English FA’s implied message to Liverpool’s players: You were wrong

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Blackburn was Roy Hodgson’s biggest failure before he left Liverpool. The season Rovers were relegated (well, before this one), Hodgson left the team in last place after being sacked by then-owner Jack Walker.

Apparently that transgression isn’t as onerous as stumbling for a few months at Anfield. Now, the subtext of most Roy Hodsgon stories is “oh, that Liverpool guy.”

From the moment he was lured away from Fulham, people debated whether he was a good fit for Liverpool. Examinations of his Craven Cottage successes told stories of the perpetual drilling of basic tactical tenants – facets which, when mastered, would distinguish his team from the pile of similarly talented sides that occupy mid-table Premier League through the upper reaches of the Championship. Though those methods took Fulham to a Europe League final, some thought Liverpools self-styled cosmopolitans would balk.

And they did. Hodgson barely made it to Jan. 2011 (having been hired the previous summer). After his departure, the debate twisted by persisted: Was the coach the problem? Or was it the players? Either way, it was a bad fit.

That Kenny Dalglish came in and turned the Reds’ fortunes indicted Hodgson, even after the man saved West Brom from a relegation fight. But now, just over a year later, Liverpool’s in danger of slipping into the table’s bottom half despite having bolstered their squad with a series of big buys Hodgson never had at his disposal.

Thus, the debate still seems relevant. Is the heart of a Liverpool team that had already started to descend under Rafa Benítez the core of the problem? Or will Roy Hodgson’s methods never meld with a team of more cultured talents?

Perhaps inadvertently, England’s Football Association cast a vote today. In hiring Hodgson to guide the Three Lions at Euro 2012, they basically discarded the Liverpool experience. That it is Hodgson’s most recent experience with a squad whose talents compare to England’s was ultimately overshadowed by the greater record. The implication: Non-Hodgson factors were at fault with Liverpool.

Perhaps there were other reasons. Maybe the specter of Tom Hicks and George Gillett was still hanging over the club. Maybe the organization was still in shock from the coming so close to being owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland. And perhaps the players needed one more jolt – the Hodgson firing – to realize all the noise off the field is no excuse for their performance on.

One year later, with Liverpool now even on points with Fulham for eighth, The FA’s willingness to overlook Hodgson’s red era looks entirely justified. Since Sunday most have been forced to review Hodgson’s record. What do you know – it’s pretty darn good. For those whose egos aren’t too hurt from the backfire of Team `Arry’s failure, the appointment is actually … acceptable?

For some of Liverpool’s players, however, answers will need to be had.

Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson are Euro 2012 hopefuls. Now, the coach that departed 16 months ago will decide if they depart for Ukraine. While it’s unlikely that a coach of Hodgson’s experience will let the Liverpool days define whether either are in the team, the players still carry with them the reasons we Hodgson left Anfield. If they carry those traits into the national team, expect benchings. Or exclusions.

And if that happens, expect the moans from Fleet Street to billow: Harry would never do that to our Stevie.

Implicitly, The FA has already said Hodgson’s way is right. At least, it’s the right way for them and where they want to take the Three Lions. Now it’s up to the Liverpool duo to adjust.

Premier League top scorers: Who is leading 2022 Golden Boot race?

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For those tempted to write off Erling Haaland’s historically-hot start to life as a Premier League striker, we get it: There’s something rather dull about not wondering the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, but just the number of his final tally.

Haaland’s Premier League-leading 11 goals from seven games has him five goals clear of the next two players: Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.

That’s 1.57 goals per game from Haaland, a pace that would bag him just under 60 goals over the course of a 38-game Premier League season.

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And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total of 8.35, that translates to more than 43 goals scored in a single season. (For a breakdown of how Haaland’s doing what he does, check this video):

Haaland is extremely unlikely to hit even 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record could very well be under assault

Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.

Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:

  • 30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
  • Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
  • Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
  • 11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)

Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.

Premier League 2022-23 Golden Boot race

  1. Erling Haaland, Man City — 11
  2. Harry Kane, Tottenham — 6
  3. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham — 6
  4. Ivan Toney, Brentford — 5
  5. Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace — 4
  6. Rodrigo, Leeds — 4
  7. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 4
  8. Alexis Mac Allister — Brighton — 4
  9. Nine tied with 3

The Breakdown: Analysis, tactical focus on how Erling Haaland is ripping it up

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Throughout the Premier League season The Breakdown provides analysis, tactical focus and a deeper dive on some of the top plays from some of the best players on the planet.

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We are back for Season 3 of the Breakdown and Joe Prince-Wright will be joining you to discuss some of the things which stood out (or may not have, initially) in the Premier League.

Click play on the video above to watch the latest episode of the Breakdown, while below is the full archive of The Breakdown.

And feel free to send in your comments and questions to JPW via his Twitter feed (click below) if you want him to select any plays which caught your eye and he will then give them the Breakdown treatment.


The Breakdown – 2022-23 Premier League season

Matchweek 1

Matchweek 2

Matchweek 3

Matchweek 4

USWNT vs England, Spain: Rosters for high-profile friendlies, TV, stream

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USWNT head coach Vlatko Andovoski has announced his roster for one of the most-anticipated friendlies of all-time — and that’s no exaggeration — as the United States women’s national team takes on EURO champions England in one of two Europe-based friendlies next month.

The Yanks will also play Spain in a match well-worth watching, but the England match is going to be a clash of titans as the now-powerful Lionesses put their 14-match winning streak on the line against USA’s back-to-back World Cup champions.

“These are big tests for our team in front of crowds cheering against us and after long travel, but our players absolutely love games like these,” said Andonovski in a U.S. Soccer press release. “The group we are bringing to Europe includes players who have a lot of experience against top European teams and some that don’t, so these games are even more critical for our growth as our team. Our whole squad needs to get a clear picture of what these games are like as we continue to prepare for the World Cup.”

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The Oct. 7 match against England at Wembley Stadium is set to shatter the attendance record for a USWNT friendly and U.S. Soccer says it will be second to only the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final in terms of in-person attendance for a USWNT match.

Those are big mile markers in soccer history, but these matches are really big — as big as friendlies get — in terms of telling where the USWNT’s status as the No. 1 team in the world is under threat.

The Women’s Super League has made huge strides alongside its national team in England and the National Women’s Soccer League will be watching this with real excitement and anxiety; All but two members of the USWNT call-up list play in the NWSL. All but four of the England team play in the WSL and only one plies their trade in the NWSL (Ebony Salmon of the Houston Dash).

And these teams very well could meet up this summer, as the friendlies are the final USWNT matches prior to the Oct. 22 Women’s World Cup draw in New Zealand.


How to watch USWNT vs England

Kick off: 3pm ET, Oct. 7
TV Channel: FOX
Online: Stream via FoxSports.com

How to watch USWNT vs Spain

Kick off: 2:30pm ET, Oct. 11
TV Channel: ESPN2
Online: Stream via ESPN.com


USWNT vs England rosters

USWNT: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)

England WNT: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Sandy MacIver (Manchester City), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Lucy Parker (West Ham), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jessica Park (Everton), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona), Katie Zelem (Manchester United), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ebony Salmon (Houston Dash)

West Ham vs Wolves: How to watch live, stream link, TV, team news

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West Ham vs Wolves: Two sides straddling either side of the relegation zone will be desperate for a victory (or even just a goal) when they meet at London Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 12:30 pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com). 

STREAM LIVE WEST HAM vs WOLVES

It’s been a mostly miserable start to the 2022-23 Premier League season for both the Hammers and Wolves. West Ham have just one win on the season (1W-1D-5L) as David Moyes and Co., sit 18th heading into matchweek 8. Wolves also have just one win (1W-3D-3L) while scoring the same number of goals as West Ham (3) in seven games. Misery loves company.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of West Ham vs Wolves

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How to watch West Ham vs Wolves live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 12:30 pm ET, Saturday
TV channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

For both sides, the goal-scoring woes are a result of not only a failure to convert scoring chances, but also their inability to create them. West Ham and Wolves both rank in the bottom five of the Premier League in expected goals with identical paltry 0.9 xG averages (per 90 minutes). No other side in the Premier League is anywhere close to underperforming their expected numbers by more than 50 percent.

Goals have come much more easily for West Ham in the Europa Conference League, where they have scored three goals in all four games thus far — six in two games against Danish side Viborg, and three apiece against Romanian runners-up FCSB and another Danish side in Silkeborg.

Wolves made the effort to be a better attacking side this season, as they spent $18 million on Sasa Kalajdzic, but the Austrian international striker tore his ACL on his debut for the club. Raul Jimenez, meanwhile, has played just 211 minutes in three Premier League appearances (none since Aug. 31) and has just one goal, in the League Cup. The Mexican international is now in a race against time to be healthy and fit for the 2022 World Cup eight weeks from now.


West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Nayef Aguerd (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Benjamin Johnson (hamstring)

Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Raul Jimenez (groin), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Nathan Collins (suspension), Chiquinho (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Diego Costa (undisclosed)

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