Matchday 2: Tottenham/Fulham

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.
Tottenham Hotspur v. Fulham FC
Location: Wembley Stadium, London
Tottenham walks into this match as huge favorites — almost 4 goal favorites. That being said, we’re expecting about 4 goals in this match.
Tottenham needed a wonder goal to get the win over Newcastle (1/3″ is how far it cleared the post by) but I don’t expect that to happen again this week. Tottenham supporters just found out that their new stadium will be delayed by (at minimum) a couple of months due to some potential safety concerns inside. I think that Kane and Erickson in particular will be out for vengeance after their (relatively speaking), poor performance in the first match.

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EPL Matchday 1: Summary

Manchester United/Leicester City:

Tottenham/Newcastle:

  • Pregame notes: EPL 2018-2019 Matchday 1, Part 1
  • Bold predictions (from Pregame Notes) (Note: This was so close, this goal crossed the line by on 9mm):
    • Correct goalscorers (2/3 – missed Jan Vertonghen)
    • Incorrect Score/Winner (Tottenham won 2-1, predicted tie 1-1)

AFC Bournemouth/Cardiff:

  • Pregame notes: EPL 2018-2019 Matchday 1, Part 2
  • Bold predictions (from Pregame Notes):
    • Correct Score/Winner
    • Incorrect goal scorers (0/2, missed Frazier and Wilson)

Watford/BHA:

  • Pregame notes: EPL 2018-2019 Matchday 1, Part 2
  • Bold predictions (from Pregame Notes):
    • Correct Winner
    • Incorrect score/goal scorers (0/2, missed Roberto Pereyra — expected 2-1 scoreline)

Read moreEPL Matchday 1: Summary

EPL 2018-2019 Matchday 1, 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.

Manchester United 
Manchester United is a sizable favorite (although it’s decreased somewhat in light of a dismal transfer window) in what’s being billed as a low scoring game, likely under 3 goals. I think that Manchester United’s ability to run this game depends on if more of the World Cup players choose to come home early.
Although the feuds within the United squad and the board with Mourinho are highly publicized, I anticipate that these are blown out of proportion. Mourinho is a very polarizing figure, and I think that the media is far more apt to jump on negativity. One specific example is when Mourinho stated (regarding the US friendlies) that he thought the “fans were wasting their money” — however, the real statement had to with Manchester United having to field a whole bunch of academy and reserve players due to World Cup players and injuries. Remember, the same stories surfaced last season about the “awful season to come” in 2017, and United ended up finishing 2nd in the league. That being said, I think they still haven’t addressed their primary “hypothetical” shortfall (which has become their current shortfall — again — with the Baily injury, you can see more here), they brought in a youth prospect (Diogo Dalot) but I don’t expect him to slot in with the first team (plus — he, too, is currently injured).

Read moreEPL 2018-2019 Matchday 1, Part 1

Tottenham Hotspur 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate. 
If you’re following Tottenham, you’re probably aware that they haven’t saw fit to conduct any transfer business (besides a striker coming home from a previous loan) — so obviously, I won’t be covering that. I will, however, discuss my overall thoughts of the team, the guy(s) being targeted heavily, and potential transfers to be brought in.
Overall Thoughts:

  •  First and foremost, I’ll state the obvious — Tottenham finished 3rd behind only a profilic (MAN) City team that literally rewrote the books, and a marginal (Man) United team who squeaked through the league by parking the bus and scraping out 1-0 games. Overall, I still think that this is a loaded team (with both English nationals, and generally speaking) and this is me (probably) being nitpicky.
  • Goals: The difference between the 2017-2018 and the 2016-2017 season was pretty striking (no pun intended), Spurs scored 12 less goals this year as opposed to 2016-2017. Full disclosure: If there’s such thing as a “down year” I think this was Tottenham’s in front of goal, but by no means was it a bad year. They still had an exceptional goal difference (and obviously they finished 3rd place in the table). Tottenham has gotten contract extensions from all of their major pieces going forward Dele Alli, Eriksen, Heung-Min Son, Kane until at least 2022, giving them a lot of stability in this area. I also think that Pochettino not pursuing any additional goal scoring threats, he’s sending a huge message to his team that he believes they will do the work that needs to be done.
  • Goals against: There was also a similar difference between goals allowed over the seasons exactly 12 more goals than in the 2016-2017 season. If I have one concern going forward for Tottenham its going to be in the back, Tottenham were able to avoid anything major from losing Kyle Walker to City, but I have some concerns about transfer targets for other players.

Read moreTottenham Hotspur 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Where World Cup Award Winners Will Be Playing

Now that World Cup 2018 has been over for some time, with France coming out on top against an upstart Croatia team, you might be wondering where you can find all the stars from the tournament across the various football associations.
You’ve come to the right place!
FIFA doesn’t announce a Best XI from the tournament, which made this a little more difficult to complete. They did, however, give out four individual awards to seven individuals:

  • Golden Ball (best overall player) (gold, silver, and bronze)
  • Golden Ball (top scorer) (gold, silver, bronze)
  • Golden Glove (best goalkeeper)
  • Best Young Player

We’ll cover these seven players first, and most of these players have shown up on the various “best of the tournament” lists that I’ve seen floating around the internet.

Read moreWhere World Cup Award Winners Will Be Playing

Premier League Club Primer: 2018-2019 Edition

Ever had questions about clubs that you were afraid to ask? Here’s the rundown on the 20 Soccer teams competing in the top tier of English Soccer. Some historical facts, some questions to be answered, and some serious takeaways. Here is everything you wanted to know about the clubs but didn’t want (or know) to ask.
During the next couple weeks, we’ll be exploring each teams transfer business (In and Out) to see how well teams have addressed their needs!

Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners
Founded: 1886 (Under a different name)
Location: London
Team Colors: Red/White
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (2014-present)
Kit Sponsor: Emirates Airlines
Ground: Emirates Stadium (2006-present)
Capacity:  59,862
Manager: Unai Emery (first season) replacing Arsene Wenger (1996-2018)
Website: www.arsenal.com
17/18 Season: 6th in English Premier League

Arsenal are a perennial Premier League team, with their only stint in lower-tier football occurring prior to World War I (as part of their progression to the Premier League). Since then, they’ve been a stalwart and are considered part of English soccer’s royalty, the “Big Six”.  While placed in this royalty, Arsenal’s recent form have had them finishing outside of the top-4 which is a perquisite for the UEFA Champions League.  Missing out on the Champions League is a big financial hit for the club, and has been a voiced concern amongst the players; some of whom have run out their contracts or joined rival clubs for the opportunity to compete at the highest level. One of these situations led to a winter transfer window swap for one of Arsenal’s top players, Alexis Sanchez, getting swapped for a Henrik Mkhitaryan who was in poor form for Manchester United so that they didn’t lose him to a free transfer deal.

Arsenal are on their first season Post-Wenger who’s been at Arsenal almost as long as I’ve been alive. So far, Unai Emery, has shown a couple of positives: he’s managed to get some top-tier talent for reasonable prices (by EPL standards) and one particular transfer, Sokratis, was able to overcome reported interest by other Big Six clubs. Arsenal is not a bad side, and I fully expect them to continue in continental competition. Arsenal’s Achilles heel last year was their propensity to give up losses, whereas their EPL opponents could fight for draws. If only a few of those losses were draws, they likely would have been in Champions League competition instead of Europa League.

I think the prospects for Arsenal will be good enough for Champions League this year. Arsenal has also had a larger squad than many teams which has caused some strife for its players (Olivier Giroud –last year, and Jack Wilshere – this year) which eventually have led them elsewhere. I think that clarified expectations under Emery could tighten up the rotation a little and keep continuity (especially in the back) which will allow them to hold on in tight contests.

Click here for an in-depth look at Arsenal’s transfers in advance of the 2018-19 season.

Read morePremier League Club Primer: 2018-2019 Edition