Why NASL’s Minnesota United flew 4,000 miles for 10 days of practice

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Last week Minnesota United became the first-ever professional American soccer team to practice at the HQ of the English national team, St. George’s Park.

After speaking with their players, coaching staff and members of the front office on their return to the U.S., it’s clear the facilities on offer at SGP are some of the best on the planet.

Traveling halfway around the world to prepare for the upcoming 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) season was a no brainer, according to club president Nick Rogers, as Minnesota prepared in style for the new campaign.

“If you hang out at St. George’s Park long enough, you’ll run into somebody you recognize from television,” Rogers explained. “There was a managers’ meeting while we there, we met David Moyes was very nice posing for pictures with us and I was having a coffee next to Roberto Di Matteo. I was lucky enough to go to Manchester United vs. Liverpool while we were there… that night after the match, Ryan Giggs was at our hotel bar. Those kinds of experiences, for our players and our staff, really made an impact and made us realize it was a special opportunity.”

English teams usually travel to the U.S. for their preseason schedule in July-August, while most American and Canadian sides head to Florida or South Carolina. But Minnesota United, they like to think outside the box. Regardless of the grey clouds, blustery conditions and rain-drenched vistas present in England during most of the year — though curiously there wasn’t one drop of rain during their 10-day visit — they flew 4,000 miles across the pond to prepare at great expense. The ambitious club, who were re-branded as Minnesota United in 2012 and were just named as the Twin Cities best emerging business, are doing all they can to grow their outreach on both sides of the Atlantic.

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The entrance to the SGP complex, set in the idyllic English countryside.

How it all came about involved the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, Derby County and a bad experience during last preseason.

“Our principle owner Dr. Bill McGuire knows the President of the Timberwolves, Chris Wright, who is connected to the American/Canadian ownership group who own Derby County,” Rogers explained. “We spoke with him about our failed preseason last year (stuck in a snowstorm in Kansas City, unable to train outside) and it started with wanting to have a better preseason. I don’t know who suggested a preseason tour to England… but when we learned about the facility at St. George’s Park, it seemed to make a lot of sense.”

More than just sense, it gave United’s players a chance to bond on and off the pitch too, something which could be invaluable throughout the tough season ahead in an expanded NASL.

Getting the chance to spend so much time together, on and off the field, was a wonderful factor of their trip to Staffordshire according to Minnesota’s midfielder Jamie Watson.

“This is my 10th year as a pro, and I can say that was the best preseason trip I’ve ever been on or known anyone to go on,” Watson laughed. “We were able to just concentrate on the team and focus on training. It makes a difference when you have to put the work in to support the guy next to you. Having the team as close as they are now, after our trip, the level of camaraderie is one you wouldn’t be able to manufacture.”

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West Ham and Minnesota… United: NASL and PL club meet up at SGP.

The lowdown on St. George’s Park

You’ve heard  little bit about Minnesota’s experience at SGP, but what about the place itself? This project, a central hub for soccer training, coaching and education for the English national teams, was first broached in 1975. Financial restrictions from delays and spiraling costs of rebuilding the national team’s Wembley Stadium, located 132 miles sout in London, placed St. George’s on hold for a little while as the English FA figured out how they could centralize the national setup in Burton-upon-Trent.

However on Oct. 9, 2012 the 330-acre site, set in the picturesque Staffordshire countryside, was opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate to most of the world) as a crucial step to help England return to being a global power on the international stage was in place. It was worth the wait.

SGP is home to 24 England teams, from the full men’s and women’s national teams through to the youth setup, plus the Futsal and disability squads and many more. It has everything you could possibly imagine, with two stunning hotels on site, a full replica of Wembley’s pitch and a full-size indoor pitch.

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Meeting of United’s: Manny Lagos and David Moyes hang out at SGP.

There are 12 full-size soccer pitches; five have under-soil heating and floodlights. An altitude chamber, 2 Futsal pitches, indoor running tracks, four gymnasiums, a 500 seat conference center and a purpose built sports hall are just some of the highlights of the Football Association’s stunning epicenter.

During their 10-day trip to SGP Minnesota’s United’s players got to experience all of that and more, as they made the most of the facilities on offer. With the English FA keen to give the players the true experience, they set up a number of challenges between United’s player in the vast array of sports science labs, which you can watch right here.

Minnesota coach Manny Lagos spoke fondly of the history and tradition his players witnessed whilst overseas, and believes the club would return for preseason in the future.

“There are a lot of good facilities in the U.S. but one of the things I loved about SGP is the nostalgia of it being the home to the English national team,” Lagos said. “Combined with the technology they’re using with the fields, the physio and regeneration areas and then you have a hotel that is soccer-centric right there. That was a very unique experience for a lot of the guys on our team, especially the Americans, who aren’t used to so much focus on just soccer for a facility. It worked out really well and put us in the right mindset for our season.”

Minnesota’s ‘perfect’ preparations

Of course Minnesota had to pry themselves away from the luxurious surroundings of SGP a few times on their trip overseas, as Lagos’ men were busy preparing for a successful season ahead, after all.

With scrimmages against local teams, finishing up with a friendly against English Championship side Derby County, Minnesota feel they had the perfect mix of match-action and practice on their trip to soccer’s homeland. As for the overall experience? Every player felt the same.

“It was an unbelievable experience, one I will take with me long after my playing days are over,” Watson said. “I am very appreciative that the club allowed us to experience this.”

With a 3-0 win against Matlock Town (watch above), a training scrimmage against Pro Player Academy and then a 2-0 defeat to Derby, Minnesota mixed with players from all walks of life in English soccer.

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After making friends from Premier League to non-league, Minnesota could well return to England for another preseason.

United also got the chance to meet up with Premier League side West Ham as the Hammers’ star players and manager Sam Allardyce, who were training at SGP after a weekend off, welcomed the NASL club to England with open arms.

“What is really cool is that when you’re at St. George’s Park, there is a level of respect from everyone there,” Watson explained. “The big timers like West Ham, David Moyes, Howard Webb, everyone has a mutual respect for each other because people think ‘if they are here, they deserve to be here.’ Everyone respects SGP so much, that if you are in there using the facilities then you’re on an equal level.”

The second-tier club also spoke about the ‘aura’ surrounding SGP, as even though the building is just a few years old, that sense of history still oozes from their pores of the foundations, with memorabilia and artifacts on show to depict the rich history of the game in England.

“You walk down the hallways and their are black and white pictures from way back of ex-England internationals, to a 30-foot mural of Joe Hart,” Watson said. “It is really cool to see, it has an aura and mystique about it because you walk up to the venue and its so beautiful. It has a presence to it.”

With U.S. Soccer having their own similar facility in Bradenton, Fla. to nurture young talent, the full national team doesn’t have anything like SGP. But it’s much more difficult to do that with the USMNT. Number one, the distance players have to travel all over the world to get to a training center for a week would be tough. Number two, the U.S. has no defined national stadium like England does. If the U.S. were ever to build a national stadium in say, D.C., then a facility like SGP would be a great idea.

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United’s players settle in at the technological masterpiece that is SGP.

Former Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas midfielder Watson knows that only too well. A graduate of the U.S. youth setup up Bradenton, Minnesota’s star summer-signing from Orlando City has seen the benefits of training in a top class facility day in, day out. He points to a current USMNT star as the prime example of how a centralized approach will help the USA in the future.

“When Michael Bradley came in there were 30 of us, if you would’ve asked the 29 other guys we would all agree that he was the 30th best player there,” Watson said. “When you’re in a setting where everything is setup so you can only succeed, it only makes you better. Literally every day you get better, and Bradley was a prime example of that. He spent two years there, when he left he was starting for the New York MetroStars at 17 and you’ve seen where his career has taken him.”

The future for United: NASL or MLS?

Speaking of the future, any soccer fan in North America knows rumors of Major League Soccer and new expansion franchises are always rife, especially in the league’s current climate of rapid growth.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul is always one of the places earmarked to have an MLS side arrive in the next few years. With Atlanta looking increasingly likely to get MLS’ 23rd franchise with a stadium deal in place to share the Atlanta Falcons new home, could something similar happen in Minneapolis between the NFL’s Vikings and Minnesota United?

Club president Rogers was coy when asked about United becoming an MLS franchise, but didn’t rule anything out.

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Ahead of the 2014 NASL season, United’s players put in hard work on the training ground on their trip.

“My focus is on building a great club, right now we are competing in the NASL,” Rogers said. “We want to win an NASL title and make noise in the U.S. Open Cup. Because we don’t have promotion and relegation in this country you can’t work your way to the top. It is a business transaction. We are aware of MLS and what they are doing and the talks about expansion. Our focus is on building a great club and that will guide our decision making. I’m not going to say it’s something we would never pursue, but it’s not something I think about right now.”

Speaking with Watson and Lagos, they both agree that Minneapolis could support an MLS franchise, but for now they’re just focusing on winning an NASL Championship. A historic trip as the first-ever American club to train at England’s stunning HQ will set them up for that assault on the title.

In the future, will we see other clubs follow Minnesota’s lead and head to England for preseason? If this trip is anything to go by, clubs across the U.S. should already be making plans to pencil in a trip to St. George’s Park for their 2015 offseason.

Look for my behind-the-scenes look at SGP next week on ProSoccerTalk.

Luis Suarez facing police investigation in Italy

Luis Suarez police investigation
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Luis Suarez police investigation: A failed move to Juventus could see Luis Suarez in big trouble with the authorities in Italy.

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The Barcelona and Uruguay forward, 33, looked set to join Juve last week but after complications arose over him obtaining Italian citizenship, which he needed to complete the move, he now looks likely to sign for Atletico Madrid as he’s been told he’s no longer needed by current club Barcelona.

Yet, Suarez could be in trouble, big trouble, as the Italian financial police and the Perugia public prosecutor’s office have opened an investigation into irregularities into the exam he had to take to become an Italian citizen.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Here are more details from our partner in the UK at Sky Sports on the Luis Suarez police investigation:


In order to complete the move, the 33-year-old Uruguayan would have needed to have acquired Italian citizenship as Juventus have no available space in their squad for non-EU players.

However, it is alleged that Suarez was aware of the contents of the exam before taking it, and that his score was pre-assigned.

A statement from the Perugia public prosecutor’s office said: “Some irregularities have emerged in the exam of certification of Italian, sat on September 17 by Uruguayan football player Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz, needed to obtain the Italian citizenship.

“From the investigation, it emerged that the topics in the exam had been agreed in advance with the applicant and that the relative mark had been attributed even before carrying out the exam, regardless of the fact that an elementary proficiency of the Italian language had been verified during remote classes carried out by lecturers of the University for Foreigners.

“Today, the Italian financial police are moving forward to capture the documents at the university offices, to verify the actions described beforehand and notify the information assurances for the crimes of revelation of professional secrecy, false representation committed by public officials in official documents and other.”


NBC Sports Premier League schedule

NBC Sports Premier League schedule
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The new NBC Sports Premier League schedule for the 2020-21 season has been released with dates for the new campaign confirmed and details on how to watch Premier League in the USA on TV and via Peacock online all below.

Are you ready?

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Premier League games will be aired across NBC and NBCSN this season, with games also streamed live online via Peacock which replaces NBC Sports Gold. The Premier League schedule is now confirmed with the opening day, festive fixtures and final day all set and below you will find all of the details on how to watch Premier League in the USA.

Premier League schedule release day is always a fun time for fans across the world and now you need to find out exactly how to watch the Premier League in the USA as the new season starts on September 12.

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Game times for September have been published, as the TV schedule for the opening month of the season has also been released. With the 2020-21 season coming less than seven weeks after the 2019-20 season finished, things will be getting back into action very quickly.

‘Project Restart’ was a big success as the league returned on June 17 after being suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just like the end to the 2019-20 campaign, the start of the 2020-21 season will see games played in empty stadiums at home venues but the UK government hope to have some fans back in attendance by early October.

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The full Premier League schedule and details on how to watch Premier League in the USA this season are below.

The Premier League schedule one of the key parts of the new streaming platform, and to watch PL games you will have to sign up to an ad-supported premium tier for $4.99/month, serving no more than five minutes of advertising per hour. An ad-free version of the premium tier is also available for $9.99/month. For more on the Premier League schedule on Peacock, click here.

Peacock and Roku have also announced that Peacock is now available nationwide on the Roku platform. Premier League fans who use the platform can now find exclusive Peacock Premium matches on Roku.

Peacock is widely available across Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; the Roku platform; Google platforms and devices including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; and VIZIO SmartCast™ TVs and LG Smart TVs; as well as Sony PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, as well as eligible Cox Contour customers, enjoy Peacock Premium included with their service at no additional cost.

If you haven’t yet checked it out and would like a free 7-day preview of the Peacock Premium service, which will include access to all of this weekend’s live Premier League matches, you can sign up here.

PEACOCK PREMIUM TO FEATURE MORE THAN 175 EXCLUSIVE PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHES IN 2020-21 SEASON

NBC Sports and Peacock will present more than 175 exclusive Premier League matches on Peacock Premium in the 2020-21 season. In total, Peacock Premium will present more than 1,500 hours of Premier League live match and shoulder programming – the most robust offering ever available in the U.S. Included are full-event replays for all 380 matches on-demand (after 9 p.m. ET).

All content presented on NBC Sports Gold’s “Premier League Pass” will shift exclusively to Peacock Premium for the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season. For more information, click here.

Below is the Premier League schedule on NBC Sports for September 12 to May 23 (all games 10am ET unless otherwise stated) as the channels and times for games will be confirmed in due course and here’s how to watch the Premier League in the USA.


Premier League: How to watch Premier League in USA, full schedule (all times EST)

Saturday 12 September

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal – NBCSN – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton – NBCSN – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United – NBC – FULL MATCH REPLAY
West Ham 0-2 Newcastle United – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY

Saturday 13 September

West Brom 0-3 Leicester City – NBCSN – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Spurs 0-1 Everton – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY

Burnley v Man Utd (Postponed to later date due to European appearance)
Man City v Aston Villa (Postponed to later date due to European appearance)

Monday 14 September

Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves – NBCSN – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Brighton 1-3 Chelsea – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY

Saturday 19 September

Everton 5-2 West Brom – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Leeds United 4-3 Fulham – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham – NBCSN – FULL MATCH REPLAY

Sunday 20 September

Southampton 2-5 Spurs – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Newcastle United 0-3 Brighton – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Leicester City 4-2 Burnley – NBCSN – FULL MATCH REPLAY

Monday 21 September

Aston Villa 1-0 Sheffield United – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY
Wolves 1-3 Man City – Peacock Premium – FULL MATCH REPLAY

Saturday 26 September

7:30am ET: Brighton v Man Utd – NBCSN – STREAM LIVE
10am ET: Crystal Palace v Everton – NBCSN – STREAM LIVE
12:30pm ET: West Brom v Chelsea – NBC – STREAM LIVE
3pm ET: Burnley v Southampton – Peacock Premium – STREAM LIVE

Sunday 27 September

7am ET: Sheffield United v Leeds United – NBCSN – STREAM LIVE
9am ET: Spurs v Newcastle United – NBCSN – STREAM LIVE
11:30am ET: Man City v Leicester City – NBCSN – STREAM LIVE
2pm ET: West Ham v Wolves – Peacock Premium – STREAM LIVE

Monday 28 September

1pm ET: Fulham v Aston Villa – Peacock Premium – STREAM LIVE
3:15pm ET: Liverpool v Arsenal – Peacock Premium – STREAM LIVE

Saturday 3 October

Arsenal v Sheffield United
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Everton v Brighton
Leeds United v Man City
Leicester City v West Ham
Man Utd v Spurs
Newcastle United v Burnley
Southampton v West Brom
Wolves v Fulham

Saturday 17 October

Chelsea v Southampton
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Everton v Liverpool
Leeds United v Wolves
Leicester City v Aston Villa
Man City v Arsenal
Newcastle United v Man Utd
Sheffield United v Fulham
Spurs v West Ham
West Brom v Burnley

Saturday 24 October

Arsenal v Leicester City
Aston Villa v Leeds United
Brighton v West Brom
Burnley v Spurs
Fulham v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Sheffield United
Man Utd v Chelsea
Southampton v Everton
West Ham v Man City
Wolves v Newcastle United

Saturday 31 October

Aston Villa v Southampton
Burnley v Chelsea
Fulham v West Brom
Leeds United v Leicester City
Liverpool v West Ham
Man Utd v Arsenal
Newcastle United v Everton
Sheffield United v Man City
Spurs v Brighton
Wolves v Crystal Palace

Saturday 7 November

Arsenal v Aston Villa
Brighton v Burnley
Chelsea v Sheffield United
Crystal Palace v Leeds United
Everton v Man Utd
Leicester City v Wolves
Man City v Liverpool
Southampton v Newcastle United
West Brom v Spurs
West Ham v Fulham

Saturday 21 November

Aston Villa v Brighton
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Fulham v Everton
Leeds United v Arsenal
Liverpool v Leicester City
Man Utd v West Brom
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Sheffield United v West Ham
Spurs v Man City
Wolves v Southampton

Saturday 28 November

Arsenal v Wolves
Brighton v Liverpool
Chelsea v Spurs
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
Everton v Leeds United
Leicester City v Fulham
Man City v Burnley
Southampton v Man Utd
West Brom v Sheffield United
West Ham v Aston Villa

Saturday 5 December

Aston Villa v Newcastle United
Brighton v Southampton
Burnley v Everton
Chelsea v Leeds United
Liverpool v Wolves
Man City v Fulham
Sheffield United v Leicester City
Spurs v Arsenal
West Brom v Crystal Palace
West Ham v Man Utd

Saturday 12 December

Arsenal v Burnley
Crystal Palace v Spurs
Everton v Chelsea
Fulham v Liverpool
Leeds United v West Ham
Leicester City v Brighton
Man Utd v Man City
Newcastle United v West Brom
Southampton v Sheffield United
Wolves v Aston Villa

Tuesday 15 December

2:45pm ET: Arsenal v Southampton
2:45pm ET: Aston Villa v Burnley
2:45pm ET: Fulham v Brighton
2:45pm ET: Leeds United v Newcastle United
2:45pm ET: Leicester City v Everton
2:45pm ET: Sheffield United v Man Utd
2:45pm ET: West Ham v Crystal Palace
2:45pm ET: Wolves v Chelsea

Wednesday 16 December

3pm ET: Liverpool v Spurs
3pm ET: Man City v West Brom

Saturday 19 December

Brighton v Sheffield United
Burnley v Wolves
Chelsea v West Ham
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Everton v Arsenal
Man Utd v Leeds United
Newcastle United v Fulham
Southampton v Man City
Spurs v Leicester City
West Brom v Aston Villa

Saturday 26 December

Arsenal v Chelsea
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Fulham v Southampton
Leeds United v Burnley
Leicester City v Man Utd
Liverpool v West Brom
Man City v Newcastle United
Sheffield United v Everton
West Ham v Brighton
Wolves v Spurs

Monday 28 December

Brighton v Arsenal
Burnley v Sheffield United
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Everton v Man City
Man Utd v Wolves
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Southampton v West Ham
Spurs v Fulham
West Brom v Leeds United

Saturday 2 January

Brighton v Wolves
Burnley v Fulham
Chelsea v Man City
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United
Everton v West Ham
Man Utd v Aston Villa
Newcastle United v Leicester City
Southampton v Liverpool
Spurs v Leeds United
West Brom v Arsenal

Tuesday 12 January*

2:45pm ET: Arsenal v Crystal Palace
2:45pm ET: Aston Villa v Spurs
2:45pm ET: Fulham v Man Utd
2:45pm ET: Leeds United v Southampton
2:45pm ET: Leicester City v Chelsea
2:45pm ET: Sheffield United v Newcastle United
2:45pm ET: West Ham v West Brom
2:45pm ET: Wolves v Everton

Wednesday 13 January*

3pm ET: Liverpool v Burnley
3pm ET: Man City v Brighton

*Matchweek 18 fixtures initially allocated to 12-13 January will be played across 12-13 January and 20 January 2021. The split of matches will be determined when the broadcast selections for January are announced.

Saturday 16 January

Arsenal v Newcastle United
Aston Villa v Everton
Fulham v Chelsea
Leeds United v Brighton
Leicester City v Southampton
Liverpool v Man Utd
Man City v Crystal Palace
Sheffield United v Spurs
West Ham v Burnley
Wolves v West Brom

Tuesday 26 January

2:45pm ET: Brighton v Fulham
2:45pm ET: Burnley v Aston Villa
2:45pm ET: Everton v Leicester City
3pm ET: Man Utd v Sheffield United
3pm ET: West Brom v Man City

Wednesday 27 January

2:45pm ET: Chelsea v Wolves
2:45pm ET: Newcastle United v Leeds United
2:45pm ET: Southampton v Arsenal
2:45pm ET: Spurs v Liverpool
3pm ET: Crystal Palace v West Ham

Saturday 30 January

Arsenal v Man Utd
Brighton v Spurs
Chelsea v Burnley
Crystal Palace v Wolves
Everton v Newcastle United
Leicester City v Leeds United
Man City v Sheffield United
Southampton v Aston Villa
West Brom v Fulham
West Ham v Liverpool

Tuesday 2 February

2:45pm ET: Aston Villa v West Ham
2:45pm ET: Burnley v Man City
2:45pm ET:  Fulham v Leicester City
2:45pm ET: Leeds United v Everton
2:45pm ET: Sheffield United v West Brom
2:45pm ET: Wolves v Arsenal
3pm ET: Man Utd v Southampton

Wednesday 3 February

2:45pm ET: Newcastle United v Crystal Palace
2:45pm ET: Spurs v Chelsea
3pm ET: Liverpool v Brighton

Saturday 6 February

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Burnley v Brighton
Fulham v West Ham
Leeds United v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Man City
Man Utd v Everton
Newcastle United v Southampton
Sheffield United v Chelsea
Spurs v West Brom
Wolves v Leicester City

Saturday 13 February

Arsenal v Leeds United
Brighton v Aston Villa
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Everton v Fulham
Leicester City v Liverpool
Man City v Spurs
Southampton v Wolves
West Brom v Man Utd
West Ham v Sheffield United

Saturday 20 February

Arsenal v Man City
Aston Villa v Leicester City
Brighton v Crystal Palace
Burnley v West Brom
Fulham v Sheffield United
Liverpool v Everton
Man Utd v Newcastle United
Southampton v Chelsea
West Ham v Spurs
Wolves v Leeds United

Saturday 27 February

Chelsea v Man Utd
Crystal Palace v Fulham
Everton v Southampton
Leeds United v Aston Villa
Leicester City v Arsenal
Man City v West Ham
Newcastle United v Wolves
Sheffield United v Liverpool
Spurs v Burnley
West Brom v Brighton

Saturday 6 March

Aston Villa v Wolves
Brighton v Leicester City
Burnley v Arsenal
Chelsea v Everton
Liverpool v Fulham
Man City v Man Utd
Sheffield United v Southampton
Spurs v Crystal Palace
West Brom v Newcastle United
West Ham v Leeds United

Saturday 13 March

Arsenal v Spurs
Crystal Palace v West Brom
Everton v Burnley
Fulham v Man City
Leeds United v Chelsea
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Man Utd v West Ham
Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Southampton v Brighton
Wolves v Liverpool

Saturday 20 March

Brighton v Newcastle United
Burnley v Leicester City
Crystal Palace v Man Utd
Fulham v Leeds United
Liverpool v Chelsea
Man City v Wolves
Sheffield United v Aston Villa
Spurs v Southampton
West Brom v Everton
West Ham v Arsenal

Saturday 3 April

Arsenal v Liverpool
Aston Villa v Fulham
Chelsea v West Brom
Everton v Crystal Palace
Leeds United v Sheffield United
Leicester City v Man City
Man Utd v Brighton
Newcastle United v Spurs
Southampton v Burnley
Wolves v West Ham

Saturday 10 April

Brighton v Everton
Burnley v Newcastle United
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Fulham v Wolves
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Man City v Leeds United
Sheffield United v Arsenal
Spurs v Man Utd
West Brom v Southampton
West Ham v Leicester City

Saturday 17 April

Arsenal v Fulham
Aston Villa v Man City
Chelsea v Brighton
Everton v Spurs
Leeds United v Liverpool
Leicester City v West Brom
Man Utd v Burnley
Newcastle United v West Ham
Southampton v Crystal Palace
Wolves v Sheffield United

Saturday 24 April

Arsenal v Everton
Aston Villa v West Brom
Fulham v Spurs
Leeds United v Man Utd
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Newcastle United
Man City v Southampton
Sheffield United v Brighton
West Ham v Chelsea
Wolves v Burnley

Saturday 1 May

Brighton v Leeds United
Burnley v West Ham
Chelsea v Fulham
Crystal Palace v Man City
Everton v Aston Villa
Man Utd v Liverpool
Newcastle United v Arsenal
Southampton v Leicester City
Spurs v Sheffield United
West Brom v Wolves

Saturday 8 May

Arsenal v West Brom
Aston Villa v Man Utd
Fulham v Burnley
Leeds United v Spurs
Leicester City v Newcastle United
Liverpool v Southampton
Man City v Chelsea
Sheffield United v Crystal Palace
West Ham v Everton
Wolves v Brighton

Tuesday 11 May

2:45pm ET: Brighton v West Ham
2:45pm ET: Burnley v Leeds United
2:45pm ET: Everton v Sheffield United
3pm ET: Man Utd v Leicester City
3pm ET: West Brom v Liverpool

Wednesday 12 May

2:45pm ET: Chelsea v Arsenal
2:45pm ET: Newcastle United v Man City
2:45pm ET: Southampton v Fulham
2:45pm ET: Spurs v Wolves
3pm ET: Crystal Palace v Aston Villa

Saturday 15 May

Brighton v Man City
Burnley v Liverpool
Chelsea v Leicester City
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Everton v Wolves
Man Utd v Fulham
Newcastle United v Sheffield United
Southampton v Leeds United
Spurs v Aston Villa
West Brom v West Ham

Sunday 23 May

Arsenal v Brighton
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Fulham v Newcastle United
Leeds United v West Brom
Leicester City v Spurs
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Man City v Everton
Sheffield United v Burnley
West Ham v Southampton
Wolves v Manchester United

UK government postpones plan to reintroduce fans

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Premier League fans may have to wait a while longer to get back into stadiums: Amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases across the United Kingdom the government have halted plans for fans to return to stadiums from October 1.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The UK chief medical officer yesterday said cases could climb to 50,000 a day if the current trajectory isn’t stopped.

Speaking to the BBC, UK government official Michael Gove was asked about the reintroduction of a small number of fans at sporting venues and here was his answer.

“We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans,” Gove said. “We’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

“The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it’s in the nature of major sporting events that there’s a lot of mingling.”

This was expected given the huge rise in cases in the UK and the expected trajectory of the spread of the virus in the coming weeks and months. Premier League fans haven’t been allowed in stadiums since play was suspended in March, but test events in the Championship, League One and League Two have been held in recent weeks with 1,000 fans in attendance.

The fact that the UK will postpone fan reintroduction will hit the Premier League financially but it will hit the lower leagues harder. Clubs in the third and fourth tiers rely heavily on fans paying for tickets and they will now need big help from the football and government authorities in the UK to try and stay afloat in the coming months.

For now, Premier League fans will be waiting for the next update.

Serie A wrap: ‘Benjamin Button’ Zlatan nabs 2; McKennie debuts for Juve

Serie A results
Photo by Filippo Alfero - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images
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Catch up on all you missed from the opening week of calcio with the Serie A wrap.

[ MORE: Serie A schedule ]

Fourteen of the league’s 20 teams debuted this weekend, as European combatants Atalanta and Inter Milan will start the season late along with Serie B playoff winners Spezia.

That leaves opponents Lazio, Benevento, and Udinese also waiting to start their 2020-21 seasons.


Benjamin Button’s brace leaves Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as AC Milan started the Serie A season with a 2-0 defeat of Bologna on Monday.

The humble Swede said that if he were 18 years younger he would’ve scored two more.

“I am not old, I am like Benjamin Button, I start old and die young,” Ibrahimovic said after the win. “Kidding aside, the team worked well, we are not at 100 percent and therefore made some mistakes we usually avoid, but it bodes well.”

Ibrahimovic is 38 years old and demanding he not be held to any less of a standard than his prime, which is incredible considering his prime is better than 99 percent of top soccer careers.

“I don’t want people to talk about my age, I want to be treated at the same level as everyone else,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I am 38, I want to be treated like someone aged 20 and do the same work.”

Milan is coming off seven-straight seasons outside of the top four, six of those coming behind their city rivals Inter Milan.

But Ibrahimovic’s 2019-20 half-season in Italy showed he can still bring the goods, with 14 goals and five assists in 20 appearances

Now he’s scored thrice in two competitive fixtures after opening his campaign with a goal against Shamrock Rovers in Europa League qualifying.

Milan is aiming high and is tied for the fifth-best odds to win the scudetto this season due to a talented squad that features Ibrahimovic, Alessio Romagnoli, Gianlugi Donnarumma, and Theo Hernandez.

“This year, we have to take it one game at a time, play with confidence and treat every match like a Cup Final.”

Serie A results
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 21: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)

McKennie impresses as Juve rolls again

Playing under Andrea Pirlo has started well for USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie.

The 22-year-old Texan went 90 minutes in central midfield with Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot as Juventus beat Sampdoria 3-0 in Turin.

McKennie had 94 touches and completed 88 percent of his passes, with one key pass and four-of-five crosses in that mix.

[ MORE: Americans abroad in Bundesliga, Week 1 ]

He took two shots and converted his lone dribble attempt, the busy midfielderwinning six of 12 duels while registering four tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances. SofaScore did hit him with a “big chance missed” on debut.

McKennie kept some very good players on the bench in the forms of Arthur and Rodrigo Betancur. It’s going to be a battle to keep his place in the Starting XI but it’s clearly one he’s prepared to fight.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonoard Bonucci, and Dejan Kulusevski all scored for The Old Lady, who is bidding to win its 10th-straight title. That would double Inter’s second-best five-consecutive title run earlier this century.


Week 1 scoreboard

Fiorentina 1-0 Torino
Hellas Verona 0-0 AS Roma
Parma 0-2 Napoli
Genoa 4-1 Crotone
Sassuolo 1-1 Cagliari
Juventus 3-0 Sampdoria
AC Milan 2-0 Bologna


Week 2 fixtures

Torino v Atalanta — 9 am ET Saturday
Cagliari v Lazio — Noon ET Saturday
Sampdoria v Benevento — Noon ET Saturday
Inter Milan v Fiorentina — 2:45 pm ET Saturday
Spezia v Sassuolo — 6:30 am ET Sunday
Verona v Udinese — 9 am ET Sunday
Napoli v Genoa — 9 am ET Sunday
Crotone v AC Milan — Noon ET Sunday
AS Roma v Juventus — 2:45 pm ET Sunday
Bologna v Parma — 2:45 pm ET Monday


Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Genoa 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Juventus 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Milan 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Napoli 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Fiorentina 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Cagliari 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Sassuolo 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Hellas Verona 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Roma 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Atalanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Benevento 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Inter Milan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Lazio 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Spezia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Udinese 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Torino 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Bologna 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Parma 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Crotone 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Sampdoria 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0