Manchester United Greenwood
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Greenwood leads Man Utd to Everton draw

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Manchester United found its equalizer but not a winner, as Everton claimed a point from Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

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A controversial Victor Lindelof own goal had the Red Devils down 1-0, but Mason Greenwood scored as a super sub to split the spoils.

United slips sixth, a point back of victorious Spurs, while Everton’s second result under interim boss Duncan Ferguson has it 16th. That’s still just three points above the drop zone.


Four things we learned

1. The Natural delivers fitting finish: If you draw up a goal scorer’s goal, the seeing-eye shot Greenwood struck to beat Pickford and score a 1-1 draw for the hosts sure delivers the goods. Greenwood turned 18 on Oct. 1, and already has six goals and two assists for the senior side. His finish through traffic was food for thought as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tries to find the right mix of attackers to fit with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

2. Digne injury a big concern: One of Everton’s lone season-long positives has been Lucas Digne, who’s possibly the best left back in the league (If he’s not, 1 and 2 are on Merseyside). But he had to leave the match with injury, and backup Leighton Baines is experienced but the author of less than 600 minutes of playing time since the start of the 2018/19 season. The goal came on his side, though Greenwood’s shot was well-taken.

3. More improvement from Everton: We’ve detailed Everton’s strength in giving up few shots, but dangerous ones. The gaffes weren’t there on Sunday, with Pickford having to make one big save and Greenwood squeezing a very professional shot inside the near post. Duncan Ferguson has shown the Toffees to four of six points from Chelsea and Manchester United and will helm a League Cup quarterfinal versus Leicester City on Wednesday at Goodison Park. He’s giving the Toffees the opportunity to be patient in finding a permanent boss, and himself the chance to build up his lore even more.

4. VAR finds nothing clear and obvious on Everton goal: The Toffees will be counting themselves fortunate that the Lindelof own goal wasn’t pulled off the board, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin came across David De Gea in a bid for a corner kick and made contact with the players’ face. De Gea should’ve done better either way, but it’s as hard luck an own goal as you’ll find when it comes to the Portuguese center back.

Man of the Match: Mason Holgate was Everton’s best player but less effective in the second half. Scott McTominay was again solid for Manchester United, as were their backs, but Greenwood gets our nod.


Jesse Lingard had a first minute chance to score but mishit his point blank chance wide of the near post.

Mason Holgate had a speculative try from distance that caught David De Gea off guard, sending the keeper into his goal post following a slap over the bar. He’d sting another shot to De Gea in the seventh minute.

Marcus Rashford wrapped a shot around the goal in the 10th minute, and Daniel James drilled a low shot across goal and out of bounds a minute later.

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Pickford was briefly fooled by a 26th minute Rashford free kick, but reacted well to palm away the swirling effort.

Everton took the lead via a Victor Lindelof own goal, which arrived when David De Gea failed in a bid to poke the ball away. He wasn’t helped by a hand to the face from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but VAR didn’t see a clear and obvious error in a foul not being given to the forward.

Luke Shaw fizzed a shot through traffic that was well-saved by Pickford at full extension, the game then stalled by Lingard’s apparent head injury.

James turned to hit a ball to a prone Pickford in the 69th minute as United pushed for an equalizer.

Greenwood found the leveling goal in the 78th minute, James’ square ball setting the youngster up for a shot through traffic that defied Pickford’s dive.

DC United acquires Julian Gressel from Atlanta

Atlanta United trades for Julian Gressel
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How much is Major League Soccer’s best assist man worth?

About $750,000.

DC United paid Atlanta United that fee in allocation money for the rights to Julian Gressel, who had been at a contract impasse with the club who drafted him in 2017.

That fee could hit $1.1 million in incentives, and even so could be a bargain.

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Gressel was due to make around $133,000 this season and wanted an improved deal from Atlanta given his massive production since becoming the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

That salary is less than hundreds of players, most of them nowhere near Gressel’s impact. Nineteen Atlanta United players made more than him last season, so it’s understandable that the 26-year-old wanted to get paid.

We don’t know what he was asking, or why Atlanta wouldn’t get there. From MLSSoccer.com:

“If we really wanted to, we could have had him play on $130,000 this season, extend him a bona fide offer at the end of the season and (we’d still own his MLS rights),” said Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra. “We’re also trying to do the right thing for a guy who has given so much to the club and is really just a good kid all around.”

It’s a weird one, given what the club’s been paying others.

Gressel arrived at Providence College from Eintracht Bamberg and immediately started delivering for the Big East side. He finished his four years with 30 goals and 26 assists and All-American status.

There was some adapting to MLS, but he’s gotten better with every season. He scored 10 goals with 13 assists in all competitions last season.

Spurs chairman reportedly met with Real Madrid about Gareth Bale

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As a neutral, the idea of Gareth Bale rejoining Tottenham Hotspur would be a delight to our Premier League matchday viewing.

Obviously this applies to Spurs fans to the nth degree, especially after a dull 0-0 with Watford at the weekend.

In the short-term, Bale would be a terrific stopgap as Spurs struggle to find themselves without Harry Kane in both the PL and Champions League.

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In the long-term, Bale and Heung-Min Son on the wings of Harry Kane would be enough to make any PL power trio blush (unless Liverpool really does add Timo Werner).

A report out of Spain says Real Madrid president Florentino Perez met with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy about several things including the availability of Bale.

The Welsh star has been long admired by Jose Mourinho, and of course knows Spurs well having become a superstar after arriving from Southampton.

Bale is 30 and his wages would easily top Spurs’ pay list. His 21 goals and nine assists in the 2012/13 Premier League season join his 19 and 11 in 2015 La Liga as his top league seasons.

Spurs host Norwich City on Wednesday (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

Guardiola praises Laporte, “the best left central defender in the world”

Pep Guardiola praises Aymeric Laporte
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Manchester City kept its first clean sheet of 2020 on Tuesday, posting a 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

It took the two-time reigning Premier League champions six tries to get there, the previous zero coming against this same Blades side at the Etihad Stadium.

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City manager Pep Guardiola was quick to give credit to a returning hero, as center back Aymeric Laporte returned to the fold for the first time since Aug. 31.

The club was 3W-1D at that point. They went 12W-2D-5L without him.

Here’s Guardiola, from the Manchester Evening News:

“It’s incredible,” Guardola said. “We have missed him a lot, he’s the best left central defender in the world. Imagine the best teams in the world lose their best central defender. We miss him a lot because he’s a specialist left foot where our buildup. He is fast, strong in the air.”

“He has something that we don’t have in the squad. His left foot and many actions to build up to make it quicker and better – we don’t have it, not because the other ones are not good but he has the only left foot as a central defender and for the way we want to play that is so important. His character and mentality and winning, he has all the attributes. For me, when he is fit he is the best left central defender in the world.”

If you read that as a little bit of an explanation for City being 13 points off Liverpool, you’ve similar eyes to us.

Pep is asking how Liverpool would look without Virgil Van Dijk, how Real Madrid appears when Sergio Ramos is out.

It’s not the be-all, end-all, but as I wrote when Laporte went down, this is the key piece to their defending efforts as well as where they begin possession.

We’re also grateful that Guardiola didn’t drop some sort of, “He’s like a January transfer addition,” statement (at least as far as we’ve read.

Chelsea admit they miss USMNT’s Pulisic

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LONDON — Since USMNT star Christian Pulisic was injured in training in the first week of January, Chelsea have lost against Newcastle, drawn with Arsenal and blown away Burnley.

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In the two games where they’ve dropped points they’ve missed Pulisic’s genius in the final third with both Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi easily shackled by Arsenal in their London derby. Chelsea admitted as much when speaking after the 2-2 draw against Arsenal on Tuesday, an Arsenal side who played with 10 men for over 60 minutes of the game.

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk about Pulisic’s adductor injury and if they missed him during the draw against Arsenal, downbeat Chelsea boss Frank Lampard noted that Pulisic, 21, was “playing really well” before his injury.

“Yeah, a game like today could have been a good where he would have been helpful for us because he was playing well for a patch. But other people have to stand up in those situations,” Lampard said.

When will Pulisic be back?

Lampard confirmed he is making good progress but will not be fit until after the mid-season player break in February, which means he will miss their FA Cup trip to Hull City this Saturday and their clash at Leicester City on Feb. 1. He may not be back until Feb. 17 when they host Manchester United in the Premier League, which means in total he will have been out for a period of six weeks.

“In terms of when he’s back, it is not going to be a week, it is probably be the other end of the early February break but he is getting better and he isn’t far away,” Lampard said.

Speaking to Pro Soccer Talk pitch-side at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who scored their late second goal which looked like being the winner, lavished praise on Pulisic when asked about his absence over the last week.

“Christian is a magnificent player. Since he joined us in the summer he has shown us his potential and we know that he can make the difference at any time. Whenever a player is injured it is not good for a team because we lose potential and I hope to have him back soon,” Azpilicueta said.

Chelsea’s skipper is expecting big things from Pulisic when he does return to fitness, as the fourth-place Blues now have just a six-point cushion to those outside of the top four and have played a game more.

It seems like everyone at Chelsea hopes the USMNT star can rejuvenate their attack in the final months of the season.

“After coming to Europe as a young boy to Germany, he came to Chelsea and it is one step forward, playing for Chelsea every game, fighting to win and fighting for trophies,” Azpilicueta said. “In my role I’ve tried to help in settle into the city and the club. He has a brilliant attitude. Always trying to improve. I am sure he will become bigger and bigger.”