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.

La Liga: Real Madrid shocked by Mallorca; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann send Barca top

AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos
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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased for Pulisic,” praises subs in Chelsea win ]

Eibar 0-3 Barcelona

Lionel Messi goal – check; Luis Suarez goal – check; Antoine Griezmann goal – check; clean sheet – check. If there exists a perfect recipe for a Barcelona victory this season, the Blaugrana put it to good use en route to a fourth straight La Liga victory and top spot in the league table on Saturday.

Griezmann opened the scoring in the 13th minute, followed by Messi in the 58th and Suarez in the 66th. Marc-Andre ter Stegen didn’t have to make a single save as Eibar managed just five shots in the game.

Mallorca 1-0 Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s unbeaten start to the season was snapped at eight games on Saturday, when Los Blancos went to Mallorca and suffered a hugely underwhelming 1-0 defeat. Zinedine Zidane’s side — already without the likes of Gareth Bale (calf), Luka Modric (bruise), Toni Kroos (adductor) and Marco Ascensio (knee), among others — finished the game with 10 men after Alvaro Odriozola earned his second yellow card in the 74th minute. The defeat sees Madrid fall off the top spot, now sitting second behind Barca.

Lago Junior scored the game’s only goal in the 7th minute and Mallorca held on for 83 more, allowing just four shots on target (12 in total). The early goal was Mallorca’s only shot on target over 90 minutes.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia

Atleti coughed up a late lead and settled for a 1-1 draw with Valencia, but the worst news of the day comes in the form of an injury suffered by Joao Felix. The 19-year-old’s ankle buckled underneath him late in the second half. Atleti finished with 10 men after their $140-million superstar was forced off.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Getafe 2-0 Leganes

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Alaves v. Celta Vigo — 6 a.m. ET
Real Sociedad v. Real Betis — 8 a.m. ET
Espanyol v. Villarreal — 10 a.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao v. Real Valladolid — 12:30 p.m. ET
Sevilla v. Levante — 3 p.m. ET

Haringey Borough abandon FA Cup qualifier after racist abuse

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LONDON (AP) An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.

[ MORE: Analyzing a day of VAR drama in the Premier League ]

Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat had been targeted by racial abuse by visiting fans minutes earlier, when Yeovil took a 1-0 lead from a penalty.

Haringey manager Tom Loizou told BBC Radio 5 Live that defender Coby Rowe was also racially abused, and that “there was no way I could let him continue.”

The match at Coles Park Stadium was in the fourth qualifying round for the FA Cup, with the winner advancing to the first round of the tournament.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased for Pulisic,” praises subs in Chelsea win ]

“The abuse a few of my players got was disgusting,” Loizou said. “Yeovil’s players and manager were different class. Their team tried to calm their supporters down, they tried their best and they supported us. They said, ‘If you’re walking off, we’re walking off with you.’ I took the decision to take my team off and I don’t want Yeovil Town to get punished for it. If we get thrown out of the FA Cup and they go through, there is no hard feelings there.”

The incident comes four days after England’s European Championship qualifier in Bulgaria was stopped twice in the first half as home fans hurled racial abuse at England’s black players. However, England decided to play on and won 6-0.

In a statement on Twitter, the football anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out praised the “swift and decisive action” taken by the Haringey manager Tom Loizou and his players.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund beats leaders Gladbach; Bayern draws

Matthias Balk/dpa via AP
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Another Saturday in the Bundesliga, another nutty set of results allowing a side the chance to claim the top of the league on Sunday.

David Wagner, Weston McKennie and Schalke are the ones licking their lips this time, knowing that a win at Hoffenheim will boost them into first.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased” for Pulisic ]

Wolfsburg remains unbeaten with a draw, and dropped points for Borussia Monchengladbach, RB Leipzig, and Bayern Munich means an absurd nine teams are within two points of the top of the table.

Nine!

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach’s stay atop the league could last just one match day, as Thorgan Hazard set up Marco Reus for a 58th minute goal and a place one point back of the top.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hertha Berlin

Josh Sargent’s 7th minute goal didn’t stand up, thanks to Hertha’s electric Dodi Lukebakio scoring with 20 minutes to play. Watch the American striker’s goal, here.

Augsburg 2-2 Bayern Munich

The champions’ stumbles continued, with first minute concession providing a test. Bayern’s red hot pair delivered a lead, with Robert Lewandowski answering in the 14th minute, and Serge Gnabry supplying a 49th minute lead.

Stoppage time was the downfall, though, as Alfred Finnbogason helped himself to the equalizer with all kinds of questions for the Bayern defense.

Elsewhere

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen — Friday
Union Berlin 2-0 Freiburg
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0 Mainz
RB Leipzig 1-1 Wolfsburg
Koln v. Paderborn — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hoffenheim v. Schalke — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Mönchengladbach 8 5 1 2 15 7 8 2-1-1 3-0-1 16
 VfL Wolfsburg 8 4 4 0 11 5 6 2-2-0 2-2-0 16
 Bayern Munich 8 4 3 1 22 10 12 2-1-1 2-2-0 15
 Borussia Dortmund 8 4 3 1 20 11 9 3-1-0 1-2-1 15
 RB Leipzig 8 4 3 1 16 8 8 1-2-1 3-1-0 15
 FC Schalke 04 7 4 2 1 14 7 7 2-1-1 2-1-0 14
 SC Freiburg 8 4 2 2 15 9 6 1-2-1 3-0-1 14
 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 4 2 2 14 10 4 3-2-0 1-0-2 14
 Bayer Leverkusen 8 4 2 2 12 11 1 2-2-0 2-0-2 14
 Hertha BSC Berlin 8 3 2 3 13 13 0 2-0-1 1-2-2 11
 Werder Bremen 8 2 3 3 13 17 -4 1-1-2 1-2-1 9
 1899 Hoffenheim 7 2 2 3 6 11 -5 1-0-2 1-2-1 8
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 2 1 5 10 14 -4 1-1-2 1-0-3 7
 1. FC Union Berlin 8 2 1 5 8 13 -5 2-0-3 0-1-2 7
 FC Augsburg 8 1 3 4 10 21 -11 1-2-1 0-1-3 6
 FSV Mainz 05 8 2 0 6 7 18 -11 1-0-2 1-0-4 6
 1. FC Köln 7 1 1 5 5 16 -11 0-0-3 1-1-2 4
 SC Paderborn 7 0 1 6 9 19 -10 0-0-4 0-1-2 1

Brilliant Barco assist helps Atlanta outlast New England

Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The game in 200 words (or less): Highly-favored at home, the reigning champions needed their goalkeeper to keep them alive against a New England Revolution side that only made the postseason via MLS’ decision to let almost everyone make it. Yes, Atlanta United dodged a bullet as Brad Guzan made six saves and Ezequiel Barco’s slick pass set up Franco Escobar for a brilliant winner with about 20 minutes to play. New England fought to the very death, but couldn’t take advantage of the absence of Miles Robinson.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased” for Pulisic ]

Soon-to-retire Michael Parkhurst appeared to dislocate his shoulder late in a challenge with Cristian Penilla, and needed a lot of help to get off the field. Hopefully that wasn’t the last we see of him.

Atlanta will host either Philadelphia or the New York Red Bulls on Thursday evening.

Three things we learned

1. Guzan overcomes blip to stand tall: The longtime USMNT backup made a major error and nearly allowed New England in front but was otherwise sensational over 90 minutes in Georgia.

2. Martinez off, and Martinez off: While Frank De Boer opted to keep Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez out of the Starting XI, it was his star striker who nearly made him pay for the decision. Josef Martinez was not on his game, and lashed a should-be winner from his office over the goal in the first half before being stopped on by Turner on a 1v1 as the match neared stoppage time.

3. Barco makes the difference: Who knows if the 20-year-old Argentine will ever fully deliver on his promise, but the plays he made to set up Escobar’s goal was sensational. After dancing around a pair of defenders, he cut a shot pass between two defenders for the on-running Escobar to blast past Matt Turner.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Barco

Goalscorers: Escobar (70′)