Premier League Team of the Week – Matchweek 3 (Video)

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With the third week of the Premier League in the books, let’s take a look at the Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper – David Marshall (Cardiff City)

For the second straight week David Marshall turned in a top performance between the pipes. On Saturday the 28 year old Scottish international saw off 13 attempts on goal by Everton to record his first clean sheet of the season.

Defender – Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)

It was a landmark win for Crystal Palace when the Eagles disposed of Sunderland 3-1 for their first Premier League victory of the season. A staunch defense led by Joel Ward, who notched five tackles, five clearances and four interceptions, was a component to the result.

Defender – Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

Kolo Toure was fantastic in Liverpool’s first two matches but when the 32 year old went down with injury, Martin Skrtel was handed an opportunity and took full advantage. The Slovakian defender was in top form on Sunday, shutting down Robin van Persie and the United attack.

Defender – Leighton Baines (Everton)

Leighton Baines proved himself Everton’s best playmaker, attacking Cardiff City with bombing runs down the left side of the pitch and link-ups with Steven Pienaar. On the defensive side, Baines locked down the Cardiff attack to secure the clean sheet.

Midfielder – Nathan Redmond (Norwich City)

Norwich City’s acquisition of Nathan Redmond from Birmingham City is looking like one of the shrewdest summer signings as the 19 year old has brought pace and a nose for goal to Carrow Road. On Saturday, his cut in from the wing, step-over and shot into the bottom corner was a thing of beauty.

Midfielder – Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle)

When Hatem Ben Arfa is on, he’s unplayable. That was the case on Saturday when the Frenchman wreaked havoc on Fulham for 85 minutes before scoring a sensational match-winner four minutes from time.

Midfielder – Ross Barkley (Everton)

That Ross Barkley, he’s so hot right now. Three matches in and few players have earned the groundswell of praise that Barkley has enjoyed, and it’s well deserved. Against Cardiff he was Everton’s most dangerous player and once his rapport with Arouna Kone and Nikica Jelavic improves (as well as getting to know new signing Romelu Lukaku), more goals are certain to come.

Midfielder – Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City)

Pablo Hernandez was in the thick of all of Swansea’s best attacks on Sunday. After providing perfect service for Ben Davies’ opener, Pablo dinked the cross-bar late in the game before scoring the insurance goal a minute later on a feed from Michu.

Forward – Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City)

For the last two weeks Alvaro Negredo has come on for Edin Dzeko and scored brilliant headers for Manchester City. Full of confidence, size and eye for goal, it looks only a matter of time before Manuel Pellegrini puts the Spaniard in his starting XI.

Forward – Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace)

He’s looked dangerous for three weeks and on Saturday, Dwight Gayle finally got his due. After a rash of chances went begging, Gayle drew a late penalty against Sunderland before confidently stepping to the spot and scoring the match winner.

Forward – Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Many of us are guilty of not giving Olivier Giroud his fair due as a striker but three weeks into the season and he’s been one of the league’s best. His diagonal run and slick finish against Tottenham on Sunday was a classy goal and one that Gunners fans won’t soon forget.

USMNT back Lichaj finds new home in Championship

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Eric Lichaj is going to bring his Premier League promotion dreams to a new Championship club.

The 29-year-old USMNT fullback has been a key part of Nottingham Forest to the tune of 188 appearances since moving from Aston Villa in 2013.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

But he’s on the move, joining Nigel Adkins at Hull City on the heels of a three-goal season at Forest. He famously scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 FA Cup win over Arsenal, then naming his new dog Gunner.

“It’s a fresh start for me and I want to repay Hull City for the faith that they have shown in me by bringing me here. I’ll be working my hardest, as I always do, every day in training and on matchdays.”

The versatile American can play left or right back, and has pushed his way back into the national team picture. Lichaj has 15 caps with a goal for the USMNT.

Also, #AStarInStripes? We see you, Hull

Report: Minnesota United chasing Ecuadorian national teamer

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Minnesota United may be hoping another Ibarra can cure what ails its attack.

Romario Ibarra, 23, is on the Loons’ radar according to The Athletic‘s Kristian Dyer and Jeff Rueter, who say Minnesota would like to land the Ecuadorian when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Ibarra was limited to eight matches for Universidad Católica this season as he battled through a lingering metatarsal fracture. But he’s scored against Argentina and Chile in each of his appearances for the national team, both World Cup qualifiers.

From The Athletic:

Sources say that Ibarra’s contract is unlikely to make him a designated player, leaving Quintero as the club’s sole DP. (It could depend, in part, on the size of the transfer fee.) Based on league standards, his salary will likely be drawn from Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract seems likely.

Ibarra’s older brother Renato plays for Club America, and has 36 caps.

Minnesota is six points outside the West’s final playoff spot, and has scored just 17 goals in 14 matches.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal field set

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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.

[ MORE: TFC extends Bono ]

Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.

Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.

All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.

The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.

Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.

The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.

Sprawling translated Emery interview talks PSG, Guardiola, more

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has given a sprawling interview, translated by France Football News, in which he discusses his history and his philosophies.

The interview was conducted after Emery was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain but before he was hired by the Gunners.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

It’s a fascinating read, with Emery going deep into his relationship with Neymar, the need for PSG to get an “A-ha” goal for its history books, and much, much more.

The interview is with Marti Perarnau, the author of “Pep Confidential,” and there are plenty of good nuggets regarding the Manchester City boss, as well as Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

It’s fairly clear that Emery figured he’d be going to a new league, and he certainly seems like a guy fit for a project like succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. For one thing, he’s proud of his team’s style.

That’s something valued by the North London set, and Emery pointed out that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Man City had to fail before they succeeded.

Let me say this: PSG played well and won. Many people don’t value that enough and believe that it is easy. But what happened to us? We lacked competitiveness in important moments. Why? Because this team is not confronted with enough moments of adversity in the league. Being competitive also means being faced with adversity. One has to suffer like Simeone’s team to win. One has to suffer like Pep’s team to win in England.

My team had two basic principles: having possession and pressing. That was the basis. Having the ball, and winning it back as fast as possible. I should add a little nuance. I’m talking about having possession and not positioning because there are moments where you can win the ball through positioning, and others where moving out of position can surprise the opponent. And like Guardiola says, if you have to win with a long ball from the goalkeeper towards the striker and that the forward scores with his ass, then so be it! We work like that as well.

And here’s just a quick nugget on the importance of playmaking, and how good players make a coach look better.

During his first match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes, we get corner. Neymar takes it quickly and Kurzawa scores. We hadn’t worked that at all with him. Afterwards, I told Neymar, “My work is limited to your strokes of genius.”

Love it. Arsenal seems like it’s in good hands. Read the full interview here.