Saturday’s games just started in the Premier League, so there’s still time for one or two U.S. internationals to have an impact on the day’s festivities. But with three big names failing to make their team’s starting XIs, it stands to be a quiet Saturday for England’s Americans Abroad.
Let’s go from least to most surprising.
Brek Shea made Stoke City’s 18. That’s good news. The 22-year-old had a foot problem this offseason. And in the grand scheme of things, he’s still very raw. That he’s been able to immediately make Stoke’s match day 18s is a big accomplishment.
With first choice left winger Matthew Etherington out, there was hope he’d make his first start today, but the former FC Dallas star was on the bench as West Ham visited the Britannia. To me, that’s still great progress.
More concerning is the absence of Geoff Cameron, a regular throughout the season for Tony Pulis.Young Ryan Shotton got the call at right back while Steve N’Zonzi and Glenn Whelan got the call in midfield. For the first time this season, we’re given reason to wonder if the U.S.’s first choice center half is part of Pulis’s ideal XI.
That could be very bad new for the U.S. It was already a problem that Cameron was seeing zero time at center back, his playing time at right back and in midfield keeping him from getting the valuable experience he needs to avoid mistakes like the one that contributed to the game-losing goal in Honduras. If Cameron’s not playing at all, a precarious center half situation for Jurgen Klinsmann gets even worse.
But let’s not draw too many conclusions from one game. Just put this on your watch list and hope things improve ahead of this month’s qualifiers.
And finally (and sadly), Tim Howard isn’t in the team for Everton. Two short of Everton’s record for consecutive appearances, Howard was left out of the team with what manager David Moyes described as a “knock” midweek.
The 34-year-old’s consecutive games streak ends at 210, two short of the club record held by legendary keeper Neville Southall.
Liverpool welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with Jurgen Klopp‘s men aiming to boost their top four hopes.
WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE
With Arsenal and Manchester City playing in the FA Cup semifinal this game represents a good opportunity for Liverpool to extend their lead in the race for a top four finish but they have lost each of their last two home games against Palace in the PL. The Eagles need another big win after relegation rivals Hull and Swansea both won on Saturday.
In team news Liverpool look to be starting Wijnaldum out wide, while Palace have to reshuffled their defense with Mamadou Sakho unable to play against his parent club.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Lucas, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Firmino, Origi. Subs: Karius, Gomez, Grujic, Moreno, Brewster, Woodburn, Alexander-Arnold
Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Kelly, Tomkins, Schlupp; Cabaye, Milivojevic; Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha; Benteke. Subs: Speroni, Van Aanholt, Delaney, Flamini, McArthur, Sako, Campbell
- United unbeaten in 23 PL games
- Red Devils one point off top four
- Martial, Rooney on target in first half
- Burnley five points off bottom three
An injury-hit Manchester United beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor on Sunday to keep their hopes of a top four finish well and truly alive.
First half goals from the excellent Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney did the damage as Jose Mourinho’s men go into Thursday’s Manchester derby against City just one point and one place behind their crosstown rivals.
With the win United move on to 63 points, while Burnley remain on 36 and are just five points above the relegation zone after another inept display in attack.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Early on United missed a massive chance as Anthony Martial’s surge into the box found Ander Herrera and he fed the ball to Rooney but he couldn’t trouble Tom Heaton from close range.
Marouane Fellaini then had a free header from a corner but nodded it down straight at Heaton who again saved from close range.
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Rooney then sent a cross inches over the bar as United hit Burnley on the counter and that was to become a theme of the game. On the next counter Martial broke, played a one-two with Herrera and the Frenchman finished superbly to make it 1-0.
Before half time Ben Mee went close to getting on the end of Robbie Brady‘s free kick but then Rooney made it 2-0 as good build up play from Paul Pogba set in Martial and his shot deflected off Heaton and straight to Rooney who nudged the ball over the line.
Andre Gray then had a shot deflected wide as Burnley always looked dangerous from set pieces but United were clinical.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
In the second half United stayed solid and Pogba had a rasping drive pushed away by Heaton.
The home side failed to create any real clear cut chances with Michael Keane heading across goal but nobody was attacking the second ball.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Late on Marcus Rashford, on as a sub, raced clear and forced Heaton into a fine stop at his near post as United ran out comfortable winners but Pogba limping off in the 90th minute will leave Mourinho concerned about even more injuries to his squad.
Keita Balde Diao had himself a day on Sunday.
[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]
Within five minutes he scored three times to put Lazio 5-0 up against Palermo in Serie A after Ciro Immobile had scored twice in two minutes to put them 2-0 up after just nine minutes at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Eagles scored with all five of their opening shots against Palermo to lead 5-0 after just 26 minutes.
Watch the video of Keita’s remarkable hat trick below as the Senegalese forward, like his team, is on fire.
Keita makes it 3-0 in 21st minute…
Keita makes it 4-0 in 24th minute…
Keita makes it 5-0 in 26th minute…
Arsenal and Manchester City clash in an FA Cup semifinal on Sunday at Wembley which promises to be a case of all-out attack.
[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]
Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola met earlier this month with their teams drawing 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium in an end-to-end encounter.
The winner of this semifinal will play Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27 at Wembley after Antonio Conte‘s side beat Tottenham 4-2 on Saturday.
In team news Arsenal stick with the 3-4-2-1 formation they used at Middlesbrough with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil off Olivier Giroud.
City line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sergio Aguero up top and Leroy Sane, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne off him.
Click on the link above to follow live coverage of what promises to be an entertaining semifinal, while here at Pro Soccer Talk we will have plenty more reaction and analysis after the game too.