10 things we learned from Premier League – Matchweek 25

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What did we learn during matchweek 25 of the 2021-22 Premier League season?

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

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

VIDEO: PL highlights ]

Let’s get to it, as the Premier League delivered another wild weekend of action.

1. United once again unable to keep the press going: They started well, just like they did against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and Burnley in midweek, but then the press faded. Badly. This United side have improved defensively but they do not have the fitness levels to maintain Rangnick’s Gegenpressing style. They will get there, but right now they are losing ground in the top four battle each and every week. United’s defense looks shattered after 60 minutes of a game and they failed to score two or three and put the game to bed early on. The fact United can’t work back or track opponents for an entire 90 minutes suggests the players, not the manager, are the bigger problem. (JPW)

2. Saints surging: What a job Ralph Hasenhuttl is doing at Southampton. In their last three PL games they’ve drawn against Manchester City, won away at Tottenham and drawn away at Manchester United. To have the energy levels to start the exact same team who won at Spurs less than 72 hours before (and had a day less to recover than United) is incredible. But this Saints side are more than just a physical side. They have become smarter on the ball, smarter defensively and they can control games too. Yes, they leave themselves exposed, but they attack and take risks. If they had been more clinical at United they would have scored three or four. With a low net spend over the last three years and now new ownership in place to help with funds to build on the third-youngest squad in the Premier League, look out for Southampton over the next few years. They also have five very winnable games coming up next. Can they cause problems to teams who will sit back deep against them? (JPW)

3. A new lease on life: It was as if someone had finally entered the Everton locker room and informed the team, “You actually can be relegated, it will happen if you’re in the bottom-three at season’s end,” and the players, mystified as they were, knew what was required of them. The energy on display from Everton in the opening 15 minutes was, in a word, jarring. Jarring for the way that apathy and indifference ruled their season for the first 21 games, when performances like the one on Saturday were somewhere within them. It’s only the first step of dozens and dozens still ahead, but a measure of credit must go to Lampard, who needed less than two weeks to galvanize the squad and get the raucous Everton fans back onside. Goodison was as raucous as (and long before) the Toffees were dominant. (AE)

4. More like Van de Back: With the necessary caveat that Saturday’s game was indeed just one game, Donny van de Beek looked like a player that Manchester United would have spent $65 million to sign — a player capable of running the midfield for a club much bigger than Everton. With all due respect to Everton, he wouldn’t be at a club of Everton’s size if things hadn’t gone tragically wrong (thus far) at Old Trafford. Van de Beek was tidy in possession, carrying the ball forward in transition and often the one in the right spot to sweep up second balls — typically a strength for Leeds, but on Saturday the ball seemed to find a blue shirt every time. (AE)

5. A long time coming: Saturday’s victory, which was anything but easy for Brighton, mirrored so many games from the last two seasons in which the Seagulls were thoroughly dominant in possession and created a high number of low-percentage scoring chances, but never put one away and so they dropped points when they had no business doing anything but winning. Graham Potter deserves loads of credit for never altering course when other managers would have scrapped years of work and progress once the outside world began to question his methods. The gulf in class between Brighton, in 9th in (top half), and Aston Villa, at the very top of the bottom half, feels much larger than the six points which currently separate them. (AE)

6. Magpies on fire: This is the Newcastle we expected when the new owners arrived. They spent wisely in January and have now deservedly beat Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa in their last three games. Newcastle play against West Ham, Brighton and Brentford in their next three and all of a sudden they could be pushing for a top 10 finish. Seriously. Trippier and Guimares have added extra quality, while the Premier League experience of Burn, Targett and Wood will be key. Newcastle are flying and the focus will now be about seeing how high they can finish. (JPW)

7. Spurs lacking in confidence: After their defeats to Chelsea and Southampton, this was a third-straight defeat in the PL for Spurs. That is the first time that’s happened to Conte (in the league) since he managed Atalanta in 2009. They are in a rut and the decision to drop Emerson Royal and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was strange. There seemed to be a hangover from the end of their loss against Saints and Conte is struggling to turn things around at Tottenham. He must get this team believing. The road will be long, and tough, and there is a feeling his players may not want to go on it. (JPW)

8. Fabinho pops up with another goal: In 2022 Fabinho has scored five goals in all competitions. He had scored three goals in 122 games in the three seasons at Liverpool before this campaign. He is having another superb season in central midfield and does great defensive work, but he is now popping up with key goals to become an unlikely hero. Nobody saw this coming, but Jurgen Klopp is very happy Fabinho is chipping in with big goals. (JPW)

9. Bowen almost unstoppable: The way Jarrod Bowen latched onto a long ball and hammered home the opener, then whipped in a great late corner for the equalizer summed up his confidence. The English forward has scored seven goals in his last seven games and he surely has to receive his first England call-up in March. Bowen is so direct and know he has confidence in his game, he isn’t even thinking about his runs or his finishes. That is dragging West Ham through in games right now as they aren’t playing particularly well but Bowen is on fire. (JPW)

10. Foden, Sterling stand tall: They both scored and were the difference makers throughout. The England duo are really getting back to their best as they had a slow start to the season, like most of England’s EURO 2020 stars. Foden dazzled with his quick feet and Sterling curled home a beauty, flicked home another and then scored a rebound off his penalty kick which was saved. Both players are showing their experience in helping City kick into full throttle at a pivotal point in the season. (JPW)

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


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


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

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


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.


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

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


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.


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