Barcelona Athletic Bilbao
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La Liga: Barcelona wins late, Atleti strengthens hold on third

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The phrase “better lucky than good” can still apply on occasion to the best player in the world.

[ MORE: Messi contract details, transfer rumors ]

On a day that Lionel Messi registered five key passes, a lucky bounce off his shin set up Ivan Rakitic up for Barca’s breakthrough to send the reigning champions back atop the table.

Atletico Madrid also won on Tuesday, while Getafe’s UCL hopes took a big hit with a surprising draw at Real Valladolid.


Barcelona 1-0 Athletic Bilbao

A fortuitous bounce turned into a Lionel Messi assist and Ivan Rakitic goal as Barcelona responded to Real Madrid’s Monday win with a 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Real hosts Mallorca on Wednesday and can retake the table advantage with a win.

The Blaugranas appeared snakebit again days after drawing Sevilla 0-0 and handing control of La Liga’s title race to Real, who has the first tiebreaker after taking four of six Clasico points this year.

[ MORE: Run-ins for Barcelona, Real ]

Barca outshot Athletic 18-6 and Messi was again a force, four of his five key passes leading to squandered opportunities before Rakitic’s moment. Quique Setien is going to ride Messi, who’s gone 90 minutes four times in 11 days.

Messi might’ve run onto the bounce anyway, but it was the Croatian super sub who got the match-winner with his first goal of the season.

Levante 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Sitting an unsightly sixth heading into the coronavirus pause, Diego Simeone’s men have now claimed 10 of 12 available points while allowing just two goals and scoring eight.

Tuesday’s goal came via a Bruno Gonzalez own goal, sending Atleti two points clear of Sevilla and six ahead of fifth-place Getafe.

Don’t doubt Diego’s ability to find a place in the UCL.

Real Valladolid 1-1 Getafe

A setback for the visitors and a firm step toward safety for the hosts, as Valladolid is now eight points clear of the drop zone and Getafe slips four points back of the top four. Jaime Mata gave Getafe a 41st-minute lead, but Enes Unal scored his sixth of the season before halftime.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Barcelona 31 21 5 5 70 31 39 15-1-0 6-4-5 68
 Real Madrid 30 19 8 3 57 21 36 11-4-0 8-4-3 65
 Atlético Madrid 31 14 13 4 39 22 17 9-5-1 5-8-3 55
 Sevilla 31 14 11 6 44 32 12 7-6-2 7-5-4 53
 Getafe 31 13 10 8 40 29 11 7-6-3 6-4-5 49
 Villarreal 31 14 6 11 49 40 9 7-5-3 7-1-8 48
 Real Sociedad 30 14 5 11 47 38 9 8-3-4 6-2-7 47
 València 30 12 10 8 41 43 -2 9-7-0 3-3-8 46
 Granada 31 12 7 12 37 36 1 9-2-4 3-5-8 43
 Athletic Club 31 10 12 9 33 27 6 8-4-3 2-8-6 42
 Levante 31 11 5 15 37 44 -7 7-4-4 4-1-11 38
 Osasuna 30 8 11 11 35 46 -11 5-5-5 3-6-6 35
 Alavés 30 9 8 13 31 45 -14 7-5-3 2-3-10 35
 Betis 30 8 10 12 40 48 -8 7-4-4 1-6-8 34
 Valladolid 31 7 13 11 26 36 -10 3-9-3 4-4-8 34
 Celta Vigo 30 6 12 12 28 35 -7 5-5-5 1-7-7 30
 Eibar 30 7 8 15 31 47 -16 6-2-7 1-6-8 29
 Mallorca 30 7 5 18 29 50 -21 6-3-7 1-2-11 26
 Leganés 31 5 10 16 23 44 -21 4-4-8 1-6-8 25
 Espanyol 30 5 9 16 26 49 -23 2-5-8 3-4-8 24

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)