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MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 0-0 Columbus Crew SC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less more): I watched this one so you didn’t have to! That’s the kind of service we provide here at PST, and you’re welcome. Another potential service we can offer: figuring out what in the world the Chicago Fire are doing. For starters, all of 10,000 people showed up to Toyota Park to watching the Men in Red play to a 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, as both sides picked up their first point of 2016. Moreover, they’re quite possibly the most inept attacking team MLS has ever known (through just three games, admittedly). First-year head coach Veljko Paunovic seems an awfully smart guy, and he’s got some evolutionary ideas that make you think there might be hope in Bridgeview, but it’s extremely bleak right now. Four shots (one on goal) is all they could muster in this one, at which point you’re reminded they traded Harry Shipp, far and away their best chance creator in his first two seasons as a professional. Meanwhile, the Montreal Impact, Shipp’s new team, has scored six goals in two games while putting 11 of 25 shots on target (only partially through Shipp’s doing/involvement, admittedly). The optics of trading Shipp, the Fire’s homegrown hero, were bad enough when the deal was done last month, but three games into the 2016 season, a player like Shipp is exactly what the Fire are missing, and it, somehow, looks worse now than it did then. It’s so ludicrous that even current Impact players can’t quite believe their luck.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of MLS Week 3 ]

Three moments that mattered

58′ — Meira heads the ball off his own crossbar — Joao Meira so nearly scored the most embarrassing own goal MLS has seen since Matt Hedges’ wonderful finish one week ago, but the Portuguese was spared the embarrassment of heading the ball over his own goalkeeper, into his own net, thanks to the crossbar.

69′ — Lampson soars across goal to deny Finlay — Ethan Finlay let one rip from every bit of 25 yards out, only to see his former teammate Matt Lampson fly across the face of goal to tip it wide in the game’s only moment of real intrigue.

82′ — Ramos goes down in the box, no penalty given — Rodrigo Ramos was hip-checked to the ground by Cedrick Mabwati inside the final 10 minutes of regular time, but referee Robert Sibiga wasn’t interested in awarding a game-changing penalty so late on with the decision 50-50 at best.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Matt Polster

Goalscorers: LOL

Brighton sign Aaron Mooy on permanent deal

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Aaron Mooy has signed for Brighton and Hove Albion on a permanent deal after impressing while on loan from Huddersfield Town.

Mooy, 29, has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Seagulls as the Australian international midfielder has become an integral part of Graham Potter‘s side who started the season well but have suffered a dip in form in recent months.

The former Melbourne City and Huddersfield star initially joined Brighton on loan in the summer but he move has now been made permanent and the reported transfer fee is in the region of $6.5 million. Pretty good business for a goalscoring midfielder with supreme quality from set piece situations.

Speaking about his permanent move to the Amex Stadium, Mooy revealed he is delighted to be at the club, totally feels at home and is enjoying the open, attacking style the Seagulls play.

“I feel like I’ve progressed, but of course you can always improve and do more,” Mooy said. “It’s about playing well consistently, but I am quite happy because you never know what can happen when you move clubs. You have a new manager, teammates and a new environment to adapt to, but it’s been really good. I like the way we play and it’s enjoyable to be a part of.”

Mooy has scored twice and added an assist and those contributions have all come in the last six weeks as he’s become extremely important to the way Brighton play. His eye for a pass, composure on the ball and ability to dictate the tempo of games from a wide left or central position has been key to Brighton hanging in games.

That said, they are just two points above the relegation zone so they will need plenty more goals like the one from Mooy below if they’re going to pull away from the drop zone in the weeks and months to come.

Report: Man United’s list of possible new strikers revealed

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A list of possible new strikers for Manchester United has been revealed and it includes players you probably weren’t expecting to suit up for the Red Devils.

According to our partners Sky Sports in the UK, forwards Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani are possible loan options for United this month.

With Marcus Rashford out injured until March, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to bolster his forward line with only Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as center forwards.

But Ighalo and Slimani I hear you cry…

Well, in short, both are available and both would obviously be very willing to move to Man United on a short-term basis to put themselves in the shop window for either a permanent move or to give themselves another crack at the Premier League for next season.

Ighalo, 30, is currently playing for Shanghai Shenhua in China and the forward Watford forward has been pushing for a move back to England for some time. It seems that the Nigerian international (who scored 39 goals in 99 appearances for the Hornets in two-and-a-half seasons from 2014) is linked with a PL move each and every window.

As for Slimani, 31, the Algerian striker cost Leicester City $35 million in 2016 but has been out on loan to Newcastle, Fenerbache and most recently Monaco as things just haven’t worked out for him with the Foxes. Slimani has been playing well in France so far this season, scoring seven goals in 13 Ligue 1 games for Monaco, and like Ighalo he is a target man who can hold the ball up and bring others into play. That would be perfect for United’s fast wingers and both men would be good short-term loan options.

With other forwards such as Edinson Cavani, Fernando Llorente and even Carlos Tevez mentioned as short term options, the deals for Ighalo and Slimani seem more realistic if not slightly uninspiring. With the move for Bruno Fernandes stalling as United are $14 million off Sporting Lisbon’s asking price plus youngster Jude Bellingham a target but one for the future, their attack needs immediate help to try and stay in the top four hunt in the final months of the season.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and Solskjaer has revealed United are pushing hard to complete one or two deals before the January transfer window shuts next Friday, Jan. 31.

Nobody would have speculated that Slimani and/or Ighalo would be the deals United are trying to make happen.

Chelsea issue update on Abraham injury, striker search

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has issued an update on Tammy Abraham‘s ankle injury and has also been talking about their search for a new striker.

Lampard isn’t shy when it comes to admitting the Blues need help up front as he’s already lavished praise on Edinson Cavani this month and given the uncertainty around Abraham’s injury, he looks set to dip into the market in the final days of the January window.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Hull City in the FA Cup, Lampard gave this update on the knock Abraham suffered in the closing stages of their wild 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Tuesday.

“The good news is that he hasn’t fractured anything, we were worried about a hairline fracture,” Lampard said.  “The other news is we will have to see how he develops. It’s not clear cut,” Lampard said. “He’s not fit for the weekend, whether he’ll be fit for Leicester we’re still not sure. It’s not clear at the moment.”

In short, they aren’t sure how long Abraham will be out for and that is concerning as he’s been their main man up top all season long.

Lampard was perhaps more candid than he has ever been when discussing Chelsea’s ongoing hunt to find some help for Abraham, who has

“I think the impetus to bring in a striker or a player to get on the end of chances is there and we have to be honest about that,” Lampard added. “Recent games have shown that if we are creating chances that’s one problem, but if you’re creating 20 chances a game then it can be crucial. It doesn’t absolutely change [the situation], but with Tammy being our main source of goals it’s very relevant. I think there is choice. It is not the ideal window. I think history has proved that though there have been good acquisitions in the short term and long term. It is about getting it right. The club know my thoughts on it.”

When it comes to strikers leaving Chelsea, both Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi have been linked with moves away from Chelsea in the final week of the window and Lampard admitted Giroud, 33, could leave as Inter Milan circle.

“With Olivier, we are still in the same position. We will keep contact with other clubs and if and when that’s agreed then we will let you know. So he’s still our player on those terms,” Lampard said.

Unless Chelsea bring in a new striker it would be wild for them to let one of Giroud or Batshuayi leave with the severity of Abraham’s injury not clear.

Even if Abraham does return soon, he needs help as his goals have dried up. The Chelsea academy product was on fire at the start of the season, scoring 10 of his 14 Premier League goals by the start of November. He also scored his first England goal in November but has hit a bit of a barren spell with three goals in his last 10 appearances in all competitions. The chances have been created but Abraham just hasn’t been putting them away like he was earlier in the season.

An experienced striker like Cavani or someone else is a must and they can help ease the burden on Abraham who is now set for a spell on the sidelines. Fourth-place Chelsea have a six-point gap to Man United in fifth and if they want to keep their Champions League qualification hopes on track they need a new striker to arrive in the final week of the window.

New Premier League schedule for March announced

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The Premier League have announced their new schedule for March as date and times have been switched for certain games.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Some of the matches changed to new windows include the Manchester Derby on Mar. 8, a potentially huge clash in the top four battle between Tottenham and Man United on Mar. 15 and what could be a very special Merseyside Derby (for Liverpool, anyway) as the Reds travel to Everton on Mar. 16 with the title surely in reach by that point.

Chelsea v. Man City on Mar. 21 is also a very tasty looking clash as there are a smattering of local derbies and intriguing clashes in the battle for Europe which have also been switched to new dates.

Below is the new schedule for March in full and remember, due to Daylight Savings kicking in there will be just four hours time difference between ET and GMT for a few weeks in March.

That means extra time in bed on weekend mornings and that, above all else, is the gift dedicated Premier League fans across the USA truly deserve.


Saturday 7 March 2020
7:30 a.m. ET: Liverpool v. Bournemouth
12:30 p.m. ET: Burnley v. Tottenham

Sunday 8 March 2020
10 a.m. ET: Chelsea v. Everton
12:30 p.m. ET: Man United v. Man City

Monday 9 March 2020
4 p.m. ET: Leicester v. Aston Villa

Saturday 14 March 2020
8:30 a.m. ET: Watford v. Leicester
1:30 p.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Chelsea

Sunday 15 March 2020
10 a.m. ET: West Ham v. Wolves
12:30 p.m. ET: Tottenham v. Man United

Monday 16 March 2020
4 p.m. ET: Everton v. Liverpool

Friday 20 March 2020
4 p.m. ET: Tottenham v. West Ham*

Saturday 21 March 2020
8:30 a.m. ET: Chelsea v. Man City*
1:30 p.m. ET: Liverpool v. Crystal Palace*

Sunday 22 March 2020
10 a.m. ET: Leicester v. Brighton*
12:30 p.m. ET: Southampton v. Arsenal*

*Matches subject to FA Cup participation