How much does Arsenal need another striker? Maybe Sunday’s game at Newcastle will tell

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Arsenal needs help at striker; that’s hardly a well-kept secret.

How much Arsene Wenger and upper management around the Emirates Stadium needs some January reinforcement remains up for debate.

You have to wonder if anything seen in Sunday’s match at Newcastle may tip the balance?

Olivier Giroud has been more productive than most of us might have thought, which is among the reasons Wenger’s club finds itself just two points behind Manchester City going into Sunday’s match, with a chance to march into the New Year on top of 20-team the table.

But whereas Arsenal has been fighting for a top 4 spot in the past few years, a few more goals here or there could mean a Premier League crown. So the stakes are higher yet as the club weighs a January move.

Wenger hasn’t been big on mid-season transfers. Andrey Arshavin back in 2009 was Wenger’s last big January signing, and he just never quite lived up to the mighty expectations. So pardon the Gunner for being a little, well, gun shy.

Either way, various reports have insisted Arsenal may pursue FC Porto’s Jackson Martinez, Standard Liege’s Michy Batshuayi or Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. Jackson would be the big score here. The young Colombian international certainly sounds interested in Premier League soccer, and he says Arsenal (along with Chelsea) were his childhood rooting interests.

So, go get the kid, right? Well, maybe … but maybe not. Don’t forget that January prices are generally inflated.

And there are always further layers of complexity as players consider winter moves in a World Cup year

If Giroud can convince everyone that he’s got a big second half of the season in him, maybe that gives Wenger and his Gunners just a little more leverage in any transfer talks. (Or if Lukas Podolski can keep up the pace from his initial post-injury appearance, same difference.)

If Giroud misses a few more chances at St. James’ Park on Sunday, that may be just enough to pry open the wallet. A Premier League crown may depend on it.

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:


EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:


Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET