Juan Mata

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Wondolowski to donate 1 percent, joins Common Goal fraternity

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Chris Wondolowski, you’re entering high-five country.

Wondolowski, 34, is coming off a fine season with San Jose in which he netted double-digit goals for the eighth-straight season while adding a career-high eight assists.

[ MORE: USWNT tops Canada ]

He’s also turning the page on the season with class, joining the Juan Mata-led Common Goal movement. Wondolowski will donate at least one percent of his salary to “high-impact soccer charities.”

Wondo joins a list which includes Premier League veterans Alfie Mawson and Charlie Daniels, international stars Giorgio Chiellini and Mats Hummels, and USWNT stars Alex Morgan, Heather O’Reilly, and Megan Rapinoe.

From SJEarthquakes.com:

“I want to look back on my career and be able to say I had an impact both on and off the pitch,” Wondolowski said. “To me, this not only means winning trophies but also doing my bit to advance the use of soccer as a tool for social change. This is something I’ve been passionate about for a long time and through Common Goal I can now join forces with other players who feel the same way.”

Wondo’s 13-goal season gives him 134 in 293 games, and the Californian is likely to end his career in MLS as the league’s all-time leading scorer. He’s currently 11 goals behind Landon Donovan.

How will teams line up for Man United v. Tottenham?

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With Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur clashing in a huge battle at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) there are plenty of lineup possibilities for Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino.

Rumblings about Harry Kane potentially out with an injury will have Spurs fans sleepless until Saturday, while United’s midfield and defense looks short with injuries to Maraoune Fellaini, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly impacting their fine early-season form and perhaps a main reason why they lost to Huddersfield Town last time out in the PL.

Below is a look at our suggested lineups for the massive clash on Saturday between two title contenders and the teams many believe are the only ones who can stop Manchester City winning the Premier League this season.


JPW’s lineup selections for Manchester United vs. Tottenham

Manchester United

—– De Gea —–

—- Valencia —- Smalling — Jones —- Darmian —-

—- Matic —- Herrera —-

—- Mata —- Mkhitaryan —- Rashford —-

—– Lukaku —–

Tottenham Hotspur

—– Lloris —–

— Alderweireld — Sanchez — Vertonghen —

—- Aurier —- Dier —- Dembele —- Davies —-

—- Eriksen —- Dele —-

—– Kane —–


Conclusion

United have some defensive issues, as we saw in their defeat at Huddersfield Town. Victor Lindelof is taking time to settle into life in the Premier League and if Phil Jones and Eric Bailly are fit, they are United’s two first-choice center backs. Bailly is out but Jones should make this game but with Marcos Rojo.. Mourinho could slot Daley Blind in at center back, or even play with a 3-4-3 system he used in preseason to try and counteract Spurs’ favored system. In attack United have a plethora of options with Romelu Lukaku set to lead the line and three from Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard behind him.

For Spurs, it’s all about getting Kane fit and on the pitch at Old Trafford on Saturday. Not only would it be a huge blow for Spurs if the red-hot striker isn’t available, it would also be a huge psychological boost for United. Kane leads the PL with eight goals so far this season and has 13 in 12 in all competitions for Tottenham. Fernando Llorente could step in and do a similar job, but Tottenham revolve around Kane and his link-up play with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. They aren’t a one-man team, but they’re close to it. Elsewhere on the pitch, Mousa Dembele should make his long-awaited PL return in midfield and that would be a big boost for a game of this magnitude. Pochettino will stick with his 3-4-3 formation despite the shock collapse at home to West Ham in the League Cup in midweek, with a big decision on whether in-form Ben Davies starts over fit-again Danny Rose at left wing-back.

Watch Live: Liverpool v. Manchester United

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This is it. The big one has arrived.

Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday (Watch, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with Jurgen Klopp‘s side without a win in six Premier League matches against Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

United have won three of their last five PL trips to Anfield but Mourinho has won just once in seven games against Klopp all-time and it will be an intriguing, feisty battle as United are full of confidence and Liverpool know this is already a must-win fixture.

In team news Liverpool start Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum in central midfield with Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho out wide.

United go for a more defensive approach with Matteo Darmian at left back, Ashley Young on the wing and the duo of Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford on the bench with the latter picking up a knock. Eric Bailly is out after an injury on international duty.

Anthony Martial stars out wide. Chris Smalling starts in central defense with Phil Jones while Ander Herrera starts alongside Nemanja Matic in central midfield.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Coutinho, Firmino, Salah. Subs: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Milner Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Darmian; Herrera, Matic; Young, Mkhitaryan, Martial; Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Lingard, Mata, Rashford

Rose, Gacinovic to Man United; Alli, Griezmann to Barca?

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It’s nowhere near January 1, but Manchester United (of course) have been linked with moves for two wide players.

Danny Rose continues to be linked with a move away from Tottenham Hotspur with the England international left back still out injured and his comments at the start of the season about wanting to be “paid what he deserves” still rings true.

With Ben Davies filing in ably for Rose over the past six months, that could persuade Daniel Levy to cash in on another full back if United offer over $60 million for the 27-year-old. Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb say Jose Mourinho will come in with a fresh bid for Rose in January after missing out on him in the summer.

Another wide man United are keeping on eye, according to the Daily Mirror, is Eintracht Frankfurt winger Mijat Gacinovic.

The 22-year-old is regarded as one of the top attacking talents in the Bundesliga and it would explain why Mourinho was spotted in Austria last week wearing a baseball cap as he looked on sheepishly from the stands. Serbia (who have since qualified for the World Cup) lost 3-2 to Austria in a 2018 World Cup qualifier and Mourinho was said to be watching Gacinovic closely.

Gacinovic scored two goals in his first three games for Serbia and comes from the same youth team as Dusan Tadic at Vojvodina. With a deal for Ivan Perisic not coming to fruition following a summer-long chase, Mourinho could well swoop for the promising winger.

Quite why he needs another wide man with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata all capable of playing those positions is beyond me. But Jose usually gets what he wants.


Tottenham’s Dele Alli has been linked with a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid as Barca turn their attentions away from Philippe Coutinho.

According to Sport, Alli, 21, is a key target for both Barca and Real and Real are also eyeing up a move for Harry Kane. Of course, we would be taking about monstrous transfer fees for both of these Tottenham and England stars but given Alli’s recent dip in form, perhaps Spurs would be more wiling to cash in on him compared to Kane.

Barcelona are said to believe that Spurs cannot keep hold of both of their star attackers and that enticing Alli away from north London, just a few weeks after he changed his agent, could be a lot easier to do.

Another star attacker said to be interesting Barca, according to Mundo Deportivo, is Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.

The Frenchman decided to stay at Atleti last summer once their transfer ban was confirmed but now that Diego Costa is back at Atleti from January onwards, it is believed Barca will try and swoop in to meet Griezmann’s release clause of $117 million before July 1 when it doubles for the remaining five years of his contract at Atletico.

Griezmann, 26, looked set to move to Manchester United in the summer but Barca will be keen to make him their main man and his record of 86 goals in 167 games for Atleti has seen his star rise over the past three season.

Barca are keen to exploit this loophole in Griezmann’s contract and after all, they now better than most about the risks and rewards of release clauses.

PL Playback: Opening Power Rankings

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Now seems like the perfect time for the first set of Premier League Power Rankings for the 2017-18 season, right?

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

With seven games gone and the two week international break upon us, it is time to focus on who has impressed and who has struggled in the opening months of the campaign.

So much has happened in August and September and now it is time to take stock.

[ MORE: PL standings | schedule

Here it goes.


#1 Manchester City: Imperious. Kevin De Bruyne is running the show. Even with Aguero, Mendy and Kompany out injured Pep’s men have found a way to blow opponents away with 22 goals scored. Marquee wins over Chelsea and Liverpool showcase the current mood of invincibility around them and they’ve also won both games in the Champions League. Guardiola has so many attacking options and Ederson has finally solved his problem in goal. The title favorites have delivered early on, once again. Now, can they keep it up?

#2 Manchester United: Jose Mourinho is building this thing his way. It’s working. Romelu Lukaku has seven goals in seven games and although Paul Pogba has gone down injured so many others are stepping up. Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and even Marouane Fellaini are chipping in with goals and in true Mourinho fashion they look as solid as a rock at the back with Nemanja Matic shielding the defense. United have won both of their Champions League games too and Mourinho is exuding confidence with 21 goals in seven games.

#3 Burnley: What. A. Start. Sean Dyche’s men are unbeaten away from home and have won at Chelsea and Everton and drawn at Liverpool and Tottenham. Not bad, especially after selling two stars over the summer. The Clarets are establishing themselves as a true contender to finish in the top 10 and have flown under the radar all summer. No surprise there but with captain and star goalkeeper Tom Heaton out long-term, their positive away results are even more impressive.

#4 Watford: Marco Silva’s side are dynamic going forward and have a solid base to build from. Their counters catch out opponents and in Richarlison they’ve found a gem. Losing Nathaniel Chalobah is a blow but they have a deeper squad than in recent years. Silva’s reputation as one of the best young managers in the game is undoubted and the Portuguese coach has Watford’s fans dreaming of challenging for a Europa League spot. Why not?

#5 Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino’s side have put aside their Wembley woes (they still haven’t won at home in the PL) to win four times on the spin on the road to start the season. The last time that happened they won the league and cup double in 160-61. Just saying. Harry Kane scored 13 goals in eight games for club and country in September and is on fire. Spurs will challenge for the title again and they’ve also won their opening two Champions League games. Wembley aside, a fine start.

#6 Newcastle United: Rafael Benitez is working his magic at Newcastle. The Magpies are hard to beat and at home they can take on anyone. Joselu could be the man to score the goals they need to not only survive in the Premier League after promotion but also push for a top 10 finish. Some fans are dreaming of a challenge for Europe but that seems a little far-fetched. Still, the newly-promoted Magpies will be satisfied with their start.

#7 Arsenal: After a tough start with defeats at Stoke and Liverpool, Arsene Wenger has steadied the ship with four-straight clean sheets in the Premier League. Suddenly Arsenal look a much better defensive unit and Alexandre Lacazette is looking like a great buy up top. Alexis Sanchez is also starting to return to his best form which suggests the Gunners will be challenging for a top four spot, even though they have the rigors of the Europa League to overcome. We’ve been here before with Arsenal but they seem to be more robust than in recent campaigns.

#8 Chelsea: A real topsy-turvy start for the reigning champs. After a tumultuous summer due to the Diego Costa situation and Antonio Conte seemingly unhappy with a lack of transfers, they lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield and to Burnley in their PL opener. They followed that up by beating Tottenham away and put in impressive displays against Everton, Leicester and Stoke. Alvaro Morata has hit the ground running in the PL and Eden Hazard is back to his best but the defeat to Man City was a reality check. Still, two wins from two in Europe and a great win at Atletico Madrid shows what they’re truly capable of. Back-to-back titles seems like a big ask and there are still question marks over Conte’s long-term future.

#9 Huddersfield Town: Opening up the season with two wins was perfection for David Wagner and his side, and their fans, have captured the minds of the Premier League. A 4-0 hammering at home against Tottenham in their first real test showed them how ruthless the league can be but if they can press midtable teams throughout the season as they have in the early weeks then they will be just fine. The Terriers have kept four clean sheets in seven and will be tough to beat and if Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre can strike up a partnership then maybe they can push for more than just staying up in their debut PL campaign.

#10 Stoke City: The Potters have had a really solid, albeit slightly bizarre, start to the season. A win against Arsenal and draw against Manchester United at home proved they can mix it with the big boys but defeats at Everton and Newcastle in tight games proved they can still improve defensively although having Jack Butland back fit is a huge bonus. Defensive injuries have been hard to deal with for Mark Hughes’ men but new signings Jese Rodriguez and Eric Choupo-Moting have added something extra in attack.

#11 Brighton & Hove Albion: Chris Hughton’s men are pragmatic and likeable but you wonder where the goals will come from on a consistent basis. Pascal Gross and Anthony Knockaert are both talented playmakers but if Tomer Hemed goes down injured they are struggling big time. If they can make it to January above the relegation zone then surely owner Tony Bloom will make plenty of funds available for a new striker, or two. A very commendable start to their first-ever Premier League campaign with home wins against West Brom and Newcastle.

#12 Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s side are already seven points off the PL leaders and the same old defensive issues are hampering their progress. Philippe Coutinho is back scoring stunners and the pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has been ripping teams apart without much reward. Two draws to open up Champions League play have been frustrating and despite dominating games missed chances have been costly. The standout display was the 4-0 hammering of Arsenal but that seems like a long time ago. Is the Klopp-effect wearing off?

#13 West Bromwich Albion: Tony Pulis’ men won their first two games of the season but haven’t won since. They were unlucky to lose away at Arsenal but threw away a two-goal lead in their most recent game at home against Watford. That’s incredibly unlike a Pulis side and you get the sense another big slump like the one they suffered in the second half of last season isn’t far off.

#14 Southampton: New season, same problem for Southampton. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have dominated most of the games they’ve played in, even against Manchester United, but have scored just five goals in the first seven games of the season. Two of those were penalty kicks in the same game. Virgil Van Dijk is back on board but Saints feel a little bit like a team who has plenty of talent but are missing a ruthless streak. That’s incredibly dangerous and talk of a relegation battle is being whispered, perhaps incorrectly, by some fans.

#15 West Ham United: Slaven Bilic is under serious pressure despite the Hammers battling back in several games and grinding out two home wins. Javier Hernandez has, as expected, delivered goals, but it doesn’t seem like West Ham’s players are with the manager. Bilic’s contract runs out at the end of this season and he is unlikely to get a new deal. That’s creating all kinds of instability. The Hammers look set for another season in midtable, at best.

#16 Swansea City: The main problem for Paul Clement’s team is scoring goals. That’s what happens when you sell your two leading goalscorers from last season over the summer. Wilfried Bony has yet to get firing and Tammy Abraham is doing his best to chip in when he can. The Swans have ground out plenty of clean sheets on the road and surely their luck in front of goal will eventually change. The big problem for Clement is that they don’t look like scoring in most games.

#17 Bournemouth: Eddie Howe’s side lost five of their opening six games and naivety is creeping into their game once again. They led against Manchester City and Everton but ended up losing both games. The Cherries did seem more free-flowing in the final third against Leicester and should have won easily, so maybe things have finally clicked. A worrying start but whenever people have written them off over the past two seasons in the PL they always seem to have an answer. Now is the time for experienced campaigners Jermain Defoe and Asmir Begovic to step up.

#18 Leicester City: Plenty of people are worried about the Foxes, and rightly so. Craig Shakespeare’s side have had a tough start, schedule wise. They lost to Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool and then drew games at Huddersfield and Bournemouth which they should be winning. One win so far says it all and Shakespeare should perhaps start thinking about well and truly breaking up the title-winning team, apart from Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki. Leicester could be in a relegation battle.

#19 Everton: Awful. Dreadful. Disappointing. The Toffees are in real trouble and all because of one thing: their failure to replace Romelu Lukaku. The pressure is mounting on Ronald Koeman already after he brought in three No.10s in Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen but failed to address his biggest need. Hammerings by Chelsea and Tottenham, plus at Atalanta in the Europa League, were amplified by a worrying home defeat to Burnley in the PL. The surprise package of the season so far. And not in a good way. They would be bottom of our rankings if it wasn’t for the record-breaking exploits of our next team…

#20 Crystal Palace: The worst start in top-flight history says it all. Seven defeats on the spin. Zero goals score. Frank De Boer fired after four games and Roy Hodgson hired to try and steady the ship. Well, the ship is taking on water at an alarming rate and the Eagles could soon be cut adrift. Christian Benteke’s injury hasn’t helped matters and the period between November to December will truly decide if they can save themselves. Terrible times at Selhurst Park but they are only five points from safety.

Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here