Liverpool leading Everton in top four hunt, Chelsea and Spurs struggling – 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” we chat with NBC Sports’ lead soccer announcer Arlo White about the Merseyside derby between old foes Everton and Liverpool, the clash at the top of the table (who thought we’d call it that) Arsenal vs. Southampton and chip in on worrying issues for a trip of London clubs Chelsea, West Ham and Spurs.

(VIEW FROM THE BOOTH ARCHIVE)

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

So, let’s get to it.

Can you try and explain why Man City are so good at home but terrible away from the Etihad? Also, what do Spurs need to improve on to get a big win against City?

The contrast in City’s form, both home and away, is remarkable and slightly worrying for Manuel Pellegrini and the City fans. At home they are irresistible, they are energetic and they have a big field at the Etihad Stadium where they’ve enjoyed some massive wins. I was there to see them dismantle Manchester United in ruthless fashion and it was likewise against Norwich City in a 7-0 win, after a poor start against Everton they romped back and took care of business. Away from home they roll over like a puppy having their tummy tickled. Four points out of 18 on the road, compared with 15 out of 15 at home. It’s a situation that has to be addressed by City because they don’t want uncertainty to creep into their home form because they know how massively important it is to win at home when they’re not winning away. This is a big game for them to get three points on the board.

source: Getty Images
Man City’s woe on the road continues as they’ve taken just four points from a possible 18.

Having said that, Spurs themselves are a tough proposition. They might not be scoring many goals, they might not be playing the free-flowinng football that AVB would like at this stage of the season but they’re not conceding goals either. It’s going to be a big test for both sides. One thing I would say about Spurs, they’ve spent big money in the offseason, they had a lot of games in the Europa League, but Roberto Soldado has only scored one goal in 883 minutes from open play. He’s scored three penalties, those games ended 1-0 so he did his job there, you can’t knock him for that. But one goal in 883 minutes is not a good return. Where is Erik Lamela? He hasn’t featured in the last three games. He scored his first goal in the Europa League, where is he? Christian Eriksen is injured, did he pull up any trees before he got injured? Capoue got enjoyed, so the jury is still out on him. Chadli started the first three, we’ve barely seen him since. Paulinho has been the main player in terms of a new signing and Andros Townsend, who was already on the books, has been a star.

I think AVB over the next few weeks is looking for some of these big name players he signed over the summer to really step up. He has to find a solution to the goalscoring problem. Both up top and in the attacking midfielders. The only way they’re going to start winning more games, starting on Sunday, is to start scoring more goals.

This season Everton and Liverpool seem to be closer than ever, which side has the better chance of finishing in the top four?

I think on paper you have to say Liverpool. They have a terrific side, Suarez and Sturridge up top are a formidable partnership and I’ve been talking to Daniel Sturridge for NBC Sports this week. He is so excited about the game, he can barely get the grin off his face. He’s playing superbly well and he said about that chipped goal against West Brom, ‘I probably wouldn’t have tried that at previous clubs because if I’d have missed and that would’ve gone wrong the repercussions would’ve been too great for me. But I feel so comfortable in the team and established in the team that I can try stuff like that.’ Long may that continue because he is terrific. Coutinho coming back is big for them if Gerrard can come back from this hip injury he will always contribute. Defensively they look solid and Lucas is always covering every blade of grass. Right now, Liverpool have the best opportunity to finish in the top four.

But that could change because Roberto Martinez has really got Everton playing. They are solid. Lukaku is always a threat, Barry and McCarthy in the center of the park have been an excellent partnership. They’re no mugs Everton but if I had to nail my colors to the mast in terms of a top four finish, it would have to be the Reds.

source: Getty Images
Arlo believes Daniel Sturridge is the man Everton must stop in the Merseyside derby this Saturday.

A lot of people are firing criticism at West Ham for not having more strikers on board, is it Sam Allardyce’s fault or just bad luck through injuries? Also, what’s going on with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea?

It’s an interesting question. It’s hard to know whether West Ham were aware of the seriousness of the Andy Carroll’s injury. The plantar fasciitis, I’ve seen it a couple of times in recent seasons with Major League Soccer players, and it’s an awful injury. It’s painful  for the players and it just takes ages to clear up… if indeed it does so. It may have to be an injury that’s managed in the future. He doesn’t appear to be any closer to returning and that was a huge investment for West Ham, although they got a bargain relative to the money that had been paid for Andy Carroll previously.

Now Carlton Cole has to come in, he should be up to speed fitness wise and he has to play that role. Modibo isn’t scoring goals, Vaz Te, is he up to it regularly in the Premier League? Playing with no striker worked at Spurs but they haven’t won since in four games. Carlton Cole against his former club has a big role to play if selected. Both sides are desperate for a win and West Ham have only won once in 10 since the opening day of the season. Their home record is poor and they’ve got to start winning in front of their own fans.

With Chelsea, you never know what you’re going to get, do you? They haven’t kept a clean sheet for six games, that’s a worry. Jose is getting a little bit irritated. He went out on a limb to say that the penalty against West Brom was a definite penalty and then it’s slightly embarrassing for him to see Mike Riley take that unprecedented step of apologizing to West Brom for the decision. As usual with Jose he entrenches himself even further and criticizes the referee for apologizing! He is turning, as usual, the debate and focus away from his players. Instead of defending what has been a relatively poor run, no win in two games, he’s gone on the front foot against the head of referees. It’s masking the deficiencies in his side. Who’s going to start at center back alongside John Terry? Is it David Luiz or Gary Cahill? We will have to wait and see. Oscar is his man… everything else is an absolute guess as to who starts.

If Chelsea do lose, they’re ever so slightly starting to get cut adrift and that’s alarming.

Manchester United hit a relative purple patch before the international break, can they keep that going away at Cardiff in an intimidating atmosphere?

I think they can. There’s no rocket science going on there. They are getting used to David Moyes, they are good players. People said last season that this wasn’t a vintage Manchester United side, well, guess what? They won the league easily. As we know it’s a different kettle of fish this year, so many clubs are stronger. Not just the establish big boys but the likes of Southampton and Everton are shaking it up. It’s a fantastic season.

Even Manchester United with this new manager, an end of an era, they’re going to pull back into the pack a bit. They did have some alarming results and that’s not to say that they’re going to waltz into Cardiff on Saturday and ease to victory. Who knows what’s going to happen this season, we’ve seen so many shocks. The general curve with United seems to be upwards and the closer we get to January and the potential reinforcements. David Moyes and Ed Woodward have now had time to sit down and strategize who their targets are going to be. If United keep along this road of recovery, get some reinforcements in key positions in January, then they’re going to be there or there abouts.

source: Getty Images
Southampton’s high-pressure approach could help them stun Arsenal and sit top of the PL standings come tea-time on Saturday.

Finally, what else are you looking forward to this weekend?

Arsenal against Southampton. What a fantastic game that will be, although you wouldn’t have thought so at the start of the season. Arsenal are playing some terrific football this season they’ve got the lead but they might be second place when that game kicks off depending on the Liverpool result. But I cant wait to see how Southampton stand up to this stern test, this pressing game that they’ve been playing has been incredibly successful so far this season. They appear to be the real deal. Can they play like that or will they play like that at Arsenal? That will be a big test because they could get picked apart if the first wave of defense, the strikers, don’t put enough pressure on Arsenal. I wonder if Southampton under Pochettino might just stay a little further back and look to counter the Gunners in this game. Tactically, it’s going to be an absolutely fascinating game.

Everton season restart preview

Everton season restart preview
Photo by Everton FC via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Everton is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Toffees when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Located six points back of the top seven, Everton will hope their long pause allowed Carlo Ancelotti’s system to sink deeper into the minds of his Toffees players. A three-match challenge of Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea which yielded a lone point would’ve left Everton feeling burnt and sour for a good, long time. Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strong attacking seasons are ready for the rebound.

[ MORE: Ranking every Everton player in 2019-20 ]

The return to the training ground hasn’t come without worry; Yerry Mina suffered a quad tear and may be out for the season, while summer signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin has experienced another setback and won’t be able to pitch into the fight for Europe.


Tactical analysis: Whether it’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin alone up top or partnered with Richarlison, Ancelotti likes power in the final third. He’s deployed Gylfi Sigurdsson a bit further back at times, trusting that Fabian Delph or Tom Davies could handle the lion’s share of the dirty work. Everton’s full back pair is one of the best in the game, so much so that back-ups Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman would start an awful lot of places. The crosses will be whipped into the mix. The biggest questions remains in goal, as Jordan Pickford is an excellent shot-stopper who hasn’t been very good at that this season but can distribute at a very high level. That part of his game is why he’s still there, and could be a big part of the 2019-20’s conclusion.


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Pickford —–

— Sidibe— Keane — Holgate — Digne —

—– Gomes —– Delph —–

— Bernard — Sigurdsson —  Richarlison —

—– Calvert-Lewin —– 

There are still plenty of questions here, with Alex Iwobi, Tom Davies, Seamus Coleman, and Theo Walcott would love to get their places in this XI. Mina’s injury means Micheal Keane will need to find his form of last season or even the one before that (or the one before that).


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Liverpool, Leicester City, Southampton, Aston Villa, Bournemouth
Away: Norwich City, Spurs, Wolves, Sheffield United

Predicted finish: Presuming a start versus Liverpool, Everton has a chance to make a major statement to anyone who’d fathom listening. There are 12 points of the remaining 27 that really should be in the bag and another three (Leicester at Goodison) that look solid. Leave the derby out of it and the remaining three away tilts (Spurs, Wolves, Blades) are European six-pointers. Everton has one of the more interesting stories to tell when the PL resumes.

Premier League social media wrap: Antonio, Pereira urge unity

Premier League social media
Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images
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The Premier League’s social media world was again focused on activism on Wednesday.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

West Ham forward Michail Antonio’s mind is understandably still on the racial issues which have gripped the world in a particularly strong way the past nine days.

A day after all 20 Premier League clubs and a large number of players and coaches spoke out against racism, Antonio wants to make sure that people don’t think one day of speaking up is enough to change a historical struggle.

He’ll appreciate another statement from Leicester City’s squad.

The Foxes gather center circle to take a knee, with Ricardo Pereira saying “humanity coms first” and echoing Weston McKennie’s “Enough is enough” video.

A huge number of Premier League players have donated shirts for a raffle to raise funds for the National Health Services’ charities as part of their #PlayersTogether campaign.

It’s a challenge to find more Premier League stars that have not posted about #ShirtsForHeroes than those that have, so we’ll choose should-be PFA Player of the Year midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

It must’ve been chilly in Manchester.

Odion Ighalo is clearly happy to be back with United through January after it looked like the Nigerian striker was going back to Shanghai Shenhua.

But, man, both Ighalo and Luke Shaw in the wool hats/toques/skullies/whatever you want to call them.

Christian Benteke was none-too-pleased with the hassle he got from teammate Jordan Ayew at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

The Belgian striker’s words were in jest, no doubt, after Palace gave him photos of the club’s leading scorer taking advantage of being allowed full contact in practice.

Benteke hasn’t been scoring and will always be judged by his price tag(s), but he’s been better this season as a hold-up man and pest up top. Let’s see if he can lead the Eagles onto something special.

Eintracht nears safety with second-half surge past Bremen

Werder Bremen v. Eintracht Frankfurt recap
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Andre Silva and Stefan Ilsanker sent Eintracht Frankfurt to Bundesliga safety and sent Werder Bremen crashing to a new reality in a 3-0 at the Weserstadion on Wednesday.

Eintracht’s 35 points put it eight points clear of the bottom three with five matches to play, while Bremen’s three-match unbeaten run ends with it standing three points back of 15th-place Mainz.

Silva has scored 12 goals on loan from AC Milan, eight coming in the Bundesliga and four in the five matches since the league returned from the coronavirus pause.

For Ilsanker, his goals mark his first ever in the Bundesliga over 87 appearances, and first in any competition since scoring for RB Leipzig in the 2015-16 2.Bundesliga season.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

The first half was very cagey, with little to report aside from a penalty denied Bremen, who again looked nothing like the side that’s been in the relegation places for so much of the season.

Eintracht thought it’d gone ahead with a Dominik Kohr goal before the hour mark, but either a slight offside or handball by the passer counted against his hopes.

The visitors scored as the clock struck 60:00. Makato Hasebe starts the play and Filip Kostic crossed for Silva to head inside the near post.

Bremen boss Florian Kohfeldt responded by putting USMNT striker Josh Sargent in for Davie Selke.

Davy Klaassen wasted a 78th minute counter attack as Bremen showed some desperation and Leonardo Bittencourt hit a wayward attempt a minute later.

Ilsanker made it 2-0 within moments of subbing into the match, a Bas Dost-redirected corner kick landing in his path for a close-range finish. Fellow sub Jonathan de Guzman then spun a free kick around the fray for an emphatic Ilsanker header.

Americans Abroad: Sargent’s half-hour was non-descript. Dost flicked the corner kick before Sargent could head clear. He was eight-of-eight passing on 11 touches and completed his lone long ball. Sargent won 2-of-3 duels and drew a foul. Judging by what we saw from Davie Selke, Sargent could get another turn in the Starting XI versus Wolfsburg.

Timmy Chandler was an unused sub for Eintracht, a little over a week after playing super sub with a match-winning goal.

Crystal Palace season restart preview

Crystal Palace season restart preview
Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Crystal Palace is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Eagles when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Palace has navigated injuries and a disappointing season from superstar Wilfried Zaha to sit within striking distance, or at least hoping distance, of a place in the Europa League. The journey won’t be easy, with six of nine matches coming against top five hopefuls, but Roy Hodgson’s done a good job at Selhurst Park despite limited contributions from the center forward position.

[ MORE: Ranking every Palace player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: The club can line up in what looks to be either a 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3 depending on what Roy Hodgson is asking of his Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew, and/or Andros Townsend. Zaha hasn’t lived up to his standards this season but remains the club’s best threat, with Ayew enjoying his most productive season since leaving Ligue 1 in 2015 (or Swansea two seasons ago if you’re being generous).

A lot of of what Palace has done well this year revolves around center midfielder James McArthur and the two men who join him (some combination of Cheikhou Kouyate, Luka Milivojevic and James McCarthy).


Possible XI (4-1-4-1) 

—– Guaita —–

— Ward — Dann — Cahill — Van Aanholt —

—– McCarthy —–

— Ayew — McArthur — Kouyate — Zaha—

—– Benteke—–

McCarthy had played quite well in the three-match streak leading into the pause, and was much, much better in 2020 than he’d been while struggling for starts in the first half of the season. Gary Cahill and Scott Dann have been steady if unspectacular in front of Vincente Guaita, while Van Aanholt’s best days are still elite, if fewer and farther between. Pretty solid side and good work from Hodgson with plenty of injuries to handle over the first 29 matches.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Burnley, Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs
Away: Bournemouth, Liverpool, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Wolves

Predicted finish: The only thing certain is that Palace would have to fall all over itself to finish anywhere near the bottom three, even given a tricky schedule. Really, it depends upon the intensity of the competitors, because Palace is safe from relegation barring something traumatic but needs a number of signature wins to be involved in the top seven fight. And how will the Eagles react if Arsenal and Sheffield United get points from their June 17 matches-in-hand and the Europa League looks more and more an unlikely dream? Tenth seems the place, but anything can happen when eighth may be a Europa League place.