Champions & Relegation Watch – Premier League – Midpoint

Note: This is the final piece looking at the title/relegation races across English football. Click on the links to see the Championship, League One, and League Two.

With the completion of the midweek “Boxing Day” matches, all the clubs in the Premier League have now played 19 matches, and begin the second half of their schedules with matches beginning on Saturday.

As a reminder, the top four clubs in the Premier League qualify for the Group Stage of Champions League, while the fifth place team does the same in Europa League. These competitions are great for worldwide exposure – not to mention the prize money – but it’s also for bragging rights across Europe. No English club has won the Champions League since Chelsea did so back in 2012, though we are only two seasons removed from Manchester City claiming the last English Europa League title.

League placement is important for clubs beyond the top five as well. Last season, due to cup winners qualifying for continental competition based on league position, England’s final two Europa League spots went to the next highest finishers in the league, with Arsenal (6th place) and Burnley (7th) making it into the tournament.

Read moreChampions & Relegation Watch – Premier League – Midpoint

Weekend Preview on Thursday (#WPOT) Week 13, Part 1

Disclaimer: This series is examining the games days prior to matchday. There is always the possibility for injuries, coach selections, etc. They may be updated to reflect most accurate starting lineup.

Weekend Preview on Thursday (#WPOT) Week 13,

 Part 1


Watford v. Liverpool

Location: Vicarage Road

Liverpool are sizable favorites in this matchup. So far, the expectation is that this game should have around 3 goals scored.

Watford’s blistering start has definitely cooled off a bit, they’ve lost 3 of the last 6 and drawn another. Their most recent was a 1-1 draw with a Southampton side currently residing in 17th place. The side have fallen down to 7th place in the table, tied with Manchester United and Burnley (on points). Watford will need to be especially aware of Liverpool’s penchant for scoring goals late in the first half (31′-45′). The home side has conceded 4 of their 8 concessions at home during that time. Watford is averaging 1.67 goals scored/per game and 1.33 goals conceded/per game at home. All signs indicate this should be a pretty good matchup.

Liverpool have drawn three of their last six games. Some space between Manchester City and the second-placed reds is starting to emerge. Liverpool did manage to beat Fulham with a 2-0 final score but Liverpool will want to start winning games to keep pace with City. Away from home Liverpool is averaging 1.5 goals scored/per game and 0.67 concessions/per game. Of particular importance is the number of  goals conceded late, 76′ or later, while away totaling 3 of the 4 goals allowed. While Watford doesn’t have a major differential overall, they have scored 7 of their 10 home goals in the second half, 5 of those 7 coming after the 60′ minute. Liverpool will need to keep their composure here to ensure a result.

Read moreWeekend Preview on Thursday (#WPOT) Week 13, Part 1

Champions & Relegation Watch – Premier League – Version 2

Note: This is the second version of our Premier League Champions and Relegation Watch this season (check out the first version here). Through the first half of the season, we’ll update this report every other month or so, or when there is a break from league play.

We have reached another international break, so instead of publishing updated Power Rankings in the Premier League, we figured it was time to see how the league table is currently shaking out and take a look at who is in position to qualify for European competition next year, as well as who might be heading down to the Championship after the season.

As a reminder, the top four clubs in the Premier League qualify for the Group Stage of Champions League, while the fifth place team does the same in Europa League. These competitions are great for worldwide exposure – not to mention the prize money – but it’s also for bragging rights across Europe. No English club has won the Champions League since Chelsea did so back in 2012, though we are only two seasons removed from Manchester City claiming the last English Europa League title.

League placement is important for clubs beyond the top five as well. Last season, due to cup winners qualifying for continental competition based on league position, England’s final two Europa League spots went to the next highest finishers in the league, with Arsenal (6th place) and Burnley (7th) making it into the tournament.

Read moreChampions & Relegation Watch – Premier League – Version 2

Premier League Weekend Preview on Thursday (Week 12) Part 1

Disclaimer: This series is examining the games days prior to matchday, there is always the possibility for injuries, coach selections, etc. They may be updated to reflect most accurate starting lineup.

Cardiff City v. Brighton & Hove Albion

Location: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales

Cardfiff comes into this match as slight favorites, though any outcome doesn’t seem too far out of the realm of possibility. This game is expected to have 2 goals.

Cardiff are coming off a loss to Leicester City in a 1-0 defeat in the first game at Ling Power since the tragic loss of the Leicester City chairman. Etheridge saved Cardiff from a much greater loss (including a shot on target in the 88′ denied by the keeper). Cardiff was lucky to have not played a man down for close to sixty minutes after a missed handball to deny a goal by Sol Bamba — and to top it off they failed to score yet again. Cardiff really need to dig deep and find some goals which will come in short supply against Mat Ryan (despite the 3 goals scored by Everton). They are averaging 1.17 goals scored/game and 2.17 goals conceded/game at home, so this could be a great opportunity for both sides.

Brighton gave up a few goals to Everton in route to a sizable defeat which tied their most goals allowed this season (previously against Manchester United). They were unfortunate to have their win streak come to an end so abruptly, but they have a good opportunity to get back to winning ways here. Cardiff has found it to be an insurmountable task to score goals most games and Brighton has been capable enough at scoring them. Brighton away from home has been averaging 0.67 goals scored/game and 1.67 conceded/game. This means that both sides are expected to ship more goals than scored, so it might be a very interesting game to watch.


Read morePremier League Weekend Preview on Thursday (Week 12) Part 1

Weekend Preview on Thursday (Week 11) Part 1

Disclaimer: This series is examining the games days prior to matchday, there is always the possibility for injuries, coach selections, etc. They may be updated to reflect most accurate starting lineup.

AFC Bournemouth v. Manchester United

Location: Dean Court, Bournemouth

Manchester United are favorites even though they are traveling to Bournemouth. Expected goals is currently at 3, with United winning by 1.

Bournemouth are coming off a 3-0 victory over Fulham, and although Fulham received a 73′ minute red card, though most of the damage had already been done. Bournemouth were ahead 2-0 before the sending off. Bournemouth (home) are averaging 2 goals/game at home and are conceding an 1 goal/game.

Manchester United managed a win over Everton even after Pogba missed a penalty kick after a seemingly endless run up (though he did score on the rebound). Anthony Martial contributed another goal to the cause. Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic’s performances left something to be desired — both picked up yellow cards and Smalling gave away a penalty to give Everton a glimmer of hope. Manchester United (away) are scoring on average 1.8 goals/game on the road and are conceding the exact same amount (1.8 goals/game).

Read moreWeekend Preview on Thursday (Week 11) Part 1

(UPDATED) Premier League – Week 10 Slate

With six of the clubs near the top of the league playing in European competition this week, we could see some tired legs in five of the matches this weekend, though the only match where it might actually matter is the one that closes out the weekend (and has been anointed as our Match of the Week). Action begins with six matches on Saturday, followed by three on Sunday and ends with a big tilt Monday evening.

As always, the number in parenthesis before each club reflects their spot on our weekly Power Rankings, and we’ll try to keep this list updated as the weekend progresses.  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.

Saturday, 27 October 2018
3:00pm BST/10:00am EST
(10) Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 (9) Wolverhampton Wanderers
(18) Fulham 0-3 (8) AFC Bournemouth
(2) Liverpool 4-1 (15) Cardiff City
(16) Southampton 0-0 (19) Newcastle United
(6) Watford 3-0 (20) Huddersfield Town
5:30pm BST/12:30pm EST
(12) Leicester City 1-1 (13) West Ham United

Read more(UPDATED) Premier League – Week 10 Slate