Wayne Rooney

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Three Premier League teams (and maybe one more) we got wrong

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Two months and five days ago, our six writers went about trying to predict a new Premier League table, conceived in the notion of hearing your opinions.

[ MORE: Koeman in a bad, bad way ]

While there will come a time for mulligans, and perhaps a predictive reboot, I’m here this Sunday to admit my wrongs (and maybe wrongs).

Course correction is to be expected in some manner with at least three of these sides, but not to the extent expected before the PL season.

I was wrong!

— Burnley —
Current position: 7th place; My prediction: 20th; Staff average: 19th

With respect to the Clarets’ fan podcast, they would’ve been right to scream “No Nay Never” at my thought that Sean Dyche‘s men were too challenged in talent to again defy Premier League relegation. Michael Keane was gone to Everton, and Andre Gray was preparing to leave Turf Moor. The Clarets had added Jonathan Walters and Jack Cork, but had yet to sign Chris Wood.

Well, the Kiwi striker has been impressive and Dyche has rallied the troops (especially James Tarkowski in Keane’s stead, as well as Ben Mee and ). In what looks absolutely comical now, I expected the wealth of money spent by almost everyone else to doom Burnley to under 20 (!!!) points. Had you told me Tom Heaton would go down and Nick Pope, who’s been great, would take over, I might’ve bet even lower.

Clearly I underestimated the consistency of Dyche at the helm and the way he explains his system to players. I don’t expect the Clarets to maintain their top half pace, but clearly trusting me is an error when it comes to Burnley. Sean, I’m sorry. I should’ve known better. Call me.

— Everton —
Current position: 16th place; My prediction: 6th; Staff average: 7th

Another disappointing Sunday for Everton is one thing, but the Toffees’ big expenditures have largely failed to move the meter in the Europa League as well.

My expectation that down years for Liverpool and Arsenal would allow Everton join them in the Top Seven was only two-third possible. Ronald Koeman has been indecisive in his use of Wayne Rooney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and several players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin are not adapting to playing non-starring roles (though surely the Toffees would be fine putting the focus on Sigurdsson were he producing, and he should’ve claimed a penalty on Sunday).

How to fix it? Well, keeping Ashley Williams on the bench is a bit of a bother, so why not a back three with Keane and Phil Jagielka? I don’t know, but Davy Klaassen remains on the bench, too, and I’m not sure Everton’s players know what to expect heading into a weekend.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

— Watford —
Current position: 4th place; My prediction: 17th; Staff average: 16th

Joe Prince-Wright said Watford would finish 12th, which was outlandish considering the rest of us had the Hornets escaping relegation by one or two spaces at best. The highlight reel video of Richarlison almost had me boost the Hornets higher when predicting the table, but that would’ve been offset had I known Nathaniel Chalobah would be hurt.

But betting against Marco Silva has been a mistake so far, and the Hornets boasts a win home to Arsenal and away to Southampton plus a home draw versus Liverpool. The 6-0 home loss to Man City, sadly, is more common than we thought, and JPW’s 12th place feels correct right about now.

I was wrong?

— Crystal Palace —
Current position: 20th place; My prediction: 12th; Staff average: 15th

Roy Hodgson’s men looked a lot like Frank De Boer‘s men until Wilfried Zaha returned from injury, and that probably shouldn’t surprise us. The Eagles just suffered through the worst goalless start in Premier League history, but beat Chelsea with their first extended look of Zaha this season (Andros Townsend also looked great). I had Palace at 48 points, and that feels a bit laughable when they have three through eight matches, but I’m not so sure they won’t rebound over time.

 

Ronald Koeman’s Everton future heading one way

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BRIGHTON — Like a bug knocking into a light bulb on the porch on a summers night time and time again, we know what the outcome will be. We are still watching.

Even though the bug will soon succumb to failure, they are the only ones who don’t realize it. That’s what it feels like watching Everton and Ronald Koeman at the moment.

And Sunday was a damning indictment on the team Everton have become under Ronald Koeman, even though Wayne Rooney scored an 88th minute penalty kick to grab a point after Anthony Knockaert‘s looked likely to give Brighton and Hove Albion a deserved victory.

“Sacked in the morning, you’re getting sacked in the morning!” sang the Brighton fans after they went 1-0 up.

Rooney’s late goal will save Koeman that embarrassment but he is the bookies favorite to be the next Premier League manager fired and if he doesn’t get positive results against Lyon in the Europa League and Arsenal in the PL next weekend, next Monday morning could mark the end.

The Toffees were totally devoid of any confidence throughout their trip to Brighton and Everton’s fans had little to cheer. They broke into full voice on no more than two occasions as their team of expensive individuals played like, well, a team of expensive individuals.

Much has been made of Koeman’s big summer of spending with $193 million spent on new talent, but the lack of planning with that spending is what will ultimately cost him his job as no replacement for Romelu Lukaku points to a toothless, sluggish attack.

Everton have now scored just seven goals in their last 13 matches in the Premier League, failing to score on seven occasions. They’ve had just 21 shots on target in eight games so far this season.

Like the bug, Koeman’s time is running out.

“My whole football life is pressure, if I don’t get pressure from outside I put pressure on myself,” Koeman told Sky Sports after the game.

Unshaven, and dare I say looking slightly disheveled, Koeman’s demeanor told the story on Sunday at Brighton.

Two hours before kick off and with the stadium empty, Koeman stood tentatively on the sidelines as a handful of his players surveyed the playing surface. His brother and assistant coach, Erwin, sat on the bench. They looked at each other with a glum expressions on their face. Koeman then turned and walked down the tunnel without looking up.

During the game he trudged back and forth to his seat on the bench from the technical area with, like his team, little vigor.

Toothless in attack once again, Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin rarely threatened with 20-year-old deadline day buy Nikola Vlasic the only bright spark in attack.

Koeman was handed the dreaded vote of confidence from chairman and majority owner Farhad Moshiri following the 1-0 defeat to Burnley at Goodison Park before the break.

Sunday’s performance did little to suggest that vote of confidence was well placed and, like the bug, Koeman’s time at Everton isn’t too far away from the ultimate failure.

Brighton 1-1 Everton: Rooney PK saves point

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  • Knockaert scores late
  • Rooney equalizes from spot
  • Teams among six on 8 points

Another moribund display from Everton was slightly redeemed by a late Wayne Rooney penalty at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Brighton and Hove Albion took a deserved and late lead from Anthony Knockaert, only to draw Everton 1-1.

Both teams move to eight points, with the Gulls 13th and Everton 16th.

Mathew Ryan and Jordan Pickford both made huge saves for their sides in the draw, with Ryan stopping a pair in stoppage time.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The match found some life in the 19th minute, when Nikola Vlasic laid off for Idrissa Gana Gueye. His hard shot led to an unsuccessful corner.

It returned to sleep, however, until Everton blocked a pair of troubling attempts from Brighton in the 31st minute and then dealt with a corner kick.

Gueye had another shot from distance in the 34th, bending his effort wide of the far post.

 

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

To the second half, which held very little promise until Vlasic slipped in attempting a rip at goal in the 57th.

And hope? At the other end, Pascal Gross cued up Solly March for a left-footed shot collected by Jordan Pickford. That wasn’t the end of Pickford’s day by any stretch of the imagination, and Brighton really amped up its attack in the final 20 minutes.

Everton should have been given a penalty when Gylfi Sigurdsson was tugged back in the 80th minute.

Fiery all game, it was Knockaert who put Brighton ahead, celebrating emotionally after bagging an 82nd minute goal.

Bruno started the charge, and a moment’s hesitation from Morgan Schneiderlin inside his own 18 helped Knockaert get his shot.

But Bruno turned Everton ally with an elbow to Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 88th minute, and Rooney converted his PK.

Top talents to watch at the U-17 World Cup

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Earlier, we told you about the attack-heavy, excitement-bringing United States roster for the U-17 World Cup.

Now what about the rest?

[ WATCH LIVE: U-17 World Cup on Telemundo Deportes ]

Before we begin, how about some shouts for the players who could hit the pitch in India before turning 16, not counting the seven (including four 14-year-olds!!) on Guinea:

  • Carlos Guerrero (15, Mexico)
  • Kiam Wanesse (15, New Caledonia)
  • Seiya Baba and Zion Suzuki (15, Japan)
  • Mahamadou Mahamane and Djibrilla Ibrahim (15, Niger)
  • Alkalifa Coulibay and Mamadou Traore (15, Mali)
  • Ibrahim Danlad (14, Ghana) and Kwame Aziz (15, Ghana)

Disclaimed: Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent from the U.S. are legitimately amongst this group, but we’ve included them in our U.S. players to watch post.

Jann-Fiete Arp, forward, Germany (Hamburger SV)

The 17-year-old striker has already made his Bundesliga debut, coming in for American center forward Bobby Wood in an early season match versus Werder Bremen.

Vinicius Jr, forward, Brazil (Real Madrid*)

Vinicius won’t head to Real until his 18th birthday, with the forward carrying the distinction of being the most expensive Brazilian since Neymar while spending this season with Flamengo.

Abel Ruiz, forward, Spain (Barcelona)

The forward has already posted a goal for Barcelona B, and boasts 19 goals in 23 appearances at the U-17 level.

Diego Lainez, midfielder, Mexico (Club America)

Lainez is one of the brightest prospects for El Tri, already possessing 10 first team appearances for one the nation’s legendary clubs. It’s not crazy to consider the left-sided man Mexico’s answer to Christian Pulisic.

Takefusa Kubo, forward, Japan (FC Tokyo)

Kubo spent five years at Barcelona before returning home to Tokyo, where he’s featuring with the club’s U-23s.

Angel Gomes, midfielder, England (Manchester United)

The Red Devils’ Academy product made his Premier League bow when he subbed on for Wayne Rooney in last season’s finale. Turned out to be a big moment for Rooney, too.

Willem Guebbels, forward, France (Lyon)

Guebbels turned 16 in August, and debuted for Lyon one month later.

Jadon Sancho, midfielder, England (Borussia Dortmund)

The long-time Manchester City man moved to Germany this summer, and is already threatening to get playing time in the Bundesliga.

Juan Miranda, defender, Spain (Barcelona)

Already with 14 appearances for Spain’s U-17, he’s also debuted for Barcelona B

Top 25 moments in Premier League history

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Premier League we thought it would be great to count down our top 25 moments from a quarter of a century of action.

[ VIDEO: Top 25 moments in PL history ]

Each week we will release our best moments and you can keep track of the full list here.

Below are numbers 9-7 as we edge towards the top five moments in PL history.


9. Roman Abramovich buys Chelsea

8. Wayne Rooney‘s stunning overhead kick v. Manchester City

7. “The Special One” Jose Mourinho arrives at Chelsea