USMNT, European review: Messi still Messi, Sargent shines again

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It wasn’t simply a great weekend for Leeds’ USMNT trio of Jesse Marsch, Tyler Adams, and Brenden Aaronson, but for others in the USMNT as well, and that’s where we’ll begin our review of Americans in the top tier of European football and the title races within those leagues.

A couple of USMNT strikers in Europe, Jordan Pefok of Union Berlin and Josh Sargent of Norwich City, made their cases for the World Cup roster with goal contributions.

[ MAJOR ‘LEEDS’ SOCCER: Aaronson post-match reaction | Marsch interview ]

Sargent scored a brace in a nice win for the Canaries when Norwich City beat Millwall 2-0 to join the Lions with a 2W-1D-2L record.

Sargent, 22, started over Teemu Pukki and built off the goal he scored against Huddersfield Town in Norwich’s first win of the Championship season. He is feeling good about his play up top.

“I naturally press the goalkeeper, it’s something I have inside of me,” Sargent said. “I’m hungry for the ball, so I like pressing. Huge credit tonight as well to Dowell and Nunez, they have great vision with the ball and put me in great positions to be able to finish them.”

Norwich gets Bournemouth next in a League Cup match, and Sargent’s role there will be worth watching, as will the USMNT players and European leagues we monitored this weekend. Dig into that, below.

[ MORE: 10 things we learned in the Premier League’s Week 3 ]


Ligue 1: Messi, Mbappe and PSG preen; Balogun scores for Reims

Talk about a message-sending win: Paris Saint-Germain smashed Lille, scoring in the first minute and four times before halftime of a rout. Lionel Messi assisted Kylian Mbappe’s opener and then scored in the 28th minute before Achraf Hakimi and Neymar got in on the action. Mbappe finished with a hat trick and an assist while Neymar finished with a brace and two assists in the 7-1 win.

Lille’s USMNT forward Timothy Weah missed the game through injury as PSG improved to a perfect 3-0 on the season. Elsewhere, USMNT eligible English youth international Folarin Balogun scored for Reims on loan from Arsenal, while Erik Palmer-Brown and Troyes were thrashed by Lyon.

La Liga: Villarreal, Real Madrid lead the way; Musah starts, sees yellow

There are still several 2-0 teams in La Liga and could be more before the end of the match week, but as of kickoff there are two who have really caught the eye. Villarreal improved to 2-0 by beating Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, while Real Madrid clobbered Celta Vigo 4-1 away.

As for USMNT players in Spain, Yunus Musah had a solid game in a 1-0 Valencia loss at Athletic Bilbao but was on a yellow card had to be withdrawn with a half-hour to play. Luca de la Torre had a decent, very short cameo in Celta Vigo’s 4-1 loss to Real Madrid. Sergino Dest wasn’t even in Xavi’s 23-man matchday squad vs Real Sociedad.

Bundesliga: Bayern scores 7 as the lone perfect side; Scally second

Bayern Munich scored seven goals for Julian Nagelsmann to give it 15 goals to go with a lone concession, a big win over Bochum leaving it the only 3-0 team in the German top flight.

There are USMNT players on two of the three teams to sit tied for second with seven points. We detailed Jordan Pefok’s Union Berlin heroics on Saturday — his goal and assist led Union — and Joe Scally went 90 minutes as Daniel Farke’s Gladbach improved to 2W-1D on the young season with a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin. Ricardo Pepi was a sub in Augsburg’s loss at Mainz.

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City, live! Score, updates, how to watch

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Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City promises to be an epic UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg on Wednesday (live, 3pm ET) at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Pep Guardiola against Diego Simeone is not only a clash of styles but also a clash between two of the best managers of the last few decades. If not two of the best managers ever.

[ LIVE: Updates from UCL games ]

Manchester City have looked imperious in Europe so far this season and they are the favorites to go one step further than last season and win their first-ever Champions League trophy, but a 1-0 lead after 90 minutes isn’t as inspiring as City fans would like.

With the Premier League title race pushing them all the way as they battle with Liverpool, Guardiola is still trying to win the treble and they also face Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinals at the weekend. Atleti knows its has to score but it will sit back and try to frustrate City. Will Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, and Riyad Mahrez be able to unlock this stubborn Atleti defense?

[ MORE: Champions League schedule, predictions ]

On the other side of things, Guardiola has been waxing lyrical about the technical quality of Simeone’s side, especially when they launch attacks and get into the final third. Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann have found form in recent months, while Luis Suarez remains dangerous off the bench. Atletico are the reigning Spanish champions but they haven’t been in the La Liga title race this season. However, they look set for a top four finish and seem to thrive in these kinds of situations where most people expect them to come up short.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Atletico Madrid vs. Manchester City.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


Atletico Madrid team news, injuries, lineup

Star center back Jose Gimenez is out after being injured in the win against Alaves at the weekend, which is a huge blow for Simeone. Mexico star Hector Herrera is also out.

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup

Center back Ruben Dias could finally be back from a thigh injury? Maybe, but Cole Palmer continues to struggle with a foot and ankle issue as the only other injury concern at City.


Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

(-300) Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid (+850). Draw: +400

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


How to watch Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City live, stream link, and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET Wednesday
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDNParamount+

Man City vs Atletico Madrid final score: Subs turn tide for dominant hosts

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Phil Foden came off the bench to set up a Kevin De Bruyne goal and Manchester City claimed a 1-0 first-leg advantage over Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in Manchester.

City only gave up two, maybe three chances on the counterattack, but the hosts were rarely uncomfortable in building a first-leg advantage.

[ MORE: Man City vs Liverpool history, Pep vs Klopp stats ]

Away goals no longer matter in the competition, so City simply needs to not lose at the Wanda Metropolitano in order to head to the semifinals.

Sounds funny when discussing a Champions League quarterfinal, but this is all an appetizer for Man City vs Liverpool in the Premier League, 11:30am Sunday on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com.

[ MORE: The Run-in — Man City, Liverpool in focus ]


Man City vs Atletico Madrid final score, stats

Final score: Man City 1, Atletico Madrid 0

Scorers: De Bruyne (70′)

Shots: Man City 15, Atletico Madrid 0

Shots on target: Man City 2, Atletico Madrid 0

Possession: Man City 71, Atletico Madrid 29


Three things we learned from Man City vs Atletico Madrid

1. “Yeah, well, I got legs on the bench, too”: Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid was thoroughly dominated but had 2-3 moments of danger on the counterattack. So when Simeone, like clockwork, hit the hour mark and put in electric subs Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha — not without plugging in metronome Rodrigo de Paul — Pep Guardiola must’ve grinned wildly. The brakes were off, and it took Guardiola eight minutes to get Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, and Jack Grealish in the mix. The payoff was immediate, Foden dancing through traffic to set up Kevin De Bruyne for a pretty shot.

All things told, if it’s ever been appropriate to toss a “Game, Blouses” in a honest-to-God sporting event, it may be this one.

2. What if Diego Simeone’s name was Jose Mourinho? So, let’s be clear, if the game works a treat and you come away with 0-0 or even a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard, your plan is to hope for 2-3 solid chances. This is a bit Diego Simeone house but you can’t help but read that opening sentence and recall Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox in “The Dark Knight” — Let me get this straight, you think that your client, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, and your plan is to blackmail this person? … Good luck.” This was a dedicated effort but a team set up to fail. City is too good. You have to try and play with them. The odds are somehow better.

3. What’s this say about Sunday? Pep Guardiola tried to save the legs of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and Gabriel Jesus to run at Liverpool’s sometimes-open defense on Sunday, only inserting them with the score 0-0 after 68 minutes, while over in Portugal we saw Jurgen Klopp only playing Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for 61 minutes. The hope, seemingly, is that that leaves them enough in the tank to trouble the Premier League leaders at the Etihad Stadium in five days’ time.

Man of the Match: Rodri — Just unfair. 118 touches, 10-of-12 on long passes, two interceptions, two tackles, and besides a single bad back pass early, just complete and total hold of the center of the park. Kevin De Bruyne can’t be peak Kevin De Bruyne without Rodri.


Jan Oblak is pretty good

For all we didn’t learn in this snoozer of a team training exercise, Atletico Madrid’s goalkeeper remains quite good at his craft even if he didn’t corral this in the cleanest of manners.

Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid: How to watch, team news, odds

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Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid (kick off is on Tuesday at 4pm ET) has all the makings of a classic UEFA Champions League last 16 game, as Ralf Rangnick’s side and Diego Simeone’s Atleti are locked at 1-1 after the first leg.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores, updates ]

Anthony Elanga grabbed a crucial late equalizer for United in the first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano, as Ragnick’s side were second best throughout but somehow flew back from the Spanish capital with a draw. Joao Felix had given Atletico an early lead and Simeone’s side were superior throughout, but United held firm and hit them on the counter to perfection.

Using the same tactics in the second leg at Old Trafford is probably United’s best chance of reaching the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. With no away goals, this tie is perfectly balanced to be an all-time classic.

Can Cristiano Ronaldo get the better of Atletico Madrid once again? Or will Simeone’s side dump another English giant out of the competition, just like they did to Liverpool in 2019-20? Both Atletico and Manchester United really need a deep run in the Champions League to salvage some pride from their campaigns, as both are battling to finish in the top four in their respective leagues rather than challenge for the title.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid. 

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes are all back in training and could feature after missing the 3-2 win against Tottenham at the weekend. Shaw is still a doubt, so Alex Telles should start at left back once again. Edinson Cavani could start up top in support of Ronaldo.

Atletico Madrid team news, injuries, lineup options

Koke looks set to return, which is a huge boost for Atletico. Sime Vrsaljko and Thomas Lemar are out through injury, while Matheus Cunha and Daniel Wass will also be missing for Atletico. Yannick Carrasco is suspended. Will Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann start? Or will they both be on the bench?


Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

United are the favorites to win at +120, with Atletico price at +250. The draw is +220.

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


How to watch Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 4pm ET, Tuesday
TV Channel: Paramount+
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com


Transfer news: Martial to Atletico Madrid in swap deal, Arthur to Liverpool

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Could Manchester United and Liverpool really make January deals for players still in the UEFA Champions League field?

Would United consider swapping players with their Round of 16 opponent?

Both teams are in the rumor mill this week and United’s mooted deal would see Atletico Madrid claim Anthony Martial in exchange for a player.

[ MORE: Aguero retires, soccer world reacts ]

But what would that mean? Is this a piece that would lower Martial’s price? Or would Martial help lower the price for United to acquire a star like Rodrigo de Paul or even Joao Felix?

Seems bonkers, but that’s why we read the rumors!

Anthony Martial to Atletico Madrid

Could Manchester United and Atletico Madrid do business before doing battle?

The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 opponents could discuss a glorious swap deal involving Anthony Martial, as Atleti is said to be ready to ask United who they’d want in exchange for the Frenchman.

Martial, 26, scored against Everton on Oct. 2 but has since played just 47 minutes in the Premier League due to injuries and illness. He has a contract through the end of the 2023-24 season and has 79 goals and 50 assists since arriving from AS Monaco.

Atleti’s striker corps includes Matheus Cunha, Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, Antoine Griezmann, and Joao Felix, not exactly an aged group with Suarez (34) and Griezmann (30) the eldest of the bunch.

The question is who United would take back in such a deal, assuming they’re not about to splash millions upon millions for Felix. Diego Simeone isn’t about to sending Rodrigo de Paul or Thomas Lemar away in the middle of a UCL push.

A straight-up purchase makes a lot more sense, but Ralf Rangnick would certainly kick the tires on players like Renan Lodi, Lemar, and others.

The beauty of this rumors is that it does beg the reader to come up with their own, “Who says no?” scenario.

Arthur to Liverpool, PSG

Remember when so many people lost their heads about the presumably lopsided nature of the Arthur for Miralem Pjanic swap deal?

Well, turns out both Juventus and Barcelona haven’t reaped the rewards of the deal.

Arthur has failed to win consistent playing time over Weston McKennie and others at Juve, and now may be on his way out of Turin.

Marca notes a possible swap deal with PSG for Mauro Icardi, while also linking Sevilla, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich with Arthur’s services.

And Anfield might make sense given Jurgen Klopp’s uncertainty in the midfield, as the club was also linked with a possible move to bring Georginio Wijnaldum back to Merseyside last month.

Arthur is an excellent ballmover who carries and passes the ball well in progressive play up the pitch. Think Joao Moutinho or Koke with a little less acumen in his own end.