We continue to roll out our choices for the league’s top defender, top goalkeeper, top rookie, MVP and more:
Today we look at ProSoccerTalk’s writer’s picks for Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player:
Robbie Keane, Los Angeles Galaxy
There are great arguments for several players – more than I can remember for a single season, in fact. Mike Magee, Marco Di Vaio, Camilo and Will Johnson would all make splendid choices. But Keane was consistently the best player I watched this year, always sharp of movement, unwavering in his commitment. And then the argument really ends for me on the raw statistical, scoring evidence: only one player in Major League Soccer contributed directly to more goals. Keane was in on 27 Galaxy strikes (16 goals, 11 assists). Only Camilo (22 goals, 6 assists) nicked the Irish international, and that came on the final-day push, with playoffs out of the question. Keane’s significant contributions to a better team seal the deal for me.
Mike Magee, Chicago Fire
This isn’t a most valuable to their team-thing. I don’t believe in that. I vote for the best player in the league, and almost remarkably, I felt Mike Magee was MLS’s best. From journeyman to opportunist to legitimate front line, impact player, Magee’s 2013 is the culmination of a remarkable, prolonged arc. While this isn’t a get out of the wheelchair and walk-level miracle, it is astounding how we got here. In a league that has Keane, Henry, Cahill, Di Vaio, and Donovan, Mike Magee was the best player. And I’m more than okay with that. I’m thrilled.
Will Johnson, Portland Timbers
He meshes everything together for the Portland Timbers and has scored some fantastic goals. That’s not really what his game is all about as Johnson harries and harasses the opposition and suits the Timbers’ high-pressing approach perfectly. The Canadian international midfielder has been an inspired pick up by Caleb Porter and is the heart and soul of his team. A true box-to-box player, Johnson can do it all with ease.
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)
Man United’s lost Christian Eriksen through April but acted quick and in impressive fashion with the loan addition of Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich. Desperate for playing time and a more attacking role than what was asked of him by Bayern, the Austrian star may be just what the doctor ordered even before Eriksen went down. This is a hard-edged player with plenty of attcking firepower to boot.
Palace, of course, is still all about their creative players, as Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, and Odsonne Edouard can deliver the goods with just a half-chance, but look out for Deadline Day adds Albert Sambi Lokonga, on loan from Patrick Vieira’s former team Arsenal, and Naouirou Ahamada, who they hope will add a needed ball progressor in the heart of the pitch.
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Jadon Sancho (undisclosed), Anthony Martial (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Luke Shaw (illness), Scott McTominay (undisclosed)