Getty Images

London teams have dominated Premier League since 2014

Leave a comment

The North-South divide in English soccer often creates plenty of debate, and over the past three seasons we have certainly seen a shift in power from North to South in the Premier League.

[ MORE: James to Man United? ]

After all three North East teams were relegated in the Premier League this season, there’s been talk of Northern teams setting up training grounds closer to London to attract better players and their families. That may seem extreme, but in terms of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham versus Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, there has been a shift in power back to England’s capital in recent seasons.

Of course, there are plenty of other factors which go in to “dominating” a season with European trophies, domestic titles and other measurable factors coming in to play, but from a pure standpoint of where each team finished in the Premier League it is easy to spot a shift. And the stats below suggest that the London region is getting it right above everyone else when it comes to the top clubs in the PL.

Taking a look at the “power three” from each region, ProSoccerTalk has calculated the average position of each team over the past three seasons and the average league position each team has over those three seasons.

With this season not yet over, let’s assume that the table remains the same between now and the full time whistle on Sunday and that Arsenal finish in fifth place, Manchester City finish fourth and Liverpool finish third.

Average league position of London “power three” since 2014

Arsenal = 3
Chelsea = 4 (Titles in 2014-15 and 2016-17)
Tottenham Hotspur = 3.33

Average finish for region = 3.44

Average league position of Northern “power three” since 2014

Manchester City = 3.33
Manchester United = 5
Liverpool = 5.66

Average finish for region = 4.66

If you compare the results above with the previous three seasons for the clubs in questions, it’s clear to see the huge shift in power in the upper echelon of the PL.

Just look at the three seasons prior to 2014 (2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14) and how the Northern powers dominated by over a place higher on average each season.

Average league position of London “power three” from 2011-2014

Arsenal = 3.66
Chelsea – 4
Tottenham Hotspur = 5

Average finish for region = 4.22

Average league position of Northern “power three” from 2011-2014

Manchester City = 1.33
Manchester United = 3.33
Liverpool = 5.66

Average finish for region = 3.44

Whether or not this power shift will last for long remains to be seen but with Man United, Man City and Liverpool all hiring big-name managers over the past two seasons, it is easy to see how they plan to wrestle the power back in the Premier League.

For now the London clubs remain on top with Chelsea and Tottenham finishing in the top two and seeming to have bright futures with talented managers and relatively young squads.

However, with Spurs moving to Wembley next season while their new stadium is completed, Chelsea having European action to contend with once again and Arsenal in a state of flux over Arsene Wenger‘s future, the Northern powerhouses will feel like the next three seasons may well contain an opportunity to get on top once more.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.

Everton 1-0 Newcastle: Walcott blast has Toffees up to eighth

Leave a comment

Everton earned a 1-0 win against Newcastle on Monday behind Theo Walcott‘s second-half strike at Goodison Park.

The victory puts the Toffees into eighth place, leaping over Leicester City for the time being — as the Foxes have an extra game in hand.

[ MORE: Sweden coach says Ibra must reach out to have shot at World Cup ]

The former Arsenal man broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half when Walcott blasted the ball into the roof of the net following a lofted cross from Yannick Bolasie.

For Walcott, it’s his third goal since joining Everton in 2017/18 from the Gunners.

The visitors had their fair share of opportunities on the day, particularly through Ayoze Pérez, who was active all throughout the match.

Perez nearly broke the deadlock after the half hour mark when he tested goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 31st minute with a diving save in the bottom left corner.

Phil Jagielka came close four minutes later when his close-range attempt narrowly missed the top left corner after Michael Keane‘s flicked header off a corner kick.

The Spanish forward was at it again in the second stanza, and nearly found the back of the net when his header was saved in the center of the goal off of a cross from Kenedy.

Newcastle pushed hard for an equalizer in the dying moments, and even played up a man for a few minutes when Leighton Baines was tended to for a head injury, but the Magpies couldn’t even the score.