Will Infantino bring change to FIFA? Here’s what he wants to do

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Gianni Infantino is the new president of FIFA and the Swiss official is planning some big changes.

Infantino, 45, surprisingly defeated heavy favorite Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa in the second round of the presidential vote at FIFA’s extraordinary congress in Zurich on Friday and now his main task is to clean up the organization’s reputation.

[ MORE: Infantino elected new president ]

With ongoing investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities into widespread allegations of corruption, that will be no mean feat but it feels like FIFA’s members have got this one right.

Infantino has worked at UEFA for the past 15 years and has risen from being known as the man who conducts UEFA draws to the most powerful man in world soccer. Some questions have been raised regarding his close relationship with Michel Platini who has been banned by FIFA for six years, along with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, after a private payment was made between the duo. But Infantino has passed all of the required checks — he entered the presidential race pretty late on as a replacement for Platini as UEFA’s candidate — and is regarded as a straight-laced individual who can usher in real change.

Recently he embarked on a tireless tour of the globe, visiting over 70 nations and getting star names such as Jose Mourinho, Fabio Capello and Luis Figo to endorse his bid to try and gain as much support as possible. The late push worked. Big time.

So what will the now former General Secretary of UEFA bring to the party?

[ MORE: FIFA approves landmark reforms

Well, a key part of his final speech on Friday — which lasted for less than 15 minutes as he spoke in several different languages and appealed to nations across the globe — was emphasizing that he’d give FIFA’s money back to the member nations. That was warmly applauded and a very smart move.

“The money of FIFA is for the development of football and nothing else,” Infantino said. “This is what we have to do.”

He also seemed up for the challenge of bringing nations together and understood that smaller and bigger soccer countries need different kinds of help from the governing body.

Infantino also acknowledged FIFA’s current issues — of which there are many following decades of corruption — which  is a good place to start and he stated: “When the situation is difficult, my friends, you have two choices. You hide or you stand up. For me, to hide has never been an option.”

Now he’s not hiding. He’s sitting front and center and will aim to restore respect for FIFA with his humble manner and obvious business nous which has helped turn UEFA into a juggernaut, financially, with both the Champions League and European Championships becoming huge tournaments in world soccer under his stewardship.

In his victory speech in front of the 209 member nations, Infantino promised to bring back respect through hard work and commitment. He is saying all the right things and seems to be up for the challenge in leading real change amid the wide-ranging reforms that were rubber-stamped and will become new laws in 60 days time.

“I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new era of FIFA where we can put again football at the center of the stage,” Infantino said. “FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency. We also need to have respect. We’re going to win back this respect through hard work, commitment and we’re going to make sure we can finally focus on this wonderful game that is football.”

Here’s a look at the main points of Infantino’s manifesto, as the new president has plenty of work to get stuck into but we can expect him to be working on these key issues:

  • 40-team World Cup tournament shared between co-hosts
  • Give back 50 percent of revenue directly to members
  • Each federation offered $5 million for development projects and ongoing programs, plus $1 million for travel expenses
  • Each confederation to receive $40 million for development projects, plus $4 million for assistance in organizing age-group tournaments
  • Publish salaries of FIFA executives (Part of new reforms)
  • 12-year term limits for Presidents (Part of new reforms)
  • Legends team to travel the world

Arsenal ease past bitter rivals Tottenham, stay top of the Premier League

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Arsenal surged past bitter rivals Tottenham to remain top of the Premier League table as they also took the bragging rights in north London.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Thomas Partey curled home a beauty to put Arsenal ahead but Harry Kane equalized from the penalty spot in the first half.

The Gunners stepped on the accelerator in the second half as Gabriel Jesus put them ahead and Granit Xhaka slotted home a third just after Emerson Royal had been sent off.

With the victory, their seventh from their opening eight games, Arsenal move on to 21 point for the season and are now four points ahead of Tottenham who suffered their first defeat of the campaign.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY


What we learned from Arsenal vs Tottenham

Partey, Zinchenko underline importance: After missing the last few games through injury, this display summed up how important Partey and Zinchenko are to Arsenal. Partey broke up play masterfully and never allowed Spurs to dictate the tempo of the game. Zinchenko’s runs into midfield from left back bamboozled Spurs and his tactical flexibility and calmness on the ball is a joy to watch. Their leadership flows through every part of this team and when everyone is fit, this is a very balanced, young, exciting squad.

Statement win sums up steady progress: There is something special brewing at Arsenal. This run of wins to start the season should surprise nobody. After spending wisely on quality players this summer, this finally feels like Mikel Arteta’s side and it has felt that way since day one of preseason. Even after the disappointment of just missing out on Champions League qualification to Tottenham at the end of last season, Arsenal were heading in the right direction. They have been for some time and this start to the season will give them the confidence and belief they can fight for trophies and maybe, just maybe, have an outside chance of challenging for the title.

Clunky, unbalanced Spurs still yet to hit their stride: Even though Spurs went into this game as one of only two unbeaten teams in the Premier League so far this season, they haven’t played that well. They are clunky in possession, lack creativity in the final third and have relied on Kane, Son and Richarlison to finish off chances on the counter. That tactics clicked in a few times but with that trio starting together from the off, the balance just wasn’t right and Conte’s side couldn’t keep the ball well enough or link together in the final third. The good news is Spurs have still had a decent start to the season without hitting their stride at all. Emerson Royal’s sending off was a little harsh but Spurs deserved nothing from this game as Conte is still trying to get the balance right.


Tactical focus

This game perfectly summed up the playing style of both of these teams. Arteta’s Arsenal kept the ball well, rotated through midfield and Zinchenko slotted inside to give them a one-man advantage in the engine room and they dominated most of this game. Spurs were dangerous on the counter, as always, but starting Son, Kane and Richarlison together impacted the balance of Conte’s side and they were overrun in midfield by Xhaka and Partey.

 [ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]


Stars of the show

Oleksandr Zinchenko: Fired up from the very start and he’s so good on the ball and his movements into midfield helped Arsenal stay on top for large periods.

Bukayo Saka: Brilliant run and shot to set up the second goal and went close on a few other occasions. He gave Clement Lenglet a tough time.

Granit Xhaka: Scored the third goal and alongside Partey, they won the ball back so many times. What a resurgence he’s having.


What’s next?

Arsenal host Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday before welcoming Liverpool to the Emirates for a huge clash next Sunday, Oct. 9. Tottenham are away at Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and then travel to Brighton on Saturday, Oct. 8.


How to watch Arsenal vs Tottenham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Arsenal vs Tottenham live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright at the Emirates Stadium

FULL TIME: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham. Dominant win for Mikel Arteta’s side.

It’s all Arsenal now. Spurs are in damage limitation mode.

GOALLL! Granit Xhaka slots home. ‘We are top of the league!’ sing the Arsenal fans. The Emirates has gone absolutely bonkers. What an atmosphere here!

RED CARD! Emerson Royal catches Gabriel Martinelli high on the ankle and gets a straight red card. Cue a melee between the players as Arsenal’s fans are delighted. That was a late challenge and it was high. But that probably falls into the orange card category.

Spurs looking a threat on the counter again now as Kane, Son and Richarlison are getting on the ball.

MISS! Gabriel Jesus nods wide. That is a big chance for Arsenal to extend their lead. Tottenham being pinned back just like the start to the first half.

GOALLLL! That pressure told. Bukayo Saka cuts inside and his low shot is parried by Hugo Lloris and Cristian Romero can’t clear as Gabriel Jesus bundles home. Cue pandemonium at the Emirates. Arsenal retake the lead! What a start to the second half.

We are off and running in the second. It’s all Arsenal early on. Spurs remaining solid.

HALF TIME: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham – Very good game, this. Tactically intriguing and Spurs have battled back into this well after Arsenal dominated most of the first half.

Arsenal are very nervous at the back now. Buoyed by that equalizer, Spurs look very sharp on the counter.

GOALLL! After one long ball finds Son who finds Richarlison after hesitation from Gabriel, Arsenal get themselves into a heck of a mess as Gabriel brings down Richarlison for a clear penalty kick. Harry Kane (Mr. North London Derby) slams home the penalty to score his 14th goal in 18 appearances against Arsenal to extend his own record as the leading scorer in the history of this magnificent fixture. Just like that, Spurs are level. They don’t deserve it but Conte won’t care and neither do the Spurs fans in the away end. Absolute limbs.

Wave after wave of Arsenal attack on the Tottenham goal now. Spurs cannot hold the Gunners back.

GOALLLL! Wow. Thomas Partey curls home a stunner from outside the box. What a goal. The Emirates goes wild. How did he have that much space there!? “1-0 to the Arsenalllll!” is the chant from the home fans. And it should be more. They totally deserve this lead.

SAVE! Aaron Ramsdale denies Richarlison from close range when he looked certain to score. Was Ben White playing everyone onside? Lovely clipped free kick from Son towards Dier but Richarlison couldn’t get proper contact on it.

CHANCE! What a clearance from Lenglet as a long throw is flicked on and drops inside the six-yard box with Jesus lurking. What a start that nearly was for Arsenal. Moments later Martinelli clips the outside of the post.

KICK OFF: We are underway. It is LOUDDDDDD in here.

My thoughts on this massive clash. I can hardly hear myself here!

It is go time here! Wow. What a noise.

Both teams are out warming up and there is a real zip as they go through their paces. The sun is out and first host third in the Premier League in a derby. Does it get much better than this!?

The team news is out and here are the lineups hot (I’d probably go with lukewarm) off the press. Partey and Zinchenko are back in central midfield and left back respectively, which is a huge boost for Arsenal. Kulusevski is out for Spurs so Son comes back into the lineup as he starts in attack with Kane and Richarlison in a very attacking lineup from Antonio Conte. Intriguing.

Hello and welcome to a beautiful morning here in north London! There is a huge buzz of anticipation and excitement in the early autumn air. The Premier League is back and what better way to restart things with a bitter rivalry clash between Arsenal and Tottenham?


Key storylines

Arteta’s Arsenal have been absolutely superb so far this season and they could easily be perfect as they lost at Manchester United but dominated the majority of the only game where they’ve dropped points. There is a great balance to the Gunners with young attacking players flying all over the place — led by the incredible Jesus who has slotted in seamlessly — and a solid defense with Partey and Xhaka very important in the holding midfield roles. Arteta knows that a big win against Spurs will give his young side further confidence as they aim for a top four finish, and maybe more, this season.

Conte’s Spurs have been workmanlike so far and Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Richarlison are all among the goals and are popping up at key moments when they’re needed. Defensively Spurs look solid in their 3-4-3 formation and you always fancy them to grab at least a few goals. Tottenham are seen as many as title contenders this season and a win at their bitter rivals will see that feeling grow.


In-form players to keep an eye on

Gabriel Jesus continues to lead the line superbly for Arsenal and he is bringing their entire attacking unit to life. Granit Xhaka has also been incredibly important and was excellent away at Brentford before the international break as he wore the captain’s armband once again and Arsenal’s fans were full of praise for the Swiss international midfielder.

Son has finally found his scoring boots and bagged a hat trick off the bench in Spurs’ demolition of Leicester City and he looked very good for South Korea over the international break. Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have barely put a foot wrong and are a big reason why Spurs remain unbeaten this season and look so robust. Harry Kane loves a north London derby and he always seems to take his game to a new level when this game rolls around.


Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options

Emile Smith Rowe is out until December after undergoing surgery on a groin injury, while Reiss Nelson and Mohamed Elneny remain out. Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey, Cedric Soares and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all battling to be fit to feature. If Partey is out, Albert Sambi Lokonga is likely to come in and partner Granit Xhaka in central midfield or perhaps Odegaard could slot back into a deeper role and Fabio Vieira may play in the No. 10 role after his fine goal at Brentford?


Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options

The main injury concern for Spurs is Dejan Kulusevski after he suffered an injury while on international duty with Sweden. Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies have had thigh and knee injuries respectively and will be battling to be fit, while Lucas Moura is definitely out as he continues to work his way back from a calf injury.


Bournemouth vs Brentford, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream

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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, resulting in his first England call-up (but not appearance, yet) last week.

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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Crystal Palace vs Chelsea, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream

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Chelsea looks to keep up its top-four pace when it visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

The match is Graham Potter’s first in the Premier League since leaving Brighton for new digs in London. The Blues drew Salzburg in 1-1 in Potter’s first match with Chelsea, and many eyes will be trained on his Starting XI.

STREAM LIVE CRYSTAL PALACE vs CHELSEA

Palace is winless in its last three Premier League matches including back-to-back draws versus Brentford and Newcastle. Patrick Vieira would love to make that a three-match unbeaten run with a good result Saturday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Crystal Palace vs Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Crystal Palace vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

What will Graham Potter’s first Premier League XI look like come Saturday? Kepa Arrizabalaga could be in goal if Edouard Mendy is not ready, but will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain a starter? Are Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic locks for the midfield? Lots to monitor as Christian Pulisic, Conor Gallagher, Ben Chilwell, and Hakim Ziyech will hope to have made a major impression.

Palace has played well against the “Big Six” this year, leading Man City 2-0 before an Erling Haaland hat trick, drawing Liverpool, and losing on Opening Day vs Arsenal while holding 57% of the ball and matching the Gunners in shots and shots on target. A win over the Blues sure would do the trick.


Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options

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

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

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

Arsenal vs Tottenham projected lineups, form, head-to-head, prediction

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There is so little between Arsenal and Tottenham this season that every little decision will count as they square off this Saturday (watch live, 7:30am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com) in the north London derby.

[ MORE: Preview, storylines, latest on Arsenal vs Tottenham ]

Mikel Arteta and Antonio Conte have overseen superb starts to the season for their teams, with the Gunners top of the table and they are just one point and two places above unbeaten Spurs.

After Tottenham pipped Arsenal to a top four finish late last season, this rivalry has gone to new levels and both believe they can finish in the top four this season, at the very least.

Below we take a closer look at form, head-to-head info, projected lineups and a prediction for what promises to be a classic Arsenal vs Tottenham clash in the north London derby.


Arsenal vs Tottenham recent Premier League form

Arsenal last five fixtures – WLWWW | Last match: 3-0 win at Brentford

Tottenham last five fixtures – WWDWW  | Last match: 6-2 win vs Leicester City


Who has more wins, Arsenal or Tottenham? (all competitions head-to-head)

Tottenham wins: 67

Arsenal wins: 84

Draws: 54


Projected lineups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

—– Ramsdale —–

— White — Saliba — Gabriel — Zinchenko —

—- Partey —- Xhaka —-

—- Saka —- Odegaard —- Martinelli —-

—– Jesus —–

If Partey is out with injury then Arteta has a big decision to make in midfield: does Lokonga come in? Or does Odegaard drop deeper with Vieira coming in to an attacking midfield role? Elsewhere, Zinchenko will likely start ahead of Tierney if both are fit, while Zinchenko could also start in holding midfield given his incredible vesatility.


Tottenham (3-4-2-1)

—– Lloris —–

—- Romero —- Dier —- Davies —-

— Emerson — Hojbjerg — Bentancur — Perisic —

—- Richarlison —- Son —-

—– Kane —–

The back three picks itself, if everyone is fit, with Llenget and Sanchez coming in and doing okay when injuries have flared up. But the big debate is what Spurs do with Kulusevski potentially out. Does Richarlison come in for him? Or does Yves Bissouma start in midfield and the formation switch to a 3-5-2 with Son supporting Kane in attack? If it’s the latter, that would give Spurs extra defensive cover in the engine room.


Arsenal vs Tottenham prediction

This is going to be a very close game with these managers, players and clubs so evenly-matched across the board. Arsenal have been in better form but are battling with some key injuries, while Spurs look more capable of grinding out results when they’re not at their best. All of that adds up to an entertaining draw. I’m going for 2-2.