Gus Poyet drawing lines in the sand over Sunderland’s transfer policy

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Gus Poyet has been on the job at Sunderland for just over a month, and with his team still in 19th place, this seems like a curious time to start throwing down gauntlets. Yet the Uruguayan, fired from his previous job at Brighton & Hove Albion, has taken a stand as it concerns the club’s transfer policy. Despite the presence of director of football Roberto De Fanti, Poyet wants final say on all incoming talent. And if somebody he rejects is still signed? He wants nothing to do with the club.

“We talked about a position the other day and considered four players,” Poyet said after a meeting with De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni last week (as reported on by The Guardian). “I picked two. It was simple. One of the other two [selected by De Fanti] was a definite no. If that one is coming, I won’t be here. The player has to be the right one for me. If not, I’m not going to accept it.”

Spoken like a Champions League winner, not somebody with 44 days of top-flight experience.

It’s not an uncommon attitude in England, where the old, fading conception of a do-everything (except actually train the team) manager is still part of the culture. At Sunderland, however, the Black Cats are employing a more continental approach, distinguishing between the head coach and the people in charge of scouting and signing new talent.

Poyet seems to want to be an old-style manager in a more modern organization.

“I met with Roberto and Valentino and said what I think we need. They need to give me the options and I need to pick the ones I like …

“I’m sure it’s going to be done in the right way, in the common-sense way. Everyone has a responsibility and then the player has to be the right one for me.”

When it comes to organizing management responsibilities, there may not be a right and wrong, but there is a “common-sense” view of treading lightly in new surroundings. Poyet was out of soccer seven weeks ago, and since being hired by Sunderland he hasn’t exactly revolutionized the team’s on-field performance. Things are looking better, but there’s still much to do. Poyet hasn’t proven himself, and he’s certainly in no position to be making demands of his new employers.

But from Poyet’s point of view, he may see this as a fight worth waging, particularly after predecessor Paolo Di Canio was given 14 new players over the summer. If Poyet is going to be judged on his ability to work with talent, he wants to make sure they’re guys he signs off on.

And really, what manager wouldn’t want to wrestle as much control as possible? It’s just part of the English game, and although the use of a director of football is becoming more common, there’s still little backlash when somebody like Poyet goes public with this type of stance. Plus, given the crisis that brought him to Sunderland, he might actually end up getting what he wants.

Cardiff City: “Poetic justice” that Etheridge stopped violent Kenedy

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Neil Etheridge is writing some nice chapters in the chronicle of Filipino footballers in the Premier League.

The first Philippines national teamer to play in England’s top flight has now stopped penalties in successive weeks, this time in stoppage time to give Cardiff City its first point of the season.

[ RECAP: Cardiff 0-0 Newcastle ]

It was aided by a dreadful effort from Newcastle United’s Kenedy, who should’ve been sent off anyway, but that won’t change how Etheridge and the Cardiff City Stadium feel about his save.

“We don’t want that to become a regular occurrence, but we deserved at least a point,” Etheridge said. “We knew we would have a chance at home and needed to get points on the board. … It is not easy to step up in the 90th minute and take a penalty, but today I came out victorious.”

His manager, Neil Warnock said Kenedy’s miss and Etheridge’s save were both befitting the occasion.

“Regarding the penalty miss, I thought it was poetic justice,” Warnock said. “Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. The lad Kenedy shouldn’t have been on the pitch. It was straight red, but I never saw it. Regarding the penalty, Morrison’s hand is outside the box and his body is inside.”

Cardiff City is off to Huddersfield Town next week before facing Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City in successive weeks. This point was big, but getting one or three next week is imperative to their early season mindset.

Hopefully Etheridge won’t need to stop another penalty to do it, but at least the Bluebirds would know he’s in the heads of the taker.

Watch Live: Premier League games, 10am ET

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Four Premier League games are coming your way at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday in the 2018-19 season.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Fulham head to play Spurs at Wembley, Everton welcome Southampton to Goodison, there is a Midlands derby as Leicester host Wolves and Bournemouth head to West Ham.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all four games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Wolves – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham United v. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Newcastle miss late penalty, draw at Cardiff

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  • Hayden sent off in second half
  • Zohore, Perez go close
  • First point of season for both clubs
  • Etheridge saves last-gasp penalty kick

Cardiff City and 10-man Newcastle United played out a tight, tense draw at the Cardiff City stadium on Saturday.

Kenneth Zohore had Cardiff’s best chances, while Newcastle battled hard after going down to 10-men in the second half but failed to create many clear-cut chances.

Newcastle had a glorious chance to grab all three points late on but Kenedy‘s penalty kick was saved by Cardiff’s Neil Etheridge in the 96th minute.

Both teams are off and running with their first point on the board for the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Cardiff started brightly and Bamba had an effort bundled away by Newcastle and at the other end Ayoze Perez had a decent effort on goal.

Zohore was a handful in the first half as he nodded wide and created plenty of mayhem in the box.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

A major flashpoint arrived before half time as Kenedy kicked out at Camarasa and could have been in plenty of trouble had referee Craig Pawson seen the incident.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Cardiff threatened on the break as Zohore headed wide and Jonjo Shelvey made a great last-ditch clearance to deny the home side taking the lead.

Issac Hayden, a half time sub, then caught Josh Murphy and was shown a straight red card. Harry Arter was lucky to stay on the pitch after a late kick as the game heated up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Zohore then had a header cleared away at the near post as Cardiff pushed for a late winner but Newcastle were given a great chance to snatch all three points.

Muto’s cross from the left struck Sean Morrison in the arm and a penalty kick was awarded.

But Kenedy’s tame free kick was saved by Etheridge and Cardiff grabbed a point as Newcastle were dejected.

Usain Bolt arrives for trial in Australian A-League

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SYDNEY (AP) Usain Bolt has arrived in Australia for his try out with Central Coast Mariners, saying his goal of playing professional football is “for real.”

The eight-time Olympic sprint champion wore a Mariners scarf after landing in Sydney on Saturday following a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

He was welcomed by a small group of Central Coast fans and told reporters he was looking forward to hitting the practice field on Tuesday, which is his 32nd birthday.

Bolt will train for several weeks with the Mariners – based at Gosford, north of Sydney – in the hope of winning a contract to play in the A-League from October.

He has previously trialed unsuccessfully with teams in Germany, Norway and South Africa.

Mariners officials say Bolt will train with them for an “indefinite” period, allowing the 31-year-old Jamaican every chance to prove he has the ability to play football professionally.

The club, which won the A-League in 2013 but finished in last place of 10 teams last season, said Bolt would be treated as any other player and would not be offered a contract if he did not make the grade

Bolt has accepted that challenge.

“I’ve said all along this is for real and I’m here to show what I can do,” he said. “I know what I’m capable of and I know what I can do, so this is the opportunity.

“I’m here forever. That’s the plan. I’m really going to push myself. I’m going to work hard and I’m looking forward to putting my best foot forward.”

Mark Leadbetter, chairman of the Mariners’ official supporters club, made the one hour drive to Sydney to greet Bolt and determine for himself if he thought the sprinting great’s A-League bid is genuine.

“I was certainly interested when I first heard the news,” he said. “It’s out of the box and the more I’ve heard about it, the more I’ve come to embrace it

“Nothing’s impossible. As long as it’s based on football principles, why not? I get the impression that he’s been genuine about this and so has the club.”