XI. Football Fansite Profile: ToffeeWeb

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This issue of the Raven marks our first Football Fansite Profile, in which we will hear from those on the masthead of our favorite football sites around the globe. We start with ToffeeWeb, a site Rog has been reading since the days of dial-up modems. Lyndon Lloyd, who serves as the site’s chief writer, designer, developer and co-owner, as well as the editor and publisher of 1878 Magazine, provides us with insight.

MiB: Give us some background on ToffeeWeb. The who, what, when, where and why it began. And how’s it’s grown since its inception.

Lloyd: Bizarrely enough, the site was started by a Finn named Marko Poutiainen in 1994 at a time when there were hardly any football websites around, let alone ones devoted to Everton FC! He “met” Michael Kenrick, a Liverpudlian ex-pat living in Seattle, in one of the early chat rooms and recruited him to translate historical content related to the Toffees for publication on the Web and things grew from there. With the addition of match coverage, news and profiles, it became a fully-fledged online resource at a time when the club itself still didn’t have a proper online presence of its own.

Around that time, I founded Evertonia.com as a side-project while I was doing my Masters degree at Swansea University, one which developed over the next few years as a more editorially and design-focused alternative to ToffeeWeb (as Michael’s site had now come to be known). Eventually, though, we came to the mutual realization that there seemed to be little sense in the two of us running such similar sites separately and in late 2000 we agreed to merge the two behemoths into one. We elected to keep ToffeeWeb’s name and Evertonia’s design aesthetic and so began months of gruelling content migration! The rest, as they say, is history — ToffeeWeb remains the longest-running and most in-depth independent Everton site on the Web with a thriving community and a legion of readers.

MiB: This season’s most surprising storyline at Everton is …

Lloyd: I would say the speed with which Gerard Deulofeu has become such a vital cog in our attacking machine. He has always had fantastic ability and was regarded as the hottest prospect of his generation in Barcelona’s youth academy, but questions have been raised over his consistency, his temperament and weaknesses in the defensive side of his game. Certainly during his first spell on loan at Goodison Park in 2013-14 and then at Sevilla last season it looked as though he might not fulfil his massive potential which is probably why Roberto Martinez was able to land him for just £4.2m this past summer.

I think many of us felt it would take him a while to settle back into the rigours of the Barclays Premier League but he has been a revelation for us so far. He still has plenty of room for improvement, particularly in terms of performing consistently week in, week out, but what we’re discovering is that he only needs to turn on the magic a few times a game to be hugely effective. Romelu Lukaku is certainly enjoying having him around — half of his goals so far have been created by Deulofeu!

MiB: The one thing I would change at Everton is …

Lloyd: It’s common knowledge that Everton need new ownership or significant outside investment to enable it to compete with the huge resources of those clubs that were once our peers before the inception of the Premier League in 1992. If there was one thing I could make happen with the click of my fingers, it would be that. There have been rumblings of interest from America, with Kansas Sporting Group holding talks earlier this year, but nothing concrete appears to be on the horizon.

With the right backers in place, we could resolve our ongoing stadium problem —  Goodison Park is a wonderful sporting theatre dripping in history but it’s in dire need of renovation — and have the funds needed to build the team out into one capable of competing for and in the Champions League.

MiB: Look into your crystal ball. How does the rest of the season play out for Everton?

Lloyd: There’s a growing feeling that Roberto Martinez’s dynamic young side is really starting to gel and that there is opportunity to finally achieve this season. With Chelsea struggling, Arsenal hit by injuries and Manchester United still not finding their groove, the top four of the Premier League could be wide open this season. In the Capital One Cup, Everton are in the semi-finals and just three games from ending a 21-year trophy drought.

The question — as it was two seasons ago in his first season in charge — is whether Martinez’s team have the ruthlessness and the single-minded drive to keep grinding out victories or whether they will continue to drop silly points from winning positions and battle to beat the very top clubs in the division. My suspicion is that without the addition of a top-class attacking midfielder and, perhaps, a similar-caliber striker, in the January window we will fall just short of Champions League qualification in the League. But a cup final isn’t out of the question.

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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ProSoccerTalk is now on video as well as in written format. Unleash the beast, as they say.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Each week ProSoccerTalk writers Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards will tell us what they learned from the Premier League action, rank their top five PL players based on current form, preview the upcoming weekend and handle any other news from around the soccer world.

Expect opinions, analysis and insight, as well as plenty of friendly banter along the way and maybe a beer or two…

Basically, they have these chats on their own anyway so we thought we would record them and let them loose on the Premier League, USMNT and everything in-between. This is going to be a lot of fun and a lighthearted look at all of the action from across the soccer world each week.

With JPW is based in England and heading to Premier League games and traveling to stadiums/ training grounds, plus Andy and Nick based Stateside, we will be checking in with them regularly to get their views on just about anything when it comes to Pro Soccer. Because, well, ProSoccerTalk.

Follow the ProSoccerTalk lads on Twitter below, and click play on the video above to watch ProSocccerTalk this week in full.

Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

UEFA Champions League qualifying
Photo by Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.

There are American connections to two of the six ties.

Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.

From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:

“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”

At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.

Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.

Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.


How to watch the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round

Kickoff: 3 pm ET Tuesday and Wednesday
Stream: CBS All-Access (subscription required)


UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.

Tuesday

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK

Wednesday

Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia

Sept. 29

Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

League Cup: How to watch, start times, as Premier League powers enter

League Cup
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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Fifteen Premier League teams eye dates in the fourth round when the League Cup returns for another September midweek.

The congested nature of the season will see some PL sides play three matches in as many weeks, though the European qualifying teams are just entering the fray this week.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

That includes Europa League sides Arsenal and Leicester City, who will stage the lone all-PL scrap of the round come Wednesday at the King Power Stadium.

Tuesday was going to see Tottenham Hotspur visit a club sponsored by Spurs striker Harry Kane, but Leyton Orient is in the news after positive COVID-19 tests have threatened to forfeit Spurs into the next round.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Manchester United will hope to snap out of its season-opening funk when it begins its tourney Tuesday at Luton Town, while Chelsea hosts Barnsley on Wednesday.

Liverpool is off to Lincoln City on Thursday, kicking off its League Cup at the same time Manchester City welcomes Bournemouth.

Because of the aforementioned congested September in the tournament, the fourth round draw has already been held and those fixtures are at bottom of the page.


League Cup third round draw

All times ET

Tuesday
Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur — Postponed
West Brom 2-2 Brentford – (Brentford win on penalty kicks)
Newport County 3-1 Watford 
West Ham United 5-1 Hull City
Luton Town 0-3 Manchester United 

Wednesday
Preston North End v Brighton — 2 pm
Millwall v Burnley — 2 pm
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday — 2 pm
Stoke City v Gillingham — 2 pm
Chelsea v Barnsley — 2:45 pm
Leicester City v Arsenal — 2:45 pm
Fleetwood Town v Everton — 2:45 pm
Morecambe v Newcastle United — 2:45 pm

Thursday
Bristol City v Aston Villa — 2 pm
Lincoln City v Liverpool — 2:45 pm
Manchester City v Bournemouth — 2:45 pm


League Cup fourth round draw

Lincoln City/Liverpool v Leicester City/Arsenal
Millwall/Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth
West Brom/Brentford v Fulham/Sheffield Wednesday
Fleetwood Town/Everton v West Ham United/Hull City
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City/Gillingham
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea/Barnsley
Newport County/Watford v Morecambe/Newcastle United
Preston North End/Brighton v Luton Town/Manchester United


How to watch League Cup third round streams and start time

Kickoff: Tuesday through Thursday
Online: Select games on ESPN+
Updates: Follow League Cup scores via NBCSports.com

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Premier League player Power Rankings are here!

Our second player Power Rankings of the 2020-21 season have arrived, as all 20 teams have played and we are coming off the highest scoring matchweek in Premier League history with 44 goals scored across the 10 games.

Simply put: it was incredibly tough to put 20 players in this list based on the crazy results across the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Stars from Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton dominate our second player Power Rankings and there are plenty of new signings who have impressed early in the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t going to be in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
2. James Rodriguez (Everton)
3. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
5. Heung-min Son (Tottenham)
6. Fabinho (Liverpool)
7. Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
9. Raul Jimenez (Wolves)
10. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
11. Gabriel (Arsenal)
12. Dani Ceballos (Arsenal)
13. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
14. Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace)
15. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
16. Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
17. Timothy Castagne (Leicester)
18. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
19. Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
20. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)