Premier League 2019 Roundtable

Leave a comment

It was a positive year for two clubs and two managers, and a mixed bag for the others.

In fact, until Man City’s early season run of injuries this season, you could say that Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp waltzed on gilded stages.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

There were feet just about everywhere when it came to pretty much everywhere else.

We deal in both camps when it comes to cueing up the latest ProSoccerTalk round table.


1. So it turns out Liverpool had a really good year, a success that’s very difficult to challenge. What’s impressed you the most about their year?

Joe Prince-WrightThat they have now become a winning machine and totally ruthless. They were probably better and more exciting to watch in 2017 and 2018 but Jurgen Klopp has developed a gritty determination about this team and psychologically they’ve already beaten most of their opponents before they step on the pitch. Winning the Champions League was the final step in the evolution of this team and that is what will allow them to waltz to the Premier League title this season.

Nick Mendola: The foot being on the pedal from moment No. 1. It would’ve been understandable if winning the Champions League was a fine enough salve to their incredible 2018/19 league season coming up short. Instead, they’ve used a mixture of fire and guile — and plenty of the latter — to run away with the Premier League despite rarely being at their very best.

Kyle Bonn: Their absolute iron-clad ability to gut out results when they don’t have their best. I challenge you to find more than 3 games all year where Salah, Mane, and the chosen midfield all played their best in the same game. And yet, they find ways to win. Manchester City’s run was Impressive because the team was powerful and bulldozing. Liverpool has been rock solid and impenetrable.


2. What was the biggest surprise of 2019 in the Premier League?

Joe Prince-Wright: Probably how bad Arsenal have been. On paper their team should not be struggling this much, especially with their attacking talent, and the Gunners are in serious danger of finishing in the bottom half of the table. Arsene Wenger’s reign is getting better and better by the day.

Nick Mendola: What Joe said about Arsenal is on point, so I’ll take a second angle and stay in North London. Spurs’ start to the season was a remarkable disappointment, and shows a stunning combination of errors between people in high places. That ego is reserved for Real Madrid, but Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino were sure to do their best to bring it to England.

Kyle Bonn:  The parity in the league. Watching the newly promoted sides find ways to beat teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United on a relatively consistent basis is a fascinating display of talent distribution and club growth – and also a decline in dominance for some of the top sides.


3. Give us a Best XI for the calendar year in the Premier League.

Joe Prince-Wright: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson; Kante, Bernardo; Mane, Kane, Sterling; Vardy.

Nick Mendola: Ederson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Tarkowski, Robertson, Fabinho, De Bruyne, Sterling, Aubameyang, Raul Jimenez, Vardy.

Full of center forwards and I don’t care.

Kyle Bonn: Alisson; Robertson, van Dijk, Maguire, Alexander-Arnold; Fernandinho, de Bruyne, Maddison; Mane, Aguero, Sterling.


4. There are few managers as respected as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, and yes, they’ve spent as much anyone, too. If you were starting a team from scratch, who would you choose?

Joe Prince-Wright: Jurgen Klopp. Pep Guardiola is probably the greatest manager in history and watching City is like poetry in motion but he already had a lot of the players he relies on when he arrived. But with Klopp you get all of the intangibles of building a successful club on and off the pitch and his personality and the way his team plays is infectious. That is priceless.

Nick Mendola: Love this question. It comes down to team versus club. If I’m building a first team to compete in a league, it’s Klopp, but I want Pep as the man sending technical and tactical vibes up and down my set-up from youth to the top.

Kyle Bonn: Pep Guardiola has show the ability to take a team and turn the from great to world class. But if I was starting a team from scratch, Klopp is unquestionably the man to take a club and rebuild from the ground up.


5. Some big names took over clubs in the past few months. Who will have the most success at their new club: Mourinho, Lampard, Arteta, or Ancelotti?

Joe Prince-Wright:  I actually think Ancelotti will do really well at Everton and I think Mourinho will win a trophy at Tottenham in the next 18 months. Lampard and Arteta are two talented coaches but I’m not sure I trust their respective clubs to give them the time to succeed if they go through a rough patch.

Nick Mendola: Mou and Ancelotti are short-term, but I’d bet on both having success (especially in the case of the former). I like Arteta as a long-term project builder more than Lampard, but there’s likely to be more patience and spending at Stamford Bridge.

Kyle Bonn: Lampard is the early frontrunner here because of his quick success, and I think it will last. However, I want to give credit to Everton because I think Ancelotti will be a far better hire than many are giving credit.


6. What team or player is the biggest disappointment of 2019?

Joe Prince-Wright: Alexis Sanchez is the biggest disappointment of 2019 in terms of a player. I also think West Ham have been hugely disappointing given all the money they’ve spent and all of the potential their team has.

Nick Mendola: Arsenal. With that attack, the fact that they haven’t been able to put together a semblance of a legitimate defense is an abject embarrassment.

Kyle Bonn: I would say Tottenham, because they are the biggest disappointment of this season, but this is a 2019 calendar year award, and they made the Champions League final, so it can’t be them. I will have to go with Bournemouth. Ever since the calendar turned to 2019, they have struggled to compete. I really thought Eddie Howe was set to take this club to the next level with the talent available to him, but they have instead taken steps backward.


7. Who is the biggest positive surprise?

Joe Prince-Wright: Leicester City’s general play and results in 2019 has been a great surprise and so too has the return to form of Jamie Vardy. Didn’t see the latter coming, at all.

Nick Mendola: Sheffield United. Just to be different from my peers, as both the Foxes and Wolves were incredible over the duration of 2019. But Blades boss Chris Wilder has deployed the Sean Dyche/Eddie Howe playbook, and it’s been closer to the latter in terms of easiness on the eyes.

Kyle Bonn: Watching Wolves ascend to a bang-on top-half side has been amazing, but I think the rise of Leicester City as a Champions League club has been the most fun surprise of the year.


8. Is Pep Guardiola at Man City this time next year?

Joe Prince-Wright: Great question. I think so. Probably 80 percent sure. I think this dip in form and results in recent months will actually fuel him to stay longer than originally planned. But if Guardiola wins the Champions League with Man City this season, I could see him walking away in the summer. He is so intense and he would have achieved everything he set out to achieve when he arrived at Man City.

Nick Mendola: Depends on how their Champions League season goes and they’re a legit threat to win it if Aymeric Laporte is back for the knockout rounds. His winning another UCL crown would be the only way I see an exit before the end of next season.

Kyle Bonn: I don’t know, but I do know they’d be stupid to do anything that would result in him leaving, so I’ll go with yes.


 9. Who will have the best Champions League run of Premier League teams?

Joe Prince-Wright: Given their draw in the last 16, I’m actually going to go with Tottenham. RB Leipzig are good but I think Kane, Alli and Son will have a field day. Liverpool will get past Atletico Madrid but their away form in Europe concerns me, while I think Chelsea and Man City will be knocked out in the last 16. So, I’m going for Mourinho’s vast experience in Europe to get Spurs to at least the semifinals as I think he will be able to bring in a few defensive reinforcements in January which will make a big difference to their team.

Nick Mendola: I like Spurs in the next round, although Nagelsmann versus Mourinho could be a beauty. That said, overall I’m going to believe in the Pep Guardiola skill set.

Kyle Bonn: Liverpool. Idiocy to bet on anyone else. Absolute juggernaut.


10. Grade the 2019 of Christian Pulisic.

Joe Prince-Wright: I’m going to go with a B. It was a tough end to life at Borussia Dortmund, then a really good summer at the Gold Cup and then of course it took him a while to get going at Chelsea. But Pulisic’s purple patch in October and November in the PL and UCL was sublime and he’s become a regular for Chelsea much sooner than we all expected. He is still just 21 years old and there are going to be ups and downs in his performances, as recent weeks have shown, but I think overall it has been a better than expected 2019 for Pulisic.

Nick Mendola: B+. It’s neither his fault that Lucien Favre opted not to play him regularly the second half of last season, but his acclimation to the Premier League has been dynamite. It took some time for him to get a proper look, but he seized it. Many, many have clattered into the same hurdle.

Kyle Bonn: A-. Pulisic moved to Chelsea and became a legitimate contributing starter. What else can you really ask for?

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

1 Comment

West Brom – Chelsea: The Blues are in desperate need of a strong rebound when they visit The Hawthorns on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 pm ET, on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WEST BROM – CHELSEA STREAM LIVE

The Baggies, on the other hand, are simply hoping to collect their first point of the season after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Leicester City on the opening day of the 2020-21 season and following that up with a 5-2 beatdown at the hands of Everton last weekend.

As far as favorable matchups go, facing the 20th-place side a week after losing to defending champions Liverpool is quite timely for Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

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


Team news: West Brom – Chelsea (INJURY REPORT)

West Brom – QUESTIONABLE: Ahmed Hegazi (thigh), Kamil Grosicki (back), Hal Robson-Kanu (leg) | OUT: Kieran Gibbs (suspension), Conor Gallagher (loan rules), Kenneth Zohore (calf)

Chelsea – QUESTIONABLE: Christian Pulisic (hamstring), Cesar Azpilicueta (thigh) | OUT: Hakim Ziyech (knee), Andrea Christensen (suspension)


What they’re saying: West Brom – Chelsea

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, on struggling to sign players: “We don’t have a huge budget, that is why we are trying to be creative and lucky. That’s not easy but we are trying. … We have to do it to maintain a good chance.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, on Thiago Silva: “It is exciting for us because he has had just over a week training with us. It was a perfect 60 minutes for him tonight. He will show the qualities he has. Of course, he will get fitter and better. He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others. He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight.”


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

West Brom (+750) represent one of the biggest underdogs — or, opportunities, depending on how you look at it — of the still-young PL season. There’s not much to be won by betting on Chelsea (-280). Even the draw (+400) is pretty far out there.

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: West Brom – Chelsea

Barring some unforeseen circumstances — for example, a 12th-minute red card — it’s virtually impossible to see West Brom getting anything from this game. They’ve been incredibly poor defensively through two games, and they’re yet to face a side with anything close to the firepower which the Blues possess. West Brom 1-3 Chelsea.


How to watch West Brom – Chelsea stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

MLS upcoming schedule, MLS Cup odds

MLS betting odds
Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MLS betting odds and upcoming schedule: Major League Soccer still has six weeks left of fixtures left in the regular season after its long-awaited return from the COVID-19 shutdown.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Dest to Barcelona? ]

The regular season is currently scheduled to end on Nov. 8, with the playoffs beginning that same week and culminating with MLS Cup on Dec. 12.

Click here for MLS betting odds and different odds on soccer and beyond from our new official sports betting partner PointsBet, as there will be plenty of selections to make each week with game lines and more available via NBC Sports Bet.

[ MORE: Five-subs rule again voted down by Premier League clubs ]

This page will be updated following the completion of every round of games in 2020, to feature the upcoming set of fixtures and MLS betting odds.


This weekend’s MLS schedule and odds (via PointsBet)

Sunday, Sept. 26

Nashville (+105) v Houston (+235) / Draw (+225) — 3:30 pm ET
NYCFC (-228) v Cincinnati (+550) / Draw (+300) — 7 pm ET

Sunday, Sept. 27

DC United (+225) v New England (+105) / Draw (+230) — 7 pm ET
New York Red Bulls (-167) v Montreal (+375) / Draw (+280) — 7 pm ET
Philadelphia (+120) v Inter Miami (+195) / Draw (+225) — 7:30 pm ET
Chicago (-139) v Atlanta (+300) / Draw (+275) — 7:30 pm ET
Toronto (+120) v Columbus (+195) / Draw (+225) — 7:30 pm ET
Minnesota (-125) v Real Salt Lake (+265) / Draw (+270) — 8 pm ET
FC Dallas (+125) v Orlando City (+170) / Draw (+245) — 8:30 pm ET
Colorado (+145) v Sporting KC (+150) / Draw (+240) — 9 pm ET
Vancouver (+375) v Portland (-189) / Draw (+325) — 10 pm ET
LAFC (-500) v San Jose (+850) / Draw (+525) — 10:30 pm ET
LA Galaxy (+150) v Seattle (+150) / Draw (+235) — 10:30 pm ET


MLS Cup winner odds

Los Angeles FC (+450)
Toronto FC (+450)
Seattle Sounders (+800)
Philadelphia Union (+1100)
Atlanta United (+1400)
Columbus Crew (+1400)
LA Galaxy (+1800)
New York City FC (+1800)
Sporting KC (+1800)
Portland Timbers (+2000)
Minnesota United (+2500)
New England Revolution (+2500)
Orlando City SC (+2500)
New York Red Bulls (+3000)
Montreal Impact (+4000)
FC Dallas (+5000)
Real Salt Lake (+5000)
San Jose Earthquakes (+6000)
Chicago Fire (+10000)
Colorado Rapids (+10000)
D.C. United (+10000)
Houston Dynamo (+10000)
Inter Miami (+12500)
FC Cincinnati (+25000)
Vancouver Whitecaps (+25000)
Nashville SC (+30000)

West Ham – Wolves: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

Leave a comment

West Ham – Wolves: David Moyes will be watching from home after testing positive for COVID-19, though he reportedly remains asymptomatic, when his West Ham United side welcomes Wolverhampton Wanderers to the London Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 2 pm ET, online via Peacock).

WEST HAM – WOLVES STREAM LIVE

In recent history, West Ham have had an absolutely torrid time against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side since they won promotion from the EFL Championship. The Hammers have found the back of the net zero times, and collected zero points, in four meetings since Wolves returned to the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

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


Team news: West Ham – Wolves (INJURY REPORT)

West Ham – QUESTIONABLE: Issa Diop (COVID-19), Josh Cullen (COVID-19)

Wolves – QUESTIONABLE: Fernando Marcal (undisclosed) | OUT: Jonny (knee)


What they’re saying: West Ham – Wolves

Stand-in manager Alan Irvine, on Moyes’ absence: “I’ve spoken to him several times this morning. He is not feeling any symptoms and hasn’t felt them any way through, so obviously it’s a bit frustrating for him, but he’s fine and he’s getting on with other things. Of course, David will be the manager and everything we do will be run through him. He will make the decisions on everything.”

Nuno Espirito Santo, on facing a team with COVID-19 cases: “We are not concerned, I wish David and the players the fastest recovery. What happened to West Ham can happen to any one of us. It’s tough when you are preparing for a game and you cannot be on the touchline. Now we’re not concerned, we’re confident and we trust the authorities to keep things safe for us.”


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

Everything points to a win for Wolves (+105) with West Ham (+270) made slight home underdogs, which should spell out everything you need to know about the Hammers. Best-case scenario for Moyes and Irvine would be to snatch a draw (+240).

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: West Ham – Wolves

West Ham might get out of the starting block at some point this season, but Wolves are hardly the ideal opponent you want to see when you have zero points and very few positives to start the season. Misery begets misery, and West Ham are in for a bit more. West Ham 0-2 Wolves.


How to watch West Ham – Wolves stream and start time

Kickoff: 2 pm ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

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

Leave a comment

Man City – Leicester: Pep Guardiola will have just 13 first-team players at his disposal when Manchester City hosts Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 am ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

MAN CITY – LEICESTER STREAM LIVE

With a combination of injuries and confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently ravaging an already-thin squad, City have no choice but to tread water and simply stay afloat in the coming days and weeks as they attempt to reclaim the Premier League title from Liverpool. It’s a difficult position to be in, no doubt about it, and Leicester should present a tricky challenge for Guardiola and Co., without the likes of Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan, among others.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Man City and Leicester spent much of the 2019-20 season second and third — and third and second — in the PL table, each looking up at Liverpool miles and miles ahead, before winding up second and fifth, respectively. City won each of the two meetings last season — 3-1 at home in December, and 1-0 away in February.

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


Team news: Man City – Leicester (INJURY REPORT)

Man City – QUESTIONABLE: Ilkay Gundogan (COVID-19), Aymeric Laporte (COVID-19) | OUT: Bernardo Silva (thigh), Gabriel Jesus (undisclosed), Sergio Aguero (knee), Joao Cancelo (foot), Oleksandr Zinchenko (undisclosed)

Leicester – QUESTIONABLE: Demarai Gray (illness) | OUT: Cengiz Under (transfer clearance), Ricardo Pereira (knee), Jonny Evans (thigh), Filip Benkovic (groin), Wilfred Ndidi (groin)


What they’re saying: Man City – Leicester

Pep Guardiola, on Man City’s injury issues: “With the situation we have right now, we need players from the academy. We have just 13 players fit. With the problems we have up front, he will stay with us. We will use him. We cannot forget, like with Phil, he is only 17 years-old. He has a lot of things to improve. We cannot anticipate the progress of every young player. We’ve had Phil, Eric, Liam and we have Cole Palmer, who will be an exceptional player. We congratulate the academy. I am the last step, but before there are a lot of people in the club working for this and it is a big success for them.”

Brendan Rodgers, on how to improve Leicester: “Firstly, we have a number of young players who can improve. Last season, we showed lots of real potential in the squad. I always felt that two things would help us to improve and continue to develop this process. One of those was time. That means time to work with the players who are here, making them better year on year, particularly the young players. They will have gained from the experiences of last season — good and bad. Time will improve James Maddison. Time will improve Harvey Barnes. Consistency will make us better as well. That will come with the introduction of quality.”


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

Perhaps a bit surprisingly given their ongoing injury issues, City (-350) are heavy betting favorites with Leicester checking in as massive underdogs at +850. The draw (+480) might just make for the perfect speculative wager this weekend.

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: Man City – Leicester

City struggled to put away Bournemouth in the League Cup on Thursday, and will have largely the same group of players available on Sunday. Facing Leicester will be a significant increase in quality of opposition. Leicester might just get something out of this one and do Liverpool an early-season favor in the process. Man City 1-1 Leicester.


How to watch Man City – Leicester stream and start time

Kickoff: 11:30 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com