USMNT WCQ: Three keys to three points vs. Trinidad and Tobago

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When the U.S. national team kicks off the second game of its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign Tuesday night, away to Trinidad and Tobago, a stranglehold on the top spot in Group C of CONCACAF’s fourth round will be on the line.

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With both sides taking all three points from their respective WCQ opener Friday night, Tuesday is a chance for either side to create a bit of breathing room — as many as five points between themselves in first, down to third — in their quest to qualify for the Hex next year.

To beat a tough T&T side in Port of Spain, the USMNT will have to be better Tuesday night than they were against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday…

1. Finding a bit of balance in midfield

The shape and balance in midfield, as has been the case for much of Klinsmann’s four-plus years in charge, was all wrong against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It played a huge part in the CONCACAF minnows taking an early 1-0 lead against the USMNT, and continuously reared its head inside the final third as the Yanks attempted to break down an extremely bunkered defense.

Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, while arguably two of the best central midfielders the USMNT has had in a long time, can’t play together, especially as a midfield-two. Neither player is at his best sitting in front of the backline — not that they actually stay put, anyway — nor do they offer much of anything as a dedicated attacking midfielder. In layman’s terms, they’re the same player — box-to-box aggressors with unbelievable engines — much like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were for England. We all remember how that worked out, right?

Operating under the (fairly safe) assumption that Jurgen Klinsmann will opt to bring an extra midfielder into the team on Tuesday, Bradley will once again be shoehorned into the no. 10 role, a la the 2014 World Cup; Jones will charge up and down the field leaving avenues for counter attacks exposed all game long; and (most likely) Kyle Beckerman will either put in a gargantuan performance cleaning up said mess, or run himself into the ground trying to do so. Wash, rinse, repeat.

[ MORE: Klinsmann laughs off criticism — “It’s immature” ]

2. Establishing possession with (probably) a lone striker

Operating under that assumption of a three-man midfield means dropping a forward to the bench and playing with a lone striker — most likely Jozy Altidore. (Again, wash, rinse, repeat.) So often when the USMNT opts to play with a lone striker — whether against hugely superior competition, or away to a lesser foe — the result is lots of sideways and backwards passing in the midfield, and an alarmingly low passing percentage into the final third.

That means lots of turnovers are committed in the middle third, near the halfway line, which lends itself extremely well to opponents breaking quickly on the counter. (See, for reference: World Cup, 2014; Gold Cup, 2015) Points no. 1 and 2 are closely related, as the presence of a more natural attacking midfielder, one who fills the gap between the two lines and rescues Altidore from his proverbial island, seems the easiest solution.

Then again, none of the players who thrive in such a role — Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan and/or Lee Nguyen — have been called into camp more than a handful of times, combined, during Klinsmann’s tenure. Darlington Nagbe is the player best suited to play at the top of the midfield three, but away in CONCACAF isn’t exactly the easiest place for a player to make his full international debut.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up vs. T&T? ]

3. Weathering the inevitable storm while playing away in CONCACAF

For the above stated reasons, and the simple fact that winning away in CONCACAF is an extremely tall task, there will be rough patches Tuesday night. They might even last 10, 15 or 20 minutes at a time, or longer. Trinidad and Tobago are no slouches, their Gold Cup showing this summer our best supporting evidence.

While the likes of Bradley, Jones, Altidore and Matt Besler have navigated the treacheries of CONCACAF before, the likes of Gyasi Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin, and other youngsters — Nagbe, Matt Miazga, Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris — haven’t done so.

Tuesday’s qualifier in Port of Spain is easily the biggest test of the USMNT’s 2018 World Cup qualifying adventure thus far. It’s a winnable game, for sure, but also one that will require much improvement on anything we’ve seen the USMNT do the last six months.

Bournemouth vs Brentford: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Bournemouth vs Brentford: The mid-table Cherries will try to make it four games unbeaten when they host the top-half Bees at Vitality Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 10 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE BOURNEMOUTH vs BRENTFORD

Draws with Wolves and Newcastle, bookending a victory over Nottingham Forest, and suddenly Bournemouth’s future isn’t looking as dire as it did after a 9-0 defeat to Liverpool led to Scott Parker’s dismissal as manger. Gary O’Neil remains in charge on an interim basis, as the positive results make it tougher and tougher to replace him.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Bournemouth vs Brentford

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Bournemouth vs Brentford live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Brentford sitting 9th in the Premier League table, even after only seven games, is no small achievement for a tiny club that only made its PL debut a year ago. They look like they belong in the top half of the table as well, with their 15 goals scored bested by only Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal — the top three sides in the league heading into matchweek 8. Ivan Toney is back to his goal-scoring best with five in seven games, chipping in a pair of assists as well as he continues to prove himself a complete player at the top level.

Bournemouth are trying to replicate Brentford’s top-flight success after returning to the Premier League this season. Without a star center forward like Toney (six goals scored, 4th-fewest in the PL), the Cherries will frequently look to grind out results by keeping clean sheets, only their defensive record (19 conceded in seven games) runs to the contrary.


Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup options

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

Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options

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

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Premier League injury news, 2022-23 season

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

Aston Villa injuries

OUT: Diego Carlos (achilles), Matty Cash (hamstring), Lucas Digne (ankle), Boubacar Kamara (knee)

Bournemouth injuries

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

Brentford injuries

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

Brighton & Hove Albion injuries

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

Chelsea injuries

QUESTIONABLE: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Edouard Mendy (knee)

Crystal Palace injuries

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

Everton injuries

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

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)

Leicester City injuries

OUT: Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Wilfried Ndidi (knock), 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), Anthony Martial (achilles), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Marcus Rashford (thigh), Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

Newcastle United injuries

OUT: Aleksander Isak (leg), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Emil Krafth (knee), Karl Darlow (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Bruno Guimaraes (thigh), Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Callum Wilson (thigh), Chris Wood (ribs), Elliott Anderson (knock)

Nottingham Forest injuries

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

Southampton injuries

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

Tottenham Hotspur injuries

OUT: Lucas Moura (achilles) | QUESTIONABLE: Hugo Lloris (quad), Ben Davies (knee)

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) | QUESTIONABLE: Diego Costa (undisclosed)

Fulham vs Newcastle: How to watch, live stream link, team news

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Fulham and Newcastle United look set to entertain when Aleksandar Mitrovic entertains his old mates for a Saturday morning tilt at Craven Cottage on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Peacock Premium).

STREAM LIVE FULHAM vs NEWCASTLE

The Magpies are injury-hit but Eddie Howe has enjoyed pushing for offense and has largely found chances regardless of who’s been on the field, while Marco Silva’s Cottagers are healthy and have been on the front foot as often as possible during their Premier League return.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Fulham vs Newcastle.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Fulham vs Newcastle live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel/Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Somewhere in the multiverse, Mitrovic’s tied for the Golden Boot lead because Erling Haaland is an actual superhero. The Fulham man has six goals to tie Harry Kane five behind Man City’s prolific Norwegian hitman. Kenny Tete’s assisted three of those goals, and Tete’s also top six in tackles. Teammate Joao Palhinha is first.

Newcastle, meanwhile, is dealing with a ridiculous amount of injuries to key players, as Bruno Guimares, Chris Wood, and Alexander Isak were both hurt on international break to join Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin as walking wounded attackers.


Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (ankle) OUT: Palhinha (suspended), Manor Solomn (knee), Harry Wilson (knee)

Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Chris Wood (chest), Callum Wilson (thigh), Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh), Bruno Guimares (thigh), Elliott Anderson (undisclosed). OUT: Alexander Isak (other), Emil Krafth (ACL),

Liverpool vs Brighton: How to watch, live stream link, team news

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Liverpool plays its first Premier League match in 25 days when high-flying Brighton and Hove Albion debut a new manager as visitors at Anfield on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Peacock Premium).

Roberto De Zerbi takes the wheel for the Seagulls following Graham Potter’s move to Chelsea, and Brighton will be staging its first match since a 5-2 demolition of Leicester City on Sept. 4.

STREAM LIVE LIVERPOOL vs BRIGHTON

That was one day after Liverpool drew Everton 0-0 at Goodison Park in a Merseyside derby that came on the heels of back-to-back wins for Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Liverpool’s currently four points back of fourth-place Brighton; Both clubs have played six matches, one fewer than 14 other Premier League sides.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs Brighton.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Liverpool vs Brighton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel/Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Is Liverpool ready to turn chances into goals at a more familiar rate? The Reds’ expected goal total for this season is close to leaders Manchester City and Arsenal but its actual goal production is fifth and somewhat-inflated by their nine-goal beatdown of Bournemouth previously this season.

Brighton, meanwhile, has to show that it’s getting a handle on life after Graham Potter, as De Zerbi’s credentials say things might not look too different. The former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk boss craves possession in his teams and delivers chances as a boss in the manner you’d expect from a former attacking midfielder.


Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Caoimhin Kelleher (groin), Ibrahima Konate (knee), Andrew Robertson (knee). OUT: Calvin Ramsay (lower back), Curtis Jones (tibia), Ibrahima Konate (knee), Naby Keita (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (thigh).

Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Enock Mwepu (illness). OUT: Jakub Moder (knee), Adam Lallana (lower leg)