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New York Red Bulls add Bradley Wright-Phillips, what do we think?

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The New York Red Bulls today announced that striker Bradley Wright-Phillips has joined after a successful trial period.

Wright-Phillips, 28, has done the rounds in England after playing for Manchester City, Southampton, Plymouth Argyle, Charlton Athletic and Brentford.

The name may ring a bell, remember his older brother Shaun?

Anyway, the younger Wright-Phillips brother will add pace and a direct approach to Mike Petke’s attack as he aims to keep New York pushing forward in the second half of the Major League Soccer season.

Wright-Phillips has scored 80 goals in 302 appearances, not many for a striker you may be thinking. But Wright-Phillips can also play on the wing and in recent seasons with Charlton he’s been in good form in front of goal, scoring 31 times in 87 games for The Addicks.

Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh certainly expects Wright-Phillips so shine in MLS.

Since Bradley’s potential was first recognized by Manchester City and the England’s Under-20 side, he has proved to be a goal scorer of note, whether playing up front or as a winger. We are delighted to sign him. He will certainly add another dimension to our roster with his pace and technical ability.

That’s what the Red Bulls think, but is the jury still out for most soccer fans? Probably. I’ll be very interested to see how he does, his pace and instinctive finishing is top notch but his ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck is questionable at best.

Like I said, I’m intrigued to see how Wright-Phillips gets on.

Not least because I was constantly nicknamed “Joe Wright-Phillips” throughout my playing days — not because we had similar soccer abilities, trust me, but due to our somewhat similar last names — I’ve always kept a keen eye on Wright-Phillips and his brother Shaun.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s Weekly MLS rankings)

Both have had up and down careers, as Bradley became the “Coca-Cola kid” at Southampton, after they won a cash prize from the beverage company to spend on a player. They chose Wright-Phillips and that nickname has stuck down on the South Coast.

But he has also been involved in some unsavory incidents over the years, as Wright-Phillips and Swansea City’s Nathan Dyer were alleged to have stolen a barmaids bag at a nightclub amongst other issues. While Shaun shone at Manchester City but a big money move to Chelsea curtailed his career, after playing for England, and know he plays for QPR.

Anyway, having watched Bradley’s career closely, scoring regularly in the Championship and League One in England was never difficult for him. Coming off the bench and making an impact is also his thing and his step-father, England and Arsenal legend Ian Wright, has certainly taught him how to finish.

Can he cut it with New York? It depends how much playing time he gets with Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola developing a partnership and the rest of the Red Bulls line up very settled. However Espindola has certainly been goal-shy, with just four goals in 19 games this season.

Wright-Phillips be a great impact player off the bench to nick a late goal. Maybe that’s just what New York need going into the final few months of the season with the playoffs looming.

Premier League AT HALF: Arsenal fights back, Hull City on top

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (L) and Francis Coquelin of Arsenal (R) celebrate after Theo Walcott of Arsenal (not pictured) scored Arsenals first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on December 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City

Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.

Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth

The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.

But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.

Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a

Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland

Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.

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Koeman: “Nervous” Everton has a problem after another loss

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Ronald Koeman manager of Everton arrives prior to the Premier League match between Watford and Everton at Vicarage Road on December 10, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
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One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.

Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.

The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.

Here’s Koeman:

“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”

A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?

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VIDEO: Hendrick scores incredible volley from distance

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Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.

Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.

[ STREAM: Every PL game online ] 

A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.

Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.

Click play on the video above to watch it.

Messi’s latest goal dares you to count the touches (video)

PAMPLONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Sadar stadium on December 10, 2016 in Pamplona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.

So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.

[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]

On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.

That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.

Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.

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