Watch Live: West Brom vs Stoke City (Lineups and Discuss)

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Mark Hughes, flying under the radar with Tony Pulis and Gus Poyet taking much of the managerial headlines, looks to pick up Stoke City’s first-ever top-10 Premier League finish for Stoke City.

They travel to The Hawthornes to face West Bromwich Albion at 10am ET live on Oxygen or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Interestingly, West Brom can still mathematically be relegated, but it would require spoiling a 17-goal advantage in differential over Norwich, so Stoke has some goalscoring to do!

Asmir Begovic is missing for Stoke City in goal, having picked up a slight toe injury, but the Stoke Twitter account says it won’t have any affect on his World Cup status. Replacing him is Thomas Sorensen, with Jack Butland on the bench.

Ossama Assaidi also misses out for Stoke, having seen his knee injury from February flare up again.  Otherwise, it’s a very full-strength lineup for Hughes and Stoke City as they gun for club history. They can see themselves jump as high as ninth place with a win and Newcastle dropped points.

WATCH LIVE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

West Brom gets Liam Ridgewell back, seeing him on the bench.  Saido Berainho is the lone striker up top for a team that has struggled to score goals all season long, while Matej Vydra is in the strike reserves on the bench.

Billy Reid is out, while Zoltan Gera is as well, having likely already played his last game in a West Brom shirt.

LINEUPS:

West Brom – Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Brunt; Dorrans, Mulumbu, Morrison, Amalfitano, Sessegnon; Berahino.
Bench – Myhill, O’Neil, Lugano, Yacob, Anichebe, Vydra, Ridgewell.

Stoke City – Sorensen; Muniesa, Shawcross, Wilson, Cameron; Arnautovic, Whelan, Nzonzi, Odemwingie; Ireland, Walters.
Bench – Butland; Pieters, Wilkinson, Adam, Palacios, Etherington, Crouch.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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De Rossi admits desire to beat young teammates with bat

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Daniele De Rossi doesn’t like the modern world.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Roma legend dropped a funny quote when discussing the differences between young players these days and those when he began his career.

A one-club man, the 33-year-old De Rossi has played in 556 matches for i Lupi and admits that he probably flummoxed veterans when he began his career because that’s the cyclical nature of adulthood.

From Italia Football:

“When we started out, it was all different, that was 20 years ago. Now a 20-year-old will get into the first team and have more Instagram followers than Messi. When I was young, the older players would say ‘it wasn’t like in my day’ – that’s life and it always will be.

“Mind you, some of them irritate me too. When I see them do live Instagram videos from inside the locker room before a game, I’d like to take a baseball bat to their teeth… But they’re 18 years old and in 20 years’ time they will find themselves complaining about the youth of today.”

Mmmm, tastes like ash and hickory.

It’s a safe bet that De Rossi isn’t wild about Stephan El Shaarawy’s hair, we imagine, but living legends generally get a little leeway with their comments in the media.

Plus, it sounds like he has the wisdom to understand the “why” and at least channel his angry into tackles.