What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:
We’re enjoying time with our families, but we’ll have a few holiday surprises over on the blog over the next couple of days, including some of our favorite stories of 2012 and stories of our favorite all-time soccer-related Christmas presents.
We’ll have those later today.
Eddie Pope, one of the best defenders ever to come out of these United States, turns 39 on this Christmas Eve. The U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer is now director of player relations for the MLS Players Union.
Big Important Stories of the Day:
It’s a slooooow day. Not much going on, domestic league-wise, overseas-wise … as it should be.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Bora Milutinovic
What you should watch on TV today:
No lives games on TV today. Looks like that Christmas Story marathon for us all. That thing never get old.
Background noise while blogging/snoozing/traveling today:
Christmas carols, of course. I like more of the latter day stuff, myself, but to each his own.
We’ll leave you with this:
Seriously, did the referee really need to add more time onto yesterday’s romp-and-stomp at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea already leading 7-0? Would anyone have complained if the man in the middle staunched the bleeding at 7? Sure enough, Chelsea hit No. 8 in stoppage time. Geeesch.
Oh, and Happy Holidays to all!
USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup
For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson takes temporary charge and both the GM (Brian McBride) and Sporting Director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months.
TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español: Universo, Telemundo Deportes Streaming en Español:Peacock
USMNT upcoming schedule
* Friendly | ** CONCACAF Nations League | *** 2022 World Cup
vs. Serbia* — Jan. 25, 10 pm ET — Loss 2-1 | Recap & highlights
vs. Colombia* — Jan. 28, 7:30 pm ET — Draw 0-0 | Recap & highlights
at Grenada** — March 24, 8 pm ET — St. George’s, Grenada
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Orlando, Florida
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details
2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 (USMNT yet to qualify)
USMNT games in 2022
vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0
USMNT at 2022 World Cup
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1
USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis
at El Salvador — Sept. 2 — Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1
vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1
vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1
vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0
at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2
Harry Kane broke Wayne Rooney’s record for goals in an England shirt, and the Three Lions outlasted a Luke Shaw red card and Mateo Retegui goal on his Italy debut to start EURO 2024 qualifying brightly with a 2-1 win in Napoli.
The win is England’s first in Italy since 1961.
England began its EURO 2024 quest the same way it finished its heartbreaking EURO 2020 campaign: facing Italy, now two-time champions of Europe, on Thursday.
Defenders – Kyle Walker (Manchester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Reece James (Chelsea), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)
Midfielders – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea)
Forwards – Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Phil Foden (Manchester City), James Maddison (Leicester), Ivan Toney (Brentford)
England is still seeking its first European Championship and will be favored to emerge from Group C with aforementioned Italy as well as Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.
Netherlands and France are also in a spicy group that has dark horse Republic of Ireland and former champions Greece, as well as Gibraltar.
A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan 1-2 Slovenia
Slovakia 0-0 Luxembourg
Italy 1-2 England – Video, player ratings as Kane breaks Rooney record
Denmark 3-1 Finland
Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein
San Marino 0-2 Northern Ireland
North Macedonia 2-1 Malta
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 Iceland
Friday, March 24
Bulgaria vs Montenegro — 1pm ET
Gibraltar vs Greece — 3:45pm ET
Moldova vs Faroe Islands — 3:45pm ET
Serbia vs Lithuania — 3:45pm ET
Austria vs Azerbaijan — 3:45pm ET
Sweden vs Belgium– 3:45pm ET
Czech Republic vs Poland — 3:45pm ET
France vs Netherlands — 3:45pm ET
Saturday, March 25
Scotland vs Cyprus — 10am ET
Israel vs Kosovo — 1pm ET
Armenia vs Turkey — 1pm ET
Belarus vs Switzerland — 1pm ET
Spain vs Norway — 3:45pm ET
Croatia vs Wales — 3:45pm ET
Andorra vs Romania — 3:45pm ET
Sunday, March 26
Kazakhstan vs Denmark — 9am ET
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET
Monday, March 27
Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET
Tuesday, March 28
Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET
EURO 2024 qualifying standings
Republic of Ireland
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Can Arsenal win the first Premier League title since 2003-04? Will Manchester City win three in a row to make it five titles in the last six seasons under Pep Guardiola? For a while it looked like Manchester United could come from nowhere to stun everyone and secure their first title in a decade, but they have regressed in recent weeks.
Below is a look at the key fixtures, current form, odds and predictions for the contenders to be crowned Premier League champions.
Arsenal (69 points through 28 games): Leeds (H), Liverpool (A), West Ham (A), Southampton (H), Man City (A), Chelsea (H), Newcastle (A), Brighton (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Wolves (H)
Manchester City (61 points through 27 games): Liverpool (H), Southampton (A), Leicester City (H), Brighton (A), Arsenal (H), Fulham (A), Leeds (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), West Ham (H), Brentford (A)
Manchester United (50 points through 26 games): Newcastle (A), Everton (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Chelsea (H), Tottenham (A), Aston Villa (H), West Ham (A), Wolves (H), Bournemouth (A), Brighton (A), Fulham (H)
Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League title
Saturday, April 1: Manchester City vs Liverpool – 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 2: Newcastle vs Manchester United – 11:30am ET
Sunday, April 9: Arsenal vs Liverpool – 11:30am ET
Wednesday, April 26: Manchester City vs Arsenal – 3pm ET
Thursday, April 27: Tottenham vs Manchester United – 3:15pm ET
Saturday, April 29: Arsenal vs Chelsea – 12:30pm ET
Saturday, May 6: Newcastle vs Arsenal – 10am ET
Saturday, May 20: Manchester City vs Chelsea – 10am ET
Current form (As of March 20, 2023)
Arsenal’s last 5 results: WWWWW Manchester City’s last 5 results: WWWDW Manchester United’s last 5 results: DLWWD