Southampton 1-1 Manchester City: Osvaldo’s wonder-goal pegs back Citizens (video)

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Southampton dominated Manchester City for large periods at St. Mary’s on Saturday as Daniel Osvaldo’s wonder-goal sealed a deserved 1-1 draw.

City took the lead early on through Sergio Aguero’s 17th goal in this last 15 games, as Southampton looked slack at the back. But to their credit the Saints came roaring back and pushed and pushed for an equalizer that finally came just before the break when Italian international Osvaldo delivered a moment of pure class.

Running down the left flank he took on three City defenders, flick the ball past another and then bent in an unstoppable shot into the top corner for an early contender for Goal of the Season.

With the point injury-hit Southampton stay in eighth, while Man City drop to fourth after a somewhat lackluster display.

The visitors started brightly as City almost got through on goal twice in quick succession through Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, but Southampton managed to get back and defend well with last-ditch challenges.

Southampton responded well and Steven Davis smashed an effort just wide as the home side tried to force the issue. However in the 10th minute City were 1-0 up as a great cross from Aleksandar Kolarov on the left found Aguero who smashed home on the turn to put City ahead.

Saints tried to respond and Dejan Lovren’s header in the 19th minute from James Ward-Proswe’s corner flashed just wide, as the home side tried to force their way back into the game.

After that came a sustained amount of pressure as Southampton’s fans cranked up the volume inside St. Mary’s but the best chance they had was an effort that Osvaldo smashed over the bar from an offside position. Luke Shaw kept surging down the left for Saints and the teenager was creating all kinds of problems for Pablo Zabaleta, one of his crosses found Osvaldo but the Italian forward couldn’t connect with his strike.

After that City broke ominously and a great diagonal ball found Zabaleta in the box and his cut back for fellow Argentine Aguero was uncharacteristically smashed over the bar. City’s top scorer should’ve done better but Saints kept pushing ahead as Adam Lallana and others went close to an equalizer for the Saints. In the 37th minute Shaw delivered a wicked left wing cross that teenage right back Calum Chambers headed wide of the goal when it looked easier to score.

Before half time Saints’ deserved equalizer arrived through Osvaldo. What a goal it was.

source: Getty Images
Osvaldo’s superb strike was enough to hand the Saints a point… but it could’ve been more.

A long ball to the left side of the box found the lone striker and he took the ball down with three City defenders around him. A few flicks and touches saw Osvaldo expertly create himself some space and he then curled in a inch-perfect effort into the top corner to send the home fans into raptures with his second goal in as many games.

In truth it was no more than the home side deserved as they pegged City back after Aguero’s opener. The Saints, who were playing with three teenagers in their starting lineup, were pressing to go ahead as the half time whistle blew.

City responded well after the break as Yaya Toure bent a terrific effort just wide of the top corner but a stunning run from Jay Rodriguez set up Osvaldo to try and put Saints ahead… but he ballooned his effort over the bar. City made some changes as they aimed to force the initiative and they piled on the pressure late in the game.

Southampton pressed to try and grab the winner as they had the better of proceedings but the game finished 1-1. Manuel Pellegrini may be relieved that his City side didn’t slip up, once again, away from the Etihad.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, S. Davis (Reed, 90), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Ramirez, 85), Rodriguez, Osvaldo (Lambert, 77).

Goal: Osvaldo (41)

Manchester City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Milner (Garcia, 62), Yaya Toure (Dzeko, 79), Fernandinho, Nasri; Aguero, Negredo (Navas, 62)

Goal: Aguero (10)

Spurs reportedly have right to match any Bale bid

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What’s Gareth Bale worth these days? And how much higher than that figure is Manchester United willing to go?

Those are the two main questions that arise from the idea that Tottenham Hotspur may have a contractual privilege to match any offer made to Real Madrid for the ex-Spurs star.

[ MORE: McKennie impresses again ]

Bale, 28, was worth $112 million in today’s dollars when Real bought him in 2013. He has 70 goals and 55 assists in 159 matches for the Spanish outfit.

How much is he worth now? Certainly nothing near the same figure, as Romelu Lukaku went for $99 million this summer and Alvaro Morata went for $80 million.

The Express says Real expects $112 million right back for Bale, which seems insane. Bale has three goals and four assists in nine matches for Real this summer, and had nine and five in 27 outings last season.

Bale did, however, scored 19 goals in 23 La Liga matches two seasons ago, but he’s dealt with significant injuries on a near-annual basis.

Spurs transfer record is the $48 million it spent on Davinson Sanchez this summer. Whatever Manchester United, or anything suitor, will bid for Bale will likely be higher than that figure.

At one point would it make sense for Spurs to smash their record and wage structure to line up Bale, Dele Alli, Harry Kane, and Christian Eriksen in the same attack (I mean, holy smoke, just close your eyes and visualize that!).

Real reportedly wants to make the move happen in January, while United wants to do it in the summer.

Moyes: West Ham mentality, confidence is shaky

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David Moyes needed to see his charges in action, and didn’t love the mental side of West Ham’s 2-0 loss to Watford on Sunday at Vicarage Road.

The Irons had plenty of chances on the day, with Cheikhou Kouyate seeing one shot saved before missing another in perhaps the two best of the day.

[ RECAP: Watford 2-0 West Ham ]

And Watford’s first goal was pretty unlucky, as Andre Gray bungled a shot that went right to Will Hughes for his first Premier League goal.

Moyes’ Irons also lost Marko Arnautovic with what he thinks is a broken thumb, but is more worried about the club’s poise. From the BBC:

“I was only ever going to find out what the players were like by working with them and seeing them play today. When the opportunities didn’t go for us, the confidence went away.

“We have to try to find a way of winning. The important thing is to be in the game, and when we lost the second goal, it became difficult.”

Watford spoils Moyes’ West Ham debut

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  • Unhappy debut for Moyes
  • Hart, Gomes make wild saves
  • Hughes scores early
  • Richarlison adds insurance

Will Hughes and Richarlison scored on either side of half time to lift Watford to a 2-0 win over visiting West Ham on Sunday at Vicarage Road.

It’s a debut loss for new Irons boss David Moyes, whose club remains in the Premier League’s 18th position.

Watford rises to eighth, with 18 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham looked bright and industrious in the first 10 minutes, yet Watford had a lead in the 11th.

Andre Gray whiffed on a shot, and the ball bobbled to Hughes for an advantageous finish.

Watford was on the back foot for much of the latter stages in the first half. A slick one-touch endeavor ended with Heurelho Gomes getting a piece of Cheikhou Kouyate‘s low shot.

Gomes then twice denied Marko Arnautovic, the first an incredible leg save.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Kouyate and Abdoulaye Doucoure traded chances early in the second half, with neither on frame.

Andre Gray and Doucoure worked a fine 58th minute chance, with Winston Reid‘s slight deflection stopping Gray from curling inside the far post. Joe Hart made a terrific save as Watford then pressed off the ensuing corner kick.

Richarlison put it away, essentially, with a 64th minute goal. Hughes handled the ball in the run-up, but the Brazilian’s finish was electrifying.

It’s Richarlison’s fifth PL goal of the season, matching his half-season total with Fluminese.

Christian Kabasele blocked a Lanzini rip off the line in the 74th minute as the Irons kept battling for an unlikely comeback.

Italian president’s burning remarks provide path for USMNT

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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There’s no question whether the Italian national team job is a different class than the United States men’s national team.

Aside from the fact that both sides failed to qualify for the World Cup, have a vacant manager’s chair, and decent recent results at youth level, the disparity is striking (and not all in negative ways for American fans).

[ MORE: McKennie impresses again ]

Italy has won four World Cups and a EURO, and played in four additional title games. Their domestic league is Top Five, and only six pool players who’ve been called up in the last 12 months come from outside Serie A. Three play in the Premier League, two in La Liga, and one in Ligue 1. It’s qualifying slate meant top Spain or face a home-and-home playoff with another top European team.

On the other hand, the U.S. faces the most forgiving qualifying run this side of Oceania. It’s room for improvement on the international stage is much higher, and its current group is so much further from its potential than the Italian side that it’s hard to find an apt comparison (Consider that, playoff loss aside, Italy has beat the following sides in the last 18 months: Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, and Uruguay).

Differences/similarities aside — and yes, it’s a tad ridiculous to get this deep into what separates Italy from the U.S. in terms of soccer — the USSF could do worse than monitoring how the Italians are handling their World Cup disaster.

1) Accepting responsibility without caveats about their previous successes — Here’s federation president Carlo Tavecchio (who it must be noted has said some reprehensible racist things. We would never gloss over something like that, but we’re talking about the soccer side here). After blasting player selection, he then said, ‘Yeah, but I hired the dude”:

“How can you not play [Lorenzo] Insigne? I told the staff, not him. I can’t intervene [with the coach], there are rules. I have to acknowledge it; I chose the coach. It’s been four days that I haven’t slept. I wake up continuously. We have always played crosses against tall defenders, some almost two meters tall. We had to play around them with the little players, who were on the bench.”

2) Waiting a while to make the correct move — By most accounts, this is very much the plan for the United States (especially with a presidential election looming in February). While most new presidents wouldn’t begrudge the hiring of an highly-qualified name, plenty of prospective bosses would want to wait until the new (or current) man in charge cements his place.

Tavecchio dropped plenty of names, and is especially interested in Chelsea’s Antonio Conte. And he said it’ll be worth the wait.

“We’re looking for the best. They already have commitments until June from a contractual point of view. Then when we get to June, who will be free? The ones are Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri, [Claudio] Ranieri and Mancini. This is the truth of those available.”

Granted the U.S. does not have the wealth of elite experience coaches that Italy does, but the Americans are also not limited to hiring an American.

USMNT interim boss Dave Sarachan is a respected soccer name who is not going to light the shop on fire while the right hire is made during this upcoming string of friendlies.

It’s a top-bottom failure. It includes nearly every part of the system, but the man in charge is the most important part considering that the USMNT should qualify for every World Cup and somehow managed to bungle it.

America needs a bungle-free hire.