Jack Butland

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Three (young) Lions: Southgate adds more youth to squad

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Gareth Southgate‘s task(s) at hand have been anything but a walk in the park during his 14 months as England manager (as an aside, the England job has never been an easy one, for anyone), but the 47-year-old can be quite pleased with what he’s achieved thus far.

[ MORE: One of the favorites — Spain in fine form, thrash Costa Rica 5-0 ]

Having qualified the Three Lions for the 2018 World Cup as one of four sides (Germany, Spain and Belgium) to finish qualifying without a loss, Southgate’s focus is now fully fixed on next summer’s tournament in Russia. As such, the current international break has provided England’s former U-21 boss a golden opportunity to bring a number of peripheral players into the squad to make their case, and Southgate sure is making the most of it.

Friday’s draw with defending world champions Germany saw eight non-regulars feature for England, prompting Southgate to bring an additional trio of youngsters into camp ahead of Tuesday’s clash with another heavily favored side, Brazil.

[ MORE: Shaqiri promises “nice party” in Switzerland “when we qualify” ]

21-year-old goalkeeper Angus Gunn (Manchester City, on loan to Norwich City) was brought in on Friday to replace the injured Jack Butland (broken finger). On Saturday, Southgate announced the arrivals of Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook, both 20 — and both of whom starred during England’s recent U-20 World Cup triumph, as top goalscorer and captain, respectively.

These are, clearly, the perks of qualifying during the initial round and avoiding the playoffs altogether. While other nations battle for their place in Russia, Southgate has been afforded an extra month — and two more fixtures — as he begins to assemble his 23-man squad. The three players added this weekend are, admittedly, long shots at this point, but their progression from youth to senior setup is undoubtedly an encouraging sign.

Phil Jones has also withdrawn from the current squad after suffering a thigh injury against Germany.

Jack Butland breaks finger, out for England

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Jack Butland has once again suffered from terrible luck when it comes to injuries.

[ MORE: Allardyce a good fit for USMNT? ]

Stoke City’s goalkeeper was set to start for England against Germany on Friday at Wembley, marking the first time that he had started successive games for the Three Lions, but Butland has returned to Stoke after suffering a broken finger in training on Thursday.

He will not be available for England’s game next Tuesday against Brazil either.

A statement on Stoke’s website said Butland will “now return to the club where the extent of the injury will be ascertained by the Potters’ medical staff.”

Butland, 24, has impressed all season long for Stoke after a torrid time with injuries from March 2016 onwards. Butland broke his ankle during England’s friendly win at Germany in March 2016 which kept him out of EURO 2016.

He suffered many complications after that injury and only returned to full fitness at the very end of the 2016-17 campaign.

Of course, breaking a finger is a much smaller injury compared to the previous issues Butland suffered from his serious ankle problem but this is still a setback.

Gareth Southgate was making a big statement by starting Butland against Germany with many believing that the youngster had finally overtaken Joe Hart as England’s undisputed No.1 goalkeeper.

That may now have to wait for a little while as Hart will likely get the nod against Germany and Jordan Pickford may well play against Brazil next Tuesday.

Stoke 2-2 Leicester: Potters fight back twice

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  • Iborra, Mahrez gave Leicester lead
  • Shaqiri, Crouch net equalizers
  • Ref Bobby Madley off injured early on

Stoke City fought back twice on Saturday to draw 2-2 with Leicester City at the bet365 Stadium.

The Foxes created the better chances throughout and took the lead through Vicente Iborra in the first half. Before the break Xherdan Shaqiri made it 1-1 but Leicester went 2-1 up early in the second half with Riyad Mahrez scoring a fine solo goal.

Late on Peter Crouch jumped off the bench to head home an equalizer as the Potters and Foxes played out a third 2-2 draw in their last four meetings at the bet365 Stadium.

With the point Stoke move on to 12 points, while Leicester have 13 with Claude Puel unbeaten in two games as Foxes boss.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first change of the game game unexpectedly as referee Bobby Madley suffered a calf strain and had to be replaced by fourth official Jon Moss.  Stoke had the best chance of the game early on as Eric Chopou-Moting raced free but Kasper Schmeichel saved well.

After plenty of counters, Leicester then took the lead as Riyad Mahrez’s corner from the right found Harry Maguire and his header fell to Iborra who volleyed home his first Premier League. 1-0 to the Foxes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Mahrez broke free soon after the goal and should’ve played in Vardy but Kurt Zouma recovered well to deny the Algerian winger, then Shaqiri’s pass on the break was too heavy for Joe Allen and moments later Shinji Okazaki had a header brilliantly saved by Jack Butland after Demarai Gray‘s rapid break.

The chances kept coming and Choupo-Moting played a wonderful flicked pass to Shaqiri who finished superbly off the far post to make it 1-1. Moments later Leicester were almost back ahead as Zouma shanked a cross towards his own goal but his clearance flew just over.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

Leicester started well in the second half as Mahrez forced Butland to tip a dipping effort over the bar, then the Algerian flashed an effort just wide of the far post.

At the other end Choupo-Moting pulled the ball back for Allen but the onrushing Welshman couldn’t sort his feet out at the chance came and went.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

In the space of 60 seconds Schmeichel denied Ryan Shawcross‘ header and then Wilfried Ndidi broke up play with a fine challenge which allowed Mahrez to race towards goal, cut inside and slam an effort home. 2-1 to Leicester.

Stoke pushed for the equalizer but looked vulnerable on the break, however Crouch jumped off the bench and nodded home from Shaqiri’s corner to score for the third time this season off the bench. 2-2.

Zouma then nodded a header towards goal in the final seconds of the game but Schmeichel kept it out as Leicester secured a point.

Man City 7-2 Stoke City: De Bruyne leads rout

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  • Gabriel Jesus scores twice
  • De Bruyne provides two assists
  • Man City have scored 24 goals in last five PL games

Manchester City obliterated Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with Kevin De Bruyne the chief architect in humiliating the Potters.

Gabriel Jesus scored twice, plus goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva did the damage. City had led 3-0 but Stoke fought back through a Mame Diouf goal and a Kyle Walker own goal to make it 3-2 early in the second half but that only angered Man City.

Pep Guardiola‘s men are top of the Premier League with seven wins from eight and are in scintillating, sensational form. City have scored 29 goals in their opening eight games of the season. That’s the first time that has happened in the top-flight since Everton in 1894.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

City dominated early on Leroy Sane should have put them 1-0 up. Kevin de Bruyne’s cross found the German winger but he smashed over.

Soon after City did led as Kyle Walker intercepted a pass from Darren Fletcher and he played a one-two with de Bruyne before cutting the ball back for Jesus to tap home. 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Soon after it was 2-0 as Sane and KDB combined with the latter knocking through a wonderful reverse ball and Sane found Sterling to tap home. 2-0 to City as they totally dominated.

It was soon 3-0 as another flowing move saw Jesus play in Sane who crossed the ball to Sterling and his pass found Silva who finished superbly.

Before the break Stoke did pull one back as Diouf and Jese combined with the former seeing his shot deflected over Ederson and in. There was time for Jack Butland to make a fine stop from de Bruyne as City continued to pour forward.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Stoke made it 3-2 two minutes into the second half as 18-year-old Stoke debutant Tom Edwards sent in a cross from the right and Diouf’s header deflected off Walker and in. The shock comeback was well and truly on.

De Bruyne almost made it 4-2 moments later but Butland saved well, but the Belgian was on hand soon after as his cross from the right was tapped home by Jesus. 4-2 to Man City.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

The goals kept on coming for Man City as Fernandino smashed home a stunning strike to make it 5-2 and then KDB slotted a magnificent through ball for Sane to score and make it 6-2.

U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron went close to pulling another one back for Stoke but hit his shot into the side-netting as City saw out yet another convincing win in style with substitute Silva slotting home to make it 7-2.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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With the international break here, it is time to take stock of the players who have been ripping it up in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]

Stars from Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are all trending in the right direction as the big boys made their mark ahead of the international break.

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. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Even
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
  3. Marouane Fellaini (Man United) – New entry
  4. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Even
  5. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – New entry
  6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
  7. Jack Butland (Stoke City) – New entry
  8. David Silva (Man City) – Down 5
  9. Phil Jones (Man United) – Up 9
  10. Nemanja Matic (Man United) – New entry
  11. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – Even
  12. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) – Even
  13. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – Down 5
  14. Ben Davies (Tottenham) – New entry
  15. David De Gea (Man United) – Even
  16. Ederson (Man City) – New entry
  17. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
  18. Ben Mee (Burnley) – New entry
  19. Richarlison (Watford) – New entry
  20. Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) – New entry