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Strong family life propels Leicester’s Christian Fuchs

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If you didn’t follow him on Twitter or watch any of his quirky videos with teammates, you’d think Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs is an ordinary footballer.

That simply isn’t the case.

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In a phone interview with ProSoccerTalk, Raluca Gold-Fuchs, Christian’s wife, made it more apparent why he has become a fan favorite at the King Power Stadium.

“I think a big part of it is the natural side of him,” said Gold-Fuchs. “He’s definitely a very funny guy. He has a good base which makes him comfortable to joke around and I believe lately that it also has to do with the club and where he is that he feels even more comfortable. The guys are very funny, they joke around a lot and they need that as part of their intense daily routines.”

From rousing games of rock, paper, scissors to juggling a ball with teammate Shinji Okazaki on stationary bicycles (found below), Fuchs has found a way to always create stability and a positive attitude this season, while Leicester’s storybook season heads to its fairytale ending.

By now almost everyone is aware of the journey that the Foxes have taken to reach the summit of the Premier League. With a five-point cushion and four matches to play, they host Swansea City this Sunday (Watch live, 11:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra), Leicester is closing in on one of the greatest stories in all of sport.

“I think they have raised awareness of soccer in general,” Gold-Fuchs said of Leicester’s accomplishments. “For all the Americans that only knew four or five clubs in England, they now know Leicester and Tottenham. There’s these other clubs and it’s not as predictable as soccer in other countries. I think it really helps people understand how good English soccer is and how completely unpredictable it is.”

Like the millions around the world that have witnessed Leicester’s Cinderella story in 2015-16, Gold-Fuchs is among the enamored.

“This is a special club,” Gold-Fuchs said. “The energy and relationship that the team has together is extremely pleasant and it helps them fight hard for what they want. The chemistry that they have, in addition to with their coach, is very important.”

The attention drawn to Leicester has certainly put Fuchs on the map as a standout wing back, however, the experience he is set to undergo this summer is something that he could have only dreamt of.

[ MORE: Analyzing Leicester, Spurs’ remaining games

Fuchs came up through the ranks of the Austria national team, and has been a staple of the country’s backline for the past decade. In June, Fuchs and Austria will make their second European Championship appearance in France. After recording just one goal in the 2008 Euro group stage, the team will be out to do something it has never done: advance to the knockout phase.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 12: Christian Fuchs of Austria controls the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier between Austria and Liechtenstein at Ernst Happel Stadion on October 12, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA – OCTOBER 12: Christian Fuchs of Austria controls the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier between Austria and Liechtenstein at Ernst Happel Stadion on October 12, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)

Fuchs, Austria’s captain, has always devoted himself to both club and country, and this summer could be his team’s first step toward qualifying for 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“He’s very proud of that,” Gold-Fuchs said. “He’s been with the team since he was 15, I believe. Everything that he does is with a lot of passion and love. He doesn’t do anything half way. That for him is something that he devotes himself to 100 percent. He’s so proud to be on the team and to be going to the European Championship for the first time this summer. He’s a proud captain and devoted to both club and country.”

Watching her husband’s success is just one of the many things that Gold-Fuchs does on a regular basis. Raluca and the family’s two children — sons Ethan and Anthony — live in New York City, a treacherous commute from Leicester. In addition to her role as owner of Ra Entertainment, Raluca is very much involved in charity work, which landed her in the Big Apple.

They travel out to England every few weeks to watch Christian perform, and catch the rest of the matches on television back in the states.

When she’s not making the 3,000-plus mile journey overseas to see their hero play, Raluca keeps tabs on the soccer academy that the family kicked off in 2014. Fox Soccer Academy was Fuchs’ way of giving back to the local community in New York, while also providing a professional environment for young players to develop. The academy even provides players with the opportunity to travel to Europe if they meet a certain standard.

SWANSEA, WALES - DECEMBER 05: Christian Fuchs of Leicester in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Leicester City at Liberty Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The training program features numerous current and former players, in addition to coaches that have taught at the highest levels of the game, including Austria Wien goalkeeper Robert Almer and Heinz Griesmayer.

“It’s his way of giving back to the youths,” Gold-Fuchs explained. “He spends a lot of time in New York. My oldest son has been to some of the soccer camps here and Christian felt that the quality wasn’t up to par, so it’s his way of giving back to the community. The Fox Soccer Academy is in its second year and it’s his way of trying to teach children the professional way of learning soccer.

The Fuchs family already has a packed schedule to tend to, but the 30-year-old defender has another idea for what his future holds.

Fuch recently made headlines both in the U.S. and England after professing his desire to attempt to play in the NFL once his soccer career has concluded, as a kicker if that were any shock. It wouldn’t be the first time an athlete has tried their hand at a different sport. Just ask NBA legend Michael Jordan.

It is clear that Fuchs has the backing of his family no matter which goal he chooses to tackle. Whether that is playing in the NFL or launching his NoFuchsGiven collection, the defender has complete support from his wife, who jokingly says she wouldn’t mind having him in the same country.

“I support him in everything he wants to do,” Gold-Fuchs said. “Just like I tell our children, just go for it. Why not try it if it’s something that’s stuck in your brain? Otherwise how can you sleep at night? It’s definitely something he wants to do. He was initially toying with the idea, then tried kicking the ball around and saw that he could do it. He got this reassurance and encouragement, so why not?”

Follow @MattReedFutbol

Crystal Palace – Everton: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Crystal Palace – Everton: It’s a battle of perfect teams on Saturday when Everton visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (Watch live at 10 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The Eagles have knocked off Southampton and Manchester United to open their 2020-21 Premier League season while Everton has handled Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

Two legends of the game will be at the helm when Roy Hodgson and Carlo Ancelotti match wits on Saturday. Can the former continue to coax unexpected results of his Eagles against the strengthened and powerful Toffees?


Team news: Crystal Palace – Everton (INJURY REPORT)

James Tomkins (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder), Christian Benteke (ankle), Gary Cahill (thigh) and Jairo Riedewald (undisclosed) are all set to miss out for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.

Fabian Delph returned for the midweek League Cup game but Everton won’t have Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle), Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), and Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf).


What they’re saying

Roy Hodgson on how the Eagles won (again) at Old Trafford: “We made certain and kept them playing in front of us and they could not profit from those spaces they are skillful enough to find. And when we had the ball I thought we looked very dangerous and threatening so I don’t think it was a big surprise that we scored three.”

Carlo Ancelotti after Jordan Pickford made a gaffe against Fleetwood Town: “I think the first goal was not an individual mistake because we passed the ball back to Jordan, it was a really difficult ball and we could behave differently. Of course you have to improve there. We want to build up from the back, but when there’s no risk. If it’s risky it’s no good because we can concede a goal like we did. It can be a good lesson for the future. I didn’t speak to him and, as I said, I have to speak with players that were involved when we build-up.Jordan was not the only one.”

Jordan Pickford
FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Jordan Pickford of Everton is challenged by Josh Morris of Fleetwood Town (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Palace is an underdog despite beating United and it’s perhaps a bit surprising to see them at +275 with a draw at +220. An Everton win delivers +110.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Crystal Palace – Everton prediction

Hodgson has coaxed some tremendous midfield performances out of James McArthur, James McCarthy, and Luka Milivojevic in his tenure at Palace but out-performing Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, and Andre Gomes is a big ask even for that steely crew. James Rodriguez is in incredible form but so is Wilfried Zaha. Couldn’t this one go either way? Yes, but if Everton’s moving in the direction many believe it will be able to take all three points in a composed 2-1 win.


How to watch Crystal Palace – Everton stream and start time

Kickoff: 10 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Brighton – Manchester United: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

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Brighton – Manchester United: Impressive Brighton and Hove Albion hopes to continue Manchester United’s winless league season when the Red Devils visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

It will be the first two meetings in several days, as Brighton’s win at Preston North End and United’s takedown of Luton Town set up a League Cup fourth round date at the Amex.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

United handled Brighton well last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0, so this will be a great test at the acumen of both managers: Graham Potter in his second full season with the Seagulls and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempting to prove his doubters wrong.


Team news: Brighton – Manchester United (INJURY REPORT)

The Seagulls will not have Yves Bissouma, who was suspended three matches for his no-look, studs-up kick into the face of Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis. Brighton manager Graham Potter revealed that the long-term recovery of Jose Izquierdo is about two weeks away from being complete.

Manchester United will be without Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.


What they’re saying

Potter on the League Cup win setting up consecutive Man United tests: “It’s a big week for us with those two matches and then Everton before the international break. That’s what we wanted because we wanted to go through in this competition. Players always want to play and the best thing for them is to be out on the field on nights like tonight to keep everyone in the group ready for when they’re needed. You saw that today. There was a willingness to run and fight for the team and get the result and that’s why I’m very happy.”

United’s Solskjaer after goalkeeper Dean Henderson starred on his senior debut: “The goalkeeping department and training level has been really high, of course, you can see driven and dedicated people and I’ve enjoyed watching them. Dean in goal, good save, you can see he’s having to concentrate and it’s a different job to what he’s done a few times last season and he came up with the save when he had to.”

League Cup results
LUTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Dean Henderson of Manchester United saves a shot at Kenilworth Road (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Brighton is +375 to win at home, while a draw nets the wagerer +260. Manchester United is expected to win and thusly -130 to take all three points.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Brighton – Manchester United prediction

The only thing keeping us from pegging a very impressive Brighton team to collect another win is the shadow cast by Manchester United’s 2019-20 season (and long tradition of winning). United was rusty in its loss to Crystal Palace and had to work hard to defeat Luton Town in the League Cup. If that rust was there last week, how do the legs feel after a week? Anyway, the Red Devils still have Bruno Fernandes and it just doesn’t seem like this team starts 0-2 (or even 0-1-1). I grimace as I write 2-1 to Manchester United.


How to watch Brighton – Manchester United stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick

Frank Lampard reaction
Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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Chelsea rebounded from its weekend loss to Liverpool by getting the good vibes going through a number of new faces Wednesday in a League Cup blowout of Barnsley.

Kai Havertz scored three times, Ben Chilwell came off the bench to chip in an assist on debut, and Thiago Silva went 60 minutes in his first match in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues pounded the Championship side 6-0.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

We’ll start with the longtime PSG defender, who had four clearances, an interception, and a tackle while winning both of his duels.

He passed at 94 percent including six-of-seven long balls. Even accounting for the competition, that’s solid.

Lampard called Silva’s outing “a perfect 60 minutes” via Football.London:

“He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others,” Lampard said. “He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”

ProSoccerTalk talked about Chelsea’s need for a leader at the back during this week’s “Unfiltered,” and Lampard has clearly been waiting for someone like Silva.

As for Havertz, you only needed the box score to see his influence on the game.

Two of Havertz’s three goals were assisted by Tammy Abraham and a third from Mason Mount.

The German phenom also racked up five tackles and two key passes against Barnsley.

“He makes the recovery tackle for Ross (Barkley)’s goal, but then to also just have some freedom on the ball in central areas roaming behind Tammy,” Lampard said. “The combinations he had with Tammy, the way he grew into the game and had confidence and the three goals. It was a great night for Kai and the first of many for him.”

Havertz scored seven braces for Bayer Leverkusen, but this was his first hat trick. Barnsley may play in the second tier, but they had allowed three goals in their last four games.

Whoops.

Actors Reynolds, McElhenney bid to invest in Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC
Photos by Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Jim Spellman/WireImage
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“The Gang Buys a Football Team?”

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds are said to be in talks to buy National League side Wrexham AFC, reports The Guardian.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

The Welsh club, nicknamed the Red Dragons, was founded in 1864 and made it to the European Cup Winners’ Cup eight times between 1972-96.

They’ve since been relegated out of the Football League, dipping out of League Two in 2008.

McElhenney and Reynolds have bid to take over the club, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust says 97.5 percent of their members voted to allow the actors to propose their vision for the club before a second vote.

From wst.org.uk:

As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

It’s gotta get McElhenney’s goat that Reynolds gets the “award-winning” adjective added to his name.

Either way, this is definitely an intriguing club for investment and the potential addition of Reynolds and McElhenney to the fray would only increase the interest in Wrexham AFC.

Deadpool and Mac would be quite a combo in the transfer market.