As we head toward the new year, there is currently only one London club in the English Premier League’s top four. Arsenal and West Ham square off today for a chance to join Chelsea in that select company.
The Gunners travel to East London to take on the Hammers, with the winner having a chance to leapfrog Southampton into the Top Four.
Manchester United has successfully climbed into the Top Four after a rough start to the season, and can secure its hold on third place with a victory against Tottenham in another one of the day’s marquee matches.
If you will be watching today’s soccer action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s commentary is after the jump):
By FRANCO PANIZO
The month-long winter transfer window in Europe is set to open in a little more than a week, and that could lead to several U.S. Men’s National Team players switching addresses.
They are probably hoping so, at least.
With a chance at starting anew presenting itself, a number of Americans will be hoping to move clubs in January much in the same way that Brek Shea did last week when he left a bad situation at Stoke City to join Orlando City. No, not everyone will want to head to MLS at this point in their careers, but they are still likely to seek a new home in order to stay sharp, fit and in contention for Jurgen Klinsmann’s 2015 Gold Cup roster.
Mix Diskerud, Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu will all likely be on the move given their free agent statuses, but there are others who are currently under contract that could also enjoy a change of scenery.
Here is a closer look at the foreign-based U.S. pool players who might benefit from finding a new club this winter:
By IVES GALARCEP
The month of December was a slow one on the U.S. Men’s National Team player depth chart front, with MLS winding to a close, and a lower number of Americans enjoying regular success overseas, but what the month has done is give us some time to reflect on how the U.S. team will shape up in the Gold Cup.
Terrence Boyd’s torn ACL did offer a shake-up at the forward position, and throws a bit more uncertainty into the forward picture.
The battle in midfield is shaping up to be a good one, both centrally and on the wings. With Brek Shea returning to MLS, and players like Teal Bunbury and Joe Corona also in the mix, the midfield picture may not really come into focus until the late spring.
As we get to the end of the year, here is a look at the latest SBI 23 for 2015:
By FRANCO PANIZO
This was not the Boxing Day match Tim Howard envisioned.
Everton lost Howard to an injury on Friday, as the veteran goalkeeper sustained a knock to his calf in the first half of Friday’s 1-0 loss to Stoke City. Howard was replaced by back-up Joel Robles at halftime, and while the injury doesn’t appear to be too grave, the American’s availability for Sunday’s visit to Newcastle United seems in doubt.
Adding literal insult to injury was that Howard conceded the game’s decisive tally in the 38th minute, beaten by a Bojan penalty kick that he nearly saved. The 35-year-old netminder finished the game at Goodison Park with one save.
Meanwhile, Geoff Cameron started, went the distance and received a yellow card at right back for victorious Stoke.
What do you think of Howard’s injury? Do you see him having any shot at playing on Sunday?
Share your thoughts below.
By DAN KARELL
A pair of London derbies headline a return to action in the English Premier League on a stacked Boxing Day schedule.
Chelsea attempt to remain atop the league’s standings when they host West Ham United to kick off the day’s action. West Ham and Sam Allardyce have defied expectations and are fourth-place in the table, and are proving their worth on a regular basis. Chelsea though seem a team that are the favorites to win this year’s title and will be tough to defeat at Stamford Bridge.
A surging Manchester United take on Newcastle United in the next round of matches in the day. Newcastle have lost two consecutive matches and have slid down to ninth-place, and are in need of another morale-boosting victory at Old Trafford. Second-place Manchester City visit Alan Irvine and West Bromwich Albion, who have just 17 points from 17 games.
The afternoon finishes up with Arsenal hosting South London’s Queens Park Rangers. Arsenal sit just four points out of fourth place and have won three of their last five games, though they’re still missing a number of starters including Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Theo Walcott.
Here’s a look at this year’s Boxing Day schedule:
By RYAN TOLMICH
Fernando Torres is set to try to reignite his career back where it all started.
The Spanish forward is reportedly close to a return to boyhood club Atletico Madrid, where the 30-year-old spent his youth days and first six years of his career.
Torres has spent the final months of 2014 with AC Milan, but has scored just one goal. The forward is now reportedly set to return to Madrid next week after the club agreed with Chelsea to take Torres on-loan until his contract expires in 2016.
Alessio Cerci is set to head to Milan as part of the deal, which will also see Torres take a major paycut.
Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Friday morning: