Preview: Southampton v. Manchester United

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  • Southampton striker Danny Ings (hamstring) is ruled out while Ryan Bertrand (back) is a doubt. 
  • Man Utd’s Alexis Sanchez is missing with a hamstring injury sustained in training this week.
  • Diogo Dalot is set to make his United debut although Victor Lindelof (hamstring) is set to sit out. Luke Shaw returns after suspension.
  • Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Man Utd has won only four of its 10 PL matches against Southampton, having beaten Southampton in nine of the last 10 under the Scot.

Manchester United can get back into the top six with a win as they travel to the south coast to take on struggling Southampton.  (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Jose Mourinho has had yet another tough couple of weeks in charge, with Man United looking off the pace even with a midweek UEFA Champions League win over Young Boys. However, they face another club that’s down on its luck in Southampton, which has dropped into the relegation zone with just eight points from 13 games and no wins in seven. If Mourinho’s seat is hot at Old Trafford, it’s nothing compared to Mark Hughes at St. Mary’s Stadium.

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Hughes saved Southampton a year ago but his time may be running out. Even though it’s on the road, this match for Manchester United could be a chance for Mourinho’s men to find their mojo again.

What they’re saying

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on Diego Dalot, who could make his return from injury this weekend: “Players must be ready and in this case some are going away to the medical room and others are coming back. For example, this weekend will be the first call for Dalot. He’s ready now. He had an important injury and then surgery, and then a second injury with the national team [Portugal Under-21s] when he was already playing against Young Boys and Derby County. When he was almost there, he was injured for the national team but now he’s had two weeks of training and we think he’s ready now.“

Southampton manager Mark Hughes on facing Man United: “We looked at a different thing – different in terms of formation, going back to three at the back. That will have positives in games, and sometimes there’s negatives in any formation you go with, but it was interesting to see how the guys got back to that system and they looked very, very comfortable with it. I think that’s the benefit of the work we’ve done during the summer, so very quickly they understood the fundamentals of that. I just think it gives us another string to our bow. We’ve got to be versatile, we’ve got to be flexible in terms of how we go up against teams, because every team gives you different problems.

Prediction

Southampton is in a bad run of form and even with Alexis Sanchez’s injury, Man United still has enough firepower to overcoming the Saints. Mourinho gets a brief reprieve, while Hughes’ seat grows ever hotter. Manchester United 2-0 Southampton

 

 

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.

In-form striker Duvan Zapata injured on international duty

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This international break has been particularly brutal to clubs who have seen a host of key players go down with injuries, and there’s still a few days of matches remaining.

The latest player to succumb to injury is Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata who returned from Colombia duty with an adductor strain and will miss at least three weeks, according to Sky Sports Italia (via FootballItalia). Zapata went down 23 minutes into Colombia’s 0-0 friendly draw with Chile on Friday and was sent back to Italy for tests at his club.

Those tests have reportedly confirmed the initial fears. The loss of Zapata is a massive one for Atalanta, as the 28-year-old has been steadily building for years and is having a breakout start to this campaign, scoring six Serie A goals in seven matches plus one more in Champions League play, currently on a run of four consecutive games with a goal across all competitions. With Zapata’s help, Atalanta sits third in the Serie A table, having bagged the most goals of any team with 18 through seven games.

Zapata becomes the latest high-profile injury from this international break, joining Colombia teammate Alexis Sanchez who went down late in the same match and is reportedly out until 2020 with a serious ankle injury. Chelsea has been hit the hardest, with Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic, and Reese James all pulling up while N’Golo Kante was injured in France warmups but he is expected to be fit for the weekend. Luka Modric may miss time after going down in a Euro qualifier against Wales, while Gareth Bale also picked up a knock in that match. Neymar went down in Brazil’s match against against Nigeria, which forced manager Tite to explain his reasoning for the selection in a friendly. Sergio Aguero is apparently struggling to train with Argentina thanks to a mystery injury confirmed by Lionel Scaloni. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos withdrew from Spain training earlier in the week with “hamstring overload.” Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson left USMNT camp with a hamstring problem with the MLS playoffs on the horizon.

Ex-England midfielder Gascoigne on trial for sexual assault

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LONDON (AP) — A prosecutor has alleged that former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne sexually assaulted a woman on a train by “forcibly and sloppily” planting an unwanted kiss on her lips.

Prosecutor William Mousley’s comments Monday came as Gascoigne, who has struggled with alcohol and mental-health problems, went on trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with sexual assault of the female passenger.

Mousley said the former England star “put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcibly and sloppily on the lips.”

The 52-year-old Gascoigne denies the charge.

The alleged victim has told the court that she froze when the man, who appeared drunk, kissed her in August 2018. She says she did not realize it was Gascoigne until after the alleged incident.