Jesse Lingard

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Premier League Preview: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Man United in action

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures is set to be filled with jam-packed actions, as Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, andManchester United all look to climb up the table.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Southampton vs. Chelsea — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Desperate for points, it is likely both Southampton and Chelsea will go for the jugular on Sunday at St Mary’s Stadium.

Coming off of a 2-1 win against Lille in Champions League play, Frank Lampard‘s men are in better spirits, but then again, their season has been riddled with inconsistency. The quintessential embodiment of that is N’Golo Kante, who has been riddled with injuries all season, but is expected to go on Sunday, according to Lampard.

“It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay,” Lampard said on Friday. “All the players are on a semi-recovery program after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much.”

“In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make,” he added.

The home side, on the other hand, have lost two consecutive league games, and are only a point clear of the red line. The Saints, whose last league win at home dates back to last season, won’t count on Cedric Soares or Moussa Djenepo. No pressure, Ralph Hasenhüttl.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: Cedric Soares (calf), Moussa Djenepo (thigh)| Chelsea — OUT: Emerson (thigh), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rüdiger (groin), Marco Van Ginkel (knee)

 Arsenal vs. Bournemouth — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Mezut Ozil is nowhere to be found, and Arsenal are on a seven-game unbeaten run. Welcome to the Unai Emery era, which writes a new chapter on Sunday as it hosts Bournemouth.

Fueled by newcomer Gabriel Martinelli‘s brace, the Gunners routed Standard Leige, 4-0, at Emirates Stadium on Thursday. It is the ideal result the North London side needed ahead of Sundays match, but it is misleading in a sense. Despite the positive results, one thing remains true of Arsenal: an unreliable backline. In seven games, the Gunners have allowed 11 goals, a total count that is only one off their goals scored through the seven-game stretch.

Bournemouth, too, have been in worse shape in the past. In September, Eddie Howe‘s side were unbeaten in league play. The Cherries, injured riddles and all, will look to use their current positive run and their previous experiences at the Emirates to their advantage on Sunday.

“What we have to do from our previous visits to the Emirates is start better,” Howe said. “We’ve conceded early goals, which have made the games even harder for us. So if we can start stronger, show a better resolve early in the game, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Alexandre Lacazette (ankle) | Bournemouth — OUT: David Brooks (ankle), Dan Gosling (hip), Chris Daniels (knee), Adam Smith (hamstring), Junior Stanislas (hamstring)

Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

If Manchester City’s loss at Norwich City in September wasn’t a wake-up call, then who knows what a wake-up call is.

Since their historical woeful night then, Pep Guardiola and company haven’t looked back, winning five consecutive games. City will be without Kevin De Bruyne once again, but as their recent run has showed, there is no lack of firepower from the defending champions. That said, the Spanish manager is aware that against Wolves, any team should be cautious.

“Yesterday they took an incredible result,” Guardiola said about Wolves’ Europa League performance midweek. “I saw the game and they were so solid as expected. At the end, they have a team to make you suffer in the Premier League.”

“They know exactly what they have to do, three or four seasons together and there is a really impressive defensive structure,” he added. “We have to be smart to take a result. ”

Wolves, the outright underdog on Sunday, are far from meeting the expectations set on them, taking up the 15th spot on the league’s table. Recently, with the helpful of more efficient attack and sturdier backline, the Wolves find themselves on a four-game unbeaten streak. Will that be enough to hold off City? Probably not.

INJURIES: Manchester City — OUT: Leroy Sane (knee), Aymeric Laporte (knee), John Stones (thigh), Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring)| Wolves — OUT: None

Newcastle United vs. Manchester United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Sunday’s visit to St. James’ Park poses as the ideal scenario for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United to send a message of intent and crawl out of the 11th spot, which has made club officials the lighting rod for criticism.

Without Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Anthony Martial to name a few, the Red Devils will have their work cutout in front of them in one of the league’s most intimidating atmospheres. Still, win on Sunday can serve as the turning point Solskjaer has been looking for all along.

“Of course you don’t enjoy not winning games,” he told Sky Sports. “You put your heart, life and soul into this job. If you win games you are happier, your mood changes but it doesn’t mean your performances have been better – results change mood.”

“For us to get a result [at Newcastle] is vital now,” the manager added. “I think it will change the mood.The boys can go away on their international break and freshen up their heads.”

The Norwegian’s counterpart on Sunday, Steve Bruce, too, is in charge of guiding his club out of internal turmoil. For Bruce, however, who has led Newcastle to only one win this season, the seat is much warmer, and he acknowledges that the pressure  for him to turn the results around continues to worsen.

“Mud has been thrown my way since I walked through the door, that’s not going to change,” Bruce said heading into Sunday’s match. “The only thing that can change it for me is results. I’m determined, if I possibly can, to turn it around and take the club forward. That has been my remit since I arrived.”

“I’m a resilient so and so,” he added. “You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t affect you in some sort of way but you try and get on with your job as best you can. These days you don’t get the time that you would like to get, you have to get results instantly. The flack always stops with me at the top of the tree but that’s the way the job is.”

INJURIES: Newcastle United  OUT: Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeuene (knee) | Manchester United  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Anthony Martial (thigh), Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Phil Jones (unknown), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness)

Abraham, Tomori named in England squad

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England boss Gareth Southgate has named his 25-man squad for the EURO 2020 qualifiers in October and Chelsea youngsters Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham have both been called up by the Three Lions.

Both players have other options at international levels, but more recently they’ve been part of England’s U21 setup.

Tomori is able to represent Canada, Nigeria and England, while Abraham had previously been non-committal about representing either England or Nigeria at full international level. Mason Mount and Ross Barkley complete a Chelsea quartet in the England squad.

Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Kyle Walker are all out of the Three Lions squad, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is not called up after falling ill in recent weeks and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a surprise omission.

England face the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, both away from home on Oct. 11 and Oct. 14 respectively, as Gareth Southgate’s men aim to keep their 100 percent record in qualifying for EURO 2020.

If they beat the Czech Republic in Prague they will confirm their spot at EURO 2020.


FULL ENGLAND SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Tom Heaton (Aston Villa)

DEFENDERS: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Man United), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Michael Keane (Everton), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham)

MIDFIELDERS: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Everton), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham)

FORWARDS: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)

Lampard: Chelsea kids getting chance is ‘long time coming’

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While Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic was detailing his frustrations to our Joe Prince-Wright near the pitch at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, his manager was unwittingly showcasing why the American 21-year-old is up against it.

An unused sub for fourth time in five matches, Pulisic told NBC Sports Soccer, “It is not going to be easy here, but it was never going to be easy.”

It never was, but it sure has grown even more difficult than anticipated due to Lampard’s unique position.

[ MORE: Chelsea dominates Brighton ]

Taking over a club on a transfer ban and with a wealth of young English players in the fold, the legendary England midfielder is being lauded at every turn for using those young bucks on the Premier League pitch.

Remember, this has been amongst the top talking points in English football circles for some time, on a much bigger scale than it is in the United States, where analysts and USMNT supporters beg MLS clubs to “play their kids.” Just as New York Red Bulls having success with Academy talent is celebrated here, Chelsea is now challenging for a Top Four place with its youngsters on a globally-lauded scale.

This is a buffet dinner for pro-England pundits who’ve long declared the league a bit too foreign.

For Lampard, one of these youngsters is Mason Mount, who was at his side at Derby County last season as the first-year manager nearly led his team to the Premier League. Mount’s incandescent start to life at Chelsea has Lampard grinning ear-to-ear, likely validating years of, “Well, if I ever manage Chelsea.”

“It is great for the club and a long time coming,” Lampard said after Chelsea beat Brighton 2-0 on Saturday. “The work is done in the academy. The mentality is great. They want to play for this club. At the moment they are earning it and setting a level for others. I have complete confidence in the lads. They are there on merit. Whatever game they take it on board and long may it continue.”

Remember that Lampard’s time with the Three Lions was also a major source of controversy, as managers struggled to find the right fit between him and fellow generational midfielder Steven Gerrard.

Lampard knows what nurturing English talent means to individual clubs as well as the national team. He’s seen rivals Manchester United hailed for always having an Academy graduate in the 18, and heard the criticism of his beloved Chelsea for sending so many young English players on loan. It also probably didn’t help things when he came to MLS and was often criticized for his performances despite metrics saying he was well above average, but that’s a minor qualm.

Then, there’s this:

Not great, Bob. Not great.

Not only is Pulisic behind Mount and wonder boy Callum Hudson-Odoi, he’s also contending with two club heroes. Willian is one appearance away from 300 in a Chelsea shirt, more than a handful of those coming when he was a teammate of his now manager. Pedro was never Lampard’s teammate, but is closing in on 200 appearances in the shirt and has won the league and Europa League.

And here’s the thing, Lampard does rate Pulisic. He just thinks he’s not in the mix yet. The problem is that he sees two other youngsters as very much in the thick of his present and his future.

Lampard has called Mount “the cataylst for us getting in front with his sharpness. He was brilliant for me at Derby. I did not expect this level but he he is improving daily.”

He’s said Hudson-Odoi “can be central to this team and for England.”

Leaving aside Hudson-Odoi, who has just returned from a long-term injury, here are what the numbers say when comparing the other four wingers.

Whoscored.com/PlayerComparison

In this small sample size, Lampard is choosing the best producing player in Mount. He has more trust in Willian than Pedro which, while debatable, is at least understandable. And Chelsea is in the midst of an easy stretch of fixtures which won’t demand much chopping and changing if the current first-choice players handle their business.

Pulisic’s career resume and production are far superior to Mount and a notch above Hudson-Odoi, but he’s also the stranger in town and you’d be foolish to say that doesn’t matter. Look at the Chelsea stints of Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne, the latter of which lasted exactly a half season before a loan to Wolfsburg saw him immediately start to redeliver the goods.

That’s a possibility here, if we’re honest. This could just be a place of good club, decent move, wrong time. If Pulisic had gone to Manchester United, for example, he might’ve seen the same path as Daniel James: An injury to Anthony Martial and non-performing Jesse Lingard opened the door wide for the youngster. At Chelsea he’s in a young team with a lot of good wingers. The good news is that there are a lot of matches through Cups and Europe for him to showcase himself to both Lampard and the world. There could be a quick loan, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. He’s still the player we’ve seen torture CONCACAF and he’s only going to improve.

Here’s the other thing, though: It’s only been a dozen games and this could simply be down to form. Look at the above stats again; What’s bringing Pulisic down is his giveaways (times dispossessed) and bad controls per game. In the case of the latter, he’s even or better than Pedro and Mount. The difference is that Mount is producing goals.

The other thing is that Lille on Wednesday and Saints next Sunday. His chances will come, though they just won’t be in the quantity or quality (See: Town, Grimsby) as American fans would like. C’est la vie.

It’s also something to keep in mind from those quick to obliterate Pulisic’s move to Chelsea, which came when there was a different manager in charge of the team to boot. This is what happens at top clubs, and is why plenty of magnificent players take time to adapt to a new league, and that’s if they ever do; Henrikh Mkhitaryan had 23 goals and 32 assists in his final season at Dortmund, and combined for 22 and 24 between Arsenal and Manchester United. Just one example, but you get it.

The kid is going to be fine, and there’s a good chance he’ll be fine at Chelsea. But nothing that happens over the next three months is going to stop Pulisic from shining at the USMNT level. Heck, it may lead to a fresh, inspired Pulisic running all over CONCACAF in the Nations League and beyond.

But right now, he needs to weather a storm which is going to blow stronger and harder as a storyline one nation has always wanted runs straight into the one our nation has desperately sought for the United States’ best product yet.

League Cup: Man Utd survives scare; 3 PL sides lose to lower-tier foes

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Chelsea and Liverpool cruised, but only one other Premier League side one… and it was the one playing another top-flight rival.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 7-1 Grimsby Town ]

A day after Tottenham fell to Colchester United, League One sides Oxford United, Burton Albion, and Sunderland all took down PL foes in the League Cup to book fourth round berths.

Manchester United 1-1 (5-3 penalties) Rochdale

Sergio Romero made a save in the second round of kicks and that’s all Manchester United needed to avoid an embarrassing upset at home to League One’s Rochdale.

The combined age of goal scorers at Old Trafford before penalties was 33, as Paul Pogba returned to the United XI but couldn’t spare his men blushes despite a dominant performance.

Mason Greenwood, 17, scored off a Jesse Lingard assist in the 68th minute, seemingly capping a dominant performance that lacked finish.

But 16-year-old defender Luke Matheson scored eight minutes later to ratchet up the pressure at Old Trafford, and Daniel James and Juan Mata came off the bench for the Red Devils (who also handed a debut to 19-year-old left back Brandon Williams).

Oxford United 4-0 West Ham United

Elliott Moore‘s second half goal gave the League One side a 55th minute lead over Manuel Pellegrini‘s in-form Irons, and well-traveled striker Matt Taylor turned the hopes of a “cupset” up to 11.

By the time Tariqe Fosu made it 3-0 against a very decent West Ham side including Issa Diop, Jack Wilshere, Pablo Fornals, and Pablo Zabaleta, it was academic.

Shandon Baptiste added to the Kassam Stadium jubilation with a stoppage time finish.

Burton Albion 2-0 Bournemouth

Oliver Sarkic delivered the goods for the underdogs, who took an early lead against Eddie Howe‘s in-form Cherries. Nathan Broadhead later scored in a match which was thrice (!!!) stopped by floodlight failure, as the Brewers stunned the Cherries.

MK Dons 0-2 Liverpool

Playing at the back for a very young Liverpool, James Milner gave the Reds a lead they would not toss aside at Stadium MK.

Milner assisted on Ki-Jana Hoever‘s second half goal, as the second-choice Reds XI was given a decent challenge by Paul Tisdale’s side.

 

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-3 Aston Villa

Conor Hourihane and Jota scored in the first 33 minutes, as Villa continued to heap misery on Brighton’s poor run of form in the only all-Premier League match of the day. Hayden Roberts pulled one back in the second half, but that’s all the Seagulls could muster and Jack Grealish restored a two-goal lead for Villa before the match was finished at the Amex Stadium.

Sheffield United 0-1 Sunderland

Max Power — yes, that’s really his name — gave the Black Cats a ninth minute lead over the Premier League’s Blades.

Wolves 1-1 (4-2 pens.) Reading

Bruno Jordao scored his first Wolves goal, as American center back Matt Miazga returned to the Reading lineup after an injury spell cost him four matches and an international break with the USMNT.

But Reading kept pushing for an equalizer and got a deserved one when Lucas Boye scored in the ninth (!!) minute of stoppage time to force penalties.

Miazga was one of only two Reading players to score in the session, as Wolves escaped with their League Cup lives.

Manchester United’s Rashford limps off with non-contact injury

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Marcus Rashford has suffered a non-contact injury in Manchester United’s Sunday clash with West Ham United.

Working the front line, Rashford slowed up inside the 18 and then took a few paces before collapsing onto the turf.

UPDATE: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game, “Scan is tomorrow. He felt his groin. I think he will be out for a while.”

[ STREAM LIVE: West Ham-Man Utd ]

The striker, 21, has three goals in seven Premier League appearances this season. He was replaced by Jesse Lingard.

The good news, of course, is that Rashford walked into the tunnel on his own power.

The bad news is the often nefarious nature of non-contact injuries, where something in the body just gives under pressure.

The Red Devils lost 2-0.