Tuesday’s U.S. match with Austria will probably be a little better than Friday’s sleepy contest in Glasgow, a scoreless draw bereft of many chances on either side.
Then again, it may not be a whole lot better; there are plenty of reasons to wonder if it will be just as listless and uneventful as Friday’s scoreless draw in Glasgow. Which is why I am so curious about how everyone seems so shocked that Friday’s match was a dog.
It’s Scotland! And that team will never be confused with Spain or Argentina or Brazil or even Germany’s current bunch of brazen attacking barons. Plus, it’s the United States on the road … minus its top pair of attackers, no less.
Who every expected that one to be some 4-3 sizzler?
First, as I said, it’s Scotland, a team that scored eight goals in 10 Word Cup qualifiers. As dynamic attacking goes, there’s not a lot there.
From the United States side, most lists of the team’s difference makers on attack would begin with Clint Dempsey. He wasn’t there. Neither was Landon Donovan, who is probably second on many lists.
The top playmakers in terms of creativity? That’s Donovan, Graham Zusi and Michael Bradley. Two of the three weren’t there, and one plays irregularly (Bradley at Roma), so he’s not premium-level sharp.
Now add in the fact that this was a friendly. All that hooey over Scotland seeking revenge … as I said earlier, that was a just narrative for narrative’s sake. Scotland is a team rebuilding, concerned more with individual evaluation rather than results. (And by the way, in Scotland, a scoreless draw against a World Cup-bound opposition was generally reviewed as a positive result.)
Most of all, however, is this: The United States has two types of players right now. The first group is guys who understand they need to make an impression. They have to force Jurgen Klinsmann to consider adding their names to the World Cup roster. Those are guys like Sacha Kljestan, Mix Diskerud and Brek Shea.
But a lot of the U.S. men at Hampden Park are in a good spot. For them, the prevailing mindset is closer to, “Do not make a mistake.”
Guys like Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, DaMarcus Beasley (pictured above) and others are on the roster … so long as they don’t start making a bunch of silly mistakes. So it’s understandable if their choices on the field lean to the cautious side. It is what it is.
None of us will want to hit the DVR to watch Friday’s game again and again – but let’s not act surprised by that. The surprise would have been a real crackerjack of a contest, with teams zipping up and down the field exchanging chances liberally.
Who knows, maybe we’ll get that Tuesday. With one reasonable result out of the way in this two-game set (yes … a draw on the road is OK), perhaps the United States might take a few more chances.
Or, we might just get another match played in the slow lane. Let’s not all act surprised this time.
Brighton will continue their chase for European qualification, while Bournemouth try to climb out of the relegation zone, when the two sides meet at Amex Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 10 am ET on Peacock Premium).
Graham Potter and Roberto De Zerbi have, between them, guided Brighton (31 points) all the way up to 6th place in the Premier League table. The gap to 5th-place Tottenham is five points; the gap to Manchester United in 4th in eight. Bournemouth, meanwhile, are in the bottom-three for the first time this season after picking up just one point from their last five PL games.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Brighton vs Bournemouth.
Wolves sit 17th with 17 points, only outside of the bottom three due to Bournemouth’s poor goal differential. Last place is just two points away, as there are seven teams within three points between 14th and 20th.
Liverpool, meanwhile, is 10 points off the top four but has played at least one fewer match than all but two of the eight teams ahead of them (Sixth-place Brighton and leaders Arsenal).
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wolves vs Liverpool.
Winning games is about scoring goals and only two Wolves players have more than one. Daniel Podence has collected five, while Ruben Neves has four. Even more surprising, Wolves are still waiting on a goal from Raul Jimenez, Diego Costa, or injured Pedro Neto. Perhaps Matheus Cunha or Pablo Sarabia will chip in soon.
Liverpool has one win from its last three Premier League outings, but there’s a heaping helping of bad luck to their struggles. The Reds have 24 goals from open play and 20 allowed in that same situation. Their expected goals in those spots is 34.6 – 24. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez have been especially unlucky despite combining for 12 goals and six assists on the season.
Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Boubacar Traore (undisclosed), Chiquinho (knee)
Brentford will try to extend their unbeaten run, which began all the way back in October, when they host bottom-of-the-table Southampton at Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 10 am ET on Peacock Premium).
The Bees’ (30 points) eight-game unbeaten run (4W-4D-0L) has taken them up to 8th in the Premier League table, now closer to the top-four (nine points) than the relegation zone (13 points) in their second-ever season in the PL. Saints (15 points), meanwhile, are living dangerously at the bottom, though the gap between themselves and safety in 17th place is just two points.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Brentford vs Southampton.
Last time out, Brentford settled for a frustrating 0-0 draw with Leeds, but before that they rattled off successive wins over West Ham, Liverpool and Bournemouth with just one goal conceded in three games. Ivan Toney is 3rd in the Premier League with 13 goals, trailing only Harry Kane (16) and Erling Haaland (an absurd 25). After initially struggling to replace the creativity of Christian Eriksen (4 assists in 11 appearances last season), Thomas Frank’s side is firing once again thanks to Mathias Jensen (4 in 20), Toney (3) and Josh Dasilva (2) picking up the slack.
After losing 3-1 to Newcastle over two legs in the League Cup semifinals, Southampton return their attention to the ongoing relegation battle. Having won just one of their last nine Premier League fixtures (1W-1D-7L), Saints made four first-team signings to strengthen the midfield and attack. They brought in some experience (30-year-old midfielder Mislav Orsic from Dinamo Zagreb and 28-year-old forward Paul Onuachu from Genk) along with some youth and potential (a pair of 20-year-olds, midfielder Carlos Alcaraz from Racing Club and winger Kamadeen Selumana from Rennes).
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Pontus Jansson (thigh), Frank Onyeka (hamstring), Shandon Baptiste (adductor)
After taking charge earlier this week, Dyche’s side were excellent as James Tarkowski headed home Dwight McNeil’s cross as the former Burnley duo combined to get the former Burnley manager off to a winning start as Everton boss.
Arsenal were sluggish throughout and Mikel Arteta’s side just couldn’t make the energy and tempo of Everton’s play.
The win moves Everton on to 18 points for the season, while this defeat is just Arsenal’s second of the campaign as they remain five points clear atop the table.
Everton do their best Burnley impression to bully Arsenal
From the very first whistle Everton looked well organized, had a clear plan and their players believed in what they are doing. The new manager bounce from Dyche was incredible but it isn’t just a bounce. It’s because he’s a very good manager who did a phenomenal job at Burnley. Calvert-Lewin was the focal point and McNeil and Iwobi delivered energy and quality from out wide. Doucoure, Onana and Gueye will excellent in midfield and the solid back four never looked out of position. This was exactly what we would expect from a Dyche side and if Everton changed their kit colors to claret it was like watching his peak Burnley teams. Arsenal were bullied throughout, couldn’t find their rhythm and had no answer for the energy Everton showed. Now, can Dyche get that effort and organization week in, week out? It is clear the Toffees have the players to drag themselves away from a relegation scrap and it is now clear they have a manager who is able to lead them up the table. Dyche to Everton felt like a perfect fit about five years ago and now it has finally happened, it has started exactly how he would have hoped.
Stars of the show
Dwight McNeil: Superb display as he whipped in crosses, worked so hard defensively and did his best to support Calvert-Lewin.
James Tarkowski: Got the goal, defended resolutely and delivered a big moment for his former Burnley boss.
Arsenal host Brentford on Saturday, Feb. 11, while Everton have a huge Merseyside derby at Liverpool on Monday, Feb. 13.
Everton vs Arsenal live! Score, updates, how to watch stream
Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday TV Channel: USA Network Online:Stream via NBCSports.com
The atmosphere at Goodison Park was incredible post-match!
FULL TIME: Everton 1-0 Arsenal – A quite incredible result, and performance, from Everton. Sean Dyche is applauding the home fans and Goodison is going wild. What an unexpected victory to blow the title race and relegation scrap wide open.
Zinchenko blasts a shot from the edge of the box over the bar. Lovely corner from Saka to pick him out but the shot was a tough one to keep down.
Saka has a shot deflected over. Arsenal running out of time.
Pickford with a good stop. Arsenal pushing hard for the equalizer.
GOALLL! James Tarkowski puts Everton ahead. Wow. 1-0 to the Toffees. Can Arsenal respond?
GOODISON PARK ERUPTS AS EVERTON TAKES THE LEAD OVER ARSENAL!
Second half is underway! Arsenal pushing hard for the opener.
OFF THE LINE! A high cross to the back post finds Bukayo Saka and he brilliantly volleys the ball towards the bottom corner but Conor Coady gets back on the line to clear. Superb play by all involved.
CLOSE! Another massive chance goes begging as Dwight McNeil whips in a cross and Doucoure heads wide when he should do better. Sean Dyche applauds from the sidelines. Goodison roars.
CHANCE! Incredible play by Amadou Onana to surge down the left and he crosses for Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is sliding in and two yards out. He can’t get enough on the ball and a huge chance goes begging for Everton.
Eddie Nketiah lashes wide after being played in and that sort of sums up Arsenal so far. They haven’t been able to get in-behind Everton and everything seems a bit rushed from the Gunners.
Excellent so far from Everton. They are defensively sound but have a purpose when they go forward. The home fans are loving the start of the Sean Dyche era.
CLOSE! After a lengthy delay as Bukayo Saka went down after getting a knock in the face, Everton have plenty of corners and Arsenal are digging deep to head crosses away at the back post.
CLOSE! Positive move from Everton as Dwight McNeiil surges towards goal and his low effort is smothered by Aaron Ramsdale with Calvert-Lewin lurking. DLC was just offside but that was good from the hosts.
A plane flies over Goodison Park with a simple message on a banner aimed at Everton's owners: "League's worst run club." #EFC
Bright start from the hosts who look very organized in their 4-5-1 formation and are looking to get it up to Dominic Calvert-Lewin as much as possible.
KICK OFF: The action is underway at Goodison Park! The home fans are right behind their team, and new manager, Sean Dyche. Is he the right man for the job? Can he keep Everton up? Our analysts discuss and are very positive about Dyche’s appointment at Goodison.
Key storylines & star players
Is this what Dwight McNeil has been waiting for after stop-start usage from Frank Lampard? He’s one of the key pieces to monitor when team news arrives Saturday. Everton hasn’t played since Jan. 21, when it rolled out a 5-4-1 in a 2-0 loss to West Ham. Dyche hasn’t used five at the back since 2019, but this Arsenal team, man…
Arsenal enters having navigated the absence of Gabriel Jesus pretty darn nicely, thank you very much. Will Eddie Nketiah keep feasting off the playmaking of Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka?
Let’s just say Everton’s new manager bounce is going to have to include Flubber.
Everton team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Michael Keane (knee), Nathan Patterson (knee), Andros Townsend (knee), James Garner (back)