EPL Talk Archives for January 2016

Messi and Suarez edge Barca past nine-man Atletico Madrid

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Photo credit: AFP

Barcelona took control of the La Liga title race as goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez inspired a come from behind 2-1 win against nine-man Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Koke handed the visitors a deserved early lead, but Barca turned the game thanks to two goals in eight minutes before the break through Messi and Suarez.

Alexis Sanchez keeps holders Arsenal on course for FA Cup history; Match highlights

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Arsenal's bid to become the first team to win the FA Cup three times in succession since 1886 remains on course after Alexis Sanchez sealed Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnley in the fourth round.

The holders had a first half scare when Burnley's Sam Vokes cancelled out Calum Chambers' 20th minute opener, but Sanchez's second half goal ensured the Premier League side avoided an upset against Championship opposition.

Hertha Berlin win fight to keep John Anthony Brooks

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High-flying Hertha Berlin have won their battle to keep USA international defender John Anthony Brooks, who has agreed a new deal to stay with the capital club until 2019.

The 23-year-old had been courted by Hertha's Bundesliga rivals Schalke 04, but Berlin have kept hold of their centre-back, who has risen up from the club's youth academy.

USA vs. Iceland preview: USMNT’s opportunity to start 2016 on a positive

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The year 2016 is a big onefor the US Men's National Soccer Team (USMNT). The Road to Russia 2018 resumes in March and the Hex begins in November (should the US qualify). There is also the Copa America Centenario in June where the US will want to have a good showing as the host nation. But that's all in the future.

Greek footballers stage pitch sit-in over migrant deaths

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Second-division football players in Greece held a sit-in protest at the start of a game over the spiralling death toll among migrants trying to reach the European country by sea.

Players from rivals AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos sat on the field and observed two minutes of silence after kickoff Friday in a game in the central city of Larissa.

Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi named new Chile manager

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Chile named Argentine ex-striker Juan Antonio Pizzi as their new national football coach on Friday after his compatriot Jorge Sampaoli quit in acrimony.

The Chilean football association ANFP said in a statement it struck a deal to hire Pizzi until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He was until now coach of Leon de Mexico and will take up the Chile job next week.

Matt Miazga joins Chelsea in £3.5 million deal

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US Men's National Team defender Matt Miazga has joined Chelsea on a four-and-a-half-year contract. The transfer fee is reportedly $5 million (£3.5 million).

"I am very happy to sign for Chelsea, a world-famous club with a reputation for major success," said Miazga. "I am delighted to be in the Premier League, the best league in the world, and can't wait to meet my team-mates and get going.

Steve Nicol interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.29.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Liverpool legend and ESPN soccer analyst Steve Nicol.

During the interview, Steve Nicol chats about what it was like playing alongside so many legends and strong characters at Liverpool, the camaraderie of the Liverpool team in the early 80s, his pathway into coaching and broadcasting, the autobiography that's in the works, his opinions about Jurgen Klopp the manager, and more.

Pep Guardiola dismisses reports of squad unrest

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Photo credit: AFP.

Pep Guardiola on Friday contradicted the mole in his camp by insisting the atmosphere is 'really good' in the Bayern Munich squad and denied there is disharmony among his players.

Magazine Kicker created a storm in the German media this week by quoting an unnamed Bayern player, who claimed the squad's spirit is 'not good', then leaked details after Guardiola's demands for more professionalism.

Copa America Centenario tickets on sale

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Copa America Centenario tickets are on sale for this summer's tournament featuring some of the best soccer players in the world playing on US soil.

The presale begins on January 28 and ends on February 2 at 10pm ET before tickets go on sale to the general public on February 3.

Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.

Why Juventus must not sell Paulo Dybala

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Juventus experienced a significant amount of change in the most recent summer transfer window as a number of key players departed. Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Kingsley Coman and others left Turin. However, the biggest loss may have been that of Carlos Tevez.

The forward was a tour de force for the Serie A heavyweights, with 27 goals and eight assists in 45 appearances across all competitions.

Hiddink insists Pato is no gamble for Chelsea

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Photo credit: AFP.

Guus Hiddink insisted Friday that Alexandre Pato's loan switch to Chelsea is not a gamble and confirmed the deal will be completed once paperwork formalities have been concluded. The Brazil striker, 26, arrived in London this week to complete a move that will see him remain at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season.

FOX Soccer 2GO free trial starts today

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FOX Soccer 2GO is offering a 7-day free trial to new subscribers of its live and on-demand streaming service. No promo codes are required. Plus, you don't need a cable or satellite TV subscription to watch the best Champions League, FA Cup, Bundesliga and other tournaments.

With FOX Soccer 2GO, you can watch your favorite teams play on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

Who is Matt Miazga? The background on Chelsea’s young US target.

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It's a dream come true for a young center back, particularly one that has wanted to play for a Premier League club. Competing at the highest level of soccer. Right now, New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga is on the cusp. The young American is about to make his dreams come true by accepting a move to Chelsea.

Nemanja Vidic has announced his retirement

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Photo credit: AFP.

Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic announced his retirement from football on Friday at the age of 34. Vidic won five Premier League titles and the 2007-08 Champions League in an eight-year spell at Old Trafford, but conceded injuries had forced him to call time on his career.

USWNT Olympic qualifiers to be shown on NBC Sports

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NBC Sports will be broadcasting all 15 women's soccer qualifiers for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"We're pleased to provide coverage of the Olympic qualifying tournament in women's soccer, featuring the U.S. Women's National Team," said a NBC Sports Group spokesperson.

NBC Sports will be broadcasting every gamelive on its streaming platform NBC Sports Live Extra, which will include all of the US Women's National Team matches.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on TV this weekend

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A defining weekend looms large in La Liga, as the league leaders welcome the second placed side in what's set to be a fascinating clash of styles.

Elsewhere, Premier League soccer is on hold as sides resume their quest for FA Cup glory. There are two standout ties, including an all top flight clash on Saturday evening before a possible upset chance on Sunday between two sides that are four tiers apart.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Ross Dunbar

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Today's Soccer Morning features a discussion with Ross Dunbar about this weekend's Bundesliga games.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Real Madrid and Adidas set to announce record-breaking $1.4 billion kit deal

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Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has continuallyprofessed that his club's shirt is the most valuable in the soccer market, based on sales, worldwide exposure and sporting success.

It is now being reported that Real Madrid and Adidas are set to announce a record breaking kit-sponsorship deal which wouldsee the ten-time European champions receive as much as $1.

PSG is one breakthrough away from a place among the all-time greats

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With six more victories, Paris Saint-Germain should secure their fourth straight Ligue 1 title by the end of February, a truly remarkable feat for any team in Europe. Yet their current undefeated domestic season is routinely dismissed due to the perceived weakness of the French league, as well as PSG's financial muscle.

Kevin Egan interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.28.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with beIN SPORTS soccer analyst Kevin Egan.

During the interview, Kevin chats about Liverpool's chances in the Capital One Cup Final against Manchester City, what it's like working alongside Gary Bailey for coverage of the League Cup, whether Chicago Fire fans are right in being disappointed about how the club is being run, how he got his first job in broadcasting, what it's like working at beIN SPORTS with such a diverse group of talent and more.

Arsenal aim to cash in on return of Francis Coquelin

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Francis Coquelin's return to the Arsenal squad for the FA Cup fourth round tie with Burnley will hand Arsene Wenger's side a major lift following last Sunday's league defeat by Chelsea.

Burnley visit the Emirates six days after Diego Costa's match-winning goal prevented the Gunners returning to the top of the Premier League.

Gedion Zelalem has failed to make an impact at Rangers

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Gedion Zelalem's loan to Rangers came as something of a surprise when it was announced in summer. Two views immediately emerged on the move on one hand, he'd be able to express himself at will, and the rigors of lower-league Scottish football would toughen him up. On the other, he'd be playing at a level far beneath him and risk being kicked out of games.

Why Simon Mignolet’s new contract shows Liverpool want to sell

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Photo credit: AFP.

Simon Mignolet's new contract is still causing indigestion on social-media. The worry is not only that Liverpool want to keep him, which is hard enough to swallow, but that they want to keep for a long time; his contract now expires in 2021.

The thing is, though, Liverpool have actually made the smart move.

Viewing audience for NBC’s Crystal Palace documentary grows by 89%

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NBCSN's critically-acclaimed documentary series entitled Premier League Behind The Badge: Crystal Palace has seen an 89% increase in the number of viewers from episode 1 to episode 2.

Episode 2, which aired on January 24 and featured footage of Crystal Palace legend Ian Wright, was watched by 195,000 viewers, an increase of 89% from the 103,000 viewers who watched the debut episode on January 17.

Cup loss leaves Evertonians short on belief in Roberto Martinez

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It's very easy to get swept up in Roberto Martinez. You can see why, when he met Everton chairman Bill Kenwright for the first time in the summer of 2013, he talked himself into the job that was to be vacated by David Moyes.

The Catalan is a tremendous orator, has bright ideas about soccer and always sets his teams up to play in an expansive, enterprising style.

Andriy Yarmolenko would be a solid signing by Arsenal

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According to Ukrainian news outlet Sport, Arsenal have agreed a 23 million deal pound with Dynamo Kiev for star winger Andriy Yarmolenko. The supposed arrangement between the two clubs is for the 26-year-old to see out the remainder of the current campaign with Kiev and subsequently make the switch to north London in the summer.

Queens Park Rangers progress report under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

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While the dust has finally started to settle in the post-Chris Ramsey era, Queens Park Rangers continue to be a work in progress. If a metaphor can be worn out, then QPR have played the roller coaster metaphor a thousand times over, yet here we are again with no other real way to explain the infinite depth of the highs and lows presented by the club ,both on and off the field.

Report: Atmosphere in Bayern squad ‘not good’ after Guardiola’s decision

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Photo credit: AFP.

There are reports of unrest in the Bayern Munich squad, with magazine Kicker quoting a player saying the atmosphere is "not good" ahead of Pep Guardiola's departure.

Bayern are in rude health in the Bundesliga table, with the Bavarian giants eight points clear and on course to win a record fourth straight league title.

Van Gaal joins Manchester United in denying resignation reports

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal denied reports he had offered to resign and thanked executive vice chairman Ed Woodward for his support on Thursday

Van Gaal has faced a trying week following the home defeat by Southampton which saw the Old Trafford crowd turn on the veteran Dutch manager.

LA Galaxy home jersey for 2016 MLS season: Leaked [PHOTO]

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Although the LA Galaxy hasn't officially unveiled their new home jersey for the 2016 season, a photograph of the new shirt has been leaked on the Internet.

Internet sleuths were able to uncover the new photograph from a LA Galaxy catalog. In it, it features Giovani Dos Santos wearing the familiar white shirt of Los Galácticos, but with a few subtle differences.

FA Cup preview and analysis of FOX’s soccer coverage; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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On this mid-week edition of the World Soccer Talk podcast, hosts Kartik Krishnaiyer and Nipun Chopra discuss the second legs of the Capital One Cup semifinals, breaking down how Liverpool and Manchester City qualified for the season's first cup final.

After going over the week's early transfers, the hosts discuss the state of coverage at FOX Sports, and whether the quality of the network's broadcasts has fallen behind.

Leicester City are sowing the seeds to be a top 4 contender for years to come

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Leicester City isn't simply a short-term phenomena that will disappear next season from the upper reaches of English soccer. When the Thai consortium led by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club in 2010, the new ownership outlined a long-term plan to return the club to the Premier League and to eventually challenge for a top four spot.

Why are Bundesliga US TV ratings so poor?

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Afterone month of no Bundesliga soccer due to the annual winter break, German soccer returned to US airwaves last weekend with a match between Bayern Munich and Hamburg. The game was shown live on FOX Sports 1. There was very little competition on other networks. Plus the game had the advantage of being shownduring a historic snow storm across the United States, which meant that many more people were off work at home with nothing to do.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Tom Marshall

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Today's Soccer Morning features a discussion with Tom Marshall to discuss Copa MX as well as the latest transfers involving Liga MX and MLS clubs, in addition to Mexican scouts looking for talent in the US.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.

Bundesliga posts record income; CEO wants it to double

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Photo credit: AFP.

The Bundesliga has posted record sales for the 11th season running, but it's boss wants revenue to double over the next 10 years to rival England's Premier League. Soccer in Germany's top flight generated 2.62 billion euros ($2.855 billion) for the 2014/15 season, but needs to grow internationally to compete with the top leagues in England, Spain, Italy and France, says CEO Christian Seifert.

More MLS managers under pressure as 2016 gets started

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Every MLS team is into preseason camp now, hustling and bustling inside of domes to avoid the snowfall outside, or passing and trapping away in happier, sunnier climes.

But it's not so sunny for all the managers in charge; a bevy of bosses start the year in the weeds, under serious pressure as the league's 21st season commences.

David Mosse interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.27.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with FOX Sports researcher and Wynalda Talks Football co-host David Mosse.

During the interview, David shares his opinion about what Alex Teixeira offers Liverpool and whether he could be a hit, as well as his insight into what type of job FOX Sports will do on Copa America Centenario this summer.

San Jose Earthquakes away jersey for 2016 MLS season [PHOTO]

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The Quakes will be wearing a white away shirt with a thick red stripe running down the left side of the jersey. The shoulders and rounded collar will be red in color.

The shirt, as with all MLS jerseys, will be designed and manufactured by adidas.

Could this be the shirt colors that the Quakes will wear to a deep run in the 2016 MLS Cup playoffs?

‘Optimistic’ Pellegrini hopes De Bruyne ‘will not be out for the rest of the season’

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini expressed optimism that Kevin De Bruyne's season is not over after the Belgian injured his knee in Wednesday's League Cup semifinal triumph over Everton.

De Bruyne came on in the 66th minute and leveled the tie four minutes later before crossing for Sergio Aguero to head home the goal that gave City a 4-3 aggregate victory, setting up a showdown with Liverpool in the final on Feb.

Why Louis van Gaal should not be trusted to make any big January signings

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While the rumors surrounding Gareth Bale have died down in recent weeks, Manchester United continue to make headlines with Ed Woodward's desire to bring in a "galatico." A big name player like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Neymar might bring further global attention to the club, but they are all players with whom Louis van Gaal cannot be trusted.

Montreal can breathe a sign of relief with the return of Didier Drogba

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The best news of the Montreal Impact's offseason came on Sunday when Didier Drogba effectively announced on Twitter that he'd be returning to Major League Soccer for the 2016 season. Even though owner Joey Saputo couldn't confirm on Monday that Drogba would complete the upcoming season in Montreal, the exhale in Quebec could be heard all over Canada.

De Bruyne sparks second half comeback, leads Man City into Capital One Cup final [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Kevin De Bruyne met with controversy, glory and injury as Manchester City defeated Everton 3-1 on Wednesday to set up a League Cup final showdown with Liverpool next month.

Everton extended their 2-1 advantage from the first leg when Ross Barkley scored a fine individual goal in the 18th minute, but Fernandinho quickly equalized before substitute De Bruyne leveled the tie and then set up Sergio Aguero to complete a 4-3 aggregate victory in the 76th minute.

Presidencia de la FIFA: Infantino minimiza acuerdo Asia-Africa de Salman

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El candidato a la presidencia de la FIFA Gianni Infantino, minimizó este martes el acuerdo entre las confederaciones africana y asiática, presidida por su principal rival, el jeque bahreiní Salman.

El acuerdo de cooperación entre la Confederación Asiática (AFC, con 46 votos) y la Africana (CAF, con 54 sobre 209 votantes) presagia un acuerdo electoral que dejaría casi en mayoría al jeque Salman si ambas confederaciones se unen en la votación del 26 de febrero para reemplazar a Joseph Blatter.

Newcastle made Andros Townsend’s signing official [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

England winger Andros Townsend completed a switch from Tottenham Hotspur to fellow English Premier League outfit Newcastle United on Wednesday. The 24-year-old, with 10 England caps and three England goals, had been linked with the move for some time.

Press reports suggested a fee of £12million (15.

Pay raise pushes Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s salary to $1.1 million per month

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Photo credit: AFP.

Paris Saint-Germain's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been handed a $760,000 monthly pay rise, making him by far the highest-paid player in France, Le Parisien newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Swede, who joined the club in 2012 from AC Milan and has scored 127 goals in 156 games since then, now gets $1.

Alexandre Pato arrives at Chelsea for his medical

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Former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato arrived for a medical at Chelsea on Wednesday with the Brazilian international expected to sign a loan deal until the end of the season.

Pato helped AC Milan to the 2011 Italian league title as part of an attacking trident alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho.

Jurgen Klopp is hoping for an all-Merseyside Capital One Cup final

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that he was crossing his fingers for an all-Merseyside League Cup final after his team overcame Stoke City on penalties in the last four.

Stoke won Tuesday's semifinal second leg 1-0, leaving the tie 1-1 on aggregate following extra time, but after Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had saved from Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa, substitute Joe Allen netted the decisive spot-kick in a 6-5 shootout win.

FOX Sports announces TV coverage plans for Copa America Centenario

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As we reported last night, FOX Sports has acquired the US English-language TV rights to Copa America Centenario, which will be played in stadiums throughout the United States this summer.

FOX Sports is planning on televising all 32 matches live across 10 venues nationwide from June 3 to June 26, with matches appearing on FOX broadcast network, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.

England home jersey for Euro 2016 leaked online [PHOTOS]

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Photographs of England's home jersey that they'll be wearing at Euro 2016 have been leaked online.

The design from Nike features a unique ice-blue color scheme near the bottom of the sleeves as well as around the shirt collar. England's new home jersey will feature a rounded collar.

The Nike swoosh logo and England crest, meanwhile, will be in royal blue.

Matt Miazga to Chelsea can reverse trend of declining number of Americans in Europe

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Last week, Jordan Morris became the latest high-profile American player to eschew the riches and glory of Europe for a career in Major League Soccer. His decision was met with a round of applause bordering on a victory lap from MLS' proponents in the American soccer community and blogosphere. Once upon a time, players like Morris were the exception to the rule as ambitious players over 18 fast-tracked for US Men's National Team stardom took their chances breaking into sides that featured in top European leagues.

Where to find Manchester City vs. Everton Capital One Cup semi-final on TV

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Manchester City and Everton face off today in a crucial battle to determine who will meet Liverpool in the Capital One Cup Final.

After Liverpool's victory against Stoke City on penalty kicks last night, there's the prospect of a Merseyside derby in the final if Everton can win the match on aggregate given that the Toffees have a 2-1 aggregate lead going into the match.

Naysayers be damned, Ashley Cole may help the LA Galaxy

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Ashley Cole's move to LA Galaxy has been roundly panned by journalists and fans of Major League Soccer. But several reasons stand out why this might prove to be a good one.

Through the years, Major League Soccer has emphasized the signing of high-profile attacking players. In fact, when Toronto FC tried to sign defender Olof Mellberg as a Designated Player, it is perceived that MLS frowned upon the potential signing, and Toronto FC pulled out of the deal.

Crystal Palace sees United States as virgin territory to target, says chairman Steve Parish

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English Premier League club Crystal Palace sees the United States as a key target for the club to pursue to help grow its fanbase and commercial interests, club chairman Steve Parish told World Soccer Talk Radio this week in an exclusive interview.

Parish was speaking on the heels of the successful launch of the first two episodes of Premier League Behind The Badge, a fly on the wall documentary featuring Crystal Palace, which has aired on NBCSN in the United States during the past two weeks and has received glowing reviews.

Liverpool target Alex Teixeira hands in transfer request to Shakhtar Donetsk, says source

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Liverpool target Alex Teixeira has handed in a transfer request to Shakhtar Donetsk, a source has revealed to World Soccer Talk.

The Brazilian attacking midfielder has been a transfer target for Liverpool during the January transfer window. There have been reports in the British media that the Reds made an offer of £28 million for the talented footballer who has been with Shakhtar Donetsk since 2010.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Kristan Heneage

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Today's Soccer Morning features a discussion with Kristan Heneage about the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Roberto Martinez’s mistakes are costing Everton

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In May 2013, Everton FC and their fans were at a crossroads. Their former manager, David Moyes, had just moved on to supposedly greener pastures in Manchester, and most fans wondered what direction their beloved club would go in. Enter Roberto Martinez, the suave Spaniard who in the previous year had simultaneously guided Wigan to the FA Cup and relegation at the same time.

El Shaarawy completes loan move to Roma

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Photo credit: AFP.

Roma have announced the signing of AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy on a six-month loan deal that could see the Italy international make the move permanent, the Serie A club announced Tuesday.

El Shaarawy quit the San Siro for Monaco last summer but a clause in his contract meant the French league club had to make the 23-year-old's move permanent if he made 25 appearances.

FOX Sports acquires English-language TV rights to Copa America Centenario

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FOX Sports has acquired the English-language TV rights to Copa America Centenario, according to a report by Sports Business Daily.

As we first reported in May 2015, FOX Sports was on the verge of acquiring the English-language TV rights to Copa America Centenario after a competitive bidding process between several US sports networks.

Steve Parish interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.26.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish.

During the interview, Mr. Parish shares what makes the USA so appealing to Crystal Palace, why the club decided to have NBC Sports and Goalhanger Films produce a behind-the-scenes documentary about the club, how the club is such a US-centric brand, as well as the successful 'South London and Proud' campaign.

Manchester City wary of underdogs Everton in League Cup semi

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini expects his side to match the desire of an Everton side chasing their first piece of silverware in more than 20 years when they meet in Wednesday's League Cup semi-final.

The Toffees, whose last major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup, head to Manchester with a 2-1 lead from the first leg.

Mignolet’s shootout save sends Liverpool through to Capital One Cup final [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Simon Mignolet produced a decisive spot-kick save from Marc Muniesa as Liverpool edged Stoke City 6-5 on penalties at Anfield on Tuesday to reach the League Cup final.

After Marko Arnautovic had cancelled out Liverpool's 1-0 aggregate lead with a goal that seemed to have been scored from an offside position, the game went to extra time and then penalties, and with Mignolet thwarting Muniesa, it was left to Joe Allen to net the decisive spot-kick.

Why Chelsea’s striker problems make Alexandre Pato worth the gamble

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Chelsea have historically made more eye-popping moves in the January transfer window than any other top Premier League club. Of course this season, the Blues are closer to the relegation fight than to even battling for a Europa League position, so perhaps they need to shop like every other side fearful of relegation.

Blanc says Cavani’s behavior must improve

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Photo credit: AFP.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc criticized the behavior of striker Edinson Cavani on Tuesday, claiming the Uruguayan needed to improve his attitude off the pitch.

"Football is a team sport and you can't just do what you want," Blanc told reporters. "'Edi' is a generous guy and team player on the pitch, but as part of the group, he hasn't done what he has to do.

Football Leaks has the potential to revolutionize soccer

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Soccer's backroom business is often shrouded in complete mystery. What goes into transfers; their inner workings, machinations and politicking are often beyond the bounds of even the most reputable journalists. Until recently, only the Secret Footballer provided any intimate detail on the underground world of transfers, and even those were outlines minus any names or clubs.

Barcelona are confident Neymar will sign a new contract with the club

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Photo credit: AFP.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said Tuesday he was confident that Brazilian star Neymar would commit to the Catalan giants beyond his current contract in 2018.

Asked at the team's press conference if the Brazil captain was ready to extend his stay in Barcelona, Luis Enrique said: "I believe so, yes.

Crystal Palace has signed Emmanuel Adebayor through the end of the Premier League season

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Photo credit: AFP.

Emmanuel Adebayor has joined Premier League side Crystal Palace until the end of the season, the club announced Tuesday.

"Crystal Palace are delighted to announce the signing of striker Emmanuel Adebayor until the end of the season," said a statement on the club's website.

Improving Leicester City must be considered genuine title contenders

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Starting to believe yet? With just 15 games left of the Premier League season, Leicester City are three points clear at the summit of the table. After Arsenal toiled in a manner only they can against Chelsea and Manchester City dropped points against West Ham United, the Foxes capitalized with a resounding 3-0 win against a very capable Stoke City outfit.

FIFA’s presidential candidates stepping up campaigns as election approaches

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Photo credit: AFP.

The five candidates to take over the FIFA presidency from the banned Sepp Blatter stepped up the frantic hunt for votes Tuesday as the campaign entered the final month. FIFA sent a formal notice to the 209 member associations on Tuesday confirming that Prince Ali bin al Hussein, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, Gianni Infantino, Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne would take part in the Feb.

Louis van Gaal leads training as Manchester United deny resignation reports

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Photo credit: AFP.

Louis Van Gaal went back to work training Manchester United stars on Tuesday after the club denied he had offered to resign.

According to some media, Van Gaal faces a crunch meeting with United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward on Tuesday amid supporter anger over the 1-0 defeat by Southampton.

Where to find Liverpool vs. Stoke Capital One Cup semi-final on TV

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Liverpool faces Stoke City on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup semi-final, second leg. With the Reds holding a 1-0 aggregate lead, Liverpool are within touching distance of qualifying for the 2016 League Cup final. But they face a very determined and well-organized Stoke side who are equally capable of going to Wembley to play either Everton or Manchester City in the final.

Man City vs. Everton preview: Hit-and-miss Manchester City seek League Cup comeback

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Thoughts of the 2013-14 run-in will be inspiring Manchester City's players as they attempt to overturn a 2-1 deficit in Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Everton.

Then, as now, City are chasing glory on four fronts and while they fell short in the Champions League and FA Cup two years ago, League Cup glory was to prove a precursor to victory in the Premier League title race.

Scandal-hit South American football federation elect new president Alejandro Dominguez

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South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL looks to clean its image by choosing a new president Tuesday, as three of its former heads face US indictments in the FIFA corruption scandal.

After being searched this month by investigators probing alleged bribes, CONMEBOL's headquarters in Paraguay now hosts football chiefs from 10 countries who will choose a new leader and decide who to back for FIFA president.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with guest David Amoyal

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Today's Soccer Morning features a discussion with David Amoyal about the transfer window and latest deals.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Spurs defender Vertonghen out for lengthy spell

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Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has sustained knee ligament damage and will be out of action for a lengthy spell, the club said on Tuesday.

The Belgian, an ever-present for Mauricio Pochettino's side this season, picked up the injury when he fell awkwardly in his side's comeback victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Italian FA asked to punish Daniele De Rossi over gypsy slur

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Italian soccer bosses should punish Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi for allegedly calling Juventus midfielder Mario Mandzukic "a shitty gypsy" during a heated Serie A clash, rights groups said Monday. The Associazione 21 lluglio and Popica Onlus, organizations which defend the rights of ethnic Roma and Sinti people in Italy, said De Rossi should be sanctioned as swiftly and severely as Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri was last week for homophobic abuse.

Roma the next to bet on Stephan El Shaarawy’s resurgence

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A move to Monaco was supposed to reignite Stephan El Shaarawy's injury plagued career, but four months on, El Shaarawy is set to return to Italy, on loan to Roma. Frozen out at Monaco after 15 games without a goal or assist, the one-time promising Milan player is still looking to rediscover what made him the highly sought after 20-year-old that was valued at €20 million.

Shaka Hislop interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.25.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with ESPN soccer analyst and former goalkeeper Shaka Hislop.

During the interview, Shaka discusses his favorite memories from playing with West Ham, how Harry Redknapp was different as a manager, what it was like playing behind Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard, whether West Ham can surpass Tottenham Hotspur as the third biggest team in London, and much more.

Andros Townsend set for £12 million move to Newcastle

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Newcastle are poised to sign Tottenham and England winger Andros Townsend after the two clubs agreed a £12million (15.7million euros) deal, the Press Association reported on Tuesday.

Magpies managing director Lee Charnley was able to confirm the deal was going through after several rounds of talks between the two clubs during the transfer window.

Arsenal bruised by not broken after loss to Chelsea

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Arsenal were beaten by rivals Chelsea, 1-0, on Sunday to leave the north London club three points behind surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City. The defeat to the Blues was essentially decided in the 18th minute of the match when defender Per Mertesacker was sent off after he brought down a goal-bound Diego Costa.

Atletico Madrid have lodged their FIFA transfer ban appeal

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Atletico Madrid lodged an appeal Monday against a one-year transfer ban imposed by FIFA over their dealing in under-age players. The ban starts from the July transfer window this year and finishes with the January transfer market in 2017.

Real Madrid were hit with the same punishment.

Colorado’s on track to become the laughing stock of Major League Soccer

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The 2015 Colorado Rapids were depressing. They finished last in the Western Conference, last in goals scored and last in attendance. They continued to replace young talent with veteran mediocrity. Even technical director Paul Bravo, amidst all the spin, acknowledged that the team was a mess once the ball crossed midfield.

Boateng sidelined for three months, hopes to be ready for Euro 2016

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Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng expressed hope Monday that he would recover from a torn groin muscle injury in time to figure for Germany at Euro 2016. Boateng limped out of Bayern's 2-1 victory at Hamburg on Friday and a scan in Munich revealed the full extent of the problem with the player facing three months on the sidelines.

Leaked transfer agreement shows Real Madrid have limited buy-back clause for Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil

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If Arsenal ever sell Mesut Ozil to a club in the Spanish league, Real Madrid have the right to match the transfer fee. And if they decline, Ozil's former club would still be entitled to 33% of the playmaker's final price.

Those are some of the revelations from a leaked version of Mesut Ozil's transfer agreement that has been posted to the site Football Leaks, the same outlet that published a version of Gareth Bale's contract last week.

Pressure is mounting on ‘disappointed’ Louis van Gaal

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Manchester United may officially be keeping quiet about the future of Louis van Gaal, but the manager accepts his position is being increasingly called into question by the club's fans.

The mood turned sour at Old Trafford during the course of Southampton's 1-0 win over United on Saturday.

Report: Ramires close to $28 million move from Chelsea to China

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Brazilian midfielder Ramires is set to leave Chelsea in a $28.5 million move to China's Jiangsu Suning, according to The Guardian. The move would end the 28-year-old's five-and-a-half-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

Ramires, capped 52 times by the Brazilian national team, moved to Chelsea from Benfica in 2010 for £18 million.

Analyzing Liverpool’s problems at both ends of the field

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Their last two league matches have pretty much summed up Liverpool's season: dominating against a much better opponent (on paper) yet somehow throwing away a result at home against Manchester United; struggling against a team they should beat, looking unable to break down a packed defense before scraping through in 5-4 game of the season contender at Norwich City.

Bundesliga scoring race heats up as Aubameyang, Lewandowski set sites on Mueller’s mark

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While the Bundesliga title-race may be lacking drama, the battle between hot-shot strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski to finish as top-scorer looks set to enthrall fans until the season's end.

Bayern Munich remain on course to become the first club to win the Bundesliga for a fourth year running after Lewandowski scored twice in Friday's 2-1 win at Hamburg to leave his side eight points clear.

Manchester United home jersey for 2016/17 season leaked online [PHOTOS]

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Manchester United's home jersey for the 2016/17 season has been leaked on the Internet.

In its second season of wearing Adidas, Manchester United will be wearing a half-and-half shirt design that features two shades of red as part of the new Adidas template, which features the three white stripes down the side of the jersey.

Liverpool vs. Stoke preview: Reds eye League Cup final spot

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Zigzagging across the road like a clown car they may be, but Liverpool are also just 90 minutes from Wembley ahead of Tuesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Stoke City.

A team that recorded seven 1-1 draws in nine games in September and October is beginning to gain a reputation for slapdash spectaculars, following the recent 3-3 draw at home to Arsenal and Saturday's remarkable 5-4 victory at Norwich City.

Arsenal don’t have Chelsea mental block, says Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dismissed suggestions that his side have a mental block regarding London rivals Chelsea following a 1-0 home defeat that carried an air of deja vu.

Arsenal were bidding to return to the top of the Premier League table in Sunday's game, but they were left in third place after Per Mertesacker was sent off and Diego Costa scored to give Chelsea a clinical 1-0 victory.

Zidane ‘proud’ despite dent in Real Madrid title hopes

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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insisted he was proud of his side's display despite slipping further behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race with a 1-1 draw at Real Betis on Sunday.

Zidane had cruised to victory in his first two games in charge since replacing Rafael Benitez earlier this month, scoring five goals against Deportivo la Coruna and Sporting Gijon.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET

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Today's Soccer Morning features listener calls and the latest news.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Juventus and Roma bosses clash as De Rossi accused of racism

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Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi was accused of racially abusing Juventus's Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic in Sunday's stormy 1-0 win for the Turin giants.

A late Paulo Dybala strike secured a 1-0 win and an 11th consecutive league victory for Italian champions Juventus, who closed to within two points of Serie A leaders Napoli.

EPL GW 23 review show; World Soccer Talk podcast

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On this edition of the World Soccer Talk podcast, host Richard Farley is joined by pundits Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna to discuss the 23rd round of action in the Premier League, one that included another change at the top of the table as well as a nine-goal shootout at Carrow Road. The team will also discuss another convincing performance from Leicester, more sputtering from Manchester United, and the form of Tottenham Hotspur, who are forcing their way into the title conversation.

Everton 1-2 Swansea: New Swans boss Francesco Guidolin off to winning start

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Francesco Guidolin's first game in charge of Swansea saw them win 2-1 away to Everton on Sunday as the Welsh club moved four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

A hard fought victory saw Swansea climb to 15th place, just three positions behind Everton, who've now won just once in their last 10 league games and only three times in their past 14 at Goodison Park.

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea: Costa dents 10-man Arsenal’s title charge

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Diego Costa scored as Chelsea renewed their hold over Arsenal with a 1-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday that dented their London rivals' Premier League title hopes.

Costa had been the central figure in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Arsenal in September, when he goaded Gabriel into getting sent off, and he drew the foul that saw Per Mertesacker dismissed in the 18th minute before neatly converting the game's only goal five minutes later.

Wolfsburg and Schalke crash to shock defeats

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Eintracht Frankfurt captain Alexander Meier hit a hat-trick as Champions League side Wolfsburg lost 3-2 away while Schalke also crashed as Sunday yielded two shock Bundesliga defeats.

Wolfsburg, who face Ghent in the last 16 of the Champions League, are seventh, outside next season's European places, after the Frankfurt defeat.

Gervinho leaving Roma, says club official

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Ivorian striker Gervinho will leave Roma as soon as contract talks with interested parties end in the coming days, the Serie A club's sporting director Mauro Baldissoni said on Sunday.

"I can confirm we're currently in talks, we've received interesting offers and when a player wants to leave the club there's little you can do," Baldissoni told Mediaset Premium before Roma kicked off at Juventus.

Manchester United’s Victor Valdes joins Standard Liege on loan

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Victor Valdes's unsuccessful time at Manchester United effectively came to an end on Sunday when it was confirmed the goalkeeper was joining Standard Liege on loan.

The 34-year-old will remain with the Belgian club until the end of the season and then become a free agent.

A statement on United's website said: "Manchester United and Standard Liege have reached agreement for the temporary transfer of goalkeeper Victor Valdes, effective until the end of the current season.

Man United’s Champions League qualification chances hang on a knife’s edge under Van Gaal

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Louis van Gaal's face said it all after Manchester United succumbed to their 6thloss of the season. The venue Old Trafford and the club Southampton but this felt like the same old song and dance for the Dutchman.

Saturday's 0-1 loss to Southamptonis another damning defeat for the club especially given that they had seemed to turn a corner of sorts.

Jamie Vardy strikes against Stoke as Leicester go top again

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Jamie Vardy rediscovered his Midas touch to extend Leicester City's fairytale season as they regained top spot in the Premier League with a 3-0 win at home to Stoke on Saturday.

The England striker had not scored for seven matches during which Claudio Ranieri's surprise package had managed only one win and had crashed out of the FA Cup.

Dele Alli gem helps Spurs shatter Crystal Palace

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Dele Alli produced a contender for goal of the season as Tottenham cemented their position in the Premier League's top four with a 3-1 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Alli has emerged one of the brightest young stars in the top-flight this season and the teenage midfielder's meteoric rise gathered pace at Selhurst Park with a moment of magic that put Tottenham on course for a crucial victory.

Southampton debutant Charlie Austin punishes desperate Man United; Match highlights

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Debutant Charlie Austin's late goal earned Southampton a 1-0 victory at Manchester United on Saturday that put the pressure back on beaten manager Louis van Gaal.

Austin joined Southampton for £4 million ($5.7 million, 5.2 million euros) from Queens Park Rangers last week and made a spectacular debut as a substitute at Old Trafford.

Lallana delivers Liverpool victory in nine-goal Norwich thriller; Match highlights

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Adam Lallana scored a 95th-minute winner as Liverpool came from behind to beat Norwich City 5-4 in an extraordinary ding-dong Premier League battle at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Ex-Everton man Steven Naismith helped Norwich take a 3-1 lead and although they fell 4-3 down, Sebastien Bassong slammed in a 91st-minute equaliser, only for Lallana to have the final say in a frantic finale.

Messi to the rescue for under par Barca against Malaga

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Lionel Messi scored a spectacular winner as Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Malaga on Saturday.

The European champions were handed the perfect start when Munir El Haddadi tapped home the opener after just 64 seconds, but were far from their best and Malaga deservedly leveled through Juanpi 13 minutes before the break.

Dortmund see off Gladbach to trim Bayern’s lead: Match highlights [VIDEO]

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Borussia Dortmund consolidated second place in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a convincing 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach to trim Bayern Munich's runaway lead in the table.

Goals by Dortmund's Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan, with a consolation from Gladbach's Raffael, sealed the win which left Dortmund both eight points behind Bayern and eight points ahead of third-placed Hertha Berlin.

Arsenal spy chance for changing of the guard

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With Jose Mourinho gone and Chelsea languishing, Premier League leaders Arsenal have an opportunity to assert their supremacy over their London rivals in Sunday's encounter at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger managed just one win against his former Chelsea counterpart Mourinho in 15 attempts, and that came in this season's Community Shield.

Arsenal vs. Chelsea predicted lineups and team news

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League leaders Arsenal host London rivals Chelsea on Sunday (11am ET on NBCSN and Telemundo in the US) as they aim to avenge a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last September.

The Blues no longer have Jose Mourinho in the dugout which should be a pleasant sight for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal as they had an appalling 0.

FBI ‘also probing 2006 FIFA World Cup award,’ says report

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The FIFA corruption scandal surrounding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany looks set to widen after a report on Saturday said the FBI are also investigating.

Munich-based newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung quotes sources from FIFA who claim the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the awarding of the finals in 2000 when Germany narrowly saw off a bid from South Africa.

Massimiliano Allegri plays down Chelsea links

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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has played down reports he could become Chelsea's next full-time manager, following the sacking of Jose Mourinho earlier this season.

Allegri, who steered Juve to a league and Cup double last season, as well as the Champions League final, was linked to the struggling Premier League giants in tabloid reports on Saturday.

Manchester United vs. Southampton: Predicted lineups and team news

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Southampton travel to Old Trafford on Saturday with the aim of upsetting Manchester United. The Saints have won two on the bounce since losing consecutive games at West Ham and Norwich and site 10th after 22 games.

Charlie Austin could make his debut for the visitors after completing his £4million move to St.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC, Gameweek 23

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NBC Sports Group's coverage of Premier League continues this weekend with live matches across NBC, NBCSN and USA Network.

Weekend coverage begins Saturday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 a.m. ET with Premier League Live, followed by Norwich City v. Liverpool on NBCSN. Live match coverage continues at 10 a.

The latest transfer rumors have linked these three stars to Liverpool

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Though the spotlight is currently on Shakhtar Donetsk's 26-year old Brazilian attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira, with the Reds currently in negotiations for the £24.6 million star, here's a look at some other potential targets Liverpool could pursue before the winter window closes in 10 days time.

Goal-line technology will be used in UEFA competitions, starting with Euro 2016

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UEFA has approved the use of goal-line technology in its competitions, starting with the Euro 2016 tournament in France, the acting head of European soccer Gianni Infantino said Friday.

"We looked at it seriously ... and finally we decided to start with Euro (2016) and then move on to the Champions League," Infantino told journalists following a UEFA executive meeting.

Bayern Munich great Philipp Lahm hints he may retire within the next two years

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Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has dropped the first hint that he may retire before his Bayern Munich contract expires in 2018. The 32-year-old stepped down as Germany's skipper after leading them to their Brazil 2014 World Cup triumph, but he has suggested he may retire from all soccer within the next two years, having spent his whole career with Bayern.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Aston Villa: Predicted lineups and team news

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Both teams go into this Midlands derby on the back of midweek wins in the FA Cup. West Brom sealed their place in the fourth round with a 1-0 at Bristol City while Villa struck for two late goals to overcome League Two's Wycombe. After last season's FA Cup quarterfinal, where the Villa and Baggie fans clashed, this encounter is firing up to be a classic.

Dortmund CEO: Bundesliga should have no fear of the Premier League

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Borussia Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke says the Bundesliga should be more assertive in the fight for publicity with England's Premier League as the German league returns from the winter break.

"I have no fear of the English (league), we must make sure our qualities are in the foreground," Watzke told the Koelnischen Rundschau in a frank interview when asked about the financial gulf between Germany's top clubs and their English counterparts.

Champions League pursuit will define Guardiola’s final months at Bayern

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Pep Guardiola entered the final four months of his three-year reign as Bayern Munich coach on Friday with the Spaniard under pressure to sign off with the treble.

Bayern kicked off the second-half of the season at Hamburg with a 2-1 victory, and if things continue, Guardiola will end the Bundesliga season on May 14 with the Bavarians having become the first club to win the German league title four times in a row.

Sunderland signs long-time Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper

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Sunderland have signed former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper until the end of the season, the Premier League strugglers confirmed on Friday. Harper will provide back up to first choice keeper Vito Mannone and help mentor promising young reserve Jordan Pickford.

The 40-year-old, who was a free agent after leaving Hull at the end of last season, made 199 appearances for Sunderland's bitter rivals Newcastle during a 20-year stay at St James' Park.

Sergio Aguero trying to balance fitness with determination to get back on the field

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Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has promised his determination to play soccer won't see him run the risk of taking the field less than fully fit.

Aguero missed seven City matches earlier this season because of a hamstring problem suffered while on international duty with Argentina.

Carli Lloyd, Chicharito claim CONCACAF Player of the Year honors

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Mexico's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and American Carli Lloyd were named Friday as 2015 Players of the Year by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). Voting was equally weighted among each member association's national team captains as well as fans and a media panel.

Lewandowski double leaves Bayern 11 clear as the Bundesliga returns

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Bayern Munich opened the second half of the Bundesliga season with a 2-1 win at Hamburg on Friday as Robert Lewandowski's goals took Pep Guardiola's side 11 points clear.

Bayern's march to an historic fourth German league title seems unstoppable as Guardiola, who has said he will leave in May, attempts to sign off his three years as coach with the treble of Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga titles.

Norwich City vs. Liverpool: Predicted lineups and team news

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Jurgen Klopp's side travel to relegation threatened Norwich City in Saturday's early kickoff.

The injury ravaged Reds were defeated 1-0 at home to Manchester United in their last league game which saw them remain in ninth place on the Premier League, eight points off the Champions League places.

Tuchel confirms Dortmund may buy as Malli rumors heat up

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Coach Thomas Tuchel says Borussia Dortmund are poised for activity in the January transfer window with Mainz's goal-scoring midfielder Yunus Malli rumored to be set to join the Bundesliga giants.

Malli, a Turkey international, has scored eight goals in 17 games as a center forward for Mainz, playing just behind Japan striker Yoshinori Muto, and is reported to be set to cost Dortmund around $11.

Leicester City sign Ghana international Daniel Amartey

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Leicester have signed Ghana international Daniel Amartey from FC Copenhagen for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League title contenders announced on Friday. Amartey, who can play in central midfield or at right back, agreed a four and a half year contract with Claudio Ranieri's side.

Ashley Young surgery complicates Manchester United’s defensive problems

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Manchester United are facing further defensive problems, with an injury to Ashley Young prompting a possible move into the January transfer market for manager Louis van Gaal. Young is to undergo groin surgery after suffering an injury during United's 1-0 win at Liverpool last Sunday.

Bundesliga lucks out with favorable TV schedule for first live 2 games on FOX network

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When the dates were announced in October for the 8 Bundesliga games FOX Sports would air live on over-the-air TV, the biggest concern was which Premier League games the Bundesliga would clash against in those time slots.

With the Bundesliga focused on conquering America and the Premier League having a huge head start, the Bundesliga and FOX Sports have lucked out.

Branislav Ivanovic signs one-year extension with Chelsea

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Branislav Ivanovic has signed a one-year contract extension with Chelsea, the struggling Premier League champions announced Friday. The Serbia defender's existing contract with the London club was set to expire in a few months, but the 31-year-old's new deal is set to see him stay at Stamford Bridge until 2017.

Aston Villa vs. Leicester City scores 1 million viewers on NBC

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Last Saturday's game between Aston Villa vs. Leicester City televised on the NBC over-the-air network was watched by 1 million people in the United States.

The clash between one of the teams challenging for the title against a team battling to avoid relegation was the sixth match of this 2015/16 Premier League season to top more than 1 million viewers (NBC had 4 matches in the 2014/15 season that had 1 million+).

Top 5 must-watch games on TV this weekend

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The Bundesliga is back on the agenda for fans of European soccer once again this weekend, with two of the top sides in the country going head-to-head in the marquee match of the round.

The two favorites for the Premier League title are also in action in intriguing fixtures. The third place side travel to the team in sixth, while the league leaders face a massive mental examination, when they welcome the reigning champions.

Messi fit for Barca return in Malaga

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Lionel Messi is expected to be fit as Barcelona make the tricky trip to Malaga on Saturday looking to move back to the top of La Liga.

Messi missed Wednesday's 2-1 Copa del Rey win at Athletic Bilbao due to a hamstring problem that forced him off at half-time in a 6-0 rout of the same opponents last weekend, but returned to training on Thursday.

Leicester vs. Stoke preview: Ranieri expects Vardy and Mahrez to rediscover golden touch

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Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is relaxed about the apparent loss of form to key players Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez as his team's incredible season reaches a pivotal point.

The unfancied Foxes have won only once in their last seven league and cup games, with England striker Vardy having failed to score in six starts and Algeria winger Mahrez without a goal in five games.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with David Cartlidge

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Today's Soccer Morning features a chat with David Cartlidge about the latest stories in La Liga.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

FIFA: Global transfer spending reached record $4.18 billion in 2015

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Transfer spending around the world hit a record $4.18 billion in 2015 and has grown by nearly half in five years, FIFA said Thursday.

With television and sponsorship money rocketing, there were an all-time high 13,558 transfers in 2015, up 3.1% on the previous year, said FIFA's Global Transfer Market report which monitored 6,500 clubs around the world.

Mauro Zarate on the way to Fiorentina after signing from West Ham

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Argentine forward Mauro Zarate has joined Serie A club Fiorentina from West Ham, the Premier League side announced on Thursday.

Zarate signed for the Hammers from Velez Sarsfield in 2014, but struggled to hold down a regular first-team place following the arrival of new boss Slaven Bilic last year.

Remi Garde’s impact has given Aston Villa hope

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Two weeks ago, if you would've offered any Aston Villa fan the prospect of four points from the next two Premier League fixtures and a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, they would've snapped your hand off. Now, after two late goals against Wycombe on Tuesday night, Villa have extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Juventus ‘reject Barcelona’s 80 million euro bid for Dybala’

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Juventus have rejected an offer from Barcelona for star striker Paulo Dybala that is reported to be more than 80 million euros ($86.7 million), a report said Friday.

Dybala, signed last summer from Palermo for 40m euros, has quickly become a fans' favorite in Turin as the champions continue their fightback following a disastrous start to the campaign.

Who’s good, who’s bad: Owners in the Premier League edition

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The divide between what constitutes a bad soccer owner and a good one is purely subjective; unless, of course, your team is flirting with relegation after years and years of steadily declining league finishes.

It's not fair to paint only Aston Villa's Randy Lerner as bad at running a football club, right?

Sought-after Athletic Club star Inaki Williams has a new contract with a higher buyout value

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Spanish under-21 international Inaki Williams committed his future to Athletic Club by signing a new five-year deal on Thursday.

"Athletic club and Inaki Williams have signed a deal to renew the player's contract ... until June 30, 2021.

"His buyout clause will be 50 million euros.

Arsenal are getting healthy at just the time

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With just 16 matches remaining on the Barclays Premier League fixture list, Arsenal, along with every other British top-tier team, will be looking to finish off the season on a high note. The current campaign for the Gunners has been a bit of seesaw season. While the north London outfit are currently atop the league standings, they were beaten 3-0 by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup fourth round and also struggled to make it past a Champions League group stage that included Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos.

Knee surgery to sideline DC United’s Bill Hamid for 4-6 months

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Photo credit: AFP.

DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid will be sidelined for the next four to six months after undergoing right knee surgery to repair an injury suffered preparing for US national team training camp, the MLS club announced Thursday.

The 25-year-old American, who was the 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, will miss 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying matches against Guatemala in March but should be available for concluding penultimate round matches in September against Trinidad and Tobago as well as St.

Javier Mascherano avoids prison, accepts suspended sentence for tax fraud

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Photo credit: AFP.

Barcelona and Argentina's Javier Mascherano accepted a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 816,000 euros ($891,000) before a judge on Thursday for committing tax fraud of 1.5 million euros. The plea, agreed between the former Liverpool midfielder's lawyers and the public prosecutor in December, was formally processed in a hearing that lasted barely 10 minutes.

In praise of the draw, and why soccer still embraces it

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On Dec. 19, 1863, a soccer match took place at Mortlake, London between Barnes Football Club and Richmond Football Club. It was the first game under Football Association rules, and it finished 0-0.

Nearly nine years later, the first international match was played at the West of Scotland Cricket Cub in Glasgow, and Scotland and England finished up 0-0.

Leaked documents confirm Gareth Bale’s transfer fee eclipsed Cristiano Ronaldo’s

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Photo credit: AFP.

Welsh star Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid in 2013 for a world record fee in excess of 100 million euros ($109 million, £77 million), a leaked report reveals. Whistleblowing website Football Leaks posted a copy of the agreement between Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur online on Wednesday.

Napoli’s Maurizio Sarri handed two-game suspension for homophobic slur

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Photo credit: AFP.

The gay president of an Italian fifth division club has urged Serie A players and officials not to be afraid to declare their homosexuality as the furor over Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri's homophobic rant rumbled on Thursday.

Sarri has steered Napoli to the summit of Italy's top flight.

World Soccer Talk is seeking new writers to share their opinions about Beautiful Game

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World Soccer Talk is looking for new writers to cover the Beautiful Game.

Whether you're frustrated with the lack of insightful coverage about your team or you've got a lot of pent-up opinions about anything soccer-related, World Soccer Talk is the perfect outlet to write about the sport. You don't have to be a professional writer to get published.

Arsenal could see both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez return to face Chelsea

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Photo credit: AFP.

Arsenal's key creators Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez could both return from injury for Sunday's Premier League clash with champions Chelsea, manager Arsene Wenger said on Thursday.

German playmaker Ozil missed last weekend's 0-0 draw at Stoke City with a minor foot injury, but Wenger said that he would be available for the London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

First live Bundesliga game on US TV will air at same time as Liverpool-West Ham FA Cup match

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For the second half of the 2016 Bundesliga season, FOX has decided to broadcast 8 games live on its over-the-air network. The first of the 8 matches will be Stuttgart against Hamburg, which will kick off at 12:30pm ET on Saturday, January 30.

At that same exact time, the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool and West Ham United kicks off.

Bayern Munich kick off Guardiola’s swansong at Hamburg

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Photo credit: AFP

Pep Guardiola starts his swansong as Bayern Munich coach on Friday at Hamburg with his team running away with an historic fourth Bundesliga crown and eyeing a hat-trick of titles.

Having said he wants to coach in England next season, Guardiola's three-year tenure will ultimately be measured in Munich by whether he can repeat his predecessor Jupp Heynckes' feat of winning the treble of Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga titles in 2013.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET

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Today's Soccer Morning features the latest soccer news and listener calls.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira draws inspiration from Mourinho and Wenger

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Photo credit: AFP

Patrick Vieira plans to draw on lessons learned under Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger as he launches his management career with New York City FC but says he is determined to forge his own identity.

The list of Vieira's coaches during a glittering playing career reads like a who's who of European football management's elite, including the likes of Wenger, Mourinho, Fabio Capello and Roberto Mancini.

Traveling through India in search of soccer

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After an incredible four months, my traveling adventure was coming to an end, but first I had the small matter of India.

From the moment I had set off back in August, India was the country I was most excited to visit. I had heard lots of stories about people going to India that I didn't believe could be true until I found myself in that exact situation.

PSG’s dominance is hurting Ligue 1

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Soccer dynasties aren't uncommon in France. Since the French league turned professional in 1932 Saint-Étienne, Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais and most recently Paris Saint-Germain have had the honor of ruling the roost for a significant period of time.

Saint-Étienne were the first club to stamp their authority, winning the league four times in a row starting in the 1966-67 season and then claiming a hat trick of titles by finishing first in '73-74, '74-75 and '75-76.

Chinese car maker completes takeover of Espanyol

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Photo credit: AFP.

Chinese model car maker Rastar Group completed its takeover of La Liga side Espanyol on Wednesday as the old board of the Barcelona-based club announced their resignation.

"We positively value ... the confirmation of the majority share acquisition of the club by Rastar Group and its president Chen Yansheng," the club said in statement.

GW23 preview, the state of US players in the EPL; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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On this mid-week edition of the World Soccer Talk podcast, hosts Richard Farley and Nipun Chopra discuss the FA Cup third round replays, the early week transfer activity, and the 23rd round of the Premier League, which culminates on Sunday when Chelsea visits Arsenal.

In the second half of the show, Kartik Krishnaiyer joins Richard to talk about US internationals in the Premier League.

Barca join Real Madrid, Man Utd in 500m euros club

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Photo credit: AFP

European champions Barcelona joined Real Madrid and Manchester United in earning over 500 million euros ($545.5 million) last season, financial consultants Deloitte revealed in their latest Football Money League published on Thursday.

Madrid topped the table for the 11th year running with earnings of 577 million euros over the course of the season, driven largely by a 22.

Messi, Suarez-less Barcelona edge closer to Copa del Rey semifinals

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Photo credit: AFP.

Holders Barcelona overcame the absence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to take a huge step towards the Copa del Rey semifinals with a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Messi was absent due to a hamstring problem, whilst Suarez completed a two-game Cup ban, but the visitors still took control of the tie with two goals in six first-half minutes from Munir El Haddadi and Neymar.

Jordan Morris will face more pressure in Seattle than at Werder Bremen

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Jordan Morris, a.k.a. the newest chase rabbit in American soccer's perpetual "next big thing" pursuit, has already established himself as a unique figure in the domestic game. He was a college kid who stamped a mark on the national team; Morris had another collegiate season at Stanford in him when he debuted (and scored!

FA Cup: Liverpool, Tottenham advance to fourth round [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool overcame fourth-tier Exeter City 3-0 on Wednesday to set up an FA Cup fourth-round clash with West Ham United, while Tottenham Hotspur won 2-0 at Leicester City.

Liverpool had required a 73rd-minute equalizer from Brad Smith to snatch a 2-2 draw at Exeter in the teams' first meeting and the League Two side gave another good account of themselves in the reunion at Anfield.

Looking back at Theo Walcott’s decade at Arsenal

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Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of Theo Walcott joining Arsenal from the famous Southampton academy in 2006. There was quite a bit of media attention when the 16-year-old speedster made the switch to north London. While many young players move from club to club throughout any given transfer window, this deal was different.

Gay rights group wants Italian authorities to make an example of Maurizio Sarri

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Photo credit: AFP.

An Italian gay rights group demanded on Wednesday that Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri be punished for his homophobic rant at Inter Milan counterpart Roberto Mancini. Following Inter's 2-0 Italian Cup quarterfinal victory at Napoli on Tuesday night, Sarri called Mancini a "poof," leading to a furious reaction from the former Manchester City boss.

Why the Premier League would be better with only 16 teams

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The beginning of January is probably the most hated time of the year for Premier League clubs. Unlike their continentalcounterparts, they do not have a winter break to recharge and ready themselves for a busy spring and summer. For some, the three-week period sees an increase in the number of games because of the Boxing Day match tradition.

Robert Lewandowski insists he does not need competition for his job

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Photo credit: AFP.

Poland hot-shot Robert Lewandowski said Wednesday that Bayern Munich do not need to sign another striker as the prospect of a rival for his position arriving in Bavaria loomed large.

"If I am here, why do Bayern need a new striker?" asked Lewandowski at a press conference after Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sparked transfer rumors by praising Napoli's Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain.

2.5 years after FOX Sports killed Sky Sports News, soccer news coverage on US TV is still lacking

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During every transfer window, soccer fans in the United States are reminded how much they miss FOX Soccer's coverage of Sky Sports News. What FOX probably initially envisioned as filler programming, the show quickly became must-see TVfor many soccer fans. They were able to get their fill of the latest news, transfer rumors as well as in-depth pieces on clubs or players that you would never otherwise see on US television.

A discount Ashley Cole is still a bad fit for the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer

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The Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter tweeted last week that Ashley Cole's salary with the LA Galaxy will be "well below [the Major League Soccer] max of $457,500." Let's hope the defender's agent told him this before he drives down the 405 to Carson.

When I helped pick extracts for a serialization of Cole's autobiography in the London Times a decade ago, it wasn't hard to predict which bit would make headlines.

German FA backs Gianni Infantino’s FIFA bid

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The German FA (DFB) confirmed on Wednesday they will back UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino in his bid to become the president of world football's governing body FIFA next month.

"Gianni Infantino is the candidate for Europe and is the best candidate as far as Rainer Koch and the leadership of the association is concerned," said DFB co-president Reinhard Rauball, who shares the role with Koch, in Frankfurt.

World Soccer Talk launches Spanish-language soccer website

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World Soccer Talk is proud to announce that we've launched a completely separate Spanish-language website named World Soccer Talk en Español, which can be found at http://es.worldsoccertalk.com.

The content on the Spanish-language website is completely different than the English-language World Soccer Talk website.

Lionel Messi trial for tax fraud to start May 31

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Photo credit: AFP

The trial of Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father for tax fraud will begin on May 31 at a court in Barcelona, a regional superior court said Wednesday.

Messi, recently crowned Ballon d'Or winner for a record fifth time, and his father Jorge have been charged with tax fraud for allegedly failing to declare 4.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Beau Dure

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Today's Soccer Morning features a chat with Beau Dure about the confusion surrounding US Soccer's new policy for birth year registrations.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Jordan Morris’s decision to play in MLS won’t hurt the USMNT

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As much of the US soccer media gathered in Los Angeles Tuesday for the 2016 edition of MLS media day, much of the American soccer world focused on the decision of a 21-year old-half a world away. In case you were separated from water, toilet, roaming data or internet, Jordan Morris has decided to turn down a reported contract offer from Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga because, at present, he wants to remain in America.

Naismith, on Norwich move: ‘I had to think a lot about the future’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Norwich City on Tuesday announced the signing of Scottish international forward Steven Naismith from Premier League rivals Everton on a three-and-a-half-year contract. The fee for the 29-year-old has not been disclosed, but he is reported to have cost Norwich $12.1 million.

Naismith scored a hat trick in a 3-1 win against Chelsea in September, but decided to move on after making only 13 appearances for Everton this season.

Mancini says ‘racist’ Sarri called him a ‘poof’ during Coppa Italia clash

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Photo credit: AFP.

Furious Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini blasted Napoli counterpart Maurizio Sarri a "racist" and claimed his rival called him a "poof" following a fiery finish to Inter's 2-0 Italian Cup victory on Tuesday. Mancini and Sarri clashed on the touchline after Adem Ljajic killed off the quarterfinal tie at the San Paolo stadium in Naples in injury time to add to Stevan Jovetic's opener.

Graham Hunter interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.19.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with renowned soccer journalist and author Graham Hunter.

During the interview, Graham shares some of the most memorable moments from his interviews with many of the biggest names in soccer including Jamie Redknapp and Michael Carrick, how he's able to encourage footballers to share heartfelt stories about their careers, his memories of his first Aberdeen match, how he convinced Gary Neville to be the first person to be interviewed for 'The Big Interview' and more.

Ranieri: ‘I want to be the most crazy man and team in the Premier League’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri may have been labelled the "Tinkerman" when he was in charge of Chelsea, but now he wants to be the "crazy man" who scares the Premier League's established big clubs.

The Italian was mocked for constantly altering his line-up during his first spell in English football at Chelsea from 2000 to 2004.

Univision Deportes acquires US Spanish-language rights to UEFA competitions

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While Euro 2016 will be on ESPN this summer for English-language viewers, Univision Deportes has acquired the Spanish-language rights to the tournament, as well as other UEFA properties.

Univision Deporteshas acquiredthe exclusive U.S. Spanish-language broadcast rights to all UEFA national team competitions from 2018 to 2022.

Can Sarri and Higuain lead Napoli to glory?

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Recent history is propelling Napoli, as is the leadership of Maurizio Sarri and goals of Gonzalo Higuain. Luca Cetta asks if the pair can take Napoli to a long-awaited Scudetto, or can Juventus or Inter spoil the party?

Founder of Naples' most read daily, Il Mattino, Greek-Italian journalist Matilde Serao understood the Neapolitan psyche.

How the World Cup differs from country to country

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The soccer World Cup is an iconic event. For the World Cup Final in 2014, it was estimated that half of the whole of humanity tuned in to watch. That's how big it is. It even started to garner huge popularity in the US, although nowhere near as much as in Europe and South America.

The way the World Cup is addressed and celebrated differs from country to country.

FA Cup: Aston Villa advance, set up fourth round date with Manchester City

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Photo credit: AFP.

Late goals by Ciaran Clark and Idrissa Gueye gave Premier League strugglers Aston Villa a 2-0 win over fourth-tier Wycombe Wanderers in their FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday.

Bottom of the Premier League and seemingly destined for relegation to the Championship, Villa had only managed a 1-1 draw with Wycombe currently seventh in League Two when the two teams first met 10 days previously.

Roma officially releases Ashley Cole, clearing the way for MLS move

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Photo credits: AFP.

England's most capped full back Ashley Cole has been released by Roma, the Italian Serie A club said on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old former Arsenal and Chelsea star only joined the Italians 18 months ago. He made just 16 appearances across all competitions last season and had not featured a single time on a match sheet during the current campaign.

Copa Centenario draw set of February 21 in New York

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Photo credit: AFP.

The draw for the Copa America Centenario is to take place next month in New York as excitement builds towards the 16-team tournament marking the 100th anniversary of the event, organisers said Tuesday. A statement said the draw for arguably the biggest soccer tournament staged in the United States since the 1994 World Cup would take place on Feb.

Van Gaal’s history and struggling league leaders justify Manchester United’s optimism

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Journalists and fans alike laughed off Louis van Gaal's suggestion that Manchester United is still in the title race following the Red Devils improbably 1-0 win at Liverpool. The Dutch manager has been savaged for his team selection and tactics, but the fact remains that United sit just seven points from the top of the table in what, for its competitiveness, has been a Premier League season unlike any other.

LMA report: Record number of managers fired during first half of the season

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Photo credit: AFP.

A record 29 managers in the top four English divisions were sacked in the first half of this season, according to the League Managers Association's Mid-Season Manager Statistics report. Leicester's Nigel Pearson, Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers, Sunderland's Dick Advocaat, Aston Villa's Tim Sherwood, Swansea's Garry Monk and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho were replaced in the Premier League, while 10 Championship managers were fired.

In wake of Rodgers interview, Klopp insists he controls Liverpool’s transfers

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he is in charge of the transfer policy at Anfield after sacked predecessor Brendan Rodgers revealed players were forced upon him.

Last weekend, Rogers gave an interview in which he said Mario Balotelli, now on loan at AC Milan after a poor debut season on Merseyside, was an example of a signing over whom he had no control.

Watford signs goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon from Sunderland

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Photo editor: AFP.

Romania goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon has joined Watford from Premier League rivals Sunderland, it was announced on Tuesday.Pantilimon, who was previously with English top-flight giants Manchester City, has signed a three-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee, according to a statement on Watford's website.

Arsenal announces contract extension for Nacho Monreal

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Photo credit: AFP.

Nacho Monreal has signed a new contract with Arsenal, the English Premier League leaders announced on Tuesday. The Gunners said Monreal, 29, had signed a "long-term" deal but did not disclose the exact length of his contract.

Monreal, who joined the north London club from Malaga for a reported $14 million in Jan.

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale to miss three weeks with calf injury

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Photo credit: AFP.

Real Madrid's Welsh winger Gareth Bale has suffered a calf injury, the club confirmed on Tuesday, which could rule him out for three weeks.

Bale limped off with what looked like the recurrence of the calf problem which has plagued him over the past two years, after scoring his 11th goal in eight games during Real's 5-1 rout of Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

Jordan Morris wants to play in MLS instead of Bundesliga, says Werder Bremen official

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American international Jordan Morris has made the decision that he sees his future in America instead of Werder Bremen, according to a statement released by the Bundesliga club today.

Morris has been training with Werder Bremen during the past week, and made a positive impression on the club.

Nemanja Vidic released by Inter Milan; Considering offers from MLS

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Photo credit: AFP

Inter Milan announced on Tuesday they had cancelled the contract of former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, who had yet to make an appearance this season.

Vidic missed the first half of the campaign after undergoing a hernia operation in August, with the ex-Serbia international now a free agent.

Norwich City sign Switzerland center back Timm Klose from Wolfsburg

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Photo credit: AFP.

Norwich made their fourth signing of the January transfer window as the Premier League club swooped for Wolfsburg defender Timm Klose on Monday. Switzerland center back Klose agreed a three-and-half-year contract with the Canaries, subject to governing body approval, for an undisclosed fee.

These 5 strikers are lighting up Serie A

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Week 20 of the Serie A season saw 33 goals scored across the league's 10 matches. Long stereotyped as a defensive league, no game in week 20 finished with a 0-0 score line. On form and fueling attacking soccer, top-class strikers led fans through another exciting weekend of calcio. Now, with just over half the season gone, we look at the top five in form strikers plying their trade in Serie A.

Walcott: Arsenal mentally stronger than ever thanks to Cech’s arrival

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Photo credit: AFP.

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott believes the arrival of Petr Cech at the Emirates Stadium has made a huge difference to the Gunners' title prospects.

The lack of a truly top-class goalkeeper has been cited as one of the reasons why Arsene Wenger's team have not won the Premier League since 2004.

Philip Brown interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.18.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Philip Brown, co-host of Beyond The Pitch from Sirius XM FC.

During the interview, Phil chats about the politics within the club at Manchester United, the demise of Manchester United's and Liverpool's famed youth academies, how ineffective many clubs are in the transfer windows, his opinions about the Manchester United smash-and-grab win against Liverpool, and how Beyond The Pitch got started.

African Nations Championship: Stylish Nigeria down Niger, Tunisia draw Guinea

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Photo credit: AFP.

Second half substitute Chisom Chikatara inspired Nigeria to a crushing 4-1 win over Niger in their African Nations Championships opening match at Kigali's Nyamirambo stadium on Monday. The Abia Warriors star grabbed a hat-trick late in the second half to give Nigeria bragging rights over their West African neighbors.

Ashley Williams lifts Swansea out of drop zone as Guidolin looks on; Match highlights

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Swansea gave new head coach Francesco Guidolin the perfect welcome present as they beat Watford 1-0 to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone on Monday.

Guidolin was announced as Swansea head coach, to work alongside interim manager Alan Curtis, just hours before kick-off at the Liberty Stadium.

Watford sign Morocco winger Nordin Amrabat from Malaga

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Photo credit: AFP.

Watford have signed Morocco winger Nordin Amrabat from Spanish side Malaga, the Premier League club announced on Monday.

Amrabat, 28, agreed a three and a half year contract with the Hornets and will link up with Quique Sanchez Flores' squad after Monday's league match at Swansea.

Six lessons from Manchester United’s win at Liverpool

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The philosophy: Functional results through dysfunctional means

Manchester United's draw at Newcastle proved Louis Van Gaal is struggling to balance fluid attacking play with defensive solidity, but he has at least managed to perfect the art of neither at Anfield. United's attacking during the first half comprised of launching the ball long to an isolated Wayne Rooney or hoping to score via a set piece.

Higuain’s record pace leads Napoli’s title charge

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Photo credit: AFP.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri hailed Gonzalo Higuain as "the top striker in the world" but says the Argentinian can do more on his record-setting run towards Serie A's top scorer's award.

"If he was a little more aggressive when going to the net, he'd score a lot more," Sarri said after Napoli moved two points clear of Juventus and four ahead of Inter Milan at the top of Serie A thanks to a 3-1 win against Sassuolo on Saturday.

Laurent Koscielny admits rebuffing move away from Arsenal

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Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has revealed that he has been the subject of interest from other clubs since his move to England but has rejected leaving the north London outfit.The France international, who is one of the more complete center backs in the Premier League, claims that he is more than content with his current club.

Court gives Bolton reprieve from liquidation

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Photo credit: AFP.

Cash-strapped Bolton Wanderers have escaped an attempt to have the club wound up immediately by British tax authorities regarding an unpaid bill worth millions of pounds, it was announced Monday.

Bolton, bottom of the second-tier Championship and facing relegation to the third division, are £172.

Simon Mignolet signs five-year contract extension with Liverpool

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has signed a new contract, the English Premier League club announced Monday. Although Liverpool's statement did not specify the duration of the extension, Britain's Press Association said that Mignolet's new deal meant he would stay at Anfield for a further five years until 2021.

Antoine Griezmann should be considered among the world’s best players

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Playing up front for Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid side cannot be easy. After all, in a team which is so focused on forging a cohesive shape, clearing danger quickly and frustrating opponents, attacking incision often seems as though it's a secondary concern. But over the years the Madrid side have had special attacking players who have added the gloss to this style of soccer.

Former Bayern president Hoeness wins early release from prison

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Photo credit: AFP.

Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness on Monday won early release from prison, with a German court ruling that he would be freed in February after serving around half of his sentence for tax evasion.

"Uli Hoeness will be released on February 29," said Herbert Veh, chief judge of the court in Augsburg, adding that the release date was mid-way through the soccer baron's 3.

Struggling Swansea hire Francesco Guidolin as head coach until end of season

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Former Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin has been confirmed as the new head coach of Swansea, the Premier League strugglers announced on Monday.

Guidolin has been brought in to work alongside interim manager Alan Curtis until the end of the season, although Swansea said the 60-year-old Italian will have the final say on team selection.

Barcelona allay Messi injury fears

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Barcelona on Monday played down fears that striker Lionel Messi injured his hamstring during Sunday's 6-0 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, after the Argentine was replaced at half-time at the Camp Nou.

"The tests carried out this morning (Monday) allowed us to rule out a hamstring injury.

Jordan Morris saga illustrates split between MLS and what’s best for USMNT

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The continued discussions over the future of Jordan Morris, the young American striker who has already recorded seven senior caps for the US Men's National Team (USMNT) before turning pro, have dominated the recent headlines around US soccer. Morris, who is from Seattle, has been reportedly been offered the most lucrative contracts for a youngster in the twenty one year history of Major League Soccer.

An analysis of whether Adam Lallana adds any value to Liverpool

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When Jürgen Klopp was brought in by Liverpool, this author was one of those who thought that Adam Lallana was unlikely to fit into the German's gegenpressing style. Not particularly pacy, rarely completing 90 minutes and, at 27, entering his prime as a footballer so he would be perhaps too old to learn new tricks.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Kristan Heneage

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Today's Soccer Morning features a chat with Kristan Heneage to discuss the weekend's Premier League matches.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

FA Cup replays pose problems all round for English clubs

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There are only a handful of clubs who start the season with the realistic goal of winning the Premier League, yet there are many more who can entertain the thought of lifting the FA Cup.

Yet so great is the wealth gap between England's top-flight clubs and the rest that many teams now regard avoiding relegation from the Premier League as an achievement in itself.

EPL gameweek 22 review show; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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On this weekend's edition of the World Soccer Talk podcast, hosts Richard Farley and pundits Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna look back on action from the Premier League's 22nd round of the season, featuring draws by the league's co-leaders, Arsenal and Leicester, and a goal-filled Saturday that included Manchester City's 4-0 route of visiting Crystal Palace.

DR Congo stun Ethiopia, Cameroon pip Angola in African Nations Championship

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Democratic Republic of Congo made a blazing start to the 2016 African Nations championships when they shocked Ethiopia 3-0 in their Group B opener at Butare's Huye stadium on Sunday.

Midfielder Heritier Luvumbu was the hero, scoring one and creating two goals to give the 2009 champions an impressive start.

Wenger optimistic over Ozil’s Arsenal return

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes playmaker Mesut Ozil will be fit to face Chelsea after the German was forced to miss Sunday's goalless draw at Stoke with a foot injury.

Ozil is well clear at the top of the Premier League's 'assists' charts with 16, compared to nine for his nearest challenger, Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne.

Arsenal on top again despite Stoke stalemate; Match highlights [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League but their Britannia Stadium hoodoo was extended with a goalless draw against Stoke City on Sunday.

A point was enough to take Arsene Wenger's side clear of Leicester City on goal difference but it was another afternoon of frustration in the Potteries for the veteran French manager.

Real Madrid players prefer Zidane to Benitez, says Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted the Real Madrid squad are much happier under French legend Zinedine Zidane than in Rafael Benitez's unhappy seven-month spell in charge.

Zidane's dream start in charge continued with a 5-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon on Sunday with three-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo scoring twice as did Karim Benzema.

Dybala double inspires Juventus to 10th straight

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Paulo Dybala hit a brace and Alex Sandro struck his maiden Juventus goal in a 4-0 rout away to Udinese that closed the gap on Serie A leaders Napoli to two points on Sunday.

Napoli, who are gunning for a first title in 26 years, went top of the pile on Saturday thanks to a 3-1 win over Sassuolo when striker Gonzalo Higuain took his tally to 20 goals in 20 games.

UN eyes tax on soccer tickets to pay for humanitarian aid

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A UN study of new sources of financing for its multi-billion-dollar aid operations is recommending a voluntary tax on football matches or concerts as one option to raise funds.

The report released Sunday in Dubai also recommended tapping into Islamic social finance and mandatory alms-giving (zakat) as well as improving the transparency of relief operations to cut costs.

Gareth Bale injured as Zidane’s Real Madrid hit five again

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Zinedine Zidane's dream start to life as Real Madrid boss continued as Los Blancos scored four times in the opening 18 minutes on their way to a 5-1 rout of Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

However, Madrid's joy was tempered as Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema both had to be replaced due to injuries.

Liverpool felled by Rooney sucker-punch at Anfield

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Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney pounced to score a 78th-minute winner as his side stunned eternal rivals Liverpool with a smash-and-grab 1-0 victory at a freezing Anfield on Sunday.

Presiding over his first game against United, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp watched his team dominate, but Rooney punished their profligacy with his fifth goal in four games, a close range snapshot after Marouane Fellaini had hit the bar.

Ibrahimovic hands PSG slender victory at Toulouse

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Not for the first time, Paris Saint-Germain were grateful to Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Swede's second-half goal secured a 1-0 win away to Toulouse in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

It was far from a vintage performance from the champions and relegation-threatened Toulouse were unlucky not to take anything from the game on the day their refurbished stadium was officially inaugurated before a crowd of more than 30,000.

Crystal Palace’s ‘Behind The Badge’ documentary is a dream come true for soccer fans

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One of the biggest differentiators of NBC's coverage of the Premier League is that it brings you closer to the game. From the pre-match footage of players in the tunnel to the 'You'll Never Walk Alone' anthem played without commercial interruption, NBC Sports brings the Premier League into your living room via television or electronic device.

Abel Hernandez treble fires Hull’s promotion push

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Hull boosted their push for promotion to the Premier League as Abel Hernandez hit a hat-trick in Saturday's 6-0 demolition of Championship strugglers Charlton.

Steve Bruce's side moved within two points of second tier leaders Middlesbrough, who were beaten 1-0 by lowly Bristol City, thanks to Uruguay forward Hernandez's first half heroics at the KC Stadium.

Aguero double sees Manchester City enjoy Crystal Palace rout

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Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City got their Premier League title challenge back on course with an emphatic 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at a snowy Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Aguero's goals, which took his total for the season to 13, came in each half as City made up for their midweek blank against Everton when they failed to score in a home Premier League match for the first time in 12 months.

Villarreal held, Gameiro double continues Sevilla’s rise

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Villarreal missed the chance to move above Real Madrid into third in La Liga as their six-game winning streak was snapped by a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis on Saturday.

The Yellow Submarine are now level with Real on 40 points, but have seen their lead over Celta Vigo in the battle for the fourth Champions League place cut to six points.

John Terry goes from zero to hero as Chelsea snatch late point

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John Terry snatched a last-gasp Chelsea equalizer eight minutes into stoppage-time to rescue a dramatic 3-3 draw against Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea's month-long unbeaten run under interim manager Guus Hiddink appeared to be at an end when Ramiro Funes Mori put Everton 3-2 ahead in the 90th minute.

Liverpool vs. Manchester United preview: Klopp prepares to outwit Van Gaal

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Despite starkly contrasting playing philosophies, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal are grappling with similar problems ahead of their meeting at Anfield on Sunday.

While Klopp espouses hard-running, high-pressing, "heavy metal" football, Van Gaal is all about patient ball retention, but both men are yet to find a consistent formula for scoring goals.

Prince Ali slams Asian and African coalition that could clinch FIFA election

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FIFA presidential contender Prince Ali bin al Hussein has denounced a possible attempt to breach the election rules and called for an investigation.

"I am concerned that there has been an attempt to breach electoral rules in the FIFA presidential election," the Jordanian prince said in a statement.

Southampton sign striker Charlie Austin from QPR in £4 million deal

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Southampton have bolstered their attacking options by signing striker Charlie Austin from Queens Park Rangers, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.

Austin, 26, has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee reported to be in the region of £4 million ($5.7 million, 5.

Copa del Rey draw: Barcelona get Athletic Bilbao rematch in quarterfinals

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Holders Barcelona will face Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey after Friday's draw threw up a repeat of last season's final.

Barca beat Athletic 3-1 with Lionel Messi scoring twice in a final played at the Camp Nou, before the Basque side gained a measure of revenge by winning when the teams met again in the Spanish Supercup at the start of this season.

Jurgen Klopp: ‘You have to play football people want to talk about’

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he needs soccer to be "entertaining" but refused to criticize the approach of Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal. The two men will go head-to-head when the bitter northwest rivals meet at Anfield on Sunday, with the match portrayed in some quarters as a clash between German manager Klopp's high-octane game and the Dutchman's more pragmatic approach.

FIFA’s transfer ban is a blessing for Real Madrid

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It's difficult to imagine an offseason minus the machinations of Real Madrid and their Galactico-obsessed president Florentino Perez, but yesterday FIFA banned the Spanish giants from signing players in the next two transfer windows for violating rules governing the signing of minors to youth teams.

Arsene Wenger willing to risk fan backlash when Arsenal takes the train to Stoke

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he has no qualms about traveling on the train to and from Stoke with his squad despite the abuse they received from angry fans after last season's defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

In an age where the immense wealth of Premier League players often leads to accusations they are no longer accessible to supporters, Arsenal were praised for using public transport last term when they made the journey from north London to the Midlands town of Stoke.

Chelsea vs. Everton: Predicted lineups and team news

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Chelsea will look to overcome the disappointment of Wednesday's 2-2 draw at home to West Brom when they host Everton on Saturday.

The Blues are unbeaten in six league games since the departure of Jose Mourinho but only three of those have been wins, with three draws in that time keeping them in 14th position in the Premier League table.

Thiago Silva and Angel Di Maria will miss PSG’s trip to Toulouse

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Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva will miss Saturday's trip to Toulouse in Ligue 1, while Angel Di Maria has also been ruled out.

Silva hurt his knee in last weekend's 2-0 victory over Bastia and sat out the capital club's midweek win over Lyon that saw them advance to the semifinals of the League Cup.

Lee Walker interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.15.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Bleacher Report's Global Managing Editor Lee Walker.

During the interview, Lee shares his memories of watching Arsenal at Highbury in the 80s and 90s, whether the Gunners can win the Premier League title, the team's chances against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League as well as what it's like working behind the scenes at one of the fastest growing sports websites on the Internet.

Mesut Ozil can win a Ballon d’Or at Arsenal

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Mesut Ozil has been a long-standing favorite for critiques and critics alike. More than a year ago, as the German returned from an injury that kept him out for the more decisive part of the season, the shadows of detractors lurked over his shoulders, cavorting and taunting the German about his physical shortcomings and the failure to live up to his supposedly bloated price tag.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC, Gameweek 22

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NBC Sports Group's coverage of Premier League continues this weekend with a full slate of action this weekend on the networks of NBCUniversal.

Weekend coverage begins Saturday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 a.m. ET with Premier League Live, followed by Tottenham v. Sunderland on NBCSN. Coverage continues at 10 a.

Chelsea, West Brom face FA charges after mid-week battle

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Photo credit: AFP.

Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion were charged by the Football Association on Friday for failing to control their players during Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

An already feisty encounter boiled over following an off-the-ball trip by West Brom's Claudio Yacob, who had already been booked, on Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

Louis van Gaal calls for calm while playing down talk of a David de Gea exit

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Photo credit: AFP.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal urged his players to keep their cool against fierce rivals Liverpool on Sunday as he dampened down suggestions goalkeeper David de Gea would move to Real Madrid this month.

The fixture between the two nothwest giants is always one of the high points of the Premier League season and has seen more than it's fair share of red cards over the years, with former United defender Nemanja Vidic managing to collect four himself in a six-year spell.

Can Aston Villa engineer the latest great escape?

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I think we can all agree, it's been a nightmare season on and off the pitch for Aston Villa.

In the aftermath of their second win of the season against Crystal Palace on Tuesday the board announced the appointment of new chairman, Steve Hollis. Once again, highlighting the shambles that is taking place behind the scenes at Villa Park.

Goal-shy Crystal Palace give Manchester City chance to gain ground in title race

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Photo credit: AFP.

It is a signal of Manchester City's inconsistency that they have not managed to string together two successive Premier League victories since mid-October. Yet it is a sign of the division's unpredictability that despite this, Manuel Pellegrini's side remain just three points off the top as they go into Saturday's home match against Crystal Palace.

Ciro Immobile is delighted to return to Torino

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Borussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile said he cannot wait to play for Torino again after completing his six-month loan signing Friday in a bid to boost his Euro 2016 selection chances.

Immobile moved to Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in 2014 following Italy's ill-fated World Cup campaign in Brazil, but despite hitting the net four times in the Champions League for the Bundesliga side he was sent on loan to Sevilla.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on TV this weekend

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Although it's often tagged unfairly as the most exciting league on the planet, this season the Premier League has been lived up to the billing. So even though three of our five selections are from English soccer's top flight this week, there's little doubt the matches will be jam packed with thrills.

Claudio Ranieri encouraging Leicester City to revel in their success ahead of trip to Aston Villa

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Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has told his side to revel in their success so far this term after last season's struggle to avoid relegation from the lucrative Premier League. The Foxes head into this weekend's round of fixtures a surprise second in the table, with Arsenal at the top of the standings on goal difference alone.

Title-chasing Napoli await Serie A giant killers

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Former Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro has played down Sassuolo's 'giant-killer' status as the Serie A minnows look to claim another scalp on their way to an unlikely place in Europe next season.

Cannavaro was a reluctant departee from Napoli when he was transferred to Sassuolo in January 2014.

Another big win expected of Zidane’s rejuvenated Real Madrid

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After the rousing success of a 5-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna on his managerial debut last weekend, more of the same is expected from Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid at home to Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

The club were rocked on Thursday by a one-year transfer ban handed down by FIFA for alleged irregularities in the signing of minors.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET

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Today's Soccer Morning features listener calls and the latest soccer news.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

FIFA ex-vice president denied house arrest bid

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A New York judge on Thursday rejected an application by Honduran former FIFA vice president Alfredo Hawit to be placed under house arrest without bail over his involvement in the corruption case gripping world football.

Hawit, 64, who was extradited to the United States on Wednesday from Switzerland following his arrest on December 3, denies 12 charges including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

Manchester City agree terms for Australian Anthony Caceres

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Premier League giants Manchester City have agreed terms for the transfer of Australian A-League star Anthony Caceres, his club Central Coast Mariners said on Friday.

"The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm that the club has agreed to terms with English Premier League club Manchester City for the transfer of 23-year-old midfielder Anthony Caceres that will take immediate effect," the club said on their website.

Serie A midterm report: Juventus recovery throws holders into wide open title race

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Napoli were crowned Serie A's winter champions on Sunday following their 5-1 demolition of relegation fighters Frosinone. Despite Napoli's current form under first-year coach Maurizio Sarri, the Partenopei are looking over their shoulders at arch-rivals and reigning Scudetto holders Juventus as they close in.

Chile break off talks with Sampaoli, begin looking for new coach

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Photo credit: AFP.

Copa America winners Chile are looking for a new coach after the national federation called a halt Thursday to its negotiations with Jorge Sampaoli, a Chilean official announced. The federation's Gaspar Goycoolea said after four meetings the federation had taken the view that "it was impossible to reach an agreement" with the Argentine manager.

Five consequences of Atletico and Real Madrid’s transfer bans

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Spanish giants Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid were banned from registering new players for a year by FIFA on Thursday for their dealings in signing under-age players. Here we look at the potential consequences for both sides at being unable to strengthen their squads for 12 months once the transfer window closes at the end of the month:

No Galactico for Zidane

The news is a huge blow to Real just over a week after they hired French legend Zinedine Zidane as coach.

Roy Yates interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.14.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Roy Yates, a lifelong Liverpool supporter and the founder of the Reds In America newsletter and website.

During the interview, Roy discusses his memories of being in Istanbul for the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, what it was like being at Wembley for the 1974 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Newcastle, how he's helped bring so many Liverpool legends on tour to the United States, as well as what it means to be a Reds supporter.

Ten famous footballers and their unexpected hobbies

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Few would be surprised to hear how a famous footballer enjoys surfing, hiking or golf. Even David Beckham's interest in fencing or Michael Owen's passion for horse riding makes reasonable sense. It's not surprising football stars like to take up side hobbies as a means of taking a break from the job and enjoying an alternative type of exercise.

Report: Pele had hip surgery in the US last month

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Brazilian soccer legend Pele had hip surgery in the United States last month and is still there undergoing physiotherapy, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The Folha de Sao Paulo said surgeons in New York City operated on the 75-year-old to fix a loose hip implant he received in 2012.

What every team did in the first two round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft

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Wake Forest's Jay Harrison became the first overall pick in the 2016 Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday, with the process's first two rounds highlighted by three picks in the top six from the Philadelphia Union and bold moves from the Chicago Fire and New York City FC.

Here are the 41 picks made by the league's 20 teams on Thursday in Baltimore, Md.

Real Madrid, Atletico set to appeal transfer bans

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Spanish giants Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid reacted angrily to being slapped with a one-year ban on registering new players by FIFA on Thursday, announcing their intention to appeal. Both clubs were sanctioned for their transfer dealings in foreign players under the age of 18.

Mohamed Elneny is a crucial signing for Arsenal

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Labeling a £5 million signing crucial is not exactly the norm when it comes to the amount of money big Premier League clubs spend during transfer windows. Nevertheless, Arsenal's purchase of Mohamed Elneny from Basel for that same sum could in fact be a very important signing when looking at the north London outfit's title hopes.

Sunderland sign Senegal striker Dame N’Doye on loan from Trabzonspor

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Sunderland have signed Senegal striker Dame N'Doye on loan from Trabzonspor until the end of the season, the struggling Premier League club announced on Thursday. Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce moved for N'Doye to bolster his attacking options as he tries to haul Sunderland out of the relegation zone.

Rehired Spalletti warns Roma players they’ll have to work for ‘good football’

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Roma coach Luciano Spalletti warned the embattled Serie A side to expect hard toil at the club's training ground after officially signing an 18-month deal on Thursday.

Former coach Rudi Garcia, who led Roma to two consecutive runner-up places behind Juventus the past two seasons, was sacked on Wednesday after Roma had slipped to fifth place at seven points behind leaders Napoli.

Former MLS MVP Mike Magee returns to LA Galaxy

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LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has a well-earned reputation for revitalizing veteran talent, one which was bolstered as Mike Magee transformed from role player to all-star during his four-plus seasons in Casron, Calif. Now, two-and-a-half years after Magee departed Los Angeles, and two years after he claimed an unlikely league Most Valuable Player award, the 31-year-old is returning to StubHub Center.

West Ham’s Andy Carroll will miss one month with hamstring injury

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West Ham United striker Andy Carroll will be sidelined for a month after injuring his hamstring in Tuesday's 3-1 victory at Bournemouth, the Premier League club revealed on Thursday.

"West Ham United can confirm Andy Carroll underwent a scan on his left leg on Thursday morning," the club said in a statement on their website.

Leicester are real deal, says Tottenham manager Pochettino

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that his side's defeat by Leicester City proves that Claudio Ranieri's men deserve to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

Spurs could have moved to within a point of Leicester had they clinched victory at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, but instead they sit seven points behind their visitors after falling to Robert Huth's late header.

Schalke hasn’t received offers for Leroy Sane, Max Meyer or Joel Matip, says coach

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Schalke manager André Breitenreiter says that the club hasn't received any offers for Leroy Sane, Max Meyer or Joel Matip. All three players have been widely reported as transfer targets for clubs across Europe. Barcelona and Manchester City are reportedly chasing the signing of highly-regarded winger/forward Leroy Sane, while Liverpool is keen to sign Max Meyer and Joel Matip if transfer rumors are to be believed.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Jonathan Tannenwald

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Today's Soccer Morning features an interview with Jonathan Tannenwald, live from the NSCAA Convention in Baltimore.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Arsenal sign Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny

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Arsenal have signed Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny from Swiss side Basel for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League leaders announced on Thursday.

"Arsenal have signed Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel," the club announced on their website. "Everyone at Arsenal would like to welcome Mohamed to the club.

Jorge Sampaoli says he’s being held ‘hostage,’ is ready to quit Chile

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Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli appears on the verge of quitting six months after guiding La Roja to the Copa America, with the Argentine claiming he is being held "hostage" by the federation. Sampaoli has called a press conference for later on Wednesday when he is expected to announce he is stepping down after three years in the job.

2016’s 10 most intriguing names in US soccer

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There are notable figures you may hear more about in 2016, but will they provide us with sufficient stacks of intrigue? In other words, are they supplying plot? Are there impending twists in their tale?

We've picked out our 10 most intriguing men and women in US Soccer this year. (We left Jurgen Klinsmann off the list because the national team manager is intriguing by default; nothing new about 2016.

Lahm: Ballon d’Or is a ‘marketing prize’ awarded only to attacking players

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Photo credit: AFP.

Former Germany captain Philipp Lahm has slammed FIFA's Ballon d'Or award for the world player of the year as nothing more than a "marketing prize." The Bayern Munich fullback said the award favored "the most popular players" over more deserving ones.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi was handed the award for a record fifth time at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday.

MLS SuperDraft is far from super but still serves a purpose

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The drafting of players is not unique to sport in the United States and Canada, but it is an idea that has not traveled very well throughout the rest of the sporting world.

When Major League Soccer came into being, there was never a doubt that a draft process would be put in place, just like the other North American leagues such as NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

EPL GW21 review, GW22 preview show; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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On the mid-week edition of the World Soccer Talk podcast, co-hosts Richard Farley and Nipun Chopra digest the round 21 action, discussing a match day that included a 3-3 shootout between Liverpool and Anfield and the 1-0 victory that moved Leicester even at the top of the table.

Richard and Nipun also discuss the transfer action that's taken place over the last three days as well as this weekend's action, with a derby between Liverpool and Manchester United highlights round 22's fixtures.

Paul Mariner interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.13.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with ESPN soccer analyst Paul Mariner.

During the interview, Paul discusses his memories of England's incredible game against France in World Cup 1982, what it was like playing under Bobby Robson at Ipswich Town, how much of Bobby Robson's managerial experience rubbed off on Paul when he coached, how Sir Bobby kept Mariner motivated as a player, what Ipswich did to outwit Arsenal in the 1978 FA Cup Final, and the story of how Ipswich Town players became stunt doubles in the movie, Escape to Victory.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid banned from transfer market

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FIFA on Thursday banned Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid from buying players for one year over their dealing in under-age players.

The ban will start from the July transfer window this year and finish with the January transfer market in 2017.

Atletico were also fined 900,000 Swiss francs (820,000 euros) and Real 360,000 francs.

Tottenham 0-1 Leicester City: Late Huth winner leaves Foxes joint-top [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Robert Huth's late header enhanced Leicester City's hopes of a top-four Premier League finish and potentially more as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday. Claudio Ranieri's side are now eight points clear of fifth place, with only goal difference keeping them below leaders Arsenal, and the chase for Champions League qualification is back on after a three-game winless run.

Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal: Late Allen strike caps off shootout [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Joe Allen's last-gasp equalizer earned Liverpool a thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal as the Premier League leaders wasted a chance to consolidate pole position at Anfield on Wednesday. Arsene Wenger's side twice come from behind to take a second half lead but, in the dying seconds, Jordan Henderson's long punt was headed down by substitute Christian Benteke and fellow replacement Allen volleyed home a deserved equalizer.

Manchester City 0-0 Everton: City miss chance to gain ground in title race

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Photo credit: AFP.

Manchester City wasted a chance to close the gap in the Premier League title race as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Everton at Eastlands on Wednesday.

A week after losing 2-1 at Everton in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final, City were once again frustrated by the Merseysiders.

CONCACAF announces referee reform after Gold Cup blunders

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Controversial calls and admitted referee errors that helped Mexico win last year's Gold Cup have led to a restructured referee department for soccer's governing body in North America. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced changes Wednesday after releasing a 5 1/2-month review of its referee department in the wake of last July's Gold Cup.

FIFA fines five nations for fans’ homophobic chants during 2018 World Cup qualifiers

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Photo credit: AFP.

FIFA has handed out fines to the football associations of Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay for homophobic chants by supporters during qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup.

World soccer's governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against the associations of the respective countries after studying evidence gathered by their Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System.

Wayne Rooney: Manchester United must achieve a better balance

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Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney felt that his side's 3-3 draw at Newcastle United showed that they need to find the right balance between attack and defense.

Lambasted for some turgid displays in recent weeks, Louis van Gaal's men turned in a much more fluid attacking display in a gripping Premier League encounter at St James' Park on Tuesday.

Arsenal should not miss out on their chance at Pep Guardiola

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It's not very often that Premier League's rich giants are ready to chop each others' heads to specks to secure the signature of a manager, and that too for a sum larger than Wayne Rooney's, the highest earning player in the Premier League. The day Pep Guardiola officially announced he would depart Bayern Munich at the end of the current season, one could see how helter-skelter it was going to get among the big boys to land the Spaniard at their club.

Lionel Messi wants to finish his career by playing in Argentina

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Photo credit: AFP.

Five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi has hinted he could end his career by returning to his native Argentina.

Messi left his homeland at just 13 years old to join Barcelona, where he has grown into one of the greatest players of all time.

"It was always my dream (to play in Argentina) when I was a boy, though I had to leave at a very early age because of my situation and it didn't happen," he said in an interview published on FIFA.

fuboTV offers unlimited streaming of soccer games with T-Mobile service

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fuboTV, the legal online streaming service, has partnered with T-Mobile to offer soccer fans unlimited streaming of soccer games on mobile devices with T-Mobile's Binge On program.

With Binge On, T-Mobile customers enrolled in the program canwatch unlimited streaming without it impacting your data plan.

NBCSN to debut Crystal Palace documentary series ‘Behind The Badge’ this Sunday

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NBCSN will launch a brand-new Crystal Palace documentary series this Sunday entitled 'Behind The Badge: Crystal Palace.' The new four-part series is different than the Premier League Download launched in November entitled 'South London and Proud.'

'Premier League Behind the Badge: Crystal Palace FC' will debut on NBCSN on Sunday at 2pm ET.

Neymar ordered to appear in court in transfer fraud case

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Barcelona's Brazilian star Neymar has been called to give evidence by Spain's national court on February 2 for alleged fraud surrounding his transfer to Barcelona in 2013.

Both the player's parents, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and former club president Sandro Rosell, as well as two directors of Neymar's former club Santos have also been called to declare, according to a court filing released on Wednesday.

Real Madrid leading the race to sign Paul Pogba

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For more than a year, Barcelona players and executives have been attempting to convince Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba to join their formidable side in Catalonia, thus creating perhaps the most dominant squad in soccer history.

European opponents are already dealing with the reality of neutralizing Barcelona's attacking trident of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

FIFA fires secretary general Jerome Valcke

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Photo credit: AFP

FIFA has fired secretary general Jerome Valcke, who is under investigation for misconduct, world football's governing body said Wednesday.

The former right-hand man to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president banned for eight years, has been accused of aiding a scheme to sell 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with guest Travis Clark

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Today's Soccer Morning features an interview with Travis Clark from Top Drawer Soccer.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Bayern’s Rummenigge revives idea of European superleague

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Photo credit: AFP

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reignited the idea of creating a "European league" with 20 of the continent's leading clubs, according to Italian media on Wednesday.

"You can't rule out that, in the future, we could create an European league with the major clubs from Italy, Germany, England, Spain and France, under the auspices of UEFA or a private organization," Rummenigge said during a financial fair-play meeting in Milan on Tuesday.

AS Roma sack coach Rudi Garcia

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Roma have sacked French coach Rudi Garcia after a poor run of form, the Serie A club confirmed on Wednesday.

"AS Roma confirms that Rudi Garcia, and his assistants Frederic Bompard and Claude Fichaux, will cease to manage its first team with immediate effect," read a statement in English on the club's website.

US’s March tournament will feature four of the top five women’s teams in the world

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Photo credit: AFP.

Three-time defending Olympic women's soccer champion United States will play host to England, France and Germany in a March tournament among four of the world's top teams ahead of August's Rio Olympics.

The Americans, who beat fourth-ranked Japan in last year's Women's World Cup final at Vancouver, will be tested by second-ranked Germany, third-ranked France and number five England for the SheBelieves Cup from March 3-9.

Adrian Healey interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.12.16)

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Portland, OR March 12, 2012 Jeld-Wen Field: ESPN's soccer analyst Adrian Healey reporting from the MLS First Kick set at Jeld-Wen Field
(Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)
20120312_MLS_SC1_4876.jpg

The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with ESPN soccer commentator Adrian Healey.

Chelsea vs. West Brom: Predicted lineups and team news

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Chelsea host West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as they look to continue their good run of form under new manager Guus Hiddink.

The Blues claimed their first league win under the Dutchman away to Crystal Palace on Jan. 2. They followed that up with a win at home this weekend in the FA Cup against Scunthorpe United.

Dele Alli signs new five-year deal with Tottenham

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Photo credit: AFP.

Tottenham Hotspur breakthrough star Dele Alli has signed a new five-year contract tying him to White Hart Lane until 2021, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

Alli, 19, joined Spurs in a £5 million ($7.2 million, 6.7 million euros) move from third-tier Milton Keynes Dons last year and has made a stunning impact, scoring five goals in 18 Premier League appearances this season.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal: Predicted lineups and team news

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The biggest the Premier League's 21st round sees Liverpool host league-leading Arsenal at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Reds have been very inconsistent under Jurgen Klopp and drew on Friday away to lowly Exeter City in the FA Cup, adding a replay fixture to an already packed January schedule, much to Klopp's displeasure.

Pellegrini: Kompany could be sidelined until ‘the last part of the season’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany could be sidelined with a calf injury until "the last part of the season," manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed on Tuesday. Kompany, 29, has made just 12 appearances this season due to a succession of calf problems.

The Belgium center back's latest injury, sustained during City's 4-1 win over Sunderland on Dec.

Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester United: Dummett blast snares point for Magpies [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Left back Paul Dummett eclipsed two-goal Wayne Rooney with a last-minute equalizer as Newcastle United secured a pulsating 3-3 home draw against Louis van Gaal's Manchester United on Tuesday.

Rooney appeared to have settled the game with a magnificent 79th-minute strike from the edge of the area after Memphis Depay's run and shot ended with the ball ricocheting off Dummett into the path of the forward.

Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace: Villa snaps 19-game winless run [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to end a nightmare 19-game winless streak in the English Premier League on Tuesday with defender Joleon Lescott the hero of the hour.

With empty claret and blue seats visible all around Villa Park, rock bottom Villa went into their 21st game of the season on just eight points having won only once all season, on the opening weekend against Bournemouth.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto is walking into dysfunction at Palermo

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The 2015/16 Serie A season is only halfway over, and Sicilian club Palermo have already changed managers multiple times. Giuseppe Iachini began the current campaign as the head coach, his second stint with the club, but was fired on Nov. 10 following a victory two days prior. Iachini was in charge at the Italian club for just over two years, a timeframe fairly impressive considering chairman Maurizio Zamparini's willingness to fire managers frequently.

Cristiano Ronaldo statue in Madeira tagged with Lionel Messi’s name

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Photo credit: AFP.

Cristiano Ronaldo's statue in Funchal, capital of his home island of Madeira, has been tagged with the name and shirt number of arch-rival Lionel Messi, according to local press reports.

The graffiti was put on the statue overnight on Tuesday, just hours after Barcelona's Argentine star Messi claimed a fifth world player of the year award, beating out Real Madrid's Portuguese striker and three-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo in the process.

Newcastle United makes Jonjo Shelvey’s signing official

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Photo credit: AFP.

England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey on Tuesday joined Newcastle United from fellow Premier League strugglers Swansea City. The 23-year-old former Liverpool player has signed a five-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee, although reports suggest the sale has cost the Magpies around £12 million (16 million euros, $17.

Blanc downplays Cavani issue, admits talking to PSG players about ‘behavioral problem’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc admitted Tuesday that a "behavioral problem" concerning striker Edinson Cavani had been discussed during a team meeting at their recent training camp in Doha.

Uruguayan Cavani, 28, is said to be unhappy at being played out wide rather than his preferred central role with the French champions, faced with competition from Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Guus Hiddink backs Eden Hazard to reclaim his Ballon d’Or potential

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Photo credit: AFP.

Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink believes Eden Hazard can respond to his disappointing season and win the Ballon D'Or in the future. The Belgian playmaker was last year's PFA Player of the Year but has failed to even score in club football so far this current campaign.

Hazard will miss Wednesday's home Premier League match with West Bromwich Albion as he recovers from a groin injury but he has returned to training and Hiddink believes he will come good again when he resumes action:

"It's for me about freshness.

USSF fails to rein in predatory practices of pro leagues

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On Monday, the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League (NASL) officially suspended operations for the 2016 season, and likely beyond. The Silverbacks' suspension continues a pattern of instability in the US and Canada's second tier. For this coming season, the NASL will have dropped two teams, Atlanta and San Antonio ,while adding teams in Miami and Oklahoma City.

Liverpool turns to QPR’s Caulker for help in central defense

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool have moved to address their defensive injury problems by signing center back Steven Caulker on loan from Queens Park Rangers, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. Caulker, 24 and capped once by England, could make his debut in Wednesday's home game against league leaders Arsenal.

Does soccer in the US need mainstream media coverage to be successful?

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Depending on who you ask, soccer needs coverage from the mainstream media in the United States in order to be successful. Or, does it?

It's one of those topics that certainly splits opinions. There are some that think that soccer can't get the mass appeal if the daily newspapers and SportsCenter aren't talking about the games.

FIFA investigators to seek longer Blatter, Platini bans

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FIFA corruption investigators will demand an extension to the eight-year bans ordered against world football leaders Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini last month, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The anti-corruption investigators had originally sought a life ban against the two most powerful men in football over a two million Swiss franc ($2 million/1.

NBC adds 45-minute preview feature to NBC Sports Live Extra

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NBC Sports has added a 45-minute preview feature to NBC Sports Live Extra, which allows sports fans to watch live streaming without having to log in.

The new feature works on computers, tablets and mobile devices.

According to a NBC Sports spokesperson, the 45-minute preview feature is "designed both as a way for consumers to trial NBC Sports Group's TV Everywhere content offering, and for users who are subscribers and may not have their login credentials on-hand.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal preview: Gunners steeled for Anfield examination

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Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will face a stern test of their Premier League title credentials when they take on Liverpool on Wednesday.

Wenger's side head to Anfield two points clear at the head of the table and having won five of their last six league games.

The weekend FA Cup third round victory over Sunderland extended their winning run and Wenger acknowledges his side's recent success has strengthened the belief they can push on during the second half of the season.

NASL team in Chicago wants to start at Soldier Field, says Peter Wilt

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Midwest native Peter Wilt has targeted Soldier Field as the temporary home field for a new NASL team that plans to play in downtown Chicago, according to an interview on Soccer Morning.

Wilt has taken on the role as senior advisor for CLUB 9 SPORTS, a sports consulting group that is aiming to launch a NASL team in the same city where MLS team Chicago Fire calls home.

Barcelona eye quarters to end fiery Espanyol series

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Holders Barcelona will be looking to seal their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Wednesday in the final installment of three heated Catalan derbies against Espanyol over 10 days.

The European champions hold a commanding 4-1 lead from the first-leg which Espanyol ended with nine men after red cards for Hernan Perez and Papakouli Diop, whilst goalkeeper Pau Lopez escaped punishment for stamping on newly crowned Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Newcastle United vs. Manchester United: Predicted lineups and team news

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Newcastle United host Manchester United on Tuesday at St James' Park with both sides desperate for points.

The hosts are in a relegation battle, two points away from safety and have lost their last three league games, although performances have improved in recent weeks.

Manchester United, on the other hand managed, a scrappy 2-1 win over Swansea in their last league match but followed that up with an uninspiring home win in the FA Cup against Sheffield United.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Peter Wilt and Jason Longshore

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Today's Soccer Morning features an interview with Peter Wilt about the relaunch of the Chicago Sting as well as a discussion with Jason Longshore about the demise of the Atlanta Silverbacks and what it means for soccer in the area.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.

Wenger: Klopp has the cash to deal with fixture congestion

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Photo credit: AFP.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claims Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has no reason to complain about his team's fixture pile-up because of the vast wealth enjoyed by top Premier League clubs.

Wenger's league leaders face Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday as Klopp struggles with a severe injury list, and to make matters worse Liverpool face a run of six games in 18 days.

Sheffield Wednesday’s Jose Semedo: Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘brother’ in arms

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On Monday evening, the 2015 Ballon d'Or winner was announced, and while the ceremony crowning the world's greatest player for the past 12 months was taking place in Zurich, a small corner of Sheffield was on the edge of its seat.

For Sheffield Wednesday's Jose Semedo, the ceremony was a big night.

Alan Curtis admits Swansea will listen to offers for Jonjo Shelvey

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Photo credit: AFP.

Swansea manager Alan Curtis revealed on Monday that he is ready to sell England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in the January transfer window. Shelvey has fallen out of favor since Curtis took charge on an interim basis last month, and it is believed Newcastle are keen to sign the former Liverpool player.

Premier League mid-week preview: Arsenal resume title pursuit at ravaged Liverpool

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Photo credit: AFP.

Two teams coping very differently with English soccer's high-intensity mid-season fixture program meet on Wednesday when Premier League leaders Arsenal resume their pursuit of the title at injury-ravaged Liverpool.

While Arsenal could afford to make five changes as they breezed past Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's decision to field a youthful starting XI at fourth-tier Exeter City on Friday almost backfired as his side scraped a 2-2 draw.

Adam Boultwood interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.11.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with presenter Adam Boultwood from The Football Republic, one of the most popular YouTube soccer channels.

During the interview, Adam discusses the story behind The Football Republic, who is better between Ronaldo and Messi, the latest transfer rumors, his analysis of FIFPro XI team, the first Spurs match he attended, whether Tottenham can win the Premier League season, who will be England's starting striker for Euro 2016 and more.

Naples, Maradona abuzz as Napoli title talk hits fever pitch

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Photo credit: AFP.

'Winter champion' pizzas are on the menu and Naples' favorite son, Diego Maradona, has promised to arrive by helicopter if Napoli fulfill their promise of winning the league title. But for coach Maurizio Sarri, who has steered Napoli to top spot at the halfway point for the first time in 26 years, all talk of a first league crown since Maradona's heyday at the San Paolo is premature.

After 2014’s disappointment, Lionel Messi is back on top of the world

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Photo credit: AFP.

Lionel Messi deposed eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo to take back his crown as the undisputed king of world soccer by lifting a record fifth Ballon d'Or on Monday.

Much has changed since, just 12 months ago, a disgruntled Messi, fresh from losing a World Cup final and disillusioned with coach Luis Enrique's regime at Barcelona, sat in stony silence as Ronaldo announced his intention to hunt down the Argentine's then-record four Ballon d'Or haul.

Italy boycott Ballon d’Or over Buffon absence

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Italy coach Antonio Conte and captain Gianluigi Buffon did not participate in the Ballon d'Or vote at the request of their federation in protest at Buffon's absence from the list of candidates, Italian media reported on Tuesday.

The veteran Juventus goalkeeper did not make the preliminary list released in October with five goalkeepers chosen ahead of him Manuel Neuer, Iker Casillas, Thibaut Courtois, Claudio Bravo and David Ospina.

Barcelona vs. Bayern: Which club has been the 21st century’s best?

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With 2015 now in archive, 15 years of European soccer in the new millennium are gone, offering an ideal opportunity to return to the past and discover the most successful European club of the 21st century, thus far. The story goes like this ...

It was the end of May in 2000 when a clash in the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Valencia symbolized the coming domination of Spanish football.

Guardiola apologizes for any pressure he’s put on Premier League managers

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Photo credit: AFP.

Pep Guardiola apologized on Monday after being accused of putting extra pressure on managers at England's top teams by announcing he will coach in the Premier League next season. The Bayern Munich boss was accused by former England striker Alan Shearer in a British daily newspaper of lacking "etiquette" after not making clear where he would coach next season.

Four options if the New England Revolution decide to replace Jermaine Jones

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Jermaine Jones is looking for a lucrative three-year contract to remain a New England Revolution player, one which would take him through his 38th birthday. While he may still have something to offer after his six-game suspension is done, his body may not be able to hold up to three more seasons on the unforgiving artificial turf at Gillette Stadium, particularly given defensive midfield is one of the most physically demanding positions on the pitch.

Lionel Messi would trade his five Ballon d’Ors for one World Cup

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Photo credit: AFP.

Lionel Messi said on Monday he would swap all his individual awards including five Ballon d'Or trophies for a single World Cup win.

Asked what he would choose between his plethora of Ballon d'Or awards and a World Cup, the 28-year-old said: "The World Cup, of course."

He added: "Team awards are more important than individual ones.

Former Arsenal prospect Benik Afobe is finally going to get his Premier League shot

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Former Arsenal youth product Benik Afobe has joined Premier League side Bournemouth from Wolverhampton in a deal reportedly worth £10 million. The 22-year-old striker has been one of the top forwards in the second-tiered Championship since departing Arsenal during the 2014-15 campaign. Taking into account his loan move to MK Dons for the first half of the 2014-15 season, Afobe has netted an impressive 42 goals over the last 18 monthss.

Messi claims fifth Ballon d’Or; Lloyd voted FIFA World Player of the Year

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Photo credit: AFP.

Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi won a record fifth FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday.

He dethroned three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo in adding to his four consecutive awards from 2009 to 2012. Messi's Barcelona teammate, Neymar, was the third finalist for the award.

Draw for FA Cup 4th Round features several intriguing matchups

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The draw for the FA Cup Fourth Round has been made, and it features several intriguing matches.

West Brom or Bristol City vs. Peterborough
Eastleigh or Bolton vs. Leeds United
Arsenal vs. Burnley
Derby County vs. Manchester United
Huddersfield or Reading vs. Walsall
Exeter or Liverpool vs.

Valbuena’s testimony: Benzema ‘lied’ and ‘scared’ him in sex-tape blackmail scandal

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Photo credit: AFP.

Mathieu Valbuena said that France teammate Karim Benzema "lied" and "scared" him over a sex-tape blackmail bid, according to testimony published Monday. The account given by the Lyon midfielder, reported by Le Monde newspaper, highlighted tensions even though Valbuena said Sunday he would be ready to play with Benzema at the European Championships this year.

The honeymoon is over for Gary Neville at Valencia

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Gary Neville has certainly experienced better moments in his career than his start as coach of Valencia. In his coaching debut, Neville is still winless in La Liga after five league games. Valencia's form has seen them only slip a few places since Neville's arrival, now down to 11th; however, they are seven points adrift of a European place.

Louis van Gaal: Sold-out Old Trafford is proof of fans’ continued support

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Photo credit: AFP.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes numbers at the Old Trafford turnstiles are proof of fans' faith despite a mass exodus from the stands before the final whistle in their last outing.

Thousands of fans had already left their seats before Wayne Rooney converted a penalty deep into injury time of United's 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup at the weekend.

NBCSN to televise Spurs vs. Chelsea U-21 game today at 2:30pm ET; First-ever on US TV

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As we first reported on Friday, NBCSN will televise the U-21 match between Tottenham and Chelsea on Monday, January 11. The broadcast will be the first time ever that a U21 Premier League match has been shown live to viewers in the US.

Depending on the team selections, today's game will be a good opportunity to watch U.

Chelsea manager Hiddink wants Loftus-Cheek to make his mark

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Photo credit: AFP

Guus Hiddink has challenged Ruben Loftus-Cheek to put in the hard work required to fulfill his potential after the teenager scored his first Chelsea goal in their 2-0 FA Cup win over Scunthorpe.

Loftus-Cheek gave a glimpse of his talent when he came off the bench to sweep home Cesar Azpilicueta's pass with a composed finish in the 68th minute at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

PSG threaten British singer M.I.A. over using football jersey

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Paris Saint Germain football club has demanded that British singer M.I.A. remove images of its PSG jersey from her "Borders" music video which features refugees trying to get to Europe.

The singer on Monday published a copy of a legal letter she received from PSG's deputy chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc demanding she remove the images and compensate the Qatar-owned French league leaders for "harm suffered.

Messi widely tipped to regain FIFA Ballon d’Or

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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is targeting an unprecedented fifth Ballon d'Or award in Zurich on Monday, with the Argentine heavily favored to reclaim the prize from three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Brazil striker Neymar, who plays alongside Messi at Barca, is also in the running to be crowned world player of the year after he was included on the three-man shortlist for the first time.

The FA Cup is flawed but still has enough magic to make it worthwhile

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"The Magic of the FA Cup" is a curious phrase. The FA Cup itself issteeped in folklore, tradition and memory, but the tactile meaning of the competition in 2016 is debatable. With the vastly increased stakes of the league as well as the allure of playing European football, what is the meaning of the FA Cup in the modern footballing world?

Late Harry Kane penalty keeps Spurs in FA Cup

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Photo credit: AFP

Substitute Harry Kane earned Tottenham Hotspur a 2-2 draw at home to Leicester City on Sunday with an 89th-minute penalty that kept his side in the FA Cup.

Spurs took an early lead through Christian Eriksen in the third-round tie, before goals from Marcin Wasilewski and half-time substitute Shinji Okazaki put Leicester in control.

Is the Premier League slipping?; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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This weekend's edition of the World Soccer Talk Podcast touches on the FA Cup's third round action before diving into a topic that's only been address in passing throughout the first four months of this season's show. Has the Premier League declined? Your answer may depend on how you view decline, or even how you interpret the word "has.

Oxford United scores FA Cup upset victory against Swansea

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Photo credit: AFP

Kemar Roofe scored twice as fourth-tier Oxford United pulled off the first major shock in this season's FA Cup by stunning Premier League stragglers Swansea City 3-2 on Sunday.

In Swansea's first game since Alan Curtis was placed in charge until the end of the season, the Welsh club, 17th in the Premier League, took a 23rd-minute lead courtesy of a classy back-heel by Jefferson Montero.

Stan Kroenke’s fight with St. Louis and the Rams is a warning sign for Arsenal fans

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During the past month, there has been a scramble by three American football franchises to move from their current locations to the U.S.'s second largest city, Los Angeles. For those unfamiliar, LA has been without an NFL franchise since the Rams and Raiders left in 1995; however, with a few franchises seemingly not as lucrative as their peers, the league is taking steps to fill a void in their financial portfolio by placing one or two teams in that market.

Arsenal can handle trophy quest, says Wenger

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Photo credit: AFP

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is not concerned that a hectic period of fixtures could derail his team's bid for glory on multiple fronts this season.

The Frenchman rested a number of players, including Mesut Ozil, for Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie with Sunderland, which Arsenal won 3-1 courtesy of goals from Joel Campbell, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.

Rooney’s late winner is cold comfort for lackluster Manchester United [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP

Wayne Rooney's stoppage-time penalty spared Manchester United's blushes as they narrowly avoided FA Cup third round embarrassment with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday.

United, 11-times winners of the FA Cup, had only once before lost to lower league opposition in 37 ties in the competition.

Hiddink targets FA Cup farewell present as interim Chelsea manager

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Guus Hiddink has set his sights on giving Chelsea the perfect farewell as the Blues interim manager sets out on the road to Wembley in the FA Cup.

Hiddink confirmed this week that he will step down from his second spell as Chelsea caretaker once the current campaign comes to an end, but he is determined not to leave Stamford Bridge empty-handed.

‘Unique’ Messi masterclass puts Barca back on top

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Photo credit: AFP

Lionel Messi warmed up for his anticipated fifth World Player of the Year crown by scoring his first hat-trick of the season to move Barcelona back to the top of La Liga by cruising past Granada 4-0 on Saturday.

Messi effectively ended the contest within the first 15 minutes with two easy finishes before completing his hat-trick after the break to take his tally to 12 goals in 10 games since returning from knee ligament damage in November, while Neymar completed the rout late on.

Gareth Bale hat-trick gets Zidane off to dream start for Real Madrid

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Photo credit: AFP

Gareth Bale struck a hat-trick as Zinedine Zidane enjoyed a winning start to his career as Real Madrid boss with a 5-0 rout of Deportivo la Coruna on Saturday.

Bale took his tally to 10 goals in his last seven games with two excellent headers either side of a composed left-footed finish after Karim Benzema had opened the scoring before the Frenchman also smashed home the fifth in stoppage time.

Passions run high as angry Aston Villa supporters confront players [VIDEO]

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Remi Garde praised Aston Villa captain Micah Richards for confronting angry fans after the struggling Premier League club were held to a 1-1 draw by fourth tier Wycombe in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

With Villa languishing at the bottom of the table, their embarrassing failure to beat Wycombe only added to the frustration of the club's traveling supporters at Adams Park.

Blame Sir Alex Ferguson and Ed Woodward for Man United’s decline, not Louis van Gaal

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At the start of this season Manchester United had vast, romantic notions of returning to their "rightful" place as Premier League royalty. But the season has unfolded more along the lines of a Shakespearean tragedy than one of romance with Louis van Gaal as the noble, but flawed, protagonist.

But it hasn't turned out that way that the Red Devils faithful had hoped.

Zidane calls Ronaldo ‘the soul’ of Madrid, says star won’t leave while he’s in charge

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Photo credit: AFP.

Newly-appointed Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane warned Friday that star forward Cristiano Ronaldo would not be leaving the club under his tenure.

"Cristiano is more than untransferable, he's the soul of this Madrid. As long as I'm here he won't leave, that's for sure," the Frenchman told a press conference ahead of his first game in charge on Saturday.

George Quraishi interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.8.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Howler Magazine founder and editor George Quraishi.

During the interview, George discusses the state of soccer journalism in the US, how covering MLS can be both frustrating but rewarding, how to be a smart consumer of soccer news, whether Russia is benefitting from so much media exposure being put on Qatar, the effects of the hundreds of millions coming into Europe, and how listeners can check out the magazine.

Wenger still dazzled by FA Cup’s allure

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Photo credit: AFP

Arsene Wenger insists the allure of the FA Cup remains strong despite fresh claims that the famous old competition has lost its appeal.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has been infuriated by the Premier League's decision to put a round of fixtures in midweek following the third round and suggested the move was a further sign of a lack of respect for the FA Cup.

Exeter City 2-2 Liverpool: Depleted Reds earn FA Cup third round replay [VIDEO]

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool were forced to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 at fourth tier Exeter City in the FA Cup third round after an horrendous error by goalkeeper Adam Bogdan almost gifted the minnows a shock victory on Friday. Tom Nichols opened the scoring for Exeter, seeking a place in the fourth round for the first time in 35 years, and after Jerome Sinclair's equaliser, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp saw Bogdan's blunder allow Lee Holmes' corner to go straight into the net.

Top managers have become a mercenary class in world soccer

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It has long been said, in every major sport around the world, that it's easier to replace a manager than to replace the whole team. But is it? In a year where we've seen some high profile managers sacked, shockingly so at times, we need to ask ourselves what defines a world-class manager, and what is the responsibility of our club's owners and players when it comes to the appointment of team's next boss.

FIFA laments Pep Guardiola will not be at the Ballon d’Or gala

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Photo credit: AFP.

FIFA expressed their regret Friday over Pep Guardiola's absence from Monday's Ballon d'Or awards where he is in the running for coach of the year. The Spaniard is skipping the ceremony in Zurich to oversee Bayern Munich's training camp in Qatar.

"It is certainly a great shame that one of the finalists for manager of the year, Pep Guardiola, just like the players named in the FIFA/FifPro XI, cannot take part in person at the ceremony," FIFA noted in a statement.

The obsession with transfer gossip can have real, negative effects on players and clubs

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For the truly passionate soccer fan (you know, those of us who feel we actually have a stake in our favorite squad), the transfer market can bring about anxiety, anger, frustration and confusion at one extreme, pure delight bordering on ecstasy at the other. For the neutrals, it's a time to fulfill the guilty pleasure by indulging in often crude, unfounded gossip.

Francesco Totti set to return for Roma this weekend against AC Milan

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Photo credit: AFP.

Iconic Roma captain Francesco Totti is poised to return after a near four month lay off against AC Milan on Saturday. The 39-year-old figured in coach Rudi Garcia's match squad released Friday for the first time since suffering a thigh injury on Sept. 26.

"Totti will be called.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he is staying at Borussia Dortmund

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Photo credit: AFP.

Star Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rejected English Premier League overtures as he celebrated winning the African player of the year award. The Gabonese, who is the leading Bundesliga scorer this season, was reduced to tears after stopping Yaya Toure winning a fifth straight title on Thursday.

Spanish prosecutors want Neymar tried for fraud over his transfer to Barcelona

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Photo credit: AFP.

Spanish prosecutors have requested that legal action be taken against Brazilian superstar Neymar over alleged fraud surrounding his transfer to Barcelona.

"The prosecutor... considers it appropriate for him to appear as accused," the public prosecutors at the National Court, which specializes in financial affairs and terrorism, said in a ruling released Friday.

Luis Suarez banned for two Copa del Rey matches; Barcelona plan to appeal

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Photo credit: AFP.

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez was on Friday banned for two Copa del Rey matches after being cited in the referee's report for calling Espanyol players "a waste of space" at the end of a heated Catalan derby. Barcelona said they would appeal the ban, arguing that it was not Suarez who uttered those words.

Which is your favorite soccer brand? Adidas, Nike, Puma or?

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Most of us have our favorite soccer brand. It can be for shirts, balls, gear or other soccer-related merchandise. No matter what the brand is, many soccer fans are loyal to that brand. Some may have fond memories of wearing that clothing when they were young. Others may like the style of it.

But what about you?

Top 5 must-see soccer games on TV this weekend

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After a festive period that sees some divisions wind down and other leagues ramp things up, domestic soccer gets back to the regular grind again this weekend.

The FA Cup will take center stage in England and there are a couple of standout clashes to enjoy this weekend from that iconic competition.

Manchester United on red alert as underdogs chase FA Cup shocker

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Photo credit: AFP

Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins believes his third tier underdogs should dare to dream as they bid to claim another famous scalp against Manchester United in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

The Blades have built up an impressive reputation as cup fighters in recent seasons, reaching the FA Cup semi-final two seasons ago and last season reaching the last four of the League Cup.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET

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Today's Soccer Morning features listener calls and the latest soccer news.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Elneny’s move to Arsenal is ‘complicated,’ says Wenger

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Photo credit: AFP

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed on Friday that Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny's proposed move from Basel has become "complicated", but he still expects the deal to go through.

"It is complicated a little bit," Wenger told a press conference ahead of his side's FA Cup third-round tie at home to Sunderland on Saturday.

FA Cup: What are the odds of seeing a true Cinderella?

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Editor's note/warning: A version of this analysis will be published on Jan. 8 by the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective. Anthony has been kind enough to adapt his work for World Soccer Talk ahead of this weekend's FA Cup matchups. Any precision lost in the editing of this post is unintentional and may not represent Anthony's conclusions.

Argentina and Uruguay plan to launch a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup

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Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez (L) welcomes his Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri at the Anchorena presidential ranch in Colonia, Uruguay, on January 7, 2016 (Photo Credit: AFP.)

Uruguay will bid to mark the centenary of its triumph in the first football World Cup by hosting the 2030 tournament jointly with rival Argentina, the countries' presidents said Thursday.

Zinedine Zidane must give Gareth Bale a starring role for Real Madrid

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Just hours on from Real Madrid's decision to part ways with manager Rafael Benitez and replace him with Zinedine Zidane, rumors started to gather pace about what personnel will be make up the Frenchman's side at the Santiago Bernabeu. Intriguingly, various reports suggested the man who has arguably been Los Blancos' standout player this term, Gareth Bale, may need some convincing to stick around despite the new boss being revered as one of the great footballers of this generation.

Keith Costigan interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.7.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with FOX Sports reporter Keith Costigan, previewing this weekend's FA Cup game between Exeter-Liverpool and getting an inside look at interviews he conducted with Jurgen Klopp, Morgan Schneiderlin, Thibaut Courtois and other Premier League stars.

Klopp dismisses Allardyce’s ‘over-work’ jibe: ‘There’s no time for training, only recovery’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Jurgen Klopp has rubbished Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce's claims that the Liverpool boss has exhausted his players by over-working them.

Allardyce has clashed with Klopp on several occasions since the German arrived at Anfield earlier this season and he shows no signs of making peace.

January 2011: Remembering the Premier League’s most extravagant winter transfer window

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Five years ago, Premier League clubs set a spending record for a winter transfer window, but of the $335 million spent during that prolific January, over 80% was accounted for by just four teams buying six players. Scratch the surface and you will see that although a lot of money exchanged hands, many of the deals failed to pay off.

Alan Curtis will be Swansea’s manager through the end of the Premier League season

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Photo credit: AFP.

Alan Curtis will remain as Swansea City manager until the end of the season, the struggling Premier League club announced on Thursday. Curtis, who had three spells as a Swansea player in the 1970s and 1980s, took over from the sacked Garry Monk in December and won just one of his five games as caretaker boss, drawing two and losing two of the other four.

MLS games finally coming to over-the-air FOX network; 4 scheduled for 2016 season

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MLS is finally coming to over-the-air network television in the United States.

In the past five years, FOX Sports has televised everything from the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Bundesliga on the over-the-air FOX channel, but hasn't shown MLS games on its flagship network. That is until now.

Word to the soccer wise: Never overreact to the US’s January camp roster

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When it comes to assessing and dissecting the U.S. national team's January camp rosters, here is this most important thing to remember: You really should conquer any urge to overreact.

Generally speaking, what happens in the January camp has only marginal bearing on what happens through the rest of the year, also known as the time "things get real," or something like that.

Alexis Sanchez ruled out of Arsenal’s FA Cup opener against Sunderland

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Photo credit: AFP.

Arsene Wenger has ruled Chile forward Alexis Sanchez out of Arsenal's FA Cup third round clash with Sunderland on Saturday. Sanchez missed the entire Christmas and New Year program after suffering a hamstring injury in Arsenal's draw at Norwich in November. The 27-year-old was expected to make his comeback for the win over title rivals Manchester City before Christmas but suffered a setback in his recovery.

Three things Manchester City must do to win the Premier League

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After delivering a psychological blow to Manchester City and moving into 2016 on top of the table, Arsenal are now the bookie's favourites to win the Premier League this season, a fact that made for some sweaty palms among the traveling fans last week at Vicarage Road. City supporters knew it was a ‘must win game' for their team to follow Arsenal and Leicester closely, but at the same time, they were unable to overlook Man City's recent poor away form.

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez faces Copa del Rey ban after confrontation with Espanyol

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Photo credit: AFP.

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez faces a ban of up to three Copa del Rey matches after being cited in the referee's report for calling Espanyol players "a waste of space" at the end of a heated Catalan derby.

Barca won the first leg of the Copa de Rey last-16 tie between the sides 4-1 on Wednesday as Espanyol had two players sent off and were lucky to escape further punishment as goalkeeper Pau Lopez's violent stamp on Lionel Messi went unseen.

Philippe Coutinho out until February with hamstring injury suffered in Capital One Cup

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Photo credit: AFP.

Liverpool's Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho faces up to three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, coach Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Thursday.

Arguably Liverpool's player of the season so far, Coutinho limped off during the first half of his side's 1-0 League Cup semifinal first-leg victory at Stoke on Tuesday.

Who do you think should acquire TV rights to Copa America Centenario?

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Last May, we reported that FOX Sports was on the verge of being announced as the TV rights holder to Copa America Centenario, which was to be held in the United States. And then the FIFA/CONCACAF/CONMEBOL scandals happened, which put the future of the tournament in doubt.

After it was announced that the tournament would continue, the TV rights were put out for bidding once more, and FOX Sports (and rival networks) had to start the process all over again.

Minnows Exeter plot Liverpool FA Cup ambush

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Photo credit: AFP

Liverpool are one step away from Wembley in the League Cup, but have been promised a testing start to their FA Cup campaign by underdogs Exeter City.

A 1-0 victory at Stoke City in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final on Tuesday has put Jurgen Klopp's side in a strong position to reach the final at the end of February.

Klopp and Wenger duel in battle between classical music and heavy metal [VIDEO]

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In BT Sport's ad for next week's Premier League game between Liverpool and Arsenal, the British sports TV network features animations of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in a battle between heavy metal and classical music.

There are no prizes for guessing which manager is akin to which type of music, but the ad is really well produced and is completely different than the usual fare of ads we typically see.

Barcelona not interested in NFL type fight, says Luis Enrique

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Photo credit: AFP

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique compared Espanyol's roughhouse tactics to the NFL after the visitors had two men sent-off in the second bad-tempered Catalan derby in four days as Barca came from behind to win 4-1 in the Copa del Rey.

Hernan Perez and Papakouli Diop were shown red cards in a four-minute spell in the second-half with Barca already leading 3-1 thanks to a Lionel Messi double.

Watch/listen to Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with Louisville City FC President Amanda Duffy

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Today's Soccer Morning features an interview with Louisville City FC President Amanda Duffy.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Why the Capital One Cup is better than the FA Cup

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When it comes to ranking the domestic cup competitions in England, most supporters listthe FA Cup first and then the League Cup second.

Sometimes, traditions are hard to break.

The tendency to rank the FA Cup first comes from a glorified image of what the FA Cup used to be rather than what it isnow.

Danny Higginbotham interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.6.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with former professional footballer Danny Higginbotham, who can be heard co-commentating Premier League matches on NBC and other networks around the globe each weekend.

During the interview, Danny previews Saturday's FA Cup encounter between Manchester United and Sheffield United (which he'll be co-commentating on talkSPORT), and shares his opinion regarding whether the tournament has lost its lustre or not.

Lukaku gives Everton Capital One Cup semi-final edge over Manchester City

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Photo credit: AFP

Romelu Lukaku's 19th goal of the season gave Everton a 2-1 win over Manchester City in their League Cup semi-final first leg clash on Wednesday.

Everton haven't lifted a trophy since the 1995 FA Cup but they took a step closer to Wembley and a possible repeat of their 1984 League Cup final with local rivals Liverpool thanks to Lukaku's late winner.

Best and worst managers in the Premier League; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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During the midweek World Soccer Talk Podcast, the trio of host Richard Farley and pundits Kartik Krishnaiyer and Nipun Chopra analyze the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg matches between Everton-Manchester City and Stoke-Liverpool, as well as rating the best managers in the Premier League.

Since there's no Premier League matches this weekend to preview, the analysts share their opinions about the best (and worst) managers in the top flight.

Petr Cech stirred by Arsenal’s defense of FA Cup trophy

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Photo credit: AFP

The FA Cup still holds the same allure for Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech as he embarks upon his quest for a fifth success in the 145-year-old competition this weekend.

A four-time FA Cup winner with Chelsea, Cech is hoping to help Arsenal win the FA Cup for the third year running a feat last achieved by Blackburn Rovers between 1884 and 1886.

When will the first superstar manager arrive in MLS?

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High mountains have been conquered in luring biggie-big names into Major League Soccer. David Beckham was foremost, of course, but Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba, Kaka and quite a few others aren't exactly $1.50 hamburger, either.

But we live in a day when players aren't the only superstars of the global game; a few managers have arrived into this exalted place, this lighted stage of tactical enlightenment and leadership savvy.

Bayern great Hitzfeld: Zidane’s appointment at Real Madrid ‘is madness’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Real Madrid's decision to appoint Zinedine Zidane as their new coach is described as "madness" by former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld in an interview with Swiss daily Blick.

"For him (Zidane) it is like winning the lottery jackpot. It is madness," said the 66-year-old Hitzfeld, who ended a stellar coaching career after taking Switzerland to the 2014 World Cup.

The FA Cup is in Tottenham’s DNA; the club needs to take the competition seriously

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The third round of the FA Cup is fast approaching, and the usual argument of "forget it, play the second XI" is appearing on many internet threads. So this begs the question: Should Tottenham play weakened sides in the FA Cup to reduce fixture congestion and increase their chances of finishing higher in the Premier League?

Jurgen Klinsmann’s US January camp squad is a sharp contrast between young and old

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Long-time United States international Jermaine Jones joins Toronto FC stars Micheal Bradley and Jozy Alitidore in a US January camp squad divided between Major League Soccer stalwarts and national team prospects getting their first shots at a long-term camp. US Soccer announced the 23-man squad on Wednesday, with players set to report to Carson, Calif.

Report: Didier Drogba will retire to join Guus Hiddink’s staff at Chelsea

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Montreal Impact forward Didier Drogba is set to retire from professional soccer to pursue a coaching position at Chelsea, according to reporting from L'Equipe. The French sports daily cited "Canadian sources" in reporting the former Ivorian international will inform his Major League Soccer that he intends to take a coaching position at Chelsea FC.

Images of Arsenal’s 2016/17 home jersey leaked on Internet

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Two images of what appears to be Arsenal's 2016/17 home jersey have been leaked on the Internet.

While the new jersey won't be officially unveiled until this summer, it appears that Arsenal and Puma will be releasing a design that's inspired by the Arsenal home kit fromthe early 90s.

In the first image leaked by @Memz_Dogi(see below), it features a close-up of the white retro collar witha navy blue trim.

Roberto Martinez: Silverware is long overdue at Everton

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Photo credit: AFP.

It is more than 20 years since Everton last won a trophy, and Roberto Martinez says more silverware is long overdue as his side prepare for Wednesday's League Cup semifinal first leg against Manchester City. The FA Cup in 1995 was the last addition to the trophy cabinet at Goodison Park, which during the 1980s had also been home to two league titles and a further FA Cup success in 1984.

Watch the trailer for ‘Becoming Zlatan,’ the upcoming documentary [VIDEO]

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The trailer for the upcoming 'Becoming Zlatan' documentary has been released, and it offers an intriguing taste of what we can expect to see in the film.

In just 90 seconds, the trailer illustrates how much pressure Zlatan has felt throughout his career, which is summed up by this quote about the formidable striker:

"There's a big stadium.

‘We’ll shoot ourselves’ if England fail at Euro 2016, says FA boss

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Photo credit: AFP

England Football Association chairman Greg Dyke declared "We'll all shoot ourselves" if Roy Hodgson's team fall at the group stage of Euro 2016.

England face Wales, Russia and Slovakia in the tournament in France from June 10, haunted by the memory of the 2014 World Cup where they were eliminated at the group phase for the first time since 1958.

Where to find Everton vs. Man City Capital One Cup semi-final on US TV and streaming

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Whether you're an Everton or Manchester City supporter, or a neutral soccer fan, you can watch the Capital One Cup semi-finals live in the USA on beIN SPORTS or one of several legal streaming packages that offer free trials.

Here's all of the information you need:

Who: Everton vs.

Guardiola would ‘Pep up’ Premier League, says Steven Gerrard

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Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard on Wednesday said "world-class" Pep Guardiola would be a great addition to the Premier League after the much sought-after Bayern Munich boss said he wanted to coach in England.

Guardiola, who will turn 45 this month, said Tuesday that the reason he was leaving the German giants at the end of the season was because he wanted to coach in England.

Liverpool sign midfielder Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade

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Liverpool has signed midfielder Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade, the club announced today.

After he put pen to paper on a contract with the Anfield club today, the highly-regarded midfielder has been loaned back to Red Star Belgrade for the remainder of the season.

The 19-year-old has represented Serbia at U21 level and was also a member of their World Cup-winning U20 squad in 2015.

Liverpool’s injury crisis tilts Klopp toward transfer market

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Jurgen Klopp has indicated that he may have to enter the transfer market to buy a defender as Liverpool's injury crisis grows.

Klopp faces the prospect of having no fit center-backs for Friday's FA Cup third-round trip to Exeter.

Dejan Lovren limped off during the first half of Tuesday's 1-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg victory at Stoke after pulling a hamstring.

Watch Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with guests Jonathan Tannenwald and Brendan Doherty

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Today's Soccer Morning features interviews with Jonathan Tannenwald and Brendan Doherty.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Ex-Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro attends dismissal tribunal

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Photo credit: AFP

Former Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro attended a tribunal hearing on Wednesday regarding her constructive dismissal case against the club.

Wearing a long, grey coat and holding hands with her husband, Carneiro made no comment to the media as she arrived for the hearing flanked by her legal team in Croydon, south London.

FIFA investigators are seeking a nine-year ban for ex-secretary general Jerome Valcke

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Photo credit: AFP.

FIFA investigators on Tuesday requested a nine-year ban against the body's suspended secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was provisionally suspended from soccer in October for 90 days over corruption allegations. The investigatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee, world soccer's in-house prosecutor, also asked for Valcke's temporary suspension to be extended for 45 days while FIFA's judges weigh evidence against the organization's former second-in-command.

Kartik Krishnaiyer interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.5.16)

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The latest episode of World Soccer Talk Radio features an interview with Kartik Krishnaiyer.

During the interview, Kartik analyzes the possible destinations for Pep Guardiola, as well as previewing this month's Florida Cup, discussing who the most marketable player is in the US other than Messi and Ronaldo.

Zinedine Zidane insists Gareth Bale remains ‘vital’ at Real Madrid

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Photo credit: AFP.

Gareth Bale's future at Real Madrid is assured after new coach Zinedine Zidane praised the Welsh winger on Tuesday. Bale joined Real two-and-a-half years ago for a world record transfer fee but has struggled at times in the Spanish capital.

Despite renewed interest from Manchester United, the 26-year-old was thriving at Real under Rafael Benitez, and Zidane moved quickly to reassure Bale that the former Chelsea and Liverpool manager's sacking would not affect the Welshman.

Neither Benitez nor Zidane can help Real Madrid while Perez is in charge

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Last June was a busy month for Florentino Perez. In addition to appointing Rafa Benitez as manager to replace the sacked Carlo Ancelotti, the Real Madrid manager was also overhauling Real Madrid's youth system. Through a process some called streamlining and others called cost-cutting, Perez disbanded Real Madrid C the club's second reserve team, playing in Spain's fourth division and excised two other youth sides.

Schalke president: Club have decided ‘not to sell’ Manchester City target Leroy Sane

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Photo credit: AFP.

Schalke 04 president Clemens Toennies on Tuesday ruled out the sale of their rising Germany star Leroy Sane, who had been linked with a big-money transfer to English Premier League side Manchester City. The Bundesliga club have decided "not to sell Sane," Toennies said in an interview with German daily Bild, adding that "there had been no official offer at the moment".

Petr Cech is already becoming one of Arsene Wenger’s best buys

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Since his appointment in 1996, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made some extremely shrewd player purchases. Eventual greats such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell, Cesc Fabregas and Nicklas Bendtner (sorry, I had to) were all brought in over the Frenchman's first eight campaigns in north London.

The Spanish media were not impressed by Real Madrid appointing Zinedine Zidane

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Photo credit: AFP.

Spanish media expressed skepticism Tuesday about the prospects for Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid coach after his sensational appointment. All said that Real president Florentino Perez was taking a risk naming the French World Cup "legend" who has no experience running a team of superstars.

Florentino Pérez is a clown, but Ed Woodward can learn from his decisiveness

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Florentino Pérez may be an egomaniac who doesn't know how to keep out of his own team's way, but at least he's predictable. In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Pérez fired Rafa Benítez yesterday and replaced him with Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane. With Madrid only four points from the top of La Liga, and having qualified easily for the next stage of the Champions League, it can be argued that Benítez's dismissal was harsh.

Dortmund star Aubameyang fuels speculation after missing training ‘for personal reasons’

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Photo credit: AFP.

Bundesliga leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has fueled speculation he is set to leave Borussia Dortmund after missing the club's return to training following the winter break on Tuesday. A club spokesman said the Gabon international was absent "for personal reasons" although reports have linked the 26-year-old with Premier League clubs Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Roberto Martinez seems to be taking Everton backwards

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The deathof Howard Kendall a few months ago reminded us of what Everton once was. This season's topsy-turvy Premier League made us dream of what Everton could be again. But instead of competing with the likes of Leicester City and Crystal Palace to qualify for Europe, the Toffees are struggling to win games even at Goodison Park and appear stuck in neutral.

Wayne Rooney has been named England’s Player of the Year

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Photo credit: AFP.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been voted England's Player of the Year for the fourth time after breaking his country's scoring record, the Football Association announced on Tuesday. The 30-year-old took his England tally to 51 goals, breaking Bobby Charlton's longstanding record of 49, and top-scored with seven goals as Roy Hodgson's side qualified for Euro 2016 with a perfect record of 10 wins.

Sky Sports proves that Geoff Hurst’s shot for England was a goal in 1966 World Cup Final [VIDEO]

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On this week's edition of Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, the pundits decided to pick apart the 1966 World Cup Final between England and Germany since there was no Monday match in the Premier League this week.

In addition to analyzing the tactics of the match, which was played 50 years ago this year, Jamie Carragher and Ed Chamberlin used statistical data from Opta, the tactics touchscreen and virtual reality from EA Sports to show how the impact of Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst and Alan Ball had on the match.

Where to find Stoke vs. Liverpool Capital One Cup semi-final on US TV and streaming

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Whether you're a Liverpool or Stoke supporter, or a neutral soccer fan, you can watch the Capital One Cup semi-finals live in the USA on beIN SPORTS or one of several legal streaming packages that offer free trials.

Here's all of the information you need:

Who: Stoke City vs.

Real Madrid fans allow themselves to dream as Zidane takes charge

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Photo credit: AFP

Depressed by a disappointing 2015, smiles had returned to the faces of Real Madrid fans on Tuesday as they cheered their idol Zinedine Zidane during his first training session as coach.

On the eve of Epiphany, an important holiday in Spain where people dressed up as the three kings parade in the streets and children receive their long-awaited gifts, the atmosphere was easy-going and festive at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium at the club's training ground in Madrid.

Watch Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with guest David Cartlidge

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Today's Soccer Morning features an interview with David Cartlidge to talk Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Pep Guardiola declares he wants ‘to coach in England’

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Photo credit: AFP

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has revealed he wants to manage an English Premier League team in his first press conference since announcing he will leave the Bundesliga giants at the end of the season.

"I want to coach in England," said the Spaniard on Tuesday, before adding that he "has no new club yet".

Capital One Cup semi-finals will be televised on beIN SPORTS and legal streaming services

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The first legs of the 2015/16 Capital One Cup semi-finals will be televised live and exclusively on beIN SPORTS in the United States.

The games, which will feature Stoke City vs. Liverpool on Tuesday, January 5 and Everton vs. Manchester City on Wednesday, January 6, kick-off at 3pm ET.

The Capital One Cup (also known as the League Cup) offers clubs in England and Wales the first opportunity of the season to lift silverware.

Paul Town interview; World Soccer Talk Radio (1.4.16)

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The first World Soccer Talk Radio episode of 2016 features an interview with artist Paul Town who has been painting original pieces featuring English soccer stadiums.

During the interview, Paul chats about what inspired him to create portraits of the stadiums, why he's working on a book featuring artwork of soccer stadiums that are no longer in existence, what it's like being a Bradford City supporter, what the biggest differences are between soccer when he was growing up until now, and more.

Roberto Martinez eyes end to Everton’s trophy drought ahead of League Cup semi-final

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Photo credit: AFP

It is more than 20 years since Everton last won a trophy and Roberto Martinez says more silverware is long overdue as his side prepare for Wednesday's League Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City.

The FA Cup in 1995 was the last addition to the trophy cabinet at Goodison Park, which during the 1980s had also been home to two league titles and a further FA Cup success in 1984.

Adidas wants Manchester United to stop playing boring soccer

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Photo credit: AFP.

German sportswear giant Adidas would like to see Manchester United playing more attractive soccer, their CEO Herbert Hainer told German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Monday. The interview could put more pressure on under-fire Manchester United manager Dutchman Louis van Gaal, whose charges have been widely accused of being boring this season.

Douglas Costa has been voted the Bundesliga’s player of the first half of the season

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Photo credit: AFP.

Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa has been named player of the first half of the season by German magazine Kicker.

The 25-year-old Brazilian, a summer signing from Shakhtar Donetsk, received just over 30 percent of the vote in the popular magazine, beating Borussia Dortmund's Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (23 percent) into second with his Bayern teammates Thomas Mueller (14.

Leicester City capture teenage winger Demarai Gray from Birmingham

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Leicester have signed promising winger Demarai Gray from Birmingham for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club announced on Monday.

England under-20 international Gray, 19, agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Foxes after emerging as one of the brightest young talents in the Championship.

Five things: How it all went wrong for Rafa Benitez at Real Madrid

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Rafael Benitez's unhappy reign in charge of Real Madrid came to an end after just seven months and 25 games when he was sacked and replaced by club legend Zinedine Zidane on Monday. Here's what went wrong for the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager on his return to the club where he started his playing and coaching career.

Geoff Cameron wins his red card appeal, is free to play in League Cup semifinal

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Stoke defender Geoff Cameron is free to face Liverpool in Tuesday's League Cup semifinal first leg after winning his appeal against a red card.

United States international Cameron was facing a three-match suspension having been sent off for violent conduct by referee Lee Mason after pushing Claudio Yacob in the back of the neck during Saturday's 2-1 Premier League defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

It’s done: Real Madrid has fired Rafa Benitez, replace him with Zinedine Zidane

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Real Madrid sacked coach Rafael Benitez after just seven months in charge on Monday with club legend Zinedine Zidane replacing the Spaniard.

"We have taken the difficult decision to rescind the contract of Rafael Benitez as coach," said Madrid president Florentino Perez.

"The Real Madrid board has decided to name Zinedine Zidane as coach of the first team.

Watch the Real Madrid press conference to announce Rafa Benitez sacking [VIDEO]

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Watch the Real Madrid official press conference to announce the sacking of Rafa Benitez, and presumably the hiring of Zinedine Zidane to replace the Spaniard as the manager of one of the top clubs in the world.

The press conference is scheduled to begin at 1:30pm ET (but will be starting late, as of press time).

10 predictions for the 2016 MLS season

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2015 was a big year in MLS, but if recent trends continue, 2016 will be even bigger. Here are 10 predictions for the new season:

1. More expansion

Don Garber began laying the groundwork for another league expansion as early as April 2015, when he announced that MLS would push past its 24-teams-by-2020 goal.

Real Madrid to sack Rafa Benitez, say reports

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Beleaguered Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez could be sacked by the Spanish giants as early as Monday evening after just seven months in charge, several Spanish media outlets reported.

Sports daily Marca reported Benitez's sacking will be made official in the coming hours with French legend and the club's reserve team coach Zinedine Zidane to take over.

Real Madrid deserve credit not critics, claims Benitez

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Under fire Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez claimed his side deserved more credit after holding on for a 2-2 draw with 10 men away to Valencia on Sunday.

Benitez was badly in need of a win on his return to Valencia, where he won two La Liga titles in three years, to ease the constant speculation surrounding his future.

Watch Soccer Morning from 9-10:15am ET with guest Kristan Heneage

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Today's Soccer Morning features an interview with Kristan Heneage to discuss the Premier League storylines.

You can watch Soccer Morning live via the World Soccer Talk LIVE page every weekday at www.worldsoccertalk.com/live.

During the show, you can tweet your questions or observations live to @soccermorning Or better yet, you can call in with your questions or comments by dialing 646-832-3909.

Hiddink demands more from dogged Chelsea

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Guus Hiddink believes Chelsea's 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace proves his players have started to heed his demands to put in the hard work needed to restore their tarnished reputation.

After a pair of draws in his opening two matches since taking over as Chelsea interim manager, Hiddink at last secured his first win thanks to goals from Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa at rain-lashed Selhurst Park on Sunday.

5 talking points from Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Newcastle

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Playing badly and winning is often said to be the mark of champions. So, if Arsenal go on to win their fourth Premier League title this season, then we may be looking back at Saturday's 1-0 result as an example of an ugly but crucial victory against a stubborn Newcastle United side.

Flamini, Mertesacker and Monreal returned to the side with Oxlade-Chamberlain retaining his place despite just one assist in his previous 34 league games for the Gunners.

Arsenal and Manchester City turning Premier League title chase into 2 horse race

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With 20 games played in the English Premier League, we are starting to see the real contenders for the titlethis season. And as the English have a way of putting it, there seems to be a two horse race developing.

Arsenal is in the lead with 42 points and is two points ahead of the surprise package this season, Leicester City.

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy set for spell on sidelines, says report

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Leicester City's leading scorer Jamie Vardy is set to have minor groin surgery that will keep him out for up to two weeks, the BBC reported on Sunday.

Vardy is therefore set to miss a double-header of games away to Tottenham Hotspur, one in the FA Cup third round and one in the Premier League, while he also risks missing the visit of Aston Villa on January 16.

Gary Neville’s Valencia fight back to deny 10-man Madrid

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Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez endured an unhappy return to Mestalla as Gary Neville's Valencia twice came from behind to salvage a point in a pulsating 2-2 draw on Sunday.

Benitez needed a win amid doubts about his future at the club and Madrid had got off to a flying start thanks to a brilliant team goal finished off by Karim Benzema.

Eden Hazard to undergo MRI scan to determine severity of injury

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard suffered an injury blow on Sunday as he limped off in the first half of his side's Premier League clash against Crystal Palace.

Hazard sustained the groin problem while attempting a shot at Selhurst Park and came off in the 15th minute after briefly attempting to play on.

EPL GW20 review show; World Soccer Talk Podcast

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Listen to this weekend's World Soccer Talk Podcast featuring Richard Farley, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna as they review the Premier League's first match day of 2016.

After a weekend of close matches, Arsenal sit two points clear of second place, thanks in large part to Leicester drawing at home against Bournemouth.

US cereal company trying to cash in on popularity of Premier League in US [VIDEO]

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US cereal maker Kellogg's is trying to cash in on the popularity of the Premier League in the United States by launching a new ad campaign.

The ad for Frosted Flakes features a father and daughter waking up in the early morning hours to watch a soccer match together on television. While it's not blatantly about the Premier League, there isn't any other soccer league in the United States that's as popular on TV as the Premier League.

Listen to parody of Adele’s ‘Hello’ song about Gary Neville

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Jim Daly has done it again. The comedian/parody songwriter has recorded another hilarious song/video. This one is a parody of Adele's hit song, Hello.But in this song, Jim Daly writes new lyrics that focus on Gary Neville's departure as an analyst from Sky Sports and his arrival as coach at Valencia.

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to ‘live like a king’ in retirement

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World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed he will "live like a king" once his playing career comes to an end, but has ruled out a move into coaching when he hangs up his boots.

Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer is in action on Sunday as Los Blancos look to move level with eternal rivals Barcelona in the La Liga title race at Valencia (live on fuboTV and beIN SPORTS).

Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle: Koscielny downs Newcastle as Gunners go clear

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Arsenal moved two points clear at the top of the Premier League table after Laurent Koscielny's second-half winner secured an unconvincing 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Frenchman's 72nd-minute winner masked a stuttering display, but if the sign of an effective team is that they win even when below their best, then Arsenal justified their status as favorites to take the title.

Espanyol put brakes on Barcelona, Atleti go top

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Barcelona dropped points for the third time in four league games as they were held 0-0 by local rivals Espanyol in a heated Catalan derby on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid moved two points clear of Barca at the top of the table, having played a game more, thanks to substitute Thomas Partey's late winner to edge past Levante 1-0.

Man United 2-1 Swansea: Rooney’s gem gives Van Gaal new year cheer [VIDEO]

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Wayne Rooney eased the pressure on Louis van Gaal as the Manchester United captain's superb backheeled strike secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Swansea City on Saturday.

Rooney's 77th-minute moment of magic took him ahead of Denis Law to become the second-highest goalscorer in United's history and he is now also the second-highest scorer in the Premier League era with 188 goals.

‘Angry’ Klopp urges Liverpool to raise game

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that his side must improve their commitment levels if they are to make progress this season following a 2-0 defeat at West Ham United.

Klopp has identified this month's games as crucial to Liverpool's campaign, with a League cup semi-final against Stoke City and an FA Cup trip to Exeter City while there are also potentially tough league meetings with Arsenal and Manchester United.

7 contenders for 2015/16 Premier League Young Player of the Year

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There are currently a multitude of very talented contenders for the PFA Young Player of the Year award given at the end of the season. Narrowing down the list to seven players was tough, and some highly-rated players were left out. To be qualified to win the prestigious award, the player must be aged 23 or under at the start of the season.

Colombia’s home shirt for Copa America 2016 will be white: Leaked [PHOTOS]

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Colombia's home jersey for the Copa America Centenario to be played in the USA in the summer of 2016 will be white instead of yellow.

Although the shirt isn't officially going to be revealed until March, the sleuths at FootyHeadlines have uncovered all of the details about the design and have created artist renditions of what it looks like below.

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea predicted lineups and team news

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High-flying Crystal Palace host Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Sunday as they aim to continue their good run of form and pile more misery on their visitors.

Alan Pardew's men are in fifth place with 31 points and are surely looking to break into the top four at some point given the inconsistency of the teams above them.

Bournemouth take Juan Iturbe on loan from Roma

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Bournemouth have signed Roma winger Juan Iturbe on loan for the rest of the season, the Premier League club announced on Friday.

Argentina Under-20 international Iturbe will officially complete his switch to Eddie Howe's team subject to endorsement from the Football Association and a European work permit.

Real Madrid star James Rodriguez pursued by police, says report

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Real Madrid star James Rodriguez was pursued by an unmarked police car to the club's training ground for allegedly speeding at 124 miles per hour, Madrid sports daily AS reported on Friday.

The newspaper published photos on their website of Rodriguez arriving at the Valdebebas training ground in the north of Madrid followed by a car carrying a blue siren.

Steven Gerrard eyes Liverpool coaching return in 2016

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Liverpool great Steven Gerrard could return to the club in a coaching capacity as early as this year, he revealed in a British newspaper interview published on Saturday.

Gerrard, 35, left Liverpool for the Los Angeles Galaxy last year, but he has been training on Merseyside during the Major League Soccer close season and is now eyeing a role on Jurgen Klopp's coaching staff.

Pogba says Manchester United was vacation compared to Juventus

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French star Paul Pogba says his time at Manchester United was like being on holiday in comparison to the work he has to do at Juventus.

Pogba, who has helped Juve win three consecutive league titles since controversially quitting United in 2012, made the remark in a wide-ranging interview with Turin daily La Stampa in which he also tips Argentinian team-mate Paulo Dybala as a future winner of the Ballon d'Or.

Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez in the spotlight on return to Valencia

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Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez returns to Valencia, where he won two league titles with Los Che, fighting to hold onto his job on Sunday.

Madrid's awful 2015 began with defeat at the Mestalla which ended a 22-game winning run and led to the eventual sacking of Carlo Ancelotti after he failed to deliver a major trophy.

Manchester United vs. Swansea City predicted lineups and team news

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Manchester United desperately need a win against Swansea City when both sides clash at Old Trafford on Saturday after going six league games without winning.

The Red Devils only scored three goals in that period and lost three consecutive games before managing a scrappy 0-0 draw against Chelsea on Monday.

English soccer clubs braced for risky January window

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The start of the new year means the opening of the January transfer window and an opportunity for English Premier League clubs to once again flex their financial muscle.

The window opens in England on Saturday and clubs in Europe's richest league are likely to once again be the busiest in the market, but January is rarely the best time to do business.

Arsenal vs. Newcastle predicted lineups and team news

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Arsenal host Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday in what is an important game for both sides for very different reasons.

The hosts are top of the league (on goal difference) and they will be looking to consolidate that lead by beating Newcastle United and hoping Leicester City drop points against Bournemouth.

The 5 most underrated players from the first half of the 2015/16 Premier League season

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Although the big clubs and top goalscorers earn most of the limelight, there are certainly players that should receive more credit for what they do on the pitch. Listed below, in alphabetical order, are five top performers of the 2015/16 Premier League season that should be getting more attention.

This designer has come up with ‘American-style logos’ for all 20 Serie A clubs

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Every soccer crest embodies a team's history, part of the reason why redesigns, like the one Manchester City recently undertook, become such noteworthy changes. The balance between old and new, or the choice to go in a completely different direction, can be captured by a few new artistic choices, for better or worse.