Premier League 2019 Roundtable


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?

FA Cup fourth round schedule, how to watch live, predictions


The FA Cup always delivers shocks and plenty of Premier League clubs have tricky tasks facing them in the fourth round.

After Aston Villa, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth were all knocked out by lower league opponents in round three, plus Everton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Brentford knocked out by fellow Premier League sides, there are only 11 top-flight teams left in the last 32.

[ LIVE: Follow FA Cup scores, updates ]

The fourth-round draw’s already been conducted and Arsenal will tangle with Manchester City in a tantalizing tie, while Brighton against Liverpool has the makings of a classic and Manchester United will be on upset alert against Reading and so too will West Ham as they face a tough trip to third-tier Derby County.

Read on for FA Cup stream info, fixtures, and predictions.

FA Cup live scores, schedule, dates, how to watch

Dates: Fourth round (January 27-30)
Times: Below
Online: Live updates via
How to watch: ESPN+

FA Cup fourth round schedule

All games 10am ET unless otherwise stated

Man City vs Arsenal – 3pm ET

Accrington Stanley vs Leeds United – 7:30am ET
Walsall vs Leicester City – 7:30am ET
Fulham vs Sunderland
Bristol City vs West Brom
Sheffield Wednesday vs Fleetwood Town
Blackburn Rovers vs Birmingham City
Luton Town vs Grimsby Town
Ipswich Town vs Burnley
Southampton vs Blackpool
Preston North End vs Tottenham Hotspur – 1pm ET
Manchester United vs Reading – 3pm ET

Brighton vs Liverpool – 8:30am ET
Stoke City vs Stevenage – 9am ET
Wrexham vs Sheffield United – 11:30am ET

Derby County vs West Ham – 2:45pm ET

FA Cup fourth round predictions – By Joe Prince-Wright

Man City 2-1 Arsenal

Accrington Stanley 1-3 Leeds United
Walsall 1-2 Leicester City
Fulham 1-2 Sunderland
Bristol City 1-2 West Brom
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Fleetwood Town
Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Birmingham City
Luton Town 3-1 Grimsby Town
Ipswich Town 1-3 Burnley
Southampton 2-0 Blackpool
Preston North End 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United 2-1 Reading

Brighton 2-2 Liverpool
Stoke City 2-1 Stevenage
Wrexham 1-2 Sheffield United

Derby County 1-1 West Ham

FA Cup third round replays


Swansea City 1-2 (AET) Bristol City
Forest Green Rovers 1-2 Birmingham City (original tie postponed due to waterlogged pitch)
Wigan 1-2 Luton
Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
West Brom 4-0 Chesterfield


Leeds United 5-2 Cardiff City

Tuesday, January 24

Accrington Stanley vs Boreham Wood

FA Cup third round results


Manchester United 3-1 Everton


Preston North End 3-1 Huddersfield Town
Reading 2-0 Watford
Tottenham 1-0 Portsmouth
Gillingham 0-1 Leicester City
Forest Green Rovers vs Birmingham City — PPD
Crystal Palace 1-2 Southampton
Hull City 0-2 Fulham
Middlesbrough 1-5 Brighton
Fleetwood Town 2-1 QPR
Ipswich Town 4-1 Rotherham
Bournemouth 2-4 Burnley
Blackpool 4-1 Nottingham Forest
Chesterfield 3-3 West Brom
Millwall 0-2 Sheffield United
Boreham Wood 1-1 Accrington Stanley
Shrewsbury Town 1-2 Sunderland
Brentford 0-1 West Ham
Coventry City 3-4 Wrexham
Luton Town 1-1 Wigan
Grimsby Town 1-0 Burton Albion
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle
Liverpool 2-2 Wolves


Bristol City 1-1 Swansea City
Derby County 3-0 Barnsley
Cardiff City 2-2 Leeds
Stockport 1-2 Walsall
Hartlepool 0-3 Stoke City
Norwich 0-1 Blackpool
Aston Villa 1-2 Stevenage
Man City 4-0 Chelsea


Oxford United 0-3 Arsenal

Premier League midseason grades


We are at the midway point of the Premier League season, so now seems like a good time to dish out a grade for all 20 clubs based on their play so far.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Which teams have struggled? Who has overachieved? What have been the biggest stories so far?

[ LATEST: Premier League table in full ]

Below we dish out a grade to every club with analysis on their 2022-23 campaign so far.

The strugglers

Southampton: F
Everton: F
West Ham: D-
Chelsea: D-
Leicester City: D-

Three of these five teams (Saints, Everton and Chelsea) have fired their manager and that says it all. Southampton’s transfer policy was risky but they have a chance of getting out of the relegation zone, while Everton look in a whole world of trouble with Frank Lampard fired and discontent rising among supporters. Chelsea are in a bit of mess and keep chucking money at it, with the top four already seeming out of reach under new boss Graham Potter. As for West Ham and Leicester, well, they’ve both underachieved massively and have shown glimpses of climbing up the table during the season, but there’s just an extra spark missing for both despite their talented squads.

The underachievers

Liverpool: D
Leeds: D
Wolves: D
Crystal Palace: C-
Bournemouth: C

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have massively underachieved this season and they’ve lacked energy and confidence from the very start. Can they rebound and battle for the top four? They’ve done it before but this will take one heck of a turnaround as they look lackluster in midfield and shaky in defense. Leeds and Wolves both have better squads than being in a relegation scrap but that’s what they’re in. Marsch has to make Leeds better at the back, while Julen Lopetegui has Wolves organized but needs goals. As for Crystal Palace, they’ve slightly underachieved but are doing okay in midtable under Patirck Vieira, while Bournemouth have spent most of the season (until recently) out of the relegation zone which is much better than what they expected.

The teams figuring it out

Nottingham Forest: B-
Aston Villa: B-
Tottenham: B
Manchester City: B+
Manchester United: B+

In the case of the two Manchester clubs, Erik ten Hag has got United playing with a structure and confidence and they are right in the top four battle. As for Manchester City, well, they have Erling Haaland which papers over a lot of cracks. Still, Pep Guardiola’s side are ominously sat just behind Arsenal in the title battle as they love to chase teams down. Tottenham have had a crazy season full of ups and downs but are still basically where they should be: battling for a top four finish. Aston Villa have figured it out with Unai Emery coming in and making them a solid unit which loves to counter. As for Forest, Steve Cooper has done a fine job and after making about 327 new signings last summer (the real number is slightly higher) the squad has gelled and they should stay up.

The big winners, so far…

Brentford: A
Fulham: A
Newcastle: A+
Brighton: A+
Arsenal: A+

There are some real surprise packages this season and the positions of Brighton and Fulham (sixth and seventh respectively) is a shock. Roberto De Zerbi replaced Potter and added attacking swagger to the Seagulls who are so much fun to watch, while Marco Silva has turned new boys Fulham into a very efficient team who are horrible to play against. Brentford slot between Brighton and Fulham in terms of style of play and Thomas Frank is once again working miracles with Ivan Toney leading the charge as the Bees have recorded several huge wins, beating Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool already. But the story of the season is down to two teams: Newcastle and Arsenal. The former have gone on a long unbeaten run and may not be in the title race but are in the top four hunt. What a job Eddie Howe has done and Newcastle are tough to play against and are adding key players all the time. As for Arsenal, what can we say about the Gunners? Mikel Arteta has developed an incredible squad full of talented youngsters who are all pulling in the same direction. Arsenal sit top of the table and have answered every big question asked of them so far. They 100 percent look like they can be title winners. Can they kick on in the second half of the season and finish off the job?

Manchester United vs Reading: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Manchester United looks to stay in the mix for a pair of domestic cups when it hosts old pal Paul Ince and Reading in the fourth round of the 2022 FA Cup on Saturday.

United scored a solid win at midweek to move within 90 minutes of the League Cup Final and of course also harbors hopes of winning the Europa League and, perhaps less so, the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

Reading sits 14th in the Championship, five points off the playoff places and fairly clear of the relegation mess.

Manchester United vs Reading, FA Cup fourth round: How to watch live, stream link

Kick off: 3pm ET, Saturday
TV Channel: ESPN+
Online: Updates via

Key storylines & in-form players to watch 

Tom Ince, Paul’s son, is leading the club both in goals and assists, and sits among the leaders in pretty much everything else from tackles to completed dribbles.  Yakou Meite has also been a busy piece of what Reading has done well.

United’s stars are well-known, as Marcus Rashford continues to thrive at forward. Wout Weghorst picked up his first Man Utd goal at midweek and could be in line for more playing time while Anthony Martial recovers from injury.

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

Manchester United won’t have Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot, Donny van de Beek, and Jadon Sancho, while Luke Shaw is a question mark with an illness.

Reading team news, injuries, lineup options

Paul Ince’s bid to upset United will not include Naby Sarr, Sam Hutchinson, and old foe Andy Carroll.

2024 Copa America to be played in USA


The United States will host the 2024 Copa America, which will once again feature six guest nations as part of a new “strategic collaboration agreement” announced by CONMEBOL and CONCACAF on Friday.

[ MORE: Report: Christian Pulisic wanted by AC Milan ]

Copa America last came to the U.S., in the summer of 2016 for Copa America Centenario, the 100-year celebration of the South American championship.

Back in 2016, the USMNT and Mexico were not required to qualify for the tournament, but the CONCACAF giants will not be given an automatic bid to Copa America 2024. They will also be forced to qualify as one of six CONCACAF through the 2023-24 Nations League. Previously, the other four bids from CONCACAF were awarded via various regional tournaments and and qualifying playoffs.

[ MORE: USMNT falls to Serbia in 2023 opener ]

The CONMEBOL-CONCACAF partnership also extends to the women’s game, where the Gold Cup is being revamped.

2024 CONCACAF W[omen’s] Gold Cup will include eight CONCACAF women’s national teams and four CONMEBOL guests

For women’s national teams, CONCACAF has invited the top four CONMEBOL national teams to participate in the 2024 CONCACAF W Gold Cup. The inaugural edition of this 12-team tournament, which is a key part of CONCACAF’s new women’s national team ecosystem, will be played in the United States.

The two Concacaf teams that will participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics (United States and Jamaica or Canada) will qualify directly for the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The remaining six Concacaf teams will be determined through the 2023 Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup.

2024 Copa America: What does it mean for USMNT?

First things first, it means playing more high-level, competitive games between World Cups. The USMNT has faced the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and other South American nations in friendlies over the years, but as things stand their only competitive fixtures come against CONCACAF competition — the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying.

The timing of the tournament is beneficial for all national teams involved as well, at the halfway point to the 2026 World Cup — also set to be hosted in the United States (and Mexico and Canada) — just as EURO 2024 is the halfway marker for European nations. The 2023 Gold Cup is still on the schedule for this summer, with the final to be played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Only time will tell if the combined Copa America will become the new norm in the Americas, but given what we know about the profitability of international soccer, there will certainly be a “cross your fingers and hope all goes well” vibe in 2024.

Follow @AndyEdMLS