10 things we learned in the Premier League – Matchweek 25


What did we learn in the Premier League over the weekend?

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Here’s a look at 10 things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nick Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) share their observations from across the most recent Premier League games.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Let’s get to it.

1. City’s depth flex readies for Champions League (Arsenal 0-1 Man City): The game became a bit of a slog and we should credit Arsenal for limiting the damage (and we will below). But how about City doing the thing without starting Rodri, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, Sergio Aguero, and Laporte. Only Gabriel Jesus was put into the match, giving De Bruyne a rest as Guardiola prepped for Borussia Monchengladbach. Must be nice. The rest of the way for City, you ask? Find the guards of honor: Four straight league matches at home: West Ham, Wolves, Man United, Southampton. Then Fulham and Leicester City away, followed by Leeds and Villa at home, Palace away, Chelsea home, Newcastle away, Brighton away, Everton at home. (NM)

2. Ancelotti’s Serie A special sinks Liverpool (Liverpool 0-2 Everton): Italian soccer’s top flight is now a league of as many goals per game as any of the top European leagues, but Carlo Ancelotti’s Saturday show to pick up Everton’s first win over Liverpool in nearly 11 years was straight out of the 1990s calcio playbook. Up early against the champs, Everton made life miserable on the hosts. Seamus Coleman was relentless on the right while Mason Holgate followed Roberto Firmino all over the pitch and Michael Keane was the enforcer next to him. Brilliant commitment. Ancelotti saved Calvert-Lewin and Sigurdsson for late. Newly-fit forward DCL took an incredible ball from Richarlison and saw his initial shot saved by Alisson Becker. But Trent Alexander-Arnold’s desperate failed slide to block Calvert-Lewin’s shot also took out the forward’s tracking of the rebound and Sigurdsson put it to bed with a low, composed penalty. He’s been invaluable to Ancelotti, completely bought-in whether sub or starter. (NM)

3. Man United sleep-walk through long periods (Man United 3-1 Newcastle): As good as Bruno Fernandes has been this season (he’ll probably win Player of the Year), Manchester United still need more from him as no one else in the team is willing or able to take control of a 50-50 game and tilt it in their favor. Fernandes does so nearly every other game, but when he doesn’t (like on Sunday), Man United rarely look convincing or confident. Fortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, Newcastle were happy to self-destruct and hand Manchester United an insurmountable advantage, without having to be brilliant brilliant, as the game wore on.

4. Quick-strike Leicester does it again (Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester): Leicester City seemingly has a habit of scoring in bunches, and Harvey Barnes wound up with a goal and an assist in a four-minute first-half span to deliver all the goals Leicester would need at Villa Park. When the Foxes start to feel it, they really act. It could’ve been 4-0 early. (NM)

5. Tuchel tinkers with his team (Southampton 1-1 Chelsea): Tuchel made plenty of changes before the game and during it, and Chelsea lost a bit of fluidity in their play. They still dominated large chunks of the game but they couldn’t quite get their forwards in correct positions as the final pass or finish was off. The way Hudson-Odoi was brought on at half time then subbed off with 15 minutes to go summed up why Tuchel isn’t happy with his attacking lineup. They have huge games against Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United coming up and they need to get the balance right. (JPW)

[ MORE: Premier League schedule on NBC ]

6. Mourinho got Mourinho’d by Moyes (West Ham 2-1 Tottenham): Shame on us, but it was easy to undervalue Tim Howard’s early-season comments praising the determination David Moyes would show in building West Ham back into something special. After all, Moyes had been bad essentially everywhere since leaving his special decade at Everton. But Moyes has had the right prescription to get West Ham into the top four this season, and continued the Irons’ hoodoo hold on Spurs by using Jose Mourinho’s tactics to beat Jose Mourinho’s team on Sunday. Full marks to the Scot. (NM)

7. Criminally wasteful finishing from Brighton, again (Brighton 1-2 Crystal Palace): Monday was simply a continuation of the same old story, in which Brighton dominated the game (25-3 in terms of shots taken), had plenty of chances to score, failed to do so, and dropped points unnecessarily. For the vast majority of the field, Potter’s men are brilliant and comprehensive — they’re even good part of the way into the final third, as chance creation is hardly an issue. But, when it comes time to put the ball in the back of the net, they go from 7th in shots taken (12.9 per game) down to 15th in shots on target (3.9) — three of the five teams currently below them will be relegated, and the other two will stay up by the skin of their teeth. Only time will tell if they are made to pay for their transgressions. (AE)

8. Wolves on the front foot (Wolves 1-0 Leeds): It’s been quite some time — perhaps since the early days of the 2020-21 season — since we’ve seen Wolves take the game to an opponent of similar quality the way they did against Leeds, particularly in the first half. While the shot numbers were even (9-8 in favor of Wolves), the location of shots told the real story: 7 from inside 12 yards for Wolves, compared to 2 for Leeds. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side played some uncharacteristically free-flowing football with the considerable talent in the team, and it was a joy to witness. (AE)

9. Plenty good from Fulham (Fulham 1-0 Sheffield United): The Cottagers had drawn nine times in their last 13 league outings and a 10th would’ve been just awful. Thank Lookman for that, but the fact is that Scott Parker’s angsty Fulham has been so difficult to beat after a terrible start to the season. It took him some time to get his late-arriving batch of defenders comfortable with the system, but Fulham’s losses since a dreadful 1-1-7 start to the season read: at Man City, versus Chelsea, versus Manchester United, and versus a Leicester City they beat at the King Power Stadium in November. (NM)

10. Burnley fall flat (Burnley 0-0 West Brom): Home draws against West Brom and Fulham in the last two show that maybe Burnley aren’t going to drag themselves away from the relegation scrap. They have enough to stay up, but they didn’t take enough chances after going up a man. (JPW)

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UEFA Nations League: Schedule, how to watch, stream, TV, standings


UEFA Nations League champions France will not go back-to-back, and Portugal is behind Spain in its bid to return to the throne room, highlighting the odds that a new Nations League winner will be crowned at the end of third edition of the tournament.

England and Wales are no longer top-tier sides after their relegations to UEFA Nations League B. England didn’t win a single one of their six group games (0W-3D-3L) as Gareth Southgate’s side finished bottom of Group 3.

France lost to Denmark and just remained in League A as Austria were relegated, with Croatia pipping the Danes to a place in the semifinal round.

[ MORE: European Nations League hub — Scores, stats ]

Group A4 is the opposite sort of fight, Belgium and the Netherlands have both played very well but the Dutch triumphed down the stretch (thanks to a 1-0 win as Virgil van Dijk scored the lone goal in Amsterdam) to advance to the semifinal round.

UEFA Nations Leagues B, C, and D also have drama built into the final days as Ukraine and Scotland are jockeying for promotion in B1; Russia’s punishment has left B2 promotion open to Israel, Iceland, and Albania. B4 sees Erling Haaland, Martin Odegaard, and Norway fighting to join League A for the next cycle.

There’s also drama as Kazakhstan and Georgia currently lead their League C groups, with Latvia and Estonia in League D’s best spots.

UEFA Nations League live: How to watch, stream links

When: June 1, 2022 – March 26, 2024
How to watch: Fox Sports Live, Fubo TV

UEFA Nations League A, Group 1

Croatia– 4-1-1, 13 pts [ADVANCED]
Denmark — 4-0-2, 12 pts
France — 1-2-3, 5 pts
Austria — 1-1-4, 4 pts [RELEGATED]

Next fixtures

France 2-0 Austria
Croatia 2-1 Denmark

Denmark 2-0 France
Austria 1-3 Croatia

UEFA Nations League A, Group 2

Portugal — 3-1-1, 10 pts
Spain — 2-2-0, 8 pts
Switzerland — 2-0-3, 6 pts
Czech Republic — 1-1-3, 4 pts

Next fixtures

Czech Republic 0-4 Portugal
Spain 1-2 Switzerland

Portugal vs Spain
Switzerland vs Czech Republic

UEFA Nations League A, Group 3

Italy — 3-2-1, 11 pts [ADVANCED]
Hungary — 3-1-2, 10 pts
Germany — 1-4-1, 7 pts
England — 0-3-3, 3 pts [RELEGATED]

Next fixtures

Italy 1-0 England
Germany 0-1 Hungary

England 3-3 Germany
Hungary 0-2 Italy

UEFA Nations League A, Group 4

Netherlands — 5-1-0, 16 pts [ADVANCED]
Belgium — 3-1-2, 10 pts
Poland — 2-1-3, 7 pts
Wales — 0-1-5, 1 pt [RELEGATED]

Next fixtures

Poland 0-2 Netherlands
Belgium 2-1 Wales

Netherlands 1-0 Belgium
Wales 0-1 Poland

USMNT projected starting lineup vs Saudi Arabia


The USMNT face Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain in their final warm-up game before the 2022 World Cup kicks off in November and there are plenty of question marks around their best starting lineup.

Especially at center back and up front.

[ MORE: Player ratings | What we learned | Reaction ]

Following the shocking defeat to Japan (where a 2-0 scoreline in Japan’s favor heavily flattered the USMNT), Gregg Berhalter has plenty to think about as he juggles his roster around ahead of this final audition.

Yes, this final camp before the World Cup has seen the USMNT without six key players (Weah, Steffen, A. Robinson, Carter-Vickers, Richards and Musah) but the most concerning thing is that nobody took the opportunity given to them against Japan. Will anybody step up against Saudi Arabia and cement their spot in the roster, or even the starting lineup?

Below is our projected lineup, plus analysis on what Berhalter should do for the final 90 minutes he has with the team before they kick off their World Cup campaign against Wales on Nov. 21 in Qatar.

USMNT projected starting lineup vs Saudi Arabia (4-3-3)

—– Horvath —–

— Scally — Zimmerman — Palmer-Brown — Dest —

—- Adams —- McKennie —-

—- Reyna —-

— Aaronson — Pepi — Pulisic —

What should Berhalter do?

It’s clear that Gregg Berhalter will make plenty of changes as eight players (six outfield, two goalkeepers) didn’t have any minutes against Japan last time out. That said, he needs key players on this team to find some rhythm playing together less than two months before the World Cup kicks off. This starting lineup should be a mixture between giving players a final chance to impress and letting star players alongside each other as they look to build momentum ahead of the World Cup.


Matt Turner proved he’s the undisputed No. 1 as he excelled against Japan (perhaps the only player to leave that game with any credit) and although Zack Steffen is better with the ball at his feet, Turner appears to have the upper-hand. That leaves Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson to battle it out for the final goalkeeping spot on the roster. Expect them both to get a chance in this game.


In defense, Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie should both get plenty of minutes to make their final claim for a spot on the roster but it may be a surprise to see them line up together. Perhaps they will have 45 minutes each alongside Zimmerman (a guaranteed starter at CB) to see who fares better as a duo?

At full back Joe Scally should get a run out at right back, while Sergino Dest will likely show off his versatility and play left back. The likes of Dest, and others, need the game time given they’re on the fringes of their starting lineup for their club teams. We now what DeAndre Yedlin can do and he is a leader on this team who is going to Qatar no matter what.


In midfield, I’d start Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie together again. They looked awful against Japan which was very surprising. This duo have to get some kind of partnership going and 60 minutes together here could see things click back into place for them. We know what Luca de la Torre and Kellyn Acosta offer, while Johnny Cardoso and Malik Tillman could both get another, longer, chance to push for a spot on the roster.


Gio Reyna playing in a central role as a No. 10 should be something Berhalter prioritizes, while Christian Pulisic is fit and will start (according to Berhalter) so he should start on the left and Brenden Aaronson should start on the right. Getting Aaronson, Reyna and Pulisic used to playing together and interchanging is something that has to be done.

Up top, Berhalter has confirmed that Ricardo Pepi will get his chance to start and his physicality and speed should combine very well with the trio underneath him. Expect Josh Sargent to get a good chunk of minutes too, while Jesus Ferreira is the other option up top but maybe we could see Pulisic or Reyna playing up there as a false nine at some point of the game?

Ranking the 2022 World Cup kits


With the 2022 World Cup fast approaching, plenty of World Cup kits are starting to be released and there are some intriguing looks.

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From Mexico’s snazzy away number to Germany going for a solid new look for their home kit and Puma rolling out a very specific and similar look for their national teams, just like they did for their club teams on their away kits, there is a lot to unpack here.

When November rolls around and the World Cup kicks off, which one of these jerseys will you be wearing with pride? And which one will you be wearing because it looks really cool?

Below is our rankings of the World Cup kits which have been released.

Ranking the 2022 World Cup kits

1. Mexico

This is a lovely away kit and will become a classic. Expect these beauties to fly off the shelves and be a jersey that neutrals love just as much as El Tri fans. The home kit is very decent too.

2. Portugal

Absolutely sensational work. The home kit is unique enough but still sticks to Portugal’s bold colors, while the away kit is a classic too.

3. Poland

Oh, wow. This is absolutely beautiful. The away shirt is majestic and the home shirt is classic but with some intriguing detail on the sleeves. Nicely done.

4. Japan

Well, this is another classic. Japan’s home kit is inspired by anime and the design is bold and recognizable. The away kit is fantastic too, especially the long-sleeved version.

5. France

The home and away kits are both lovely and the colors just work together. Well done.

6. Argentina

The home kit is classic. You can’t really mess up the blue and white stripes. Again, another lovely away kit. The purple is perfect and this just looks slick and silky. Much like Lionel Messi’s footwork.

7. Wales

These are beautiful. The right color red on the home shirt and just enough going on without overdoing it. The away shirt is also bold and the collar is lovely. Well done.

8. Brazil

Home kit looks like a classic and the away shirt is pretty decent too, but some people may not like the funky print on the shoulders.

9. England

The blue panels on the home kit are a bit meh but the away kit is a retro beauty.

10. Croatia

They kind of ruined a classic with the home kit. It’s still cool but only having the checkered design on part of the home shirt is weird. The away kit is majestic.

11. Saudi Arabia

Pretty nice designs here. They could have gone with the plain white for the home and plain green for the away, but the snazzy designs work. Especially for the away kit.

12. Netherlands

The home shirt looks kind of velvety? Not the usual bright orange, which will upset some. The blue away kit is sleek and the real winner here.

13. Senegal

This is the best of the Puma jerseys, as Senegal’s away kit is very distinctive and the green is lovely. This big panel on the middle of the kit is something we will get used to seeing a lot of during the World Cup.

14. Ghana

Again, another Puma away kit but this Ghana shirt has plenty of personality.

15. Germany

This is fine. Expect a bit better from Die Mannschaft and it feels like they should have an all white jersey for their home kit.

16. Qatar

The hosts have a simple, clean look. The away shirt has a nice golden pattern on it. Not bad.

17. USA

The home shirt has not been received well by fans, and some players, for being too boring. But the away shirt is pretty nice.

18. Morocco

A bit plain, but like the collar and sleeve trims and the circular pattern around the middle is very cool.

19. Spain

Eh, this could have been so much better. Spain’s home kit looks bland and the away kit is just too much with that pattern.

20. Australia

Not quite sure what to make of this. The same velvety style as the Netherlands home shirt on Australia’s home shirt. Just doesn’t work. The away kit is also just very bland.

21. Belgium

These home kits are just a little too plain and the flame pattern on the shoulder isn’t great and looks like a shirt I’d wear to my midweek bowling league. A missed opportunity. The same applies for the away kit. Belgium’s golden generation won’t look golden this World Cup.

22. Uruguay

Again, another Puma away kit which looks very similar. Uruguay’s iconic sky blue could have been used a lot better on this away shirt.

23. Serbia

Lovely gold in the design and makes the white away kit pop a little.

24. Switzerland

Just very bland. Not a lot going on and the panel in the middle is just a bit of an eyesore.

World Cup 2022 rankings: Who are the favorites?


With less than two months to go until it all kicks off, it is time to update and release the latest 2022 World Cup rankings.

[ MORE: USMNT react to Japan defeat ]

There are a few clear favorites to win the trophy in Qatar but some of the giants have been handed tougher group stage draws than others which will obviously impact their chances of lifting the famous trophy.

Given that some of the favorites have also been struggling in recent Nations League games and friendlies with plenty of heavy defeats and strange results, there remains no real frontrunner to win the tournament. That is great news for neutrals.

[ MORE: Full schedule for World Cup ]

Keep an eye out on a few underdogs too, as there are some real opportunities which have opened up depending on what side of the bracket you’re on.

We will updates these rankings before and during the tournament in Qatar, which takes place from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

[ MORE: Betting odds for 2022 World Cup ]

Let us know what you think of the rankings below.

Schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
Group stage game kick off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
Location: Qatar
TV channel in EnglishFox
TV channel in Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock

World Cup Rankings – September 26, 2022

32. Tunisia – Down 1
31. Qatar – Down 4
30. Australia – Up 2
29. Ghana – Even
28. Cameroon – Down 3

27. Saudi Arabia – Up 1
26. Costa Rica – Up 4
25. Wales – Down 5
24. Iran – Even
23. Ecuador – Down 5

22. Morocco – Even
21. Canada – Up 2
20. USA – Down 4
19. Japan – Up 7
18. Poland – Up 3

17. Mexico – Up 2
16. South Korea – Down 1
15. Uruguay – Down 5
14. Serbia – Up 3
13. Senegal – Down 1

12. Switzerland – Up 1
11. Croatia – Up 3
10. Denmark – Up 1
9. England – Down 3
8. Germany – Down 3
7. Spain – Even

6. Netherlands – Up 3
5. Portugal – Up 3
4. France – Even
3. Belgium – Down 1
2. Argentina – Up 1
1. Brazil – Even