The Wayne Rooney saga still hasn't been solved. But Arlo was impressed with his application vs. Swansea.

Lineups and discussion: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Leave a comment

The only way this game could have been scheduled worse is if it kicked off this Saturday at 10:00 a.m Eastern. Chelsea’s annual visit to Manchester United is normally be one of the most anticipated fixtures of the season, but scheduled far too early, the stakes are low-to-non-existent. At least if it was on opening weekend we could have had the months of insane buildup, people like us driving a ‘Moyes debuts against Chelsea narrative’ six feet deep. Doesn’t that sound fun?

I guess we’re just going to have to content ourselves with 22 elite soccer players starting for two iconic clubs playing in front of a 75,000 people at one of the best venues on Earth. As for stakes — beyond these being two of the three major contenders for this year’s title — we’ll have to supplant them with the uncertainty that we’re still not very sure if United will fall off of Chelsea has truly made up the gap. If either side manages three points, it will be as huge of a result as you can muster 10 days into a season.

Chelsea comes into the match at the top of the Premier League, with first week wins over Hull City and Aston Villa putting them on a perfect six points through two matches. Today’s game, however, will be their first way from Stamford Bridge. It will also be their first against a side that’s expected to compete for Europe.

Manchester United faced both of those things in week one, going to the Liberty Stadium in Swansea to post a 4-1 win on Michael Laudrup’s Swans. Doubles by Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck got the David Moyes era off to a surprisingly strong start.

For United, there is one notable change from Monday’s game: Wayne Rooney starts. The recalcitrant star began on the bench against Swansea yet came on to record two assists. Against the club he’s rumored to be moving to before the transfer deadline, Rooney may make one of his final Manchester United starts. He comes into the team for Ryan Giggs.

Chelsea’s wrinkle is the lack of an obvious number nine. Against Hull they used Fernando Torres. Demba Ba started against Aston Villa. Today, José Mourinho’s going with an attacking four of Kevin De Bruyne, Oscar, Eden Hazard, and Andre Schurrle. Amazingly, Chelsea has named a striker-less team that doesn’t contain Juan Mata.

Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, on NBCSN. If you’re away from your television, head over to NBC Sports Live Extra, where you’ll be able to stream today’s match.

Starting Lineups

Manchester United: David de Gea; Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra; Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney; Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck

Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Kevin De Bruyne, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle

Calum Chambers joins Middlesbrough on loan

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Calum Chambers of Arsenal and Scott Arfield of Burnley compete for the ball  during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Burnley at Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Middlesbrough has impressed at times during its return to the Premier League this season, and now the club looks to bolster its backline as the transfer window closes.

[ MORE: Aguero could miss Manchester derby after FA charge ]

The club announced the loan signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on Tuesday, providing the Boro with a promising young player to contribute in the back.

Chambers, 21, has made 58 appearances in the PL with both the Gunners and Southampton, while also earning three caps for England.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka revaled his excitement over the signing, while also stating that the player addresses a big need on the backline.

“I’m really pleased,” said Karanka. “It’s a position where we’ve been working towards bringing the right player in. We haven’t been in a hurry because Calum was the player we were waiting for, and he’s going to help us a lot.”

Arsenal adds defensive depth, signs Mustafi from Valencia

GETAFE, SPAIN - APRIL 24:  Shkodran Mustafi of Valencia applauds fans after Valencia drew 2-2 with Getafe CF during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Valencia CF at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on April 24, 2016 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images[
Leave a comment

The Gunners have been heavily criticized for not spending enough during the transfer season, however, Arsene Wenger has gotten the man he wanted to help out defensively.

[ MORE: Rooney retiring from England after 2018 World Cup ]

Arsenal announced the signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, after the German centerback had been previously been linked to the club for some time as their top transfer target.

Mustafi will likely figure immediately into the Arsenal defense, which has also added Rob Holding this summer. The 24-year-old made over 64 appearances for Valencia while in La Liga after beginning his academy career in England with Everton.

Hope Solo reveals she won’t play in NWSL for rest of 2016

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 09:  Hope Solo #1 of the United States kicks the ball up the field as she posts her100th career shut-out against South Africa in a friendly match at Soldier Field on July 9, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The United States defeated South Africa 1-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Hope Solo hasn’t had the best couple of weeks since the U.S. Women’s National Team bailed out of the 2016 Olympics.

On Tuesday, the U.S. keeper announced her decision to take a step back from her club team as well after receiving a six-month ban from U.S. Soccer.

The veteran American shot stopper took to Twitter to make her decision known, leaving her status unknown with the Seattle Reign in the future. Solo remains under contract until the end of the current campaign, however, it is not known as to how her decision to sit out will affect her financially.

Solo wil be eligible to return to the USWNT in February, but it will be up to head coach Jill Ellis to reintroduce the 35-year-old into the fold.

Gyasi Zardes to miss the remainder of MLS regular season

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 09:  Gyasi Zardes #11 of Los Angeles Galaxy attemps to break away from Leiton Jimenez #30 of Club Tijuana at StubHub Center on February 9, 2016 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

U.S. Men’s National Team and LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes will miss the rest of the MLS regular season with a broken bone in his right foot.

It was initially believed on Monday that the U.S. attacker could be out until the end of 2016 after suffering the injury in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Zardes was taken down by Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston during the latter stages of the match, with the Costa Rican apparently catching the inside of the 24-year-old’s foot, ultimately causing the injury.

Because of his extended absence, Zardes was ruled out of consideration for the USMNT squad ahead of their upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.