Southampton sign Charlie Austin in bargain transfer


Southampton have pulled off a major transfer coup.

Charlie Austin, 26, has joined the Saints from Queens Park Rangers for a fee believed to be in the region of $6.5 million with the striker only having six months left on his deal with the R’s.

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Austin — whose remarkable rise has seen him work his way up from the semi-pro scene to the lower leagues and then enjoy a breakout first season in the Premier League last year — has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with Southampton and he will join up with his new team next week.

The man who scored 18 goals during his debut season in the PL, which culminated in a call up to the English national team last summer, has been playing for QPR in the second-tier this season but it was always likely he’d leave in the January transfer window as the club looked to cash in rather than losing Austin for nothing in the summer.

Speaking to Southampton’s website, Austin revealed why he chose to play out the prime of his career at St Mary’s.

“I’m delighted to have got it over the line so soon into January. I can’t wait to get started now. As soon as Southampton showed an interest that was the one club I wanted to go to,” Austin said. “You see the progression from when I was playing against Southampton for Swindon. For me, it was important to come to a club that’s on the up and that’s what I’ve got here.”

Austin only became a pro in 2009 and yours truly remembers marking him in a preseason friendly at Poole Town once upon a time. Memories.

With Southampton already possessing Graziano Pelle and Shane Long up front, plus Jay Rodriguez currently making his latest comeback from injury, Austin’s arrival will give Ronald Koeman plenty of options in attack but rumors have been rife that Long may be heading to Liverpool as part of Austin’s arrival.

Regardless, goals have been an issue in the PL for Southampton this season, with Pelle their top scorer on six, so adding Austin is a smart move and during his days in League One and the Championship he often scored against Saints and became somewhat of a bogey player for the South Coast club. At least now he’s on their side.

Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, West Ham United, plus more recently Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, have all shown plenty of interest in the former bricklayer turned pro, but Saints have pounced to snap up the predatory striker for a bargain.

USMNT manager search: Sporting director timeline, coach candidates


Oh, to be back discussing whether Gregg Berhalter was calling the best players into camp again! Oh, to be living in a world where team moms and dads hadn’t threatened retribution on the coach of the United States men’s national team for not playing their child enough. At a World Cup.

No, we cannot go back in time and undo the Reyna family-prodded investigation of Berhalter’s college years, the news that led to his contract running down and Anthony Hudson being installed as interim boss while director Earnie Stewart and general manager Brian McBride stepped down from their positions.

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But we can hope to the program is well on its way to a new coach as the program looks hard at its preparation for the 2026 World Cup set to be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Alas, before the USMNT can have a permanent head coach — whether new or not — the federation needs a new sporting director. Yes, It’s a time of upheaval at U.S. Soccer, whether Christian Pulisic, the team, and all of us like it or not.

Here’s what you need to know about the process of determining the next USMNT coach.

USMNT coaching search: Timeline, candidates

So, you might ask, what’s taking so long?

Well, there are i’s to dot and t’s to cross as the United States Soccer Federation makes sure it gets the right person in place for the future.

Stewart’s Feb. 15 departure for PSV Eindhoven was a good progression for the well-respected leader, who was previously technical director of NAC Breda and the director of football affairs for AZ Alkmaar.

That exit is a bit of a celebration for the Stewart family and an endorsement of the man hired by the USMNT years ago, but now means that any successor knows they take the helm of a federation with plenty of controversy inside a talented generation that did, remember, just reach the World Cup knockout rounds.

U.S. Soccer has hired a group called Sportsology to advise their sporting director search and conduct a “full review of U.S. Soccer’s sporting department. If you’re wondering what Sportsology is, here’s how the USSF describes the group:

“Sportsology Group specializes in providing premium knowledge, insight, strategic advisory and operational support to franchise owners, global leagues and federations. Sportsology will work together with U.S. Soccer leadership to take a holistic look at U.S. Soccer’s entire sporting department. The goal is to make sure U.S. Soccer’s sporting department is well-positioned to realize its vision for the future and support its ambitions during this pivotal time for the sport in the United States.”

Sportsology was started by former Chelsea director Mike Forde, who serves as executive chairman, and he’s aided by head of advisory services Joel Cohen, who Sportsology says has “worked intensively with major European football clubs, NBA, and NHL franchises,” and special projects director Chris Mann.

U.S. Soccer has announced that CEO JT Batson would oversee the leadership group once Stewart left for the Netherlands, and listed the following group members:

  • Kate Markgraf, USWNT General Manager
  • Barry Pauwels, Senior Director of Technical Development
  • Elaine Lemos, Director of Sporting Operations
  • Tom King, Managing Director of Administration
  • Rick Cost, Director of High Performance
  • Dan Russell, Senior Director of Sport Development
  • George Chiampas, Chief Medical Officer

The searches for the sporting director — Oguchi Onyewu has been linked — and head coach are being run concurrently, but the sporting director will eventually choose the head coach. Got it? Good.

USMNT coaching candidates

Gregg Berhalter: Led the USMNT into the 2022 World Cup’s Round of 16, where it fell 3-1 to the Netherlands.

Jim Curtin: Longtime Philadelphia Union head coach has done a remarkable job shapeshifting the MLS club into an MLS power.

Jesse Marsch: Fired by Leeds United this winter, the notably emotive manager has had success in Europe with Red Bull Salzburg as well as in MLS with New York Red Bulls.

Thierry Henry: Former Belgium assistant and current domestic broadcaster — oh, he’s also one of the best to ever strike a ball — has been linked with taking the reins of USMNT.

Patrick Vieira: His recent firing by Crystal Palace and status as a respected MLS boss from his time at NYCFC makes him an intriguing late addition to the list.

Jose Mourinho: Currently doing quite well at AS Roma on several fronts, we all know that Mourinho rarely lasts long at a given stop.

Marcelo Bielsa: You want intensity and attention to detail? The former Leeds boss sure would be a splashy hire for the USMNT.

Steve Cherundolo: The original Captain America, Cherundolo is respected around the world and has shined inside of longtime club Hannover 96 in Germany. He led LAFC to the Supporters’ Shield last season.

Gabriel Jesus eager to lead Arsenal in final push for title


LONDON — Gabriel Jesus received a standing ovation when he came off the bench in the second half of Arsenal’s win against Crystal Palace and knows he is truly loved.

“So good. They have always been with me,” Gabriel Jesus smiled when ProSoccerTalk asked about the support from the fans. “They help me, push me. The way they did it last Sunday against Fulham it was amazing. I will never forget that. All I want is to give them something back on the pitch. Maybe the next game. I hope a lot.”

Arsenal are running out of ‘next games’ this season and have on hand hovering over the Premier League trophy.

With 10 games to go they sit eight points clear atop the table and the return of their talismanic Brazilian striker from a near four-month injury layoff has given the Gunners a perfect boost ahead of the run-in.

Leading from the front, even on the sidelines

For so long the doubts around Arsenal’s unlikely title bid were all about how they would cope without Gabriel Jesus, a four-time Premier League winner with Manchester City.

He has yet to score in his three appearances in all competitions since returning but (even before the injury) he represents much more than goals.

“It is very good to be back. It is not easy to be out long and have a very, very bad injury. Now I’m back I am fully fit. At the same time I am so happy because the team are doing good to keep the distance to the second,” Jesus said.

“I want to be involved. I was injured but in my mind I was involved. I need to talk, to try to help them with something like talking, or seeing the games. That is why. Always together. Everyone.”

Jesus a total team player

As well as helping the team off the pitch, his play on it helps Arsenal’s other attackers come to life and he has already slotted back in seamlessly.

Jesus admitted he suffered “a lot” while he was out but he’s been helping as much as he can behind-the-scenes and is delighted both Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard have stepped up to boost Arsenal’s attacking options in his absence.

“The team are doing so good. Everybody here is together. When I was getting fit we were sure Eddie can go there and help us and he did it. Trossard came and did it as well. Everyone is together. To be champions of this big, big competition we don’t need only 11 players,” Jesus explained.

He also explained that he has always been watching videos of his games, focusing on the goals he has scored, the chances he has missed and always striving to get better. That dedicated seems to have seeped into his teammates and fans love the extreme dedication of Gabriel Jesus.

Entire squad ready for the run-in

The atmosphere around the Emirates was buzzing throughout their routine win against Crystal Palace as back-up players like Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney, Jakub Kiwior, Emile Smith Rowe and Jorginho all featured as injuries to William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu stretch the squad to its limits but the likes of Reiss Nelson and Fabio Vieira are still in reserve.

The fans, players and staff are together as one and Jesus is happy to be entering the business end of the season with this group as he was asked about Mikel Arteta referring to Arsenal as a ‘family’ unit.

“I believe when you have a good relationship with your teammates everything on the pitch works well. We are top of the league, we are playing good football, we are understanding each other. It is very good to be a family,” Jesus said.

“Now is the best part of the season. End of the season when you have deciding games, big games away and at home. Now is the time we have to play the same, don’t change, still together.”

Jesus is a focused, serious, dedicated individual and the perfect role model for this young Arsenal side. He and Oleksandr Zinchenko have been serial winners at Manchester City in bit-part roles but in their first season at Arsenal they are now thriving as key men in this unlikely title push.

“I think the most important thing is my mind. I keep focused and then come back fully fit,” Jesus said.

Arsenal are glad he’s back fit to further boost their title hopes and the role Jesus has played off the pitch over the last four months could be just as important as his play on it as this young Gunners outfit are still the team to catch.

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.

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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 GM (Brian McBride) and Sporting Director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months.

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for 2023, with plenty more games to be added based on their potential 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 — St. George’s, Grenada
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Orlando, Florida
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details 

2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 (USMNT yet to qualify)

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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Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

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After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.

Now we are approaching the final few months of the campaign, it is so tight up and down the Premier League table.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

As we head into the final months of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest and although Manchester United briefly surged into the picture, they look more likely to cement their spot as the third best team in the Premier League.

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The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

What about the top four and European places?

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle and for the moment have hunted down Newcastle, while Liverpool is back in the Champions League picture after their return to form and Chelsea looks like a top six finish is their ceiling. For now.

Surprising Fulham, Brentford, and Brighton are all hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns. Can one of them surprise and qualify for Europe?

Who are the candidates for relegation?

Southampton, West Ham, and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table.

Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Wolves, Leeds, Everton and Crystal Palace all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three as the race to stay in the Premier League intensifies. This could be the craziest relegation scrap in Premier League history.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.

Premier League table – March 19

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard

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