Steven Gerrard

Watch NBC Sports’ new series, Crossroads

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What if Sergio Aguero hadn’t scored THAT goal to win Manchester City the title in the final seconds of the season. Or what if Steven Gerrard hadn’t slipped, allowing Demba Ba to score for Chelsea to ruin Liverpool’s title chase.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the new series from NBC Sports called Crossroads, host Aaron West dives deep into eight pivotal moments in Premier League history, including the two mentioned above. West sets up the scene, explaining why the moment was so crucial towards the season’s outcome. We then see what could have happened if the aforementioned events didn’t happen. What if Man City collapsed after missing out on the title in 2011? What if Liverpool did win the title in 2014, returning to the era of the Liverpool of old?

Of course, we all know that didn’t happen, but it’s fun to think about what if, and West nails it in describing what happened, and what – could have – happened.

The series is premiering today on Youtube, and you can watch the first two episodes here! Episode one is above, while two is below.

What if Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard doesn’t slip v. Chelsea? | Crossroads Ep. 2 | NBC Sports

FOLLOW LIVE: Wolves, PSV, Frankfurt in Europa League qualifying action

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Wolves continue their Europa League journey with a chance to move into the playoff round as they look to protect a 4-0 first-leg lead over Armenian club Pyunik in the second leg at Monlieux.

Raul Jimenez was on the mark for a brace in the first leg, with Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also on target to build the significant lead. Should Wolves reach the playoff round, they would be one two-legged tie away from the group stage.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Also in action are Rangers, PSV Eindhoven, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol, Trabzonspor, and Torino, among a host of others.

Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers are protecting a 4-2 lead after a wild second half in Denmark saw them return home with a significant away goal advantage over FC Midtjylland. Rangers have been near perfect to start the new season, with six wins and a draw in seven matches, including a pair of wins in league play.

PSV will take its first go at the Europa League, having been dumped out of the Champions League in the second qualifying round by Basel. Hirving Lozano is rumored to be nearing a switch to Napoli, and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for the Dutch side that has won one and drawn one in early Eredivisie play. On the other wing, Steven Bergwijn has had a prolific start to the young campaign, as the 21-year-old Dutch international owns a goal and two assists in six matches thus far.

Ante Rebic will look to bring his recent hat-trick form with him to help Eintracht Frankfurt protect a 5-0 lead over Lichtenstein side Vaduz. Rebic scored a hat-trick in DFP-Pokal play last weekend, the first goals of the season for the Croatian international. Frankfurt owns three wins out of three in Europa League play thus far, looking to maintain momentum with its opening Bundesliga match of the season coming on Sunday.

Espanyol is also perfect in three Europa League matches and will be protecting a 3-0 lead over Swiss side Luzerne. Benfica loanee Facundo Ferreyra has scored a whopping four goals in their three games thus far, tallying at least one in each match. Like the Bundesliga, La Liga play also begins this weekend and Espanyol will look to maintain momentum ahead of their opening league game against Sevilla on Sunday.

Turkish side Trabzonspor returns home for a critical second leg against Sparta Prague with the aggregate scoreline level at 2-2. Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel made his club debut in the first leg but was yanked at halftime, and the Turkish side scored both goals in the final 10 minutes to dramatically level the score. Ghanan international Caleb Ekuban scored one and assisted the other in the comeback.

Serie A doesn’t begin play until next weekend but Torino is a perfect three-for-three in Europa League play thus far and will be protecting a whopping 5-0 lead against Belarusian side Shakhtar Soligorsk, hitting the road for the second leg. Captain Andrea Belotti scored a brace in the first leg to help Torino to the massive advantage, and he could be rested with such a large lead.

All fixtures (first leg score in parenthesis):

HJK Helsinki (1-1) Riga FC – 12:00 p.m. ET
Dinamo Tbilisi (0-4) Feyenoord  – 12:30 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow (3-2) FC Thun – 12:45 p.m. ET
AIK (2-1) Sheriff Tiraspol – 1:00 p.m. ET
Apollon Limassol (2-1) Austria Vienna
BATE Borisov (2-1) FK Sarajevo
Bnei Yehuda (2-2) Neftchi
FC Zorya Luhansk (1-1) CSKA Sofia
FK Suduva (2-1) Maccabi Tel Aviv
Mlada Boleslav (0-0) FCSB
Shakhtar Soligorsk (0-5) Torino
Yeni Malatyaspor (1-3) Partizan Belgrade
Zrinjski Mostar (0-3) Malmo FF
Hapoel Be’er Sheva (1-1) IFK Norrkoping – 1:30 p.m. ET
The New Saints (0-5) Ludogorets Razgrad
Trabzonspor (2-2) Sparta Prague
AEK Athens (2-0) Universitatea Craiova  – 2:00 p.m. ET
Valletta (1-5) FC Astana
Viktoria Plzen (0-1) Antwerp
Aris (0-3) Molde – 2:30 p.m. ET
AZ Alkmaar (0-0) FC Maruipol
Eintracht Frankfurt (5-0) FC Vaduz
KAA Gent (1-1) AEK Larnaca
PSV Eindhoven (1-0) Haugesund
Strasbourg (1-0) Lokomotiv Plovdiv
Aberdeen (0-2) Rijeka – 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga (4-2) Bronby
Rangers (4-2) FC Midtjylland
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-0) Pyunik
Espanyol (3-0) Lucerne

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

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Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.

Europa League: Rangers, Aberdeen, FCSB advance in first qualifying round

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The first qualifying round of the 2019/20 Europa League wrapped up Thursday as the competition pairs down teams en route to the group stage.

A couple of notable teams lived to see another day, including Steven Gerrard and Scottish side Rangers who passed its test with flying colors, hammering Gibraltar side St. Joseph’s 6-0 for a resounding 10-0 aggregate win. Jermaine Defoe scored a late brace but Colombian international Alfredo Morelos was the man of the hour, bagging a hat-trick including a stunning rabona at the doorstep that probably wasn’t necessary but still found the back of the net.

Fellow Scottish side Aberdeen who topped Finnish club Rovaniemen Palloseura – or RoPS – 2-1 for a 4-2 aggregate victory. English striker Sam Cosgrove put Aberdeen in front from the penalty spot in the 26th minute, and 19-year-old Scottish youth international Lewis Ferguson picked up the late game winner in the 94th minute with essentially the last kick of the game.

FCSB, previously known as Steaua Bucuresti, knocked off Moldovan club FC Milsami Orhei 2-1 for a 4-1 aggregate victory. FCSB, who finished second in the Romanian top flight last season, got the winning strike from 21-year-old Romanian youth international Razvan Oaida in the 42nd minute to give FCSB the victory.

Danish club Brondby advanced despite a 2-0 road loss, topping Finnish side FC Inter Turku 4-3 on aggregate thanks to their 4-1 victory in the first leg. Turku struck twice in quick succession after the break, scoring in the 52nd and 56th minutes, but it was too little too late.

Legia Warsaw shook off a 0-0 first leg draw and secured a 3-0 win over aptly-named Gibraltar side FC Europa. A brace from Spanish striker Carlitos led the way, with goals in the 7th minute and 60th minute to set the pace for the Polish side.

Irish club Shamrock Rovers advanced over Norwegian side SK Brann on a late winner by new signing Gary O'Neil who bagged an 87th minute strike to secure the 2-0 win and lead the Irish side through 4-3 on aggregate. O’Neil only just joined Shamrock Rovers from UCD this summer, and he came off the bench for the final 10 minutes and found the winner.

Swedish club Malmo, famous as Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s boyhood club, finished off Ballymena out of Northern Ireland 4-0 for a 11-0 aggregate bashing. Malmo featured four different goalscorers, including American international Romain Gall, who picked up his only international cap with a late bench appearances against Italy back in late 2018.

Croatian side Hajduk Split was upset by Maltese club Gzira United 3-1 at home, which gave the visitors the win on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate tie. Gzira striker Ben Hamed Kone struck for a pair, including the game – and matchup – winner in the 97th minute that sent the Maltese side through. The two goals were utterly spectacular, with the first coming in the 69th minute on a bicycle kick from all the way at the top of the box, while his second was a flick from nearly the same position that sent them through.

All Europa League scores (bold team advances)

Rangers 6-0 St. Joseph’s
Ballymena 0-4 Malmo FF
Legia Warsaw 
3-0 FC Europa
FC Milsami 1-2 FCSB
RoPS 1-2 Aberdeen
FC Inter Turku 2-0 Bronby
Apollon Limassol 
4-0 Kauno Zalgiris
Hapoel Be’er 1-0 KF Laci
Hajduk Split 1-3 Gzira United
Kilmarnock 0-2 Connah’s Quay
KR Reykjavik 0-0 Molde
Shamrock Rovers 
2-0 SK Brann
Hapoel Be’er 1-0 KF Laci
Tobol Kostanay 1-1 Jeunesse Eche 
FK Makedonija 0-3 Alashkert FC
Kairat Almaty
2-1 Siroki Brijeg
KS Teuta 1-0 FK Ventspils
FC Levadia Tallinn 3-2 Stjarnan
Rigas Futbola Skola 0-2 Olimpija Ljubljana
Universitatea Craiova 
3-2 Sabail
Dinamo Minsk 1-2 FK Liepaja
Levski Sofia 2-0 MFK Ruzomberok
Cracovia 2-2 Dunajska Streda
FC Vaduz 
2-1 Breidablik
Haugesund 5-1 Cliftonville
Neftchi 6-0 Speranta Nisporeni
Petrocub-Hincesti 0-1 AEK Larnaca
Torpedo Kutaisi 0-2 Ordabasy Shymkent
Zalgiris Vilnius 1-1 Honved
Zrinjski Mostar 
3-0 Akademija Pandev
Progres Niederkorn 1-2 Cork
UE Engordany 0-1 Dinamo Tbilisi
B36 Torshavn 2-3 Crusaders
FK Kukesi 1-1 Debrecen
Hibernians 0-1 Shakhter Soligorsk
IFK Norrkoping 
2-1 St. Patrick’s
NS Mura 2-3 Maccabi Haifa
Vidi 0-0 FK Zeta
FC Vitebsk 1-1 KuPS Kuopio
Shkupi 1-2 Pyunik
Buducnost Podgorica 4-0 JK Narva Trans
FC Spartak Trnava 2-0 Radnik Bijeljina
NK Domzale 1-0 Balzan FC
Radnicki Nis 2-2 Flora

Kompany one of Premier League’s greatest leaders

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When you think of a club, usually one player pops into your mind straight away.

Vincent Kompany will be that player for Manchester City.

After his departure following 11 seasons which yielded 12 major trophies, Kompany’s legacy at Man City will be legendary and talk of a statue of him being built outside of the Etihad Stadium is serious and just. He is adored by Man City fans in Manchester and beyond, as he embraced every aspect of Man City and seemed to totally understand what the club means to the fans and the city.

But that appreciation spreads even further.

Kompany’s achievements on and off the pitch at City mean he is one of the all-time great leaders in the Premier League era.

I’m talking Tony Adams, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, John Terry, Alan Shearer and Steven Gerrard. He is right there in the same bracket.

Did he arrive at Man City at the right time? Sure. He was the skipper of the greatest, and most expensive, team ever assembled in English soccer.

But every great team has a great leader, and that is something money can’t buy.

Kompany’s determination and focus to set high standards day in, day out both on the training pitch and around the locker room is clear for all to see. As star names came and went, he was the one constant and he made sure every newbie put the club and fans first.

He arrived just before Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008 and 11 years later he has helped City become a behemoth in world soccer on and off the pitch while always staying humble despite as he delivered some brilliant individual moments along the way.

Kompany is an impressive man off the pitch, one who talks about politics, problems in his homeland of Belgium, and has worked hard to try and help tackle problems with homelessness in Manchester.

While he was at Man City he also completed his Masters Degree in Business Administration, all of that in his spare time while he led City to four PL titles in eight seasons and pushed them on as much as he could.

Injuries threatened to derail his great career over the past couple of campaigns, but the way he bounced back this season to drive City to the title in the final months of the campaign underlined his importance as a truly inspirational leader.

His stunning goal against Leicester City in the penultimate game of the season was pivotal in their title win and Kompany got the perfect send off by leading City to something no other men’s team in English soccer has ever achieved, winning all three domestic trophies available in one season.

The only success which evaded him was in Europe, as City reached the semifinal and quarterfinal stage of the UEFA Champions League but just couldn’t get over the line in that competition.

Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Joe Hart, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho will all have a special place in Man City’s history books, but it is the man who led them who will be lauded most for decades to come.

There’s no doubt aside from his new role as player-manager of his boyhood club Anderlecht, Kompany will go on to achieve great things in the business world and he seems destined to be involved in politics at some point as he will follow in the footsteps of his father who is a mayor of one of the 19 districts of Brussels.

Kompany’s status as one of the greatest leaders in Premier League will always be safe and as the song goes, “here’s to you Vincent Kompany, City loves you more than you will know, ohhhhh!”

You can tweak those lyrics to “City will always love you more than you will know” because he will go down as their greatest-ever captain.