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.

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.