Tom Cairney

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Americans Abroad: Pulisic benched again, Sargent and Holmes assist

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Christian Pulisic‘s struggles at Chelsea continue, but he’s far from the only American to take the field this weekend. It was an up-and-down few days for Americans overseas, as defenders struggled in England.

Still, a few had success as players like Duane Holmes and Josh Sargent contributed to significant results, while Weston McKennie helped Schalke earn a massive road win over the former Bundesliga leaders.

A few Americans are working their way back from injuries, as DeAndre Yedlin made his season debut while Timothy Weah and Matt Miazga remain sidelined. Sergino Dest continues to prove his worth to Ajax, coming off the bench into a scoreless game to help the Dutch giants eventually earn a win.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea – Pulisic once again was left on the bench as the Blues beat Brighton 2-0, his third game in a row without seeing the field. He told our JPW after the game he was “frustrated” with the lack of playing time. We took a look at his direct competition at Stamford Bridge and what he needs to do to break through.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle – The full-back finally made his return to the field, playing 16 minutes off the bench against Leicester City as the Magpies were obliterated 5-0. The Foxes only scored one of their five goals with Yedlin on the field.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan – Played the full 90 minutes as Wigan fell 2-0 to Fulham. He has logged a full 90 minutes in every match but one so far this season. Wigan is in trouble, sitting just outside the relegation zone.

Tim Ream, Fulham – The veteran defender helped Fulham to a 2-0 win over Wigan, with goals from Tom Cairney and Joe Bryan. After missing the season opener due to an injury picked up on international duty, Ream has played every minute of Fulham’s campaign, with this win marking the club’s third clean sheet. The Whites have lost just once with Ream on the field, and sit 10th with a four-point deficit off the top.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — Miazga missed his fourth straight game due to a hamstring injury as Reading drew 1-1 with Swansea. It is the only point Reading has picked up in the absence of Miazga, while they had earned seven points in five matches prior.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — A full 90 minutes at right-back saw Hull City draw with Cardiff City 2-2. The result is a microcosm of Hull’s decidedly mediocre campaign, leaving them in 16th with 10 points through nine matches, having both scored and conceded 13 goals.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — Cameron started as part of a back three and saw his CB mate Yoann Barbet sent off, resigning QPR to a 2-0 defeat at home to West Brom. Cameron himself picked up an early yellow card before the half-hour mark, his third caution in six league appearances this season.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Stoke had a Friday league match and was beaten soundly by Nottingham Forest 3-2, leaving them bottom of the Championship table. This Potters side has conceded 20 goals through nine matches this season, most in the league. It’s a surprising and confounding situation at Stoke, given the decent talent in the squad. Carter-Vickers starts next to Bruno Martins Indi and in front of goalkeeper Jack Butland, so it’s baffling how that defensive unit could be so porous, but here we are. The woes continue for the young Spurs product.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes returned to winning ways with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham, picking up his first three points since returning to the Derby County lineup in late August. He performed quite well, picking up an assist of Chris Martin‘s second-minute opener, a truly hilarious goal that saw Holmes blister past a defender on the flank, deliver a ball to Martin in the middle who collected clumsily – allowing the defense to recover – before producing a classic slow-roller that had the goalkeeper all twisted up, rolling into the back of the net.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – The 23-year-old started and played a full 90 minutes as Sunderland topped MK Dons 2-1. They scored both goals before the half-hour mark and held on from there, with Gooch making way for a substitute in stoppage time. Sunderland sits fifth in League One, with just one loss on the season.

Bundesliga

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  Schalke picked up a big 3-1 road win over RB Leipzig that (of course) allowed Bayern Munich to slide back into the lead. McKennie started and played the full 90 minutes, but it wasn’t as pretty as you’d expect for a midfielder who played a big part of a signature win. He was initially deployed on the wing before being moved centrally.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — A Sunday match saw Fortuna Dusseldorf fall at home to Freiburg 2-1 as the visitors mounted a comeback victory. Steffan was in net and recorded just one save, while Morales did not make the squad for the third straight match, out with a hamstring problem.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  The youngster was in the starting lineup for the second straight game, and bagged an assist as Werder Bremen secured a solid 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund. He played 88 minutes and was on hand to help out in Marco Freidl’s 56th minute equalizer off a corner, flicking the ball with his head at the near post to Friedl waiting at the opposite end to score the goal that ultimately shared the points.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Despite returning to training last weekend, Adams has yet to see action with RB Leipzig, again missing out in the loss to Schalke.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach — Johnson missed his third straight match with back problems as Monchengladbach won 3-0 at Hoffenheim.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — Chandler came off the bench again, logging 13 minutes in Frankfurt’s 2-1 win over Union Berlin. Coming in for Erik Durm, Chandler saw Frankfurt cough up the clean sheet while he was on the field as Anthony Ujah got a consolation goal for the hosts in the 83rd minute.

2.Bundesliga

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – Green again played the full 90 minutes as Greuther Furth fell to Holstein Kiel 3-0. After a wonderful start to the second division campaign, Greuther has been held scoreless for two straight matches now. Green played alright, logging 81% pass completion and connecting on six of his eight long balls, but that was about it for the Tampa product.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest made a rare bench appearance, sat in favor of Noussair Mazraoui. He came on for the Moroccan and played the final 23 minutes of a 2-0 win over FC Groningen, with both Ajax goals coming after Dest had come on the field.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — VVV-Venlo fell to Heerenveen 3-0 for the club’s fifth defeat in eight league matches this season, and Wright was on the field for all 90 minutes, earning his fourth start of the year. The striker has not scored a goal yet this season in 401 minutes of Eredivisie action.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — Payne was left out of the squad for the third straight week as Emmen beat ADO Den Haag 3-0.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah’s hamstring tear is going to keep him out for a good bit longer. Don’t expect him back for another few weeks at least.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — It seems Siebatcheu has lost his place in the Stade Rennes lineup, playing nine minutes off the bench in the midweek loss to Nantes before missing out on a spot in the squad altogether on Sunday’s game against Marseille, a 1-1 draw. The 23-year-old striker has yet to score a goal this league season.

Honorable Mentions:

Tyler Boyd, Besiktas – The 24-year-old started but was hauled off at halftime as Beskitas lost to Trabzonspor 4-1, deepening the club’s early season woes. The Turkish side was down 2-0 at the break, and it only got worse as the hosts made it 3-0 past the hour mark before the teams traded late goals. The club has just one win in six matches on the young season, and Boyd has been yanked at halftime in both of his last two starts, while finding himself on the bench in the other two most recent games.

Chris Richards, Bayern Munich II – The 19-year-old played another 90 minutes for Bayern’s reserve squad, winning 4-1 over Preussen Munster.

Andrija Novakovich, Frosinone – 30 minutes off the bench for Novakovich couldn’t save Frosinone as they drew 1-1 with Cosenza.  He is in direct competition for a starting striker spot with former Fulham product Marcello Trotta. Neither has scored a league goal yet this season.

Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund U-19 – Claudio Reyna’s son is in good form, following up his goal last weekend with an assist across 90 minutes in a 3-2 win. He won a 41st minute penalty which eventually put Dortmund U-19 up 2-1.

Luca De La Torre, Fulham Reserves – He was not part of the squad as Fulham’s reserve side fell to Middlesbrough 4-2.

Should we expect more from Jack Grealish?

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The beautiful game often divides opinion, and Jack Grealish is one of those players who often stirs up plenty of debate.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Aston Villa’s captain is obviously a genius, but after another frustrating result for his hometown team, how has he fared as a regular in the Premier League?

Joe Prince-Wright and Kyle Bonn watched the same game on Monday, as Aston Villa and West Ham drew 0-0, but both of our writers have very different opinions on Grealish. That is why we love this game, and talking about it.

Let’s see what JPW and Bonn thought about the English midfielder.


JPW: So, I want to start by saying Grealish can pretty much do anything with the ball. He is a magician and his clever passes and flicks will win Villa plenty of points this season. But he needs to do more, and fast, to have a big impact this season in the Premier League. Against West Ham he gave the ball away cheaply and his hurried finish late on summed up another off night for Grealish. He isn’t a youngster anymore. He’s 24 and needs to deliver, otherwise Villa will be in trouble at the wrong end of the table this season. Villa play well when Grealish performs and he’s just not doing it for me.

Bonn: Grealish can’t be the sole creative force in this team. He’s a fabulous do-it-all player for Villa, and clearly their most valuable asset, but this team has serious issues up front and that can’t all fall on Jack’s shoulders. He was excellent against West Ham, controlling possession and bringing the ball forward. He got a bit frantic and panicked slightly after the red card, but without a clear presence on the wing and a black hole at striker, Aston Villa needs to get him help rather than heap more attacking pressure on the 24-year-old.

JPW: I think one of the biggest issues is that Grealish is doing a lot of his work 50 yards from goal. Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz aren’t offering much in central midfield and a trio of McGinn, Hourihane and Grealish seems better balanced to me. Grealish just took too much time on the ball, was too predictable and Mark Noble and Declan Rice easily won the midfield battle. I think Villa can get the best out of Grealish by starting him just off Wesley in a much more advanced role. What is Grealish’s ceiling, though? Maybe a decent PL midfielder and a very good Championship player is his level. If that’s it, there’s nothing wrong with that. I just think Villa want more from him.

Bonn: If he’s a decent Premier League midfielder, that’s perfectly acceptable at this point for Aston Villa, and they need to support him. He was the team’s most creative presence against West Ham, and while you’re right that he wasn’t able to control the midfield battle with Rice and Noble, he still provided far more contribution forward than Jota in front of him, or even Anwar El Ghazi on the opposite flank. Who was the one making runs in behind the defense to deliver crosses? Grealish. Who was the one charging at defenders with purpose? Grealish. I know he missed that chance towards the end against West Ham, but he was the only one even pushing for that ball. The rest of this team needs a kick in the tail, and Jack is the one to provide that. While he’s still not a finished product – something we’ve admittedly been saying about him for years now – that fire and spark has value and it’s slowly producing results on the pitch, at least far more than anyone else in this squad. I’m not saying he should start for England, but he’s the most consistent presence Villa has at the moment, and that’s saying something. Get him some help, and he can be a consistently dangerous presence against most Premier League sides.

JPW: There’s a reason Grealish hasn’t broken into the England national team yet. His consistency in the final third just isn’t there. I asked Dean Smith about Grealish after the game, and he said the quality on his final pass wasn’t there, but pointed to the cross for Wesley’s early header. That is the most annoying thing about Grealish. The quality, like he showed on that cross, is there. But he’s made the same mistakes over and over again early this season and I want to seem him learn from that and develop. Remember, this is a player Tottenham Hotspur wanted to replace Christian Eriksen last summer. Is he on that level? Maybe in a top six team he’d be better around top quality players, but I’m not sure he’d play on a regular basis. I’ve seen him twice in the flesh this season and on both occasions I’ve walked away very disappointed.

Bonn: I absolutely agree he wouldn’t play much on a Top 6 side. I don’t think that’s a fair barometer for him at this point, though. Villa doesn’t need a Christian Eriksen. With Marvelous playing well, I thought, at DM and McGinn somewhat positive on the other side, Grealish is in a good spot. He just needs better support up front so he doesn’t receive the bulk of attention. I like where his trajectory is pointed, given what I saw against West Ham, and I hope Villa gives him the tools he needs moving forward.

JPW: I would loved to be proved wrong, but I don’t see Grealish hitting double figures in goals or assists this season. If you’re going to be the main playmaker on a Premier League team, you need to hit those numbers as well as the fancy flicks. Quick final question: Who else can play in Grealish’s position for Aston Villa?

Bonn: You mean of the players currently in the squad?

JPW: Yep. Who comes in for him?

Bonn: Nobody.

JPW: And that is the problem. Villa have no back-up plan. If Grealish doesn’t rip it up, they are going to be in a relegation struggle. At the moment he is not, and they play Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United in five of their next 10 games.

Bonn: We saw the same last season with Fulham. Tom Cairney is a similar player in a similar position. He didn’t have the season the Whites needed from the main midfield playmaker after destroying the Championship, and that was a death sentence.

JPW: We both agree Grealish is crucial to Villa’s success then. But we disagree about his current play. And that, right there, is why we love this game. Nobody is wrong, but I’m right Kyle, I’m right…

Bonn: We shall see!

JPW: Indeed. Enjoyed this. I’m off into the Birmingham night to dodge some Villa fans who have no doubt read this by now. Wish me luck.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

Fulham end losing streak, beat Everton (video)

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  • Fulham end run of nine-straight defeats
  • First defeat in 4 for Everton
  • Cairney, Babel score
  • Parker’s first win as caretaker boss

Already-relegated Fulham won their first game since Jan. 29, as the Cottagers beat Everton 2-0 on Saturday.

The Cottagers had plenty of chances and put two of them away in the second half, with Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel scoring to hand Fulham’s caretaker boss Scott Parker his first victory, and points, in charge.

With the win Fulham move on to 20 points for the season, while Everton remain on 46 points as their battle for a top seven finish took a hit.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fulham were lively on the break early on but Everton went close as Andre Gomes fizzed a ball towards the near post which almost found Dominic Calvert-Lewin but Fulham cleared.

Mitrovic was making a nuisance of himself, as usual, and beat two Everton defenders and the offside trap but hit his shot right at Jordan Pickford.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Everton’s Bernard and Gomes then both had shots blocked after good play from Richarlison, and the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

From a corner Mitrovic sent in a towering header which Jordan Pickford brilliantly pushed over the bar. Mitrovic then hit the bar with a curling effort as the home side looked more dangerous heading into the second half.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Fulham got the goal their dominance deserved, as Ryan Babel worked his way into the box and squared for Cairney to slot home.

At the other end Everton had a goal chalked off for a foul on Sergio Rico, while Fulham were dangerous going forward as Ryan Sessegnon had the ball in the net but it didn’t count as Mitrovic fouled Kurt Zouma.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Idrissa Gueye skied an effort way over when in a good position, and then Dominic Calvert-Lewin clipped the outside of the post after being played in superbly by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Everton were made to rue those missed chances, as Babel raced clean through on goal and dinked over Pickford to make it 2-0.

The win was a deserved one for Fulham, as Everton lost ground in their battle for European qualification.

Chelsea’s Kepa stars in tight win at Fulham (video)

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  • Chelsea’s first away win of 2019
  • Back-to-back PL wins for Chelsea
  • Fulham 10 points from safety

Chelsea edged past battling Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Sunday, as Maurizio Sarri‘s men remain in the top four hunt.

Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho put Chelsea ahead twice in the first half as Calum Chambers had briefly put Fulham level. The Cottagers, coached by interim boss Scott Parker who replaced Claudio Ranieri on Thursday, battled until the end and almost snatched a draw on several occasions late on but Kepa Arrizabalaga made some great stops.

With the win Chelsea move on to 56 points and are two points off the top four with a game in hand. Fulham remain in 19th place and are 10 points from safety with nine games to go.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first big chance of the game arrived for Chelsea as Eden Hazard whipped in a cross but Higuain nodded just wide.

At the other end there was a real moment of worry for Kepa — recalled to the lineup after the incident during the League Cup final last Sunday — as he dropped a routine cross but Ryan Babel failed to spot the opportunity and could have had a tap in. Chelsea were ahead moments later.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Cesar Azpilicueta got free on the right flank and pulled back a perfect ball for Higuain to sweep home at the near post and put Chelsea 1-0 up.

Just when it seemed like Chelsea were going to have an easy game, Fulham came roaring back as Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s volley was superbly tipped over by Kepa and from the resulting corner Fulham were level. A cross to the back post found Chambers completely unmarked and he volleyed home to make it 1-1.

Jorginho then restored Chelsea’s lead a few minutes later, as he slotted home a superb finish from outside of the box to make it 2-1. Sergio Rico denied Hazard and Higuain before half time, as Chelsea were in control but Fulham were still in the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The second half followed the same theme as Chelsea dominated the play but Fulham looked threatening.

Willian slammed a shot into the side-netting as Chelsea pushed hard to put the game to bed, but Fulham threatened on the break as Mitrovic curled just over.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on Kepa sprung to action as he denied Tom Cairney, Ryan Sessegnon and Joe Bryan, while Sessegnon had the ball in the back of the net in the 94th minute but he was correctly called offside.

After a tough week, Chelsea hung on for a big win.