Premier League Draft
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Drafting the Premier League…. NFL Style

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With the NFL Draft coming our way on Thursday, who would be selected in a draft of Premier League players?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

We were able to dial up two of our writers, Joe Prince-Wright and Nick Mendola, to complete this intriguing exercise.

The ground rules were simple: Select XI players, a super sub, a manager, and a home ground.

The only limits on representation was that a drafter could only select one player per position group (goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, forwards) per club.

So it’s okay to have Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk, but not Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

Without further adieu, the entire text conversation between our general managers…

Nicholas Mendola: Alright, as editor of this fine page, you get the first pick. Remember: Eleven players, a manager, a ground, and a super sub. Surely we can’t screw this up with just two of us (Edit Note: They could).

Joe Prince-Wright: Okay, I will get things started with the honor of having the first overall pick… Move over Joe Burrow, I’m going with… Harry Kane.

NM:Whoa!

JPW: I picked Kane because like the postman, he always delivers. He’s just the type of guy any team in the world can build their attack around. I know there are flashier players out there as a first pick but Kane is the most complete striker. Who you going with for your first pick, Nick?

NM: Totally torn between the best playmaker in the league and an absolute monster at the back. NFL people would surely tell you defense wins championships, but so does spraying the ball all over the pitch and having a rocket of a shot to boot… I’m taking Kevin De Bruyne.

JPW: KDB, fair play. A proper QB. A players’ player. 

NM: Kevin De Brady (Go Bills, though).

JPW: Haha! With my second pick I’m going for “D-fence! D-fence!” Virgil van Dijk. It has to be. Big Virg makes everyone around him better and he will win the Ballon d’Or next year or the year after. You’re on the clock, Nick

NM: It was definitely one or the other for me between KDB and VVD! Great applause for the former Celtic and Saints man.

For my second pick, I’m going to give KDB a target and also keep up our run on three-initialed stars. He’s not having his very best year, but I believe he will flourish with something steadier in his midfield. From Gabon, Mr. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

JPW: Nicely done. Auba has been sensational since he arrived at Arsenal. I’m pretty jealous of that pick… 

Okay, here’s my third pick. I’m getting in here early with my manager selection. Because I both know we will be going for one of two managers. I’m going with Jurgen Klopp. I mean, dude, come on.

How can you not love Klopp? He is the dream manager for players. They love him. He loves them. Fans love him. My squad will play a high-tempo, attacking brand. Klopp is my pick and he is a legend at Anfield and beyond. Klopp is just a nice bloke. End of. 

Who are you taking with your third pick?

NM: I’m going to go full competitor here and wait to take my manager for at least a pick or two.
Pretty torn here between two players, but I feel a need to lay claim to my favorite midfielder. Another guy who isn’t having his very best year, but that’s due to injury. You took a player who could win a Ballon d’Or, I’m taking one who’s been robbed of one — sorry, Luka Modric — Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.

JPW: Ah man, N’Golo Kante was my next pick. No. No. No. Great pick from you but I’m gutted. 

NM: (takes bow, looks wistfully at the gleaming chompers of Klopp in your dugout)

JPW: Here’s my fourth pick… I’m going with another fine center back to join Virgil van Dijk. It is, of course, Harry Maguire. I don’t think anybody would get past a center back partnership of Maguire and VVD.

Slabhead had a slow start at Man United but he’s kicked on massively in the second half of the season and now has the captains armband. Marauding Maguire is my favorite Maguire.

NM: Slabhead?!? Unreal banter.

JPW: Defense builds championships, Nick… Our ta

NM: And I have none yet. I’m changing that…. kind of.

I’ve gone three picks and have not selected anyone from the leaders. And this guy is *technically* a right back. For me, I have a feeling I’ll have him playing midfield, but I won’t burn the rules: Trent Alexander-Arnold.

JPW: TAA was an attacking player in the youth teams, you know. Definitely can’t tell by the way he plays at right back… Very good pick my man.

Okay, my fifth pick is an easy one. Can’t believe he’s stayed on the board this long. Welcome to my squad, Sadio Mane! He’s having a superb season and I think he’s right up there with De Bruyne in the player of the year conversation.

Defenders are petrified of Mane’s pace and direct runs. Injuries impacted him in recent months but he is perfect for Liverpool and for my squad.

NM: Alright I’ll restore level footing by taking my manager. and it’s Pep. it was always going to be Pep. Honorable mention to Nuno and his magnificent beard.

JPW: It was honestly a flip of a coin between him and Klopp. And yes, what a job Nuno is doing! 

That brings me nicely to my sixth pick… Adama Traore! What a season he’s having and with Traore and Mane running at goal and Kane sniffing around for loose balls, my attack is stacked!

NM: Interesting shout. I’m gonna go off the board a bit, too. Joining Kante in wrecking your attack is the only player who can come close to recreating the Frenchman’s act: Wilfred Ndidi.

JPW: My goodness, he was on my board. Ndidi has been sublime. Leicester missed him a lot when he was out injured. Okay, I’m coming in with my 7th pick… Ederson! It’s a toss-up between him and Alisson, and Rui Patricio is in the conversation too. I’m going for Ederson though. His distribution is sublime. 

NM: I’m taking the man who shines in front of your latest pick, because I’ll need a remarkable distributor behind Ndidi and Kante. Aymeric Laporte, get ready to ping.

JPW: Man City’s real MVP is Laporte, as we’ve seen this season. You’re very good as this drafting lark, Nick. 

NM: It’s getting to the tricky parts now, I fear.
JPW: Okay, I’m picking up Andy Robertson with my next pick. Best left back in the PL and Robbo is what I would call a proper bloke on and off the pitch. The flying Scotsman is a menace down the left flank

Oh no, I just realized I can’t have Robbo Let me pick again!

Okay, I’m going with Reece James here. I panicked a little, but he’s very, very good

NM: Hahaha. Wild card! Quick on your feet, though….
I’m going off a small sample size here…

Can you guess where I’m going? Midfielder…

Nations League winner…

JPW: No, please no. Not the next name on my list

NM: No. 18 in your programs but No. 1 in your heart…. Bruno Fernandes.

JPW: Man, he was my next pick. Wow. What a player.

NM: My apologies.

JPW: Alright, I’m going with a beauty of a pick from Man City, the man who can hold it all together. Fernandinho.  

NM: I love that. Are you playing him at CB or CM, though?!?

JPW: I can’t reveal my strategy here.

NM: Klopp would never allow it. Alright speaking of Liverpool, let’s stop with the nonsense and plug the handsome, very full beard of Alisson Becker between the sticks.

JPW: Superb pick. Okay, next up I’m going with the pride of Manchester. Marcus Rashford. Boom.

NM: Ouch. He was coming up soon for me, right after Fergus Suter. Turnabout is fair play.

JPW: Finally, I take one of your players. Finally!

NM: I’m going next with a man who is only here this late because you couldn’t take him due to Mane being on your roster. A man who Bob Bradley turned into a star: Mr. Mohamed Salah.

JPW: Ah, yes, I’m surprised Salah has taken this long to be picked. His quality is undoubted. The Egyptian King. 

NM: It was a loophole.

JPW: I’m going with James Maddison from Leicester City to bolster my midfield creativity.

NM: Next pick gives me another Merseyside menace: Richarlison. Wait! Oh it’s too late…

JPW: Oh, wow. Dramaaaa!
NM: I’m shaking my head. This limits me to three at the back, and one is the challenged TAA. Plus, we’ve got a live shot of Sergio Aguero in the green room, baffled. Sorry, Kun.

JPW: I’m going with Everton for my next pick. Lucas Digne! The Frenchman has a wand of a left foot and gives my team some much-needed balance

Surely you will take Sergio next. He is being pictured on his phone

NM: I cannot! I only have two backs. It’s all come apart for Team Mendola. The fan base is revolting as we hand in our card for Antonio Rudiger

JPW: Wowza. Decent pick. But I can hear the jeering from your fans from here…

NM: TAA, Laporte, and Rudiger. We had better score a lot. 

JPW: Okay, well, for my super sub pick I was going to take USMNT hero Christian Pulisic (because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t available).

But I have an ace up my sleeve seeing as you left Sergio Aguero out. How can you not have him as your super sub when you need a goal? Come on Sergio, lad, complete my squad!

NM: I’m basically the New York Jets.

Okay. I would take Pulisic, too, but I must make amends for my XI and select young Bukayo Saka. Gives me a flair player for either the midfield or left back.

JPW: To finish up, I’m picking St James’ Park as my home ground! 52,000 passionate Newcastle fans behind my squad is just unbeatable. The Geordie faithful will support my team no matter what!

NM: YOU DOG. My No. 1 ground. Hmmmm.

I will take the Theater of Dreams, Old Trafford. Anfield seems too easy a selection here. Special nod to Selhurst Park for the “Glad All Over” walk-out.

JPW: Now this is over, let the fans decide who won this draft! This has got me in the mood to watch every single pick from every single round in the NFL draft and scrutinize it heavily and make sweeping judgments galore. Just the way we all like it!

NM: Cheers Joe. And cheers to the return of these players to the pitch sooner rather than later.

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)