Better Deal: Sigurdsson and cash or Vorm and Davies?

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Earlier today Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City confirmed a deal that saw Gylfi Sigurdsson and an undisclosed fee head to the Liberty Stadium in exchange for Michel Vorm and Ben Davies.

The swap is a rare and interesting play that’s seldom seen in the world of soccer because it’s so difficult to measure the impact and value of one player with that of another. The number of factors that enter into the formula for a player’s value is infinite and when trying to do that for three players seems like an exercise of impossibility.

And yet somehow, Tottenham and Swansea have seemingly carved out a mutually beneficial deal.

But how so? Surely one of these clubs enjoyed the sweeter side of this deal and here we set out to see who it was.

Spurs addressed two major needs with the move — finding a sure-fire starter at left-back and a backup goalkeeper who will push Hugo Lloris. Ask a Tottenham fan what went wrong last year and he’ll politely hand you a novel of quips with chapter one reading: Our need for a top left-back.

Jan Vertonghen, a better center-back than left-back, made himself dangerous in that position early last season before a midseason injury derailed that option. With Danny Rose in the Belgian’s place things were decent but hardly on lock-down status as Rose struggled with inconsistency and fitness issues, which then left Spurs with Kyle Naughton as the most viable option. Not good predicament to be in.

The 25-year-old Naughton, who can play either left or right back, struggled to fit in and became a target for opposing team’s to attack. Things grew so dire, in fact, that 21-year-old Ezequiel Fryers was given a go before he, too, imploded. That, in turn, led to rampant and unbridled exposure on the left side of the pitch, much to the delight of opposing clubs.

Now, with the highly-sought-after Davies in place, Spurs believe they’ve found their cure. Inserted into Swansea’s side two years ago at the tender age of 19, the skillful and aware Welshman performed brilliantly, locking down the left-side while proving himself dangerous on the counter. He’s one of the many great Welsh talents on the rise and now, under new Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, many feel the sky is the limit. Time will only tell but Spurs were in desperate need of a left-back and have fought off the likes of Liverpool to address the issue. A fantastic pull.

Vorm’s decision to move to North London is an interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least because it means that American Brad Friedel will now become the third-choice goalkeeper. Friedel was brilliant in the back-up roll last season, giving Lloris a rest during matches outside the Premier League but never really threatening to take the Frenchman’s spot. In Vorm, Spurs have found a goalkeeper who will not only fill in during Europa League, League Cup and FA Cup matches when needed but could foreseeably challenge Lloris for the starting role in league matches. Which is exactly what manager Mauricio Pochettino wanted in a backup. And what Vorm lacks in size he makes up for in superlative cat-like reflexes. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better starter/backup goalkeeper duo in the Premier League.

Pochettino won’t love that he had to deal Sigurdsson but giving up a substitute for a starting left-back and a stellar back-up goalkeeper was worth it. In two seasons with Spurs, Sigurdsson scored eight goals in 58 top-flight appearances, many of which proved to be match-winners off the bench. But a plethora of midfielders meant that Sigurdsson’s main role at Spurs was as a super-sub, one that some people will feel he deserved better than.

At Swansea, he’ll have the chance of becoming an everyday starter. Capable of playing anywhere across the attacking three, Sigurdsson will need to prove himself if he’s to get the starting nod amidst the likes of Nathan Dyer, Ki Sung-Yeung, Jonjo Shelvey, Pablo and Wayne Routledge. Of course, it was only three years ago when Sigurdsson enjoyed his breakout in the Premier League, scoring seven goals in 18 matches while on loan with the Swans so finding top form shouldn’t take long.

But was Swansea in desperate need of another attacking midfielder?

Not really. More pressing was the call for a striker when either Wilfried Bony or Michu (or both) end up leaving this summer for greener pastures. Bold move for manager Garry Monk.

And what about that fee? Most sources are labeling it “undisclosed” but the Daily Mail claim Swansea pocketed $6 million in addition to the swap. Not a bad bit of business for the Swans but does that extra cash make up for the fact that they parted with two key players to obtain an attacking midfielder who wasn’t really needed?

Hard to say Spurs didn’t come out on top in this deal.

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.

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