Players who've used NWSL as a platform to improve have yet to impact U.S. head coach Jill Ellis's squad. (AP)

USWNT-China preview: Plenty of post-firing intrigue on NBCSN tonight

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There’s far more intrigue involved in Thursday’s rematch between the United States women’s national team and China (Watch live from California at 11pm ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) than there was after the Yanks controlled possession and chances but lacked finish in a 2-0 win in Colorado on Sunday.

That’s because US Soccer unexpectedly parted ways with head coach Tom Sermanni mere hours after the win, and the explanations since have been anything but sufficient. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said the coach’s style wasn’t meshing with the organization’s goals, and hinted that there were “personality-driven” issues.

But don’t tell that to the players, who to a woman are saying how shocked they are and how tremendous a coach and person Sermanni was during his 15 months in charge. Star Carli Lloyd was “shocked as everyone else,” while legend Abby Wambach was flat-out dismissive that there was a player revolt.

Which, of course, is why there have been rumors that players were barred from talking about the firing on social media (that only renegade Hope Solo disobeyed).

So it seems tonight is a bit of a no-win situation, aside from the obvious “W” that comes from beating China. If the US finishes the a larger percentage of the chances created against China earlier in the week, they’ll absolutely squash the competition and there will be some talk that the players threw their coach under the bus. If the US looks poor again, well, that’s an even bigger problem.

If Sermanni did anything while in charge, it was having the guts to introduce the next generation into the full national team fold ahead of World Cup 2015 in Canada. Some of those faces will be on the scene tonight, and the starting lineup from interim coach Jill Ellis — longtime US assistant going back to the Pia Sundhage era — could tell us more than a little about who’s speaking truly about the upheaval at US Soccer.

Memphis jersey biggest seller in Premier League

during the Barclays Premier League match between XXX and XXX on September 26, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
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Memphis Depay‘s name has been printed on more Premier League jerseys than anybody else.

[ PHOTOS: Must-see Klopp merch ]

According to, the Manchester United winger is the biggest climber on their top 10 list and fans have flocked to have “Memphis” printed on the back of their United jerseys.

The Dutch winger, 21, has had an up-and-down start to life at Old Trafford but that is not detracting fans from having Memphis, the name he prefers, emblazoned on the back of their shirts. Folks from an unnamed city in Tennessee, have you been buying lots of jerseys on the internet? No doubt the number of United fans in that region has sky-rocketed in the last few months. No doubt.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT ]  

Anyway, below is the list of the top 10 players name printed by Kitbag.

Top 10 selling jerseys worldwide

1. Lionel Messi – Barcelona
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
3. Memphis Depay – Manchester United
4. Bastian Schweinsteiger – Manchester United
5. Eden Hazard – Chelsea
6. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
7. Neymar – Barcelona
8. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
9. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
10. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool

New Arsenal contracts on the way for Alexis, Ozil

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil
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Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are both in line to be handed new contracts by Arsenal.

The attacking duo, who have been in fine form in recent weeks after slow starts to the season, both have current deals which run until 2018 but the Gunners are said to be keen on locking the attacking midfielders down to contract extensions.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT ] 

According to the Daily Mail, Sanchez is set to become Arsenal’s top earner with a new deal on the table in excess of $220,000.

Sanchez is currently being paid $197,000 per week but is not the highest paid player at the Emirates, with Ozil taking that mantle and earning a cool $215,000 a week. Speaking of Ozil, talks over a new deal for him are also being prepared by Arsene Wenger and club officials with the German playmaker finally showing consistency this season, which is his third campaign in the Premier League following his $63 million move from Real Madrid in 2013.

[ MORE: Sanchez, Ozil dazzle in Arsenal’s win vs. United ]

Sanchez, 26, missed most of Arsenal’s preseason after winning the 2015 Copa America with Chile on home soil this summer, but he is now back in his groove and the former Barcelona forward has scored five goals in his last two PL games and seven times in his last four outings for club and country.

Ozil scored his first goal of the season against Manchester United in Arsenal’s recent 3-0 win, as Ozil and Sanchez ripped United’s defense apart in a stunning 19-minute spell at the beginning of the match.

[ MORE: Klopp merchandise you need to see ]

With Theo Walcott locked down to a new long-term contract in the summer, Wenger now looks to have found his go-to front three as Walcott, Sanchez and Ozil possess a superb combination of pace, power and trickery. It’s no surprise to hear reports about new deals being prepared for Sanchez and Ozil, as the duo have that extra bit of class which has seen the Gunners win back-to-back FA Cups and comfortably finish in the top four of the PL.

Now, can they kick on and contend for the title this season? If Sanchez and Ozil stay fit and in-form, there’s no reason why not.