Premier League Playback: Southampton heading to the Champions League?



The last time Southampton won at Old Trafford in the league was January 1988. In their last 19 visits to Manchester United they have lost 16 and drawn three. On Sunday then went into the “Theatre of Dreams” and beat Louis van Gaal’s men — who were previously undefeated in 10 — 1-0 with a composed, mature display as they jumped ahead of the Red Devils into third place. Saints fans across the globe are now dreaming of a top four finish and, as NBC’s very own Roger Bennett documented in “The Southampton Way” which you can watch in full above, after a long, meticulous journey to get to this point, they are closing in on the promised land.

[ RELATED: Saints stun United at Old Trafford ]

Southampton’s fans, full or irony, chanted “the Saints are staying up!” in the latter stages of their win at United. The club which has so often battled against relegation during its time in the Premier League is now among the upper echelons and is making a realistic challenge for the top four and UEFA Champions League qualification. So, can they do it?

“We know we have a strong team and that was important in the end of December. We got a point against Chelsea and the three points against Arsenal. That makes belief in the players,” Southampton’s manager Ronald Koeman said. “It is what you need if you are not a big club: belief in the players, not afraid of the name or the stadium. We learned that. I am not surprised we won today. We have organisation. We have 11 clean sheets in 21 games. If we keep the spirit and the organization, we can keep in front in the table.”

Dutch manager Koeman — who arrived at Southampton in the summer after a mass exodus of the clubs’ best players but recruited superbly to build a vibrant, solid unit who are on course to shock the PL — chucked Saints’ usual plan of slick, attacking, possession-based soccer out of the window against United as his team put in the perfect away display. They held United at bay expertly, then launched counter attacks with Graziano Pelle holding the ball up as Dusan Tadic’s goal was a fine example of their gameplan working perfectly.

Being able to change their style in the absence of Sadio Mane (who is at the African Cup of Nations with Senegal) and purely because they believed that is how they could get a result at United reinforces Koeman’s tactical brilliance and the intelligence of his players to implement his plan. Being able to adapt the way they play to get results is what all the best teams do. Saints have a clear philosophy of playing attractive, attacking soccer, but it’s okay to steer away from that from time to time to get results. Replicating this performance will be key if they can reach the top four.

Saints’ back four and two holding midfielders strangled United’s offense superbly.

What is key to the organization Koeman spoke of is Southampton’s two holding midfielders and the inspirational play of captain Jose Fonte at the heart of their defense. Fonte, 31, was named the Man of the Match at Old Trafford in the same week he marked five years at Saints after he joined them in League One to help the club embark on its meteoric rise to the Premier League. Fonte and Morgan Schneiderlin are the only two players left who have been regulars from the start of this incredible journey to the top four of English soccer.

[ RELATED: Why is Southampton’s exodus happening? ]

Schneiderlin and his fellow central midfielder Victor Wanyama were superb on Sunday as they sat in front of Saints’ back four to frustrate United as the Red Devils failed to register a single shot on target. That is just the second time since Opta began collecting records that United have failed to register a shot on target in a home match, and they only managed two away at Southampton in December when Saints outplayed them but somehow lost 2-1.

If you look at the image above, the incredible organization and discipline from Southampton’s two central midfielders and defenders was seen multiple times. The defended as a block of four to cancel out the attacking talents of Wayne Rooney, Angel Di Maria and RVP in the central areas who had to keep dropping deep to get the ball. In the end, United had to chuck on Marouane Fellaini and resort to lumping long balls into the box. Saints dealt with that easily as they have now conceded just 15 goals, the best defensive record in the Premier League and they have allowed the fewest shots on their goal so far this season in the PL.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Saints have four huge tests left in their 17 remaining games. They host Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s, plus face trips away to the two teams currently above them, Chelsea and Manchester City. If they can somehow split those matches and pick up six to eight points from them, then it’s safe to say they will be well on their way to capturing a top four berth. That is all dependent on them blowing through the rest of the PL field as they have done so far this season, with a shock defeat away at Burnley during the height of their slump in December the only blot on their copybook.

 [ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the 2014-15 season Southampton’s odds with the bookies to get relegated were 9/2 and shorter. Now, just six months later, the Saints are 500/1 to go down and the odds to finish in the top four have been slashed. What a transformation from Koeman, his new players and the entire backroom staff at Southampton. Can they see it through and become the story of the season (if they aren’t already) in the PL?


Premier League Schedule – Week 21

Result Recap & Highlights
Arsenal 3-0 Stoke Recap and watch here
Burnley 2-1 QPR Recap and watch here
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle Recap and watch here
Crystal Palace 2-1 Spurs Recap and watch here
Everton 1-1 Man City Recap and watch here
Leicester 1-0 Aston Villa Recap and watch here
Man United 0-1 Saints Recap and watch here
Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool Recap and watch here
Swansea 1-1 West Ham Recap and watch here
West Brom 1-0 Hull City Recap and watch here

Without Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal would barely be hovering in midtable this season.

The 26-year-old Chilean forward has now scored 12 goals and assisted seven more following his two-goal salvo against Stoke City on Sunday. Sanchez has been involved in more goals than any other PL player this season and he is surely the signing of the summer transfer window.

[ RELATED: Sanchez’s star rising ]

At $45 million, he is a bargain. And if he keeps up this form, like Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas in the past, it will be hard for Arsene Wenger to keep hold of the former Barcelona star. Quite why the Catalan club agreed to let him go is puzzling, but Arsenal’s fans are pleased they did as the Gunners sit just one point off the top four despite all of their struggles this season.

[ RELATED: Three things we learned ]

Against Stoke, Sanchez was the catalyst as he whipped in a pinpoint cross for Laurent Koscielny to head home the first, then had Thierry Henry and Robert Pires (spectators in an executive box) on their feet and applauding in appreciation as he jinxed inside and finished at the near post to make it 2-0 after 33 minutes. Within five minutes of the restart he scored his second and Arsenal’s third, while also laying plenty of other opportunities on a plate for his teammates.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Speaking of his teammates at Arsenal, they are amazed by Sanchez’s hunger and desire in every single match. Wenger will be hoping Sanchez’s fine form rubs off on, and inspires, Arsenal’s other stars.

“Alexis absolutely loves it. He is like a Duracell battery – he just does not give in,” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “Whether it is a cup competition or times when you think maybe it could be a chance for him to come out and rest, he is the first one to say he wants to play and he always wants to be a part of it. I am sure if the boss wants to rest him, he would respect that as well, but his attitude and the way he approaches training, you wouldn’t think he was tired and the way he is playing, you wouldn’t take him out of the side either. Hopefully, he can keep his fitness and keep going, but the athlete that I see every day, I can’t see him falling short anytime soon.”


Just five points separate Leicester City in 20th and Everton in 12th, as the relegation picture has become a nine-team battle in the PL. Wins for struggling Burnley, Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Bromwich Albion at the weekend sucked plenty of teams into the mix as almost have the league is now fighting for their lives against the dreaded drop.

[ RELATED: Analyzing the relegation battle ]

Here’s a look at the bottom half of the table in the PL. If  you had to pick three teams, right now, to get relegated to the second-tier of English soccer, who would you go for? What an epic battle this will be.



Wilfried Bony is edging towards a move to Manchester City, as a fee of $42 million has been agreed for the Swansea City striker. Bony, 26, is currently on international duty at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, but when he returns to the Premier League in the coming weeks he will likely be part of a title challenge with the Citizens.

[ RELATED: Is Bony a good fit for City? ]

After scoring nine goals in 20 PL games this season, plus being the top PL scorer in 2014 with 20 goals, Bony has proved he can do it in England’s top-flight. At Swansea he is often feeding off scraps but at City he will get numerous chances to score. The thing which stands out about Bony, apart from his superb hold up play and terrific learp in the air, is his ability to stay calm when presented with a chance to score.

Swansea will double their money on the man they signed from Vitesse Arnhem at the start of the 2013-14 season. $42 million will balance all their books and hand Garry Monk a considerable warchest to try and consolidate their position as a top 10 team in the PL. Bony will fit right in at the Etihad Stadium, a City will finally add some depth to their front line with Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and, most importantly, Sergio Aguero back fit and ready to kick on towards a second-straight title.

Tadic finally found his shirt, but whipped it off within minutes to prove a point.


No shirt. No shin guards. No problems. Dusan Tadic, Saints’ match-winner against Manchester United, was ready to jump off the bench in the 63rd minute to replace Eljero Elia. Expect, he wasn’t. Not even close. As the camera panned to Southampton’s bench, Tadic stood there with no jersey and no shin guards, as puzzled looks adorned the faces of Saints’ staff.

[ RELATED: Van Gaal – the best team lost ]

Had Tadic, who has mostly been a starter this season, really forgotten to bring his jersey with him from the locker room? Turns out the Serbian international did, but claims his shirt went missing as somebody, somewhere, may have the wingers shirt. Anyway, he saw the lighter side of the situation as after scoring the winner just minutes after jumping off the bench, Tadic ripped off his shirt and did his best Cristiano Ronaldo impression. With abs like that, why not? He did get a yellow for that celebration, which his manager wasn’t happy about, but Tadic will claim it was worth it.


As you can see in the video above, the U.S. national team’s only outfield player in action in the Premier League this weekend had a rough result as Geoff Cameron and Stoke City were undone by Sanchez and according to Geoff the Potters simply had “a bad day at the office.” Stoke sit in 11th and are seven points above the relegation zone.

[ RELATED: Cameron’s latest blog for PST ]

Elsewhere, Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa lost 1-0 at Midlands rivals Leicester, as the Villains have scored just 12 goals in 21 PL games this season. Manager Paul Lambert is under plenty of pressure, but Guzan believes his manager should not be getting the blame. Jozy Altidore was not on the bench once again for Sunderland, as it seems like the USMNT forward could be heading back to Major League Soccer with Toronto FC the front-runners. However a swap deal with TFC involving Jermain Defoe is believed to be far from being completed as Altidore is stuck in a holding pattern. Tim Howard is still out injured, but his Everton side did hold title-chasing Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. 

Premier League Playback comes out every Monday as PST’s Editor and Lead Writer takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 


Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Premier League injury news, 2022-23 season


Premier League injury news: It’s time to take a look at which players might be unavailable for matchweek 8 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, due to injury.

[ MORE: How to watch the Premier League on NBC ]

Prior to every matchweek this season, we’ll update this Premier League injuries page with the latest news and update, so make sure to check back regularly to see how your favorite — or least-favorite — club is getting on.

Let’s check out the latest Premier League injury news, below.

Arsenal injuries

OUT: Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Mohamed Elneny (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf),, Kieran Tierney (head), Cedric Soares (knock), Reiss Nelson (thigh)

Aston Villa injuries

OUT: Diego Carlos (achilles), Lucas Digne (ankle), Boubacar Kamara (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Matty Cash (hamstring), Cameron Archer (adductor)

Bournemouth injuries

OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)

Brentford injuries

OUT: Christian Norgaard (achilles), Keane Lewis-Potter (knock) | QUESTIONABLE: Ethan Pinnock (knee)

Brighton & Hove Albion injuries

OUT: Jakub Moder (knee), Enock Mwepu (illness) | QUESTIONABLE: Adam Lallana (calf)

Chelsea injuries

QUESTIONABLE: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Edouard Mendy (knee), Marc Cucurella (illness), Carney Chukwuemeka  (illness)

Crystal Palace injuries

OUT:  Jack Butland (hand), Nathan Ferguson (foot), James McArthur (groin) | QUESTIONABLE: James Tomkins (undisclosed)

Everton injuries

OUT: Ben Godfrey (broken leg), Yerry Mina (ankle), Nathan Patterson (ankle), Mason Holgate (knee), Andros Townsend (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (knee)

Fulham injuries

OUT: Harry Wilson (knee), Joao Pahlinha (suspension), Manor Solomon (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (ankle)

Leeds United injuries

OUT: Rodrigo (shoulder), Stuart Dallas (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Adam Forshaw (ankle)

Leicester City injuries

OUT: Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Patson Daka (illness)

Liverpool injuries

OUT: Naby Keita (undisclosed), Curtis Jones (calf), Calvin Ramsay (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Ibrahima Konate (knee), Andrew Robertson (knee), Caoimhin Kelleher (groin)

Manchester City injuries

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United injuries

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

Newcastle United injuries

OUT: Aleksander Isak (leg), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee), Karl Darlow (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Chris Wood (ribs)

Nottingham Forest injuries

OUT: Omar Richards (calf), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Orel Mangala (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Emmanuel Dennis (knock), Morgan Gibbs-White (knock), Scott McKenna (knee)

Southampton injuries

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Romeo Lavia (undisclosed)

Tottenham Hotspur injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Hugo Lloris (quad), Dejan Kulusevski (undisclosed), Ben Davies (knee), Lucas Moura (achilles)

West Ham United injuries

OUT: Nayef Aguerd (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Benjamin Johnson (hamstring)

Wolverhampton Wanderers injuries

OUT: Raul Jimenez (groin), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Nathan Collins (suspension), Chiquinho (knee)

Ever Wonder why Arsenal moved from South to North London?


Our ‘Ever Wonder’ series will run throughout the 2022-23 Premier League season and focuses on key stories behind the history, tradition and culture of all 20 Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Check out our ‘Ever Wonder’ series in full ]

Have you ever sat there and wondered why certain chants became iconic at a club? Why a team has a certain nickname? Why they play in those colors? How they were founded? Yep, us too.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

This season we will be digging deep to tell the stories of the rich history, tradition and culture from around the Premier League and give you the answers to things you want to know more about.

Ever Wonder why Arsenal moved across London?

Based in Woolwich in south east London, the club was originally founded in 1886 as a group of workers from the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory decided to set up a club.

They were originally called Dial Square because of a sun dial atop the entrance to the factory. Seriously.

As for the factory itself, it served the British Army with ammunition and explosives research and 80,000 people worked there during the First World War.

Red jerseys and stadium struggles

Dial Square then became Royal Arsenal and players from Nottingham Forest joined the club, hence the now famous Garibaldi red jerseys which Forest, established 20 years before Arsenal, gave them.

After moving around several stadiums in Plumstead, which was based on the outskirts of London at the time, Arsenal then became Woolwich Arsenal and it stayed that way until 1913.

Struggling financially due to Plumstead being in an isolated area and not easy for people to travel to compared to other London clubs, Woolwich Arsenal were looking for other locations to move to from their Manor Ground home.

Arsenal vs Liverpool at the Manor Ground in Plumstead

Bombing accelerates move

During the suffragettes battle for equality for women in the UK, targeted bombings were carried out at high profile venues.

One such bombing occurred at Arsenal’s home stadium, destroying the grandstand at the Manor Ground in 1913 which would reportedly cost over $1,220 to repair.

With a significant bill to pay to repair the stadium and the club once again teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, the largest shareholder of the consortium who bought the club in 1910, Sir Henry Norris, decided to move the club to Highbury in north London in 1913 after a failed attempt to merge Fulham and Arsenal, the two clubs he was chairman of.

Arsenal moved to Highbury Stadium

Controversial 12-mile move from South to North London approved in 1913

Amid uproar from fans in Woolwich and north London, it still happened and famed stadium architect Archibald Leitch built their home ground at Highbury.

That is when the Arsenal we know today was truly born.

They soon became known as ‘The Arsenal’ in 1914 and then dropped ‘the’ to become known simply as Arsenal in 1919 as football resumed in England following the First World War.

Feud with Tottenham begins

In-between then a feud had already bubbled up with Tottenham. Of course it had.

Arsenal were promoted to the first division at the expense of Tottenham amid huge controversy and after a league vote, Arsenal took Spurs’ place in the first division.

Hence a bitter rivalry was born and Tottenham’s fans like to remind Arsenal to, shall we say, ‘head back to Woolwich, please, because north London is ours.’ The real version is obviously less polite.

The Gunners have never looked back

Financial success, being close to a London Underground station and improved facilities were the main reasons Arsenal moved 12 miles across London to north London in 1913 and it is where they have remained ever since.

London’s most successful team (in terms of the number of major titles and top-flight titles), the decision to move Arsenal across England’s capital city is still bearing fruit over 100 years later.

They’ve come a long way from a team set up in a factory which made explosives for the British Military.

Fantasy Premier League Week 9: Who to captain, top transfer targets


The return of the Premier League from international break brings, as usual, injuries, intrigue, and a load of, “Who’s good at dealing with travel?” to our Fantasy Premier League discussion.

Rather than delve deep into stats that analyze the last part of that, let’s take a look at the first several weeks of the Premier League season and ask: Who’s piling up the points?

[ MORE: Premier League odds, predictions ]

And let’s also look deeper than the obvious answers; Erling Haaland and Gabriel Jesus have been the genuine article for Manchester City and Arsenal, respectively, but who else is consistently dropping decent numbers?

We’ll also ignore some penalty takers, as surely Alexis Mac Allister won’t spend his season heading to the spot with the same regularity he has for Brighton early in it.

Here’s the “All-Fantasy Premier League XI” heading into Week 9, but before that, how about a couple of captain and transfer options?

This week is highlighted by some Bees, who seem to have people forgetting both how unlucky they’ve been and how fortunate their hosts have been in recent weeks…

Add and/or captain Week 9: Ivan Toney, Brentford at Bournemouth, 7.3M

Add, Week 9: David Raya, Brentford at Bournemouth, 4.5M

Add, Week 9: Kyle Walker-Peters, Southampton vs Everton, 4.5M

Add, Week 9: Lucas Paqueta, West Ham vs Wolves, 6.0M

Captain, Week 9: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool vs Brighton, 12.9M

Captain, Week 9: James Maddison, Leicester vs Nottingham Forest, 7.9M


Nick Pope, Newcastle (5.2 million, 38 points): After not facing a single shot in Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Opening Day, the Burnley transfer has made 30 saves over six more matches. He’s twice claimed bonus points


William Saliba, Arsenal (4.9 million, 44 points): Almost as many goals (2) as clean sheets (3) for the CB.

Joao Cancelo, Manchester City (7.2 million, 42 points): A goal, an assist, and three times earning bonus points for his managers.

Kieran Trippier, Newcastle United (5.4 million, 35 points): Same as Cancelo, but with Newcastle.


Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (12.3 million, 45 points): Two matches with multiple goal contributions, the same number as the mere two times he’s been held without one (and one of those was a 21-minute appearance).

Pascal Gross, Brighton (6.0 million, 42 points): Can he keep it up? Seems unlikely, but the midfielder was essentially playing forward for Graham Potter. Will it stay the same under Roberto De Zerbi?

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United (6.6 million, 40 points): Still trading under 7.0 million and listed as a midfielder. Please and thank you.

Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal (6.6 million, 39 points): The quiet gem of Arsenal, he’s showing us why Mikel Arteta kept trotting him out last season.

Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton (5.6 million, 39 points): Pens won’t last forever.

Bernardo Silva, Manchester City (7.0 million, 39 points): And to think he could’ve left for Barcelona…


Erling Haaland, Manchester City (12.0 million, 73 points): An actual monster.

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur (11.4 million, 50 points): Derby day looms.

Ivan Toney, Brentford (7.3 million, 47 points): How long can Brentford hold onto him? A complete center forward.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (6.9 million, 41 points): Can he keep this up in the Premier League as the focal point for Fulham with a stint as Serbia’s focal point in the middle.

Gabriel Jesus (8.0 million, 39 points): His heroics have been well-covered.