Manchester United - Chelsea recap
Photo by Andy Rain/Pool via Getty Images

Chelsea eases past sleepy, error-prone Manchester United

Leave a comment

Chelsea – Manchester United: Chelsea is going to the FA Cup Final for the third time in four seasons after dispatching Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount got goals off of David De Gea howlers as Frank Lampard moved within a win of his first trophy as Chelsea manager.

A Harry Maguire own goal made it 3-0 before Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty to give the Red Devils a marker.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Chelsea will meet London rivals Arsenal at Wembley for the FA Cup Final on Aug. 1, as it was London 2-0 Manchester in the semifinals.

The Blues and Gunners have combined to appear in 33 FA Cup Finals with 21 wins between the two (Arsenal’s 13 are the most in FA Cup history). Arsenal beat Chelsea in the 2002 and 2017 FA Cup Finals.


Three things we learned

1. Bailly suffers scary head injury: Ivorian center back Eric Bailly has had his fair share of injuries at Old Trafford, but the one that felled him Sunday was scary for other reasons. Bailly went head-to-head with teammate Harry Maguire and both needed medical attention. While Maguire deemed fit to return with a bandage, a bleeding Bailly was able to walk off the pitch but then laid back on the turf outside the touch line for more care. Bailly was then given oxygen and put in a neck brace before being wheeled off the field on a stretcher.

2. Paging Mr. Henderson: David De Gea developed from his early mediocre days at United to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world but he’s made a series of miserable errors this year. His inability to stop Giroud’s opener can be explained away by an ardent DDG supporter but his error on Mount’s long-range shot was putrid. He did well to deny Giroud with a slap in the 59th, but the damage was done. Cries for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give current Sheffield United loan man Dean Henderson a chance to claim the starter’s spot next season will only grow after De Gea’s Sunday at Wembley.

3. Lampard out-wits Solskjaer: Both managers knew they entered the day two wins from silverware but also in control of their Champions League destinies through the Premier League route. Both teams have Wednesday matches, so there was going to be some rotation. Chelsea didn’t have N’Golo Kante and couldn’t start Christian Pulisic due to a minor injury (though the American was shown warming up during the match).

Lampard went for it, arguably starting his best available XI. Solskjaer switched things up and used Daniel James up top despite the youngster having just one goal, against LASK, in 2020. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were on the bench,

Yes, Ole’s in this match for the duration if De Gea’s anywhere near his usual self. Maybe that should weigh a bit more on our analysis but United looked like a team with little concern for hardware.

Man of the Match

Mount — You’ve gotta shoot to score and Mount was willing to do that. He hasn’t had a strong second half of the season compared to his start to the campaign at Chelsea, but Mount was dangerous on the dribble and could’ve scored two. He also made a terrific steal to set up his drive past De Gea. Honorable mention: Cesar Azpilicueta, who has been the Blues rock for weeks (and probably much longer).


Manchester United – Chelsea recap

The first half was relatively sleepy for 30 minutes aside from an adventurous Reece James shot that troubled David De Gea.

It began to open up when a Marcus Rashford-won free kick added some excitement. Wily Caballero had to poke Bruno Fernandes’ arrow over the bar.

At the other end, Mason Mount rolled a tepid 20-yard effort to David De Gea.

United had already seen Eric Bailly suffer an injury and attempt to stay on when Harry Maguire clashed heads with the Ivorian center back. Bailly was removed from the game and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose offense in deploying Anthony Martial in his place.

Chelsea scored deep in stoppage but De Gea and Victor Lindelof will both be upset that Giroud’s outside-of-the-boot flick of a Cesar Azpilicueta cross battled its way off the prone keeper’s body and over the line.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Mount made it 2-0 very early in the second half Mount picked off a miserable pass to the center of the pitch and hit a low shot that De Gea absolutely bungled.

De Gea made the save on Giroud’s deflected shot before the hour mark to keep it 2-0.

Maguire then poked a Marcos Alonso cross to Antonio Rudiger off De Gea to complete the scoring with 16 minutes to play.

Callum Hudson-Odoi cut down Anthony Martial in the box late to set up Fernandes’ finish.

Crystal Palace – Everton: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

Leave a comment

Crystal Palace – Everton: It’s a battle of perfect teams on Saturday when Everton visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (Watch live at 10 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The Eagles have knocked off Southampton and Manchester United to open their 2020-21 Premier League season while Everton has handled Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

Two legends of the game will be at the helm when Roy Hodgson and Carlo Ancelotti match wits on Saturday. Can the former continue to coax unexpected results of his Eagles against the strengthened and powerful Toffees?


Team news: Crystal Palace – Everton (INJURY REPORT)

James Tomkins (thigh), Nathan Ferguson (knee), Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder), Christian Benteke (ankle), Gary Cahill (thigh) and Jairo Riedewald (undisclosed) are all set to miss out for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.

Fabian Delph returned for the midweek League Cup game but Everton won’t have Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle), Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), and Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf).


What they’re saying

Roy Hodgson on how the Eagles won (again) at Old Trafford: “We made certain and kept them playing in front of us and they could not profit from those spaces they are skillful enough to find. And when we had the ball I thought we looked very dangerous and threatening so I don’t think it was a big surprise that we scored three.”

Carlo Ancelotti after Jordan Pickford made a gaffe against Fleetwood Town: “I think the first goal was not an individual mistake because we passed the ball back to Jordan, it was a really difficult ball and we could behave differently. Of course you have to improve there. We want to build up from the back, but when there’s no risk. If it’s risky it’s no good because we can concede a goal like we did. It can be a good lesson for the future. I didn’t speak to him and, as I said, I have to speak with players that were involved when we build-up.Jordan was not the only one.”

Jordan Pickford
FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Jordan Pickford of Everton is challenged by Josh Morris of Fleetwood Town (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Palace is an underdog despite beating United and it’s perhaps a bit surprising to see them at +275 with a draw at +220. An Everton win delivers +110.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Crystal Palace – Everton prediction

Hodgson has coaxed some tremendous midfield performances out of James McArthur, James McCarthy, and Luka Milivojevic in his tenure at Palace but out-performing Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, and Andre Gomes is a big ask even for that steely crew. James Rodriguez is in incredible form but so is Wilfried Zaha. Couldn’t this one go either way? Yes, but if Everton’s moving in the direction many believe it will be able to take all three points in a composed 2-1 win.


How to watch Crystal Palace – Everton stream and start time

Kickoff: 10 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Brighton – Manchester United: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

Leave a comment

Brighton – Manchester United: Impressive Brighton and Hove Albion hopes to continue Manchester United’s winless league season when the Red Devils visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

It will be the first two meetings in several days, as Brighton’s win at Preston North End and United’s takedown of Luton Town set up a League Cup fourth round date at the Amex.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

United handled Brighton well last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0, so this will be a great test at the acumen of both managers: Graham Potter in his second full season with the Seagulls and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempting to prove his doubters wrong.


Team news: Brighton – Manchester United (INJURY REPORT)

The Seagulls will not have Yves Bissouma, who was suspended three matches for his no-look, studs-up kick into the face of Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis. Brighton manager Graham Potter revealed that the long-term recovery of Jose Izquierdo is about two weeks away from being complete.

Manchester United will be without Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.


What they’re saying

Potter on the League Cup win setting up consecutive Man United tests: “It’s a big week for us with those two matches and then Everton before the international break. That’s what we wanted because we wanted to go through in this competition. Players always want to play and the best thing for them is to be out on the field on nights like tonight to keep everyone in the group ready for when they’re needed. You saw that today. There was a willingness to run and fight for the team and get the result and that’s why I’m very happy.”

United’s Solskjaer after goalkeeper Dean Henderson starred on his senior debut: “The goalkeeping department and training level has been really high, of course, you can see driven and dedicated people and I’ve enjoyed watching them. Dean in goal, good save, you can see he’s having to concentrate and it’s a different job to what he’s done a few times last season and he came up with the save when he had to.”

League Cup results
LUTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Dean Henderson of Manchester United saves a shot at Kenilworth Road (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Brighton is +375 to win at home, while a draw nets the wagerer +260. Manchester United is expected to win and thusly -130 to take all three points.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Brighton – Manchester United prediction

The only thing keeping us from pegging a very impressive Brighton team to collect another win is the shadow cast by Manchester United’s 2019-20 season (and long tradition of winning). United was rusty in its loss to Crystal Palace and had to work hard to defeat Luton Town in the League Cup. If that rust was there last week, how do the legs feel after a week? Anyway, the Red Devils still have Bruno Fernandes and it just doesn’t seem like this team starts 0-2 (or even 0-1-1). I grimace as I write 2-1 to Manchester United.


How to watch Brighton – Manchester United stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick

Frank Lampard reaction
Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea rebounded from its weekend loss to Liverpool by getting the good vibes going through a number of new faces Wednesday in a League Cup blowout of Barnsley.

Kai Havertz scored three times, Ben Chilwell came off the bench to chip in an assist on debut, and Thiago Silva went 60 minutes in his first match in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues pounded the Championship side 6-0.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

We’ll start with the longtime PSG defender, who had four clearances, an interception, and a tackle while winning both of his duels.

He passed at 94 percent including six-of-seven long balls. Even accounting for the competition, that’s solid.

Lampard called Silva’s outing “a perfect 60 minutes” via Football.London:

“He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others,” Lampard said. “He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”

ProSoccerTalk talked about Chelsea’s need for a leader at the back during this week’s “Unfiltered,” and Lampard has clearly been waiting for someone like Silva.

As for Havertz, you only needed the box score to see his influence on the game.

Two of Havertz’s three goals were assisted by Tammy Abraham and a third from Mason Mount.

The German phenom also racked up five tackles and two key passes against Barnsley.

“He makes the recovery tackle for Ross (Barkley)’s goal, but then to also just have some freedom on the ball in central areas roaming behind Tammy,” Lampard said. “The combinations he had with Tammy, the way he grew into the game and had confidence and the three goals. It was a great night for Kai and the first of many for him.”

Havertz scored seven braces for Bayer Leverkusen, but this was his first hat trick. Barnsley may play in the second tier, but they had allowed three goals in their last four games.

Whoops.

Actors Reynolds, McElhenney bid to invest in Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC
Photos by Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Jim Spellman/WireImage
Leave a comment

“The Gang Buys a Football Team?”

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds are said to be in talks to buy National League side Wrexham AFC, reports The Guardian.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

The Welsh club, nicknamed the Red Dragons, was founded in 1864 and made it to the European Cup Winners’ Cup eight times between 1972-96.

They’ve since been relegated out of the Football League, dipping out of League Two in 2008.

McElhenney and Reynolds have bid to take over the club, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust says 97.5 percent of their members voted to allow the actors to propose their vision for the club before a second vote.

From wst.org.uk:

As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

It’s gotta get McElhenney’s goat that Reynolds gets the “award-winning” adjective added to his name.

Either way, this is definitely an intriguing club for investment and the potential addition of Reynolds and McElhenney to the fray would only increase the interest in Wrexham AFC.

Deadpool and Mac would be quite a combo in the transfer market.