Week 7: Top Premier League storylines – Chelsea’s resurgence, Liverpool pressure

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Things are starting to heat up and the standings are starting to shake out. The early-season excuses are over in the Premier League as we enter Week 7.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With three teams still searching for their first win, reigning champs Chelsea finding some form and other giants faltering, we have a lot to look out for in the 10 games coming your way.

Here’s five things to focus in on this weekend.

Chelsea aim to end St James’ Park hoodoo under Mourinho

Believe it or not, Jose Mourinho has never led Chelsea to victory at St James’ Park. There’s something about the roar of over 51,000 Geordies which strikes fear in those wearing blue and now, more than ever, Newcastle’s players need a huge helping hand from their fans as the reigning PL champs roll into town on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra). New manager Steve McClaren is still searching for his first win as Magpies boss and admitted his side is “close to crisis” following their League Cup defeat to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Talking about crisis, Chelsea have shown signs of getting through theirs as they beat Arsenal 2-0 last weekend and hammered Walsall in the League Cup. Diego Costa‘s three-match retrospective ban for flailing his arms at Laurent Koscielny has not sat well with Mourinho, especially after Arsenal’s Gabriel had his red card rescinded following his clash with Costa. Chelsea will miss Costa on Saturday in the fiery cauldron of St James’ but it is time for Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy to step up and score the goals which will continue Chelsea’s resurgence.

Pressure mounting on Rodgers

Liverpool squeaked past fourth-tier Carlisle at Anfield in the League Cup in midweek and the Reds fielded an incredibly strong side for what should have been a cakewalk. That points to problems for Brendan Rodgers as his side look devoid of confidence in attack and have score just five times in six league outings this season. Rodgers is the bookies’ favorite to get fired first out of all 20 PL managers and if the Reds lose at home to Aston Villa on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra) expect that pressure to crank up. True, Rodgers can’t be expected to work miracles as players like Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling have left, but he has spent over $300 million on new signings over the past 18 months and, in truth, many have failed to live up to the expectations.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Talking of pressure, Tim Sherwood isn’t on a much longer leash at Aston Villa. After selling Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph this summer, Sherwood is in a similar situation to Rodgers, but with no win in five since the opening day of the season, Villa look likely to be in another relegation battle. Two teams low in confidence will clash at Anfield. Expect a nervy and close encounter.

Can City bounce back away at Spurs?

Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League standings was cut to two points last week as they suffered a shock home defeat to West Ham. Manuel Pellegrini‘s men looked unstoppable until last week. Winning their first five PL games of the season without conceding a goal, they first lost to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League after a late collapse, then came the shock loss to the Hammers. Pellegrini’s men ripped open Sunderland in the League Cup this week, winning 4-1 as Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero all got on the scoresheet. The Citizens, on paper, will be wary of this trip to Spurs on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) and if they lose to Mauricio Pochettino‘s side and Manchester United beat Sunderland, the Red Devils will replace them at the PL’s summit. Spurs, who lost to North London rivals Arsenal in the League Cup, have won two-straight in the PL but have struggled for goals this season as Harry Kane‘s drought continues.

Foxes aim to stay unbeaten as Arsenal come to town

Claudio Ranieri is fostering something special at the King Power Stadium. Leicester is the only unbeaten team left in the PL and in their last two games they’ve fought back from 2-0 goals down to grab four points from losing positions. The veteran Italian manager hasn’t changed much, as over the summer the Foxes have ridden their wide of euphoria from last season’s incredible escape from the relegation zone. With Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy ready to exploit weaknesses in Arsenal’s defense, and the home fans fired up to welcome the Gunners, this will not be an easy game for Arsene Wenger‘s side on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on USA Network and online via Live Extra). The Gunners showed grit and determination in their 2-1 League Cup win over Spurs in midweek and they will need plenty of that to get past Ranieri’s side. 

Saints, Swans ready to take next step

When you mention either Southampton or Swansea City, most people have positive thoughts. Both clubs have been promoted to the PL in recent years and have finished in the top 10 after building their squads shrewdly yet still retaining their loyalty to players from their journey up the pyramid to the top-flight. Saints and Swansea finished in seventh and eighth respectively last season and the challenge for them now is, despite selling star players once again, they must try to kick on further and finish in the top six. That will not be easy but in Ronald Koeman and Garry Monk they possess two managers both getting plenty of plaudits. Koeman is older, wiser and has worked wonders at Saints as they have offload star talent and bolstered the squad considerably. 

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

As for Monk, his swift promotion to manager at the Liberty Stadium while his modest playing career (compared to Koeman’s anyway) wasn’t even officially over has brought out the best in him. Swansea started the season impressively but have failed to score in their last two games and lost at Watford last weekend and away at second-tier Hull in the League Cup. Southampton had a slow start and crashed out of the Europa League at the final qualifying hurdle, but after smashing six past MK Dons in League Cup play and putting up a strong offensive showing against Manchester United last week in a 3-2 defeat, Koeman’s boys are starting to gather some steam. Both clubs are perfect models of how to build success from the bottom up off the pitch. On the pitch the last three meetings have ended in 1-0 wins for the away side to show how tight things are between them on the pitch. 

USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup


After reaching the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT have a big 2023 coming up as they aim to build off a successful showing on the world’s biggest stage.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson takes temporary charge and both the general manager (Brian McBride) and sporting director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months.

[ MORE: USMNT roster for Nations League features Gio Reyna, no Tyler Adams ]

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for 2023, with plenty more games to be added based on their qualification for the 2023 Gold Cup on home soil. 

How to watch USMNT

TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español:
Universo, Telemundo Deportes
Streaming en Español: Peacock

USMNT upcoming schedule

* Friendly | ** CONCACAF Nations League | *** 2022 World Cup


vs. Serbia* — Jan. 25, 10 pm ET — Loss 2-1 | Recap & highlights
vs. Colombia* — Jan. 28, 7:30 pm ET — Draw 0-0 | Recap & highlights
at Grenada** — March 24, 8 pm ET — Won 7-1 | Recap & highlights + Player ratings
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Won 1-0 | Recap & highlights
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details

2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 (USMNT has qualified)

USMNT games in 2022

vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0

USMNT at 2022 World Cup

Group B
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0

Last 16
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1

USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis

at El Salvador — Sept. 2Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1

vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1

vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1

vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0

at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0 
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2 

Final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings

Canada — 28 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +16 – automatic qualification
Mexico — 28 points (QUALIFIED) GD +9 – automatic qualification
USMNT — 25 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +11 – automatic qualification

Costa Rica — 25 points (PLAYOFF) GD +5

Panama — 21 points (ELIMINATED)
Jamaica — 14 points (ELIMINATED)
El Salvador — 10 points (ELIMINATED)
Honduras — 4 points (ELIMINATED)

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Pepi scores again as USMNT beats El Salvador to win Nations League group


The USMNT got another goal from Ricardo Pepi to secure a 1-0 victory over El Salvador in Orlando on Monday and win Group D of the CONCACAF Nations League, booking their place in this summer’s finals.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings vs Grenada | Recap/highlights ]

Mexico and the USMNT are the first two (of four) sides through to the final round, with Panama and Canada currently in pole position to finish atop their respective groups when they conclude play on Tuesday.

It was a frustratingly slow start by the USMNT on Monday, as El Salvador refused to let the Americas get comfortable or play their game. Long balls over the top of the USMNT defense created a few nervy moments early on, but interim head coach Anthony Hudson’s side looked a completely different side after halftime.

The USMNT’s first real scoring chance came in the 46th minute, when Gio Reyna cut in from the left wing, worked his way past two defenders and fired a shot low and hard toward the near post. The ball smashed the front of the post and the rebound ricocheted back into play, just out of Alejandro Zendejas’ reach atop the six-yard box.

[ MORE: Folarin Balogun to USMNT? “It’s something that will come to me”

Zendejas went close to opening the scoring just two minutes later, as he audaciously — but necessarily — lobbed the ball over a frazzled Mario Gonzalez in goal, only to pull it just wide of the far post.

The Yanks kept the pressure up as the second half wore on, and eventually got their reward in the 62nd minute. A minute after Pepi came into the game, Weston McKennie found the 20-year-old forward making a dangerous run in behind the Salvadoran defense, but Gonzalez saw it early as well and came out to close down his angles as Pepi jostled with the last defender. Pepi went for the cheeky chip over the ‘keeper, to go with the two goals he scored against Grenada on Friday.

How to watch USMNT vs El Salvador live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30pm ET
Stadium: Exploria Stadium – Orlando, Florida
TV in English: TNT
TV/streaming en Español: Universo/Peacock

[ LIVE: CONCACAF Nations League scores – USMNT vs El Salvador ]

USMNT squad

Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders (8): Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City)

Midfielders (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Sonora (Juarez), Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar)

Forwards (6): Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America)

Report: USMNT, Leeds star Tyler Adams set for lengthy spell out


Leeds United have suffered a huge blow as USMNT star Tyler Adams will reportedly have surgery on his hamstring.

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Tyler Adams, 24, missed Leeds’ 4-2 win at Wolves before the international break due to a hamstring problem and The Athletic are reporting the issue is bigger than initially expected.

Per the report, Adams will undergo surgery on his hamstring and Leeds are “in the process of establishing the exact length of Adams’ time out” and add that he is expected to miss a larger chunk of the crucial run-in as they scrap to stay in the Premier League.

Add in losing Wilfried Gnonto and Max Wober to injury in recent days, Javi Gracia will be a worried man as Leeds are losing key players.

How big of a problem is this for Leeds?

Ask any Leeds fans how important Tyler Adams has been this season and they will tell you perhaps only Illan Meslier has had a better season for them.

Javi Gracia’s side sit two points above the relegation zone with 11 games of the season to go but not having the heartbeat of their midfield available for most of the rest of the season (which looks likely at this point) is going to be a huge blow.

Adams is essential to Leeds setting the tempo, pressing high and adding defensive solidity. This season he has been key in helping them become a much sturdier team compared to their previous two Premier League campaigns and the American has caught the eye with his composed, all-action displays.

McKennie the answer?

Now he’s out, it is down to Marc Roca and Adams’ USMNT teammate and close friend Weston McKennie to hold the fort.

McKennie is a different type of player to Adams but is getting up to speed with the defensive work needed in the Premier League but he also offers a little more offensive creativity and drive from midfield.

USMNT midfielder McKennie recently spoke with reporters while on national team duty and mentioned this when speaking about his partnership with Adams in midfield:  “Devastating what happened… Obviously we will have to see what happens moving forward but hopefully he recovers quickly and he get back with us soon.”

Leeds will miss Adams but Roca and McKennie have shown they are more then capable of steadying things in the engine room and perhaps McKennie’s deeper role could even help Leeds push on more and create chances in attack? That is something they’ve struggled with in recent months and is why they are battling against the drop.

In short: Adams missing a big chunk of time is not good news for Leeds.

Erling Haaland injury update: Man City star leaves Norway squad


Manchester City star Erling Haaland left the Norway squad during the international break after suffering a groin injury.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Haaland, 22, joined up with Norway for their EURO 2024 qualifiers but has been sent back to Manchester City for treatment.

The Norwegian striker has been in stunning form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last three games in all competitions for City (including five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a hat trick against Burnley in the FA Cup) before the break.

He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.

However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.

What is the latest update?

Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, gave an update on Haaland’s injury.

“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”

Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.

Which games could he miss?

After the international break Man City are playing in the first game of the weekend as they host Liverpool on Saturday, Apr. 1 at the Etihad Stadium.

It seems like Haaland could be struggling to be fully fit for that game, and maybe even the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, so Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.

Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage. Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.