Duncan Watmore

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Premier League Preview: Sunderland vs. Arsenal

Leave a comment
  • Sunderland last winless team in PL
  • Gunners lead all-time 56W-40D-45L
  • Black Cats last beat Arsenal in 2012 FA Cup

Arsenal faces another struggling Northeast squad but hopes for an improved result when it visits David Moyes‘ miserable Sunderland on Saturday (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN and streaming via NBC Sports Live).

Arsene Wenger‘s men drew Middlesbrough 0-0 and needed some fine work from Petr Cech just to find a point last weekend, but Sunderland could be just the tonic.

[ MLS: Seattle beats KC | Montreal tops DC ]

The Black Cats have a mere two points through nine PL matches this year, five points shy of safety.

Playing the first match of the day allows Arsenal to set the tone for the other four teams within a point of the Premier League lead. Look for the Gunners to take it to Sunderland early, and emerge around 9:30 a.m. ET with a three-point lead atop the table.

 

What they’re saying

Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore on the team’s mindset: “You could say we haven’t had much luck but sometimes you’ve got to earn it, so we will keep working hard for each other and be positive. Our team ethic is very important but we have great lads in the dressing room and good backroom staff, so everyone at the club is pulling in the same direction.”

Arsene Wenger on Arsenal CB Shkodran Mustafi“He is not a quiet guy who hides. He speaks out with his opinion and communicates a lot. Even when you isolate the pictures of the game and look at that he speaks a lot during the game. He has the potential [to be a great defender for Arsenal], which is interesting at the moment. It it is a bit too early to say, you have to be cautious when a guy has played only three or four games.”

Prediction

At some point, Sunderland has to find a win, right? That is unlikely to be Friday, as Arsenal has an extra day’s rest and was able to take it easy against Reading in the EFL Cup while Sunderland expelled a great deal of energy 24 hours later in a loss to Southampton. Maybe Jermain Defoe finds the net against his old rivals, but Arsenal should find it a few more times. Gunners, 3-1.

Defoe: Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore reminds me of Gareth Bale

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Duncan Watmore is highly regarded at Sunderland, as the 21-year-old was rewarded with a new four-year contract with the club earlier this week.

While the club has high hopes for the young winger, his teammates are taking notice as well.

[ MORE: Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

Watmore’s teammate Jermain Defoe, a seasoned veteran who knows all about succeeding in the Premier League, praised the 21-year-old’s play, comparing him to one of his former teammates at Tottenham, Gareth Bale.

In a funny way he reminds me of Gareth [Bale]. When he came on the scene at Tottenham, he used to just get the ball and glide.

He’s such a nice boy, I don’t think he’s bothered about signing new contracts and stuff, all he wants to do is play football and do well for the club.

If he can go on to do what Gareth has done then he’ll be fantastic. He’s the future of this club.

That’s quite the comparison, as Watmore has only made six Premier League appearances in his young career. Bale was twice named the Premier League Player of the Year before being sold to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee in 2013.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

While it’s a bit too soon to be calling Watmore the next Gareth Bale, there’s no denying he could be a huge talent for Sunderland. After coming on as a substitute in the Black Cats’ win over Crystal Palace on Monday, Watmore showed his speed and willingness to run at defenders, something the club is in desperate need of. He made his debut for the England U21 side this fall, which shows his form has impressed many outside of just the North East.

After starting his career in the Manchester United youth setup, Watmore was released and played with non-league side Altrincham before signing with Sunderland in 2013. He scored 11 goals in 18 appearances last year with the U21 side, being named the Under 21 Premier League Player of the Season.

U.S. U-23 versus England U-21 preview: Young Yanks face Premier League cast at Deepdale

4 Comments

The last time we saw the United States U-23 squad, the unit Andi Herzog will lead into Olympic qualifying next month, the Yanks were impressing at the Toulon Tournament.

After finishing second in its group thanks to a 3-1 win over the Netherlands, Herzog’s Yanks toppled England’s U-20 team in the third-place playoff.

[ MORE: Arsenal’s Ozil wouldn’t turn down Olympic invite ]

Now they head to Deepdale Stadium to face England’s U-21 side, one with a lot more firepower.

That said, the States’ roster will be a lot better, too. Out of the mix from the Toulon side are goalkeepers Charlie Horton and Tyler Miller, defenders Tyler Turner, Sam Strong and Jalen Robinson, midfielders Fatai Alashe and Daniel Metzger, and strikers Julian Green, Alfred Koroma Shams and Jordan Morris.

Into the fold? At defense, Spurs’ Cameron Carter-Vickers — who will square off with a few fellow White Hart Lane residents — joins the back line with Montreal’s Eric Miller, and RBNY’s Matt Miazga.

Molde standout Ethan Horvath and Freiburg backstop Zack Steffen join up between the sticks. Fulham’s Emerson Hyndman is back, joined by Rangers mid Gedion Zelalem, MLS standouts Matt Polster and Wil Trapp, and Chesterfield’s Gboly Ariyibi. Sion’s Maki Tall and Utrecht’s Rubio Rubin also hit the scene.

We’ve gone into England’s bunch already, but here’s a bit of a refresher as to which Premier League vets will meet the Yanks: Spurs’ Eric Dier, Norwich City’s Nathan Redmond, Liverpool’s Jordon Ibe and Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek are included in the squad for Thursday’s 2:45 p.m. ET match.

Only Sunderland keeper Jordan Watford, Brighton keeper Christian Walton, Wolves defender Kourtney Hause, Southampton back Jack Stephens, Sunderland midfielder Duncan Watmore, Manchester United striker James Wilson and Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom return from the summer encounter.

Aside from the age advantage, the States will have more continuity on its side heading into the friendly. And the quality of player selected is comparable to England to say the least.

Both teams will have a lot of creativity in the midfield, and where Gareth Southgate uses Eric Dier will go a long way in determining who has more steel in the midfield. And will the States’ backs be able to hang with Ibe and Redmond?

Should be a heck of a friendly at Preston North End. We’ll peg it for a 2-2 draw.

Premier League roundup: Tottenham blow it, Everton on fire, new boys fare well

Leave a comment

After six games on Saturday in the Premier League, we have plenty to catch up on.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City were involved in a thriller, while Everton, Norwich and Swansea City sealed resounding wins. Leicester stay perfect at the top of the table, while Watford were held at home by West Brom.

[ MORE: Standings | schedule | stats ]

Below you will find recaps, reaction, analysis and more from all six games, while if you click on the link above then you can watch all of the available full match replays.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Stoke CityRECAP

Stoke City launched a remarkable comeback at White Hart Lane on Saturday, as Tottenham Hotspur squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with the Potters. Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli put Spurs 2-0 up at half time, but late goals from Marko Arnautovic and Mame Diouf grabbed Stoke their first point of the season. Spurs have one point from their first two games, as do the Potters.

Southampton 0-3 EvertonRECAP

Everton cruised to a 3-0 win away at Southampton on Saturday, as the Toffees scored twice in the first half through Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley wrapped up the win late on. Roberto Martinez men looked the more dangerous throughout at St Mary’s and Southampton struggled defensively while creating few chances. With the win, Everton now has four points from their opening two games and Saints have just one point after this humbling defeat.

Swansea City 2-0 Newcastle UnitedRECAP

Swansea City deserved all three points even before Daryl Janmaat took his second yellow in the 41st minute, as Garry Monk‘s crew cruised past visiting Newcastle United 2-0 on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium. Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis looked like a lethal pair for the second-straight week, and Gomis again prowled with his panther celebration as Swans went fourth in the Premier League. Newcastle is 15th with a single point, and faces Arsenal at St. James Park next week.

West Ham United 1-2 Leicester CityRECAP

Leicester City beat West Ham United 2-1 at Upton Park on Saturday, as the Foxes kept their 100 percent record going. Claudio Ranieri’s side led 2-0 at the break thanks to a first-ever Leicester goal from Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki and yet another from Riyad Mahrez. West Ham fought back in the second half as Dmitri Payet scored his first goal for the club, but it wasn’t enough to launch a fight back. With the win Leicester is perfect on six points after two games, while the Hammers are on three points after their opening day win over Arsenal.

Sunderland 1-3 Norwich CityRECAP

Russell Martin, Martin Whittaker and NathanRedmond helped Norwich cruise to a 3-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday, as dozens of fans departed the Stadium of Light well before time. Duncan Watmore scored on his Sunderland debut, as the 21-year-old Englishman was able to put a bouncing shot past a confused John Ruddy late in the match. Sunderland is last in the Premier League with a minus-4 goal differential, while Norwich rises with its first three points of the season.

Watford 0-0 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Watford dominated Saturday’s match against West Bromwich Albion, but couldn’t find a goal in a 0-0 draw in its home return to the Premier League at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have now drawn both of their opening games since promotion, while West Brom picked up its first point but looked far from a threat going forward.

Sunderland 1-3 Norwich City: Canaries fly past bumbling Black Cats

Leave a comment
  • Hoolahan the star man as Canaries roll
  • Watmore scores in PL debut for Black Cats
  • Martin, Whittaker, Redmond net in win
  • Black Cats winless through two matches

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Russell Martin, Martin Whittaker and Nathan Redmond helped Norwich cruise to a 3-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday, as dozens of fans departed the Stadium of Light well before time.

Duncan Watmore scored on his Sunderland debut, as the 21-year-old Englishman was able to put a bouncing shot past a confused John Ruddy late in the match.

Sunderland is last in the Premier League with a minus-4 goal differential, while Norwich rises with its first three points of the season.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Norwich forced Costel Pantilimon into a fine save in the 26th minute before netting moments later.

Johnny Howson ripped a shot that Pantilimon dove to push out for a corner, and the keeper was called on again off the corner, only to see his parry go right to Martin. The Scottish defender netted his first Premier League goal since the Canaries’ 2012-13 season.

Norwich added to Sunderland’s misery before the half was through as Wes Hoolahan and Whittaker worked a 1-2 that left both Patrick van Aanholt and Younes Kaboul in the dust. Just like that, it was 2-0 Canaries in the 37th minute.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

Loads of Sunderland fans left at halftime, which means they missed Hoolahan and Redmond hooking up for a 1-2 that ended with the latter beating Pantilimon to the near post and a 3-0 lead for Norwich after 57 minutes.

Watmore scored on his Premier League debut, as the 20-year-old was in the team of the tournament for the 2015 Toulon Tournament.