Manchester United's Hernandez heads to score against Stoke City during English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester

Premier League reaction: Chicharito should have seen red, sportsmanship at Norwich

Leave a comment

Before we move on to Sunday’s slate of games in the Premier League, we’ll take a moment to look at player and manager reactions from yesterday’s action – which there was plenty of.

Manchester United claimed all three points at Old Trafford against Stoke CIty, despite trailing for most of the match.

In-form Wayne Rooney leveled at 2-2 and Mexico’s Javier Hernandez nodded home the winner with little time remaining.

However, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes that  Hernandez shouldn’t have even been allowed to continue after a challenge on Robert Huth, which left the Stoke City defender in a crumpled heap and needing shin treatment on the pitch.

“In my opinion he shouldn’t have been on the pitch anyway for the challenge on Robert Huth” said Hughes. “It was a reckless challenge, I’m sure the lad would agree himself. It’s dangerous and you’ve seen players sent off for lesser chances than that many times before. So we’re disappointed with that decision. Why the assistant referee didn’t see fit to do something about it I don’t know. We were disappointed with the decision by the referee. It is very difficult to go against a 70,000 crowd here. Sometimes you have to be strong as a referee.”

The referee at Old Trafford Saturday was Lee Mason.

Hughes also called United “lucky” to come away with the win, something that many were feeling after the escape by David Moyes and the Red Devils.

Sportsmanship prevailed at Carrow Road Saturday, despite a moment of controversy that left the Norwich City fans a bit confused following the 0-0 draw with Cardiff City.

With the ball kicked out of play by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall so Alex Tettey could get treatment for an injury, Marshall waited for a return ball in the form of a sporting pass from Leroy Fer.

Instead Fer kicked the ball into the back of the net, but referee Mick Jones disallowed the goal. Cardiff manager Malky Mackay believes the decision was correct, and that cooler heads were prevailing even if the goal had been given.

“Whether that was the exact ruling or whether he should have given the goal and let us walk up and put the ball in the net, which would’ve been a complete mockery” claimed Mackay. “I don’t think that’s something that anybody in the stadium would’ve wanted, maybe with the exception of Leroy Fer. Immediately Colin and Chris came up and said, ‘If Mick Jones gives it, we’ll let you walk it into our net. There was complete calmness from both benches. The boys were a little bit heated, but I think common sense prevailed.”

For what it’s worth, Norwich City manager Chris Hughton suggested that he believes the goal should have technically stood, however he reiterated that’s not how he would have wanted to win and therefore would have allowed Cardiff to walk up and score a goal before the final whistle to even things out.

Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta believes he was harshly sent off at Selhurst Park in Saturday’s early match, given an early shower by referee Chris Foy for a last-man challenge on Marouane Chamakh.

Both men were sent tumbling to the ground on the right wing just over the mid line, but it appeared the break had caught Arsenal out and the Palace striker would have been all by his lonesome had Arteta let him through.

However, the Gunners midfielder says he never meant to fell Chamakh, and that Foy didn’t take into account a number of factors.

“It was a very harsh decision to send me off” Arteta said. “Chamakh kicks my fight foot, I have seen it on television. It is 40 yards away from goal too. It is true that I tried to block him with my hand but then he came with his left foot into my right calf and then we were both on the floor. It was never a tackle from me.”

The replay does appear to show the players simply crashing into each other as both men flew at a high pace, but the lack of defenders behind the ball gives Foy little choice in the instance.

FOLLOW LIVE: 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
Leave a comment

The knockout round of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Thursday, as four teams vie for the final two places — one in the Eastern Conference, one in the Western Conference — in the conference semifinals, which begin on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round ]

Up first, the East’s fourth-seeded D.C. United welcome the five-seed Montreal Impact to RFK Stadium for the two sides’ third meeting of the 2016 season. Each of the year’s first two clashes finished a 1-1 draw, in July and August. Didier Drogba is expected to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home tie. United finished the regular season with four wins in the last five games, while the Impact won just two of their last eight.

[ MORE: Preivewing Thursday night’s knockout-round games ]

In the nightcap, the West’s fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders will take on the five-side, Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink Field. Sporting were victorious in both regular-season meetings this year — 1-0 on opening day, and 3-0 in late-July, the day the Sounders essentially quit on Sigi Schmid. Since that blistering hot day in KC, the Soudners have lost just twice in 14 games (eight wins, four draws).

Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET

Cristiano Ronaldo says Ashley Cole is the toughest player he faced

Leave a comment

Cristiano Ronaldo has faced the best defenders in the world during his time with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team.

He has also caused fits for most of those defenders with goal after goal for club and country. But, there have been some players who have at least made it difficult for the all-time leading goal scorer in Real Madrid and Champions League history.

According to Ronaldo, former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole was the toughest player he has faced in his career.

[ MORE: VIDEO: Incredible Pelle goal in China ]

“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo told Coach Mag. “He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

During his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo faced Cole on numerous occasions while Cole was with Arsenal and Chelsea. The two have also faced off in international competition between Ronaldo’s Portugal and Cole’s England.

It’s certainly high praise for Cole, who now plays in MLS for the LA Galaxy. At the age of 35, Cole has started 25 matches for the Galaxy this season, scoring one goal.

Phil Neville praises Juan Mata’s play to Manchester United

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Juan Mata has appeared in 116 matches for Manchester United since moving to Old Trafford in 2014. In that time, Mata has scored 29 goals and recorded 18 assists.

Despite his performance for the team, some thought Mata would be moved when Jose Mourinho came to town, including former United player and assistant coach Phil Neville.

Neville told Sky Sports, “I actually thought he would be the first out of the door when Jose came, but he’s actually becoming one of the most important players.”

Neville praised Mata’s contributions and versatility for United. “He is never injured, he provides a lot of assists, he plays in two or three different positions, and he scores important goals.”

Manchester United has lacked an identity under Mourinho and recently faltered in the Premier League as the team is winless in its last three matches.

[ MORE: Mourinho gets FA charge ]

Could Mata be the answer to some of United’s problems?

The Spaniard is a classic No. 10 with the ability to dictate his team’s attack and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Mata can also put the ball in the back of the net as evidenced by his winner against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.

Mourinho has options in the center midfield with the likes of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in addition to Mata on the roster.

However, given the team’s Premier League struggles, it could be worth giving Mata a chance as the team’s No. 10.

David Moyes faces FA charges after being sent off during EFL Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

David Moyes and Sunderland have gotten off to one of the worst starts in Premier League history.

If they fail to earn a point against Arsenal this weekend, they will tie the 1995-96 Manchester City team for the worst start ever through 10 matches with two points.

It appears those frustrations carried over to the EFL Cup for Moyes. On Wednesday, the manager was forced to leave the dugout toward the end of Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Southampton after he protested a no-call from referee Chris Kavanagh.

Moyes was charged by the FA for his protests, saying the manager “used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official”.

It’s just another thing to add to Moyes’ plate as he looks to keep Sunderland’s hopes of safety alive in the Premier League.