Nothing to separate entertaining Bournemouth, West Ham United

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Two would-be Top Seven teams both delivered attacking quality on Saturday, but West Ham United will be happier as it delivered a late equalizer in a 2-2 with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Andriy Yarmolenko scored early and helped set-up Aaron Cresswell‘s late goal, and Felipe Anderson was also a driving force for the Irons.

But Bournemouth will feel aggrieved by the chalking off of a Nathan Ake goal by VAR, one that would’ve made it 3-1.

Callum Wilson and Joshua King scored the goals that counted as the Cherries now sit seventh on 11 points, one point behind third-place West Ham.


Three things we learned

1. Yarmolenko at his very best: Last week’s star show led to another for the Ukranian playmaker, who took the fine work of Sebastien Haller to set him up and raised it to the next level. He worked a very good center back in Nathan Ake to score, and could’ve had two or three assists on the day. With Haller, Manuel Lanzini, and Yarmolenko, the Irons have game changers.

2. VAR stings Cherries: Bournemouth’s Ake thought he had a goal to go with an assist, and the Cherries would’ve had a 3-1 lead had VAR not noted that Ryan Fredericks was hip-to-hip with a just offside Dominic Solanke as the ball took the slightest of turns off the West Ham defender. It’s an offside that probably never gets called without video, as Solanke was in the sightline of Irons goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez but not making a play on the ball.

3. Wilson scores, but will rue miss: Are these the sort of missed chances that keep Callum Wilson from breaking into the England mix? The striker scored once, yeah, but his 1v1 chance belted into Jimenez’s thigh from close range is one which should’ve really decided the match.

BONUS. Fabianski injury a big concern: Roberto Jimenez has plenty of experience between the sticks, but Lukasz Fabianski limping off heavily could be a major prob for the Irons. He was one of their best players last season, and West Ham looks up for a Top Seven challenge. Slim margins between star keepers and adequate ones.

Man of the Match: Yarmolenko


West Ham took a deserved lead following its bright start, as Sebastien Haller settled the ball and laid off for Yarmolenko. The Ukranian turned Nathan Ake — no east feat — and curled a gorgeous ball around a helpless Aaron Ramsdale.

VAR took a look at a potential Bournemouth equalizer which had been blown dead for offside. Ake’s trap of a cross was kept onside, and King’s classy finish hit the scoreboard after a minute’s review.

The next moment was an injury, as West Ham star backstop Lukasz Fabianski was banged up and the Irons introduced well-traveled Spanish backstop Roberto Jimenez. The backup allowed four goals to Oxford United at midweek.

Felipe Anderson had a scissor kick well-saved by Ramsdale on the edge of first half stoppage to keep West Ham from taking what would’ve been a fairly well-earned advantage.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Wilson belted a shot past Jimenez, after the referee played advantage following a foul on Dominic Solanke outside the 18. Perhaps the defense and keeper shifted off, but Wilson did not. 2-1 after 29 seconds of the second half.

Ake made it 3-1 in traffic, but would it stand past VAR? No, a razor-thin call went against the goal scorer, whose shot hit West Ham’s Ryan Fredericks on its way past Jimenez. Solanke was ruled to be offside.

Yarmolenko’s curling effort nearly leveled the score line in the 64th, but just missed the far post.

The in-form Ukranian then sent a gorgeous pass over the fray for Anderson to head on Ramsdale, who was wise to the effort.

Jimenez denied Wilson 1v1, an unreal opportunity denied by indecision and sturdy goalkeeping.

Cresswell delivered West Ham’s equalizer, scoring tighter to goal than his pristine free kick last week. It was a Yarmolenko cross headed back into the fray by Anderson.

Top 25 players in the USMNT pool right now

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Christian Pulisic is the best American soccer player in the world.

Of this, there is little debate.

But there is a debate to who is second, third, and well down the line, and we’ve got our last chance to really assess the full crop with Major League Soccer now out of season for a few months.

[ USMNT: Most to gain/lose from November ]

Let’s set some ground rules:

  • The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
  • Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one which could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
  • Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Chris Richards of Bayern Munich II is a better long-term prospect than 32-year-old Tim Ream, but most would rather have the Fulham man in a big spot right now.

Top 25 USMNT players – November 2019

*not currently a part of USMNT squad due to injury
**not currently a part of USMNT squad due to coach’s decision

  1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea*
  2. Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig*
  3. John Brooks, Wolfsburg
  4. Weston McKennie, Schalke
  5. Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf
  6. Sergino Dest, Ajax
  7. Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
  8. Matt Miazga, Reading (on loan from Chelsea)**
  9. Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen
  10. Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf (on loan from Man City)*
  11. DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United
  12. Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC*
  13. Tim Ream, Fulham
  14. Timothy Weah, Lille*
  15. Julian Green, Greuther Furth**
  16. Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders
  17. Ike Opara, Minnesota United**
  18. Michael Bradley, Toronto FC*
  19. Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach**
  20. Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (on loan from Spurs)**
  21. Tyler Boyd, Besiktas
  22. Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy
  23. Miles Robinson, Atlanta United*
  24. Paul Arriola, DC United
  25. Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes

Next up, established: Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Bill Hamid (DC United).

Next up, youth: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona U19), Alex Mendez (Ajax U19), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund U19), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg U19), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich II), Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Donovan Pines (DC United), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Leaked image shows big fines that face Chelsea rule breakers

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Frank Lampard‘s ready to go into his players’ wallets if they disobey his laws.

A posted list of fines for Chelsea players, signed by the manager, has been confirmed and we would completely understand if the Blues were on time all the time.

[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]

A player is fined about $640 per minute he’s late to a meeting, and if he misses a practice, well, wow: The fine is nearly $26,000.

If a phone rings during a meeting, that’s gonna be $1,300.

And if any fine isn’t paid within two weeks, it doubles! Seems like Christian Pulisic and his teammates will have a lot of alarms set on their phones.

From The Telegraph:

Lampard has also banned agents from the training ground, unless on official business, and players must inform the club if they intend to travel abroad, even on scheduled days off.

The average Chelsea salary last season was approximately $6.6 million, meaning players make on average $127,000 per week.

The full list of fines is below.

Kompany: Liverpool’s Premier League title ghosts should ‘be to City’s advantage’

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Vincent Kompany says history could help Manchester City climb back into the Premier League title race even after his former team dropped nine points back of first place Liverpool.

[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]

Now at Anderlecht, the center back also said history might’ve played a role in City’s 3-1 setback at Anfield. In a rare bit of explicit honesty, the often interesting Kompany said that players do deal with demons of a club’s past.

“We always struggle at Anfield,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I said that on Super Sunday, you’re fighting 25 years of not winning at Anfield and that’s difficult, it’s two games in one game: You’re playing a great team and you’re fighting history.”

“Flip it around and the same will happen for Liverpool. They will fight the history of not winning the league for 30 years. That should be to City’s advantage I still think.”

Do you buy that? Most of the buzz around the Premier League is that this Liverpool is a different team than even the dominant one of last season, and City has suffered big injury problems. The Reds players almost went out of their way last year to say they weren’t worried about blowing their table lead last season (which was bigger, later in the season).

Kompany also said that he believes City doesn’t need to add a center back in January, which is bonkers unless he’s coming back, but the Belgian has proven time and again that he’s one of the better minds in the game.

The guy did title  his MBA dissertation, “How professional football clubs in the Premier League can benefit from home game advantage and achieve game-changing levels of improvement” after all. Then again, I’m not sure any of our dissertations on the same topic would’ve been approved had we done that.

Liverpool’s Salah to miss Egypt’s first two AFCON qualifiers

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Good news for Liverpool, not so much for Egypt.

Mohamed Salah will not suit up for the Pharoahs this month as Egypt begins qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

[ MORE: Will Zlatan rejoin LA? ]

Salah has been dealing with ankle problems since a rough tackle from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, and it’s acting up following a tackle from Fernandinho in the Reds’ 3-1 defeat of Man City on Sunday.

Egypt needs Salah, but it’s no surprise he’s erring on the side of caution given the tumultuous relationship between the superstar and his country (and Liverpool’s status as a contender in five (!!) tournaments).

Salah, 27, has 41 goals in 67 caps. The next five leading active Egyptian scorers have a combined 31 goals in their careers over 284 caps. The youngest of those is Aston Villa’s Trezeguet (25), followed by Besiktas’ Mohamed Elneny (27).

Egypt are heavy favorites to finish in one of the top two spots and qualify for AFCON 2020, even with the injury. The 49th ranked Pharoahs (FIFA ranking) are in a group with Kenya (108), Togo (124) and Comoros (142).

Egypt hosts Kenya on Thursday to kick off qualification, and visits Comoros on Monday.