Seemingly ever since he was named head coach at Norwegian club Molde, former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been mentioned in connection with Premier League jobs. Perpetually thought of the ‘will make a good manager’ type, the push behind Solskjaer’s acclaim has never been clear. Do the media keep him in mind because those within the game are talking about him? Or is he just a guy who has stayed on the periphery of the conversation, his transition to reserves coach at Manchester United making him another potential Alex Ferguson “why not” legacy?
Between coaching United’s youth teams and his time with Molde, it’s not like Solskjaer has accumulated huge list of high-level accomplishments. Is he really better qualified to claim a Premier League job than those managing at higher levels? Yet in the wake of Malky Mackay’s departure at Cardiff City, his name has again popped up, with The Guardian going as far as to use Sunday’s match coverage to report the 40-year-old has turned down the job. This was an hour after The Telegraph said Solskjaer was still in Cardiff’s sites, with other outlets have also reported the Bluebirds’ interest in the Molde boss.
To his credit, Solskjaer has accumulated an impressive record at Molde. If there was any doubt as to whether he would make a good manager, he’s eliminated it in the very basic sense. One year after being appointed Molde boss (in 2010), Solksjear led the club to the Norweigan Premier League title, a feat he reproduced the following season. While Molde slumped to a sixth place finish in this year’s Tippeligaen, MFK did claim the Norweigan Cup. Whatever qualities those initial reports were relaying about Solskjaer’s managerial credentials, they’ve played on in his first managerial job, Molde having won 48 of the 90 league matches since his hire.
At this point, we’re beyond asking why Solskjaer has been mentioned in connection with the Cardiff job. It’s very unlikely all these sources are pulling the same things out of thin air. The more pertinent question is whether he is still in the running. The Guardian tried to make the case he wasn’t, apparently reading between the lines of a Cardiff chairman’s words. Other places are either chasing their reporting or going in a different direction.
All of which leaves us with questions about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Cardiff. They’re different questions than we may have had when his name came up on Friday, but they’re questions nonetheless.
- Spurs won both matches in 15-16
- Cherries unbeaten in three overall
- Spurs 2W-2D on road this season
Tottenham’s treatment of new boys Bournemouth was downright disrespectful last season, and the improved Cherries would love a measure of payback (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports).
Spurs handled Bournemouth 3-0 at home last season after belting the Cherries 5-1 at Vitality Stadium in October.
[ MORE: USWNT’s Holiday has tumor removed ]
Almost exactly one year later, Bournemouth sits 11th with 11 points and is closer to the top of the table than the bottom.
Meanwhile, Spurs are again in a title race despite the continued absence of striker Harry Kane, who is back training but won’t be available for Saturday’s contest.
What they’re saying
Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe on facing Tottenham: “I think we’re better prepared for these kind of games. We’re more hardened to Premier League football and our belief and confidence levels are better than what they previously were, but we have to prove it on the pitch. It’s going to be a real test for us. They have an outstanding manager who in my opinion is up there with the very best. The intensity at which his sides play makes them difficult opponents. They are general title contenders.”
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino on Vincent Janssen: “Always we need to give time. He’s young, he’s come in from the Netherlands and always the players that come from outside need time. He’s a striker that brings to the team different characteristics but I am happy with his behavior, his professionalism and how he is playing.”
It’ll be far from easy, and Howe certainly has a motivated team in form. Spurs’ quality will be on display as well, and both managers like to see their teams play free. Call it 2-2.
Week 9 of the 2016-17 Premier League season is here.
[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]
It all kicks off with Bournemouth hosting Tottenham Hotspur (7:30 a.m. ET live NBCSN andonline via NBC Sports.com) at the Vitality Stadium with two teams full of young English players to go head-to-head.
Then Arsenal welcome Middlesbrough (10 a.m. ET live NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com) to the Emirates with Arsene Wenger‘s side searching for a seventh-straight win in the PL, while Boro have won just one of their opening eight games.
Rounding things off on Saturday, Liverpool and West Brom clash at Anfield (12:30 p.m. ET live NBC and online via NBC Sports.com) in a battle between two different styles. Can Tony Pulis‘ pragmatic approach shut down Jurgen Klopp‘s fluid offensive machine?
On Sunday Manchester City host Southampton at the Etihad (8:30 a.m. ET live NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com) with both teams coming off the back of disappointing defeats away in European action. Then comes the big one: Chelsea vs. Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (11 a.m. ET live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com). Jose Mourinho is returning to the Bridge for the first time since he was fired last December and he’ll likely get a very warm reception from the home fans. Will his United side again frustrate a big-name opponent away from home?
You can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App, plus you can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at 10 a.m. ET for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App,
If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here. They are available soon after the final whistle, but rights limit us to a certain number each week. Looking for game highlights? Try this. Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
7:30 a.m. ET: Bournemouth vs. Tottenham – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Hull City vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Watford – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Everton – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham vs. Sunderland – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC [STREAM]
8:30 a.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Southampton – NBCSN [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Chelsea vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM]
Maybe he just got sick of the criticism, and of (relatively) keeping his cool.
Maybe he just doesn’t care anymore.
Regardless of the “why”, there’s a lot to love about this season’s Arsene Wenger.
[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines — Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge ]
Wenger has slowly built up his hope and expectations for the club. The Gunners “have a better chance” to win in the Champions League. They’re “stronger with every win“, and need humility.
And Wenger is taking it to the jungle to explain that last part.
“I believe that humility is to understand that you start again from zero and that you are in a jungle. We live in a jungle where everybody wants to eat you, and you have to survive by keeping your vigilance. That’s what competition is about. Every day you have to fight again to survive.
“The love to win and the competitiveness of the Premier League is very exciting. We are all in that [jungle] together.”
Arsenal hosts Middlesbrough on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
- Liverpool leads all-time: 59W-37D-32L
- Teams drew both matches last season
- WBA last won at Anfield in 2013
West Brom has hope for a big Anfield upset when it visits Liverpool this weekend (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBC Sports).
The Baggies are have picked up points in three of their last five trips to Anfield, and have a 4-4-4 league record against the Reds since returning to the Premier League in 2010.
[ MORE: USWNT’s Holiday has tumor removed ]
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to rule anyone out for Saturday’s match, and the in-form Reds will have to break down a side that’s unbeaten in four.
What they’re saying
Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren: “Every game is a ‘win’ game for us – we have the quality to beat everyone, when you look at the teams we have played already. It’s just about a winning mentality. If we can keep that, at the end of the season we can be proud.”
West Brom boss Tony Pulis: “We know Liverpool is going to be a really tough game. Their front five are exceptional. Jurgen Klopp is passionate and that is important in the game and important for Liverpool. They’ve got a good chance this year. The games that are coming up are difficult but ones we should embrace. Anfield is wonderful.”
Pulis has done a fine job setting his team up to defend, and his counterattack will think well of breaking down Liverpool. But this one’s at Anfield, with the Reds in the international spotlight to end Saturday’s Premier League slate.
It doesn’t feel like an upset is in the cards, especially with the Reds still seething from last week’s scoreless draw vs. Manchester United. Call it Liverpool, 3-0.