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.

MOREGame schedule  |  Match finder

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?

source: Getty Images
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.

Pochettino’s Spurs put on show for Maradona, Kobe

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Post writers, us included, were drawn to Liverpool’s continued defensive woes following Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-1 demolition of the Reds at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

With Jurgen Klopp‘s personality and post-match quotes regarding uncapitalized goat Dejan Lovren, that’s understandable, but it would be a big mistake to not celebrate the class of Spurs on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | Klopp, Matip reaction ]

Harry Kane is world class, scoring twice and providing a clever assist on another goal as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men showed the well-oiled nature of their machine.

And he was glowing on a match day that saw Kobe Bryant and one of Pochettino’s Argentine heroes, Diego Maradona, at Wembley:

“I spoke to Diego Maradona before the game, it was very emotional. He brings very good energy. He is the best player ever in football history.”

That the win is coming after a draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu is even more notable, considering the manners of each match. Hugo Lloris joined Kane as a star of the show of a more defensive-minded away midweek, but was merely a component as Spurs went for the jugular against the dicey defense of Liverpool.

Margins are small in the Premier League, but you could easily make an argument that Spurs are unlucky to sit five points behind Manchester City. Their star goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made gaffes in their lone league loss, to Chelsea, and a failure to finish myriad chances allowed Chris Wood‘s late goal to stand as an equalizer against Burnley.

“It is the third season that we are trying to catch someone. Manchester City are doing very well, they have an amazing squad and one of the best managers in the world. We see what happens, we believe, we will try to catch them. We are focused every day.

There’s another rough stretch ahead for Pochettino’s men, who don’t face City until Dec. 16. Presumably it’ll be second choice at West Ham in the League Cup this week before a trip to Old Trafford, and Spurs have the luxury of making that tough visit without fearing Paul Pogba on the other side of the pitch.

Then, it’s Real Madrid at home in the Champions League, a visit from Palace, and the international break. The North London Derby follows away, and Spurs will hope to have the UCL group sewn up before a trip to BVB days later.

The remaining schedule, save a trip to currently tricky Watford, would set them up to move within touching distance of City following the Dec. 16 match at the Etihad. The interim sees Man City facing Arsenal and Manchester United, so it wouldn’t be absurd to think Spurs could make up ground should City stumble (as unlikely as that looks right now).

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Klopp, Matip react to another rough Liverpool defensive showing

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is shouldering the blame for Liverpool’s defensive collapse against Tottenham Hotspur, while the Reds’ manager is placing it on at least partially on Matip’s partner for the first half hour.

“Most teams at home with the stand in their back are always stronger,” Matip said after the 4-1 loss at Wembley Stadium.

[ RECAP: Spurs 4-1 Liverpool ]

“I am a defender and I should take care of this. We don’t think about the title race at the moment, we only try to get back in a good mood for next week.”

As for Klopp, he’s angry as expected following the shipping of four goals to Spurs. That verb works doubly here, as giveaways and mistakes were common place amongst the Reds’ backs and midfield.

Dejan Lovren had a rough day, subbing out after 31 minutes. The injured center back played a big part in Spurs first two goals, including leaping for and missing a Hugo Lloris long ball. From the BBC:

“If I am involved in this situation on the pitch, then Harry cannot get the ball.”

“We have to realize that we are responsible for this and nobody else. Of course we can fix it and we have to fix it as well.”

Klopp also detailed what went wrong with each of the four goals, then proffering that “the game was finished then.” Right.

There’s a lot to love about Klopp, who can be a tactical wizard. But he’s also struggled to convince players of their roles, and has shipped some very decent center back depth out-of-town. The latter is the reason Klopp used a less than fit Lovren on Sunday, and it burned them against a well-oiled Spurs side.

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Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Liverpool: Spurs superb at Wembley

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  • Spurs up 2-0 after 12 minutes
  • Salah pulls one back
  • Lovren struggles, subbed after 31
  • Kane with four brace of season

Tottenham Hotspur ran all over visiting Liverpool on Sunday, riding another star turn from Harry Kane to a 4-1 win at Wembley Stadium.

The win boosts Spurs level with second place Manchester United on points, and slips Liverpool ninth behind Burnley on goal differential. The Reds are three points back of the Top Four.

Kane scored twice, and assisted Heung-Min Son‘s goal. Dele Alli added the fourth in the second half, while Mohamed Salah continued his sparkling season with a goal for Liverpool.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was 1-0 early, as Kane cut into the center of the attacking third and took advantage of a Dejan Lovren error (prepare for a lot more of that term, sans first name) to hit a left-footed shot into the goal.

It was 2-0 when Lovren leapt to meet a Hugo Lloris clearance and… totally missed it. This Lovren error sprung Kane, who was patient with his dribble and snapped a pass to Son to make it 2-0.

Salah made it 2-1 when Jordan Henderson spied his back post run and his a diagonal ball. Salah put it by an unusually out-of-sorts Hugo Lloris.

Son had a good chance to restore the two-goal lead when he raced past Lovren, but Mignolet blocked his shot and collected a rebound off Lovren’s body.

Lovren left the match in the 32nd minute for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That barely stemmed the flow, as Dele was alone to collect and deposit Joel Matip’s attempted clearance of a Christian Eriksen stoppage time free kick.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Perhaps a riot act was read, because Liverpool came hot out of the second half gates. Spurs dealt with havoc in the first 120 seconds.

Kane made it 4-1 in the 56th minute, off a free kick. Mignolet collided with Matip while trying to collect an Eriksen free kick, then Roberto Firmino blocked a Jan Vertonghen shot off the line before Kane lashed in the third crack.

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Barcelona chief backs Catalan leaders in clash with Spain

Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images for FC Barcelona
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu says Barcelona backs the leaders of Catalonia in response to the Spanish government’s decision to take over the regional government.

Bartomeu said on Saturday “the fact that people have been imprisoned for their political ideas is unacceptable in the 21st century. No one can question Barcelona’s commitment to Catalan society and its democratic institutions.”

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

To block the Catalan independence push, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wants the Senate to give him direct power to dissolve the regional Catalan government and call an early election.

Bartomeu says Barcelona sides with those who defend the Catalan people’s right to vote in a referendum for independence. He also says the club aims to remain in the Spanish league.

Barcelona leads La Liga, defeating Malaga late Saturday.