–
Subs: Hassen, McQueen, Caceres, Hojbjerg, Rodriguez, Sims, Long
Saints have a few key players missing for this clash and their biggest concern will be in central defense. After selling Jose Fonte in January, they then lost Virgil Van Dijk through injury. That forced Puel to bring in Martin Caceres on a short-term deal but the former Barcelona and Juventus defender hasn’t played in over a year so academy product Jack Stephens will likely start alongside Maya Yoshida. Can they shackle Ibrahimovic? In midfield Oriol Romeu has been incredible in the holding role and he will go head-to-head with Pogba, while alongside him club captain Steven Davis will provide a good base to snuff out United’s attack.
James Ward-Prowse could get the nod over Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez out wide due to his set-piece deliveries, while Dusan Tadic in-behind Manolo Gabbiadini will be Saints’ biggest attacking threat. They were struggling for goals with Charlie Austin out injured but Gabbiadini has scored three in his first two games for Saints since arriving in January from Napoli.
Wayne Rooney‘s potential move to the Chinese Super League appears to be drawing closer.
[ MORE: What’s the best option for Rooney? ]
Multiple outlets are reporting that Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, has traveled to China to discuss a potential transfer to the CSL for his client ahead of the transfer window closing in China on Feb. 28.
Where is he going in China?
According to the BBC Jiangsu Suning and Tianjin Quanjian are the favorites for his signature, while yesterday a report from Sky Sports suggested Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Sinobo Guoan were the front-runners to sign Rooney. With the strict laws on each team being allowed just four players from outside the Asian Football Confederation in their squad (plus, a new rule for the 2017 season means only three foreign players can be on the pitch for each team at the same time) there appears to be only a few options for Rooney.
Jiangsu Suning, Tianjin Quanjian and Beijing Sinobo Guoan all have an open spot for a foreign player, while Guangzhou Evergrande — who have won the CSL six years on the spin and are managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari — have all of their available slots locked up with Jackson Martinez and Paulinho on board.
Stars such as Carlos Tevez, Oscar, Hulk, Graziano Pelle, Martinez and Alex Teixeira have taken up plenty of the international spots as talent continues to flock to China. Rooney is reportedly being offered in excess of $43.5 million per season which would make him the best-paid player on the planet.
The all-time leading goalscorer for Manchester United and England certainly seems to have options, even if this move isn’t pushed through by next Tuesday and instead happens in the summer.
Should Rooney move on from United?
It appears that he is reluctant to do so but with the 31-year-old in and out of the team this season and other attackers such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in good form, getting regular minutes will be a struggle for the legendary forward who has spent the last 13 years at Old Trafford.
Rooney’s current deal at United runs out until 2019 but it appears a move to China for one final payday seems like an increasingly likely proposition.
CARSON, Calif. (AP) The LA Galaxy’s reserve team will hold open tryouts in England this summer in an attempt to find overlooked talent for the Major League Soccer franchise.
The LA Galaxy II announced the tryouts Wednesday.
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Players between 16 and 25 years old will be welcomed in London on May 31 and June 1 and in Manchester on June 3-4. At least five players from each city will be selected and flown to the Galaxy’s training complex in suburban Los Angeles for another week of trials.
Former England captain David Beckham leads a long list of prominent European talent that has suited up for the five-time MLS champion Galaxy.