We’re coming in hot on the latest High Press Soccer Podcast!
Chops is joined by Tyler Everett to discuss the latest black eye on the US Men’s soccer program. After Mexico spanked the USMNT 3-0, it’s time to start asking some hard questions. Or more specifically:
- Why US Soccer’s men’s program is such a catastrophe (00:30)
- What in Gregg Berhalter’s coaching past indicates he’s the right man for this job? (2:40)
- The juxtaposition of Berhalter vs Tata Martino (4:30)
- Has US Soccer done anything recently to suggest they’ll get the men’s program right? (9:30)
- Then we shift to more pleasant discussions around FIFA 20 and player ratings (19:00)
- Previewing Barcelona vs Valencia and Lionel Messi’s potential return (24:30)
- Preview Premier League matchday 5 and Manchester United vs Leicester (27:50)
Listen below or subscribe in Apple’s Podcast Center.
Who: Manchester United vs Leicester City
When: Saturday, September 14th @ 10:00 am ET
Line: Manchester United -125 | Draw +265 | Leicester+350
So now that the international break is over (finally!), things get back to reality at Old Trafford. Some Manchester United’s players were really impressive for their respective nations, but it’s time to relay that form in red. An unbeaten Leicester City lies await as the Premier League returns. Brendan Rodgers’ side are flying high after constructing a well-drilled attacking-line capable of menacing the meanest defences.
For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the equation is simple. His side must start taking their chances to start winning again. Certain injuries plague their chances on Saturday, but United must put in all their effort to oust Leicester and move ahead in the standings.
Ironically, United’s 9.32 XPTS is marginally higher than Leicester’s 6.04 XPTS. It’s fascinatingly polarizing how much lady luck has separated these two sides, as United have scored more while only conceding one more than Leicester. As OGS aims to turn his misfortunes into good luck, a win against Leicester is crucial towards shaping a prolific September.
Manchester United Predicted Starting XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young, McTominay, Matic, Rashford, Pogba, James, Martial.
Thankfully, Anthony Martial is tipped to be back against Leicester. Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba & Aaron Wan-Bissaka all pulled away from international duties minor dings, but I think the latter two will be back if not all three. Luke Shaw remains the only one out.
Leicester City Predicted Starting XI
Schmeichel, Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Ndidi, Perez, Choudhary, Tielemans, Maddison, Vardy.
Brendan Rodgers’ fortunes couldn’t be better as his squad is injury-free. With his prime individuals not even featuring heavily, they’ll be fully fit attempting to make a statement at United’s expense.
Manchester United vs Leicester City Match Preview
The last time these two faced off at Old Trafford, a United side low in confidence from a distasteful pre-season campaign sneaked a win. Desperate for a win, OGS hopes history repeats itself on Saturday.
Now it’s not like United are especially disappointing. They’re tied tied for third (with Leicester) for goal differential. Arsenal, Chelsea & Tottenham Hotspur have all stuttered early on. But United still lack that killer instinct which could’ve, for me, ideally gotten them more points.
Regardless, after a stretched break, Ole hopes for a fully-fit unit. United must bring their A-game to defeat an unbeaten Leicester. Pogba should be moved upwards as he’s created the most number of chances for them, also bagging two assists so far.
Perhaps bringing in Nemanja Matic to add numbers in the midfield should neutralize Leicester’s swift, penetrative movements. However, Martial returning would be especially crucial. He’s contributed a goal or assist in every game he’s played, looking more comfortable in a central role where he can get into prime goal-scoring positions.
Daniel James can’t stop scoring, but faces his biggest task yet against the hard-working Ricardo Perreira or Ben Chilwell, depending on where he plays. Marcus Rashford should move into the wing where he’s a much bigger threat with his pace and impressive link-up ability with Martial.
However, the talk of the town is Harry Maguire facing his former side. The big-headed defender captained England for some-time against Bulgaria, packing him with confidence prior to a challenging reunion. Leicester, meanwhile, look to bring him down to earth. With the lethal Jaime Vardy, who’s already bagged 3 goals from just six shots, the Foxes have someone leading the fight against Maguire and co.
They possess an enviable midfield with two magicians in Youri Tielemans and James Maddison creating chances for Vardy in bulks. The steely Wilfried N’Didi-Hamza Choudhary combo inject energy into midfield. Maguire’s replacement, Caglar Soyuncu, looks a sturdy figure, while Kasper Schmeichel’s a pain to score past.
United must outwork and outwit Leicester, but more importantly, capitalize on their chances to see this through.
While the realist in me says it’ll be a draw, my heart says that United will get back into winning ways. It should be a thrilling open contest, but I think United should scrape a 2-1 win to get back on track.
Where to Bet Premier League in the US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
We’ll take this one step farther now by identifying 20 players they got plain wrong.
20. Trent Alexander-Arnold
TAA didn’t even crack the top 20! The best right-back in England is not considered one of the 100 best on FIFA 20! Alexander-Arnold led Liverpool with 12 Premier League assists last season. “Corner taken quickly” will be a phrase said at Anfield for a century. He was by any measure a more productive player than Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal last season, who rated an 85.
19. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Speaking of under-appreciated right-backs…
A leak came out that AWB rated a 79. While Wan-Bissaka isn’t in TAA class just yet, he’s a superior defender. His record right-back transfer fee was a record for a reason. The 21 year-old has proven to be worth it so far for Manchester United this season.
18. Jadon Sancho
Why does EA value aging vets over supernova youngsters? EA is like Manchester United before this past transfer window. “Is he over 30 and on the decline? Give him a 90!”
Sancho rates as an 84. He’s the best player on the second best team in the Bundesliga. He has the highest market value of any player in the Bundesliga.
17. João Félix
The theme continues: young players who aren’t rated appropriately. Atletico Madrid is not losing an ounce of sleep over making Felix a record teenage signing. He’s helped guide Aleti atop the La Liga table. Who would you rather have on your squad: Felix (rated 80) or that little dickhead Mauro Icardi (rated 85)? 98 out of 100 manager would pick Felix, right?
16. Romelu Lukaku
We here at High Press Soccer are very much on Lukaku’s corner. He was unfairly bashed at Man U. He’s a proper striker. He’s just not an 85. 82 or 83, all day long. It’s a small nit, sure. But again, would you take Lukaku over Sancho? Nobody would.
15. Matthijs de Ligt
Alright FIFA, so the one youngster you do highly rate is the one struggling the most in top tier football? De Ligt was putrid in his one game for Juventus so far.
One game does not make a season. However, de Ligt didn’t statistically rate as well as Felix, Sancho, or other young stars he outranks on FIFA 20. We’re not saying de Ligt isn’t going to be a beast–he is–but his FIFA rating this year doesn’t match his actual productive yet.
Another over-valued older player.
Statistically, Marcelo has been on a steady decline the past two seasons. He’s still a world-class defender, he’s just not an 85. Maybe outside of his home club, Real Madrid, is there another team in the world that would take Marcelo over fellow 85-rated-left-back Andy Robertson? There’s not.
13. Philippe Coutinho
He’s rated an 86. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
If BVB called Bayern Munich tomorrow and said, “He, we’ll swap Jadon Sancho for Philippe Coutinho…” here are the 7 things that Bayern would do:
- Bang head on desk while feinting
- Get a concussion from hitting head on desk and then hitting the ground
- Get put on an ambulance after head swells from concussion
- While in the ambulance on a fucking respirator, call BVB back and ask, “Hallo hast du mir gerade Jadon Sancho für Philippe Coutinho angeboten?”
- When BVB answers “Ja,” start crying tears of joy
- Literally flood the ambulance with tears from crying — never has such joy been felt
12. Ivan Rakitić
Rakitić is fine. He deserves the 86 rating more than Coutinho. It’s not that far off. But do the Jadon Sancho test to Barcelona like we just did with Coutinho to Bayern. The Catalans wouldn’t feint and cry a river of tears of joy, but they wouldn’t hesitate making that deal.
11. Roberto Firmino
He’s the most important player this season on the fifth best team of all time. FIFA should have him at a 90 and make him as big of a joy to play as he is to watch.
10. Jan Vertonghen
Get the fuck out with Jan Vertonghen as an 87.
Is Vertonghen terrible? No. Not at all. Is he an 87? Let’s put it this way: if Liverpool called Tottenham today and said, “Hey Spurs, you guys look great this season. Really thought you were better than City that day. How did City draw you? Probably cheated. Anyway, we’ll swap you Joel Matip (rated 82) for Vertonghen…” Does Klopp even get to the third syllable of Ver-tong-hen before Spurs say yes?
9. Toby Alderweireld
Who did Tottenham blow at FIFA to get their 30 year-old+ center-backs rated so highly?
Alderweireld was averageireld all last season. Why were Spurs games such open shootouts? Why did collapses always feel imminent? Because Toby and Jan were locking down the opposition?
8. Jordi Alba
Another 30 year-old coasting on reputation. He’s rated 87. Andy Robertson is 85. Andy Robertson was clearly better than Alba in the UCL semi-finals. Let’s not over-complicate this. He’s still great. Other LBs are better.
7. David de Gea
Last season was de Gea’s worst in the Premier League. As noted earlier, he’s rated the same as Alisson. They were in different universes last year.
6. Sergio Busquets
If a 💩 emoji was wearing a Barcelona jersey, would it automatically get an 85 rating by FIFA? This is no besmirchment on Busquets. While last season was a bit of a down year for him, he’s still a top tier midfielder. He’s just not 89 level. That’s rarefied air.
5. Raheem Sterling
[Deep exhale] Ok, Sterling is rated 88. He should be more like a 90. He’s among the global elites. Painful to say. Gotta keep it real.
4. Sergio Ramos
Ramos belongs in jail the FIFA hall of fame. He’s an all-time great thug center-back. He’s also 33. He’s very clearly on the decline. Is he still among the best 20 center-backs in the world? Yes. Is he among the best handful in the world like his 89 suggests? Not any more.
3. Kylian Mbappe
He’s the third best attacking player in the world. Is that even really up for discussion? Believe it or not, Neymar, despite all of the distractions and injury issues, is still a statistically better player than Mbappe. However, Mbappe > Ronaldo.
He’s also the most valuable player in the world. That should matter.
2. Luka Modric
He’s 34. That’s old. Last season was his worst statistical domestic season since…EVER. He’s a legend. Don’t even have a problem with the Lifetime Achievement Ballon D’or he won. He’s not one of the 10 best players in the world any more as his 90 rating would suggest.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Just sticking to the soccer stuff…he’s still great. He’s still elite. He’s not the second best player in the world any more. Messi is better. When healthy, Neymar is better. Mbappe is better. When healthy, yes Kevin de Bruyne is better. Yes, Mo Salah is better. Last season he declined. This will be Ronaldo’s worst season he’s had ever. Next season will be even worse.
Father time always wins.
Except when it comes to FIFA ratings.