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August 14, 2019

Chelsea Player Ratings vs Liverpool – UEFA Super Cup

August 14, 2019

Last year’s Champions League winners, Liverpool, faced off against the Europa League victors, Chelsea, for the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

The Blues were pegged back in the early minutes with Liverpool’s pressure. However, they soon gained control and started creating the better chances. Olivier Giroud’s 38th-minute strike affirmed a successful first half. However, Liverpool equalized quickly into the second half with Sadio Mane’s goal.

It was an open goal from there on, but none could find the winner, forcing extra-time! Extra-time was quite the frantic one, with Mane giving Liverpool the lead with a powerful hit. Chelsea received a penalty later on, which Jorginho obliged to make it 2-2. Jurgen Klopp’s side ended up winning 5-4 in the penalty-shootout, with Tammy Abraham’s penalty being saved by Adrian.

Here’s how Chelsea’s squad performed. Also be sure to read our Liverpool UEFA Super Cup player ratings as well.

Chelsea Player Ratings

Manager

Frank Lampard (7.0) –

Lampard recovered from his Old Trafford nightmare by slotting N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic into his starting XI. The move worked wonders with Pulisic getting an assist and Kante ruling as their midfield general with his decisive movement. The Chelsea gaffer’s attacking philosophy and encouragement to take on Liverpool unveiled the fearlessness in his side. Yes, they lost, but many positives showcased how his Chelsea should operate going forward.

Goalkeeper

Kepa Arrizabalaga (7.5) –

Kepa’s forced to make a calm save early on. Held onto Fabinho’s powerful attempt well in the 9th. Distribution poor and almost led to an opening goal in 10th. Redeemed himself with a solid save off Salah in the 15th.

Unable to keep Mane’s 48th-minute strike out despite diving correctly. Held onto Henderson’s powerful attempt pretty well minutes later, despite it taking a deflection. He also made a fantastic reaction save to deny Salah in the 75th. The Spaniard came extremely close to saving a few in the shootout, but lady luck averted him.

Defenders

Cesar Azpilicueta (5.0) –

The Chelsea captain recovered from Sunday’s nightmare quickly, neutralizing Oxlade-Chamberlain’s threat and not allowing Robertson to overlap that effectively. However, he was rattled by Firmino and played him onside for Mane’s equalizer.

Looked the weakest of all defenders and offered very little going forward. Perhaps a positional change can do him good!

Kurt Zouma (6.0) –

Took a nasty sting on his thigh blocking Salah’s shot early on. Made a few strong clearances with some regained confidence. The Frenchman made a crucial challenge in the 74th to avoid being in a 1v1 against Salah.

Almost received his moment of glory in the dying minutes when his emphatic header from a corner went just over. Improved over the nightmare on Sunday.

Andreas Christensen (6.0)-

The Danish center-back headed out an important clearance to deny a goal in the 13th minute. Outjumped by Van Dijk at the half-hour mark but lucky to see his header go over. Huffed and puffed the remainder of the game, but jumped into action whenever necessary.

Emerson (6.5) –

Beaten in the air by Matip in the 5th minute. Allowed Salah to whiz past him too easily in the 15th. The Brazilian got troubled by Salah and Mane’s trickery, but looked much more comfortable going forward.

Skipped past Gomez in the 50th minute to yards away from goal, but his pass wasn’t met by anyone. Emerson showcased impressive fitness to survive the 120 minutes bombing down the left and also fulfilling defensive duties. Duly converted his penalty in the shootout.

Midfielders

Jorginho (6.5) –

Protected his backline pretty well and pinged forward ambitious longballs to trouble Liverpool’s resolve early on. The Italian sloppily lost possession to Firmino in the 54th minute, but lucky to see the attack wasted. Calmly tucked in his penalty to equalize in extra-time. Flicked in his penalty in shootout coolly.

Mateo Kovacic (5.0) –

Kovacic’s link-up play early on was promising with his team-mates. Almost got through on goal in the 32nd minute, but stopped by Adrian. After that, he was almost invisible in midfield and rarely got involved in crucial chances. Subbed in extra-time.

N’Golo Kante (7.0) –

Back to his old tricks early on, nicking the ball off Henderson to force loud cheers. Skipped past multiple Liverpool players and almost got a shot on goal in the 11th. Kante looked his old self with interceptions and lung-bursting runs to trouble Liverpool in the first half.

Kick-started the opening goal. Continued stealing the ball and drive his side forward., showcasing endless energy. Lampard must’ve been impressed by his tenacity in dominating the midfield line.

Forwards

Pedro (7.0) – 

Pedro had Adrian scampering with a curling left-footed attempt early on. Put Giroud through on goal only to see a chance wasted. Forced a punch off Adrian later.

Kept causing problems and struck the post with an emphatic shot in the 22nd minute. He displayed great energy with his end-to-end contribution, which included impressive defensive work. Almost assisted Abraham with a beautiful low-ball which was led just wide of the goal.  

Olivier Giroud (6.5) –

Used his physical attributes to make things uneasy for Liverpool in the early minutes. Scuffed a shot horribly wide in the 16th. Giroud struck an overhead kick attempt hilariously wide and couldn’t even score from five yards out after being called offside later on.

The Frenchman redeemed his errors with a strong finish in the 36th to get the lead. Giroud lost steam in the 2nd half and was bullied by Van Dijk before being subbed.

Christian Pulisic (7.0)

The exciting American almost breached Liverpool’s defense in the 4th minute in an opportunistic manner. Showcased his class by sliding a clever pass through Van Dijk-Matip to hand Giroud his goal and get his first assist.

Pulisic almost got his dream first goal by skipping past multiple players and thumping the ball into the bottom corner, only for the lineswoman to ruin his moment. Tried another clever through-ball after the hour-mark, but saw his chance cleared. Moved forward with intent and his sparkling creativity proves he’s got lots to give.

Substitutions

Mason Mount (6.5) –

Mount put the ball into the net minutes after coming on, but unlucky to see his goal ruled out to a prolonged offside call. Forced a super save from Adrian with his powerful shot in extra-time. He tested the opposition keeper again in ET’s dying moments. Powered in penalty confidently.

Tammy Abraham (6.0) –

The youngster pulled up his defensive socks by denying Liverpool the lead with a last-ditch block in the scrappy set-piece minutes after coming on. Did superbly to outmuscle Van Dijk and strike a shot in extra-time, only to see it saved.

However, he earned a penalty immediately afterward, capitalizing on Adrian’s error. Had a great opportunity to win the game in the 104th minute, but his attempt sailed agonizingly wide. Scuffed his penalty to end his night in misery.

Fikayo Tomori (5.5) –

The youngster didn’t have a European debut to remember. He played Firmino onside for Mane’s second, undoing his defense’s good work.

Ross Barkley (N/A) –

He was just…..there. Slotted in penalty comfortably.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Well, they might’ve been on the losing side, but Kepa’s heroics in goal makes him the man of the match in my eyes. He made one solid save after another, proving just how crucial he will be for the Blues this season.

Christian Pulisic Starts UEFA Super Cup vs Liverpool: How’d He Do? (VIDEO)

August 14, 2019

The young American gets his first Premier League start vs the Champions League winners in today’s UEFA Super Cup. The starting XI look much closer to what we would have liked to see from the Blues in their Sunday defeat to Man U.

Here’s how the sides are lined up to get started:

Liverpool: Adrian, Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah.

Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson, Kovacic, Jorginho, Kante, Pedro, Pulisic, Giroud 

Will Chelsea be able to erase their Sunday blunder or will Liverpool’s win streak continue?

Pulisic assists opener

Pulisic did well penetrating on the dribble early on. He dribbled into the box and set up Olivier Giroud on the game’s opener.

Pulisic goal called back

Pulisic netted one of his own a few minutes later, with some fancy dribbling and quality finish. Unfortunately, an off-sides ruling called the goal back.

With 18′ remaining Pulisic come off the pitch for Mount and his first start for the Blues comes to an end. After the fantastic assist and called back goal of the first half it was obvious that Chelsea players began looking more intently to the left side of the pitch. Pulisic was caught offside too many times, but the intention to go forward was there both for him and those feeding him the ball.

UPDATE: We go 2 – 2 and into penalties to finish up this years Super Cup!

While a disappointing finish from a Chelsea perspective, and a fair amount of backlash against the Manager for slotting young Abram in as the last shooter, the Blues performance against the current European Champions was certainly a huge step up from the thumping they took from Man U last Sunday. Looking forward in the schedule we expect the Blues to find some consistency in both lineups and play in what should be a string of less competitive games.

Frank de Boer’s Misguided Comments on Equal Pay

August 14, 2019

Atlanta United coach Frank de Boer made headlines on Tuesday for saying that equal pay between male and female soccer players is “ridiculous.”

In an interview with The Guardian, he compared the situation to tennis and asserted that women’s soccer is significantly less popular, and thus federations should not pay players equally. Here is his full quote:

“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. It’s the same like tennis. If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women’s final, that’s a difference. So it’s not the same. And of course they have to be paid what they deserve to [earn] and not less, just what they really deserve. If it’s just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that. But it’s not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t understand that.”

– Frank de Boer to The Guardian

He went on to say that he supports equal pay in the workplace, but not in sports. His comments angered a good number of fans, many of whom are supporters of the USWNT, which is currently arguing for equal pay on the heels of a second consecutive World Cup win. Atlanta United president Darren Eales didn’t seem pleased with de Boer’s thoughts on the matter.

De Boer’s clumsy comments miss the mark

At the front of any equal pay argument is that women’s soccer (or sports in general) is not as popular as men’s sports. In the case of tennis, which de Boer brought up, that case is patently false. Female tennis players players alongside male tennis players and garner similar attention and fame. Soccer is different, in that it’s difficult to argue that women’s soccer is currently as popular as men’s soccer in the aggregate.

But saying that women’s soccer isn’t popular is obviously wrong. TV ratings were high for the 2019 World Cup. At times it was even higher than the 2018 WC, particularly in the United States, where the USWNT were the talk of the town. Crowds were big and a lot of people paid attention:


Pay should of course be determined by how popular the team is, and how much revenue it generates. In the case of the USWNT, it is very popular and generates a pretty good amount of revenue.

Soccer federations should keep perspective. As Tutul Rahman noted in his Twitter thread on the subject, women’s soccer is growing rapidly. Think of equal pay as an investment — by rewarding the very popular players fairly, you incentivize more such stars to come through the system and continue to spike the popularity of the game.

Growing women’s soccer should be embraced by FIFA

For organizations like US Soccer and FIFA, who are correctly perceived as at best misguided and at worst damagingly corrupt, the decision to pay the superstar women’s soccer players shouldn’t be especially difficult. Women’s soccer is a unique opportunity for these federations — particularly FIFA — to grow the game significantly. It’s a chance to reach new populations, to construct a new cash cow to go right alongside the current cash cow that is men’s soccer. Why wouldn’t FIFA want to do that?

If all of that is not enough, consider it from a moral perspective. These players would be a lot more popular if FIFA marketed them capably, and if national federations invested more in academies and domestic leagues. Women’s soccer players face a ton of disadvantages globally.

US Soccer would clearly not be as profitable as it is without the USWNT. The men’s national team is less successful in its arena, due to the base of global talent it has to compete with. The USWNT are pioneers, and go out and win trophies. America loves winners, and thus loves its successful women’s national team. US Soccer would do well to give them their due.

De Boer could afford to be a bit more sympathetic (and maybe a bit less ignorant) in this case. 

Liverpool Starting XI and Player Ratings vs Chelsea – UEFA Super Cup

Chops August 14, 2019

Will Liverpool claim (yet) another European trophy today? The Reds are in Istanbul, Turkey to take on Chelsea for the UEFA Super Cup. Here’s their starting XI and player ratings (which we’ll continue to update as the match goes on).

Liverpool Starting XI

Continuing a disturbing trend, Liverpool’s defense looks like 💩💩💩. Chelsea shredded them early. Christian Pulisic particularly looked good, assisting the opener and having one of his own called back.

Liverpool went to the half clearly the lesser team, trailing 1-0.

Subbing Roberto Firmino in at the half made an instant impact, as Liverpool quickly leveled 1-1. 

Mane put one through in extra time to give Liverpool the lead. Then a genuinely awful penalty called on Adrian leveled it 2-2 in extra time. 

Another ultimately meaningless Cup, another shootout. This time Liverpool wins it, 5-4 on pks!

Be sure to read our Chelsea UEFA Super Cup player ratings as well.

Liverpool Player Ratings

Manager

Jurgen Klopp (7) – Typing this before he makes half-time adjustments that take us to an eventual 4-1 win…but…if you’re not prioritizing other trophies, then why bother starting any of your key regulars???

The half-time addition of Roberto Firmino makes an instant difference, as Liverpool quickly leveled the game. Kept the squad’s collective head up after the Adrian penalty.

Gets bumped up a point for his joyful celebration.

Goalkeeper

Adrian (7.5) – It’s baptism by fire for Adrian. Challenged early but stood well. Came off line to stifle an attempt in the 32nd.

Proved capable throughout including extra time. HOWEVER, huge mistake in the 99th that lead to Chelsea tying pk. It was a weak penalty but a needless challenge. Actually, after watching the replays, that was a total dive and bullshit call against Adrian. Beyond lame.

Made a great deflection in the 113th to save a goal. Then saved a Mason Mount shot a few minutes later.

Saved the final pk to give Liverpool the win.

Defenders

Joe Gomez (7.5) – Gets the nod in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold. Was like TAA-light, doing well getting forward. Does well on recovery, helping shut down an attempt in the 33rd. Picked up defensive intensity in second half. Also well positioned to block a Pulisic shot in the 65th. Like what I’m seeing from the kid defensively. Active.

Virgil van Dijk (7) – Backline is shaky af early and constantly getting shredded. That’s in part on Big Virg getting them organized. Almost headed up the opener in the 29th with his big noggin.

Steadied in the second half, containing the constant threat of Pedro better.

Missed one off the woodwork in the 75th for a would-be winner. Got in the way of a would-be winner for Chelsea 6 minutes later.

Joel Matip (6.5) – Closed out Pedro to potentially help thwart a goal in the 22nd. Plastic Man-esque in interceptions / shut downs. Still, somewhat uneven. Mistakes followed by great moments, like his 105th minute Barkley stop.

Andy Robertson (6.5) – Would’ve liked Robbo to get some rest, but I’d also like us to win another trophy. Brilliant defending in the 21st to shutdown Pedro in the box. Seemed to run out of gas in the second half. Subbed out for TAA.

Midfielders

Jordan Henderson (5.5) – Set up the Mane bicycle kick in the 5th minute that should’ve been called a hand-ball on Chelsea. Unlucky to have a shot deflected in the second half but fumbled a great opportunity created by Salah.

Rightfully called for a yellow on a needless challenge in the 85th. Clearly fatigued by the end.

Fabinho (6) – Always feel good when he shows up on the starting sheet. Steady as always. A dispossession / tackling machine. However, Chelsea is shredding Liverpool on counters and Fabinho isn’t in his typical “right place right time” positioning.

Wonderful touch and lob pass / hockey assist on the leveling goal. Feeling it, blasted a shot wide a few minutes later off another Bobby pass.

Despite being fatigued at the end of extra time, nailed his pk.

James Milner (5) – Service on corners is spot on. Hurting the squad defensively. Better in second half but subbed off for Gini in the 64th.

Forwards

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5) – Welcome back to the starting XI, Ox! Looks good early, almost setting up Salah for a goal in the 16th. Otherwise pretty quiet. Subbed off at the half for Bobby.

Sadio Mane (9) – Sweet bicycle attempt in the 5th that should’ve been called a hand-ball on Chelsea. Should’ve headed home a Milner corner in the 30th. Leveled the game with a frantic finish off a brilliant Firmino flick.

Mane put Liverpool ahead with a brace in the 95th minute off another gorgeous set up from Firmino. Subbed out in extra time for DIVOCK ORIGI.

Mohamed Salah (8) – Another one I’d like to see rest, but he also is like the Energizer bunny. He never seems tired. Was active early, a constant threat. A good opportunity just missed in the 16th. Dropped deeper in the first half to help support Liverpool’s struggling midfield and defense.

Beautiful pass to Hendo in the 54th that the captain fumbled. Just missed another key pass to Bobby a minute later. Passing particularly on point in the second half. Constantly found open space to drop dimes. Made his pk.

Substitutions

Roberto Firmino (10) – Came on after the half for Ox. Immediate impact with a beautiful flick to Mane for the leveler. His megger pass to Mane in extra time gave Liverpool the lead. Nailed his pk obv.

Georginio Wijnaldum (5) – Came in for Milner to provide some defensive support in the 64th. Mostly silent again save for some scrappy moments. Won a free kick🤷‍♀️

Trent Alexander-Arnold (5) – On to give Robbo a breather. Bad foul earned him a yellow. Made his pk.

Divock Origi (N/R) – Came on for Mane in extra time. Oddly, didn’t score. So unlike him. Barely made his pk.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Hard not to give it to Mane, but the entire game changed when Firmino came on. He assisted on the two Mane goals. Was brilliant. 

Summer Transfer Window Winners and Losers

Tyler Everett August 14, 2019

The 2019 summer transfer window is not yet closed in every league. However, with Premier League teams unable to sign anyone else, let’s go ahead and look at three of the biggest winners of the offseason in Europe, as well as three teams (and/or leagues) that experienced a summer to forget.

Winners

Everett: For me, the three winners are Arsenal, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid.

Arsenal: This team added one of the most sought-after players on the market in Nicolas Pepe. He is now part of a dangerous attacking trio — Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette combined for 73 goals and 33 assists in all competitions last season — that could (emphasis on “could”) rival Liverpool’s and Manchester City’s as the EPL’s best.

But scoring has not been Arsenal’s problem. Defense has been the issue for the Gunners, who also addressed that area by picking up David Luiz from Chelsea and Kieran Tierney from Celtic just before the deadline.

Barcelona: Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong are two of the biggest additions to any team that was in legit Champions League contention a year ago. The Catalans’ general lack of athleticism and balance in the attack — for the rare games when an opponent keeps Lionel Messi in check — were the two things that kept Barcelona from reaching/winning the Champions League final. They’ve checked both those boxes in a huge way.

Atlético Madrid: Despite all they lost — and there was a massive exodus, which we discussed in our piece grading the Kieran Trippier signing — getting João Félix was a coup that can’t be overstated. They’ve looked amazing in preseason and seem like a much better bet than their crosstown rivals to prevent Barcelona from winning the league for the 9th time in 12 seasons this year.

And if as they hadn’t restocked enough, earlier this week, they paid around €60M/$67M for Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno. He adds attacking depth, and perhaps more importantly, is a big loss for the La Liga team team with the best shot at breaking into the top three. 

Chops: Picking three winners this period is tough. A lot of teams deserve recognition. But since Tyler is one of those hardasses that doesn’t believe every kid should get a medal, I’ll narrow it down and say Ajax, Atlético and *cringes* Manchester City.

Ajax: They haven’t (to date) been totally picked apart. As Tyler wrote, keeping Donny van de Beek will be huge. They also extended David Neres through ‘23, a key indicator that Ajax may be looking to retain and build on what they have. 

Also, can we stop with the “poor little Ajax” narrative now? Their squad is worth $433M USD. That puts them on par with Leicester City in the EPL. They made a net profit of $140Mish this summer. It’s not like they just sold players. They spent too. Quincy Promes in particular could shine. The Dutch international struggled at Sevilla last year, but he tore it up at Spartak Moscow the previous few years. 

Everett: Can’t let there be any mention of Ajax without me chiming in. Edson Alvarez, a 21-year-old Mexican defender with the versatility to play multiple positions, was another nice pickup for this team. Alvarez has already seen significant minutes with the Mexican national team and while he’s hardly a household name, his signing was widely viewed as yet another smart move by Ajax. 

Atleti: I agree with Tyler on Atleti. They make the list in part to the degree of difficulty they operated under. Losing key pieces Antoine Griezmann and Rodri should’ve sank them. But they reloaded with a more attack-oriented team featuring 19 year-old phenom Felix. Early preseason results look impressive and as we all know, PRESEASON MEANS EVERYTHING

Seriously though, things could’ve crumbled at Wanda Metro and they didn’t. That alone is a win. 

Manchester City: Fuck them. Moving on. 

Losers

Everett: My first loser would be Real Madrid. Though they certainly added quality, especially Eden Hazard, they are a hot mess going into the season opener this weekend.

This could be its own lengthy piece, but Zinedine Zidane presumably returned to the Spanish capital last spring under the impression he could jettison Gareth Bale and any other players he didn’t care for. About that. Bale is still around after coming as close as you can to exiting without actually heading out the door. So is James Rodriguez, for now — the window doesn’t close in Spain until Monday, September 2. 

To cap a summer of dysfunction, RM is now trying to acquire Neymar. At this exact moment, could there be a worse match of star and manager in the entire soccer world than Neymar and Zidane??

Chops: I agree with you on Real Madrid there. Zidane feels like Mourinho 2.0 right now.

Everett: *speaking of…deletes what I had written about Manchester United after they blitzed Chelsea in their opener*

I was going to rip this squad for overpaying significantly for Harry Maguire and letting Romelu Lukaku walk without replacing him, but if last Sunday was any indication, this might have been my worst take of the summer. 

Chops: The biggest loser to me, especially if it leads to their relegation, is Newcastle. They didn’t buy who Rafa Benitez wanted (or at the price he wanted), and he left. Rafa was the kind of quality manager who Newcastle should’ve done anything — and I mean anything — to keep. Now he’s gone, and so is their likely stay in the top division. 

I also think Ligue 1 is a huge loser. They’re already the weakest of the “big 5” domestic leagues. They’re basically a 1 club division. The also-rans lost all of their best players, mostly to the Premier League. One club (PSG) has ambition. And they’re in disarray. The rest just dump their promising players and have no chance at competing for a domestic title. Ligue 1 is a joke. Give me the Eredivisie all day long over them.

Everett: I’ll get to Liverpool in a second as my third “loser,” but if anyone thought Ligue 1 was uninteresting last year, they realllly won’t want to watch this league this season. Second-place Lille (with 75 points, 16 behind PSG’s 91) and third-place Lyon were the closest thing PSG had to “competition” a year ago. Lille lost Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal, while Lyon lost captain Nabil Fekir (Real Betis) and rising stars Tanguy Ndombele (Spurs) and Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid). So with or without Neymar, expect PSG to wrap up another Ligue 1 trophy with five or six games to play.

Ok, back to Liverpool. Klopp made it clear that continuity would be his priority (aka no big names were going to be added), but Reds fans have to be frustrated at how little this team did this summer. You had to imagine that at some point, a key piece or two would have been signed to improve depth. It never happened. With Man City in a similar spot as far as a lack of weaknesses in the starting XI, they still added Rodrigo in the midfield and João Cancelo in the back.

Chops, I’ll go out on a limb and say you have something to add here?

Chops: I mean, I’m not going to call Liverpool a “loser” of the summer necessarily, but seriously what the hell.

On one hand, as I’ve said before, Klopp and Liverpool have earned a Belichick / Patriots level of trust and doubt-benefits given. If Klopp believes team chemistry and continuity takes precedence over depth, I’ll drink that Kool-Aid.

On the other hand, BUY ERRRRRYBODY. 

In preseason posts and podcasts, I’ve spoken to the fortunate health Liverpool has enjoyed the past two seasons. What happens during game 1? Their irreplaceable goalkeeper Alisson goes down with a calf injury.

Liverpool is competing for 7 total trophies this campaign. When they inevitably play Long Melford or Kirkley & Pakefield (that’s a club, not a law firm) in the FA Cup, it’d be nice to rest all of the top XI and field a team we have 100% certainty will win.

Ok, that’s an extreme example, but if they’re serious about getting “greedy” for more trophies, that requires a top notch squad against a Watford-type club in the Carabao Cup semis, you know? 

I think I speak for all Liverpool fans in saying we’d really, really like to win the Premier League this season. And that it’s going to be really, really hard since Manchester City added even more world-class depth to their squad. Now if karma exists, then a FFP violating club owned essentially by a sovereign constitutional monarchy that suppresses human rights (and particularly those of women) shouldn’t win a third straight Premier League title. 

But life isn’t always fair. 

My hunch is that Liverpool is going to learn very quickly that losing any of their key pieces for any period of time is going to cause some points to be dropped. And as we learned last year, you basically can’t drop any points if you want to overcome City for the Premier League title.

Liverpool had the financial resources and clout to pull in some major signings this offseason. They didn’t. They may still win a trophy or two, but they’ll feel the pain domestically come Spring.

Everett: I knew I shouldn’t have opened that Pandora’s box…

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Matchday 2 Preview

August 14, 2019

Who: Manchester City vs Tottenham
When: Saturday, August 17th @ 12:30 pm ET on NBC Sports
Where: The Etihad
LineManchester City -286 | Draw +450 | Tottenham +700

Well, the Premier League title defense got off to the perfect start for Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side crushed West Ham United 5-0 to kick-off their campaign, which doesn’t really seem surprising if you see they’ve scored 22 goals at the London Stadium in recent years.

Going by their untouchable dominance, there aren’t many to stop their annihilation. However, UEFA Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur could have something else in mind  Mauricio Pochettino’s side threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Aston Villa, with their relentless attacking nature proving they’re capable of blowing away any side. Tread carefully, Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City Likely XI:

Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero.

It’s probably affirmative towards their unbelievable depth that even without regular starters like Sergio Aguero or Bernardo Silva that City destroyed West Ham. Both players should start at the Etihad Stadium knowing their comfort at home. New signing Joao Cancelo made the bench on Saturday, but should get his debut to weave his magic against Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur Likely XI:

Lloris, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Ndombele, Sissoko, Eriksen, Son, Kane, Moura.

Tottenham Hotspur’s newest signing Tanguy Ndombele had a dream debut against Villa. Now,  he’ll be expected to prove his mettle against the daunting Man City. Spurs’ other signings Ryan Sessegnon, Giovani Lo Celso are still being phased in, while Dele Alli is still injured.  However, Heung-Min Son should draft back in after serving his suspension, as should the influential Christian Eriksen.

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Match Preview

Going by the attacking intensity both sides displayed in Matchday 1, this should be an end-to-end encounter. Of course, overruling the champions at their own yard is no joke, but Mauricio Pochettino’s sides’ fearlessness could result in a feisty encounter.

However, City love breaking spirits. With RaheemSterling scoring, Mahrez assisting and De Bruyne dominating the midfield, the champions look just as good (if not better) as last season. With Aguero’s as well as Bernardo Silva’s introduction, the lethality meter will spike up.

Considering they netted 57 goals (more than 3 per game) at home last season, City’s impenetrable home rule should continue through this season.  However, John Stones’ uneasy moments in defense last week raised questions. Guardiola needs to fix that to neutralize Harry Kane and co.

Tottenham are looking a more menacing unit this season. They attempted 24 shots against Aston Villa in an absolute unrelenting approach. With Tanguy Ndombele’s dynamic presence in midfield, Spurs’ fluidity in possession has been amplified. Harry’s Kane’s scoring early, Christian Eriksen’s assisting while Lucas Moura and Son remain persisting threats.

While both sets of wing-backs are crucial with their contribution on both sides of the field and center-backs vital to contain the onslaught, the real battle will be in midfield. As Spurs’ defensively solid, bullish trio take on City’s possession masters, sparks are bound to blow over.

Whoever dominates the midfield or breaks their opponents’ line should come out victorious. Of course, City also have revenge on their mind after the Champions League elimination earlier this year, so they’ll be out for blood like thirsty hounds.

Prediction

This should be a thrilling, open encounter between two unflinching teams, producing plenty of goals. However, I don’t see Spurs unsettling City this early at the Etihad and Pep’s side should get another decisive win to retain their top spot.

Premier League Betting Market Risers and Fallers After Matchday 1

Chops August 14, 2019

While Manchester City and Liverpool cruised to expected and decisive wins on the Premier League‘s opening weekend, a few teams surprised. Which Premier League teams were betting market risers and fallers after matchday 1?

Risers

Manchester United’s throttling of Chelsea saw new money placed on the Red Devil’s title and top 4 odds.

United has seen their title odds go from +3300 to +2800 on DraftKings Sportsbook NJ. They’ve moved from top 4 even money (+100) to odds-on (-118). The improvement is more steep at FanDuel Sportsbook, where Man U jumped from +3800 to +2600 to hoist the EPL trophy (can you imagine reading that sentence just 7 years ago?)

On the other end up the spectrum, FOURTH PLACE BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION saw their relegation futures go from +180 to +300. They’re now the 7th most likely club–according to oddsmakers–to be relegated.

As for City and Liverpool? Slight bump for City (-200 to -230 on DK, -230 to -270 on FD) and downgrade for Liverpool (+275 from +250 on DK, no change on FD).

Fallers

So, Chelsea.

The Blues doubled their longness on the title, going from +3300 to +6600 (which seems awfully generous). Their top 4 chances moved from +110 to +225. Top 6 is still odds-on, but from -455 to only -250.

Not that West Ham was a serious title contender, but they un-improved from +50000 to +75000. Their top 6 odds took a hit from +1100 to +1600.

On the relegation side, it wasn’t Newcastle…poor, sweet, suffering Newcastle…but Crystal Palace that suffered the most after opening matchday. The Eagles went from +500 to +275 for a bottom 3 finish.

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