Where David Beckham might line up for Paris Saint-Germain

Leave a comment

A man past his illustrious best was surely signed for publicity and jersey sales, right?

David Beckham’s arrival is all about flash and dash – not to mention the prospect of selling lots of Paris Saint-Germain kits in the lucrative Asian apparel market. PSG was presumably already selling in sufficient numbers around France, but this is a chance to expand the PSG brand into areas east, including Australia and the Middle East.

And then there’s the element of Paris chic and former be-Spiced wife Victoria; in this, Beckham’s arrival at Parc des Princes makes perfect sense. His commercial endorsement remains strong, so the beautifully lit Parisian backdrop nails the sweet spot of Brand Beckham’s off-field gold spinning.

But he does remain a competitive athlete, and the proud former England captain would wince at possibly finishing such an illustrious career stuck awkwardly on the Parc des Princes bench.

So where does a 37-year-old midfielder fit within a club chasing Ligue 1 hardware and now into the business end of Champions League play? How will he fit under manager Carlo Ancelotti and PSG sporting director Leonardo, who managed Beckham while on loan at Milan two years ago?

(MORE: Beckham on the move to Paris Saint-Germain)

There is a plausible scenario where Beckham would see significant minutes in the money matches ahead for PSG.

After all, two of Beckham’s contemporaries at Manchester United, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, remain key elements in Sir Alex Ferguson’s alignment at Old Trafford, where Man United remains as mighty as ever, currently commanding the venerable English Premier League race.

With the Galaxy, Beckham had become a supporting type, a deep-lying midfield playmaker far removed from his days of dashing up and down the right looking to whip balls dangerously into the penalty area. But that’s fine; in fact, that’s what makes Beckham a reasonably good fit under Ancelotti.

The Italian boss has generally advocated narrow formations, mostly aligned into a 4-3-fill-in-the blank. That is, four defenders, three central midfielders and then some arrangement of attackers that will always find Zlatan Ibrahimovic being, well, whatever he wants to be. “Ibra” has recently dropped deeper into the midfield to become more of a creative influence. He’s got the skill, flair and soccer brain to do it.

That also helps Beckham’s playing chances as it creates a nearly unlimited number of attacking arrangements for Ancelotti.

Marco Verratti is frequently the man to sit deep in midfield, screen the defense and distribute with the simple midfield passes. If Beckham is one of the men ahead of him, most likely leaning right, making the former England captain a linking presence (but one with the ability to find the left flank quickly with one of his signature 60-yard lasers) doesn’t seem like a terrible option.

Or, Beckham could actually replace Verratti, a young and emerging Italian playmaker who could certainly manage additional, more complicated tasks further up the field. Verratti’s ability to quickly bring the flanks into play in advanced positions looks quite similar to Beckham’s last couple of  Galaxy years from the same position at the Home Depot Center.

PL AT HALF: Ozil scores handsome volley; Terriers rolling (video)

Leave a comment

Only four of the Premier League’s five scheduled 10 a.m. ET kickoffs have started, and goals are at a premium.

[ MORE: Stream every match lives ]

Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle United

Mesut Ozil’s left-footed side volley off a popped clearance has the Gunners on top at the Emirates Stadium.

Watford 0-2 Huddersfield Town

Elias Kachunga and Aaron Mooy had the visitors up a pair before the match was 25 minutes old, and Troy Deeney complicated Watford’s comeback hopes when he saw straight red after 32 minutes.

Stoke City 0-0 West Ham United (delayed)

A power outage pushed kickoff back 60 minutes at the bet365 Stadium.

Burnley 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

Not much cooking so far at Turf Moor, where James Tarkowski conceded a penalty to Glenn Murray only to see the PL veteran send his effort over the bar.

Chelsea 1-0 Southampton

The Blues are having trouble without Alvaro Morata up top at Stamford Bridge, so defender Marcos Alonso just whipped a free kick past an out-of-sorts Fraser Forster to make it 1-0.

 

Stoke City-West Ham delayed due to power outage

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A major power outage at the bet365 Stadium means West Ham United’s visit to Stoke City won’t start on time.

An update will come around the regularly scheduled kickoff time of 10 a.m. ET.

[ MORE: Palace blasts Leicester ]

As it stands, ex-Stoke attacker Marko Arnautovic is set to start against his former club.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland, Cameron, Shawcross, Wimmer, Pieters, Shaqiri, Fletcher, Allen, Ramadan, Diouf, Crouch. Subs: Grant, Berahino, Choupo-Moting, Tymon, Adam, Ngoy, Edwards.

West Ham United: Adrian, Zabaleta, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Noble, Obiang, Lanzini, Arnautovic, Antonio. Subs: Hart, Rice, Makasi, Haksabanovic, Chicharito, Sakho, Ayew.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Saints, Arsenal v. Newcastle; 5 PL games

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Five Premier League games are coming your way at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and you can watch them all live online.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Chelsea host Southampton, Arsenal welcome Newcastle to the Emirates Stadium and Stoke clash with West Ham, while Burnley head to Brighton and Watford lock horns with Huddersfield.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

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 five games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Chelsea vs. Southampton – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Newcastle – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton vs. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM
10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM(Kick off delayed due to a power outage at stadium) 
10 a.m. ET: Watford vs. Huddersfield – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]

Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace: Benteke the hero

Leave a comment
  • First away win, goals of season for Palace
  • Benteke with a goal, assist
  • Leicester’s first defeat in five
  • Palace unbeaten in seven, longest ever run in PL

Crystal Palace beat Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday as first half goals from Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha set Roy Hodgson’s side on their way to a first away win of the season with Bakary Sako hammering home another goal in stoppage time.

Leicester’s run of four-straight wins came to an abrupt end as Claude Puel‘s side struggled from start to finish and Palace looked dangerous on the break with Benteke scoring one, setting up another and making amends for his missed penalty kick late on against Bournemouth last weekend.

To add to Leicester’s woes Wilfried Ndidi was sent off in the second half for picking up two yellow cards.

With the win Palace move on to 17 points and push out of the relegation zone and into 14th place, while Leicester remain on 26 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Palace started well early on with Jeffrey Schlupp pulling a ball back across goal which was crying out to be finished, then Ruben Loftus-Cheek broke free on the edge of the box but his low shot was well saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester looked threatening on the break as the first half wore on but Puel’s side failed to create clear cut chances and they were hit with a hammer blow.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Neat build-up play on the right saw the ball fall to Andros Townsend and his delightful inswinging cross found Benteke who nodded home Palace’s first away goal of the season.

There was a sense of relief for Benteke and a deserved lead for the Eagles, but soon after Benteke almost headed into his own net but his defensive clearance flew inches wide and then Jamie Vardy went close for the hosts.

Benteke then created Palace’s second goal as he drove forward with the ball, played in Zaha and the Ivory Coast international drilled home. 2-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace sat back and soaked up plenty of Leicester pressure in the second half, with the Foxes going close with Riyad Mahrez having a low shot saved well by Julian Speroni and Benteke heading wide at the other end.

On the break the Eagles threatened as the second half wore on and Leicester pushed to get back into the game, but Ndidi then picked up two yellows cards with the second for a shocking dive in the box.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Hodgson’s men held on comfortably to continue their impressive recovery and added a third goal in stoppage time with Sako smashing home.