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High Press 10

High Press 10 covers general global soccer stories and news. He / she finds the quality of soccer in Bend It Like Beckham to be on par with u8 rec.

Despite Loss to Norwich, Manchester City STILL Odds-On Favorites to Win Premier League

High Press 10 September 14, 2019
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Raise your hand if you saw that coming!

Manchester City lost at Norwich today 3-2. Over on DraftKings Sportsbook NJ, Norwich was +1500 underdogs.

Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey (left) and Sam Byram celebrate at the final whistle after the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

Unlike when they drew Tottenham, City actually deserved to drop points today. They committed several individual errors. xG favored City but not by an unreasonable amount (1.74 Norwich to 2.34 City). As a whole, Norwich’s players performed better.

After five games, City are now five points (!!!) behind Liverpool. When most of us saw the 2019-20 Premier League schedule, consensus opinion was that City would coast until they traveled to Anfield in November. Suddenly, City’s match at Anfield may be an absolute must-win for their title hopes.

City are still favorites…because why?

Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, City are still ODDS-ON FAVORITES to win the Premier League, though not as heavily as previously.

Manchester City -180 Liverpool +140 Tottenham +3200


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Why?

FiveThirtyEight probability models have them even with Liverpool.

Liverpool have won 14 straight Premier League games (tied for 4th all-time). They’re the fifth based team EVER based on ClubElo. They’re reigning European champs. Um, they’re FIVE CLEAR of City already.

City very clearly missed Aymeric Laporte today. The backline is not the same without him. Laporte will potentially miss the remaining 2019-20 campaign. With razor thin margins for error (remember, Liverpool were 11 millimeters from winning the EPL last season), Laporte being out may be the difference in this year’s title race.

Liverpool definitely miss Alisson, but he’s coming back next month and Adrian is holding down the fort just fine for now.

Regardless, despite appearances before the season began, we most certainly have a title race. Despite what oddsmakers say, it is Liverpool’s to lose.

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.

High Press Soccer Podcast Episode 24: The US Men’s Soccer Program Is a Catastrophe

High Press 10 September 10, 2019

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.

 

Listen to “High Press Pod Episode 24: The US Men’s Soccer Program Is a Disaster” on Spreaker.

 

FIFA 20: 20 Player Ratings They Got Wrong

High Press 10 September 10, 2019
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FIFA 20 released their top 100 player ratings. Earlier in the day we wrote about what players were the most underrated and overrated.

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.

14. Marcelo

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:

  1. Feint
  2. Bang head on desk while feinting
  3. Get a concussion from hitting head on desk and then hitting the ground
  4.  Get put on an ambulance after head swells from concussion
  5. While in the ambulance on a fucking respirator, call BVB back and ask, “Hallo hast du mir gerade Jadon Sancho für Philippe Coutinho angeboten?”
  6. When BVB answers “Ja,” start crying tears of joy
  7. 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.

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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.

2019-20 Premier League Matchday 5 Odds

High Press 10 September 8, 2019

Premier League matchday 5 has a number of interesting and important match-ups for future finishing positions.

Is Leicester a real threat for the top 4? We’ll know more after they visit Old Trafford and play Manchester United.

Does Crystal Palace, who currently sit 4th, actually have a chance to finish in the top 6? No. They don’t. They have no chance. But if they manage to wrangle a point from Tottenham on the road, you’ll start to pause and at least think about it as opposed to pausing and laughing about it.

Chelsea and Christian Pulisic visit Wolverhampton. Wolves are still searching for their first win. Chelsea has struggled, sitting 11th. Something has to give. One team will propel their season forward with a win.

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2019-20 Premier League Matchday 5 Game Odds

With that out of the way, here are your Premier League matchday 5 game odds. All lines as of 09/08/19 on DraftKings Sportsbook NJ.

HOMESaturday, September 14AWAY
Liverpool -770Draw +750Newcastle +1900
Sheffield United +155Draw +220Southampton +190
Tottenham -286Draw +400Crystal Palace +850
Brighton +120Draw +225Burnley +245
Manchester United -134Draw +275Leicester +380
Wolverhampton +195Draw +225Chelsea +250
Norwich +1500Draw +750Manchester City -670
Sunday, September 15
Bournemouth +210Draw +250Everton +125
Watford +280Draw +265Arsenal -106
Monday, September 16
Aston Villa +160Draw +250West Ham +165

Odds & Ends

  • Manchester United are not as bad as their 8th place standing indicates. They have a +3 goal differential and have been unlucky both in xG and xGA. In fact, their xPTS place them 2nd in the EPL. Having said all of that, look at the +275 draw in their match against Leicester.
  • Speaking of unlucky teams, Wolves and Chelsea both are wanting in xG & xGA. Both are under-performing by xPTS as well. One of these squads will break through this week. Chelsea at +150 seems like the right bet.
  • Liverpool are the biggest favorite of the week, priced at -770 at home vs Newcastle. Spending $770 to win +100 may not seem like a lot of fun, but it’s easy money.

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

USMNT vs Mexico: Odds, Game Time, and Predicted Starting XI

High Press 10 September 6, 2019

Who: USMNT vs Mexico
When: Friday, September 6th at 8:30pm ET
Where: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
LineUSMNT +210 | Draw +240 | Mexico +130

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The USMNT plays Mexico tonight (Friday) at 8:30pm ET. FS1 will broadcast the match.

The US vs Mexico rivalry has always been intense. As soccer’s popularity has grown in the US, and as more American players are finding success and recognition abroad, the matches are attracting more attention than ever. This has only been heightened by the exciting 1-0 Mexican win at the Gold Cup this summer.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has brought up a number of young players that the American public has been waiting to see in international action. Along with USMNT mainstays Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Zack Steffen, emerging stars Sergino Dest and Josh Sargent will likely see action this game.

USMNT vs Mexico Odds

Game odds have not moved during the week. At DraftKings Sportsbook NJ, the US is a home underdog at +210. Mexico is priced at +130. A draw is +240.

If you’re looking for some player props, here are First and Last Goal Scorer odds:

  • Hirving Lozano +475
  • Raúl Jiménez +510
  • Javier Hernández +550
  • Josh Sargent +600
  • Gyasi Zardes +600
  • Jordan Morris +650
  • Corey Baird +750
  • Christian Pulisic +900
  • Tyler Boyd +1050
  • Paxton Pomykal+1050
  • Weston McKennie +1400
  • Jonathan Dos Santos +1500

Expect a lot of action on the +900 Pulisic wager. He’s certainly the US’ best and most popular player. It’s surprising to see him listed so long. The smarter money though is on Lozano or Jiménez. Josh Sargent being priced at +600 — the same as Gyasi Zardes — indicates that oddsmakers think he has a decent shot at starting this game.

USMNT vs Mexico predicted starting XI

This one is hard to pin down. It’s come out that Sergino Dest was promised a start in this game, so US fans will be glad to see him on the pitch. You’d think that at a minimum Josh Sargent would see the field. We just don’t know if that’s at the beginning of the game or as a second half sub. There is more excitement about this selection than usually, as Berhalter has so many new options. Here’s our best take it.

Predicted USMNT Starting XI vs Mexico

To us, the biggest 50/50 calls on here is Zardes vs Sargent and Pomykal vs Baird. If Berhalter brought Sargent up for this match, you’d think it was with the intent of playing him. However, Berhalter also likes who he likes, giving Trapp (especially with no Michael Bradley around) and Zardes a shot at starting.

Oddsmakers think Jordan Morris and Corey Baird are among the favorites on the US for the first goal scored. That nudges them past Tyler Boyd and Paxton Pomykal into the starting XI, respectively.

Where to Bet USMNT vs Mexico 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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Who Are the Best Soccer Teams in the World? Liverpool, Manchester City Lead the Way in Our First Global Soccer Table

High Press 10 September 5, 2019
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Every month, High Press Soccer will issue it’s Global Soccer Table. These are the best XI teams in the world, as seen by our staff.

For now, clubs will only be judged on their domestic performance to date. When Champions League and Europa League matches get underway, those will factor into the rankings as well.

At the September international break, here are who we see as the XI best squads in the world.

11. Tottenham Hotspur

How about this for irony: the #11 spot was going to Ajax. Then “Mr Ajax” himself Tyler Everett submitted his ballot with Tottenham all the way up at #1 (or more accurately, #6) and it bumped Ajax off. For the love of Dennis Bergkamp!

As Tyler noted, “We’re just a few months removed from them making the UCL final and they’re deeper now.” True. But Spurs need to stop dropping points or they’ll drop off the list. Maybe with the transfer window closed and Christian Eriksen getting more starts, Spurs stabilize.

10. Paris Saint-Germain

The most combustible train-wreck of a squad just got more flammable with the addition of Mauro Icardi. Maybe the mercurial Icardi adds another goal per game for PSG in Ligue Ugh play, but their backline will still get shredded in the UCL.

Plus, PSG has a rash of key injuries to deal with in the short-term (Mbappe, Cavani) as well as the re-integration of Neymar to the squad. Interesting month ahead.

9. Borussia Dortmund

The reason we do these monthly instead of weekly is to allow for some larger perspective. BVB suffered a surprising 3-1 loss to newly promoted Union Berlin. However, they dominated possession (75%), total passes, and had a higher xG (1.6 to 1.05). The away match was also kind of insane, complete with some over-the-top fan behavior. Shit happens. BVB is fine.

8. RB Leipzig

Our boys! This year’s Ajax!

RB Leipzig are at 100% and sit atop the Bundesliga. They’re playing fun football, averaging 3 goals per game. Timo Werner has been an absolute boss.

They ultimately won’t win Germany’s top division, but they’ll make it more than a two (or one) team race.

7. Inter Milan

Antonio Conte doesn’t mess around. He got rid of players he didn’t like. He brought in those he does. This is a talented squad. Too bad they drew a brutal UCL group. However, they will challenge Juventus all season long in Serie A.

6. Juventus

So unlikable. Still so good. Domestically.

Juve are behind Inter on goal differential in the Serie A table. We think they’re vulnerable in the UCL. Regardless, they don’t drop behind Inter until they start dropping some points. This squad has so much talent they had to leave Emre Can off their Champions League squad. Other than City, they might be the only team in Europe where Can gets dropped like that.

5. Barcelona

Eighth in La Liga?! The horror!

When Lionel Messi returns, everything will be just fine. They’ll shoot up the rankings. It is worth noting though: this team without Messi still has a ton of talent. They should win more consistently. They shouldn’t be dropping so many points. Maybe Ernesto Valverde is the problem?

4. Bayern Munich

They just beat Mainz 6-1 where six different players scored a goal. After a surprising opening matchday draw vs Hertha and a hasty Philippe Coutinho loan in, this is quickly starting to look like Bayern of old.

3. Atlético Madrid

Perfect record and atop La Liga. Preseason, we touted Atlético as the best value buy in all of Europe to win their league (+1400 at the time). Those odds have dropped to +450. They’ll continue to drop as the season goes. Credit to Diego Simeone for integrating so many new parts without missing a beat. They’ve proven they can score early and then suffocate their opponent for a win. They’ve proven they can get behind and crank up the offensive to win. This squad is for real.

2. Manchester City

Yeah, they dropped points to Tottenham. City were still clearly the better squad. They have the best depth of any team in Europe. Having said that, the loss of Aymeric Laporte for three months highlights one of the few potential weak spots on the roster. Can John Stones effectively hold down the fort? Or will they be more susceptible to elite counter-attacking teams? We may not know the answer to that question until November at Anfield. But it’s worth watching.

1. Liverpool

This year’s squad may be the fifth best soccer team of all-time. They haven’t dropped a point domestically. They won the UEFA Super Cup. Sure, Liverpool don’t have City’s depth. But their top XI is on par with City’s best line-up, especially with the loss of Laporte. Liverpool holds the top spot until they actually (ever?) drop a point.

First off the bench: Ajax

As noted, Ajax was #11 before Everett’s ballot. Expect them to crack the rankings next month.

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This Liverpool Squad Is Now the Fifth Best Team of All-Time According to ClubElo

High Press 10 September 5, 2019
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In June, we wrote how Liverpool had climbed the ranks as one of the all-time greatest squads according to ClubElo. Their start to the 2019-20 campaign, going 4-0-0 in the Premier League and winning the UEFA Super Cup, has only improved their case.

For those unfamiliar, “Elo estimates the strength of a club based on the results against opponents and their strength.” The site aims to look past point totals and trophies to zero in on how strong a team is compared to its peers in a given year. The all-time Elo rating measures the peak strength of a given year’s team.

This year’s Liverpool moves to 5th best all-time

How high can this year’s Liverpool climb?

It’s still only September, and Liverpool could certainly keep climbing. They have a manageable 2019 UEFA Champions League group drawing where they realistically may only drop one fixture (away – Napoli). Domestically, their most likely trouble spots to drop points in the coming two months are away at Chelsea (which immediately follows their Napoli match) and a November home fixture vs Manchester City. However, December is brutal. Liverpool will play a minimum of 8 matches with a thousands of miles of travel, including trips to Qatar (FIFA Club World Cup) and Austria (UCL tie vs Red Bull Salzburg).

Regardless of the brutal schedule, Liverpool could climb to fourth before the year is over, moving past that 1961 Real Madrid squad. Catching up to Pep Guardiola’s 2012 Barcelona or 2014 Bayern Munich seems unlikely. It would take an unprecedented domestic and European run to catch those two all-time great squads. If they somehow manage to navigate their remaining 2019 schedule with few if any losses, they’ll certainly have had one of the greatest year’s in soccer history.

High Press Podcast Ep 23: Premier League and La Liga Buy-Sells and Who Will Win the Champions League and Europa League

High Press 10 September 4, 2019
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New High Press Pod is up!

Chops is joined by Tyler Everett to discuss:

  • Premier League pretenders and contenders
  • La Liga pretenders and contenders
  • The four teams who can win the Champions League
  • The two teams who can win the Europa League
  • The thud and dud of the transfer window ending

Please subscribe and download from iTunes.

Listen to “High Press Pod Episode 23: Buying and Selling Premier League and La Liga Teams So Far” on Spreaker.

Josh Sargent Scores Dazzler for Werder Bremen – Good Sign for USMNT? (VIDEO)

High Press 10 September 2, 2019

American Josh Sargent scored a dazzler of a goal for Werder Bremen yesterday against Augsburg in the Bundesliga. Before checking in on Sargent, it’s worth watching the video:

 

The goal hopefully provides the 19 year-old striker a confidence boost and chance for increased minutes. Sargent has had an up-and-down stint at Werder Bremen. He came up from Werder Bremen II last season, totaling 2 goals in 10 appearances. This marks his first start and goal of the 2019-20 season.

Werder Bremen currently sit 13th (out of 18) in the Bundesliga table.

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Sargent the answer for USMNT?

Sargent was among the call ups this international break for the USMNT. If the US is going to take a leap forward internationally, the squad needs a consistent, proper striker. For all of Christian Pulisic’s talent and skills, he’s more of a chance creator than a finisher.

Landon Donovan started as more of a traditional striker before shifting to midfield attacker–but he was a goal hound.  Clint Dempsey effectively served that role during his prime. Jozy Altidore had varying degrees of success, but his aging out. Nobody tries harder than Gyasi Zardes but god bless him.

Goals are soccer’s most in demand commodity. The USMNT is at best World Cup Group Stage cannon fodder without a reliable striker. The touch and ambition to score like Sargent showed above is a must for the program to progress.

 

Here Are All of the 2019-20 Champions League Opening Group Stage Match Lines

High Press 10 August 31, 2019

The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw is done. The four Premier League teams have clear paths to the knockout rounds. Barcelona drew the toughest group. Juventus may be challenged too. Manchester City yet again somehow managed the most favorable group.

The pairings improved Champions League title odds for City and Group G inhabitants RB Leipzig and Lyon. Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan got dinged for getting matched against Barcelona in the pseudo-Group-of-Death.

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Champions League Group Stage Opening Match Lines

The odds are out for all of the opening group stage matches. Definitely a couple of interesting lines worth discussing.

HOMESEPTEMBER 17thAWAY
Inter Milan -335Draw +420Slavia Praha +950
Lyon -112Draw +255Zenit St Petersburg +320
Ajax -139Draw +285Lille +380
Borussia Dortmund +280Draw +280 Barcelona -112
Chelsea -129Draw +270Valencia +360
Napoli +215Draw +265Liverpool +120
Benfica +150Draw +250RB Leipzig +175
Red Bull Salzburg -134Draw +295Genk +340
HOMESEPTEMBER 18thAWAY
Olympiakos +325Draw +270Tottenham -118
Club Brugge +130Draw +245Galatasaray +210
PSG +130Draw +240Real Madrid +210
Atlético Madrid +170Draw +230Juventus +170
Bayer Leverkusen -210Draw +320Lokomotiv Moscow +600
Shakhtar Donetsk +850Draw +410Manchester City -305
Bayern Munich -1000Draw +950Red Star Belgrade +2000
Dinamo +240Draw +245Atalanta +115

First, BVB opening at +280 at home against odds-on match favorite Barcelona (-112)? Borussia Dortmund is for real. They’ll have full throated home support. The +280 BVB win or +280 draw are worth a look.

Has Chelsea done anything this season to make you say, “they should be odds-on favorites against any major European club”? No. Didn’t think so. Valencia (+360) or the draw (+270) at Stamford Bridge is something to monitor after this weekend and the September 14th Chelsea matches.

Tottenham (-118), who may not actually even be that good right now, travel a long ways to Olympiakos (+325). Given their recent form, it’s within Tottenham’s range to drop points on the road in this opener.

Finally, Atlético Madrid (+170) essentially the same odds at win at home against Juventus (+170)? Same as last year, oddsmakers are way overvaluing Juve. Atléti all the way.

Where to Bet on Champions League in the US

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2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Winner Odds: Who You Got?

High Press 10 August 29, 2019

The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League ground round is set!

Manchester City yet again have the easiest path to the knockout round.🤔How does that always seem to happen?

The proverbial “Group of Death” features Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter Milan.

Reigning champs Liverpool probably like their chances to win their group. Reigning runner-up Tottenham…not as much.

What do oddsmakers think?

2019-20 UEFA Champions League odds of winning group

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We’ll list odds of advancing and match odds as they come. Also, if you haven’t checked out the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League title odds, do so now. It’s also worth looking at the full 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Draw results.

GroupWinner Odds
Group A
Real Madrid-118
PSG+100
Galatasaray+4500
Club Brugge+5000
Group B
Bayern Munich-215
Tottenham+180
Olympiakos+3000
Red Star Belgrade+3500
Group C
Manchester City-2500
Atalanta+1300
Shakhtar Donetsk+1700
Dinamo+3500
Group D
Juventus -167
Atlético Madrid+175
Bayer Leverkusen+900
Lokomotiv Moscow+5000
Group E
Liverpool-286
Napoli+250
Red Bull Salzburg+1700
Genk+2700
Group F
Barcelona-305
Borussia Dortmund+350
Inter Milan+700
Slavia Praha+6000
Group G
RB Leipzig+130
Lyon+235
Benfica+375
Zenit St Petersburg+500
Group H
Chelsea-125
Valencia+300
Ajax+325
Lille+1100

What do the odds tell us?

Well, Man City is definitely advancing. Their -2500 to win the group makes them by far the biggest favorite.

The second best odds to win their bracket is “Group of Death” inhabitants Barcelona at -305. Liverpool are certainly favored, but not by as much as you’d expect, at just -286.

The weakest bracket, Group G, has their Pot 4 squad as the favorites. RB Leipzig are +130 to win the group. Maybe it’s time to rethink giving the Russian federation an automatic Pot 1 spot? Despite being in Group G, Zenit St Petersburg are the longshot to win at +500.

Ajax still isn’t getting respect. Watch to see if they keep all of their starting XI past September 2nd, but if they do, that +325 to win Group H is great value.

Where to Bet on Champions League in the US

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

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2019-20 UEFA Champions League Title Odds (UPDATED)

High Press 10 August 29, 2019

Qualification for the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is underway.

Teams who did not receive automatic Champions League Group Stage entry via their 2018-19 domestic league finish are playing the second of three qualifying rounds right now. Teams who survive the three qualifying rounds then compete in a playoff.

The playoff draw takes place on August 5th. The winner of the playoff games are then entered into Group Stage pots. At that point, qualification ends. The Group Stage draw will take place in late August with games beginning in September.

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Title Odds

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The following are 2019-20 UEFA Champions League title odds.

Some real movement in the odds since the Group Stage draw results occurred. With another cakewalk to the knockout rounds, Manchester City improve from +450 to +300. The “Group of Death” didn’t hurt Barcelona (they actually moved from +600 to +500), but Borussia Dortmund (+3300 to +4000) and Inter Milan (+5000 to +6000) fell. RB Leipzig’s early season form and winnable group sees their odds leap from +8000 to +5000. Lyon also gets a Group G bump from +12500 to +6000.

Will continue to update this page as odds change throughout the year.

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Odds (August 28, 2019)

Manchester City +300 Barcelona +500 Liverpool +700
Real Madrid +1000 Bayern Munich +1100 Juventus +1100
PSG +1100 Atlético Madrid +2100 Tottenham +2300
Chelsea +2700 Borussia Dortmund +4000 RB Leipzig +5000
Napoli +6000 Inter +6000  Lyon +6000 
Valencia +8000 Ajax +8000   Atalanta +10000
Benfica +10000  Bayer Leverkusen +15000 Zenit St. Petersburg +20000
Lille +30000 Shakhtar Donetsk +35000 Red Bull Salzburg +40000
Galatasaray +60000 Genk +60000 Dinamo +60000
Red Star Belgrade +60000 Club Brugge +75000 Olympiakos +75000

Where to Bet on Champions League in the US

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What are the 2019-20 Champions League Group Stage Brackets?

A total of 32 teams are split into 8 groups of 4. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the knockout round. 

GroupPot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4
Group APSGReal MadridClub BruggeGalatasaray
Group BBayern MunichTottenham Olympiacos Red Star Belgrade
Group CManchester CityShakhtar DonetskDinamoAtalanta
Group DJuventusAtletico MadridBayer LeverkusenLokomotiv Moscow
Group ELiverpoolNapoliRed Bull Salzburg Genk
Group FBarcelonaBorussia Dortmund Inter MilanSlavia Prague
Group GZenitBenficaLyonRB Leipzig
Group HChelseaAjaxValenciaLille

 

Here Are the Completed Pots for the UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw

High Press 10 August 28, 2019

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It’s all set! The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage draw is this Thursday, August 29th at 12pm ET. You can watch the live stream on UEFA.com.

Among the last teams in were Ajax, who defeated Apoel 2-0 today. The win places Ajax in Pot 2. Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade, and Club Brugge were also playoff qualifiers.

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage Pots

As a reminder, there are 32 qualified teams slotted into 4 pots of 8 teams each. Pot placement is based on domestic / European league finish as well as a five-year trailing ranking coefficient.

  • Pot 1 has the previous year’s Champions League and Europa League winners. Pot 1 also contains the champions of the top 6 associations. This year, the Premier League has 3 of the Pot 1 spots, with Manchester City (EPL winners), Liverpool (Champions League winners) and Chelsea (Europa League winners).
  • Pots 2, 3 & 4 contain the remaining teams. Placement is based on their UEFA coefficients.

Here are the pots.

Pot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4
LiverpoolReal MadridLyonLokomotiv Moscow
ChelseaAtlético MadridBayer LeverkusenGenk
BarcelonaBorussia DortmundRed Bull SalzburgGalatasaray
Paris Saint-GermainNapoliOlympiacosRB Leipzig
JuventusShakhtar DonetskClub BruggeSlavia Prague
Bayern MunichTottenhamValenciaRed Star Belgrade
Zenit Saint PetersburgAjaxInter MilanAtalanta
Manchester CityBenfica Dinamo ZagrebLille

Also read: 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Title Odds

High Press Pod Episode 21: What We’ve Learned from Premier League and La Liga So Far

High Press 10 August 27, 2019

New High Press Soccer Podcast is up!

We’re starting to learn things from the Premier League and La Liga. So Tyler Everett joins to discuss:

  • Tottenham…are we sure they’re good?
  • Arsenal…they have a ways to go.
  • How far Liverpool and Manchester City are ahead of everyone else.
  • Antoine Griezmann is all Barcelona could’ve hoped for so far.
  • Atletico Madrid…more of the same.
  • Real Madrid…lol.
  • How much real estate does Zlatan have in Carlos Vela / LAFC’s head?

Listen to “High Press Pod Episode 21: What We’ve Learned from Premier League and La Liga So Far” on Spreaker.

Premier League Matchday 4 Odds

High Press 10 August 26, 2019

Parity, anyone?

The narrative about the Premier League being “the deepest” of the European domestics divisions has existed for some time. More teams are making more money than ever before and investing in talent. A look at the table and you’ll see all but one team (Watford!) with at least three points.

The last time that this many teams had add least 3 points after Matchday 3 was 1981.

So yea, it’s a tightly bunched table. This week features three games in particular with major Top 4, Top 6, and relegation implications:

  • Arsenal vs Tottenham: So any enthusiasm about either of these teams making a run at Liverpool and Manchester City went the way of the Dodo last weekend. Arsenal was run off the field at Anfield. Spurs lost to Newcastle. Still, these are three huge points for a top 4 finish this campaign.
  • Everton vs Wolves: Both of these teams had UCL aspirations going into the season. Everton sits snugly in the middle of the table with a LWD. Wolves haven’t lost once this season domestically! Nor have they won. They’re DDD.
  • Newcastle vs Watford: Everybody expected Newcastle would struggle with Steve Bruce at the helm. Then they go and basically play a 8-1 formation and beat Spurs. Watford wasn’t anyone’s relegation candidate. And they’re the only Premier League team without a point or a win. These points would mean a lot for Newcastle’s hopes of staying up. Watford just need to get on the board.

Premier League Matchday 4 Odds

Southampton +295Draw +225Manchester United +105
Chelsea -305Draw +400Sheffield United +900
Crystal Palace +120Draw +235Aston Villa +240
Leicester City -155Draw +320Bournemouth +390
Manchester City -1250Draw +1100Brighton +2500
Newcastle +155Draw +225Watford +185
West Ham -109Draw +280Norwich City +275
Burnley +1000Draw +425Liverpool -335
Everton +120Draw +220Wolves +250
Arsenal +150Draw +260Tottenham +170

Odds & Ends

  • Something about that +225 draw price screams Southampton 1 – 1 Manchester United.
  • Are we sure that West Ham should be odds on favorites (-109) vs Norwich? Team Pukki over here at HPS. Don’t be surprised if the Canaries sing at +275.
  • Among the more interesting matches this week is Leicester vs Bournemouth. The Foxes are third in the table right now. If they’re really going to challenge for European soccer, taking care of business at home against a scrappy, talented Bournemouth squad is a must.
  • Finally, watch the Christian Eriksen transfer news all week. If he remains at Spurs and makes the Starting XI, that +170 at Arsenal is worth a long look.

Champions League Group Stage Draw This Week: What Would Be the Most Interesting Pairings?

High Press 10 August 25, 2019

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage draw is this Thursday, August 29th at 12pm ET.

The draw will take place after the last playoff qualification games conclude on Tuesday and Wednesday. Among those still trying to qualify this year include Ajax, Young Boys, Olympiakos, and Red Star Belgrade.

Skip down to the bottom if you just want the most interesting pairings.

Also read: 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Title Odds

How the Champions League Group Stage draw works

Here’s how the Champions League Group Stage draw works, in simplest terms:

  • Clubs are divided into four Pots based mostly on their domestic league and UEFA competition finishes from the previous season. Because Premier League teams won the UCL (Liverpool) and Europa League (Chelsea) last year, England places three teams in Pot 1.
  • From there, a coefficient ranking is applied to teams for Pot placement.
  • Teams from the same domestic league cannot play each other in the Group stage.
  • The four major divisions (England, Germany, Spain, Italy) get four automatic bids. France and Russia get three automatic bids.
  • The other major domestic leagues have a number of qualification hurdles to jump through to make the Group draw.

Champions League Group Stage Pots

Here are the pot options pre-qualification playoffs:

Pot 1:

  • Liverpool (via UCL win)
  • Chelsea (via Europa League win)
  • Barcelona
  • Manchester City
  • Juventus
  • Paris Saint-Germain
  • Bayern Munich
  • Zenit St. Petersburg

Pot 2:

  • Real Madrid
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Napoli
  • Shakhtar Donesk
  • Tottenham

Pot 2 or 3 (TBD):

  • Benfica
  • Lyon

Pot 3:

  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Red Bull Salzburg
  • Valencia
  • Inter Milan

Pot 3 or 4 (TBD)

  • Lokomotiv Moscow
  • Genk
  • Galatasaray
  • RB Leipzig

Pot 4

  • Atalanta
  • Lille

Most Interesting Group Stage Pairings

Ok, with that out of the way, here are the Group pairings we’d most like to see.

The Most Exciting Bracket

Looking for open, exciting play with home and aways with passionate fan bases?

  • Liverpool
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Red Bull Salzburg
  • Lille

The built in Jurgen Klopp story lines of Liverpool vs BVB are obvious, but those games would be wildly entertaining. Two teams many feel destined to finish second in their domestic leagues but who could and maybe should win it this year. Red Bull and Lille would make this a competitive pairing where every match is must see.

The F*ck City Bracket

Sick of FFP violating / human rights abusing Manchester City? How about this stacked group:

  • Manchester City
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Inter Milan
  • Galatasaray

What, Atleti, not Real Madrid? Diego Simeone has the defensive pieces to thwart City’s attack. Inter Milan is on the rise. Galatasaray is more than a sacrificial lamb.

Yeah, City would still advance. But at least it’ll be interesting and give their bandwagon fans hope before they eventually bottle in the quarters.

The Chaos Bracket

Looking for unexpected results where we won’t know who is going to advance until the final leg day?

  • Chelsea
  • Ajax
  • Lokomotiv Moscow
  • RB Leipzig

🤷‍♀️

The Drama Bracket

  • PSG
  • Real Madrid

Doesn’t really matter who fills this one out. Give us PSG and Real Madrid and let the drama unfold.

 

Michael Dell Part of American Investment Group Set to Buy Sunderland

High Press 10 August 23, 2019

Season 3 (assuming there is one) of Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Til I Die may finally get the happy ending the club (and its supporters) deserve both on and off the pitch.

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, is part of an American investment group negotiating to buy the club.

According to the Sunderland Echo, the group includes Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek. Dell will reportedly be a passive, minor stakeholder.

The Echo claims that talks are early but “positive.”

How’s Sunderland doing this year?

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Sunderland are off to an encouraging start in League One (England’s third division). They are projected as the favorites to win the league, both on FiveThirtyEight probabilities and by oddsmakers.

DraftKings Sportsbook NJ has them priced at +400 to win the league. Portsmouth follows at +550.

Sunderland was relegated from the Premier League in the 2016-17 season. They were then dropped down from the Championship in 2017-18. Their 2018-19 season was an improvement, but they failed to get promoted in the Championship League playoff.

Hudson River Derby Preview: NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls

High Press 10 August 23, 2019

Who: NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls
When: Saturday, August 24th @ 07:00 pm ET
LineNYCFC +100 | Draw +280 | New York Red Bulls +235

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The table could not be set any better for Saturday night’s edition of the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium, the second and final regular-season match-up between the local rivals in 2019.

Each of the teams is coming off a win on Wednesday night, with NYCFC dispatching Columbus in the Bronx while the New York Red Bulls took three points and the Atlantic Cup off of old rivals DC United in a thriller.

Those results leave NYCFC one point behind joint Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta United and Philadelphia Union. The Red Bulls are in fourth place, three points behind NYC.

And for a little added spice to an already potent rivalry, NYCFC has likely still not gotten over the circumstances that led to the Red Bulls 2-1 victory on July 14th in round one of this MLS Heavyweight bout.

The controversy surrounded the game-winning goal, alertly scored by RBNY from a quickly taken throw-in by Alex Muyl while NYCFC hesitated, waiting for the corner kick, as called by the linesman. Referee Alan Kelly, considered by many to be the top referee in the league, initially said that he had overruled the corner and that he had informed both teams.

Speaking to Pro Soccer USA’s Glenn Crooks a few days after the match, Howard Webb contradicted that statement. Webb, the general manager of the Professional Referees Organization, conceded that the officiating crew was at fault for the confusion that led to Royer’s game-winner.

“With hindsight, the referee should have stopped the game at that point and indicated to everybody to give clarity that the restart was going to be a throw-in.” Webb added, “there was a verbal indication to the assistant that it should be a throw-in, but there was no time to communicate to the NYC players.” “To be clear,” the former English Premier League official added,” there was no communication from the referee to the players.”

So, there’s that.

NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls Preview

NYCFC enters the game at even money. They’ve been the better side overall this season and as of late (LWLWW to RBNY’s LWLDW). They have the league’s third best point differential at +14, trailing Atlanta’s +15 and LAFC’s absurd +46. Probability models favor NYCFC as well:

However, the Red Bulls will be riding high after taking the full complement of points home from their trip to our nation’s capital. Daniel Royer has been particularly strong, pairing with Alejandro Romero Gamarra for goals against DC. For the Red Bulls to really have a chance this match, Aaron Long will need to have a strong performance. His game against DC was statistically his best game–including international competitions–since May against Montreal.

With MLS assist leader Maxi Moralez, Heber, Valentín Castellanos, and Alexandru Mitrita, RBNY have to contend with a lot of firepower. If it’s anything less than a Premier League level performance from Long and Michael Murillo, it could be a long night for the MLS originals

 

Premier League Matchday 3 Odds

High Press 10 August 20, 2019

It’s Premier League matchday 3. Only 2 teams have not dropped points: Liverpool and Arsenal. Most likely, only 1 will be able to say that after Saturday (Liverpool).

Read: Liverpool vs Arsenal matchday 3 preview

The Reds vs Gunners is by far the best fixture on this weekend’s slate. However, there are a number of games that are important as teams try not to let their season derail or prove they’re no fluke.

2019-20 Premier League Matchday 3 Odds

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Aston Villa +225Draw +250Everton +120
Norwich +290Draw +290Chelsea -115
Brighton +143Draw +215Southampton +210
Manchester United -278Draw +400Crystal Palace +800
Sheffield United +245Draw +220Leicester +123
Watford +115Draw +245West Ham +240
Liverpool -200Draw +370Arsenal +480
Bournemouth +1200Draw +600Manchester City -500
Tottenham -400Draw +510Newcastle +1100
Wolves -121Draw +235Burnely +390

Odds & Ends

  • Are we already into “must win” territory with Chelsea? Norwich aren’t terrible. They create opportunities. Teemu Pukki finishes them. How loud does #LampardOut get if the Blues don’t win?
  • Speaking of Teemu Pukki, he’s only got fourth best odds (+480) as the first goal scorer in Norwich vs Chelsea at DraftKings Sportsbook NJ. Norwich is at home. We’re #teamteemu at HPS. Worth a look.
  • Another team that needs a win: West Ham. Pellegrini’s side was run over by Manchester City in the opener, and drew Brighton last week. West Ham was supposed to be a stealthy contender for the top 6 at best, and a solid mid-table squad at worst. A road loss to current bottom-feeder Watford would raise a lot of concerns among Hammers faithful.
  • Expect Liverpool vs Arsenal to be an open, attack-orientated game. Especially early, as Anfield will be rocking. The +155 for a goal in under 14:59 is a decent play.
  • If Leicester City is for real, they need to handle Sheffield on the road. But is it too soon to ask: what if The Blades are for real? They drew a decent Bournemouth squad on the road. They shut out Palace (with Zaha) at home. We’ll know a lot about these two squads by Saturday afternoon.
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