Dissecting League Cup third round draw: Arsenal vs. Tottenham, USMNT battle

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Some big rivalry games have been drawn out in the third round of the Capital One Cup, as a North London derby will take center stage.

[ MORE: 10 of 11 PL teams prevail in 2nd round ]

The eight Premier League teams in European action all received a bye to the third round but the big boys have now entered the fray and some mouth-watering ties have been set up. The most notable is Tottenham hosting fierce rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sept. 23. The Gunners and Spurs were pitted together in the FA Cup in 2014 and Arsenal prevailed. Mauricio Pochettino’s side would love to knock their rivals out at the first hurdle in the League Cup.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Ream chats to PST about signing for Fulham ]

Elsewhere a derby in England’s second-city takes places, with Aston Villa hosting Birmingham City on Sept. 22. The latter won the League Cup in 2011 but were also relegated from the Premier League in the same season and have yet to return to the top-flight. This match will be the first “second-city derby” in almost four years, as the intense rivalry will play out between Tim Sherwood and Gary Rowett’s teams under the lights at Villa Park.

A U.S. national team battle will take place at Craven Cottage in the third round, as Stoke City’s game-winner in the second round, Geoff Cameron, heads to play Championship side Fulham who just signed Tim Ream. The two USMNT defenders will be eager to show what they can do before the big Confederations Cup playoff against Mexico on Oct. 10, so that game is one to watch for U.S. fans. A South London derby sees PL side Crystal Palace host Charlton Athletic, while League Cup holders Chelsea travel to League One Walsall to start their defense and Manchester United host Ipswich Town from the Championship. Three all-PL ties sees Leicester host West Ham, Norwich vs. West Brom and Manchester City face a trip to Sunderland.

The games below will be played on the week of Sept. 21, with extra-time and penalty kicks on the night if needed to decide the final 16 teams.

League Cup third round draw in full

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal
Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City
Crystal Palace vs. Charlton Athletic
Fulham vs. Stoke City
Hull City vs. Swansea City
Leicester City vs. West Ham United
Liverpool vs. Carlisle United
Manchester United vs. Ipswich Town
Middlesbrough vs. Wolves
Newcastle United vs. Sheffield Wednesday
Norwich City vs. West Brom
MK Dons vs. Southampton
Preston North End vs. Bournemouth
Reading vs. Barsnley or Everton
Sunderland vs. Manchester City
Walsall vs. Chelsea

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
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A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness

Premier League March Madness
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Our Premier League March Madness results have been as topsy-turvy as the 2019/20 on-field campaign before coronavirus halted it last month.

Yes, the runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

Voting in the semifinal round begins Thursday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the semifinal matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Wednesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 12 Everton
No. 6 Wolves v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Look, all bets are off for the derby. The Everton faithful has shown up in a big way during voting, dispatching Manchester United and Chelsea.

That’s big time stuff, though Liverpool ended the dreams of our presumptive sleeping giant favorite Arsenal after beating West Ham in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Reds are going to have to not just been upstart Everton but overcome the legions of rival supporters who would happily click the Toffees’ box rather than see Liverpool gain the crown.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 7 Sheffield United looking to continue its surprising run in both the PL season and our voting.

The Blades knocked off Man City, potentially aided by the same phenomenon Everton hopes to see on Thursday.

Now they meet Wolves, who may be riding a crest of North American momentum in the form of affinity for El Tri hero Raul Jimenez.

Our prediction: Everton and Wolves in the Final.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight

Premier League March Madness
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Everton continued its upset path toward in our Premier League March Madness voting, showing its sensational support and setting up a fantastic eMerseyside Derby in the Final Four.

Thousands of votes were cast Wednesday, and the Toffees upset isn’t even the top underdog story.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Chris Wilder’s Blades of Sheffield United won a back-and-forth affair with No. 2 seed Manchester City to move into the semifinals.

That’s where they’ll meet No. 6 seed Wolves, who powered past Leicester City as if it wasn’t a challenge.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results in full
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

Handball rule
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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.