Raheem Sterling

Getty Images

Four uncapped players named in Southgate’s England squad

Leave a comment

Gareth Southgate has decided to take a look at some up and coming names in his final training camp with friendlies before the 2018 World Cup.

Burnley pair James Tarkowski and Nick Pope, Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson and Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook were all named on Thursday to Gareth Southgate’s 27-man squad set to meet up at St. George’s Park next week. England visits the Amsterdam Arena to face the Netherlands on March 23 before returning home to Wembley Stadium to take on Italy on March 27. Perhaps coincidentally, though both historical powers, neither the Netherlands or Italy will be at the 2018 World Cup, making these interesting games from a preparation approach.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

There have been plenty of calls for Southgate to give the likes of Mawson, Pope and Tarkowski a look, while Lewis Cook has excelled with Bournemouth this season and looks to make the jump after appearing numerous times for the Three Lions at youth level.

There are plenty of veterans in this squad as well. West Ham’s Joe Hart, coming off a rough performance at club level, earned a call-up, and the likes of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere have more than 30 caps each to their name.

Coming off a two-goal performance in the Premier League for Manchester United, Marcus Rashford makes the squad as a forward along with Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy.

Notable absences include the injured Harry Kane, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Jermain Defoe, as Southgate looks to test his fringe players on who will make the plane to Russia.

Stoke 0-2 Man City: David Silva stars with brace

Leave a comment

Pep Guardiola‘s influence on his side has been undoubted, and Manchester City’s climb towards another Premier League title seems inevitable after yet another convincing league victory.

[ MORE: Harry Kane limps off with ankle injury in Spurs win ]

The Citizens picked up a 2-0 victory against Stoke City on Monday at the bet365 Stadium, bringing the Manchester side up to 81 points on the season — 16 clear of second place Manchester United with eight matches remaining.

Guardiola and Co. can wrap up the PL title with three more wins in their final eight fixtures.

It took just 10 minutes for the PL leaders to break the deadlock, when David Silva comfortably slotted home a Raheem Sterling cross.

The sequence began when Gabriel Jesus brilliantly picked out a through ball to find Sterling down the right wing.

Stoke nearly found an equalizer on 21 minutes when Shaqiri nutmegged Zinchenko, before picking out a pass to Papa Alioune Ndiaye, whose shot was deflected just wide of Ederson and the Man City goal.

Guardiola’s crew looked dangerous in the attack, as per usual, and almost had a second just minutes before halftime when Leroy Sane’s left-footed volley narrowly missed the far post.

Silva’s second came five minutes into the second half, after Jesus found the Spaniard inside the penalty area and the former handled the bouncing pass perfectly before slotting it home. 2-0.

The pressure continued from City after the second goal, with Sterling and Sane both coming close on separate sequences.

Maxim Choupo-Moting had a great chance for the hosts to pull one back in the 64th minute after a frantic moment in the box, but the attacker’s final touch was blasted well over the crossbar.

Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Manchester City

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Man City beat Stoke 7-2 on Oct. 14
  • Aguero misses out
  • Man City leads all-time 50W-25D-37L

Manchester City can eclipse the 80-point mark and extend its Premier League table lead back to 18 with a win at relegation-threatened Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Man City has is unbeaten in four matches with Stoke, outscoring the Potters 15-3 in three wins.


The latest of those was a 7-2 at the Etihad Stadium, with Gabriel Jesus scoring twice, plus goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, David SilvaFernandinho and Bernardo Silva.

Jesus figures to feature again, as Sergio Aguero announced he’s set for a couple weeks on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury in training.

Stoke is a point back of safety but carries the worst goal differential in the league, but has improved its defensive record in recent weeks. Paul Lambert‘s men have three clean sheets and just one loss — albeit with one win — in their last six.

What they’re saying

Kostas Stafylidis of Stoke on facing the leaders“We have to fight, fight, fight for… 90 minutes, 98 minutes, or I don’t know how many. Of course it’s going to be hard, they are the best team in England, one of the best in Europe, but in the Premier League you never know.”

Man City’s Guardiola on building the team“The club is good because now it is easy to say it is going well but it happened the same last season. That means a lot to me. In the bad moments I saw how the club reacted and supported me and when I wanted to talk about plans for the future they were there. There were no doubts about that. We had doubts because we didn’t win but not doubts about what we had to do.”


Stoke’s aforementioned and improved defensive record hasn’t come against a run of world beaters, and Man City should be too much. Gabriel Jesus is unleashed with a pair of goals in a 2-0 win.

PL Sunday Preview: Man City v. Chelsea, Brighton v. Arsenal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two Premier League games take place on Sunday, with three of the top six in action and a clash between the reigning champs and the champions elect.

[ LIVE: Stream every PLgame ]

Below we take a closer look at both games.

Brighton & Hove Albion v. Arsenal – 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

This has an upset written all over it. After Arsenal’s awful week which saw them hammered 3-0 by Man City in both the League Cup final and then four days later in the Premier League at home, Arsene Wenger is under pressure. Again.

Finishing in the top four isn’t a realistic possibility anymore (they are 13 points away from fourth), with the Gunners now surely having to go all-in on winning the UEFA Europa League to get back to the UEFA Champions League next season.

It is time for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to step up. That said, they’re traveling to a Brighton side who are in fine form in recent weeks (four games unbeaten) and are edging closer to securing their Premier League status in their debut campaign in the PL.

Glenn Murray is the man of the moment for the Seagulls with four goals in his last four games, but Chris Hughton‘s side have struggled against the big boys this season with no victories in their seven games against the current top six.

Jack Wilshere is a big doubt for Arsenal and Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette will both miss the trip to the South Coast, while Brighton have no injury concerns.

Manchester City v. Chelsea – 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

What a game this promises to be. Man City look like they’re going to beat every team they play by at least three goals right now, with Pep Guardiola‘s men knowing five more wins will secure the Premier League title.

Guardiola’s men are set for a record-breaking season in nearly every metric possible and they want to wrap up the PL title as soon as possible to focus on success in Europe. City lost at home to Chelsea in a fiery encounter last season, but they will dominate possession and can expect Chelsea to try and hit them on the counter with a solid defensive gameplan.

As for the team they’ll be taking the title from, Chelsea have been struggling of late. Antonio Conte has once again questioned the hierarchy and their ambition, with the Italian coach not expected to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond this season.

Finishing in the top four is what it’s all about for the Blues (they’re five points off fourth place heading into this game) but they aren’t in great form with three defeats in their last four PL games.

In team news Chelsea will be without Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ethan Ampadu and David Luiz, while Ross Barkley will be available after missing the defeat at Manchester United last Sunday. Fernandinho (injury) and Fabian Delph (suspension) are definitely out, while Raheem Sterling is a doubt and Kyle Walker could miss out.

EFL Cup Final preview: Arsenal, Manchester City fight for different types of glory

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • These two clubs have never met in a major Cup final
  • With a win, Arsene Wenger would become the 8th PL manager to win all 3 major English trophies
  • Sergio Agüero has scored in all of his last 4 appearances against Arsenal

For Manchester City, it’s the first step of a potentially record-setting season. For Arsenal, it’s the Gunners’ best chance at securing a trophy.

The two teams are fighting for very different levels of glory as the two meet at Wembley Stadium on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Manchester City, despite losing to Wigan in the FA Cup just a week ago, would still be on track for a Double this season with a win against the Gunners. Meanwhile, Arsenal is outside the Premier League top four, and – as they have done each of the past two seasons in the FA Cup – could salvage an otherwise disappointing league season with a major Cup trophy.

Both teams will be struggling with selection in certain areas. Manchester City is likely missing Raheem Sterling, who could sit out due to an unspecified muscle injury according to Pep Guardiola in his pre-match press conference, while Fabian Delph is suspended after his sending off against Wigan in the FA Cup. That means either Danilo or 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchencko would start at wing-back. Zinchenko is the likely candidate there, having appeared in four of City’s five EFL Cup games this season so far and playing almost every minute of those four matches. Gabriel Jesus, who missed more than two months with a knee injury, could be ready to make his early return. Claudio Bravo will continue to play in goal for the domestic Cup competitions.

Arsenal, meanwhile, is without new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan who is cup-tied to his previous club Manchester United, while Alexandre Lacazette is not yet recovered from his knee injury suffered in the North London derby, and Mesut Ozil could miss out with an illness. The Gunners are likely, however, to get Aaron Ramsey back in midfield after recovering from a groin injury, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can return to the lineup after his own cup tied absence in the Europa League midweek.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on playing Arsenal twice in a week: “We will be happy if we win, sad if we don’t but after the game we have another match against Arsenal. We are going to try and maintain our level, but finals are different, it is not what you have done in the past.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on playing Manchester City: “Manchester City have so many players that you think you have to stop that it is better to focus on the team plan than rather than on any individual. It’s true that I always used to use this competition with a youth team. For us it’s an opportunity. We’ll play with all the regular players.” 


Arsenal has often come up big in hotly contested Cup matches, despite poor form in the surrounding competitions, so it would not be surprising to once again see Arsene Wenger hoist a trophy on Sunday to temporarily distract the fanbase and media from larger struggles. However, picking against this Manchester City team would be selection suicide, even after their disappointment against Wigan and considering the absence of under the radar star Raheem Sterling. Manchester City wins 3-1 with a pair of late goals to sink the Gunners, with a newly healthy Gabriel Jesus providing an influential injection off the bench in the final 20 minutes. Pep Guardiola raises another trophy at the site where he won the 2011 Champions League.