A day on-location in England with NBC Sports’ broadcast team

NBC Sports

WOLVERHAMPTON — Relaxed in the NBC Sports Winnebago in the parking lot at Wolverhampton Wanderers Molineux Stadium, the entire Premier League broadcast team had been assembled in the UK for opening weekend.

Discussions flowed from Lee Dixon liking peanut butter with marmite on toast, to summer vacations, to what formation Wolves would be playing as two studios, a gantry position and a full production team were on site to see in the new 2018-19 season in style.

From Manchester to Wolverhampton to London, an army of NBC Sports employees were on hand.

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As the 10 a.m. ET games on the opening Saturday kicked off, there was a huge buzz among the trucks, studios and many NBC Sports staff on-location for the week-long trip to the UK. The first multi-game window of the season had commenced and  everyone was talking about which players they couldn’t wait to see, the teams who would impress and how much they’ve missed the action this summer.

The epicenter of this chatter before, during and after the game was on the two sofa seats facing each other in the Winnebago.

Arlo White, Graeme Le Saux and Robbie Earle were sat in those seats and had just completed a piece of pitchside analysis at Molineux before settling down to watch the 10 a.m. ET games. Their next live video hit was at half time of the Saturday rush. With a printer ticking away in one corner of the Winnebago, coffees being made and production members flitting in and out to chat with Arlo, Graeme and Earle about various plans, this was it. It was go time. They were back.

As the voices of Rebecca Lowe, Dixon and Kyle Martino hummed away in the background from the studio about 150 yards away inside the stadium, plus those of Robbie Mustoe and Derek Rae who were on the call for Newcastle vs. Tottenham elsewhere in England on opening weekend, the entire crew felt inextricably linked at all times.

With English candy packed in the upper compartments of the hot, slightly stuffy Winnebago being heavily consumed, banter being chucked back and forth (mostly by Le Saux) and a joint discussion about Wolves’ tactics and nailing down where each player would start, it was all go. As rain showers circled Molineux there was also plenty of talk about umbrellas, jackets and a route to the gantry for the match commentary. Again, this was England, in August, and the UK’s summer-long heatwave had well and truly been and gone.

Sat alongside Arlo White, Graeme Le Saux and Robbie Earle during the opening Saturday of the season, the banter flowed as we had a chat as several screens showing the four 10 a.m. ET games fluttered with the bright colors of opening weekend in the background.

Guys, you’ve all been together on these trips to the UK a few times now, what has been the key takeway from this trip so far?

Robbie Earle: Kyle Martino’s a wuss because he doesn’t like Marmite. That’s a big takeaway…

Graeme Le Saux: That my jokes haven’t gotten any better.

Earle: Kyle Martino cheats at NASCAR racing, he tampers with your car before it starts.

Le Saux: That’s underhand.

Earle: I’m just trying to think if there are any Kyle Martino lines…! And it’s great to be back. After a great World Cup everybody is buoyed about football and we’ve had a good start. The stories with Pogba captaining United, scoring a penalty. Luke Shaw scoring his goal. Seeing what the new Chelsea are like under Sarri. It’s nice to get back to Premier League.

Le Saux: It’s always great when the whole group is together because particularly at the start of the season, I think it sets the tone for the whole season. It’s such a team effort so when you have the whole team over, the talent, everyone behind-the-scenes, I think it does set the season off on the right tone and furthers the relationship. It feels big. When you have pitch side studios, a studio and everything that goes with that. It is certainly a special occasion.

What was it like watching the World Cup this summer in England? Were you longing for the PL to return?

Arlo White: There has been a combination of things that happened with England this summer and it was England going to the semifinals of the World Cup, which was absolutely incredible. And there’s been an unprecedented heatwave. I’ve never seen so many smiles on people’s faces. Nobody, really, has anything to moan about. Which is unusual! It has been a very nice place to spend time this summer. It is good to get club football back.

As Graeme said, to start with the three venues but also for me, to start with the Transfer Deadline Day and Preview show the day before, it just feels like this season you are completely across everything. It’s a nice position to be in going into the sixth year, where you have seen all of these teams being put together and we can deliver something from a standing start with the Deadline show on Thursday which was a lot of fun to do.

Looking at the new season, what is the most compelling storyline for you?

Le Saux: I would say it’s Man City, still. That’s maybe an easy option but because they set the bar so high last year, winning back-to-back Premier League titles has only been done twice before and I think they are more than capable of achieving that. But that then throws up all of the competition and Liverpool in particular have thrown a huge amount of money and shown what their intentions are. City’s standard is the story that effects everything else. I think that’s why you’re seeing a couple of goalkeepers coming in for a fortune because suddenly everyone is saying ‘we need a goalkeeper who can play with his feet.’ So they’ve set a trend and the standard, City.

Earle: I would probably just go Liverpool. Daring to dream. They haven’t won a title since 1990. They filled all the holes, virtually, that need filling. They are maybe a center back short of saying ‘that’s it, on you go’ so I think it’s kind of time. It feels like it’s time. Klopp has had a good look at the league. He’s been backed in the area he wants. The squad is deep now. Liverpool used to be the first 11 were as good as, but not much beyond that. Now they virtually have two players for every position. It is kind of time now. They’ve spent big money on a goalkeeper, you’ve got your defense. Midfield you’ve got Keita and Shaqiri is going to be great. Sturridge could be a new signing type player. It feels like ‘come on then’ it is time.

White: I agree totally with the lads but the two things for me, Spurs’ stadium. We are planning something quite special at the opener against Liverpool.

Le Saux: We are firing Arlo out of a cannon!

White: That’s my walk and talk. More of a fly and talk, really.

Le Saux: You will do well to remember your lines as you’re flying through the air…

White: Let’s end on that bombshell.

Le Saux: Literally a bombshell!

White: So there’s that… And the other thing is Arsenal, because if we said going forward they have players to cause massive amount of damage to the opposition. Look at them. They have Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ramsey.

Earle: Mkhitaryan.

White: Exactly. They’ve got terrific players. Everything I’ve read in the offseason, from the defenders in particular, they are very differential. Bellerin is differential to Wenger that he was one of the greatest managers. How it is different is, we are going to be more organized. Most of the guys who have been brought in are outright defenders. Hopefully it gets back to what Arsenal are good at defensively. They haven’t been good at that for a very long time. I think they can give the top four a go. I don’t think necessarily they will be fighting for fifth and sixth. That would be, for me, one of the best stories of the season, if they can give that a go again and finish in the top four in the first season without Wenger.

Earle: It’s a great point actually, because for 21 years we haven’t seen anything different. I read a good article today about the work he [Emery] is doing. And how Wenger used to be obsessed with the clock. And he [Emery] is now saying ‘no, we will work until it’s done.’

White: So, Wenger would stop it?

Le Saux: It would be 20 minutes, no matter what happened.

Earle: There was a clock to do things. But Emery, this guy is taking a different approach.

Le Saux: As a player I always found it frustrating when a coach stopped a session when you were flying.

Earle: Yeah, when you’re flying. But for Arsenal, the important thing is that they are reportedly working on their weaknesses. Which is a really good thing for Arsenal because they are so good at all of the other things.

Is there something you’ve seen in the games you watched closely which changed your mind about either the teams, managers or players? Was there a moment you thought “well, I didn’t expect that to happen” or “he’s better than I thought!”  

Le Saux: Leicester surprised me, in a positive way. James Maddison was Leicester’s standout player. It was a heck of a lot of money to spend with someone who has no Premier League experience. He is young. And it proves the point to me that you are only as good, or potentially as good, as the environment. As much as your own ability, it is about being around good players. I think he is going to have a good season. And I think for Claude Puel, they will be disappointed they lost but the performance will have given Leicester fans a lot of confidence. It was a good marker for the season.

Earle: Seeing Mourinho on the touchline, his mannerisms during the game, those are the things you pay attention to when you’re in the stadiums. More so than the game sometimes. His relationship with Pogba was interesting. Very encouraging with Luke Shaw with his goal, he goes and hugs his coaches. Those little bits I can’t see from the studio Stateside because you’re only seeing one camera. Over here, I can see it with my eyes and feel the crowd. It’s the little things which sometimes tell you as much as is happening in the game. The relationships between players, their body language and Pogba saying to Alexis Sanchez ‘who has won the World Cup recently?’ and saying off you pop from the penalty kick and then scoring it.

White: I think when Leicester come out onto the pitch, I thought they had sent their under 15’s out to play! They looked so young it was unbelievable. And if you look at the way they’ve won the title, it has been a gradual shift away from that philosophy of counter-attacking to a more possession-based game. Puel struggled to enforce that and Leicester’s fans were worried. But I think having seen them in the first 90 minutes I think they will be fine. Whether they will push for the top six, I’m not saying that, but I think it was a knife edge. And I will never get used to see Manchester United sitting off, at home, against a team like Leicester, with a 1-0 lead. Growing up in the era I grew up in, I will never get used to that. I know it is after the World Cup and he didn’t make any signings and there are some off-field issues, if you like. I just don’t know how long Man United fans are going to stand for that.

Is there an outlandish thing that will happen in the PL this season you’ve thought about in the back of your mind? Another Leicester title charge? A big team in real trouble?

White: Wolves to finish top eight. Look out for them.

Earle: Wolves nowhere near as high as people think.

White: Wolves relegated?

Earle: No, Wolves not relegated. But I think people are getting carried away a little bit. I’m a bit wary.

Le Saux: The thing is, they haven’t got a strong English, Premier League core to draw on.

Earle: I like the confidence and I hope I’m wrong, but this league is really brutal.

Le Saux: I think Fulham could be a decent side. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’ll push for Europe. I think they will finish highest out of the three that got promoted. That is my gamble. The other thing is that I said Newcastle will get relegated this year. And I don’t want them to but I’m worried that all of the off the pitch stuff may have a bigger impact but against Tottenham they looked like they had spirit on the pitch. That gives great credit to Benitez and the ability to get the players focused.

Who has been the best dressed on the trip so far?

Earle: Not Kyle Martino, who didn’t bring his jacket to the transfer deadline day show.

White: I think Lee Dixon’s crushed cranberry Paul Smith suit kind of stole the show.

Le Saux: And his flustered paprika tie!

Earle: And his aubergine pocket square. You can’t compete with that…

White: It was the sartorial equivalent of winning the league by Christmas.

Le Saux: I would have to say Rebecca.

Who has been the loudest of the group? Who talks the most?

Le Saux: It’s probably me.

White: Yep, Le Saux.

Earle: Definitely Le Saux.

White: Try and get through an hour-long presentation on VAR with Le Saux. An absolute nightmare.

Le Saux: I’d agree. I’m not even disputing it.

Earle: ‘Let’s go to our VAR expert’ Graeme…

Le Saux: ‘I’ve look at the footage and, well, they are right.’ End of discussion.

Who has been the most excited about being in England for this trip?

Earle: Musty.

White: Mustoe.

Le Saux: Mustoe.

Earle: And he has done two commentaries. Back-to-back commentaries is Mustoe’s dream. But I’m the hardest working man on NBC…

Le Saux: I’m just not going to say anything.

Has there been anything else on this trip which has been a particular joy for you? One moment?

Earle: Going to Man City’s training ground was fascinating. 20 minutes hanging out with Pep Guardiola. If ever you could extend a moment to try and spend an hour in that man’s company. He is just cool. The best kind of cool. He’s got it, he’s engaging, tactical. He is almost cultish. He has got the solution to every issue and he is just a pure football coach. His life is just dominated by football.

White: What I wanted to know from him, and the cameras weren’t there, was if he made any compromises at all to the way his teams play football. When we think back to the first season, and everyone said ‘you can’t do it that way here’ and people seemed to know more than he did. Actually, he has won that hands down. He has bent the entire Premier League to his own will. He has said the only two things that he realized early on the only two things that he had to focus on, more than he used to, was high balls and set pieces. That’s it. Everything else he’s done it his way 100 percent. He sat there in front of us energized and clearly has hunger for the new season. Everyone better be on it because there will be a seat on the bench next to me if they’re not. At the absolute worst they’re going to be as good as they were last year. And I suspect they’re going to be even better. To sit there and hear that from him, I came away feeling very confident about Man City’s chances.

What about the future of the Premier League, what big changes or storylines should we be keeping an eye on?

Le Saux: VAR is the thing. There are some good bits to it but there are a lot of unanswered questions before I am comfortable with it and think it is worth introducing. I think that is going to be the single biggest change in football for many, many years.

Earle: I’m interested to see how the winter break over the two periods plays out. Will it be the benefit it is designed for?

Le Saux: Also, when you look at the Premier League at the clubs coming up, the money they are now spending, the margins are closer.

Earle: It’s the top six and then 14 teams. Pretty much.

Le Saux: Also, the money has allowed clubs to keep hold of star players as well. If you go back 10 years and clubs were almost forced to sell players. But now clubs that you would consider smaller clubs, they’ve got clout to keep hold of players and hold them to their contracts a bit more which I think is a good thing in terms of the competition.

New deadline looms for Manchester United bids


A new deadline is looming for potential new owners of Manchester United, as our partners in the UK at Sky Sports say the deadline for second offers is Wednesday, March 22.

They add that up to eight bids are expected, while INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has told The Wall Street Journal he won’t pay a ‘stupid price’ for the Red Devils.

The Glazer family continue to explore either the full or partial sale of the Premier League giants.

It has been widely reported by ESPN and Sky Sports that two bids, one from Ratcliffe and another led by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, are the frontrunners as the Glazers look at all of their available options.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Over the last few months the American family have been seeking potential investors in Manchester United and they have not been short of suitors.

Presentations have been taking place between potential new owners and investors and the Man United hierarchy over the last few weeks.

The latest updates

Two bids have now taken center stage as they arrived before the first, well-documented, deadline.

One is from INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who failed to buy Chelsea last year but was always said to prefer a bid for his boyhood club Manchester United.

“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint. What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently,” Ratcliffe told The Wall Street Journal.

Another bid is led by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is seeking full control of the club and is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank as his father was the former prime minister of Qatar.

The Glazer family bought United in 2005 for $1.4 billion and it is believed they are now asking over $7.3 billion for a full sale of the club.

Statement from INEOS

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS confirmed they have ‘submitted a bid for majority ownership of Manchester United’ and went into more detail on their plans.

“We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community. We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again.

“We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads. We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership. We want a Manchester United anchored in its proud history and roots in the northwest of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League.”

Statement from Qatari bid

The Qatari bid, led by Sheikh Jassim, promised that their offer is ‘completely debt free’ and they want United to become ‘the greatest football club in the world’ during their stewardship of the club.

“The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training center, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.

“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.”

USMNT roster for Nations League features Gio Reyna, no Tyler Adams


The USMNT will be without captain Tyler Adams when they play a pair of CONCACAF Nations League games later this month, but they will have 13 members of the 2022 World Cup squad, including Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna, as confirmed by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.

The Yanks will also not have Timothy Weah, who suffered a scary concussion for Lille versus Toulouse on Sunday. He’s been replaced by AZ Alkmaar’s Djordje Mihailovic.

[ MORE: USMNT to face rivals Mexico in April friendly ]

Adams will miss the games against Gernada (March 24) and El Salvador (March 27) after suffering a hamstring injury during a recent training session with Leeds United.

Reyna’s place within the team and program had come into question in the weeks and months since the World Cup, with events and an investigation transpiring involving former/a candidate to remain USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and Gio’s parents, Claudio and Danielle. Interim head coach Anthony Hudson explained Reyna’s inclusion as a decision to “move forward.”

[ MORE: USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup ]

“It became a bit more complex in the months since the World Cup, but as far as we’re concerned Gio is a part of our program,” Hudson said. “He’s a good guy and a top talent, and he is evaluated like any other player. We made the roster decisions based on what gives the team the best opportunity to win these games, and we brought him in because we think he can help us do that.”

Full USMNT roster for 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League

Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders (8): Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham/), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach/), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City)

Midfielders (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Sonora (Juárez), Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar)

Forwards (6): Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America)

EDIT: Tim Weah (Lille) was originally called up, but exited due to a head injury.

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Erling Haaland injury update: Man City star leaves Norway squad


Manchester City star Erling Haaland has left the Norway squad after suffering a groin injury.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Haaland, 22, joined up with Norway for their EURO 2024 qualifiers but has been sent back to Manchester City for treatment.

The Norwegian striker has been in stunning form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last three games in all competitions for City (including five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a hat trick against Burnley in the FA Cup) before the break.

He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.

However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.

What is the latest update?

Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, gave an update on Haaland’s injury.

“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”

Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.

Which games could he miss?

After the international break Man City are playing in the first game of the weekend as they host Liverpool on Saturday, Apr. 1 at the Etihad Stadium.

It seems like Haaland could be struggling to be fully fit for that game, and maybe even the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, so Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.

Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage. Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.

USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup


After reaching the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT have a big 2023 coming up as they aim to build off a successful showing on the world’s biggest stage.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson takes temporary charge and both the GM (Brian McBride) and Sporting Director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months.

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for 2023, with plenty more games to be added based on their potential qualification for the 2023 Gold Cup on home soil.

How to watch USMNT

TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español:
Universo, Telemundo Deportes
Streaming en Español: Peacock

USMNT upcoming schedule

* Friendly | ** CONCACAF Nations League | *** 2022 World Cup


vs. Serbia* — Jan. 25, 10 pm ET — Loss 2-1 | Recap & highlights
vs. Colombia* — Jan. 28, 7:30 pm ET — Draw 0-0 | Recap & highlights
at Grenada** — March 24, 8 pm ET — St. George’s, Grenada
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Orlando, Florida
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details 

2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 (USMNT yet to qualify)

USMNT games in 2022

vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0

USMNT at 2022 World Cup

Group B
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0

Last 16
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1

USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis

at El Salvador — Sept. 2Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1

vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1

vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1

vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0

at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0 
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2 

Final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings

Canada — 28 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +16 – automatic qualification
Mexico — 28 points (QUALIFIED) GD +9 – automatic qualification
USMNT — 25 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +11 – automatic qualification

Costa Rica — 25 points (PLAYOFF) GD +5

Panama — 21 points (ELIMINATED)
Jamaica — 14 points (ELIMINATED)
El Salvador — 10 points (ELIMINATED)
Honduras — 4 points (ELIMINATED)

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