Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is more than a little surprised at the reports that Spanish star Juan Mata will be leaving Chelsea for a direct competitor in Manchester United.
Wenger’s also doubting the fairness of the move, as Chelsea’s already faced Manchester United twice and will not have to face Mata (while the move hands the Red Devils a boost ahead of a visit to Wenger’s Gunners on Feb. 12).
Some are reading into the following quotes as his calling for the Premier League to look into its fixture-scheduling in the future, as well as seemingly the role the January window plays in the season?
“United could have sold him last week but it opens at least the dates of this transfer window. Some teams have already played twice against one opponent and some others not and I think if you want to respect the fairness for everybody – exactly the same – that should not happen.
“I wouldn’t go as far as that, [Chelsea selling Mata to do damage to rivals]. I just think you would want that everybody is at the same level. I can understand completely what Chelsea are doing, it’s within the rules but maybe the rules should be adapted for fairness.”
Color me a cynic, but is he not saying, “Why do we have to face Juan Mata while Chelsea doesn’t have to worry about him at all?”
Wenger also said Arsenal’s lack of any transfers cooking at this late stage in January coupled with his squad’s health make any new talent coming to the Emirates during the January transfer window unlikely.
“We have Chamberlain back, Bendtner back and I hope next week Arteta and Ramsey back, so I feel overall we have the squad needed. We have Yaya Sanogo coming back into the squad next week as well.
“Overall we have a very strong squad. If something exceptional turns up we will do it but having said that not everybody will strengthen. They buy, but buy does not always mean strengthen.”
So, no Draxler then? Arsenal hosts Coventry City on Friday night for the club’s FA Cup fourth-round tie before visiting Southampton on Tuesday. With suspensions, appointments and injuries, the Saints have plenty of news of their own this morning…
A pivotal weekend in the Premier League is coming up, especially in the race for the top four and battle against relegation.
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The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.
Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
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You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.
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If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.
Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
7:30 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. Stoke City – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Southampton vs. Bournemouth – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. West Bromwich Albion – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Brighton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Huddersfield Town vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Chelsea – NBC [STREAM]
9:15 a.m. ET: West Ham vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Arsenal – NBCSN [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford – NBCSN [STREAM]
One of Morocco’s best young players isn’t going to get ideal World Cup preparation, and could even lose his place in the team if things don’t turn around at Southampton.
Southampton’s one-time record signing Sofiane Boufal has been banished to the U-23 side after refusing to warm up in Saints loss to Chelsea last weekend.
[ MORE: TFC loses CCL Final in PKs ]
The refusal reportedly led to a dust-up with manager Mark Hughes in the dressing room after Saints came-from-ahead to lose 3-2.
Hughes says everything is better now, but there needs to be punishment for Boufal’s actions. This means one of Saints’ most talented attackers won’t be a part of their desperate battle to overcome relegation (at least not soon).
From the Guardian:
“Given where we are at the moment, he’s probably best served training with a different group just to make people aware the situation we found ourselves in wasn’t what should have happened. He understands that now. He probably needs to rebuild a bit of trust with us and his team-mates. That’s what we’re working on. He won’t be involved this weekend. We’ll have to wait and see [whether he can return this season].”
“He’s remorseful about it, which he needed to be, and we’ll build him back up to be in the group again. But the time for that isn’t now. It’s about him biding his time, doing the right things, until he’s reintegrated.”
Boufal has two goals and two assists in 26 games (11 starts) since arriving from arriving from Lille for around $22 million. He has six caps for Morocco.
There was a terrible incident in Liverpool on Tuesday when a Reds supporter was set upon by Roma fans and left in critical condition.
Sean Cox, 53, was attacked outside a pub before Liverpool’s 5-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg win over AS Roma.
[ MORE: LFC 5-2 Roma | Klopp reacts ]
Liverpool has released its plans to keep supporters safe should they be among the 5,000 with tickets in Rome on Wednesday (via LiverpoolFC.com), pledging the “most comprehensive safety and security advice.”
The club has taken the exceptional measure of requesting an extraordinary meeting in the Italian capital, which will take place on Friday April 27. … At the behest of Liverpool, club officials will join AS Roma, UEFA and the relevant Italian police and security services to discuss specific ongoing concerns.
Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock backed up Roma’s police demand that Liverpool fans without tickets skip the trip to Italy. According to the BBC, Liverpool was asked to put fans names on their tickets to the game.
“While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel,” he said.
AS Roma, for its part, posted a photo of Cox with the statement, “His recovery and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now.”
Could Steven Gerrard‘s first foray into management come against his old manager and in one of the most heated derbies in the world?
The BBC is reporting that the Liverpool legend is on the shortlist for Rangers as the Glaswegian side prepares to hire a new manager in its bid to reverse Celtic domination of the Scottish Premiership and the Old Firm Derby.
[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]
Brendan Rodgers has engineered a marvelous run of form for Celtic, who went unbeaten in the league last season. Rodgers is also a sought-after managerial candidate for bigger jobs in Europe, and may not be at Celtic if and when Gerrard is hired by its rivals.
Either Celtic or Rangers have won the Scottish top flight title dating back to 1984-85, when champions Aberdeen were led by some guy named Alex Ferguson.
Rangers are facing a Manchester United moment this weekend, traveling to Celtic Park for a Sunday derby against Celtic which would see their rivals clinch the Premiership with a win.
Celtic has a 10-point lead on Rangers and Aberdeen, and is extremely likely to win its seventh-straight Premiership title. The record for most consecutive Scottish titles is nine, shared by Celtic (1966-74) and Rangers (1989-97).