(UPDATED) Champions League – Matchday 6 Scenarios

It’s time for Matchday 6 in Champions League. Four matches will be played each of the next two days, and while some of the matches won’t matter, there are still 12 spots up for grabs in the knockout phase. Beyond that, there are three groups that have yet to find a third-place finisher – those clubs head over to Europa League’s knockout phase – so we will try to point you towards the games that matter before the Champions League takes a two month hiatus and returns in February.

It’s important to win the group in order to be seeded in the draw for the knockout phase. The seeded team gets to host the second match of the two legs, allowing the seeded club to overcome a poor road showing in their first match if necessary. As mentioned, third place clubs head to Europa, and they too want to do their best, as the top four third-place finishers are seeded in the knockout phase of Europa League.

I’ll be using FiveThirtyEight’s Champions League Predictions when I talk about the various chances for placement within the groups, and reflect the club’s chances of claiming that particular spot. Here’s a group-by-group summary of how today’s results will impact the ending tables, with teams in bold locked into that position:

Read more(UPDATED) Champions League – Matchday 6 Scenarios

Dark Horse Chronicles – Manchester City

The darkhorse for this week seems like a crazy name to include because of how they are performing so far in this season. As well as the fact that they ended last season as Champions. They set a new points record with 100 points in the Premier League, so how can they be a darkhorse? … Read moreDark Horse Chronicles – Manchester City

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

Weekend Preview on Thursday (Week 12) Part 2

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.

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur

Location: Selhurst Park, London

Spurs come into this match as big favorites over an up and down Palace side. Current goal projections are at right about 3 goals, with a big Tottenham win expected.

Crystal Park ran into a Chelsea team that was featured previously as a potential Darkhorse in the Premier League race, and were soundly beaten. They managed to score one goal (Andros Townsend) but conceded 3 goals. The team didn’t put up a particularly great performance, in general, and the defense perhaps even less so. Crystal Palace has not been good at home, averaging 0.4 goals scored/match and conceding 1.4 goals/match.

Tottenham’s defense really struggled this last week against Wolves, they conceded not one, but two penalties, both of which ended up as goals. Wolves looked like they had a great chance at making this into a match after all. Tottenham had more shots on target, but that’s about the only statistic they lead in, and they also had no reply to any of the second half goals by Wolves. I don’t really see this being too much of an issue against a Crystal Palace side that has been poor, but it could be an Achilles heel coming against sides in better form. Tottenham’s away form has been pretty good scoring 2 goals/game and 0.86 goals conceded/match.

Read moreWeekend Preview on Thursday (Week 12) Part 2

(UPDATED) Premier League – Week 12 Slate

We have one more week of action before the top English clubs take another week off for a international break, and this one is shaping up to have some quality matchups, especially on Sunday. This could be because the clubs that played midweek in European competitions needed an extra day for recovery, but either way, one of the matches that closes out this week is much better than the one that closed out last week.

Nevertheless, this week should be one that helps clear up the muddled middle of the league table, while also allowing the top teams to separate themselves further. 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, 10 November 2018
12:30pm GMT/7:30am EST
(15) Cardiff City 2-1 (10) Brighton & Hove Albion
3:00pm GMT/10:00am EST
(17) Huddersfield Town 1-1 (12) West Ham United
(11) Leicester City 0-0 (14) Burnley
(16) Newcastle United 2-1 (9) AFC Bournemouth
(19) Southampton 1-1 (8) Watford
5:30pm GMT/12:30pm EST

(18) Crystal Palace 0-1 (5) Tottenham Hotspur

Read more(UPDATED) Premier League – Week 12 Slate