Small Club of the Week – Burton Albion

Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!

Burton Albion F.C.

Nickname: Brewers
Founded: 1950
Location: Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England
Team Colors: Yellow & Black
Ground: Pirelli Stadium
Capacity: 6,912 (2,034 seated)
Current League: League One (Tier 3)
Website: www.burtonalbionfc.co.uk
Twitter: @burtonalbionfc

Reason For Notice

Burton Albion was not a club I ever expected to profile in this space, as they are currently playing in League One (Tier 3) after being relegated from the Championship last season. But with little else happening in the realm of non-league competitions this week, I’ve decided to discuss Burton Albion after their upset win over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup yesterday.

Read moreSmall Club of the Week – Burton Albion

Dark Horse Chronicles – Borussia Mönchengladbach

After a brief visit to the Premier League, we’re going to take another trip back across the English Channel, this time to Germany. Our Darkhorse of the week is Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach (Gladbach for short), who get this honor based on their performance this year over last year.

Gladbach is one of the most storied German programs of all time, and during the 1970s Gladbach won 5 Bundesliga titles and finished runner up twice more. During this span they also won the UEFA Cup for the 1974-1975 and 1978-1979 seasons, finishing as runners up two more times. They’ve also had two European Player of the Year selections in Igor Belanov (1986) and Allan Simonsen (1977). They’ve also had players selected as the nationality player of the year (i.e. Kasey Keller, USA Player of the year 1997, 1999, and 2005) on numerous occasions.

More recently, they were relegated from the Bundesliga in 2006-2007, although they won promotion the following season. They’ve stayed in the Bundesliga since and under the Lucien Favre years 2011-2015 (now the Dortmund head coach/manager) the Foals had success until the last portion of his tenure where after a string of successive losses, Favre resigned. Favre’s replacement, Schubert, got the Foals back to the Champions League, however, he too would resign the following season after struggling mightily. Dieter Hecking was appointed as Gladbach’s newest manager in January 2017.

Read moreDark Horse Chronicles – Borussia Mönchengladbach

Middlesbrough v. Crystal Palace (Carabao Cup)

Middlesbrough has experienced a very up and down history, in fact, they have nearly as many seasons in the 2nd league as the top tier (45 and 61, respectively). Middlesbrough has been making a strong statement to come back to top-flight soccer. They finished in 5th place last season and qualified for the play off when they lost to Aston Villa in the first playoff round. This season marks Tony Pulis’ first full season in charge of the club, and so far they are sitting at third in the Championship table. At the end of the 2016-2017 Middlesbrough was relegated from the Premier League, and although they missed promotion back on the first ask, they seem reasonably well positioned to make a reasonable run for return. Through 15 games, Middlesborough has gotten 27 points with a goal difference of +9. They haven’t been prolific scorers, but they have conceded 3 goals less than the next best team, and about ½ of what the other top teams have conceded.

Crystal Palace, much like Middlesbrough, has had a varied history about which tier they’ve been in. Palace’s most recent promotion from the Championship came as a result of winning the promotion playoff place in 2012-2013, guaranteeing them Premier League soccer in 2013-2014. Since then, they’ve been able to successfully maintain midtable position, and if they can get onto a little better run of form I think it could happen again. Crystal Palace has gotten off to a rough start this year, securing only 8 points in 10 games with a -6 goal differential. Crystal Palace has struggled to score goals with only 7 scored on the season (2 of which came in their most recent match as part of a 2-2 draw with Arsenal). Palace has had some injury struggles so far this season – with both Scott Dan (DC) and Christian Beneteke (ST) out for the foreseeable future.

Read moreMiddlesbrough v. Crystal Palace (Carabao Cup)

(UPDATED) EFL Championship – Week 12 Slate

The Championship is back to playing one match this week (at least in league play), a week after having two matches caused a lot of chaos to the Power Rankings. There will be four Championship clubs (Derby County, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, and Nottingham Forest) playing midweek matches in the EFL (Carabao) Cup, however, which could impact their performance when they return to league play over the weekend.

As always, we’ll try to keep this updated throughout the matches of the weekend, which begin on Friday night and conclude Sunday afternoon. The number in parentheses before each club represents their ranking in our weekly Power Rankings, and home clubs are listed first. Winning clubs will be in bold, and any match that ends in a draw will see both clubs notated in italics.

Friday, 2 November 2018
7:45pm GMT/3:45pm EST
(16) Aston Villa 2-0 (22) Bolton Wanderers

Read more(UPDATED) EFL Championship – Week 12 Slate

Monday Musings – MLS Playoff Picture & Schedule

This piece will be updated as the tournament progresses…

The dust is barely settling on decision day, but we’ve got everything you need to know about the upcoming Major League Soccer playoffs!

We ended up with some unlikely teams in the playoffs, including my hometown side Real Salt Lake, who advanced after the LA Galaxy gave up a 2-goal lead to lose 3-2 to FC Dallas. The Columbus Crew also advanced to the the playoffs with a 3-2 win over Minnesota United.

Without further ado, here’s what to look forward to as the playoffs get underway.

Read moreMonday Musings – MLS Playoff Picture & Schedule

EFL Championship – Week 12 Power Rankings

Two games this week for the clubs across the Championship, and as a result, we’ve seen a lot of movement from last week’s Power Rankings. So much movement, in fact, that only one team stayed in the same spot in this week’s rankings.

As previously mentioned, we try to base the rankings only on matches played in the Championship. However, with four clubs playing in EFL Cup matches this week – Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Derby County, and Middlesbrough – success there (three of the four will be playing Premier League clubs) might boost them next week a little more than what happens in league play next weekend.

Note: Records presented as W-D-L
Through matches played on 27 October 2018

Read moreEFL Championship – Week 12 Power Rankings