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September 11, 2019

Norwich City vs Manchester City Matchday 5 Preview

Avatar September 11, 2019

Who: Norwich City vs Manchester City
When: Saturday, September 14th @ 12:30 pm ET
LineNorwich +1500 | Draw +750 | Manchester City -670

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Manchester City will continue their chase of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table this weekend, facing a Saturday tea time clash with newly promoted Norwich City at Carrow Road.

The champions are currently two points adrift of their main rivals, and will look to build on their 4-0 demolition of Brighton two weeks ago before the international break.

City are seeking their fifth Premier League title in nine seasons.

Norwich vs Manchester City Match Preview

So far, City have been in red hot form scoring 14 goals in the opening four matches of the campaign. Sergio Aguero leads the EPL with six goals. Teammate Raheem Sterling has five, as does Norwich front-man Teemu Pukki.v

After a thumping 5-0 win on the opening day of the Premier League season at West Ham, and a convincing 3-1 victory away at Bournemouth, City have dropped only two points so far this season.

And they can consider themselves unlucky they re not level on points with Liverpool, who have a 100% record, as VAR overruled what appeared to be a late winner in the pulsating 2-2 draw against Tottenham at the Etihad.

Gabriel Jesus believed he had scored in injury time, only for the goal to be disallowed as it was ruled that in the build up Aymeric Laporte had handled the ball, in what was a controversial decision.

Overall, City have averaged 3.5 goals in Premier League games, with a shooting accuracy of 39% with 30 shots on target from 77 attempts.

Predictably from a team managed by Pep Guardiola,  the champion’s passing accuracy has reached an impressive 89%, a total of 620 passes per match, highlighting the task that Norwich face.

De Bruyne a boost for City 

The form of Kevin De Bruyne has also been a huge positive for City this season. He has supplied five assists and scored the opener in the destruction of Brighton.

The 28-year-old Belgian will be hoping that his good start to the season continues, after an injury ravaged 18/19 season. KdB only made 19 Premier League starts due to successive injuries, including a torn knee ligament in August last year after being hurt in training.

He also sustained another knee ligament problem in the 2-0 win over Fulham in the Carabao Cup after a comeback from that injury last November.

City’s luck with knee injuries so far this season has managed to get worse, with Leroy Sane damaging his cruciate ligament in the Community Shield against Liverpool.

The German international is now set to miss most of this season.

Aymeric Laporte is also set for a prolonged absence  after damaging the cartilage and lateral meniscus in his right knee in the Brighton victory. Left-back Benjamin Mendy is still planning his comeback after his own long term knee trouble.

Norwich set for uphill struggle

Norwich City can point to a mixed return to the Premier League after a three year exile in the Championship.

The Canaries came back from a disastrous start after losing 4-1 at Liverpool by smashing Newcastle 3-1 on their top flight home return. Pukki netted a hat trick in the win. The Finnish international has been in fine form in his debut season in the Premier League. He’s carried his goal scoring prowess through the international break, scoring against both Greece and Italy.

The Premier League newcomers also provided a stiff challenge to Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, equalizing twice against the Blues in a frantic first half before Tammy Abraham scored the winner in a narrow 3-2 win.

Norwich have conceded ten goals in four matches. Their defending has been widely criticized, and with City in a rampant mood it would be hard to see past anything other than a routine win for the reigning champions.

Daniel Farke’s side will be hoping though that they can adapt at the highest level against one of the best teams in the world, despite their obvious limited experience.

Yet they have their own injury issues before Saturday’s clash, as centre half Timm Klose is set for a spell on the sidelines after damaging his cruciate ligament in the Carabao Cup tie at Crawley Town.

Defender Christoph Zimmermann may return after a foot ligament injury, but midfielder Tom Trybull faces six weeks on the sidelines due to an ankle problem.

Man City’s last visit to Carrow Road ended in a goalless draw back in March 2016, just before Norwich’s Premier League relegation was confirmed.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Player Ratings Did FIFA 20 Surprisingly Get Right?

High Press 10 September 11, 2019
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So much attention is give to what player ratings EA’s FIFA title get wrong, nobody ever gives credit for ones they surprisingly nailed.

FIFA 20 had a few ratings that just made us do this:

Here’s a list of ratings that FIFA 20 made us nod our head in approval.

Zlatan Ibrahimović (85)

Zlatan is just awesome. His feud with Carlos Vela has reinvigorated him. He scores goals so easily it’s like he’s playing a different game than MLS defenders. He could and should go back Manchester United in January, where he’d be a productive addition.

Hakim Ziyech (85)

Ajax probably deserved one or two other squad members in the top 100 (Donny van de Beek? David Neres?) but Ziyech works for now. He’s arguably the best player in the Eredivisie this season and was inarguably the best last season.

Fabinho (85)

Liverpool’s #6 is the central nervous system of the squad. He’s always in the right place. He usually leads the team in passes per game. He’s a moster at dispossesing and tackling. He does the dirty work that often doesn’t get recognized. FIFA did. 👏👏👏

Andy Robertson (85)

Robbo should’ve been joined by his right flank partner Trent Alexander-Arnold, but it’s impossible to ignore the Scot’s impact on Liverpool’s offense. And the tenacity he brings to Liverpool’s defense. As he showed in the Champions League semi-finals, he’s supplanted Jordi Alba as best left-back in the world.

Dries Mertens (87)

Fans of Serie A are familiar with Dries’ work. The masses might not know the 32 year-old Napoli striker as well. His 16 goals and 11 assists are Hazard-esque. He’s every bit his 87 rating.

Hugo Lloris (88)

Lloris has earned a lot of credibility this season for an under-performing Spurs squad (is there any other kind of Spurs squad?). He’s the highest rated keeper in the Premier League so far this season. He should be rated higher than David de Gea (89) in FIFA, but he at least got deserved elite consideration.

Kevin de Bruyne (91)

After suffering an injury-plagued 2018-19 campaign, dropping KdB down into the high 80’s would’ve been understandable. Instead, de Bruyne is tied for 4th highest rated. With Eden Hazard (also 91) gone to La Liga, KdB has started 2019-20 as the player most likely to assume his Belgium country-mates’ status as best player in the EPL.

Lionel Messi (94)

If anything, the GOAT should be higher. Messi had another historically great season for his historically great career. He’s every bit deserving of the top spot in FIFA 20.

Champions League Teams to Watch: RB Leipzig, Atalanta and Valencia

Tyler Everett September 11, 2019
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The 32 teams in the group stage of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League include usual suspects (and favorites) like defending champs Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona.

After that group, you have a handful of teams including Atlético Madrid — who we would argue is as good as the teams in that first groupJuventus, and Real Madrid who, on paper and reputation, could make a deep run.

But who are the relative unknowns (the possible ’19-20 versions of Ajax*) worth checking out in group play?

This year’s Champions League title favorites are in order: Man City, Barcelona, Liverpool, Real Madrid (huh??), Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, Atleti, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Before we move on, should Spurs (+2300) and Chelsea (+2700) be seen as more likely to win the UCL than Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Napoli and Inter Milan? Based on how those teams have looked in the opening weeks of the EPL season, the odds on Spurs and Chelsea seem more like a nod to the strength of their brands than anything else. Name recognition also must be why Real Madrid (+1000) is favored ahead of Bayern Munich (+1100), Juventus (+1100), PSG (+1100) and Atleti (+2100).

Three teams to watch this Champions League: RB Leipzig, Valencia, Atalanta

Without further ado, let’s talk Bundesliga side RB Leipzig (+5000), La Liga side Valencia (+8000) and Serie A’s Atalanta (+10000).

These teams we believe are worth watching (as we talked about in our Champions League predictions feature) because of their style of play and potential to cause damage to the favorites.

RB Leipzig (+5000, 12th-best odds)

This team might be the “underdog” that is most likely to reach the knockout rounds. And it definitely jumps off the page as one of the strongest Pot 4 teams.

First of all, Group G’s Pot 1 team is Zenit St. Petersburg, which is not exactly a perennial fixture in the latter stages of the UCL. At least they have a sense of humor about it.

I’m not exactly going out on a limb by expressing some confidence in the German club’s chances. And their chances only look better when you remember that this group’s Pot 2 team, Benfica, is missing João Félix, who might be sliiightly difficult to replace.

Second, and more importantly, RB Leipzig are currently first in the Bundesliga. Yes, it’s early, but a goal differential of +7 in a good league is a sign these guys are for real. They have nine goals through just three games (in the Bundesliga, only Bayern has more), and they’ve also given up just two. RB Leipzig’s three wins are over Union Berlin (4-0), Eintracht Frankfurt (2-1) and Borussia Moenchengladbach (3-1).

So who are the names to watch? The biggest is 23-year-old German Timo Werner, who scored a hat trick in his team’s last Bundesliga match, a 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Aug. 30, and has already scored five goals this year. Both Werner, who had 16 goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga last year, and 25-year-old Austrian Marcel Sabitzer (1 goal, 3 assists so far this year) currently boast impressive WhoScored ratings over 8.0.

Valencia (+8000, tied with Ajax for the 16th-best odds)

Another team we’ve written about quite a bit, Valencia is the reigning Copa del Rey champ after finishing ’19-20 on a tear. They also reached the semifinals of the Europa League. They had a weird, tumultuous summer, even by Spanish standards. And they’re off to another slow start in La Liga. They opened the season by drawing Real Sociedad before losing to Celta Vigo and finally getting three points over promoted side Mallorca.

A year ago, it was an inability to score, especially early, that held them back. With just three goals through three games this year, we don’t yet know whether Valencia solved that problem over the summer. The good news is that Rodrigo Moreno did not leave, after he appeared for weeks to be headed to Atleti. We’ll know a lot more about this team this weekend, when they travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona.

Though there are certainly questions, Valencia is worth a look based on A) how they played the last couple months of ’18-19 and B) the fact that no one else in Group H (Chelsea, Ajax and Lille) screams “untouchable” at the moment.

Atalanta (+10000, 18th-best odds)

Let’s start with this team’s group: Man City is a lock to advance, but Atalanta is a popular pick to join Pep Guardiola’s team instead of Shakhtar Donetsk or Dinamo Zagreb.

Through two games in Serie A (how much more could you possibly need to see to have a strong opinion??), there’s been some good and bad for this club: scoring five goals is extremely impressive. There’s just one minor issue: they’ve also given up that many.

Still, expect this team, which led Serie A with 77 (!) goals a year ago, to push for a spot in the knockout rounds, and maybe more if they can tighten up defensively.

Their top scorer a year ago was Colombian Duván Zapata (23 goals, 7 assists in Serie A). He has two goals through two games this year in domestic play. Another player to watch is Slovenian Josip Ilicic, who had 12 goals and 7 assists in Serie A in ’18-19.

*Because we’ve recently written about them at length, we left Ajax out of this group, but if you’re not already familiar with them, you should change that ASAP.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook.

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