Three things we learned from West Brom – Brighton

0 Comments

West Brom – Brighton was a wild, controversy-filled encounter at the Hawthorns as it was packed with drama.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Kyle Bartley’s early header was enough to seal a huge win for West Brom, but that hardly told the story. Brighton missed two penalty kicks, missed numerous chances and had a free kick controversially ruled out in one of the most bizarre passages of play in Premier League history.

The win (Sam Allardyce’s first home win as West Brom boss) moves West Brom on to 17 points, as they are eight points from safety with 12 games to go. Brighton sit just four points above the bottom three as they dominated another game but somehow lost, once again.

WATCH WEST BROM – BRIGHTON FULL REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. VAR shambles steals the show: Referee Lee Mason blew his whistle for a free kick, which Brighton captain Lewis Dunk took quickly and scored. Straightforward? Nope, it was anything but. Referee Lee Mason blew his whistle sharply just after the initial whistle blew, and VAR was used to determine the ball had not crossed the line before the second whistle blew.

[ MORE: Dunk rages in post-match interview ]

Confused? You wouldn’t be the only one. Both Graham Potter and Sam Allardyce, plus their players and coaching staff, looked around in disbelief. Eventually, no goal was awarded and Mason ordered the initial free kick to be retaken as he had seen some reason to stop play just after the free kick was taken. It was a farcical situation and we can only hope a more detailed explanation will arrive.

2. Brighton blanks will cost them dear: 65 attempts in their last three games has yielded just one goal. One. Brighton missed two penalty kicks at West Brom and although they were very unlucky to not have a goal when Dunk’s free kick went in, they just cannot finish off their chances. Graham Potter’s side have been brilliant from box-to-box for most of this season but in each box they keep making poor mistakes and that is why they are just above the relegation zone. If the Seagulls go down they will only have themselves, and their lack of clinical finishing, to blame.

3. West Brom’s luck changes: Sam Allardyce has bemoaned West Brom’s luck in recent weeks as they’ve coughed up points from winning positions but he will be thanking his lucky stars after the win against Brighton. West Brom dug deep defensively after going ahead and yes, they were lucky that Brighton missed two penalty kicks. Sometimes that bit of luck and the boost a win gives you will breath life into your battle against relegation.

Man of the Match: Kyle Bartley – Scored the winner and made some great blocks late on. A brilliant display of leadership.


An incredible first half played out with controversy galore, as Kyle Bartley put the Baggies 1-0 up early on. The skipper powered home a header from a corner but soon Brighton had a great chance to equalize.

The Seagulls were awarded a penalty kick after Okay Yokuslu handled in the box, but Pascal Gross hit the crossbar with his tame penalty.

Moments later, a huge moment of controversy arrived in one of the most bizarre decisions in Premier League history. Lee Mason blew his whistle and Lewis Dunk curled a quick free kick home to score, but Mason then used VAR to disallow the goal.

Mason blew his whistle for a second time just after Dunk had kicked the ball and the ball had yet to cross the line. Chaos ensued on the sidelines as the goal was ruled out, given and then ruled out again. Somehow West Brom were still ahead.

Brighton missed a great chance through Neal Maupay, while at the other end Ainsley Maitland-Niles spurned a superb chance and then Brighton almost struck right on half time but an almighty scramble saw West Brom survive.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Brighton missed another glorious chance to equalize at the start of the second half as Maupay’s shot was pushed out by Johnstone but Aaron Connolly smashed over the bar from six yards out.

Joel Veltman then headed over another chance as Brighton continued to waste opportunities.

Brighton were awarded a second penalty kick of the game late on as Conor Townsend caught Gross, but substitute Danny Welbeck stepped up and hit the post.

Bartley then tackled brilliantly as West Brom held on for a valuable win in their battle against relegation.

USMNT reportedly opens contract talks with Gregg Berhalter; Good or bad idea?

0 Comments

Gregg Berhalter may be sticking around the United States men’s national team program, giving the USMNT coaching continuity as it moves from 2022 World Cup Round of 16 member to 2026 World Cup co-host.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says that Berhalter is beginning contract discussions with the United States Soccer Federation but also interested in taking a job in Europe with his profile having risen alongside the USMNT at the World Cup.

Berhalter’s current contract ends at the end of the calendar year, and the Yanks have scheduled a domestic camp in January and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.

[ MORE: USMNT transfer rumors for Musah, Dest ]

Berhalter has done some good things for the program, most notably winning the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup with two different groups. He also straightened out the defending, for the most part, and got out of the World Cup group.

Berhalter successfully recruited Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah, two of the program’s stars at the World Cup. He also convinced Malik Tillman, Gaga Slonina, and Jesus Ferreira that the U.S. was the right place for their national team futures.

He also, subjectively, was slow if not downright stubborn in acquiesing to certain points-of-view that made the team better. From Tyler Adams as a right back at the outset of his tenure to saying Tim Ream didn’t fit how he wanted to play about a month before the World Cup… then playing him every minute of the tournament.

But for the most part when lessons were learned, they stayed learned.

Should Gregg Berhalter continue as USMNT boss?

Let’s start here, because it’s necessary: It’s clear that Berhalter cared about his players and the project, whether you like the way he operated or not. This wasn’t a half-assed operation, but one with passion.

So does he still have that passion? Only he can answer that, and if he’d like to get more matchdays in his life then maybe he does want to go back to the club game.

And frankly, that’s fine either way, because his four years with the program were neither amazing nor pitiful. They can be described as anything from a slight disappointment to a minor success, depending on your perspective and expectations.

If you believe that picking up the pieces from the absolute travesty that was failing to qualify for the World Cup from the richest nation and one of the two most talented nations amongst CONCACAF men’s programs was really hard, then you think Berhalter getting the men to the 2022 World Cup and surviving the group with a young group was a solid step in the right direction and a minor success.

If you believe that the American soccer climate is such that you should always make the World Cup out of one of the world’s lesser confederations and that the Yanks progressed as the second team of a group in which they were the second-ranked team according to FIFA and Elo Ratings, well, you can have a different standard.

The Yanks will never again fail to qualify for the World Cup given the expanded field, but hosts have historically had a drastically-improved chance to reach the semifinals. THe federation would have to be confident that picking the best squad regardless of how it reflects on his previous selections — let alone a Best XI — is going to happen under a given coach.

Berhalter’s 49 and is far from the worst or best boss in USMNT history. Whoever’s in the job four years from now will have a chance to go down as either one. Choose wisely, fed. And Gregg! Who knows how far his star could rise with a solid run in Europe, and history says there will be the chance to reconnect with the USMNT job.

Follow @NicholasMendola

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

0 Comments

If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

We’re at the 2022 World Cup break, and the final few rounds of Premier League fixtures caused so many shocks.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United are locked in a battle for the top four, while Liverpool have improved and will be back in the Champions League scrap and Chelsea are struggling.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Who are the early-season candidates for relegation?

Newly promoted Nottingham Forest moved off the bottom of the table with a win before the break, with Wolves and Southampton currently occupying the other two relegation places.

Leicester have picked up a few big wins, while West Ham, Everton and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom-three after a topsy-turvy start.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – Matchweek 16

Follow @AndyEdMLS

England vs France: How to watch live, stream link, team news

0 Comments

Match 59 of the 2022 World Cup features a pair of European heavyweights duking it out for a place in the semifinals when England faces France on Saturday.

Didier Deschamps’ France is bidding to become a back-to-back World Cup winner, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions are tournament-hardened and have shown their explosive nature three times this tournament.

STREAM ENGLAND vs FRANCE LIVE

France beat Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 match while England overcame a dodgy start to pound Senegal 3-0.

Neither team can say its faced a test like this in the tournament, and this could be a fantastic fight in Qatar.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for England vs France.


How to watch England vs France live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday, December 1
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

England will look to Harry Kane, though the question remains who will flank the Tottenham center forward. Marcus Rashford’s been very good but Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden got the starting spots against Senegal and it paid off for Southgate.

Kylian Mbappe has been borderline unstoppable and will test Harry Maguire, John Stones, and friends and Antoine Griezmann pulls the strings in behind and Aurelien Tchouameni continues to strengthen his reputation in the center of the pitch.


England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Pickford

France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

Follow @NicholasMendola

Croatia vs Brazil: How to watch live, stream link, team news

0 Comments

World Cup-savvy Croatia stands in the way of stylish Brazil’s pursuit of a sixth World Cup crown, and the pair promise a complex match-up on Friday in Al Rayyan.

Match 58 of the 2022 World Cup kicks off the quarterfinals as Neymar leads Tite’s star-studded CONMEBOL powers into a match against the 2018 runners-up.

STREAM CROATIA vs BRAZIL LIVE

Croatia got past Japan in penalties and will now dream of the two wins that could set it back in the final where France could again be waiting for a juicy rematch.

Croatia needed penalties to get past Japan in the Round of 16, while Brazil pasted South Korea 4-1.  Croatia has never beaten Brazil in four meetings, losing at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Brazil.


How to watch Croatia vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic was fantastic in penalties versus Japan to get here, but Luka Modric continues to do the things that get Croatia out of trouble and puts the opponents into heaps of it. Josko Gvardiola has arguably been the defender of the tournament, and the 20-year-old looks to test his mettle again against the Selecao.

Pick a Brazil player who’s failed to impress and you’ve achieved a mighty feat. Neymar’s been fantastic when healthy while RIcharlison is in serious pursuit of the Golden Boot. Alisson Becker flexed his muscles once or twice versus South Korea and figures to be busier as the competition continues to heat up in Qatar.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Follow @NicholasMendola