Insert mercy rule joke here (and hope that mercy translates to Alan Pardew’s job).
Liverpool just finished posting a 6-0 on Newcastle at St. James Park. Daniel Sturridge cornered twice. Daniel Agger got a goal. Jordan Henderson bagged a brace and Fabio Borini, after 13 appearances, finally has a Premier League goal. Even without Luis Suárez, thought to be the only real goal scoring threat on this Liverpool team, the Reds pasted the Magpies.
Then again, Suárez is probably the only scoring major threat on this Liverpool side. Let’s not give them all the credit without devoting some attention where it’s deserved: Newcastle and their defense. The backline abandoned Rob Elliott on Agger’s third minute opener, Liverpool quickly tore them open for Henderson in the 17th minute, and after half, the rout was on:
54′ – Hatem Ben Arfa gave the ball away, allowing Philippe Coutinho to set up Sturridge off the ensuing counter;
60′ – Steven Gerrard allows Henderson and (the goal scorer) Sturridge to beat a high line to make it 4-0;
74′ – Stewart Downing and Borini combine for a goal. (Go ahead. Read that again.);
76′ – What looks to be a dead ball cross from Henderson ends up in the back of the goal. How? Newcastle.
This is the type of performance that gets coaches fired, especially when they’re only recently removed from a big derby loss. Now the Magpies have the worst defense in the Premier League (66 goals allowed), are five points off the drop, and have played one more game than both Aston Villa and Wigan. And their goal difference is now -23 – as bad as Wigan’s.
Oh, by the way: This team has mid-table talent. At worst. You could see a team with these players competing at the edge of Europa League. Instead, they’re on the edge of the Championship.
Whether a coach should be fired isn’t for us to say, but the seat under Alan Pardew is going to heat up, and justifiably so. Coaches are routinely fired for less. In their last eight games, Newcastle has one victory, and unable to forge a defense over the season’s first 35 matches, Pardew’s left his team to fight off relegation in their last three.
LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer
Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.
Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).
Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).
While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.
Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:
The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.
“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”
Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.
Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.
Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.
As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it ispeak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:
“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.
“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”
But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:
Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.
Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.
Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.
In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).