Manchester United 0-3 Manchester City: Dzeko’s double hands City derby delight (video)

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Manchester City prevailed in the 167th edition of the Manchester derby, as they beat Manchester United 3-0 away at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Edin Dzeko stole the headlines with two clinical finishes in each half, to keep City’s title charge on course and leave fierce rivals United languishing way down the standings. Yaya Toure’s late drive sealed the impressive victory for City, who have now won three-straight PL games away at the Theater of Dreams.

From the get-go Manuel Pellegrini’s City were the better side, as they started brightly in each half as Dzeko scored in the first minute of the match with a close range finish after a flowing City move and then finished the Red Devils off with a calm finish from a set piece just after the break.

(MORE: Three things we learned in Man City’s derby demolition of Man United)

With their fifth derby win in the last six derbies, City now move into second place in the PL standings and are just three points behind leaders Chelsea with two games in hand. As for United, they’re steady in seventh and have now lost 10 PL games for the first-time in history as David Moyes’ side were second-best throughout.

Man City made a lighting quick start as Dzeko opened the scoring within 43 seconds of the kick off. David Silva burst into the box and Rafael stopped him with a last-ditch tackle but the ball then broke to Samir Nasri, who shifted the ball onto his right foot and struck the post but the rebound came straight to Dzeko who tapped home from two-yards out to give City the perfect start.

In the 9th minute Silva intercepted the ball after a poor giveaway 30-yards out which saw the Spaniard surge towards the edge of the box and take it past two United defenders but his tame effort was blocked, as the Citizens missed a golden chance to go 2-0 ahead.

(MORE: David Moyes takes responsibility for ‘disappointing’ derby before walking out of press conference)

Silva was popping everywhere as City were dominating the early stages and United just couldn’t get a grip on proceedings. In the 17th minute great link up play between Yaya Toure and Silva link up saw the latter play a great ball to Dzeko, and although the Bosnian directed his shot towards the bottom corner David De Gea got across to save well to his left to make up for his initial giveaway.

source: Getty Images
City celebrate their third-straight derby win, as the Citizens rub salt into United’s wounds.

Then the game began to open up, as a clearance in his own six-yard box from Vincent Kompany halted United’s advances after Wayne Rooney had found Juan Mata unmarked on the left side of the box. The game ebbed and flowed, as both sets of supporters urged their teams to attack in a breathless opening 45 minutes at Old Trafford. That passion spilled over in the 30th minute, as Marouane Fellaini barged into Pablo Zabaleta and shoved his forearm and elbow straight into the face of City’s right back. Referee Michael Oliver saw the whole thing, but only booked Fellaini as United were lucky to still have eleven men on the pitch.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Manchester United got better as the first half wore on, as they were lucky to be just 1-0 down following City’s early onslaught. Fellaini had a shot which Joe Hart saved easily before the half hour mark, then Mata fired way over when well placed before the interval, as City comfortably protected their one goal lead as the teams went in at the break.

City started the second half just as they’d begun the first, as they took the game to United. A vicious out-swinging corner from the right found Fernandinho in the six-yard box but the Brazilian saw the ball late and couldn’t direct his header under the crossbar as it flew over.

Soon after City did double their lead as Dzeko’s controlled volley from another inch-perfect Nasri corner made it 2-0 to the Citizens and sent the away fans wild. Nasri’s out-swinging set piece saw Dzeko steal a march on his marker to coolly volley home his 20th goal of the season and give City a commanding lead against their fierce rivals.

United tried to fight back, but for large spells of the second half ‘Ole’s’ rang out from the away end as City’s players kept the ball with ease. Welbeck went close to halving the deficit in the 71st minute, as Rafael’s cross from the right was behind United’s striker but he cleverly sent a flick towards goal with his backheel but Hart reacted superbly to claw the effort away.

City defended well and kept their clean sheet intact with a resolute defensive display as United tried to throw everything they had at their neighbors. But the game ended the way it started, City dominating proceedings, as Toure reacted first to James Milner’s deflected shot and the Ivorian smashed home a low shot in stoppage time to hammer the final nail in United’s derby day coffin.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley (Kagawa, 45′), Fellaini (Valencia, 66′); Mata, Welbeck (Hernandez, 77′), Rooney

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri (Milner, 74′), Silva, Navas (Javi Garcia, 68′), Dzeko (Negredo, 79′)

Goals: Dzeko (1′ & 55′), Toure (90′)

USMNT learns Nations League dates, says no October friendlies

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CONCACAF’s summer is going to be red-hot as its top sides will scrap multiple times on the road to World Cup qualifying.

In other words, we might see the USMNT meet Mexico twice in a month.

The USMNT, Mexico, Honduras, and Costa Rica are among the group of sides waiting to see who advances from the postponed first stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The final round of World Cup qualifying had already been postponed.

It was revealed Tuesday that the quartet will now play the first ever CONCACAF Nations League Finals in June, three months behind schedule and just before the 2021 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: How 7 Americans fared in Bundesliga Wk 1 ]

The Gold Cup was previously postponed to June 10 – July 1 and the draw is set for Monday.

The Nations League semifinals see No. 1 seed Mexico against No. 4 Costa Rica and the No. 2 Catrachos of Honduras meeting the third-seeded USMNT.

A U.S. Soccer Federation release said the move is to put the focus on first stage of qualifying (It also gives all of the participants more time to figure out the pandemic atmosphere if it, as anticipated, reaches into a second year dramatically affecting sporting competitions):

This official competition Finals event will take place in a centralized location in the United States in June 2021. Concacaf will now work with our stakeholders to finalize the location and specific dates for this competition.

Playing this competition in June 2021 will enable the First Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which involve 30 Concacaf Member Associations, to take center stage in March 2021.

Concacaf remains in discussions with FIFA to agree a new schedule for the Concacaf Qualifiers which retains the current format.

[ WATCH: Gooch’s solo goal for Sunderland ]

U.S. Soccer also announced that it will not play any matches or train in the October international break, aiming for a November return. That means Christian Pulisic will have even more time to find top form for Chelsea.

General manager Brian McBride says Gregg Berhalter’s group may have an additional December camp with its January camp, which is great news for MLS players hoping to cement their statuses in Berhalter’s mind while the European talent continues to play overseas.

“After extensive conversations about holding a men’s national team camp in October, we ultimately determined the unique challenges created by COVID-19 as it relates to hosting international opponents and getting our players together wouldn’t allow us to move forward,” men’s team general manager Brian McBride said, via the Associated Press. “While we won’t have the team together in this upcoming window, we are making considerable progress for November.”

West Ham manager Moyes, two players test positive for COVID-19

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West Ham United’s preparations for Tuesday’s League Cup match against Hull City were rocked by positive COVID-19 tests for three members of the first team.

Irons boss David Moyes, center back Issa Diop and midfielder Josh Cullen all were informed of positive coronavirus tests before the match. All were sent home and said to be asymptomatic.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

The match went on with assistant manager Alan Irvine taking the reigns.

Diop is by far the most significant name on that list when it comes to West Ham’s competitive fortunes (Yes, we know Moyes in the manager).

West Ham stressed that it’s been vigilant when it comes to COVID-19:

The Club’s measures and protocols around COVID-19 remain stringent. This included offering to test the Hull City team ahead of tonight’s fixture – an offer which they opted not to accept.

Diop went the distance in both of West Ham’s PL matches this season, while Cullen has not featured for Moyes. The Irons lost 2-0 to Newcastle and 2-1 to Arsenal.

Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

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The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.

There are American connections to two of the six ties.

Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.

From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:

“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”

At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.

Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.

Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.


How to watch the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round

Kickoff: 3 pm ET Tuesday and Wednesday
Stream: CBS All-Access (subscription required)


UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.

Tuesday

Maccabi Tel-Aviv v. Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague v Midtjylland
Krasnodar v PAOK

Wednesday

Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia

Sept. 29

Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Edouard Mendy to Chelsea: What does it mean for Kepa, Blues’ defense?

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Edouard Mendy to Chelsea: What does it mean for Kepa Arrizabalaga and how much does it improve the Chelsea defense?

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Frank Lampard has confirmed that goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, 28, has arrived from Rennes in a $28 million deal and the Senegalese international will provide ‘competition’ to Kepa.

“Competition is a regular thing. We have brought Mendy in for that competition. It’s in everyone’s hands to get into the squad,” Lampard said. “I think it is the hardest position, because of the individual nature of it. I have to be sympathetic to that point. Last year I changed a few times, it’s a different thought process. We are always striving for the best performance.”

Is anyone buying that?

A couple of high-profile mistakes in Chelsea’s opening two games of the Premier League season has highlighted Kepa’s poor form and Chelsea have moved fast to bring in Mendy.

What does this mean for Kepa Arrizabalaga?

As the ProSoccerTalk lads discuss in the video above, this is probably the end, or at the very least the beginning of the end, for Kepa at Chelsea. Kepa has never really settled at Chelsea and over the last two seasons he hasn’t backed up being the most expensive goalkeeper in the world.

That transfer fee was a little false, as Chelsea were backed into a corner after losing Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid and paid Kepa’s release clause of $91.1 million to Athletic Bilbao. But they still paid it and even if the fee was half of that, eyebrows would have been raised. Kepa, 25, has failed to command his box, looked nervous with the ball at his feet and shots from outside the box have also given him plenty of problems. Not a great combo for a goalkeeper.

Chelsea may look to loan him out but there’s no doubt that after being dropped for veteran Willy Caballero at the end of last season, the writing was on the wall and Kepa is on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge.

Does Edouard Mendy to Chelsea improve their defense right away?

Not right away, but it will help. His impressive ability to come for crosses and his towering six-foot six-inch frame should provide some stability and confidence from the defenders around him but the way Chelsea play suggests their defensive issues will remain.

Frank Lampard loves to attack and it’s fun to watch. Well, unless you’re a goalkeeper or defender for the Blues. Mendy is one part of the jigsaw and so too is Thiago Silva who will add a calm head and his experience to a youthful defense, and Ben Chilwell at left back will also improve their defensive outlook.

Lampard loves to attack, though, and we must admit that without N’Golo Kante in front of a oft-changed back four, things will be tough. Mendy’s arrival should help settle things down and help Chelsea improve at the back but Lampard needs his center backs to stand tall in the coming weeks and months.