PL Sunday preview: Manchester, Tyne-Wear derbies take center stage

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Sunday… bloody Sunday, your slate of Premier League fixtures has us ready to hop in bed right now, call Saturday a day already and wake up at 7 a.m. tomorrow to behold the very definition of “super Sunday.”

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]

Sunderland vs. Newcastle United — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

How does the Tyne-Wear derby sound as a hearty appetizer to that meaty main course a few hours later Sunday? Sam Allardyce became manager of the Black Cats just last week, suffered a grave injustice in his managerial debut, and now faces the hated Magpies still in search of his first win. Oh, and Allardyce’s new side still sits very bottom of the league, on three points from nine games. Ouch.

Then there’s Newcastle, who up until last weekend were level with Sunday’s opponent on that same dreadful points total. That’s when Georginio Wijnaldum went off for four goals against Norwich City to secure the Toon’s first win of the season. Now they’re breathing in that rarefied air of 18th place. Newcastle have lost five straight derbies to their northeast neighbors and are winless in their last seven meetings.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays | Standings | Stats ]

Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

This is the one you’ve been waiting for all week, isn’t it? The league’s highest-scoring side (Man City), versus one of the league’s stingiest defensive units (Man United – second-fewest goals conceded). When these two met last April, it was a 4-2 thrashing by United, who before then hadn’t beaten the “noisy neighbors” in 28 months (four league meetings).

City head into Sunday’s derby an injury-riddled bunch, as they’ll be without Sergio Aguero (hamstring), and any number of David Silva (ankle), Fabian Delph (hamstring) and Samir Nasri (hamstring). Meanwhile, United have a mostly clean bill of health, as Luke Shaw (broken leg) is the only first-team regular scheduled to miss Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford. A win on Sunday could put either side top of the league.

[ MORE: Arsenal beat Everton, go top | Three things we learned ]

Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 10 a.m. ET, on Live Extra

Bournemouth versus Tottenham is quietly a very intriguing matchup of free-flowing, front-foot-playing sides. Eddie Howe’s Cherries subscribe to the “this is the football that got us here, so we’re going to keep playing that way” theory, and they’re truly a joy to watch. On the other hand, Mauricio Pochettino‘s Spurs rank third in the league chances created, though poor finishing has them in the bottom half in terms of goals scored.

The injury list for Bournemouth is long: Callum Wilson, Harry Arter, Lee Elphick, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are all out through long-term injuries, while goalkeeper Artur Boruc‘s status is up in the air for Sunday’s game. It’s only slightly better for Spurs, who’ll be without Nacer Chadli (ankle) for at least a month, Son Heung-min (foot) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) once again on Sunday.

[ MORE: Chelsea lose to West Ham | Blues players “devastated” ]

Liverpool vs. Southampton — 12 p.m. ET, on NBC and Live Extra

Speaking of managers still in search of their first win in a new job, Sunday ends with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool welcoming Southampton to Anfield. Klopp’s debut resulted in a promising scoreless draw against Spurs last weekend, followed by a disappointing draw in the Europa League on Thursday, which means less than two weeks into the job, folks are again asking, “What’s wrong with Liverpool?”

Through nine-plus weeks of the season, no side in the Premier League has scored fewer goals than the Reds’ eight (three other sides have scored eight), so it would seem Klopp faces a tall task in going up against a sound defensive Saints side. Consider, though, the atmosphere inside Anfield on Sunday for Klopp’s home debut (league play), and no scoreline could be considered a surprise. Daniel Sturridge (knee) is a major doubt for Sunday, while Jordan Henderson remains out with a foot injury.

Ighalo nears reported loan extension at Manchester United

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Odion Ighalo may get his wish to continue playing for his favorite club a bit longer.

Shanghai Shenhua is reportedly close to agreeing a loan extension for the Manchester United striker hours before the end of his initial loan to Old Trafford.

[ PREMIER LEAGUE: Remaining schedule | Reaction to return ]

Ighalo turns 31 on June 16 was linked with a Shanghai return earlier this week but has been keen on staying with United. The reported problem is that Shanghai wanted a permanent transfer.

United, understandably, didn’t need that from a striker of his age, especially with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood in the strike corps.

From The Manchester Evening News:

Sources close to the player have said negotiations are continuing between United and Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday but an extended loan deal until January 30 is now “looking most likely”.

That will allow Ighalo to complete the season with United and while the 2020/21 calendar remains up in the air, he will almost certainly spend the first few months of that campaign with the club as well.

Ighalo has fit the bill as a fill-in striker for the Red Devils, who had lost Rashford to injury. He has four goals in eight appearances for United after 46 goals in three seasons abroad.

Shanghai lost more than a bit of its power once United made it clear that it wouldn’t be held hostage over a veteran striker. United has at least one FA Cup match and three more Europa League legs to contend with on top of its PL slate, so any additional veteran savvy will be useful.

LIVE, Bundesliga: Gladbach, Dortmund face desperate Union, Paderborn

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Top four contenders Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund meet relegation-threatened Union Berlin and Paderborn, respectively, as Weeek 29 in the Bundesliga hits Sunday.

Dortmund needs a win to keep pace with presumed champions Bayern Munich, which has a 10-point lead entering Sunday, while Gladbach can climb into third with a win.

[ Bundesliga: Live scores | Saturday roundup | Bayern blowout  ] 

Union opens the day just four points clear of the drop zone, while bottom-dwelling Paderborn has been playing much better but remains nine points back of safety.

Matchweek 29 in the Bundesliga will again see games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

Schedule

  • Gladbach v. Union Berlin — 9:30 a.m. ET
  • Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund — Noon ET

How to Watch the Bundesliga

  • When: Friday, May 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • USMNT or eligible players in action: Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund), Julian Ryerson (Union)

You can check out the full schedulestandings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk with analysis, reaction and more.

[ MORE: Takeaways from Week 28 of the Bundesliga ]

Transfer news: Werner to Chelsea; Sanchez to Inter

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In the latest transfer news Timo Werner is reportedly being chased by Chelsea, while Alexis Sanchez could be staying at Inter Milan instead of returning to Man United.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, a juicy report from Bild says that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is trying to convince his Germany teammate and close friend Timo Werner to join hm at Stamford Bridge.

Werner, 24, has dazzled at RB Leipzig this season (31 goals in 40 games in all competitions) and is widely expected to leave with Liverpool, Man United and many others clubs across Europe chasing his signature. Per the report, Chelsea have Rudiger working hard to convince his friend and former Stuttgart teammate that west London is the place for him.

The release clause on Werner’s current contract is said to be $60 million and Chelsea are one of the few clubs who have a healthy transfer budget as they had a transfer ban for a whole year and Frank Lampard has just spent $44 million on one new signing so far, bringing in Hakim Ziyech who will not arrive until later this summer.

Werner is exactly what Chelsea need. They have created so many golden goalscoring opportunities and although Tammy Abraham was putting them away at the start of the season, his form and fitness was a concern in the last few months before the suspension.

Olivier Giroud is their only other forward option and Werner would be perfect to finish off the chances this attack-minded Chelsea team create. Even better for him, he would actually play at Chelsea which may not be the case at Liverpool and Man United given their stacked attacking lineups.

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Heading to Manchester, it appears Alexis Sanchez may not be going back to his parent club next season.

Sanchez, 31, is on loan at Inter Milan for the 2019-20 season and the Daily Express claim that he could stay at Inter rather than heading back to Old Trafford despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously saying he was open to the idea. Per the report, Man United are keen to loan Sanchez out to Inter once again on a similar arrangement and the Serie A side are willing to see how Sanchez does when the season restarts in a few weeks. With Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and others around at Man United, he may struggle for minutes at Man United.

Would another loan be a good move for Inter?

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been their main strikers this season under Antonio Conte, with Sanchez out injured for large chunks of the campaign and then doing okay when he did play. However, with Martinez chased by Barcelona, if they do sell the Argentine forward for over $115 million, having Sanchez around on loan would soften the blow.

The main problem with Sanchez is that over the last three years he has picked up consistent injury problems. If he can shake those issues off, we all know he is capable of scoring goals and creating havoc. Given this recent track record though, that’s a big if, as he’s scored just one goal and added three assists in 15 outings for Inter this season.

Premier League confirm zero positive COVID-19 test results

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Following the latest batch of tests on players and club staff the Premier League have revealed that zero out of 1130 COVID-19 tests taken on Thursday and Friday have come back positive.

Zero.

The fourth round of testing is the first time that no positive tests have come back, as a total of 3,882 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out with 12 positive results.

All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, as full contact training is now up and running and a restart date of June 17 has been set.

Here is the statement from the Premier League in full:


The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.

The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.

Previous test results

Round 1: 17-18 May – 748 tested, with six testing positive from three clubs.
Round 2: 19-22 May – 996 tested, with two testing positive from two clubs.
Round 3: 25-26 May – 1,008 tested, with four testing positive from two clubs.


This is more good news for the Premier League as the UK government gave the green light for elite sport in the UK to return from June 1 in empty stadiums, as the top-flight of English soccer continues to clear each hurdle in its way to finishing the final 92 games of the 2019-20 season.

With just over two weeks to go until the action returns, Premier League clubs will have to keep these test results low for the restart to take place.