Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Pardew says Van Gaal’s career could hinge on FA Cup Final (Really, he said that)

Leave a comment

Alan Pardew is either blissfully unaware or painfully cognizant of the fact that his long tenure as Crystal Palace boss isn’t as assured as it was just five months ago.

Instead of reveling in his getting Crystal Palace to the FA Cup Final, the confident English manager has opted for an attempt to try to heap pressure on the opposing boss: Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal.

[ FA Cup: Palace slips Watford | United edges Everton ]

Pardew has a pretty decent resume at the age of 54, winning promotion for several clubs and being named the 2011-12 LMA Manager of the Year for his work at Newcastle United.

Van Gaal’s CV, however, is a bit deeper. The Dutchman has led Ajax to the Champions League title, as well as overseeing league titles for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AZ Alkmaar and Ajax. Oh, and he’s led a perceived weakened Netherlands side to third place at the World Cup.

So, whose career needs defining in the May 21 final, Alan? From the BBC:

“I remember Sir Alex’s career hinged on that game and maybe LVG’s career will hinge on this,” said Pardew, who played for Palace in the 1990 final, which United won after a replay.

“I like the guy [Van Gaal],” said Pardew. “He’s had some terrible, terrible press and I look forward to seeing him in the final.”

How folksy.

Pardew has a point about general pressure; Leading Manchester United comes with a Sir Alex-sized microscope and the Old Trafford set is all about silverware, but bringing in career talk is not only misguided, it’s hilarious.

If I was Pardew, I’d do my level best to choke down my appetite to go head-to-head in the press with a managerial legend, and focus on a remarkable Cup run that started with Southampton and went on to include victories over Stoke, Spurs, Reading and Watford. That’s incredibly impressive for a PL side which has struggled mightily since New Year’s Day.

But after a typically soft start to the tournament — Derby County, Sheffield United and Shrewsbury Town — Van Gaal has led United past West Ham and Everton into the final. While a win in the tournament could help the Dutch manager keep his job, he’s also led United back into the UEFA Champions League in two-straight seasons while bringing youth into the fold.

So we ask again: Whose career “maybe” hinges on the final, Alan?

Liverpool youngster Elliott scores bicycle kick goal in reserve match

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Harvey Elliott came to Liverpool via Fulham as highly rated as youngsters come. He’s got plenty of maturing still to do both on and off the field, but his talent is undoubtable.

That was on display as Liverpool’s reserve squad took on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Premier League 2 fixture. Just after halftime, Elliott leveled the score at 2-2 with a stunning bicycle kick at the near post on a corner. The skill it took to essentially catch up to the ball as it floated parallel past him was fabulous, and his strike was true as it caught the Wolves goalkeeper off guard, unable to catch up to the pace of the shot.

The 16-year-old has been a regular for the Liverpool first-team squad in Cup matches but has then taken the field for the U-23 squad to get him some playing time, and clearly it’s done wonders.

Elliott came over from Fulham this past summer for an undisclosed fee given his age. He had already become the youngest player to appear in a Premier League game, coming on for the Whites in a game in May against Wolves with relegation looming.

Watch Live: West Ham United v. Liverpool

Photo by Nikku/Xinhua via Getty
Leave a comment

After weeks of having a game in hand on Premier League title chasers Manchester City and Leicester City, the full extent of Liverpool’s lead will be revealed when the Reds visit West Ham United on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Once the full-time whistle blows at the London Stadium, all 20 PL sides will have played 24 games. Ahead of kickoff, Jurgen Klopp‘s side leads second-place Man City by a whopping 16 points.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

West Ham, meanwhile, sit 17th in the table and are only clear of the relegation zone by way of goal differential. That’s something that could very easily change between now and 5 p.m. ET.

LIVE, League Cup semifinal: Man City v. Man United

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s time for leg two of the Manchester derby in the semifinals of the EFL Cup (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET) at the Etihad Stadium.

[ LIVE: Man City v. Man United ]

Manchester City lead 3-1 following their first-leg dismantling of Manchester United at Old Trafford. In theory, it’s a mere formality to reach the final at Wembley, where they would take on Aston Villa following their late dramatics on Tuesday.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with all of the reaction and analysis.

LINEUPS

Transfer rumor roundup: Richarlison to Barca for $110m? Spurs’ striker search

Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.


A roundup of all of the major transfer rumors, most notably those involving Premier League clubs, on Wednesday…

[ MORE: Spurs complete Bergwijn transfer from PSV ]

Barcelona have reportedly had a $110-million bid for Richarlison rejected by Everton. That’s a mind-blowing number for a club like Everton to receive, but the Toffees apparently didn’t have to think long before saying “thanks, but no thanks.” Luis Suarez is expected to miss four months due to a knee injury, leaving the Blaugrana somewhat for a replacement. Everton, however, have no desire to lose a key member of their squad with little to no time to sign a replacement.


After adding winger Steven Bergwijn on Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur are heavily linked with a number of strikers as options to replace the injured Harry Kane. AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek is the most frequently linked (and most expensive) player coming out of the rumor mill, while Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has come up as an emergency option (he is reportedly open to the idea). However, Jose Mourinho has reportedly been told he has just $13 million to acquire a new forward after spending a combined $108 million on Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes.


Elsewhere in Tottenham rumors, full back Kyle Walker-Peters is expected to complete a loan move (without an option to buy) to Southampton in the very near future. The 22-year-old has been on the fringe of the first-team squad for what feels like five years now, but has never quite broken through. This could be Spurs putting into the shop window a player who they don’t believe is in their long-term plans in order to drive up his price tag come this summer.


Sheffield United look set to make a big push for a top-six finish, as the Blades are linked with moves for a pair of highly rated young players: Richairo Zivkovic, from Chinese side Changchun Yatai, and Sander Berge, from Genk. Zivkovic was one of the most highly touted youngsters in Europe before moving to China on a big-money deal; Berge has been linked with some of the biggest clubs across Europe in recent years, all the while the 21-year-old has become a fixture for the Belgian side.