Arthur Masuaku

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Watch Live: Everton v. West Ham

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Everton host West Ham United at Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Toffees have called this a ‘must win’ game to get their season back on track.

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Marco Silva‘s men have lost four Premier League games on the trot and fans are starting to increasingly call for the Portuguese coach to be fired.

As for West Ham, Manuel Pellegrini‘s men have had a topsy-turvy start to the season but look set for a sustained push for a top seven finish this season.

In team news Everton make five changes from the team which lost at Burnley last time out, as Djibril Sidibe comes in to replace the suspended Seamus Coleman.

West Ham have Declan Rice in midfield after he struggled with illness over the international break, while Robert Snodgrass is back on the bench. Pablo Fornals and Arthur Masuaku come into the starting lineup for the Hammers.


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PL Sunday preview: Man Utd and Arsenal chase top five; Chelsea host Liverpool

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures is filled up to the brim of top-six sides in action, as Manchester United and Arsenal look to climb into the top five in the table, while Chelsea looks to send a strong message as they host leaders Liverpool.

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West Ham vs. Manchester United — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Aside from leaders Liverpool, there is no other team in the league experiencing such a positive run as West Ham. The Hammers are unbeaten in their last four bouts – wining twice and drawing twice – as they head into Sunday’s showdown against Manchester United. Equal with five other sides with eight points, Manuel Pellegrini is conscious that it’s the ideal time to make a statement and climb into the top six.

“We have a very strong team in front of us, it will be a strong test against United. It is the only way we can get into the top six, demonstrating you are able to do it,” Pellegrini said heading into Sunday.

As for the Red Devils, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side – who share the podium with West Ham – are looking to extend their current winning form to three games. Ahead of the game, however, the talk surrounding United isn’t Sunday’s game, but Paul Pogba‘s rumored move to Real Madrid this summer. What a better way to get everyone’s mind of theoretical situations and injury worries than with a win.

INJURIES: West Ham — OUT: Michail Antonio (hamstring), Arthur Masuaku (suspended) | Manchester United —OUT: Anthony Martial (thigh), Paul Pogba (back), Luke Shaw (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Timothy Fosu-Mensah (knee)

Crystal Palace vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Not many expected it: Wolves winless throughout the first five games of the season. That, however, is the reality for a team that finished seventh last season. By now, Wolverhampton Wanderers have had plenty of time to pick up on the alarm bells, it’s time for them to respond.

Manager Nuno Espírito Santo, for instance, knows that it’s time for his side to get back into shape before it’s too late.

“This is important,” he said. “We face the reality and the reality says we not performing well so we have to analyse it and find solutions in the team to improve. We must react immediately. We have to take decisions and find solutions for the team because we have to come out of this situation and improve our performance so we can bounce back.”

Crystal Palace, on the other hand, are dealing with adversity of their own after falling to Tottenham Hotspur, 4-0, last week. Playing at Selhurst Park this time around should be a positive, but Palace has only managed to score a goal in three matches in front of their home crowd this season.

INJURIES: Crystal Palace — OUT: None | Wolverhampton Wanderers — OUT: None

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Arsenal have had several things going for them this season: scoring at home, positive first Europa League performance, a healthy and productive Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, among others. One thing they’ve been missing, though, is an effective Nicolas Pepe, especially after shelling record-money for the 24-year-old Ivorian.

“He needs more adaptation,” Emery said in his pre-match press conference. “He is playing good but progressively we know there is going to be more performance in him to help us and I want to do now quickly the last step in the adaptation for us, for example, against Aston Villa.”

With Alexandre Lacazette still out with an ankle injury, Pepe, again, will have the opportunity to showcase his true worth to a packed Emirates Stadium. Arsenal, too, can use his skill to get that much closer to three, vital points.

“When will Aston Villa finally break out of their shell?” is the million-dollar question for the visitors. At times, the newly promoted side has shown the flair that made it so powerful in the Championship last season, only to leave spectators on the edge of their seats, waiting for that final blow. In North London on Sunday, Dean Smith and Co. have the chance to do so with several players back in the mix, but that’s not to say the task will be a walk in the park.

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Alexandre Lacazette (ankle) | Aston Villa — OUT: James Chester (thigh), Jonathan Kodjia (cheek)

Chelsea vs. Liverpool — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Liverpool, like Chelsea, suffered opening losses in European play midweek; however, there is a different, more positive impetus fueling Jurgen Klopp‘s side. The defending Champions League winners’ immaculate record speaks volume to their current situation, one that’s biggest setback has been the aforementioned loss to Napoli and the injury to goalkeeper Allison, while regaining influential player Nabi Keita in trainings.

It begs to ask: with Manchester City already behind and several top-six sides struggling, how will Liverpool not runaway with the league title this season? That type of talk, however, is exactly what Klopp doesn’t want to hear. The season is green – very, ver green – and this season, for one reason or another, is nothing like last year’s.

“Nothing is won already,” Klopp said. “We have seen teams make big steps. There is nobody you think will go down with no points. Watford and Wolves have been at the bottom, struggling, but will end up going back up. The league is much different (to last season). So many things can happen. Five games is nothing, not even created a basis…”

Klopp’s counterpart on Sunday, Frank Lampard, as a result of his own environment, is managing a different dialogue ahead of the clash, like the possibility of fielding Mason Mount, who came off midweek against Valencia in Champions League play.

On the bright side, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four league bouts, and have a game against Liverpool under their belts this season already – a penalty-shootout loss in the UEFA Super Cup – that should have seasoned them ahead of this season’s part two of the rivalry.

“Times have changed slightly, but it doesn’t change that feeling,” Lampard said on the Chelsea-Liverpool rivalry. “I think the fans feel it, the players feel it, it does involve a lot of passion whenever it’s played. If your levels aren’t there it’s a game that can get away from you quickly so my first thing to say to the players is to make sure they feel this game, recognise what it is, because it always does have an edge.”

INJURIES: Chelsea OUT: Antonio Rüdiger (groin), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James (both fitness) | Liverpool  OUT: Alisson (calf), Nathaniel Clyne (knee)

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 5

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A weekend of tumult in all parts of our table, as Norwich City’s shocking win over Man City and Chelsea’s win at Wolves make us reassess previous results this season.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Watford — Absolutely dominant against Arsenal despite the early Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-inspired deficit. Still, two points from five matches and a lot of work remains for Quique Sanchez Flores.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

19. Newcastle United — Credit to Steve Bruce for a disciplined system against Liverpool. The Magpies get a must-win home visit from Brighton ahead of matches with Leicester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

18. Brighton — The late concession against Burnley is an eyebrow raiser and ranking lowerer. Brighton deserved better and would’ve been counting the three points as relegation insurance. At least Neal Maupay‘s goal was a beauty.
Last week: 16
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Neal Maupay (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

17. Wolves — Excuses are running low, even with a Europa League match on Thursday leading into a Sunday match. At some point, Wolves will have to rise above congestion.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 5-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Palace

16. Crystal Palace — A lot of teams get waxed by Tottenham in North London.
Last week: 14
Season high: 14
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

15. Burnley — Never rule out Sean Dyche, as the Clarets got a point despite being dominated at Brighton, but maybe we were foolish to think they had the quality to sustain another mid-table run.
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

14. Sheffield United — Chris Wilder‘s men play a furious game, which cost them a late red card in their spirited tussle with Saints.
Last week: 11
Season high: 11
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Everton

13. Southampton — Moussa Djenepo‘s got skills, team, and he may be the latest bargain from a Saints side which endured a bit of a cold streak in the transfer market following their wondrous run earlier this decade.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Won 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Bournemouth

12. Everton — Maddeningly inconsistent, the Toffees defending versus Bournemouth was pathetic. And they are wasting a fixture list which smiled broadly on their hopes of building an early season cushion in the race of seventh or better.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

11. Aston Villa — Solid, but is there another gear here once the pieces gel a bit more?
Last week: 12
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. West Ham United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

10. Norwich City — Take a bow, Daniel Farke. Your injured squad had no business doing that to the reigning champs.
Last week: 18
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

9. Bournemouth — Looking comfortably mid-table
Last week: 17
Season high: 9
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Everton
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Southampton

8. Manchester United — A nice win to feel a bit better about themselves, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men will look like a bonafide member of the muddled middle if they fail to perform at West Ham.
Last week: 15
Season high: 2
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at West Ham United

7. Arsenal — The Watford draw should’ve been a loss, and maybe by more than one goal. Bernd Leno is the sneaky MVP of Arsenal’s early season, and he may not get the respect he deserves if the Gunners keep hemorrhaging gilt-edged chances to their opponens.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Watford
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Aston Villa

6. West Ham United — An off day for Sebastien Haller and goofy red card from Arthur Masuaku cost the Irons at Villa. Next week brings a chance to instill some bonafide hope in the supporter base.
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Manchester United

5. Leicester City — Deserved at least a point from Old Trafford, and now heads to North London for a tougher test.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Manchester United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham Hotspur

4. Chelsea — Looking back at their schedule, the draw with Leicester and tough win over Norwich look better than they first appeared. How will Frank Lampard utilize his depth and overcome injuries with midweek UCL and Liverpool this week.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 5-2 at Wolves
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Liverpool

(Photo by Chelsea Football Club/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

3. Man City — At the risk of my Twitter mentions, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi basically welcomed Fernandinho into competition for first pairing minutes after an insipid display in a game the offense played well enough to win. Turns out losing one of the best center backs in the world isn’t ideal.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 3-2 at Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

2. Spurs — Beating Palace soundly isn’t a banner-raising moment, but it still shows “re-focus” and Spurs still haven’t gotten full-fledged Harry Kane. A healthy Tanguy Ndombele will help a lot, too.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2 
Season low: 7
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

  1. Liverpool — Fine-tuned, and their only competition right now is their nerve. This year, it seems, that might not be the problem it’s been in previous pursuits of a Premier League title. Depth will be tested for the Reds and their Sunday foes after UCL midweek action.
    Last week: 1
    Season high: 1
    Season low: 3
    Last match: Won 3-1 v. Newcastle United
    Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Chelsea

Pellegrini chastises Masuaku for red card against Villa

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Manuel Pellegrini said he was “very happy for the performance of the team” despite the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa that saw West Ham record just one single shot on target.

Still, he noted that he was less than pleased with the sending off of Arthur Masuaku, for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the West Ham manager said the referee can be easily goaded into soft decisions against the away side by raucous fans. “It’s a typical sending off when you play away,” Pellegrini said in his post-match television interview. “With the pressure of the fans in every foul, of our players that had a yellow card – in this case Arthur Masuaku, Mark Noble, and another player in the first half, I don’t think this was a yellow card, but playing away it is very easy for the referee to send him off.”

Later, he noted that a discussion at halftime with Masuaku about his earlier booking was unsuccessful. “They [the home fans] try to do it with the pressure of the fans,” Pellegrini said in the post-match press conference. “They tried to do it with Mark Noble in the first-half, they try to get a second yellow. We [Masuaku] talked about it at half-time. We told him he must be careful.”

That didn’t pan out, as Masuaku was sent off for a second yellow card earned while fouling Ahmed Elmohamady who had just come onto the pitch moments earlier. The foul was deemed somewhat soft, but match commentator Martin Tyler pointed out – as Pellegrini seems to be indicating – that Masuaku’s mistake was giving the referee the opportunity to make the call for an otherwise needless foul.

Despite the one negative moment, Pellegrini was pleased with the team’s overall performance on the road.

“I prefer to talk about our team,” Pellegrini said when asked about the refereeing decisions. “I think we played a very good game. We had the personality to come here and try to win the game from the beginning, and the last action, the last play of the game we had a very clear chance to score. We played with 10 men exactly the same that we did with 11. We tried defending well, we tried to continue scoring a goal, so I am very happy for the performance of the team, for the personality of the team, and when you are playing away if you can’t win the game, don’t lose it.”

Aston Villa, West Ham finish scoreless after Masuaku red

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Arthur Masuaku was sent off in the 67th minute, but that couldn’t save a scoreless dud at Villa Park as Aston Villa and West Ham shared the points.

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The two sides combined for just five shots on target as the two played a spotty match with few real chances. According to Opta statistics, there was just one “big chance” created between the two sides through the 90 minutes.

Masuaku was sent off with 23 minutes to go for a second yellow card, a somewhat contentious decision by referee Mike Dean for a somewhat innocuous foul in the attacking half that featured little more than slight contact and a small drag. A frantic three minutes of stoppage time still left the scoreline begging and that was about deserved for the match.

[ JPW’s analysis of the match ]

The result feels double-edged for both sides. West Ham will be happy with its performance after falling a man down but will want more against a newly promoted side, while Aston Villa will pull out of the relegation zone with the point but may be disappointed with how they failed to grab the win after earning the man advantage.


3 things we learned

1. Jack Grealish is fearless: Ok, fine, we didn’t “learn” this – we knew it already – but we sure had it reinforced. While his teammates were headbutting each other, Grealish was out there balling, delivering excellent crosses, one of the only bright spots in an otherwise drab first half. He had two chances created from open play, three completed dribbles, and a bright passing map before the halftime break. After halftime he marauded into the penalty area along the end line to create a chance, and while he had a bad miss late, he was the only one to even attempt to reach the ball as the rest of his team relaxed and let it fly by. He’s a Dustin Pedroia-like player who gives 1000%, and while he may rub some the wrong way, it’s all a necessary sacrifice for the 24-year-old captain.

2.  West Ham absolutely misses Marko ArnautovicFelipe Anderson is a good player and Andriy Yarmolenko can be dangerous in moments, but neither can make up for the consistent spark Marko Arnautovic provided West Ham. Without his presence, this Hammers side had little to offer an Aston Villa defense that keyed on Felipe. Yarmolenko was poor and couldn’t relieve the pressure put on his Brazilian teammate. The Hammers have enjoyed a somewhat positive start to the season, but they will struggle to produce consistent winning spells without some kind of change in the creativity department.

3. Mike Dean is a good referee: At one point after the Masuaku red card, the away fans audibly changed “it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Mike Dean it’s all about you.” It’s understandable given the soft sending off, but overall Mike Dean did a solid job. The Premier League has somewhat lacked consistent referees after the retirement of Mark Clattenburg, and nobody has stepped up as the top English referee in his place. While Mike Dean makes plenty of mistakes and isn’t on the level Clattenburg was, he’s still a good referee, and it showed today. He had firm control of a somewhat chippy match and while the sending off was easy to disagree with, his overall performance was fair.

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish


Early on, John McGinn saw the ball in the back of the net with a tidy finish from a tight angle, but the goal was ruled out for an earlier foul on Jack Grealish, who was otherwise bright for Villa throughout the match. Three players were booked in the first half-hour, with referee Mike Dean looking to keep the lid on a chippy match.

The most intense moment of the first half came between teammates as two Aston Villa players got into a heated exchange. Anwar El-Ghazi and Tyrone Mings had a coming together that featured a slight headbutt from the former, but the referee was on hand to break things up before it got any worse, with no punishment dished out.

West Ham held nearly 60% possession through the first half, but could only manage one shot on target in a relatively dull first 45 minutes as the home side defended well. Felipe Anderson was tidy in possession but created little with Arthur Masuaku also popping up in spots going forward.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half, Aston Villa came out with an attacking intent and nearly found a way in on 53 minutes as Grealish got through down the right and delivered a cross parried by Fabianski, which resulted in a shot from distance by McGinn who just missed wide right.

The moment of change came in the 67th minute when Masuaku brought down Ahmed El Mohamady needlessly in the attacking half. It was a relatively innocuous challenge but one Masuaku didn’t need to make. It produced a second yellow for Masuaku and left West Ham down to 10 men for the final 23 minutes.

The game opened up in the final five minutes but nothing came of it. Issa Diop had the defensive moment of the match as he produced a pinpoint tackle on El Ghazi who was in on the break until Diop blocked off the player but also accurately won the ball as the attacker went head-over-heels. Grealish had a bad miss at the death on an excellent delivery from deep, but on replay he was likely just offside anyways and any potential goal would have possibly been pulled out.