Van Gaal: Welbeck did not meet Manchester United’s standards

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The sale of striker Danny Welbeck to Arsenal raised eyebrows of a few Manchester United legends (most notably, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville), but according to the Red Devils’ manager, the decision to sell a player who’d been part of the club since he was nine years old came down to something obvious: Welbeck’s not as good as Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, or Radamel Falcao.

That was Louis van Gaal’s explanation when he spoke to the media on Thursday, saying both Welbeck and Real Madrid loanee Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez had their chance to win a place in the squad. Ultimately, neither could meet the standards of a loaded United attack.

From The Guardian:

“I have given all the players a chance to convince me of their qualities,” Van Gaal said. “Yes, Danny Welbeck was here from when he was nine. He has played, after [his 2010-11 loan at] Sunderland, three seasons at Manchester United but he doesn’t have the record of [Robin] Van Persie or [Wayne] Rooney and that is the standard. That is why we let him go – because of Falcao but also the youngsters who can fit in.”

That Welbeck would have struggled for playing time, nobody questions. The implicit concern (beyond selling to Arsenal) is expensive attackers from outside  being prioritized over a useful player on the books. And doesn’t the Manchester native’s 14-year history with the club count for anything?

More from van Gaal:

“We spoke with Danny Welbeck and also Chicharito before there was the chance we could get Falcao. We have to be fair about that because, for example, I see in that part [of the pitch] we have a lot of youth that can fit in. That is the policy and that is why I am here – to do that transformation, in this new process.”

Let’s assume van Gaal’s right in his assessment, and young players can fit in. Even if Welbeck is better than them now, he’s still waiting for van Persie and Falcao to fade out before getting more playing time. And once that happens, United’s younger players may be ready to take that time from Welbeck.

If that’s the case, Welbeck’s place at the club comes down to loyalty, and while that’s an admirable trait, there’s a point where that becomes harmful. With Welbeck just entering his prime and Arsenal willing to pay top dollar, neither side would have been served by forgoing the sale.

In the face of other needs, should United have made Welbeck expendable in the first place? Well, that’s a different discussion. Given how the summer unfolded, Welbeck’s move made sense, for all involved.

BWP set to miss big clash after yellow for swearing

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Bradley Wright-Phillips would like referees to consider his adulthood.

The New York Red Bulls’ super striker is going to miss a massive MLS clash with Atlanta United last weekend due to yellow card accumulation. RBNY is four points behind Atlanta in the race for the Supporters’ Shield with four matches each to play.

[ MORE: 2 Robbies on Mourinho, Man Utd ]

BWP was given a yellow for swearing at a linesman during RBNY’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday.

Though we don’t know what he said and certainly don’t condone swearing at officials, the player didn’t make a show of it (something that earned Jozy Altidore a second yellow in a USMNT shirt a few years ago).

A fine is coming Wright-Phillips’ way for this one:

“It’s ridiculous man, it’s too big. We’re men. If you can’t take a swear word and what really happened then we’re in the wrong sport man, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “If someone said that to me, I wouldn’t even be like…I’d be like ‘Sorry, I missed.’ It’s a yellow card. The guy was having a nightmare all game. Nightmare.”

One thing that BWP is missing: It’s not the AR’s duty to know you’ll miss a game with a yellow. Still, this is a huge disadvantage for the Red Bulls on Sept. 30 at home.

Ben Yedder makes it 5 goals in 3 days with 1st half hat trick

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wissam Ben Yedder hit a first-half hat trick to lead Sevilla to a 6-2 rout at Levante in the Spanish league on Sunday.

[ MORE: 2 Robbies on Mourinho, Man Utd ]

It was the second big win for Sevilla in three days. Ben Yedder scored twice in a 5-1 home win over Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday.

Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik saved a penalty kick by Jose Morales that would have allowed Levante to pull level at 2-2 midway through the first half.

Pablo Sarabia also scored for Sevilla and set up three more goals. Daniel Carrico and Andre Silva also got on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Sevilla had gone three rounds without a win in La Liga since its victory in the opening round at Rayo Vallecano.

Roger Marti scored for Levante, which also got a late own goal from Simon Kjaer.

Later, Barcelona hosts Girona seeking a fifth win in as many rounds.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Chelsea

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Chelsea returns from Greece for a London Derby at West Ham United on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The 5-0 Blues are looking to keep pace with 6-0 Liverpool, and kept some stars home from the Europa League. Fresh for the tilt are Eden Hazard, David Luiz, and Mateo Kovacic.

West Ham is hoping to build on its first win of the season, which was inspired by Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic. The former starts, but the latter is not fit for the 18.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku, Rice, Obiang, Noble, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Antonio. Subs: Adrian, Cresswell, Fredericks, Ogbonna, Sanchez, Snodgrass, Lucas.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Hazard, Giroud. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Moses, Fabregas, Barkley, Morata.

USMNT, Schalke MF McKennie injures leg in loss to Bayern

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was injured in the Bundesliga game against Bayern Munich and had to be helped leaving the pitch on Saturday.

The 20-year-old American received an unintentional kick in the leg from James Rodriguez as he won possession from the Colombian star. While the free kick was awarded, McKennie was unable to continue and he was replaced by Nabil Bentaleb in the 54th minute.

Bayern was leading 1-0 at the time.

McKennie, who has six appearances for the United States, missed Schalke’s defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach last weekend after returning from international duty with a bruised knee from the Americans’ 1-0 win over Mexico in a friendly.

McKennie has made 26 league appearances for Schalke.