Shipped from abroad, Spain: 100 points? Whatever. Are Real Madrid Celtic or Rangers?

5 Comments

One hundred points. A plus-89 goal difference. They’re numbers you’d expect from Ajax in the Eredivisie … four years ago. Not even Porto’s getting these kinds of returns from their stomping of Portugal.

They’re also completely unsurprising figures – numbers we would have expected from Barcelona or Real Madrid at the beginning of the season. Thus, we get a complete lack of fanfare outside the Santiago Bernabeu when a team scores 121 times and posts 100 points. And given the trajectory of the Spanish league, it wouldn’t be surprising if those records were short-lived. Real and Barça can push each other to new levels (again) next season.

The Scotland comparison will keep coming up, an ill-conceived parallel. The Scottish Premier League’s duopoly features two teams losing their grip on continental relevance. Celtic and Rangers dominate a collection of clubs with no footprint beyond their nation’s borders.  In contrast, La Liga’s best were threatening to make the entire continent into a duopoly before their Champions League slips. Rather than acquiesce to irrelevancy, the rest of Spain took similar strides in Europa, with Atlético defeating Athletic to claim their second title in three years. Anybody holding their breath for a Hearts-Kilmarnock final?

Most disparaging of Spain comes from an implicit pro-England lobby (hence all the Scotland references), but there are a few other ideas in play here. First, most people tuned La Liga out when Real won at the Nou Camp (fair enough). Second, it’s much easier to write off Real’s accomplishments as a function of league quality than to go team-by-team, figure out La Liga, compare the clubs to similarly-ranked teams in other leagues, and formulate a more substantial opinion. If people don’t have time beyond the last Clasico, they’re certainly not going to consider why Sevilla and Athletic couldn’t crack the league’s top eight.

This year, Spain set a record for UEFA coefficient points. Atlético won Europa League. Two teams made the Champions League’s final four. These facts should make Real’s accomplishments more remarkable, not less.

Unfortunately, we’re not ready for that discussion. We still haven’t decided if Real’s Celtic or Rangers.

Elsewhere in Spain

Saturday’s results
Real Sociedad 1-0 Valencia
Real Betis 2-2 Barcelona

Sunday’s results
Getafe 0-2 Real Zaragoza
Levante 3-0 Athletic
Real Madrid 4-1 Mallorca
Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Granada
Espanyol 1-1 Sevilla
Malaga 1-0 Sporting Gijon
Villarreal 0-1 Atletico
Racing Santander 2-4 Osasuna

Races

Champions League: Real Madrid (100 points/38 games), Barcelona (91/38), Valencia (61/38), Malaga (58/37)

Europa League: Atletico Madrid (56/38), Levante (55/38) , Athletic (49/38, qualify by making the Copa del Rey final)

Relegation: Villarreal (41/38), Sporting Gijon (37/38), Racing Santander (27/38)

Stuff that stuck out:

  • There’s no mistake in that relegation list. Villarreal is down. An 88th minute goal from Radamal Falcao allowed Rayo and Zaragoza to sink the Yellow Submarine. Two seasons after qualifying for Champions League, Villarreal fall to the level currently occupied by Villarreal B (who get automatically relegated to the Segunda B, thanks to their parent club).
  • On the other hand, Zaragoza did it again. Concluding a season in which they spent most of the year in last, the Blanquillos tore off a four-game winning streak to finish the campaign. Starting with a mid-March upset at Valencia, Zaragoza won eight of their final 11 games, giving the cash-strapped club a fourth term in the Primera.
  • Down in the Segunda, Deportivo La Coruña has secured an immediate return, while Real Valladolid can do the same if they out-point second place Celta de Vigo mid-week.
  • As for the Primera, Málaga earned their chance to qualify or Champions League thanks to Salomon Rondon’s 49th minute winner against Sporting Gijon. Expect their Qatari owners to engage in another round of summer signings in an effort to secure their group stage spot.
  • Valencia, having already locked up their group stage place, closed the season in meek fashion, losing at Real Sociedad. It was the final match of Unai Emery’s tenure with Los Che, the now former Valencia boss headed to Spartak Moscow.
  • Speaking of meek: Athletic Bilbao. The team took only one point from their last four league matches, and giving up three goals at Levante on Sunday, the squad gave more credence to speculation they’re out on their feet. With a disappointing 10th place finish confirmed, Athletic have 10 days to prepare for their Copa final.
  • He ended the season with 50. Lionel Messi did play at Real Betis on Saturday (he always plays), but he was kept off the scoresheet. Ten-man Barcelona needed a late goal from Seydou Keita to salvage a draw in Seville.

Up next: Spain’s season is over save the Copa del Rey final, the last chance for Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona to claim silverware. Barcelona has won a the Club World Cup, Supercopa, and UEFA Super Club this year, but they’ve been shut out of (for lack of a better term) conventional honors.

Your takeaway highlight:

The goal that sent Villarreal down. Given how much air he got, it seems almost obligatory to mention: Falcao means Falcon.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6jbMYnGRCk]

Premier League injury news, 2022-23 season

0 Comments

Premier League injury news: It’s time to take a look at which players might be unavailable for matchweek 8 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, due to injury.

[ MORE: How to watch the Premier League on NBC ]

Prior to every matchweek this season, we’ll update this Premier League injuries page with the latest news and update, so make sure to check back regularly to see how your favorite — or least-favorite — club is getting on.

Let’s check out the latest Premier League injury news, below.


Arsenal injuries

OUT: Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf), Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Mohamed Elneny (thigh), Reiss Nelson (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (knee), Kieran Tierney (head), Cedric Soares (knock)

Aston Villa injuries

OUT: Diego Carlos (achilles), Matty Cash (hamstring), Lucas Digne (ankle), Boubacar Kamara (knee)

Bournemouth injuries

OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee), Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)

Brentford injuries

OUT: Christian Norgaard (achilles) | QUESTIONABLE: Keane Lewis-Potter (knock), Ethan Pinnock (knee)

Brighton & Hove Albion injuries

OUT: Jakub Moder (knee), Adam Lallana (calf) | QUESTIONABLE: Enock Mwepu (illness)

Chelsea injuries

QUESTIONABLE: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Edouard Mendy (knee)

Crystal Palace injuries

OUT: James Tomkins (undisclosed), Jack Butland (hand), Nathan Ferguson (foot) | QUESTIONABLE: James McArthur (groin)

Everton injuries

OUT: Jordan Pickford (thigh), Ben Godfrey (broken leg), Yerry Mina (ankle), Nathan Patterson (ankle), Mason Holgate (knee), Andros Townsend (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (knee), Jordan Pickford (thigh)

Fulham injuries

OUT: Harry Wilson (knee), Joao Pahlinha (suspension), Manor Solomon (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (ankle)

Leeds United injuries

OUT: Rodrigo (shoulder), Stuart Dallas (thigh)

Leicester City injuries

OUT: Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Wilfried Ndidi (knock), Patson Daka (illness)

Liverpool injuries

OUT: Naby Keita (undisclosed), Curtis Jones (calf), Calvin Ramsay (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Ibrahima Konate (knee), Andrew Robertson (knee), Caoimhin Kelleher (groin)

Manchester City injuries

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United injuries

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Anthony Martial (achilles), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Marcus Rashford (thigh), Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

Newcastle United injuries

OUT: Aleksander Isak (leg), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Emil Krafth (knee), Karl Darlow (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Bruno Guimaraes (thigh), Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Callum Wilson (thigh), Chris Wood (ribs), Elliott Anderson (knock)

Nottingham Forest injuries

OUT: Omar Richards (calf), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Orel Mangala (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Emmanuel Dennis (knock), Morgan Gibbs-White (knock), Scott McKenna (knee), Joe Worrall (broken nose)

Southampton injuries

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Romeo Lavia (undisclosed)

Tottenham Hotspur injuries

OUT: Lucas Moura (achilles) | QUESTIONABLE: Hugo Lloris (quad), Ben Davies (knee)

West Ham United injuries

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

Wolverhampton Wanderers injuries

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

Fulham vs Newcastle: How to watch, live stream link, team news

0 Comments

Fulham and Newcastle United look set to entertain when Aleksandar Mitrovic entertains his old mates for a Saturday morning tilt at Craven Cottage on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Peacock Premium).

STREAM LIVE FULHAM vs NEWCASTLE

The Magpies are injury-hit but Eddie Howe has enjoyed pushing for offense and has largely found chances regardless of who’s been on the field, while Marco Silva’s Cottagers are healthy and have been on the front foot as often as possible during their Premier League return.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Fulham vs Newcastle.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Fulham vs Newcastle live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel/Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Somewhere in the multiverse, Mitrovic’s tied for the Golden Boot lead because Erling Haaland is an actual superhero. The Fulham man has six goals to tie Harry Kane five behind Man City’s prolific Norwegian hitman. Kenny Tete’s assisted three of those goals, and Tete’s also top six in tackles. Teammate Joao Palhinha is first.

Newcastle, meanwhile, is dealing with a ridiculous amount of injuries to key players, as Bruno Guimares, Chris Wood, and Alexander Isak were both hurt on international break to join Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin as walking wounded attackers.


Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (ankle) OUT: Palhinha (suspended), Manor Solomn (knee), Harry Wilson (knee)

Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Chris Wood (chest), Callum Wilson (thigh), Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh), Bruno Guimares (thigh), Elliott Anderson (undisclosed). OUT: Alexander Isak (other), Emil Krafth (ACL),

Liverpool vs Brighton: How to watch, live stream link, team news

0 Comments

Liverpool plays its first Premier League match in 25 days when high-flying Brighton and Hove Albion debut a new manager as visitors at Anfield on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Peacock Premium).

Roberto De Zerbi takes the wheel for the Seagulls following Graham Potter’s move to Chelsea, and Brighton will be staging its first match since a 5-2 demolition of Leicester City on Sept. 4.

STREAM LIVE LIVERPOOL vs BRIGHTON

That was one day after Liverpool drew Everton 0-0 at Goodison Park in a Merseyside derby that came on the heels of back-to-back wins for Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Liverpool’s currently four points back of fourth-place Brighton; Both clubs have played six matches, one fewer than 14 other Premier League sides.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs Brighton.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Liverpool vs Brighton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel/Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Is Liverpool ready to turn chances into goals at a more familiar rate? The Reds’ expected goal total for this season is close to leaders Manchester City and Arsenal but its actual goal production is fifth and somewhat-inflated by their nine-goal beatdown of Bournemouth previously this season.

Brighton, meanwhile, has to show that it’s getting a handle on life after Graham Potter, as De Zerbi’s credentials say things might not look too different. The former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk boss craves possession in his teams and delivers chances as a boss in the manner you’d expect from a former attacking midfielder.


Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Caoimhin Kelleher (groin), Ibrahima Konate (knee), Andrew Robertson (knee). OUT: Calvin Ramsay (lower back), Curtis Jones (tibia), Ibrahima Konate (knee), Naby Keita (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (thigh).

Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Enock Mwepu (illness). OUT: Jakub Moder (knee), Adam Lallana (lower leg)

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea: How to watch, live stream link, team news

0 Comments

Chelsea looks to keep up its top-four pace when it visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

The match is Graham Potter’s first in the Premier League since leaving Brighton for new digs in London. The Blues drew Salzburg in 1-1 in Potter’s first match with Chelsea, and many eyes will be trained on his Starting XI.

STREAM LIVE CRYSTAL PALACE vs CHELSEA

Palace is winless in its last three Premier League matches including back-to-back draws versus Brentford and Newcastle. Patrick Vieira would love to make that a three-match unbeaten run with a good result Saturday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Crystal Palace vs Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Crystal Palace vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

What will Graham Potter’s first Premier League XI look like come Saturday? Kepa Arrizabalaga could be in goal if Edouard Mendy is not ready, but will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain a starter? Are Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic locks for the midfield? Lots to monitor as Christian Pulisic, Conor Gallagher, Ben Chilwell, and Hakim Ziyech will hope to have made a major impression.

Palace has played well against the “Big Six” this year, leading Man City 2-0 before an Erling Haaland hat trick, drawing Liverpool, and losing on Opening Day vs Arsenal while holding 57% of the ball and matching the Gunners in shots and shots on target. A win over the Blues sure would do the trick.


Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: James McArthur (groin). OUT: James Tomkins (calf), Nathan Ferguson (ankle), Jack Butland (hand)

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Edouard Mendy (knee), N’Golo Kante (thigh).