Offshore Drilling, Euro 2012: England 1, Ukraine 0

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source: Getty Images

Man of the Match: For all the controversy that he courts, John Terry is still capable of being a pretty good defender. Adjusting to playing right center half (as opposed to his normal spot on the left), Terry has steadily given better performances as the tournament’s gone on. Against France he was untested. Versus Sweden he started showing form assertiveness, while today he was the best player on the field. His recovery from a non-offside call to save a goal will be the highlight. Though he was beaten in the buildup to the shot, that play came after a dominant hour that kept Ukraine from threatening despite their dominance of possession.

NBC Sports: England beat Ukraine 1-0 to advance

Packaged for takeaway:

  • The talking point won’t be England winning or finishing at the top of Group D. It will be goal line technology; or, the lack of it.
  • In the 61st minute, a blown offside call allowed Artem Milevskiy behind England’s defense. He puts Joe Hart to ground and fires a left-footed shot toward an empty net from 14 yards out. Terry gets back and saves it, kicking it out, though replays show the ball clearly went over the line.
  • Most disconcerting for replay advocates will be the positioning of the goal line official. The man in black anticipated the play, was straddling the line and leaning into the field so he could see the shot. He still made the wrong call.
  • Prior to the controversy, it’d been a pretty stoic match, goal included. Wayne Rooney’s 48th minute opener came out of nowhere, to a certain degree. The second ball in after a corner was a Steven Gerrard ball into the six. Andriy Pyatov was a bit lazy, didn’t get down to play a deflected ball, and ended up tipping a ball put for an easy Rooney header.
  • The only other England chance before the goal was a first half Rooney header that went wide. This was the same England that cowered to France, only this time, they were cowering to a team they were expected to beat.
  • That’s why Rooney’s goal was more reason for relief than joyous breakthrough. The way the first half played out, Ukraine looked capable of sending England home, and England looked willing to let it happen. Pyatov’s mistake let the Three Lions off the hook.
  • This is what Roy Hodgson’s philosophies are built on. Implicit is his approach is the view that these types of mistakes happen, and if you can mitigate yours while exploiting your opponents, you can win. The problem with that view is that it’s too reactive. One missed assignment on a set piece, a poor penalty call, a sending off that leaves you down a man – one groundball with eyes, a dying quail – and suddenly all your conservativeness has done is waste time you should have used building your lead – a lead that becomes insurance against a blow offside call that can turn the match. You never impose your game on your opponents, and therefore never try to exploit your advantages. All you do is wait for errors, and if they don’t come, you’re screwed. Today, one came.
  • By the end of the match, however, Ukraine was pressing for an equalizer, testing Joe Hart and demanding a heroic moment from Joleon Lescott. The co-hosts, however, seemed to realize their tournament was over. There was no frantic final push.
  • Despite the goal, Wayne Rooney looked rusty. His first touches weren’t matching his ideas, as evidenced on the missed chance in the first half. He played 87 minutes, and his fitness didn’t look like a major issue; still, some rust needs to be knocked off.
  • Theo Walcott didn’t start. James Milner did, and it’s unclear to me why. The theory is that Milner’s better defensively, an idea with which I agree. Is he so much better defensively that it outweighs the advantages Walcott offers going foward? Today, at least, England could have used less Milner, more Walcott.
  • Steven Gerrard had another good game, but I continue to be confused by some real selective analysis. Two examples that jump out.
    • First, Gerrard was given a disproportionate amount of credit for the ball played in for Rooney’s goal. It was a well-driven ball that caused problems, but it wasn’t some unique piece of skill that couldn’t be replicated by most players in the tournament.
    • Second, a long, speculative ball in the second half was greeted with praise, though it ended up being a glorified turnover. With England struggling to maintain possession, the costs of trying that ball weren’t worth it. In addition, many long balls played by Gerrard mask a the same lackadaisicalness that manifests in his periodic jogging. It’s easier to hit a long ball, get credit for trying, and be done with it than play a short ball, after which you’d be expected to run into space.

    Gerrard’s having a good tournament, but there’s no need to act like the man doesn’t need bathrooms in his house. Not to mention it riles up curmudgeons like me who have no problem wasting 200 words on something that really isn’t that big of a deal.

  • Ukraine coach Oleh Blohkin made three changes, one forced by Andriy Shevchenko not being fit to start (he’d come on in the second half). He went to the bench, as did Andrei Voronin and Sergey Nazarenko, three of the team’s older players. While Ukraine could have used Shevchenko’s poaching in the first half, but it’s unclear they other two players were missed.
  • The win, combined with France’s loss, gives England Group D and a match against Italy (avoiding Spain). I’d suggest brewing a lot of coffee for Sunday’s game, as you’re going to need help staying awake. As I mentioned on Twitter, I hope they start with penalty kicks and save us two hours of ennui.

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.

Crystal Palace – Everton: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Crystal Palace – Everton: It’s a battle of perfect teams on Saturday when Everton visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (Watch live at 10 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The Eagles have knocked off Southampton and Manchester United to open their 2020-21 Premier League season while Everton has handled Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

Two legends of the game will be at the helm when Roy Hodgson and Carlo Ancelotti match wits on Saturday. Can the former continue to coax unexpected results of his Eagles against the strengthened and powerful Toffees?


Team news: Crystal Palace – Everton (INJURY REPORT)

James Tomkins (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder), Christian Benteke (ankle), Gary Cahill (thigh) and Jairo Riedewald (undisclosed) are all set to miss out for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.

Fabian Delph returned for the midweek League Cup game but Everton won’t have Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle), Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), and Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf).


What they’re saying

Roy Hodgson on how the Eagles won (again) at Old Trafford: “We made certain and kept them playing in front of us and they could not profit from those spaces they are skillful enough to find. And when we had the ball I thought we looked very dangerous and threatening so I don’t think it was a big surprise that we scored three.”

Carlo Ancelotti after Jordan Pickford made a gaffe against Fleetwood Town: “I think the first goal was not an individual mistake because we passed the ball back to Jordan, it was a really difficult ball and we could behave differently. Of course you have to improve there. We want to build up from the back, but when there’s no risk. If it’s risky it’s no good because we can concede a goal like we did. It can be a good lesson for the future. I didn’t speak to him and, as I said, I have to speak with players that were involved when we build-up.Jordan was not the only one.”

Jordan Pickford
FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Jordan Pickford of Everton is challenged by Josh Morris of Fleetwood Town (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

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

Palace is an underdog despite beating United and it’s perhaps a bit surprising to see them at +275 with a draw at +220. An Everton win delivers +110.

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Crystal Palace – Everton prediction

Hodgson has coaxed some tremendous midfield performances out of James McArthur, James McCarthy, and Luka Milivojevic in his tenure at Palace but out-performing Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, and Andre Gomes is a big ask even for that steely crew. James Rodriguez is in incredible form but so is Wilfried Zaha. Couldn’t this one go either way? Yes, but if Everton’s moving in the direction many believe it will be able to take all three points in a composed 2-1 win.


How to watch Crystal Palace – Everton stream and start time

Kickoff: 10 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Brighton – Manchester United: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

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Brighton – Manchester United: Impressive Brighton and Hove Albion hopes to continue Manchester United’s winless league season when the Red Devils visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

It will be the first two meetings in several days, as Brighton’s win at Preston North End and United’s takedown of Luton Town set up a League Cup fourth round date at the Amex.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

United handled Brighton well last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0, so this will be a great test at the acumen of both managers: Graham Potter in his second full season with the Seagulls and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempting to prove his doubters wrong.


Team news: Brighton – Manchester United (INJURY REPORT)

The Seagulls will not have Yves Bissouma, who was suspended three matches for his no-look, studs-up kick into the face of Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis. Brighton manager Graham Potter revealed that the long-term recovery of Jose Izquierdo is about two weeks away from being complete.

Manchester United will be without Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.


What they’re saying

Potter on the League Cup win setting up consecutive Man United tests: “It’s a big week for us with those two matches and then Everton before the international break. That’s what we wanted because we wanted to go through in this competition. Players always want to play and the best thing for them is to be out on the field on nights like tonight to keep everyone in the group ready for when they’re needed. You saw that today. There was a willingness to run and fight for the team and get the result and that’s why I’m very happy.”

United’s Solskjaer after goalkeeper Dean Henderson starred on his senior debut: “The goalkeeping department and training level has been really high, of course, you can see driven and dedicated people and I’ve enjoyed watching them. Dean in goal, good save, you can see he’s having to concentrate and it’s a different job to what he’s done a few times last season and he came up with the save when he had to.”

League Cup results
LUTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Dean Henderson of Manchester United saves a shot at Kenilworth Road (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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

Brighton is +375 to win at home, while a draw nets the wagerer +260. Manchester United is expected to win and thusly -130 to take all three points.

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


Brighton – Manchester United prediction

The only thing keeping us from pegging a very impressive Brighton team to collect another win is the shadow cast by Manchester United’s 2019-20 season (and long tradition of winning). United was rusty in its loss to Crystal Palace and had to work hard to defeat Luton Town in the League Cup. If that rust was there last week, how do the legs feel after a week? Anyway, the Red Devils still have Bruno Fernandes and it just doesn’t seem like this team starts 0-2 (or even 0-1-1). I grimace as I write 2-1 to Manchester United.


How to watch Brighton – Manchester United stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick

Frank Lampard reaction
Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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Chelsea rebounded from its weekend loss to Liverpool by getting the good vibes going through a number of new faces Wednesday in a League Cup blowout of Barnsley.

Kai Havertz scored three times, Ben Chilwell came off the bench to chip in an assist on debut, and Thiago Silva went 60 minutes in his first match in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues pounded the Championship side 6-0.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

We’ll start with the longtime PSG defender, who had four clearances, an interception, and a tackle while winning both of his duels.

He passed at 94 percent including six-of-seven long balls. Even accounting for the competition, that’s solid.

Lampard called Silva’s outing “a perfect 60 minutes” via Football.London:

“He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others,” Lampard said. “He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”

ProSoccerTalk talked about Chelsea’s need for a leader at the back during this week’s “Unfiltered,” and Lampard has clearly been waiting for someone like Silva.

As for Havertz, you only needed the box score to see his influence on the game.

Two of Havertz’s three goals were assisted by Tammy Abraham and a third from Mason Mount.

The German phenom also racked up five tackles and two key passes against Barnsley.

“He makes the recovery tackle for Ross (Barkley)’s goal, but then to also just have some freedom on the ball in central areas roaming behind Tammy,” Lampard said. “The combinations he had with Tammy, the way he grew into the game and had confidence and the three goals. It was a great night for Kai and the first of many for him.”

Havertz scored seven braces for Bayer Leverkusen, but this was his first hat trick. Barnsley may play in the second tier, but they had allowed three goals in their last four games.

Whoops.

Actors Reynolds, McElhenney bid to invest in Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC
Photos by Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Jim Spellman/WireImage
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“The Gang Buys a Football Team?”

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds are said to be in talks to buy National League side Wrexham AFC, reports The Guardian.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

The Welsh club, nicknamed the Red Dragons, was founded in 1864 and made it to the European Cup Winners’ Cup eight times between 1972-96.

They’ve since been relegated out of the Football League, dipping out of League Two in 2008.

McElhenney and Reynolds have bid to take over the club, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust says 97.5 percent of their members voted to allow the actors to propose their vision for the club before a second vote.

From wst.org.uk:

As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

It’s gotta get McElhenney’s goat that Reynolds gets the “award-winning” adjective added to his name.

Either way, this is definitely an intriguing club for investment and the potential addition of Reynolds and McElhenney to the fray would only increase the interest in Wrexham AFC.

Deadpool and Mac would be quite a combo in the transfer market.