Yet another English youngster is looking abroad for playing time.
German newspaper BILD reported on Wednesday that 1899 Hoffenheim is closing in on a loan deal with Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson. The 18-year-old attacker made three Premier League appearances last season but has found himself on the outside of the first team squad this year, leading for him to look elsewhere for first team minutes.
Nelson follows fellow England youth international Jadon Sancho, who moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and has played Bundesliga matches, something he was unlikely to get in the Premier League with Manchester City. Keanan Bennetts left Tottenham this summer for Borussia Monchengladbach, Ronaldo Viera Nan left Leeds for Sampdoria, and Kaylen Hinds, a former teammate of Nelson with Arsenal, is in his second year with Wolfsburg. Man City also loaned 21-year-old Patrick Roberts to Girona, in La Liga.
It’s a positive sign for England’s youth department to see players move abroad and challenge themselves when playing time doesn’t appear at home, and could certainly bode well for the future.
Saturday friendly preview: Top Premier League teams all in ICC action
Saturday serves up a jam-packed slate of friendlies as the Premier League opener is less than two short weeks away. Here’s a quick overview of what to watch for as the teams take the field in preparation for the start of the league season.
Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain
Unai Emery continues his run-up to his first official match in charge of Arsenal, and the regulars are seeing plenty of the field. In their last International Champions match, a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid precluded a hideous penalty shootout where three of four Gunners to take failed to find the back of the net. Still, the performance was promising as the Gunners held 61% possession and put six shots on target.
They say preseason performances mean nothing, but don’t tell that to Jose Mourinho. Manchester United’s preseason has been criticized heavily, with lackluster performances and sluggish buildup have fans worried for the upcoming campaign. One bright spot has been Alexis Sanchez who has looked far more comfortable in a Red Devils shirt than he did following his move last winter.
Another positive has been Ander Herrera, who is excelling in a Jose Mourinho setup. The midfielder has proven solid cover to the defensive back line while also providing dangerous distribution up front.
Meanwhile, Mo Salah did nothing to quiet the excitement for his second season in Liverpool red, scoring just over a minute after coming on as a second half substitute in Liverpool’s comeback ICC win over Manchester City. Virgil Van Dijk also looks every bit the record signing he was, and the Reds look primed for another exciting season. This could be a fun one at the Big House.
Chelsea vs Inter
The Blues have begun their preseason tour of the globe, but they are devoid of significant talent with World Cup performers yet to join the squad. They met Perth Glory in Australia, now face Inter in France, and then head to Dublin to play Arsenal in a true trip around the globe.
Maurizio Sarri has plenty of work to do, but a positive has been new signing Jorginho, who came over from Napoli alongside his boss. Cesc Fabregas also looked sharp against Perth Glory, but Kurt Zouma is injured and remains in London.
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
Man City makes its third and final appearance in the ICC after a pair of losses to Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. Like Chelsea, the City preseason squad is ravaged by World Cup participants, left with a youthful group of backups. New signing Riyad Mahrez was on hand to start and play 74 minutes in the loss to Liverpool, Leroy Sane came on in the second half to score a goal, and former Chicago Fire and NYCFC striker Jack Harrison showed well. Otherwise, there is little of note in the City squad besides a chance for Bernardo Silva, Patrick Roberts, and Phil Foden to get some minutes in a bid to impress and earn first-team minutes this season.
Barcelona vs Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs heads to the Rose Bowl to take on Barcelona in ICC action. The La Liga giants receive their first preseason action, and in the squad is new signing Malcom.
For Mauricio Pochettino, he has a somewhat strong squad in the United States, but they are devoid of just the English stars that reached the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and still giving fringe players plenty of chances to impress. Christian Eriksen is in tow despite his appearance in Russia this summer, and American defender Cameron Carter-Vickers is seeing significant time at the back. Midfielder Lucas Moura is hoping to give Pochettino something to think about, scoring a brace in the 4-1 win over Roma last time out and looking to compete with Eriksen and Dele Alli for midfield playing time. Serge Aurier is also receiving important minutes as he returns from a serious knee injury and hopes to compete with World Cup hero Kieran Trippier.
Leicester City vs. Udinese
The only Premier League team in action Saturday outside of the ICC, Leicester City meets Italian side Udinese in Austria’s Worthersee Stadion. The players are dealing with serious heat and humidity in central Europe, and they all have to play sidekicks to Austrian international Christian Fuchs who has drawn significant attention on their preseason tour. Still, the squad is strong, with World Cup participants such as Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried Ndidi now with the team and participating in full training, set to see time in the match.
David Luiz was whistled for a push inside the 18, and Antoine Griezmann converted a penalty to put the hosts ahead in Spain. But Eden Hazard set up Alvaro Morata for an equalizer and Michy Batshuayi scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Chelsea the honor being just the second team to win a UCL match at Atleti in the last two dozen attempts.
Basel 5-0 Benfica
Michael Lang and Dimitri Oberlin scored within the first 20 minutes as the Swiss hosts took control and a Benfica red card helped the score line get out of control.
Leigh Griffiths bringing his Scottish form to Belgium with a 40th minute goal, and English exports Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair salted away the result with second half goals.
Sporting CP 0-1 Barcelona
Raise your hand if you thought it would take an own goal for Barca to claim three points down the road in Portugal.
Juventus 2-0 Olympiacos
The Greeks kept it close in Turin, but Gonzalo Higuain’s 69th minute goal sent Juve ahead and Mario Mandzukic finished the scoring 11 minutes later.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Bayern Munich
Dani Alves scored in the second minute off a Neymar assist, then Kylian Mbappe cued up Edinson Cavani to give Les Parisiens some comfort. Neymar added a marker in the 63rd minute to call it a day on Carlo Ancelotti’s struggling visitors.
Manchester United used quickfire first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford to topple Manchester City 2-0 in Houston as part of the International Champions Cup.
The first half-hour saw plenty of action, but nothing in terms of goals. New Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker made a great run to cut down Rashford before he could shoot, while goalkeeper Ederson was required to keep out Paul Pogba.
On the other end, Chris Smalling was active often, nearly conceding a penalty with a pull on the shirt of Patrick Roberts, while also cleaning up after a high City press caught United in their own defensive third.
Just before halftime, United went in front thanks to their prized new striker. Pogba launched an absolutely brilliant long-ball, and Lukaku streaked to meet it, heading past a charging Ederson before cutting from a tight angle into the empty net before defenders could recover.
Immediately after, Rashford put United 2-0 up on a cool finish from the right with space after a ball from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The score is Rashford’s third goal of the United States tour.
After a host of changes at halftime that saw City keep just four players on the field, it didn’t help as United kept on the pressure. Rashford almost scored an accidental long-range chip as his long-ball to the far post nearly went in, but Ederson tipped it over. Moments later, Lukaku thundered a howitzer into the crossbar.
United made a host of changes past the hour mark, and they nearly had another if not for the offside flag raising on Phil Jones after a double-save by Ederson. City had a big chance in the final 10 minutes, as a great ball from Samir Nasri found Gabriel Jesus, but the Brazilian put it well over.
Ederson had a solid game in net for Manchester City despite the loss, while Kyle Walker and 17-year-old City youth product Brahim Diaz also stood out. For United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was bright as were Paul Pogba and goalscorer Marcus Rashford.