Premier League Preview: Sunderland vs. Everton

1 Comment
  • Sunderland have won 4 of last 7 meetings
  • Lukaku hasn’t scored or assisted in last 11 PL games
  • If Sunderland lose, that’s six-straight seasons without a win in opening 4 games

Sunderland welcome Everton the Stadium of Light on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports) as David Moyes comes up against his former club with the Black Cats still searching for their first win of the season.

In stark contrast new Everton boss Ronald Koeman is unbeaten in his first three games in charge with the Toffees taking seven points and impressing.

[ STREAM: Sunderland-Everton live ]

Talk of a relegation battle has already came from Moyes after his appointment during preseaosn after Sam Allardyce was hired as England’s new manager. The north east club tried hard to get reinforcements through the door before the transfer window shut but couldn’t add enough bodies and Moyes knows he has an uphill task to keep Sunderland in the Premier League. Koeman is aiming for the top six but paramount to that push is the form of Romelu Lukaku who is yet to score in the PL this season.

In team news Sunderland are without injured goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and new signings Mika Domingues, Didier Ndong and Jason Denayer could feature but other new boy Victor Anichebe won’t feature. Jan Kirchhoff and John O'Shea are also fit for Sunderland. Everton have Seamus Coleman fit and ready, while new signing Enner Valencia could also play but James McCarthy is out.

What they’re saying

Koeman on Moyes’ challenge at Sunderland: “With what he did at Everton, I think he had a great time. He showed he was a great manager for Everton in all the years he was in charge. Sunderland is a different club. The last few years they have been struggling – and there is what he said himself about relegation.”

Moyes on his 11-year spell at Everton: “We had a great team at Goodison but we were missing a center-forward. We couldn’t get the finances to buy one in my last couple of years. I might be exaggerating but I think, with a top center-forward, we would have been close to winning the league; we were that good.”

Prediction

With Sunderland struggling with injuries and not able to get as many new players in as they needed, Moyes is up against it. All of that doesn’t make it an ideal time to be playing an in-form Everton side and Koeman’s wealth of attacking options as his team looking solid at the back will add up to a comfortable away win. 2-0 to Everton.

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

Adam Davy/PA via AP
1 Comment

Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.