Week 4: “View from the Booth” with Arlo White

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This weekend the voice of soccer on NBC Sports is taking a well deserved rest from calling the Premier League action.

Yet he still has time to speak to ProSoccerTalk.

In the latest edition of “View from the Booth” NBC Sports’ lead soccer announcer Arlo White talks about the biggest transfers in the Premier League after the deadline day drama, David Moyes’ struggles, how England’s national team can improved their fortunes and much more.

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With no PL action on NBC Sports Network this weekend due to the international games, you may miss the dulcet tones of Arlo emanating from your television in the living room.

But don’t worry, here he is to discuss all of this weeks hot topics. That should tide you over until PL action returns next week.

Enjoy. Here’s Arlo.

So after the transfer window slammed shut on Monday night, which Premier League teams fared best in the market?

At this stage, we can only speculate based on our prior knowledge of players and whether certain clubs have satisfied particular needs. It will take a while to really assess the winners and losers of this transfer window.

Clearly, Spurs were very active. The late signing of Christian Eriksen could prove to be a master stroke. Capoue (when he returns), Paulinho and Soldado could be terrific signings. But as we saw at the Emirates on Sunday, it will take time for these 7 new faces to bed into their new surroundings.

Brendan Rodgers should be very happy at Liverpool despite missing out on Willian. Keeping Luis Suarez was a very bold statement. They added some defensive depth as well and Mignolet has enjoyed a terrific start to the season.

Arsenal really stole the show late on with the Ozil coup. But should they have added elsewhere? Most definitely. They will be great to watch though.

Manchester City did their business early and effectively, and Everton played a very canny game on deadline day. They were resigned to losing Fellaini, but they squeezed more money out of United than they wanted to pay, they forced the Belgian to put in a transfer request so they maintained the PR high ground, and they bought/loaned intelligently with the captures of James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku. Plus they kept Leighton Baines. Hats off to messrs Kenwright and Martinez.

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Arlo Believes Mesut Ozil can be the key to Arsenal achieving big things.

And what about the late, late deals for Mesut Ozil and Marouane Fellaini? Do you think Arsenal should have smashed their transfer record to grab the German international?

Yes. Think back to last week when I wrote this…

Now, if Arsenal land Benzema, Di Maria and Ozil from Real Madrid, it could all change (btw, will Daniel Levy do the Bale deal as late as possible to help scupper Arsenal’s plans of recruiting those potentially surplus Real stars??)

The Gunners had to make a statement to at least appease their frustrated fan base, but I feared they were placing all their eggs into a basket that their arch nemesis Daniel Levy could push off the table. They way it worked out, Arsenal were gifted a clear 24 hours to finalize out the Ozil deal after it was announced that Gareth Bale had sealed his switch to the Bernabeu. It seems that Madrid had simply run out of patience with Levy, so they had no problem at all selling Ozil to Tottenham’s main rivals, to recoup nearly half of the fee they paid to Spurs. I think Spurs have bought well, but the immediate upshot was that they sold their world class player to Real Madrid, who then felt compelled to sell a world class player to Arsenal.

Elsewhere, David Moyes and Manchester United have been widely criticized for their dealings in the window, will the Red Devils regret not buying at least 2/3 more players?

Possibly. But they kept Rooney as well remember. There were always going to be teething problems once the Ferguson/Gill axis was broken up, but United won’t want a repeat of that deadline day farce. It just didn’t reflect well on the club. I admire Moyes’ faith in the players he already has, but I wonder if Shinji Kagawa has to play a larger role going forward. If he starts games and performs well, it will feel like United have got a new signing.

After Liverpool beat United and won their third-straight 1-0 game to open the season, can Brendan Rodgers’ men really break into the top four this season? Is the North London battle between Arsenal and Spurs even closer after the Gunners narrow win?

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Liverpool’s defensive solidity is key to their success.

Anything is possible. We’ve only had 3 games! Brendan Rodgers is very tactically astute. It was a thrill to be at Anfield on Sunday, the atmosphere was electric. Liverpool got what they so desperately craved, an early goal. They continued to push in the first half for a second, but it didn’t come. Then, much like his old boss Jose Mourinho did at Old Trafford last Monday, Rodgers instructed his side to go into a defensive shell. It was about ball retention and shape. A bend but don’t break approach. It wasn’t particularly entertaining, but it worked. People are writing off United, but RVP should have equalized late on, and on the balance of the second half, only the most ardent Red could have argued that it wasn’t deserved on the balance of the game.

Yes, Liverpool can challenge for the top 4. Spurs and Arsenal will duke it out to the last game.

With the huge amount of foreign talent flooding into the Premier League, FA Chairman Greg Dyke has been pretty defiant about the role the PL has in the future of the English national team. Is there an easy solution to getting more young English talent playing regularly in the PL?

Short answer is no. I don’t believe in quotas. The Premier League is, and should remain, a meritocracy. It’s incumbent upon the FA and the Premier League to work together to produce better, more rounded players. It starts with education. A smarter person is a better player. Education, academics and Football shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. They certainly aren’t in the top Football nations in the world. English Football has always feared and been suspicious of, intelligence and academics. Why? There are social reasons, but it needs to change.

Germany took drastic steps after their struggles at Euro 2000, and it’s paid off. England have been under performing for generations now. But it’s difficult to tell the richest league in the world that they shouldn’t go out and spend their money on the best players available wherever they are from. The FA must harness the millions of lads who play Football throughout the country and simply make them better through coaching and education. It’s a tall order, but if the desire is there, it can be done.

Finally, what’s coming up next for you? When the international break is over the PL will be back in full flow. What can we expect from the games your covering?

Looking forward to next weekend already. I have Everton v Chelsea next Saturday and Swansea v Liverpool on Monday. The great games keep coming thick and fast and it’s exhilarating being a part of it.

Cole returns to Chelsea as youth team coach

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One of Chelsea’s best players in club history is back at his old stomping grounds in a new role.

Chelsea finally confirmed over their social media channels that former left back Ashley Cole is back at the club coaching in the academy, helping the next generation of stars grow and learn the games. Specifically, Cole is coaching the U-15 squad.

[READ: Top Premier League Storylines]

“I’m also doing my badges at the moment and so being here at Chelsea means I have the chance to coach every day, whereas maybe if I wasn’t working at a club it would be hard for me to get the hours in,” Cole told Chelsea’s website. “I’m learning not just how to be a coach and how to speak to people in a different environment but the side of coaching that you don’t see like planning the sessions and setting up the equipment.

“As a player, you just turn up for a session and do it. If it’s a possession drill, you just arrive and try to keep the ball but now I’m getting to understand that there are always ideas behind a particular session or practice. Organization has to be key and those are the little details that it takes to be a great coach.”

While plenty from Cole’s era have moved into the media for lucrative punditry roles, it’s nice to see players like Cole and his former teammate Frank Lampard, now Chelsea coach, go into coaching to help pass on some of the great lessons they’ve learned during their careers. .

Cole said in the interview that he wasn’t sure what was next after playing three seasons for the LA Galaxy and then joining Lampard at Derby County for the second half of last season. He added that he got his first taste of coaching kids while with the Galaxy, helping some of the academy players and taking part in video sessions.

“The Academy are very good at giving ex-players a route back to the club and a chance to learn as coaches,” Cole said. “They’re eager to bring in people who understand what it means to be at Chelsea and what it means to wear the badge. You have to be a top player to play for Chelsea so they want those top ex-players influencing and trying to help the next generation develop and be better players.”

Spanish FA once again opposes La Liga match in U.S.

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For the second consecutive season, La Liga and Relevant Sports have proposed a league match to take place this winter in the U.S.

And once again, the La Liga proposal doesn’t have the support of its national soccer federation.

[READ: La Liga wants to move Villarreal-Atletico Madrid to Miami]

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), told reporters on Thursday that it would oppose the match taking place outside of Spain’s borders, keeping a consistent line in the sand on how far globalization can go in soccer.

“It would disrupt the competition,” Rubiales said, via AS. “To play a game in Miami, La Liga needs permission from five bodies that it doesn’t have.”

The five bodies Rubiales referred to are the RFEF, FIFA, CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer and MLS.

Last time around, Relevant Sports and La Liga announced a long-term, lucrative marketing contract to expand the brand’s footprint in the Americas, and soon after, petitioned to move Girona’s home game against Barcelona to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the home stadium of Relevant Sports owner Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins.

Ultimately, La Liga president Javier Tebas and Relevant Sports were unable to get permission from the RFEF or FIFA to hold the event outside Spain and it went off as expected in Girona. At the time, Spain’s player’s union and fans groups opposed the move. Tebas has filed a lawsuit in Spain to try to force the RFEF to approve their request, but it seems unlikely to be awarded and it surely doesn’t provide any good will between the two parties.

There’s been plenty of talk about bringing league games abroad before, but it has just been talk so far. The Premier League considered adding an extra game to the season to be played all over the world, but never went through with creating plans for matches.

Associations – not leagues, to be clear – have brought things like Super Cups abroad. For example, the RFEF moved the 2018 Spanish Super Cup to Tangiers, Morocco, while the France Football Federation has brought its national Super Cup match to both the U.S. and Montreal, Canada in recent years. However, the argument in favor of bringing those games abroad is they’re basically meaningless. Meanwhile, one result in a league season could – in theory – determine whether a team is relegated or not, especially if the margin is three points or less.

We could see another legal fight on our hands, so watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.

Rodgers excuses Maddison’s behavior after England departure

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Leicester City and England midfielder James Maddison made headlines for the wrong reasons after he was pictured last week watching the England match at the Czech Republic from a casino.

Despite the negative attention from Maddison’s decision to watch the game at that venue, he has the backing of his club manager, Brendan Rodgers.

“The kid went away with the international team and took ill while he was away,” Rodgers said, via the Guardian. “He wanted to stay and hopefully be ready for the second game. But the England medical staff – which I can understand, as he had flu and they didn’t want that to spread to his teammates – decided it’s best for him to leave the camp. So he leaves, gets some tablets with our guys at the club, then he feels better.

“He watched the game at home on his own on the Friday and then goes out at half-time – probably he’ll make better decisions in his life but he went to a casino on his own to sit and watch the second half by a poker table. The suggestions are he left England purposelessly and then goes to a casino but that’s totally not the case at all. But his eyes have been opened now to the wider world in terms of what he did. He knows in hindsight he’s made a mistake.”

Considering all that went on during England’s international break, from the poor performance in Prague to the horrible racism endured in Bulgaria, this is a bit of a silly scandal. To be honest, as long as Maddison is taking care of his body and himself, why does it matter if he was at a casino, or a pub, or anywhere?

However, there’s no denying that the optics look bad. Folks didn’t know that he arrived to England camp with the flu, or a flu-like illness at least, and the England medical staff are right to send him away to make sure no one else gets sick. He may have been feeling better by Friday and wanted to get out of the house. I think we’ve all been there after being sick for a few days.

The most important lesson for Maddison is to learn that his actions, out of context, can be misunderstood. In terms of soccer, after Ross Barkley’s performance for England, Maddison will have to prove in his club form that he should still have a place in the England team for the near future. There’s only two more international dates left before the 2020 Euros, so time is running out for Maddison to make an impact to Southgate.

Tierney, Lacazette available for Arsenal

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Arsenal are edging closer to finally having a full-strength squad.

Ahead of Monday’s prime-time matchup with Sheffield United, Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed that Kieran Tierney was in line to make his Premier League debut, while Alexandre Lacazette was back in full training and should be in the gameday squad.

“Today is Lacazette’s first training back with us,” Emery said in a press conference on Thursday. “He finished it well and he’s feeling well with his injuries. Tomorrow we will be training again and he will be with us. We will decide.

“The most important thing is that first he is training, then secondly it’s whether he can be with us and it depends how he can feel in the next days training with us, whether his ankle is not giving him any more problems.”

This is a huge boost to Arsenal, which has had to rely on some youngsters and have made some lineup changes to accommodate not having Lacazette on the field. Tierney meanwhile could step into a position where there’s already a decent starter, Sead Kolasinac.

Lacazette’s return also couldn’t have come at a better time. In Premier League action, Arsenal’s high-powered offense has been stymied, scoring just two goals in the last two league games. Meanwhile, against weaker defenses in the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup, Arsenal has bagged a total of 12 goals.

The veteran Frenchman has scored two goals in three appearances so far this season, including a big goal just before halftime in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham. However, he suffered a long-term ankle injury in that match that has kept him on the sidelines for more than a month.

“[Tierney is] ready to play,” Emery later said. Now we have two options in that left-back role with Sead Kolasinac and him. We’re going to play a lot of matches after Monday. We will need every player. It depends how he comes into the first training with us, Sead, after his international matches. We now have two players in that position and we can use one on Monday, it depends how they are, one or the other.”

Tierney, the 22-year-old Scottish left back, has made two appearances for the Arsenal first team since recovering from a double hernia operation over the summer. Signed from Celtic for around $32 million, Tierney adds a skill that Kolasinac has struggled with – expert crosser of the ball into the box, where the likes of Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can score when given a decent chance.