Tottenham’s character questioned, can Saints shock Manchester United? – View from the Booth, with Arlo White

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When watching soccer on TV, have you ever sat there and wondered what the man behind the microphone really thinks?

Maybe this will go someway to helping with that.

In the latest edition of “View from the Booth” NBC Sports’ lead soccer announcer Arlo White talks and touches on plenty more Premier League news.

(MORE: View from the Booth Archive)

You can hear Arlo calling live games this weekend on NBC and NBC Sports Network, and watch every single game available live online via NBC Sports Live Extra,

Let’s get to it.

The early game on Saturday sees Newcastle host Liverpool, those two teams have a history of producing plenty of goals, will it be an open game up at St. James’ Park?

You can never guarantee goals in a fixture, but the omens are pretty good that we’ll see plenty of goal mouth action at St James’ Park on Saturday.

These sides have split the last 4 games they’ve played on Tyneside, sharing 18 goals in the process, with Liverpool registering massive wins of 5-1 in 2008, and 6-0 last season. In Daniel Sturridge and Loic Remy, we’ll see the Premier League’s top two goal scorers in action.

Luis Suarez look set to renew his partnership up front with Sturridge, and although Suarez has traveled back from South America, his spirits must be high after scoring for Uruguay in a victory over Argentina that at least sealed a World Cup play-off place. Both have scored in the last three Premier League matches.

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Steven Gerrard and Liverpool can dominate Newcastle once again.

Newcastle were a shambles in the first half at Everton recently, but since then they’ve managed to score 4 goals whilst conceding only one, and registered 3 points with a victory at Cardiff. It’ll be interesting to see who partners Fabricio Coloccini at the heart of their defense. Mike Willamson seems to have steadied things in place of the struggling Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, but the challenge presented by Suarez and Sturridge will undoubtedly unsettle whoever plays there.

It promises to be an open and entertaining game, and after his goal at Wembley sealed a place in the World Cup finals for England, don’t bet against Steven Gerrard scoring his 100th Premier League goal if he takes the field in the North East.

Southampton are flying high, and are a team you tipped to do well at the start of the season. Can they keep their good form going against Manchester United at Old Trafford? Mauricio Pochettino’s high pressure approach could cause United problems, as Liverpool found out at Anfield a few weeks ago…

West Brom hadn’t won at Old Trafford since 1978. Southampton haven’t won there since 1988, a run of 18 games. I’m sure the Baggies success has given many teams hope that they can go to the home of the champions and not just avoid a trouncing, but actually come away with points.

The Saints find themselves in the top 4 on the back of some tremendous defending, which starts by pressuring the opposition in their own half of the field. They haven’t conceded a Premier League goal for a whopping 302 minutes and kept a clean sheet in that famous win at Anfield last month. If Pablo Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert start banging in the goals, the Saints have only scored 7 in 7 games, then Southampton could get even better.

I was at Manchester United’s last game against Sunderland. At half time, Lee Dixon and I looked at each other and exhaled, with our eye brows raised. United trailed a winless, managerless, bottom of the table side 1-0, and hadn’t impressed at all.

Suddenly, it turned into the Adnan Januzaj show. Will the young Belgian/Serbian/Turk/Croat/Englishman start on Saturday? We shall see. One thing is for sure, Wayne Rooney was lights out for England in their crucial qualifiers and he will be a major force in driving United back to form. I’m sure it irks him that despite scoring 3 Premier League goals so far this season, he’s yet to find the net from open play.

source: Getty Images
More frustration for Manchester United and Wayne Rooney against Southampton this weekend?

What do you make of the whole situation at Cardiff City? I find it hard to believe Malkay Mackay will be fired after mastering a great rebuild over the summer and giving the Bluebirds more than a fighting chance of staying up. Discuss.

The appointment as head of recruitment of a 23-year-old friend of the owners son, who has no previous Football experience, sets alarm bells ringing. Cardiff fans must have been massively relieved that Malky Mackay not only stayed in his job, but was handed final approval on all transfers. But that assurance is bound to be tested in January.

Mr Tan is an interesting character. He has bank rolled Cardiff’s ascent to the top flight for the first time in 50 years but also caused consternation when he changed the clubs traditional colours from blue to red. The fans weren’t happy about it, but I’m sure they were placated by the success they were celebrating on the field. If Mr Tan’s perceived eccentricities become destabilising, and the club start to lurch towards the bottom of the table, then the fans could turn.

You are at two terrific looking games at the weekend. Let’s start on Saturday at Upton Park, West Ham take on Manchester City on NBC on What elements are you looking forward to?

There is so much to look forward to. Big Sam Allardyce turns 59 on Saturday and for someone who is often dismissed as a dinosaur in the modern game, he produced a tactical master class at White Hart Lane last time out as the Hammers thrashed Spurs 3-0. His 4-6-0 formation worked a treat. After soaking up the Spurs pressure with relative ease, his side grabbed three goals in 13 minutes towards the end to grab the points.

The pick of the goals was scored by Ravel Morrison. It had shades of Michael Owen in the 1998 World Cup Finals about it, perhaps without the searing Owen pace of yesteryear. Morrison could be a terrific buy for West Ham, and could yet burst into the England World Cup squad. Allardyce will be hopeful that Morrison’s midweek spat with Wilfred Zaha whilst on Under 21 duty was just a blip, and that he can keep his head down and carry on his fast track development.

source: Reuters
How can AVB conjure more creativity from his new-look Spurs side?

Manchester City are winless in three games on the road so far this season. They need a big road performance before accusations start flying around that they are a very good team with a very soft underbelly. Sergio Aguero was released early from International duty this week, as Argentina had already qualified, which could be a real boost for Manuel Pelligrini.

And Sunday, Villa take on Spurs at Villa Park on NBCSN, Villa need a clean sheet at home don’t they?

If you look back to Boxing Day, Villa welcomed Spurs to Villa Park on the back of 3 consecutive clean sheets at home and on a run of one defeat in seven games. A Gareth Bale hat-trick later and Villa had been pounded 4-0. They haven’t kept a clean sheet at home in the subsequent 13 Premier League games, and were thumped 4-0 again by Spurs in the League Cup in September.

Villa’s home woe is extraordinary. They’ve only won 7 of their last 35 Premier League games. Paul Lambert has won more away games than home games as manager of Villa. It has to change. Villa Park must become a fortress again before Villa get sucked into another tussle towards the lower end of the table.

But the recent omens offer Villa fans some hope, and it’s thanks in no small part to the US National team Goalkeeper Brad Guzan. He’s kept two clean sheets in the last three games. His form has been so impressive, despite the porous defense in front of him, that his list of admirers is growing, including Arsenal according to reports this week.

Would the real Spurs please stand up. They are packed with talent, and all the summer signings are still bedding in. They’ve only scored six goals in seven games, and only four from open play in the whole season so far. How they respond to the home thrashing by West Ham will tell us a lot about the character of Andre Villas Boas’ side.

Americans Abroad: Chandler, Gooch score; Reyna, Vassilev debut

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The bar for the best weekend for Americans abroad in 2020 has been set.

After months with the under-19 side, 18-year-old Giovanni Reyna made his debut with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. In England, Indiana Vassilev, 18, did exactly the same for Aston Villa, becoming the second youngest American to play in the Premier League.

Established Americans abroad like Timothy Chandler scored Eintracht Frankfurt’s match winner, while Lynden Gooch struck from distance for Sunderland in England’s League One.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — The USMNT star continues to recover from an abductor injury.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — Yedlin is also recovering from an injury, and did not dress for Newcastle on Saturday.

Indiana Vassilev, Aston Villa – The 18-year-old came off the bench and played 23 minutes in his Premier League debut for Aston Villa. Villa drew 1-1 with Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

EFL Championship

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes played 90 minutes in Derby’s 1-0 win over Hull City on Saturday.

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson started and played 90 minutes in Wigan’s 2-1 loss to Swansea City on Saturday.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old dressed but didn’t feature in Reading’s 2-0 loss to Millwall.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers’ defender started and played for Hull.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender played 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 victory ver Leeds United on Saturday.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream started and played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah and Lille were inactive this weekend.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Jordon-Siebatcheu and Rennes were inactive this weekend. 

Eredivisie

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — Wright came off the bench and played five minutes in Venlo’s 1-1 draw with PSV.

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest dressed but didn’t feature for Ajax over the weekend. It’s been an on-and-off cycle for the fullback in Holland’s top-flight.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback is injured and didn’t feature for FC Emmen.

Bundesliga

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — The fullback played 90 minutes and scored Frankfurt’s match-winning goal on Saturday against Hoffenheim. 

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams started and played 86 minutes in Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Union Berlin. The midfielder completed 84 percent of his passes.

Weston McKennie, Schalke — McKennie is still having some setbacks from his shoulder injury. The midfielder didn’t dress for Schalke due to fitness issues over the weekend.

Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Steffen is inactive with an injury.

Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf Morales started and played 71 minutes in Fortuna’s 1-0 loss to Werder Bremen.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  The 19-year-old started and played 86 minutes on Saturday. It’s refreshing to see Sargent back on the field, getting regular playing time after the injury.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach Johnson was on Mönchengladbach’s bench but didn’t play.

Honorable Mentions

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland — Gooch has been superlative for Sunderland lately, and on Saturday, he was rewarded with this match-deciding goal:

Ian Harkes, Dundee United — Harkes continues to grind it out in Scotland. On Sunday, he registered an assist in Dundee United’s 2-2 draw with Hibernian. 

Mexicans Abroad: Jimenez makes Wolves history; Guardado assists in Betis win

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On what was perhaps Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s last weekend in Europe, Raul Jimenez made it clear that he is ready to carry on the mantle as Mexico’s marquee striker in the old continent.

The 28-year-old’s double made him Wolverhampton Wanderer’s Premier League all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing Steven Fletcher‘s record of 22 goals in just 61 appearances.

Meanwhile in Spain, Andres Guardado continues to add remarkable chapters to his never-ending European photo book, recording an assist in Real Betis’ 3-0 thumping of Real Sociedad.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers —  Not only did Jimenez boost his league goalscoring tally to the double digits on Saturday, but he also became Wolves’ Premier League all-time goalscorer. The Mexican is indispensable for the Midlands side – well worth the club-record $33-million investment.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito did not make the trip with Sevilla to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. On Friday, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl reported that Los Angeles Galaxy have signed the 31-year-old. An official announcement from the MLS side is expected in the coming days.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera started and played 43 minutes in Los Colchoneros’ rare, 2-0 loss to Eibar on Saturday. Atletico are now eight points behind leaders Barcelona and second-best Real Madrid.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Guardado played all 90 minutes and recorded an assist in Betis’ trashing of Real Sociedad. The midfielder also earned a yellow card in the 23rd minute.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old dressed but remained on the bench for Betis. 

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and played 90 minutes in Celta’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao. The defender recorded 11 clearances, two interceptions, and earned a yellow card.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli —  As Napoli’s continues to suffer under Gennaro Gattuso, so does Chucky. The frenetic winger saw just 26 minutes of playing time in Napoli’s 2-0 loss to Fiorentina on Saturday. Gattuso, however, may be on his was out as reports indicated that he’s considering resigning after just 35 days at the helm.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Tecatito started and played all 90 minutes in Porto’s 2-1 loss to Braga on Saturday. The Dragons trail league leaders Benfica by seven points.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven —  Gutierrez dressed but remained on the bench for PSV on Saturday.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez dressed but remained on the bench for Ajax on Sunday.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea started and played 90 minutes in Zulte’s 3-0 loss to KRC Genk.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Pedro Arce, Panionios –  Panionios were inactive over the weekend.

Gerardo Ramirez Alonso, Roda JC – Ramirez Alonso and Roda JC take on Jong FC Utrecht on Monday.

Unhappy reunion for Klinsmann as Bayern beats Hertha 4-0

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BERLIN (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann endured an unhappy reunion with Bayern Munich as his former protege Thomas Muller started a 4-0 Bundesliga rout of his Hertha Berlin team.

“It was nice to see him again but of course even nicer to win,” Muller said after Sunday’s victory lifted Bayern to second place, four points behind Leipzig.

Klinsmann gave Muller the first of his so far 336 Bundesliga appearances when he brought on the then 18-year-old for the last 10 minutes of a 2-2 draw with Hamburger SV on the opening day of the 2008-09 season. Klinsmann was fired as Bayern coach in April 2009 as its title hopes faded.

But Muller has only fond memories of his mentor, who later went on to be United States coach.

“I have a special relationship with Jurgen Klinsmann. He made me a professional. I still have the mailbox message from when he called me up for the start of training with the professionals,” Muller said. “He gave me my chance to earn my spurs. He put me straight in. He was my first coach.”

Klinsmann was only cleared to face his former club on Saturday after the German soccer federation and league confirmed they received missing documents for his coaching license.

But Klinsmann, who also played for Bayern between 1995-97 and coached Germany at the 2006 World Cup, could only watch as his team was completely outplayed in the second half.

Hertha showed little initiative going forward and finally paid the price for sitting back when Muller rifled in from close range.

“The first goal opened the game,” said Klinsmann, who had been hoping to extend Hertha’s unbeaten run to five games.

The visitors thought they had another goal minutes later, but Robert Lewandowski’s goal was ruled out through VAR for heading the ball out of Rune Jarstein’s hands.

Lewandowski finally got his goal from the penalty spot in the 72nd after Lukas Klunter tugged Leon Goretzka’s arm.

“The turning point was the penalty,” said Klinsmann, who felt it was a harsh decision.

Thiago Alcantara sealed the result three minutes later with a brilliant strike in off the underside of the bar after Goretzka sent him through, and Ivan Perisic headed in Muller’s cross in the 84th.

Bayern had been missing defenders Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandez and Javi Martinez through injury, with forward Kingsley Coman also out and midfielder Joshua Kimmich suspended. Canadian teen Alphonso Davies made his 10th consecutive league start.

Santiago Ascacibar started for his Hertha debut after his winter transfer from second-division Stuttgart. The combative Argentine is Hertha’s first signing following financier Lars Windhorst’s investment of $250 million in the club.

Also Sunday, Bayer Leverkusen won 4-1 at bottom side Paderborn to move sixth.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

La Liga roundup: Messi scores, wins game in Setien’s Barcelona debut (video)

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Barcelona’s vintage playing style in their 1-0 win over Granada highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Barcelona 1-0 Granda

With a goal from Lionel Messi against an iron-willed Granada, Barcelona are back at the top of La Liga.

The win is the club’s first under Quique Setien, who debuted as the Catalans manager after replacing Ernesto Valverde.

Barcelona rolled back to the years of Pep Guardiola‘s tiki-taka, as they culminated the game with 83 percent possession and completed 1005 passes. That said, Granda – playing  with 10 men from the 69h minute on – were bulletproof until the 76th minute. Messi gently pushed the ball with his weak foot, finishing what had been a series of fluid, build-up passing.

Setien deployed a nuanced 3-4-3 variation – far from Valverde’s 4-3-3 formation that ended up costing him his job after losing to Atletico Madrid in the Super Copa semifinals.

Players like Sergio Busquets were asked about the distinct styles, but he was candidly opposed to comparing the managers and their philosophies.

“We were a solid team. We had control of the ball. They created little against us,” he told Movistar. “It’s true that we struggled when they dropped deep but, in general terms, the team played a good game.

“It’s not about comparing. Every coach has his style and his way of seeing football. You’ll see what Setien asks us to do. We’re not going to reveal it. We’re delighted with what Ernesto did and we’re delighted with Setien.”

With Real Madrid and Atletico right behind, the defending champions have a long way to go this season. They’ll have to build on the win and, more importantly, further deepen their chemistry under the ex-Real Betis boss. Integrating winter signings into the fold might present itself as a challenge, too.

But one thing is certain: Barcelona can still play like they did back in their glory days. If that sticks, a lot can happen.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Mallorca 4-1 Valencia

Real Betis 3-0 Real Sociedad

Villarreal 1-2 Espanyol

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Celta Vigo