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10 things learned in the Premier League Week 8: Arsenal, Tottenham strut

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This was another brilliant weekend of Premier League football, even if the schedule was truncated by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

There were moments of silence and performances of “God Save the King” as the PL returned from a week away and saw North London shining just as bright as reigning champions Manchester City.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

Job statuses were also on the line and there are questions as to whether the roster of 20 Premier League managers look the same when the international break ends in under two weeks’ time.

Here’s a look at 10 things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.

VIDEO: PL highlights ]


1. Spurs have that Conte juice (Spurs 6-2 Leicester): Losing at midweek at the UEFA Champions League already brought a fierce reaction out of Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, who drilled Spurs the day after a disappointing loss to Sporting Lisbon. An early concession after that? Well, let’s just say it’s no surprise that Tottenham overcame whatever midweek wearies were in their bodies to score four of the final five goals against Leicester. No, the Foxes cannot defend right now — more on that in a moment —  but Tottenham never really felt in danger of taking anything but three points even when it was down 1-0 and level 2-2. (NM)

2. Vibes will be great on Goodison after swing win (Everton 1-0 West Ham): As we said on the ProSoccerTalk show this week, this was a big swing game for Everton. A win or a draw would have them unbeaten in five-straight games but a loss would mean a winless streak of five. That’s what draws do, we suppose. So while maybe it shouldn’t have mattered as much as it did, the win allows Frank Lampard to reassess his squad over the international break with the knowledge that Everton’s run has it three points clear of the drop zone and just two behind eighth-place Merseyside rivals Liverpool. (NM)

3. Jack Grealish answers his critics (Wolves 0-3 Man City): There was a hunger and freedom about Grealish after Pep Guardiola’s glowing praise of the English playmaker ahead of this game. Plenty of critics point to Grealish not scoring or assisting enough — he told us here at PST last season that he needs to improve his numbers — but his manager doesn’t care if he doesn’t score: He wants him to slot into their attacking unit seamlessly. Grealish won the ball back often, got his goal, caused havoc and the only way Wolves could stop him was by Collins’ ridiculous challenge as he was shown a straight red card (JPW).

4. Brave Bournemouth fully deserve their point.. maybe more (Newcastle 1-1 Bournemouth): With the score 0-0 at halftime, Bournemouth was the winner of the first half. They hardly gave Newcastle a sight of their goal and though they created precious little (even less) themselves, reaching the intermission scoreless put all the pressure on Newcastle as the home side and the side heavily favored to win. At the same time, a “lesser” side gains confidence and belief to steal something in the final 45. (AE)

5. Another win to underline Arsenal’s progress (Brentford 0-3 Arsenal): Their horrendous defeat at Brentford at the start of last season underlined all of the issues Arsenal had. Just over 12 months later, this convincing win underlined the progress they’ve made under Mikel Arteta. This is a clear playing style with a young, hungry side who have been painstakingly recruited. Even with Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko out, Kieran Tierney and Vieira slotted in seamlessly as Arteta’s side dominated from start to finish. They are playing with confidence throughout the team and this is what Arsenal wanted to become after a few years of building up the squad. The only issue is the fact that their squad looked pretty thin; A few injuries piled up with teenagers on the bench and Ethan Nwaneri, 15, became the youngest Premier League player in history when he came on late in the game. With the Europa League and League Cup coming up in the weeks after the international break, Arteta will be hoping his squad remains healthy to make the most of all of this positive momentum. (JPW)

6. Villa and Saints are two teams that could struggle (Aston Villa 1-0 Southampton): This was not a great game. At all. And it underlined that both of these teams may well be down in the lower reaches of the Premier League for most of this season. For Southampton, the club kind of expected that this season after signing so many inexperienced players. For Villa? They expected to be pushing for at least the top 10, but on this showing — yes, a winning one — they are a long way off it. (JPW)

7. Fulham full of confidence (Nottingham Forest 2-3 Fulham): Aleksandar Mitrovic caused chaos, Willian whipped in delightful crosses, and Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, and Harrison Reed have a perfect combination of steel and skill in central midfield. This is a proper team that Marco Silva has created. Great balance to them and they look hungry to prove all of their doubters wrong. There is quality throughout this Fulham side and even though they are surprising us, they deserve to be in the top 10. (JPW)

8. ‘Brendywatch’ becomes very real, very quick (Spurs 6-2 Leicester): Leicester’s been terrible this season and the Foxes are looking at an international break to get things together. Is there a chance that means ditching their big reputation but up-and-down performer of a manager? Rodgers admits he’s feeling pressure in a big way.

“Very much so,” Rodgers said. “I come in every day and do my work. I totally understand the frustration of supporters. I can’t hide from that. It’s my responsibility. … Whatever happens I’ll have a huge amount of respect for them [the owners] because they’ve given me great support. I understand the game. The scoreline didn’t reflect the game but the bottom line is it’s a heavy defeat. They’ve given me brilliant support. Whatever happens to me at Leicester whether I stay and fight on, I’ll always respect them.” (NM)

9. Xhaka, Partey give Gunners solid foundation: Much will be made about the movement and class of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira, and rightly so. But the solid foundation that Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey provide Mikel Arteta’s side should not be overlooked. After returning from injury, Partey won the ball back time and time again and Xhaka just kept things ticking over nicely and was always an option for Martinelli and Tierney on the inside left channel. With Odegaard out, Arsenal’s deeper central midfielders needed to step up and they dictated the tempo of this game and gave the Gunners’ talented attackers the platform to wreak havoc. (JPW)

10. Head-scratching run continues at West Ham (Everton 1-0 West Ham): The Irons entered the day with 7.46 expected points but just four on the table. Their three goals scored fell 3.38 behind what xG says they could’ve put in the goal. Throw in the should-be draw against Chelsea and there’s no reason to think West Ham is anything worse than a mid-table team but that’s not gonna change anything as West Ham fans spend the international break with their name under the red line. (NM)

Wolves vs Manchester City: Stars dazzle as City cruise to victory

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Manchester City eased past Wolves at Molineux, as Pep Guardiola’s reigning champs remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Early goals from Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland set City on their way, as Wolves’ Nathan Collins then received a straight red card for an awful challenge on Grealish just 30 minutes into the game to make their task even harder.

Phil Foden added a third in the second half as City cruised to victory and have 17 points from their first seven games, while Wolves have six.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY


What we learned from Wolves vs Manchester City

City didn’t even get out of second gear: This was one of the most efficient wins City have had. They scored twice early, knocked the ball around nicely against 10 men for over an hour and left Molineux with three points. Pep Guardiola wasn’t delighted with the second half display and that was more about City taking their foot off the gas ahead of the international break, which is understandable. Still, Pep wants to batter teams by six or seven and is a perfectionist. Mahrez, Alvarez and Gundogan coming off the bench shows how deep their squad is and City look pretty unstoppable with De Bruyne (who collected a casual two assists), Haaland and Foden all on the same page.

Grealish answered his critics: There was a hunger and freedom about Grealish after Guardiola’s glowing praise of the English playmaker ahead of this game. Plenty of critics point to Grealish not scoring or assisting enough (he told us here at PST last season that he needs to improve his numbers) but his manager doesn’t care if he doesn’t score. He wants him to slot into their attacking unit seamlessly. Grealish won the ball back often, got his goal, caused havoc and the only way Wolves could stop him was by Collins’ ridiculous challenge as he was shown a straight red card.

Wolves played better when they went down to 10: It’s weird when this happens, right? Wolves made mistakes galore early on and couldn’t cope with City’s movement as they were dragged all over the place. Then once Collins was sent off they not only looked more solid defensively but they were more of a threat in attack. Bruno Lage knew getting anything from this game was a tall order but it has still been a poor start to the season for Wolves given their fixtures. Dating back to last season they have won just one of their last 14 games in the Premier League and Wolves’ fans aren’t delighted with what they’re seeing. Still, with new signing Matheus Nunes looking good in midfield and Diego Costa yet to make his debut, Wolves showed enough to suggest they can turn things around.

Erling Haaland was angry: He scored another goal to take his ridiculous tally to 11 PL goals from his first seven games (a new record) but he was pretty upset with his general play. He slipped over a number of times, berated teammates for not whipping in crosses early and just seemed a bit moody as he shoved away a camera following him at half time. Haaland is hungry and he wanted more than one goal. That is scary.


Reaction from Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish asked by BT Sport about criticism over his lack of goals: “Rightly so. I should be scoring more, getting more assists. I think the only thing I can do is score and get assists. I’m always going to have people talk about me with the amount I got bought for but I think if you look at my whole career I haven’t scored as much as certain people. Even when I was at Aston Villa. It is something I do want to add to my game and playing with this team and in front of these fans, hopefully I can.”


Tactical focus

The gameplan was very clear from Man City: get the ball high and wide as often as you can. That led to their goals, with Foden teeing up Kevin de Bruyne who drifted out to the right to whip in a delicious cross for the first. This tactic forced Wolves’ central midfielders to basically play as wing backs, trying to protect the full backs as best as they could. They couldn’t give them much protection at all as Joao Cancelo in particular had a field day.

That said, Wolves did improve after going down to 10 men as Ruben Neves pinged balls forward from center back and Neto, Guedes and Podence caused City some problems. Bruno Lage will be happy with that response when Wolves’ players could have easily felt sorry for themselves.

 [ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]


Stars of the show

Jack Grealish: Showed great desire to get the early goal. Guardiola backed him publicly this week and he showed exactly why.

Kevin de Bruyne: Two assists and just glided around the pitch. Somehow KDB is still underrated.

Daniel Podence: Wolves’ outlet, the diminutive Portuguese attacker ran himself into the ground and caused John Stones and Ruben Dias some problems. He needs a center forward to play off and when Diego Costa is fit, he and Podence should be quite the partnership.Also Wolves’ captain Ruben Neves stood tall as he was asked to play center back.


What’s next?

Wolves head to West Ham on Saturday, Oct. 1, while Man City host Man United in the Manchester derby on Oct. 2.


How to watch Wolves vs Manchester City live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30 am ET, Saturday
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

And still, the room for more improvement from Manchester City is clear as day. While Haaland is putting the ball in the back of the net at an alarming rate, he’s doing so without being as involved in the build-up and combination play as he will be by the end of the season. His winning goal against Borussia Dortmund perfectly demonstrated his impact, as perhaps the only striker in the world who could put away such a difficult chance so convincingly. It’s Champions League or bust this season, without a single acceptable excuse for Man City not winning it.

Wolves, on the other hand, got their first win of the season last time out as they beat Southampton 1-0 at Molineux. Daniel Podence scored the only goal (his second of the season) and Bruno Lage’s side defended like madmen (as they always do). Though they have scored just the three goals themselves, they’ve conceded all of four.


Wolves team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Chiquinho (knee)

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Kyle Walker (undisclosed)

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Top 10 highest-paid players in the world revealed

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A list of the top 10 highest-paid soccer players in the world has been revealed, as a study looked into salaries and endorsement deals for the top players on the planet.

The sums are eye-watering and are based on earnings for the 2022-23 season.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

There are a few surprising names high up on this list but the usual suspects are still up there as their superstar status remains intact. Both on the pitch and when it comes to deals off it.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are all the wrong side of 30 but continue to dominate this list, while there are a few emerging stars muscling their way into the top 10. The main takeaway is that there is a huge drop-off after the top four names on this list.

Sports business website Sportico have come up with the list and below is a full breakdown of who is earning what.


Top 10 highest-paid soccer players in the world (September, 2022)

1. Kylian Mbappe = $125 million total ($105 million salary + $20 million endorsements)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo = $113 million ($53 million salary + $60 million endorsements)

3. Lionel Messi = $110 million ($62 million salary + $48 million endorsements)

4. Neymar = $91 million ($56 million salary + $35 million endorsements)

5. Mohamed Salah = $39.5 million ($24.5 million salary + $15 million endorsements)

6. Eden Hazard = $31.3 million ($28.6 million salary + $2.5 million endorsements)

7. Andres Iniesta = $30 million ($23 million salary + $7 million endorsements)

8. Raheem Sterling = $29.4 million ($21.4 million salary + $8 million endorsements)

9. Kevin de Bruyne = $29 million ($25.5 million salary + $3.5 million endorsements)

10. Antoine Griezmann = $27.5 million ($22 million salary + $5.5 million endorsements)


Man City vs Dortmund: Haaland scores winner vs former club (video)

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Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund recap: Erling Haaland scored the winning goal as the Norwegian’s new side beat his old side at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Dortmund took the lead through Jude Bellingham’s header in the 56th minute, but Edin Terzic’s side came under immense pressure almost immediately thereafter with a triple-change that brought on three fresh attackers in Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez. In the 80th minute, John Stones unleashed a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area, and Haaland went airborne and acrobatic to poke home the winner just four minutes later.

The victory keeps Man City (6 points) atop Group G, with Dortmund (3) currently in 2nd.


What we learned from Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund

Erling Haaland scoring goals is inevitable

Even when the ball is close to eight feet in the air, floating toward the back post and there’s one or two defenders properly positioned to deal with the cross, he might just score anyway.

It was clear that Dortmund frustrated Man City for much of Wednesday’s game, but speaking after the game Haaland felt that things changed drastically not long after the hour mark as he continues to adjust to his new team, and them to him.

“In the end we showed what we are. This is what we are. This is how we have to play. I’m proud of the last 25 minutes.”

“They didn’t stop me… I scored. They played well. They were good. I was quite sure I was going to be followed the whole game because Edin [Dortmund boss Terzic] knows me very well. Dortmund were really good today. Three points is what matters.”

Jude Bellingham more than ready for Premier League move

He just turned 19 not even three months ago, and Bellingham already looks like one of the best central midfielders in the world — certainly the brightest, surest prospect. With each passing performance in the Champions League, the Birmingham City academy product looks likelier and likelier to move to the Premier League next summer.

Whether it’s to Man City, Chelsea, Manchester City or Liverpool, the PL will immediately be better for his arrival. Similar to Haaland, Bellingham brings an incredible blend of all the requisite physical tools, but most importantly he’s tactically brilliant and quickly reads the game as if he’s been playing professionally for four years already. (He has been.) Bellingham should be the breakout star for England at this summer’s winter’s World Cup, at which point his transfer fee should increase another 40 or $50 million. Unlike Haaland, Bellingham does not have a release clause in his current contract.

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How to watch Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund live, updates and start time

Date: Wednesday, September 14
Kick off time: 3pm ET
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


Key storylines

It doesn’t get more key than this: One of Man City, Sevilla, or Dortmund will not reach the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. With Dortmund yet to face Sevilla, a Man City win on Wednesday would make for a comfortable-enough 2-0 start to the group stage with a pair against Copenhagen to follow and a guarantee that Sevilla and/or BVB will drop more points.

Guardiola is not the apple of Dortmund’s eye following his time at heated rivals Bayern Munich, and the trio of Dortmund players at City are unlikely to make him any more liked in Germany (though this match is set for the cozier confines of the Etihad, of course).


Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund head-to-head record

Man City won both legs of the clubs’ 2020-21 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie, while Dortmund took four of six points in the 2012-13 group stage.


The lowdown on Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund’s terrific start to the season reached into the first UCL matchday, as Giovanni Reyna set up two of BVB’s three goals in a clean sheet win over Copenhagen, but the weekend proved too much of a depth test against stung and ready RB Leipzig. Dortmund’s 12 points through six matches are equal to Bayern Munich, Hoffenheim, and Freiburg. Union Berlin can join BVB or lead the quartet by two points depending on Sunday morning’s result versus Koln.


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

Aymeric Laporte (knee) will be out through the international break at the end of September, while Kyle Walker and John Stones are touch-and-go. Pep Guardiola has said they could return for any game or have to wait beyond the international break.

USMNT keeper Steffen misses fourth-straight Middlesbrough match

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American goalkeeper Zack Steffen missed his fourth straight game for Middlesbrough, raising doubt whether he will be available for the United States’ last two warmup matches ahead of the World Cup.

The 27-year-old has not played since Aug. 20, Middlesbrough’s fifth match of the season, due to a knee injury. Liam Roberts, who joined Middlesbrough this season from fourth-tier Northampton, started in his place again against Cardiff on Tuesday night, and Luke Daniels was on the bench.

The last two World Cup prep matches for the 13th-ranked Americans are against No. 23 Japan on Sept. 23 at Dusseldorf, Germany, and 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia four days later at Murcia, Spain. American coach Gregg Berhalter plans to announce his roster for the exhibitions on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Spurs shocked by Sporting Lisbon in stoppage time ]

Steffen went on loan to second-tier Middlesbrough from Premier League Manchester City in hopes of gaining playing time ahead of the World Cup. He played in just nine matches last season for Manchester City, where he is Ederson’s backup – one Premier League game along with four in the FA Cup, two League Cup, one Champions League and the Community Shield.

Steffen, from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is competing for a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster with Matt Turner, who is Aaron Ramsdale’s backup at Arsenal; Ethan Horvath, who was loaned from Nottingham Forest to second-tier Luton for this season; and New York City’s Sean Johnson.

Berhalter plans to announce his 26-man World Cup roster on Nov. 9.

The U.S. opens the World Cup in Qatar against 20th-ranked Wales on Nov. 21, plays No. 5 England in a Black Friday matchup four days later and closes group play on Nov. 29 against 21st-ranked Iran.