How will Premier League title really impact Leicester City?

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There’s no doubt that Leicester’s City incredible Premier League title win will have a huge impact on the Midlands club.

[ MORE: Too many “Vardy parties” ]

The 2015-16 PL champs have seen their global profile skyrocket, they are set for a huge cash windfall and for the first-time in their 132-year history they will play in the UEFA Champions League.

That said, it’s time to dig a little deeper and see exactly how the Foxes are about to be impacted.

[ MORE: Leicester news after PL win ] 

Here’s a look at what them winning the PL will truly mean for next season and beyond.


Champions League balancing act

This is perhaps one of the most dangerous aspects of their success: how can Leicester balance European action? So far this season they’ve played just 41 games in all competitions at this stage of the campaign. They went out early in the the FA Cup and Capital One Cup and have been able to focus on the PL solely since January. That won’t happen next season.

Take, for example, Manchester City who have played 57 games so far this season. City are a team who reached the UCL semifinals, has been battling for the title, won the Capital One Cup and was knocked out in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Manuel Pellegrini, even with his incredible resources of a monster squad, have struggled to balance all four tournaments.

Leicester will have a very good chance of advancing to the Round of 16 in the UCL as they’ll be top seeds in the Group Stage draw. That said, it will certainly cause their small squad plenty of problems as we shouldn’t forget that manager Claudio Ranieri only use 23 players all season on their way to winning the title. That’s fewer than any other PL team during the 2015-16 campaign. Injuries were kind to the Foxes and they shouldn’t expect that next season and they will have to prioritize the PL and Europe over the domestic cups.


Financial benefits

Over the next 18 months Leicester is set to make at least $200 million from this successful season. That is just in TV revenue and award money from the PL and UEFA.

Even if they fall of the rails next season and end up finishing towards the bottom of the table, the new three-year TV deal will see the 20th place team in the PL earn more than the champions, Leicester, from this season.

Deloitte have suggested that Leicester could be in line to make $75 million from being in the Champions League group stage alone and if they manage to stay among Europe’s elite then it could generate another $75 million in sponsorship deals over the next two to three years.

Simply put, they will be rolling in cash.


Frugal plans for 2016-17

Now that Leicester know they will have more money to spend, their billionaire Thai owners will be thinking about their ambitions and where they want to take the club. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought the Foxes in 2010 for an estimated $60 million.

[ MORE: Ranieri: “I’m Thinkerman, not Tinkerman!” ]

The owner of the King Power company, a duty free giant of Thailand, has pumped millions into the club but now he has been repaid handsomely. The big thing here is what Ranieri thinks.

Speaking in his first press conference as the manager of the PL champions, he said he doesn’t want big stars to arrive this summer.

“I don’t want big names here. My lads are special. We have to bring some good players but they must have the same spirit,” Ranieri said.

The big boys of the PL will be spending big this summer, though. With Pep Guardiola arriving at Man City, Antonio Conte taking charge at Chelsea and Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp for a whole preseason, the Foxes won’t encounter another season where five of the six perennial giants of English soccer were slumbering.

A perfect storm was created for them to achieve this once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Spending big on new players will safeguard the future of the club but not recruiting heavily will make replicating this season incredibly tough.


Uncertainty over star names at the KP

That’s one of the biggest questions already circulating, just three days after Leicester were confirmed champions.

[ MORE: Mahrez to leave?

We’ve already heard from Riyad Mahrez‘s agent who rates the chances of the PFA Player of the Year staying at Leicester next season as “50/50”.  Mahrez was the creative hub of this team, scoring 17 times and creating 11 goals. If he leaves he would fetch a huge sum, perhaps in-excess of $45 million. Not bad for a guy they plucked from France’s second-tier for $800,000 two years ago.

Then there’s N'Golo Kante, the heartbeat of this team in central midfield. He reportedly has a release clause of just under $30 million and given his displays this season he is worth every penny. Kante leads the PL in tackles and interceptions but if he and Mahrez leave, plus Jamie Vardy is tempted elsewhere for a final huge payday, what will Leicester do?

Ranieri has already said they won’t spend big or bring big name players in but the odds of all of these players replicating their form and staying fit for another season are probably larger than the 5000-1 they were to win the title last summer.


Playing style evolution

This is one of those open-ended questions which we will not know the answer to for a while but it is clear that Leicester may have to have some kind of tactical evolution when it comes to how they play.

With long rests between games this season they’ve been able to recover and play pretty much the same way in each game. They have scored the opening goal in games more than any team in the PL this season and also have the most one-goal wins (14). In the second half of the season they’ve been far more defensive, allowing teams to come on to them and having the back four dropping deep which has allowed them to spring counter attacks which Vardy, Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki have taken advantage of.

[ MORE: What does this title win mean for PL’s future?

Analysts have been trying to figure out what Leicester’s stats guys have seen and talk of a “straight line efficiency” model is being whispered here in England. Leicester has figured out a way to get the ball from back to front as quick as possible and play the percentage game. They don’t take chances and Ranieri doesn’t ask his players to do anything they are comfortable doing.

Now that Leicester are no longer the unknown quantity, Ranieri will likely have to set up his team a little differently. If he aims to stick with the same group of players, are they capable of getting the same results with any style other than counter attacks?

The stats suggest they won’t be able to as they have the lowest average possession of any PL champion in the past 10 years (43.2 percent) and they rank 18th in the PL this season in pass completion. They have been set up in a simplistic way and it has paid dividends. Now, it will be interesting to see how other teams adapt to it and if Leicester need to, or will, tweak their style of play.

Leicester – Burnley: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Leicester – Burnley: Brendan Rodgers seeks to become just the 23rd manager to win 100 games in the Premier League, and becoming the fourth-fastest Brit to reach the mark, when Leicester City host Burnley at the King Power Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 2 pm ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

LEICESTER – BURNLEY BROM STREAM LIVE

Rodgers moved one step closer to his century of PL wins last weekend when the Foxes began their 2020-21 campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of newly promoted West Bromwich Albion. Burnley, on the other hand, are set for their season debut this weekend after their opening-day clash with Manchester United was rescheduled.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Leicester – Burnley this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Leicester – Burnley (INJURY REPORT)

Leicester will be missing three players Ricardo Pereira (knee), Jonny Evans (thigh), Filip Benkovic (groin) — with absolutely certainty, plus James Maddison (hip) is unlikely to feature and Wes Morgan (thigh) is expected to face a late fitness test to determine his availability.

Meanwhile, Burnley aren’t expecting to have Johann Berg Gudmundsson (knee) or Jack Cork (ankle).


What they’re saying: Leicester – Burnley

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, on transfer target Cengiz Under: “He’s a very, very good player. There have been negotiations with the club [Roma] and we’re hopeful there. We need a different kind of attacking player to help out at the top end of the pitch. It’s clear we have pace and power, but I feel we need more football in there.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, on the club’s desperate transfer approach: “Lastminute.com — [it] started back in the day of Charlie Austin, two days before the first game of the season. There are many different ways that clubs operate. It is very difficult, it is tricky, but it’s the reality of it. I’ve been here eight years. This is not new news. I’ve been saying this for three years at least, saying we’ve got to stretch, we’ve got to pre-plan. But you can only offer these opinions. I don’t sign the checks, I can assure you.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Leicester (-165) are heavy betting favorites with Burnley (+460) widely expected to simply roll over and concede the three points up for grabs. Even the draw (+290) is though a bridge perhaps too far for the Clarets.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction: Leicester – Burnley

Leicester managed to shake off the rust and disappointment that was the end of the 2019-20 season (just two wins from nine games during “Project Restart”) and win going away last weekend. On the other hand, Burnley finished with just two losses from their final nine games, and won four of them. We’ll see if either side is in the midst of a trend, or simply a blip on the radar. Leicester 2-1 Burnley.


How to watch Leicester – Burnley stream and start time

Kickoff: 2 pm ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Newcastle – Brighton: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Newcastle v Brighton: A pair of sides that impressed on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 Premier League season — but only one of them with anything to show for it — will meet at St. James’ Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET, online via Peacock).

NEWCASTLE – BRIGHTON STREAM LIVE

Newcastle United were far and away the better side in their season-opening victory away to West Ham United last weekend, while Brighton looked the better part of Chelsea’s equals for 54 minutes but ultimately fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle v Brighton this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Newcastle v Brighton (INJURY REPORT)

Newcastle will be without five players — Matty Longstaff (thigh), Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee) — leaving Steve Bruce with an increasingly thin squad.

Jose Iquierdo (knee), Florian Andone (knee) and Christian Walton (ankle) have all been ruled out for Sunday, with rising star Ben White (ankle) likely to face a late fitness test after picking up a minor injury last week.


What they’re saying

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, on starting with a win: “I’m like everybody else, we all like to get off to a start and we couldn’t have had a better week in terms of results. The players have hit the ground running, which was always part of the reason why we went after who we went after. We’ve got a chance to get off to an outstanding start.”

Brighton manager Graham Potter, on Newcastle: “Newcastle will be strong. They were worthy winners at West Ham and they will be a tough test for us. Impressive, the business they have done. They have added to the squad and they will be really strong. Everyone knows what Andy Carroll brings to the team and physically he is very strong, and aerially he is strong. Him and [Callum] Wilson will be a strong partnership.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

There’s almost nothing to separate Newcastle (+160) from Brighton (+185) as the oddsmakers see Sunday’s clash a near-tossup. Even the draw (+210) isn’t far out of line with either side winning.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

At the risk of placing too much importance upon a game in week no. 2, this one has the feel of an important litmus test for Newcastle. West Ham have been chaotic for quite some time now, but Brighton, despite finishing 15th last season, have appeared far more stable and trending upward under Potter. They’re likely a mid-table side this season, and Newcastle could be, too. In the end, it ends Newcastle 1-1 Brighton.


How to watch Newcastle v Brighton stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Europa League qualifying – playoff round draw results

Europa League draw
Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images
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Europa League draw results: Tottenham Hotspur will be rather pleased with their draw for the final round of UEFA Europa League qualifying — should they advance to reach it, of course — as they plod toward the group stage.

[ MORE: Is Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham a good idea? ]

After surviving their brush with disaster and embarrassment on Thursday, Jose Mourinho’s men will next be away to Macedonian side Shkendija in the third round of qualifying next Thursday. Should they come on top there, Tottenham will then host either Russian side Rostov or Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa the first week of October. The winner of that single-leg showdown will qualify for the group stage.

Elsewhere, Serie A giant AC Milan, who face Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt next week, were handed a slightly tougher draw: away to Turkish giant Besiktas or Portuguese side Rio Ave.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Diogo Jota to Liverpool; Yedlin to Besiktas ]

Scottish rivals Celtic and Rangers are also still alive in their quests to reach the group stage and learned their potential future opponents in the Europa League draw. Celtic, the nine-time reigning champions of Scotland, will face Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) or Buducnost (Montenegro) if they get past Riga (Latvia) first. Rangers will see Galatasaray or Hajduk Split (Croatia) if they advance past Dutch side Willem II next weekn.

Notable Europa League playoff round matchups

Shkendija/ Tottenham Hotspur v Rostov/Maccabi Haifa
Besiktas/Rio Ave v AC Milan/Bodo/Glimt
Sarajevo/Buducnost Podgorica v Riga/Celtic
Willem II/Rangers v Galatasaray/Hajduk Split
Rosenborg/Alanyaspor v Mura/PSV Eindhoven
St. Gallen/AEK Athens v Wolfsburg/ Desna Chernihiv
Sporting CP/ Aberdeen v LASK/ Dunajska Streda

Everton – West Brom: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Everton – West Brom: The Toffees and Baggies are set to kick off weekend no. 2 of the 2020-21 Premier League season on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET, online via Peacock).

EVERTON – WEST BROM STREAM LIVE

Everton were one of the PL’s most impressive sides last weekend, as they began their campaign with a 1-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur. Most impressively, though, was the instant impact of three newcomers — James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure — who slotted into the team and played important parts in collecting three points on their debuts.

As for West Bromwich Albion, returning to life in the PL brought something of a rude awakening in the form of a 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City. After two seasons in the EFL Championship, West Brom undeniably have their work cut out for them if they’re to stay up this season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Everton – West Brom this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Everton – West Brom (INJURY REPORT)

Everton will be without four players — Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf), Fabian Delph (calf) — none of whom were available for selection to the 18-man squad a week ago.

West Brom will be missing Danish forward Kenneth Zohore (calf), who also missed out on the opening weekend.


What they’re saying

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, on his squad’s depth: “They are experienced players, all three of them in different ways, James, Allan have international experience. Doucoure has played really well in the Premier League. They have brought more confidence to their teammates. We have a more competitive squad. It is difficult to do the lineup, difficult to make the bench and the most difficult part is to tell the player to stay home and watch the game on TV. But if we want to be a more competitive team we have to have competition in the squad.”

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, on wanting more signings: “We would love to do it. It is important we bring a different type of striker to what we have into the club. We are trying to get it done but it’s not easy, but it is instrumental for us. Then the next phase is to improve the team from last season. We got Button the goalkeeper, we got Kipre from Wigan – two good additions to our squad. We’ve got [Branislav] Ivanovic, and now [Conor] Gallagher, and we’re hoping and trying to get a couple more. It’s not a secret — we have good numbers of strikers, but we’re looking to add a bit more quality.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Everton (-190) are, predictably, heavy favorites for this one, with West Brom checking in at +525. The draw is currently sitting +320, if you’re a firm believer that West Brom stand a chance.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

It’s a mighty tough schedule to start the season for West Brom, as they go from last season’s fifth-place finishers to a side with similar aspirations this season. For as long as James and Co., stay healthy and fit, Everton look set to be a handful and a half for bottom-half sides like West Brom. They will have to wait another week for their first points — and their first goal. Everton 2-0 West Brom.


How to watch Everton – West Brom stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock