Monday Musings – Premier League Managerial Tenure

As more and more money plows into professional soccer, gone are the days of giving managers time to build a program. There are no such thing as managers who get time to “change the culture” or “build a program;” it’s become a perform now, or leave mentality.
For the 26 years of the Premier Leagues existence, there are only 14 managers who have managed to accrue over 300 games in charge. Of those, only two spent their careers with one club, the first and longest-tenured (though his tenure began before the Premier League) was Sir Alex Ferguson who spent nearly 26.5 years with Manchester United followed by Arsène Wenger of Arsenal (who actually managed more games in the Premier League) with just shy of 17 years.
Both legendary managers amassed over 800 Premier League games for their respective clubs and the next closest manager with a single club is David Moyes. Moyes amassed 427 with Everton, but barely surpasses 500 games. Although substantially less games with a single club, Harry Redknapp is actually 3rd on the list with 639 Premier League games managed. Redknapp’s longest tenure in charge was 269 with West Ham, but it took his time at 4 other clubs to reach this number.

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Friday Night Spotlight – Georgia State vs. Memphis

This series will cover the most intriguing game of the Friday night games, it might not be the highest profile game… but that shouldn’t take away from the game. Tonight’s game is actually the only Friday night game on the slate this week, but I think it has the potentially to be a sneakily good game.
Both teams enter the match 1-1 with Georgia State having been beaten by a good NC State team. This is far from a bad loss though, preaseason expectations are for NC State to come out of the ACC in 8th position and ESPN’s FPI  expects them to go 7-4 (though one of those losses was expected to be at now-cancelled WVU, and in a conference that includes the #2 team in the nation, winning all but 2-3 games seems pretty reasonable.
NC State has flourished under Coach Dave Doeren bringing in some of its best recruits in a long time. I think there’s a very real possibility that this NC state team finishes with 2 losses (or less). So what does this mean for Georgia State? It means their one loss comes to a likely candidate for Top 25 in the nation. So, from my perspective it doesn’t mean much of anything. Georgia State comes in as a serious underdog (3+ TDs) but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a much closer than it’s showing. I think that this Georgia State is a decent side, they might not win – but I think they’ll give this game a fair shake.

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Fantasy Sports – Premier League Week 5

Week 4 was another trainwreck, about the only thing I got right was de Gea in goal. Besides that Salah was the highest score in my lineup (bench or starting) that scored higher than 2 points. Win some, lose some — hopefully more scoring (goals and points) this week.
Legend: (*) – starting XI, ⇐ – incoming (transfer), ⇒ – outgoing (transfer), ¤ – Captain.
Goalkeepers:

  • *David de Gea (Week 4 points: 6) – I was really torn on this luck this week. de Gea is in my “play unless you have really good reason” pile. I’m not going to lie though, I looked hard for reasons to come off him. Ultimately I decided to stick with him and despite how it looks, there’s logic. First, much to my surprise the bookies have Manchester United as sizable favorites AWAY which seems insane. Especially since this Watford just beat Tottenham, a team that made United look like part-timers. The huge difference in the line makes me think there’s something going on, I initially thought it could be a mistake — but it’s consistent across the board, the best line I found for Watford is +285. Most have Manchester United in the -110 to -120 range, given their season, my first thoughts were “homers” but this isn’t a fan boy — this is a billion (if not trillion dollar betting industry). Second, pairing the fact that United are big favorites with the fact that the O/U is basically at evens means one of two things, saves or wild misses. Couple that with the expectations I’m seeing of United projected to score 2, it doesn’t leave much for the Watford attackers. A couple more components play in but I think it’s more appropriate to have them under Lössl.
  • Jonas Lössl (Week 4 points: 2) – By now I’m sure most of you know I’m high on Lössl just not really his team. A couple things are throwing me off this play. First, although the margin is relatively small (I’m seeing Huddersfield at +210 and Palace at +140) this is a bigger deal here. Palace are coming TO Huddersfield and most bookies have a “home team” factor of some magnitude built into their bets (this is also why Man United being a big favorite is so strange). This means that even with the home advantage there’s still a marginal separation between the teams. Secondly, let’s call the elephant in the room what is — Huddersfield have been so porous I’m pretty sure you could fit many small countries in to the back of the net. Third, scoring goals has been much harder to come by for Huddersfield than for Palace. That, plus them being tied for worst in the league goal differential makes me really nervous about a Lössl play this week. 

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(UPDATED) Premier League – Week 5 Slate

After the international breaks, here’s a look at the Week 5 slate of games in the Premier League. We’ll update this with results as the games progress. Despite the lack of games last week, we still updated our Weekly Power Rankings, and the number in parenthesis before each team reflects that. Home teams are listed first, and winners will be indicated in bold. In the event of a draw, both teams will be placed in italics.

Matches are spread out over Saturday (seven), Sunday (two), and Monday (one), and there are some quality matches this weekend:

Saturday, 15 September 2018
12:30pm BST/7:30am EST
(5) Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 (1) Liverpool  **MATCH OF THE WEEK**
3pm BST/10:00am EST
(9) AFC Bournemouth 4-2 (10) Leicester City
(2) Chelsea 4-1 (19) Cardiff City
(18) Huddersfield Town 0-1 (14) Crystal Palace
(4) Manchester City 3-0 (11) Fulham
(15) Newcastle United 1-2 (7) Arsenal
5:30pm BST/12:30pm EST
(3) Watford 1-2 (8) Manchester United 

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The Future of the U.S. Men’s National Team – Part 3

Note: This is Part 3 of a look at the potential future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. In August, I took a guess (Part 1 & Part 2) at who might be the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. During the international break last week, they actually fielded a team, and while some of the players I profiled in August made the cut – DeAndre Yedlin and Tim Weah were perhaps the biggest names – there were 13! players that made the club that played friendlies against Brazil and Mexico earlier this week. This is a quick look at why I might have missed those 13 players and where they are currently playing professional football.

Goalkeeper
Alex BonoToronto FC (Major League Soccer (USA)) – Bono was actually the fourth keeper on my list before I pared it down to three, so it was nice to see him on the roster for this week’s friendlies. He has been the first team goalkeeper for Toronto FC for the bulk of this season, with 26 total appearances in net for the club, where he has a total of 5 clean sheets. He did make an appearance this week in either game, and only has one senior club appearance with the USMNT, a 3-0 clean sheet in a friendly against Bolivia in May of this year.

Defenders
Eric LichajHull City (Championship (England)) – I did not include Lichaj in my initial list because he was a bit older (29) than all the other players and I was trying to keep my list to players that may be with the club when the United States hosts the World Cup in 2026. He started his professional career in England with Aston Villa, making 32 appearances – and scoring 1 goal – between 2007 and 2013. He moved to Nottingham Forrest in 2013, where he played much more regularly, leading to his current contract with Hull City, where he has been in the starting line up in all six matches this season. He has 16 total caps with the USMNT and looks to have finally made the rotation after some other players aged out. How long his tenure lasts remains to be seen.

Aaron LongNew York Red Bulls (MLS) – Aaron Long made his senior debut with New York Red Bulls in August 2016, and has appeared in 59 matches since, scoring 3 goals. And while he made the roster for these recent USMNT friendlies, he did not get on the pitch, leaving him without and international appearances.

Tim Parker – New York Red Bulls (MLS) – Parker also made the roster this week, but stayed on the bench for both matches. He does, however, have two previous appearances with the USMNT, making his debut against Ireland on June 2, 2018. He’s started his MLS career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015 – after four collegiate seasons at St. John’s University – and was traded to the Red Bulls prior to the beginning of the MLS season. He’s made 28 total appearances for the Red Bulls this season.

Read moreThe Future of the U.S. Men’s National Team – Part 3

NFL Week 2 Preview

In these weekly previews, I’ll highlight the results that I found shocking from the previous week, as well as preview the game I am most looking forward to from the weekend ahead. As we get later into the season, I may add some other sections to this, including playoff positioning and a look forward to … Read moreNFL Week 2 Preview