Week 4: “View from the Booth” with Arlo White

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This weekend the voice of soccer on NBC Sports is taking a well deserved rest from calling the Premier League action.

Yet he still has time to speak to ProSoccerTalk.

In the latest edition of “View from the Booth” NBC Sports’ lead soccer announcer Arlo White talks about the biggest transfers in the Premier League after the deadline day drama, David Moyes’ struggles, how England’s national team can improved their fortunes and much more.

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With no PL action on NBC Sports Network this weekend due to the international games, you may miss the dulcet tones of Arlo emanating from your television in the living room.

But don’t worry, here he is to discuss all of this weeks hot topics. That should tide you over until PL action returns next week.

Enjoy. Here’s Arlo.

So after the transfer window slammed shut on Monday night, which Premier League teams fared best in the market?

At this stage, we can only speculate based on our prior knowledge of players and whether certain clubs have satisfied particular needs. It will take a while to really assess the winners and losers of this transfer window.

Clearly, Spurs were very active. The late signing of Christian Eriksen could prove to be a master stroke. Capoue (when he returns), Paulinho and Soldado could be terrific signings. But as we saw at the Emirates on Sunday, it will take time for these 7 new faces to bed into their new surroundings.

Brendan Rodgers should be very happy at Liverpool despite missing out on Willian. Keeping Luis Suarez was a very bold statement. They added some defensive depth as well and Mignolet has enjoyed a terrific start to the season.

Arsenal really stole the show late on with the Ozil coup. But should they have added elsewhere? Most definitely. They will be great to watch though.

Manchester City did their business early and effectively, and Everton played a very canny game on deadline day. They were resigned to losing Fellaini, but they squeezed more money out of United than they wanted to pay, they forced the Belgian to put in a transfer request so they maintained the PR high ground, and they bought/loaned intelligently with the captures of James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku. Plus they kept Leighton Baines. Hats off to messrs Kenwright and Martinez.

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Arlo Believes Mesut Ozil can be the key to Arsenal achieving big things.

And what about the late, late deals for Mesut Ozil and Marouane Fellaini? Do you think Arsenal should have smashed their transfer record to grab the German international?

Yes. Think back to last week when I wrote this…

Now, if Arsenal land Benzema, Di Maria and Ozil from Real Madrid, it could all change (btw, will Daniel Levy do the Bale deal as late as possible to help scupper Arsenal’s plans of recruiting those potentially surplus Real stars??)

The Gunners had to make a statement to at least appease their frustrated fan base, but I feared they were placing all their eggs into a basket that their arch nemesis Daniel Levy could push off the table. They way it worked out, Arsenal were gifted a clear 24 hours to finalize out the Ozil deal after it was announced that Gareth Bale had sealed his switch to the Bernabeu. It seems that Madrid had simply run out of patience with Levy, so they had no problem at all selling Ozil to Tottenham’s main rivals, to recoup nearly half of the fee they paid to Spurs. I think Spurs have bought well, but the immediate upshot was that they sold their world class player to Real Madrid, who then felt compelled to sell a world class player to Arsenal.

Elsewhere, David Moyes and Manchester United have been widely criticized for their dealings in the window, will the Red Devils regret not buying at least 2/3 more players?

Possibly. But they kept Rooney as well remember. There were always going to be teething problems once the Ferguson/Gill axis was broken up, but United won’t want a repeat of that deadline day farce. It just didn’t reflect well on the club. I admire Moyes’ faith in the players he already has, but I wonder if Shinji Kagawa has to play a larger role going forward. If he starts games and performs well, it will feel like United have got a new signing.

After Liverpool beat United and won their third-straight 1-0 game to open the season, can Brendan Rodgers’ men really break into the top four this season? Is the North London battle between Arsenal and Spurs even closer after the Gunners narrow win?

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Liverpool’s defensive solidity is key to their success.

Anything is possible. We’ve only had 3 games! Brendan Rodgers is very tactically astute. It was a thrill to be at Anfield on Sunday, the atmosphere was electric. Liverpool got what they so desperately craved, an early goal. They continued to push in the first half for a second, but it didn’t come. Then, much like his old boss Jose Mourinho did at Old Trafford last Monday, Rodgers instructed his side to go into a defensive shell. It was about ball retention and shape. A bend but don’t break approach. It wasn’t particularly entertaining, but it worked. People are writing off United, but RVP should have equalized late on, and on the balance of the second half, only the most ardent Red could have argued that it wasn’t deserved on the balance of the game.

Yes, Liverpool can challenge for the top 4. Spurs and Arsenal will duke it out to the last game.

With the huge amount of foreign talent flooding into the Premier League, FA Chairman Greg Dyke has been pretty defiant about the role the PL has in the future of the English national team. Is there an easy solution to getting more young English talent playing regularly in the PL?

Short answer is no. I don’t believe in quotas. The Premier League is, and should remain, a meritocracy. It’s incumbent upon the FA and the Premier League to work together to produce better, more rounded players. It starts with education. A smarter person is a better player. Education, academics and Football shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. They certainly aren’t in the top Football nations in the world. English Football has always feared and been suspicious of, intelligence and academics. Why? There are social reasons, but it needs to change.

Germany took drastic steps after their struggles at Euro 2000, and it’s paid off. England have been under performing for generations now. But it’s difficult to tell the richest league in the world that they shouldn’t go out and spend their money on the best players available wherever they are from. The FA must harness the millions of lads who play Football throughout the country and simply make them better through coaching and education. It’s a tall order, but if the desire is there, it can be done.

Finally, what’s coming up next for you? When the international break is over the PL will be back in full flow. What can we expect from the games your covering?

Looking forward to next weekend already. I have Everton v Chelsea next Saturday and Swansea v Liverpool on Monday. The great games keep coming thick and fast and it’s exhilarating being a part of it.

Mexico captain Guardado suffers hamstring injury

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With the World Cup still half a year away, there’s plenty of time to heal from injuries and get the body right after tweaking things during the club season.

And yet, there will still be some concern among Mexico fans.

Team captain Andres Guardado suffered a hamstring tear, his club Real Betis confirmed on Monday, and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. That’s nothing to write home about when it comes to preparing for the big tournament, but with Guardado 31 years old and struggling with injuries in recent years, Mexico fans will be keenly aware that hamstring injuries can return with a vengeance if not given the right time to heal.

Guardado has shown his age in recent times, not necessarily with his play on the field, which has been critical to his country, but with his fitness. Guardado has just four full 90 minute performances for Mexico dating back to October of 2016, missing time with ankle, leg, and now hamstring injuries in that span.

The 31-year-old has had a fine season so far for Real Betis, scoring one goal and assisting six while appearing in all 15 La Liga matches for the club thus far. The club sits 12th in the La Liga table with 18 points.

Guardado will be fine with plenty of time to spare, but if not fully healed properly, there’s always the risk that muscle injuries can flare back up, and Mexico fans will hope that their captain’s club gives him plenty of rest to recover.

Mark Hughes wants Stoke City to “suck it up”

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Mark Hughes is under fire at Stoke City with the Potters firmly entrenched in the relegation battle, and with that he’s charging his players, staff, and himself to gut the rest of the season out.

With Stoke heading to Turf Moor to take on Burnley, they sit just three points above the drop. The players were faced with jeers from angry fans at the train station following this past weekend’s 5-1 disaster against Tottenham. The fiery Hughes is hoping to use this jarring moment to jolt his squad.

[ PREVIEW: Tuesday’s Premier League action ]

“That is still resonating. It’s good we have a game because it is still fresh in their ears probably, and they can use it as a motivating factor,” said Hughes during his pre-match press conference.

“You either suck it up and do ­something about it or you go under, and we can’t accept players like that. I don’t feel we have players like that.”

With managers nowadays often reaching into the excuses barrel as they hope to save their own skins, Hughes refuses to do just that, instead placing the decision firmly on the players shoulders, telling them they are the only ones who can save the club.

“Maybe some hadn’t ­confronted that before – but sometimes you need a reality check, and understand how our results and ­performances affect people,” Hughes said. “When people criticize you, you have to grow a thick skin in this industry. If you don’t, you’re in the wrong place.”

Louis van Gaal calls Mourinho’s United “far more boring”

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Louis Van Gaal has picked just the right time to pipe up.

The former Manchester United manager, who took flak while in charge for his side being hideous to watch, has now taken shots of his own at his successor Jose Mourinho, kicking Manchester United while they’re down after a 2-1 derby defeat at home.

The Dutchman told Fox Sports Netherlands, “If you ask me how did I do at United, I will say it was my best year ever, given the circumstances I was working under. We played football that was quite alright. But it’s not football that is appreciated in England. And yet, right now, looking at United, I have to conclude Mourinho is not being criticized while it’s far more boring football.”

[ PREVIEW: Premier League Tuesday matches, including Chelsea vs. Huddersfield ]

Van Gaal was blasted consistently for playing a boring style, especially in front of the home crowd, and now Mourinho is being criticized for the same concept. Mourinho was denounced for similar reasons while in charge of Chelsea, but with the club winning multiple titles under his leadership, the noise was always less while the team was winning. With Manchester United still unable to crack the top 4, Mourinho is feeling the heat.

“What United produce now is defensive football,” van Gaal said. “I always played attacking football. The proof is that the opposition were always parking the bus. They don’t do that now because Jose Mourinho plays so defensive.”

To van Gaal’s point, Manchester United is seventh in the Premier League in possession, holding 51% possession this season. They were out-possessed by Manchester City 65-35 at Old Trafford over the weekend. Meanwhile, van Gaal’s last full season with Manchester United, the 2015/16 season, saw the Red Devils hold 54%, which ranked third in the Premier League, just a percentage point behind leaders Arsenal. However, van Gaal’s United ranked 15th in the Premier League in total shots, while Mourinho’s United this season ranks sixth at this point.

Van Gaal made sure to point out he prefers their cross-town rivals.

“I would rather watch City play than United. You need quality in a squad and it’s clear City have a better squad.”

Conte blames fatigue for dip in Chelsea form

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Antonio Conte has figured out what is plaguing his Chelsea side as they sit 14 points back of Premier League leaders Manchester City.

“I think when you play every three days, it is impossible to have a training session and to work on the physical aspects,” Conte said in his pre-match press conference as the Blues get set to play Huddersfield Town on Tuesday. “It’s impossible. It’s impossible because you have to prepare with the players for a game every three days.”

Chelsea has yet to find itself eliminated from a single competition, drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League while navigating fixtures across all four competitions.

And yet, this is nothing new for Conte. The Blues boss is more than familiar with fixture congestion, having taken charge of Juventus and regularly competing at a high level on multiple fronts. In 2012/13, he won the Serie A title, won the Supercoppa Italia, and reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

However, this is new for Conte at Chelsea. Last season, the Blues did not take part in a European competition thanks to their disastrous season the previous year. While they reached the FA Cup final, they were knocked out of the EFL Cup in the 4th round.

“We have to try to do our best,” Conte said. “For sure, some players can be tired, that’s normal because some players are playing from this summer and our tours in China and Singapore. It’s normal. But I repeat we have to find the best solution. We have to find more rotations. I’m doing this, we will try and do our best with hunger and desire. We will fight.”

As an example, Conte said Alvaro Morata will miss the match on Tuesday against Huddersfield Town due to fatigue, with the Spaniard battling a slight back injury. “Morata is out. He is a bit tired and he has a problem in his back.