As it happened: England comes back against Sweden; France downs co-hosts

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The second round of the group stage round robin comes to an end today at Euro 2012 with Group D’s four contestants looking to position themselves for next week’s final push.

The day starts with co-hosts Ukraine seeking to clinch a quarterfinal spot with a win against favored France. That match that kicks off at noon Eastern.

Then at 2:45 p.m. Eastern, England get the unenviable task of containing Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Three Lions look for their first win of the tournament against Sweden.

Today is also the last day of two kickoff times. Over the next four days, the final rounds of group stage matches will see games kick off simultaneously (2:45 p.m. Eastern). After that, there’s only one game per day.

In all, 14 of the tournament’s 31 games have been played. Once today’s matches are finished, we’ll be past the halfway point.

But before we get to those matches, here’s today’s reading list:

And now that you’re through skipping over the bullets, here’s Friday’s action:


(All times Eastern)

1653 – Sweden 2-3 England, Final – The whistle blows on a remarkable match for England, who gave up two second half goals before coming back to claim full points. They move second in Group D while Sweden becomes the second team eliminated at Euro 2012.

1648 – Sweden 2-3 England – Danny Welbeck comes off. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes off, tasked with helping see this game out.

1643 – Sweden 2-3 England – After the goal, England’s gone very conservative. We’re end seeing Carroll in defense as the team plays very deep, has ceased challenging potential crosses, and seeks to hold on.

It has led to a couple of interesting counter attacking chances. With Welbeck, Walcott and Young on, they’re always fun.

1636 – Sweden 2-3 England – Two great individual effort have England back in front. Danny Welbeck will get the honors, but it wouldn’t have happened without Theo Walcott.

Glen Johnson plays a ball for Walcott, who bursts through the right channel and gets to the line. He cuts it back to the edge of the six, but it’s slightly behind Danny Welbeck. Welbeck turns on his left foot and, with his back to goal, brings his right behind the pass, deflecting the ball into the left side of goal.

1635 – Sweden 2-2 England – After 10 minutes of even play, Martin Olssen creates a turnover and sets Sweden into transition. A ball played left to Elmander is but right to Ibrahmovic. He has a crack from 20 yards out and forces Isaksson into a leaping save, winning a corner (which comes to nothing).

1622 – Sweden 2-2 England – What’s going on here? The first half was stoic save on moment. Now, we have three goals in 19 minutes.

Corner from Ashley Young is swung in from the left but headed clear by Jonas Olsson. The ball goes straight to Theo Walcott who traps and shoots. Isaksson just collapses backward. He has no chance to get to that ball in the right of goal. It’s 2-2, Walcott scoring from 24 yards out.

Andreas Granqvist has had to come off. Mikael Lustig is on.

1620 – Sweden 2-1 England – James Milner’s off. Theo Walcott’s on.

1617 – Sweden 2-1 England – Thousands of Swedish fan are in raptures as Olof Mellberg heads Sweden in front.

The danger started with a Kim Kallstrom pass from the middle of the park that had picked out Martin Olssen making a run on the left. James Milner had been beaten and needed to take him down, earning a card.

On the restart, Sebastian Larsson puts a perfect ball from 30 yards out (on the left) to the far post. Three Sweden players are there, unmarked, as Glen Johnson looks on. Olof Mellberg rises, hits it, and Joe Hart’s shoulders instantly slump. The ball bounces before going into the side netting. England’s down.

1615 – Sweden 1-1 England – The goal has chance the entire dynamic of the game. England’s confidence is gone. Sweden is on the front foot, which means more activity around Ibrahimovic, who England can’t get the ball from.

1608 – Sweden 1-1 England – Oh, wow. The second ball in from a set piece undoes England, giving Sweden a very fortunate goal.

Kim Kallstrom is brought down 28 yards out, giving Zlatan Ibrahimovic a chance straight on goal. His shot hit the wall, deflects up, and on the way down a scissor kicked by Ibrahimoic to Olof Mellberg – eight yards from goal, even with the right post, kept onside by Glen Johnson. Joe Hart some out and saves the shot, but the rebound bounces off Johnson (now coming back toward goal) and in.

1604 – Sweden 0-1 England – Second half has started. No changes.

1559 – Sweden 0-1 England, Halftime – Stats: Possession: England 55-45; Shots: 5-5; Shots on target: Sweden 4-3.

1548 – Sweden 0-1 England, Halftime – That’s halftime, and one well-execute moment has England up on Sweden. Andy Carroll’s paid off Roy Hodgson’s decision, and the defense has been solid. It’s 1-0, and probably deservedly so.

1545 – Sweden 0-1 England – Last minutes of the half and things have opened up a bit. Long ball for Ibrahimovic sees him win a prolonged battle with Lescott before a mis-executed back heel by Rasmus Elm gives the ball away. At the other end Danny Welbeck blows by Jonas Olsson and runs 30 yards before Olof Mellberg wins the ball.

1533 – Sweden 0-1 England – Sweden’s in transition, and the ball’s at Zlatan’s feet. He’s got three attackers with him but England’s stay tight as they collapse. Zlatan cuts back onto his left foot and takes a shot from 21 yards out. It’s deflected but an easy catch for Joe Hart.

The game has not changed much since the Carroll goal. Sweden has a little more possession, but it hasn’t been particularly meaningful. When England gets it and is able to set up their attack, a lot seems to rely on Steven Gerrard eventually trying something, for better or worse.

1525 – Sweden 0-1 England – That’s a header. Andy Carroll’s first chance, and he buries it. England’s up.

Steve Gerrard, ten yards within Sweden’s half, is given time on the ball near the right flank, He serves a nice ball in between Martin Olssen and Andreas Granqvist, neither of whom can get up to challenge Gerrard. The England striker uncoils onto a header from 12 yards out, burying it behind Isaksson.

Up until then, the match had been even, with Sweden seemingly aspiring to some rhythm. The ball had been on Ibrahimovic’s feet more and more.

Then England strikes, takes the lead, and it’s all for naught. England, for the second match in a row, is out in front.

1515 – Sweden 0-0 England – It’s been an even if relatively uneventful first quarter-hour. Scott Parker’s had the best crack at goal, blasting a 22-yard shot that forced a leaping save from Anders Isaksson. Sweden’s analog, from Sebastian Larsson, went right at Joe Hart. The most interesting part of the game is the disorganization being caused as Olof Mellberg tries to be the one challenging Andy Carroll for balls in the air. At least, that seems to be what’s happening, drawing Mellberg from right-center half as Carroll’s shading a bit more to the defense’s left.

1501 – Sweden 0-0 England – Sweden kicks off going left to right in yellow. England’s in blue and have decided to go the opposite direction.

1458 – Teams are antheming in Kiev. Here are the lineups:

England: Hart, Johnson, Cole, Terry, Lescott, Gerrard, Young, Milner, Parker, Carroll, Welbeck SUBS: Green, Butland, Kelly, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Walcott, Henderson, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe.

Sweden: Isaksson, Mellberg, Granqvist, M. Olsson, J. Olsson, Elm, Larsson, Svensson, Källström, Ibrahimović, Elmander SUBS: Wiland, Hansson, Lustig, Antonsson, Safari, Wernbloom, Holmén, Bajrami, Wilhelmsson, Hysén, Toivonen, Rosenberg.

England brings Andy Carroll in, moves Young wide, and benches Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Sweden has made three changes. Martin Olssen’s into central defense. Anders Svensson’s into midfield. Johan Elmander’s up top.

1447 – Ukraine 0-2 France, Final – The last quarter hour played out predictably (hence the lack of updates). We’re 12 minutes from England-Sweden, and France has claimed their first win of the tournament.

1429 – Ukraine 0-2 France – Olivier Giroud will play the last 15 minutes for Karim Benzema. France, having brought on Marvin Martin for Jeremy Menez a few minutes before, are out of subs.

The teams are playing this one out as if they’ve accepted the final score. There’s still a lot of time left, but it’s been a strange day.

1422 – Ukraine 0-2 France – France gives Yann M’Vila his first action of the tournament. He’s on for Yoann Cabaye.

1417 – Ukraine 0-2 France – Program note, and sorry for note mentioning this sooner: England-Sweden’s kickoff has been moved back to 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

1410 – Ukraine 0-2 France – Yoann Cabaye doubles France’s lead, and Karim Benzema collects his second assist.

The movement starts on the right with a ball played to Jeremy Menez 30 yards out. Karim Benzema comes and receives the ball then turns back to the field, away from goal, before spotting Cabaye in the left channel. A great pass hits the Newcastle man, who has so much of the goal to choose from. He goes right and converts. It’s 2-0.

1407 – Ukraine 0-1 France – A open second half bites Ukraine just as they looked like they had something going on the counter, but caught out, Ukraine gives up the first goal.

The play starts in France’s end with a pass from Oleh Gusev intercepted by Yoann Cabaye and played up to Franck Ribery. France busts into transition, with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk forced to cover for Gusev. That leaves nobody in the middle in front of the defense, where Ribery plays for Benzema, who turns and moves the ball wide right for Jeremy Menez. Menez cuts onto his left foot, turns Yevhen Selin, and lets one go. He beats Pyatov inside the right post. France has their first lead of the tournament.

1359 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Teams are back, we’ve restarted, and Andrei Voronin is off for Ukraine. Marko Devic is on. Somewhat like-for-like. Devic will be more of a target, but he’s still a forward.

135 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Stats: Possession: France 54-46; Shots: France: 7-3; Shots on target: France 6-1.

1359 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Halftime – This picture is amazing.

1345 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Halftime – Intermission sees the teams head to the locker rooms even, with a couple of interesting events just before half time. Near the 43rd minute, France enjoyed a long, long spell of possession that finally ended with a nice reason from Selin on a Debuchy overlapping run earning Ukraine a goal kick. Ukrain had all but Shevchenko back defending as France had slowly pushed them back. Les Bleus, however, seemed very reluctant to pull the trigger and, ultimately, didn’t get a shot on Pyatov.

Second, Jeremy Menez probably should be off. He picked up a dubious yellow halfway through the period, and on a ball coming out of France’s end in stoppage time, the put the bottom of his boot to Selin as the Ukraine left back went to play the ball. Selin went down in pain, but Menez was spared, not being booked. It was a dumb challenge to make while carrying a card.

1337 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Ukraine shows some vulnerabilities on two crosses. Gusev dives up a foul, and on Nasri’s restart, Mexes hammers a header far post, with Pyatov making a nice save. Resulting corner is played long for Diarra who makes solid contact. Gusev blocks.

1332 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Ukraine’s first good chance. Yevhen Selin hits a nice long ball for Andriy Shevchenko, who leaves Adil Rami standing flat footed. I nice touch set him up for a blast on Hugo Llris, but the angle’s not going to allow it. The ball’s blocked clear.

1327 – Ukraine 0-0 France – First good chance of the match. Anatoliy Tymoshcuk with a terrible pass for defender Taras Mikhalik ends up at the feet of Ribery. Mikhalik persues and, as Ribery tries to pull back for Karim Benzema, gets a foot to the pass. It deflects to Jeremy Menez in the right of the area whose first touch blasts a shot at Andriy Pyatov. Saved.

1320 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Following up from a question we were asking at the onset: Nasri is in the middle, the shape is 4-2-3-1, Menez is on the right. Cabye’s shuttlin’. Diarra’s destryin’.

1315 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Since we restarted France has controlled the ball, but there hasn’t been much in it. Andriy Pyatov’s been relatively unbostered. At the other end, Hugo Lloris is taking a nap, I assume. At least, he could take a nap.

1302 – Ukraine 0-0 France – We’re back in the fifth minute. They’re going to give it a go.

1256 – Ukraine 0-0 France. Match Stopped – Looks like we will restart at the top of the hour.

1252 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – I just took a nap and woke to more bad news:

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1240 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – UEFA officials are on the field, inspecting it. It looks terrible. Groundskeepers steps met with water, splashing at even the most mild of movements.

1232 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – They’re five hours ahead of Eastern time, and according Gary Lineker, it’s not looking good:

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1230 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – I’m now intent on posting as many Twitter screen shots as possible:

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1226 – UKraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – Rain is still coming down in Donestk. We’re told we won’t have a kick off before 1:00 p.m. Eastern, if at all.

1223 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – Looking for news, and I can’t find any. I feel like I need to update this post. As of now, we have no idea when the game will resume.

1213 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – Both on and off the pitch, there are a number of safety issues that come in to play the longer this goes on. There’s also the issue of the matches running together. England-Sweden are supposed to kick off in 150 (or so) minutes.

If the match is suspended, it will be replayed tomorrow. At least, that’s what I’m told.

1208 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – As thunder roars in Donetsk, Jacob Steinberg addresses those who scoff at a little water forcing the players off.

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No information on how long we’ll be stopped. Water is forming into small puddles on the pitch. When these players come on, the match will be played in a bog.

1205 – Ukraine 0-0 France, Match Stopped – Another crack of thunder and notes of lightning right over top of the stadium forces the official to take the players off the field. The match is stopped. The rain is just pouring down. Shots show water streaming down the stadium’s concrete steps.

1203 – Ukraine 0-0 France – Rain pouring down. Thunder reportedly heard in the distance. Ukraine is pressing high and playing a high line at the back. France adjusting.

1201 – Ukraine 0-0 France – The annoying countdown is done. France, in blue, kicks off going from right to left. The all-yellows go from left to right.

1159 – Anthems done. We’re minutes away.

1153 – Television cameras show an area full of blue-and-yellow clad supporters, and I think to myself “Oh, crap. Is Sweden-England the first game?” Yeah, Richard … Ukraine’s colors?

Clearly, I’m on point this morning.

Teams and in the tunnel, ready to come out. Anatoly Tymoshchuk gives club teammate Franck Ribery a nice pat on the head.

1147 – Perusing pre-match punditry … listening to British media discuss Zlatan Ibrahimovic is tiresome. They don’t shine to his ways – that’s fine (and maybe fair). But this meme about Zlatan not performing in certain games. That may be true, but it happens to the best (Messi in the Champions League semis?). Also, Zlatan scores a goal and set up some nice chances against Ukraine. The criticism is ill-timed. In addition, it wasn’t too long ago that Zlatan was bagging Champions League braces in London.

1146 – Semi-random: Tomas Rosicky didn’t train today and will be a game-day decision for the Czech Republic. He left Tuesday’s game at halftime with an Achilles injury.

1137 – Reading Twitter reports from Ukraine confirming England fans are drastically outnumbered by Sweden’s. Speculation based on ticket sales was somewhere on the order to 3/4 to 1. If Peter Forsberg’s not one of the 15-20k traveling Swedes, I’m not too interested.

1136 – And it don’t stop:

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You’re going to love these screenshots when the page is super slow to load later in the day.

1127 –Wow, check me out with the time to kill:

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1121 –Screenshots!

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That would be crazy.

1117 –Re: Nasri/Menez’s positioning:

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So there’s that. Also, Nasri apparently has courted controversy by doing the Shhhhh gesture after scoring against England. If that’s bad, can you imagine how much negative karma Andrei Arshavin’s accumulated over the years? And who really wants to thing of that stout little elf carrying some dark, ashen cloud on his shoulders. No, I don’t like this at all. Let’s all just settle down.

1104 – Lineups:

France: Lloris, Debuchy, Rami, Mexès, Clichy, Cabaye, Ribéry, Nasri, Ménez, Diarra, Benzema, SUBS: Mandanda, Carrasso, Evra, Réveillère, Koscielny, Valbuena, Matuidi, Malouda, M’Vila, Martin, Ben Arfa, Giroud,

Ukraine: Pyatov, Khacheridi, Mikhalik, Tymoshchuk, Yarmolenko, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka, Shevchenko, Voronin SUBS: Koval, Goryainov, Kucher, Shevchuk, Rakitskiy, Butko, Garmash, Aliyev, Rotan, Seleznyov, Dević.

Two big changes for France. Gael Clichy comes in at left back for Patrice Evra after the Manchester United defender gave up the cheap foul that gifted England their set piece opportunity (and goal) on Monday. Also, Paris Saint-Germain attacker Jeremy Menez comes in, pushing Florent Malouda to the bench. If Laurent Blanc stays with a 4-3-3, that means Samir Nasri will play through the middle; however, we could see (gulp) 4-2-3-1, though that would against have Nasri centrally.

For Ukraine … that’s right. They’re only starting nine! I’m sure that’s a mistake. I copy-pasted that from UEFA, though other places on their side they list left back Yavhen Selin and right back Oleh Gusev as starting. Why don’t we do with that?

1058 – I’ve got the thread up a bit early today. Lineups will be coming in a few. Kickoff isn’t for another hour. For now, my picks for Group D’s second games …

Ukraine 1-2 France
Sweden 0-1 England

Sidenote: I have no idea if or how we’ll do running commentary over the next four days with simultaneous kickoffs. There’s a logical issue: update collisions. We’ll have two people watching tomorrow’s games, but it may not be tenable to have two people updating a post.

ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.

Liverpool – Arsenal: How to watch, updates, odds

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Liverpool – Arsenal: Two heavyweights clash at Anfield on Monday (Watch live at 3pm ET online via Peacock) as both team have a perfect record with two wins from two so far.

Heading to half time Liverpool lead 2-1 as Alexandre Lacazette’s opener was canceled out by Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson.

STREAM LIVE LIVERPOOL – ARSENAL

Reigning champions Liverpool have perhaps been more impressive as they’ve beaten upstarts Leeds United and then Chelsea, while Arsenal eased past Fulham but struggled past West Ham.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

When it comes to Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta, their playing philosophy as managers could not be more different as Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties at Wembley to win the Community Shield last month.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of a massive early-season clash as Arsenal look to put down a marker.


Team news (INJURY REPORT)

Liverpool have center back Joe Gomez back fit after he missed the win at Chelsea last weekend, while this game will come too soon for fellow defender Joel Matip and captain Jordan Henderson is also not fit to feature. Thiago Alcantara is not in the squad due to an minor injury, while new signing Diogo Jota is on the bench.

Arsenal have Kieran Tierney back fit for this game, which is a big boost. Gabriel, Bukayo Saka, Dani Ceballos and Sead Kolasinac all drop to the bench as Tierney, Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and David Luiz start. Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli and Shkodran Mustafi all remain out injured.


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Understandably Liverpool are the heavy favorites (-210) given their long unbeaten home record at Anfield. That said Arsenal (+520) do seem a high price after they beat Liverpool during ‘Project Restart’ and also in the Community Shield final. The draw at +360 is intriguing and the value perhaps lies there.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Liverpool – Arsenal prediction

Arsenal have a lot more grit under Arteta and they ware capable of bending but not breaking. This is a huge test for them, though, and Gabriel against the fluid front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane will be his biggest test yet. Arsenal have the attackers to make the most of any more slack defending from Liverpool but I expect Klopp’s side to have just too much in midfield and attack. Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal.


How to watch Liverpool – Arsenal stream and start time

Kickoff: 3pm ET Monday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Aston Villa hammer sloppy Fulham

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Fulham – Aston Villa was ridiculously one-sided as Villa won 3-0 and barely got out of second gear at Craven Cottage.

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Early goals from Jack Grealish and Connor Hourihane set Villa on their way and Tyrone Mings sealed the win early in the second half.

Fulham were woeful defensively from start to finish as they’ve now lost all three of their games back in the Premier League and have conceded 10 goals in the process. Villa have won both of their opening games without conceding.


3 things we learned: Fulham – Aston Villa

1. Fulham’s defense all over the place: Denis Odoi, Tim Ream and Michael Hector were the center backs in a three-man central defense and Fulham were all over the place. Players were all pointing at one another and nobody seemed to know what was going on. Scott Parker was distraught on the sidelines as Fulham are making the exact same defensive mistakes which saw them relegated in 2018-19. Their transfer policy has been different this time around but the way Fulham are playing is eerily similar. Obviously, they cannot keep conceding three goals a game.

2. Grealish dazzles as Watkins gives Villa new dimension: What more can we say about Grealish? After signing a new long-term contract at Villa he seems to be playing with the weight of expectation on his shoulders, just like he did at the end of last season. With Ollie Watkins (who deserved a goal and went close on multiple occasions) stretching the Fulham back line, that allowed Grealish, John McGinn and others plenty of space to operate it. They made the most of it.

3. Mitrovic will get chances: Even though Fulham looked awful at the back, they whipped in some great crosses from the flanks and Mitrovic, as always, was a handful. At some point Fulham will be better going for it in games and winning 3-2 and 4-3. They have more of a chance of staying in the Premier League if they attack compared to trying to sit back deeper and being more defensive.

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish – Scored early, involved in the second and always a threat. Odoi will be having many a nightmare about Grealish.


Aston Villa got off to the best possible start as a lovely ball over the top from John McGinn found Grealish and he dinked the ball past Areola and in.

Fulham’s defense was totally caught out as Parker seethed in his technical area and soon he was even angrier. Watkins played in Grealish down the left and he played it to McGinn who tapped the ball to Hourihane to slot home and make it 2-0.

The hosts got the ball wide on plenty of occasions and whipped crosses in for Mitrovic but Villa dealt with that threat easily and always looked dangerous when going forward. Watkins wasted a few good chances.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At the start of the second half Villa went 3-0 up as Mings timed his run to perfection to prod home a free kick as Fulham’s defending was once again all over the place.

McGinn was denied by Areola as Villa were cutting through Fulham like a knife through hot butter time and time again.

It looked like Fulham were handed a path back into the game as Emiliano Martinez dropped a cross and Decordova Reid tapped home but VAR was used as Mitrovic pushed Ezri Konsa as the ball came in.

Grealish missed a good chance as Villa continued to create openings with Mings also going close and Joe Bryan clipped the crossbar at the other end as Martinez pulled off a good save.

Fulham – Aston Villa: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Fulham – Aston Villa: How early is too early to call a game “must-win” in the Premier League? Perhaps we will find out on Monday (Watch live at 12:45 pm ET, online via Peacock), when bottom-of-the-table Fulham host Aston Villa at Craven Cottage.

FULHAM – ASTON VILLA STREAM LIVE

Scott Parker’s side has had a torrid start to life back in the PL — not at all dissimilar to the way their last stint ended — and find themselves with zero points and seven goals conceded after their first two games. Losing 3-0 to Arsenal on the opening day of the season wasn’t altogether surprising, but following that defeat with four more goals conceded to Leeds United last weekend will undoubtedly have done a number on the Cottagers’ confidence.

Villa, on the other hand, have played just once and secured a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United earlier this week. A win on Monday would see Dean Smith’s side start the season with back-to-back PL victories for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

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Here is everything you need to know ahead of Fulham – Aston Villa this Monday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Fulham – Aston Villa (INJURY REPORT)

Fulham – No injuries or suspensions

Scott Parker makes three changes as Tom Cairney, Tim Ream and Bobby Decordova-Reid start.

Aston Villa – OUT: Bjorn Engels (thigh), Tom Heaton (knee), Wesley (knee), Ahmed Elmohamady (thigh)

Villa are unchanged from the team which beat Sheffield United last time out.


What they’re saying: Fulham – Aston Villa

Scott Parker, on a “must-win” game: “I don’t see it as drastic as a must-win. We want to win. I know it’s either high or low in a drastic world, but we need to stay level and take realism of where we are in the campaign and where we are as a team. We will try everything we can to take some points and be up to the challenge. I don’t think we’re the only team at this present moment in time who have let in some goals in the first two games. It’s not ideal, of course not. Villa at home on Monday is a game we’re going to try to get three points.”

Dean Smith, on needing another signing: “We’re always looking in the market, we’re probably one short in the squad at the moment so we’ll keep looking at that. I think there’s seven days left until the window shuts internationally, another seven days domestically. Our sporting director at the moment has got his finger on the pulse, hopefully we might get one more in and maybe a couple more out.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

This one is just about a coin flip with Fulham (+185) ever so slight underdogs to Villa (+150). In a game that could go either way like this one, the draw (+225) might just be the safe middle ground.

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Prediction: Fulham – Aston Villa

There’s not much to separate these two sides right now, and there likely won’t be much ground between them come the season’s final table. There should be a few goals, but that’ll be more down to poor defending than excellent attacking quality from either side. Fulham 2-2 Villa.


How to watch Fulham – Aston Villa stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:45 pm ET Monday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Transfer news: Kante to Man United; Dest to Barcelona

Kante to Manchester United
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In the latest transfer news N’Golo Kante to Manchester United is reported, while USMNT right back Sergino Dest to Barcelona is almost complete.

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Let’s take a look at some of the latest juicy rumors as we’re in the final week of the transfer window.


Kante to Manchester United couldn’t really happen… could it!?

N’Golo Kante is still among the finest holding midfielders in the world, which is why this report from the Daily Mirror seems particularly outlandish.

That said, Kante, 29, has been linked with a move away from Chelsea for most of this transfer window as the French central midfielder continues to be a man in demand. Per the report, Kante would have to take a pay-cut on his $385,000 per week wages.

Frank Lampard and Chelsea know that Kante’s value is extremely high, on and off the pitch, right now and they will also know his value may be at its peak. At times over the last 12 months he hasn’t quite been himself but he’s still been consistently excellent.

Is it time for Chelsea to cash in on Kante to help offset their incredible $300 million spending spree this summer?

Pretty much everyone who watches Chelsea knows this would be a bad idea. If you think Chelsea’s defending has been bad, think how bad it will be without Kante plugging as many gaps as he can in front of the defense. Chelsea fans everywhere are shuddering right now.

Kante to Manchester United would make sense for the Red Devils who still look badly imbalanced and need a destructive holding midfielder to get their dangerous attacking quartet of Rashford, Greenwood, Martial and Fernandes in the game more.

We would all be extremely surprised if Chelsea sell Kante to a direct rival, but stranger things have happened.

Sergino Dest to Barcelona almost complete

USMNT right back Sergino Dest to Barcelona is edging closer as the Dutch-American defender is said to have agreed personal terms with Barca.

Dest, 19, was chased by both Bayern Munich and Barcelona but his chosen the latter after Ajax agreed a $26.7 million fee with Barcelona.

Per a report from Sky Italy, Dest has agreed a five-year contract at Barcelona and will travel to Spain to complete the deal.

With Nelson Semedo sold to Wolves, Barcelona need a new right back and new head coach Ronald Koeman looks set to make Dest the first signing he has chosen. While manager of the Dutch national team Koeman wanted Dest to switch allegiances from the USMNT but he stuck with the nation he has played for throughout his youth international career despite being born in the Netherlands.

Dest will get plenty of opportunities to play at Barcelona and it will be intriguing to track his development.