ProSoccerTalk’s Panic Quotient

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ProSoccerTalk’s periodic Panic Quotient (®) takes the temperature of stress and distress in the streets of Major League Soccer and along the boulevards of the global game.

This one is an all-manager edition:

  • New York Red Bulls manager Mike Petke:

So many people are cheering for the rookie head coach, mostly because he is so quintessentially “New York Red Bull.” But something will eventually have to give. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But the pressure is certainly mounting with just eight points from eight games for the league’s highest payroll, plus an amount of goals surrendered (11) that we will label “concerning.”

Speaking of “adding pressure,” Red Bull Soccer global sporting director Gerard Houllier was there last night to watch a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, a loss that included Juninho’s late, mad moment. Presumably, Houllier heard the boos begin to careen around the ground. And speaking of the Harrison facility, the club has just four of a possible nine points at home, with just two goals scored.

Panic quotient = moderate, along  the lines of …: In-laws renovating their place, announce they will be coming for a stay. A fairly long stay.

  • Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid:

The only mitigating factor as we consider Seattle’s listless start is this: Schmid’s team has played just five games so far, fewer than any other team. So there’s time to pull this winless, hapless cart out of the ditch. Question is, can they?

As this piece of panic-related content points out, no MLS playoff team in 2011 or 2012 began with five consecutive winless matches.

There is also some hope in getting the club’s top pair of strikers healthy, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins. Because at present this team just cannot score. Either way, the slow start will build on mounting organizational frustration regarding the club’s lack of ability to make any progress in the MLS playoffs. And when organizational frustration mounts, we know where the blame goes initially.

Panic quotient = moderate high, along the line of …:   Backyard BBQ catches on fire. In strong winds.

  • Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas:

Just when it looked like things might get a little better, this? Word is that defender Arne Friedrich (practically wearing a Superman’s cape these days, the way everyone seems to be waiting around for the German vet to come rescue this wandering lot) may be out even longer than first feared.

Klopas’ men, second from the bottom in the East, have three of a possible nine points at home this year, making the weekend’s contest at Toyota Park against Columbus fairly critical.

Panic quotient = high, along the lines of …: Test results are back. Doc wants you to come in as soon as possible to talk over things in person. “Don’t you worry … we’re going to beat this thing!”

Watch Live: Swansea City vs. Liverpool

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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Swansea City’s bid to slow down steamrolling Liverpool begins at 3 p.m. ET Monday at the Liberty Stadium (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The rampaging Reds are coming off a 4-3 win that ended Manchester City’s unbeaten Premier League season, and will hope to avoid a let down against desperate Swans.

The Welsh hosts are six points adrift in the race for Premier League safety, and look set for a 5-4-1 with Jordan Ayew the only forward. Wilfried Bony and Oliver McBurnie are on the bench along with attack-minded Luciano Narsingh.

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Ki, Fer, Clucas, Dyer, Ayew. Subs: Nordfeldt, Bartley, Roque Mesa, Carroll, Narsingh, McBurnie, Bony.

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Klavan, Lallana, Ings, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.

Kevin De Bruyne commits to Man City through 2022-23

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best players in the world, and he’s committing his prime to the club which has taken him to the next level.

[ MORE: How will Arsenal, Man Utd line up? ]

Manchester City announced a new deal for the Belgian wizard, keeping him at the Etihad Stadium through 2023.

De Bruyne, 26, has posted 31 goals and 38 assists for Pep Guardiola‘s men since returning to England from the Bundesliga, and appreciates being given a lot more money. From ManCity.com:

“As I’ve said previously, my intention has always been to stay here at City, where I’ve felt at home from day one. Not only are we winning – we are playing great football. It’s a pleasure to be a part of and I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”

De Bruyne is in the discussion for a Ballon d’Or finalist spot this year, along with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, and others (Hot take: This does seem to be year Ronaldo possibly knocked off, barring a remarkable run in the Champions League or World Cup).

After the swap: Alexis, Mkhi-infused XIs for Man Utd, Arsenal

@Arsenal
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The deal is done: Henrikh Mkhitaryan has moved to Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez going the other way in a monumental January move.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

How will it look for each side once the shape’s settled?

Arsenal

When Henrikh Mkhitaryan was at his very best — for Borussia Dortmund in 2014-15 — he was deployed as a left or right wing. He contributed 23 goals and 32 assists in 52 matches during his final season at the Westfalenstadion, and predictably saw those numbers drop as Jose Mourinho consistently moved him toward an attacking center midfield role.

He’ll get the chance to go out wide again at the Emirates Stadium, though perhaps not always to the extreme flanks. Expect Alexandre Lacazette‘s numbers to explode with this move.

Arsene Wenger used a 4-3-3 to batter Crystal Palace 4-1 at the weekend, with Ozil on the right wing and Alex Iwobi on the left. The club still needs better at center defensive mid while Aaron Ramsey is out, so that will likely keep the lineup similar until he returns (at a minimum):

Cech

Bellerin — Mustafi — Koscielny — Montreal

Elneny (Ramsey, eventually)

Xhaka — Wilshere

Ozil — Lacazette — Mkhitaryan

By the way, a lot of Arsenal supporters aren’t feeling great about this (understatement alert):

Manchester United

Alexis Sanchez prefers left wing, too, and Mourinho has a trio of in-form players who like that side of the field. Anthony Martial is red hot but plays wider than Jesse Lingard, and it seems one of them will take the slot of Juan Mata to the right of Paul Pogba in a 4-1-4-1. Marcus Rashford could also see the far right positioning.

But against top competition — continued apologies to Burnley — it’s usually a 4-2-3-1 for Mourinho with Pogba dropping next to Nemanja Matic a little deeper in the formation. Lingard has been getting the run as CAM here, usually to the detriment of Juan Mata. With Alexis as the clear-cut left wing in this formation, it causes real combat for the two other slots between Mata, Lingard, Rashford, and Martial.

So while it’s likely we’d see something like this in a big game for Manchester United…

De Gea

Young — Jones — Smalling — Valencia

Matic — Pogba

Martial — Lingard —  Sanchez

Lukaku

… We’d love to see something more like this:

De Gea

Young — Jones — Smalling — Valencia

Matic — Herrera

Pogba

Martial — Lukaku — Sanchez

How do you think Wenger and Mou will run ’em out?

Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap official (video)

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Arsenal and Manchester United have completed their American-style trade, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining the Gunners and Alexis Sanchez on board the Red Devils’ train.

Both 29 years old, the playmakers arrive at their new homes with plenty to prove.

More to come…