Eric Dier

Arsenal 2-0 Spurs: Classic Gunners

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  • Arsenal scores pair in 1st half
  • Mustafi stars at both ends
  • Gunners 1 pt back of second
  • Shots finish 14-14

Not so fast, Spurs.

Arsenal recalled North London Derbies of old with a strong 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Shkrodan Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez scored, while Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech also starred in the victory.

The fifth-place Gunners are a point behind Spurs and second-place Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Alexandre Lacazette cut a chance well wide and high of the bar in the first five minutes, while Spurs’ Harry Kane forced Petr Cech into a sixth minute save.

There were chances at both ends and a frenetic pace of play as the match approached the 20-minute mark, with Hector Bellerin‘s inviting cross unanswered by Arsenal.

Mustafi provided the derby breakthrough at the back post off a sweeping free kick to boost the Gunners into a 37th minute advantage.

And Alexis used great work from a lively Hector Bellerin to make it 2-0 before the break, belting an in-tight effort near the upper 90.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half saw Spurs come out with an edge, no doubt buoyed by Mauricio Pochettino‘s vexed appearance, and Harry Kane burnished a dirty tackle to earn a yellow card.

Ozil set up Sanchez for a would-be third goal in the 76th minute, but Hugo Lloris quickly closed down the angle.

Mustafi had a fine intervention to block a late Kane shot, while Cech stopped Eric Dier from pulling one back late.

How will Arsenal, Tottenham lineup?

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Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur. The North London derby. Arsene Wenger vs. Mauricio Pochettino.

[ MORE: Spurs injury update ]

This is it. Arsenal host Spurs this Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with both teams having plenty of selection headaches.

How will Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino line up their respective teams?

[ MORE: Wenger – We are not underdogs ]

Here’s a look at our projected starting lineups for both Arsenal and Spurs, with a brief explanation for both.


JPW’s projected Arsenal starting XI

—– Cech —–

—- Holding —- Koscielny —- Monreal —-

— Bellerin — Xhaka — Ramsey — Kolasinac —

—- Ozil —- Sanchez —-

—– Lacazette —–

The Gunners are without the injured Olivier Giroud, but this is a pretty settled team. The main decision for Wenger is will he go all-out attack from the start? Lacazette came off the bench at Man City last time out and scored as well as providing a threat. Surely he has to start in front of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. In midfield it will be intriguing to see if Aaron Ramsey starts ahead of one of the more defense-minded trio of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin. It’s highly-likely he will. Shkodran Mustafi may be fit to make his long-awaited return in central defense.


JPW’s projected Tottenham starting XI

—– Lloris —–

—- Sanchez —- Dier —- Vertonghen —-

— Aurier — Dembele — Winks — Rose —-

—- Eriksen —- Dele —-

—– Kane —–

So many injury concerns for Pochettino but Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Hugo Lloris all returned to full training on Thursday ahead of this game. That’s a big boost. Losing Toby Alderweireld for longer than expected is not and that will likely see Eric Dier slot into central defense and the duo of Mousa Dembele and Winks deployed in central midfield. The other big call Pochettino has to make is out wide in the wing back positions. He could choose either of Kieran Trippier or Serge Aurier on the right and Ben Davies or Danny Rose on the left. I think he will go for more athleticism in this game given the high intensity of a derby day. That said, can a fiery character like Aurier be trusted in the hostile atmosphere?

International friendlies: Mexico vs. Belgium, young England vs. Germany

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Let’s get something out of the way — We’re not trying to torture you by writing about teams warming up for the World Cup with fun friendlies; It stings us just as much to consider the USMNT’s failure again.

[ MORE: New Zealand can spring upset ]

So, yeah, it’d be great if the U.S. was measuring its World Cup fortunes on Friday with a rematch against Belgium, or matching wits with Paul Pogba-less France.

Alas, that’s for countries that qualified for the World Cp.

Belgium vs. Mexico — 2:45 p.m. ET

Juan Carlos Osorio has called up a number of youngsters for this week’s matches against Belgium and Poland, but the pressure’s going to be on several veterans who want to ensure their places in Russia.

On the old side, look out for LA Galaxy attacker Giovani dos Santos to bid to impress more than he did in a moribund MLS season. And Oribe Peralta isn’t exactly a young 33.

Groningen’s Uriel Antuna (20) and Excel Mouscron’s Omar Govea (21) are uncapped players with Mexico, while 20-year-old Liga MX mainstays Edson Alvarez and Cesar Montes will also look to impress.

England vs. Germany — 2 p.m. ET

The Three Lions are without several big names including Dele Alli and Harry Kane, and fellow Spurs star Eric Dier is set to captain a young England side against Germany. Look for Chelsea loanees Tammy Abraham (Swansea) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) to take advantage of their chances against Joachim Low’s Germany, who will be giving youth a chance at the back as well.

France vs. Wales — 3 p.m. ET

Chris Coleman’s Wales turns the page on a World Cup failure of its own, and does it without Gareth Bale, Hal Robson-Kanu, and retired James Collins. France won’t have Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, nor Tiemoue Bakayoko, but has plenty of weapons in its squad.

Portugal vs. Saudi Arabia — 3 p.m. ET

The young Portuguese “B-teamers” gear up for its home friendly versus the USMNT by hosting a team nearly full of Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal stars.

Other notable friendlies (all times ET)
South Korea vs. Colombia — 6 a.m.
China vs. Serbia – 6:35 a.m.
Ukraine vs. Slovakia — 2 p.m. ET
Poland vs. Uruguay — 2:45 p.m.
Japan vs. Brazil — 3 p.m. ET

Premier League player Power Rankings

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After 11 games of the season, we are almost a third of the way through the Premier League campaign. We have plenty of familiar names in our rankings.

[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester City dominate our rankings with Pep Guardiola‘s men getting off to the best-ever start in PL history, while Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea are also well represented.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections of the top 20 players in the PL right now.


  1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
  2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
  3. Leroy Sane (Man City) – Even
  4. N'Golo Kante (Chelsea) – New entry
  5. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) Up 4
  6. David Silva (Man City) – Up 3
  7. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 5
  8. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – Down 3
  9. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea) – New entry
  10. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 4
  11. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
  12. Sergio Aguero (Man City) – Up 2
  13. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  14. Glenn Murray (Brighton) – New entry
  15. John Stones (Man City) – Up 2
  16. Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield) – New entry
  17. Eric Dier (Tottenham) – New entry
  18. Ederson (Man City) – Even
  19. Pascal Gross (Brighton) – Even
  20. Nemanja Matic (Man United) – Down 15

PL Sunday preview: Chelsea-Man United & Man City-Arsenal

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images & Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
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If the Premier League must pause during this week’s international window, Sunday’s slate of fixtures, featuring every last one of the first- through fifth-place sides, sure is one heck of a way to head into the break…

[ PL ROUNDUP: Liverpool thrash West Ham; Burnley top-six contenders? ]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The toast of Europe this week, Mauricio Pochettino‘s Tottenham must quickly divert its attention from beating Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday to avoiding a colossal slip-up against last-place Palace on Sunday. Spurs will surely find motivation in righting a perceived wrong — last weekend’s late defeat away to Manchester United — as they bid for a third straight PL title challenge this season. The gap between themselves and leaders Manchester City is presently eight points, but a friendly favor from their north London rivals on Sunday could see that number shrink to five.

With Harry Kane back from  last week’s hamstring “injury,” Spurs’ fitness issues now exist almost solely in their defensive half: Toby Aldeweireld left the win over Madrid with a hamstring strain of his own (expected to miss three to four weeks); Hugo Lloris was visibly ailed by a groin injury (two weeks); and Victor Wanyama remains unavailable with a knee injury. With Eric Dier expected to again drop into the backline alongside Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen, Harry Winks‘ coming-out party will likely be given another chapter against an impotent Palace side which has scored only four goals all season, and has scored in just two of their 10 games thus far.

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Toby Aldeweireld (hamstring), Hugo Lloris (groin), Victor Wanyama (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) | Crystal Palace — OUT: Christian Benteke (knee), Connor Wickham (knee); RETURNING: Mamadou Sakho (calf)


Manchester City vs. Arsenal — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The last remaining unbeaten side in the PL, Pep Guardiola‘s Man City, welcomes Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal — the only manager and club to complete an unbeaten season in the PL era — to the Etihad Stadium. Having already knocked off two of their presumed title contenders (Liverpool, 5-0; Chelsea, 1-0), City aim to make it a third and extend their winning run to nine games. A 4-2 victory over Napoli, Serie A’s lone remaining unbeaten side, has City full of form and confidence. As for the prospects of chasing the unbeaten season, Guardiola is having none of it.

“I would like to say to Arsene that this record belongs to him; we are not going to break it,” he said. “He has to be calm and sure that is not going to happen. It belongs to his team, an exceptional team, because to go through the Premier League unbeaten is something fantastic. It belongs to him. He has to know that we don’t want to break this record. We want to play well and beat him on Sunday. That is what we want to do.”

Similarly, the Gunners are in the best form they’ve achieved all season, having won four of their last five after a tumultuous start (two losses from their first three games). City, though, are a beast of a much higher order, and it’s the task of Wenger’s men to curtail a side which has scored 30 goals in its last seven league games. One might assume Wenger will adopt a defensive approach on Sunday, though the legendary boss told the assembled media on Friday that “the best way to defend sometimes is to attack.”

There will be goals if that’s how Arsenal approach this game.

INJURIES: Man City — OUT: Benjamin Mendy (knee), Vincent Kompany (calf) | Arsenal — OUT: Danny Welbeck (hamstring), Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Santi Cazorla (achilles); PROBABLE: Sead Kolasinac (hip)


Chelsea vs. Manchester United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Here are some little-known facts that’ll likely gain some traction over the next 24 hours: Jose Mourinho, who’s now the manager at Man United, used to be the boss at Chelsea; he was succeeded by Antonio Conte, who won the PL title in his first season at Stamford Bridge; Mourinho, despite employment elsewhere, still appears transfixed by Conte’s threat to his own legacy; the two have engage one another in a war of words (and attempted hand-to-hand combat) in the past. You will almost certainly be reminded of this on Sunday, and probably a few further more days.

Chelsea are reeling ahead of Sunday’s clash after their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday. This is, by Conte’s lofty standards, the lowest point of his Chelsea tenure — coincidentally, Mourinho knows all too well Chelsea’s post-title struggles. After losing back-to-back games to Man City and Palace last month, the Blues currently sit nine points adrift of the PL leaders and find themselves still with plenty of work to do in Europe. Even their most recent win — last weekend’s 1-0 triumph over then-19th-place Bournemouth — highlighted the lack of attacking cohesion for the side with the lowest goals output (18 in 10 games) from any of the league’s top-six sides.

Meanwhile, United are slightly more confident, thanks to a 2-0 victory over Benfica during the week and a smashed-and-grabbed three points against Spurs last weekend. Mourinho, for his part, is trying to downplay the importance of his return.

“It isn’t a big thing,” he said this week. “It is normal, it is football, it is professionalism, it is football life. It’s a big thing because it’s a big match, because it’s a big opponent. They are the champions, because it’s one of these matches between the top teams in the country, but by the emotional point of view it’s just one more game.

“I played there with Inter and twice with Manchester United. I have to admit it’s a little bit different, but in the end, I want to win, like I did with Inter, and they want to win like they did last season. In four or five more years nobody will probably remember that I was Chelsea manager.”

In truth, nothing would upset him more than everyone forgetting he was once the Chelsea manager.

INJURIES: Chelsea — OUT: Victor Moses (hamstring); RETURNING: N'Golo Kante (hamstring) | Man United — OUT: Paul Pogba (hamstring), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (knee), Marouane Fellaini (knee), Marcos Rojo (knee), Michael Carrick (calf); QUESTIONABLE: Jesse Lingard (back)


Everton vs. Watford — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

While plenty has been said of Everton’s early-season struggles — and the firing of Ronald Koeman — not nearly enough attention has been paid to Watford and their new manager, Marco Silva. Three points against the 19th-place Toffees would see the Hornets rise up to eighth in the PL table, as few as one or two points behind the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, all of whom are currently level for fourth with 19 points. Like Conte and Chelsea, Silva and Watford find themselves wading through their first turbulent period together, having lost back-to-back games for the first time (Chelsea, 2-4; Stoke, 0-1). Silva knows his side must bounce back against Everton.

“I think we didn’t play well in the first-half,” Silva said of the loss to Stoke. “We gave our opponents the advantage for 45 minutes, we gave them a big lift in the goal we conceded. We made a mistake, we gave them a gift. We lost our focus in that moment and they scored a good goal. Everything was too slow and we knew they would come here with 10 men behind the ball and wait for our mistake. We needed to play faster and with more intensity.”

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: James McCarthy (hamstring), Ross Barkley (hamstring), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Seamus Coleman (leg), Yannick Bolasie (knee); RETURNING: Micheal Keane (foot) | Watford — OUT: Troy Deeney (suspension), Nathaniel Chalobah (knee), Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Sebastien Prodl (hamstring), Craig Cathcart (knee), Isaac Success (knee), Roberto Pereyra (hamstring)