Tap the brakes on “McInerney as Chicharito” comparisons

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We should all slow our roll on Jack McInerney as “The American Chicharito.”

It’s an easy comparison to make; I get that.

Chicharito was a young goal-scoring phenom in Mexico. “Phenom status” is how a young Javier Hernandez got Sir Alex Ferguson’s attention, and how the Mexican starlet from Chivas made his way into mighty Manchester United at such a young age.

And there is the whole “nose for goal” thing. The distinguishing element that made Chicharito was his pure (and pure gold) goal-scorer’s instinct, that unteachable element.

McInerney, the young Philadelphia Union striker, now tied for third in MLS goal-scoring with three goals this year, appears to have the same thing. Just 20 years old but in his fourth professional season, “Jack Mac” has 15 goals in 65 appearances for PPL Park bunch.

He looks like a young Taylor Twellman that way. Twellman, the current ESPN analyst, had those instincts, and with extra to spare. Parlayed with a shrewd ability to “hide” from defenders until the very last moment and a bravery to hurl himself selflessly into areas of physical contact, he was among domestic soccer’s premier scorers through the “oughts” with 101 goals in 174 New England Revolution appearances.

Back to the McInerney-Chicharito comparisons:

Chicharito, at roughly the same age as McInerney, had 26 goals in 64 appearances for Chivas before moving to England. That’s more goals in a better league.

And he kept scoring goals at Manchester United, which may still be the world’s top league top to bottom, never mind this recent Champions League black eye. So, let’s tap the brakes on that one – even though McInerney is an exciting prospect.

Even McInerney shrugs at the comparisons – and that in itself says a lot about the young man.

AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes

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After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

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