EPL Week 14: Previews and Predictions
EPL Week 14: Previews and Predictions avatar

EPL Week 14: Previews and Predictions

Week 13 just finished and straight away we are propelled back into the thick of the action with a series of mouth water midweek matches in week 14.

There are some tantalizing games to look forward to this Tuesday and Wednesday. Chelsea host neighbors Fulham in the west London derby, Arsenal travel to Everton, while Everton’s neighbors Liverpool travel in the opposite direction to face Arsenal’s neighbors Tottenham.

Everton look like the could be a top 4 contender. (Getty images)

As always I’ll be playing the part of soccer clairvoyant and predicting scores with astrological like accuracy.

Week 13 Score  My Predictions  
SATURDAY
Sunderland v West Brom 2-4 2-2
Everton v Norwich 1-1 3-1
Man Utd v QPR 3-1 4-0
Stoke v Fulham 1-0 1-1
Wigan v Reading 3-2 2-1
Aston Villa v Arsenal 0-0 0-2
SUNDAY
Swansea v Liverpool 0-0 2-1
Southampton v Newcastle 2-0 1-2
Chelsea v Man City 0-0 1-0
Tottenham v West Ham 3-1 2-0

A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.

Last week I got 3 correct results without any perfect scores, equaling week 12’s  record breaking low  score of 3 points.

Lets hope I can do better this week. The record high score so far is 12 points from week 8.

Tuesday

Sunderland Vs QPR

This Tuesday sees Harry Redknapp return to the EPL just six months after he was shown the door at Tottenham.

Redknapp has built somewhat of a reputation as a miracle worker over the years, helping team’s escape from predicaments even Houdini would have struggle with. However, this is bar far his biggest challenge to date, as QPR sit bottom with no wins after 13 games.

Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher scored their opening goal against Fulham. (Getty Images)

But QPR are not the only team with troubles, Sunderland too are languishing close to the relegation zone and need to pick up some points quick or they could soon see themselves becoming involved in the relegation dogfight.

Sunderland looked like they had turned the corner after beating Fulham a week ago, but then were comfortably beaten by West Brom at home. The Black Cats are a decent side with a good honest work ethic, but their problem is they lack an attacking threat.

If this game were a week ago I’d go for a home win for Sunderland, but how many times have we seen a new manager come in and inspire their team. Though saying that, I can’t really see QPR winning this game.

Prediction: 0-0

Wednesday

Chelsea Vs Fulham

This week’s London derby sees Chelsea host their west London neighbors Fulham.

New Chelsea coach Rafa Benitez did not receive the warmest of receptions in Sunday’s home draw with Manchester City, but the Spaniard probably didn’t expect the Chelsea fans to welcome him with open arms, and I doubt he will let the boo boys get to him.

Chelsea could not break through City’s back-line even with such an attacking line-up. (Getty Images)

Chelsea looked a lot more like the Chelsea of old and were a lot more disciplined against Man City than they have been recently. It was interesting to see Mata, Oscar, Hazard and Torres in the side – Benitez obviously thinks he can tighten up Chelsea without sacrificing one of those attacking players.

However, it is no coincidence that Chelsea’s poor run has coincided with the absence of the old guard of Terry, Lampard and Cole, and without those three in the team the Blues look like a boat lost at sea without a skipper.

Fulham have started the season well, and Martin Jol’s team still look like a good side despite selling key players Dempsey and Demebele to Tottenham.

But the Cottagers don’t seem to travel well, and at the weekend they were easily brushed aside by Stoke. Though in their last three away games before that defeat, they earned draws after falling behind.

Against Chelsea they may not suffer from homesickness so much as they only have to travel a few minutes down the road, but then again Chelsea are not just any old team, they are the European Champions.

Predication: 3-1

Everton Vs Arsenal

Everton started the season brilliantly, which is amazing given they usually begin the season horribly and then end the season on fire. However, after flying out from the traps they have stated to stutter a bit and have only won one of their last seven EPL games.

The problem for the Toffees is they just can’t finish teams off at the moment. In most of their recent games they have had the opposition on the ropes, but without landing the decisive second goal – if they had delivered that knock out blow in a few of those drawn games, they might be sitting up in third, second, or even first place in the EPL.

But Everton won’t be too worried, because they are playing well, though if they continue to let teams off the hook that may change.

Arsenal’s attacking force must have felt disappointed with their effort against Villa. (Getty Images)

Arsenal have bigger problems though, because they are not playing well at the moment. It looked like they may have got past their rough spell after they won consecutive games, but they then put in a very flat performance away at Villa and couldn’t have had too many complaints had they lost.

Arsenal need to put a run of wins together quickly otherwise they will fall further behind the leading pack. But Everton is not the easiest places to go when you are playing well, never mind when you are not, and the Toffees always seem to raise their game against the top teams.

Everton will be buoyed by the return of top scorer Marouane Fellaini who missed the game at the weekend through suspension, while Theo Walcott should return for the Gunners after recovery from a shoulder injury.

I think Everton will dominate, but if they fail to take their chances they could be on receiving end of counter knock-out punch.

Prediction: 2-1

Tottenham Vs Liverpool

Tottenham finally ended a run of three consecutive EPL defeats with a 5-2 win over West Ham at the weekend.

They seem to go through hot and cold streaks, playing well and winning a few in a row before suddenly dipping their performance and losing a few, and after Saturday’s win I wouldn’t be surprised if they push on to win another three or four of their next games.

Suarez is definitely the man of the moment. He seems to be scoring for fun. (GETTY IMAGES)

Liverpool have slowly improved and are unbeaten in their last eight EPL games, but their problem remains their lack of a goal threat. Apart from Suarez and youngster Raheem Sterling it is hard to see who in their team will trouble the opposition’s backline.

Spurs on the other hand have an array of options, they have Bale, Lennon, Dempsey and of course Defoe who is in sensational form.

I think Liverpool will probably approach this game the same way they did against Chelsea, and thus try to contain Spurs and hit them on the counter. But I think Spurs will over power them in the end.

Prediciton: 2-1

Manchester United Vs West Ham  

Manchester United bounced back from a surprising defeat away to Norwich with a good 3-1 win against QPR at the weekend.

The Red Devils had to come from behind once again, but that seems to have been part of the script for United’s games this season. They have so much belief in their powers of recovery that they don’t seem to be effected by going behind.

Javier Hernandez has been titled the Super Sub by helping Man U to make several comebacks this season. (Getty Images)

That of course comes from the fact they have so many players in their side who can score goals – if Van Persie or Rooney don’t score, then they have Hernandez ready to come in and save the day.

West Ham were comfortably pushed aside by Tottenham at the weekend and don’t seem to do so well on their travels.  They struggled away to Swansea and Wigan earlier in the season, and I can’t see them doing any better at the ‘Theater of Dreams’.

Paul Scholes will miss Wednesday game as he is suspended, so Anderson may get a rare start. Antonio Valencia may also miss out after picking up a hip injury.

West Ham’s Mark Noble will also miss the tie through suspension, while left-back George McCartney is a doubt after suffering an ankle injury against Tottenham.

I think the Hammers will try to be physical and upset United’s rhythm of play, but in the end I think the best they can hope for is taking an early lead before ultimately losing the game.

Prediction: 3-1

Wigan Vs Manchester City

The Wigan rollercoaster ride continued at the weekend, as the Latics followed up a loss to Liverpool with an enthralling 3-2 win over Reading at home.

The latics are probably the most unpredictable team in the EPL, but what separates them from the teams around them near the bottom of the table is their ability to create and score goals, and that is why they always have a chance of springing an upset against the big boys.

Manchester City followed the disappointment of elimination from the Champions League with a drab 0-0 draw away to Chelsea, though they were perhaps the better team.

Mancini will that Silva’s class and form can inspire Man City to victory and help them regain their swagger. (Getty Images)

City slowly seem to be improving and are now finding it easier to create and score goals now that playmaker David Silva has returned from injury.

City will have to do without full backs Micah Richards and Gael Clichy who are both injured, though captain Vicent Kompany looks like he will play despite nursing a knee injury.

Injury-hit Wigan will give late fitness tests to forward Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell.

I think Wigan will give City a good game, but I expect the champions’ extra class and guile to see them through this one.

Prediction: 1-2

Week 14 My Predictions 
TUESDAY
Sunderland v QPR 0-0
Aston Villa v Reading 2-1
WEDNESDAY
Chelsea v Fulham 3-1
Everton v Arsenal 2-1
Southampton v Norwich 1-1
Stoke v Newcastle 1-0
Swansea v West Brom 2-2
Tottenham v Liverpool 2-1
Man Utd v West Ham 3-1
Wigan v Man City 1-2

 

 

 

 

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A Fresh Start for Nelson County Youth Soccer
A Fresh Start for Nelson County Youth Soccer avatar

The Nelson County Youth Soccer Association and Nelson Elite saw the integration of recreational and select players this month, giving rise to the new and improved, Nelson County Soccer Club.

The unification was done to promote team camaraderie within the entire club and not just within team alone. Not stopping there, the newly formed NCSC soared to new heights by partnering with prestigious Sheffield Wednesday North American Academy, whose soccer rich history dates back to 1867. Members look forward to the impact it will have on the club’s soccer future.

NCSA Communications Director, Lee Mattingly tells Kentucky Youth Soccer in an interview, “We are excited about the partnership with Sheffield Wednesday and GIS. The Sheffield Wednesday North American Academy will provide opportunities to both our players and coaches that were not available before. We believe that the expertise of the Sheffield Wednesday staff will provide us the tools to develop our players and the camps will give us a chance to showcase our talent. We look forward to working with the Sheffield Wednesday North American Academy staff and GIS.”

Read the full story at the Kentucky Youth Soccer website: Click Here

 

 

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North Texas Offers Cutting Edge Coaching Course
North Texas Offers Cutting Edge Coaching Course avatar

North Texas Soccer and FC Dallas will be hosting a National Youth License Coaching School in December with an in depth focus on the nature of children and the adjustments adults must make to coach them.

The course will take place Dec 7-9 and Dec 15-16 at the FC Dallas Complex in Frisco, TX with a curriculum dedicating one day each to a specific age from four years old to 12.

This highly innovative and interactive course is perfect to keep up to speed on the latest coaching techniques and to understand the best ways to meet the physical and emotional needs of players in these age groups.

Several topics will be analyzed, such as developmental psychology, art of teaching and the roles of a facilitator. Live training will combine both classroom theory and field sessions, and will be videotaped for analysis. A series of written, oral, and practical examinations will ensue at the conclusion of the course.

The cost per coach to attend is $550 and the deadline to register will be November 30. There are only 20 seats available, so keep in mind that the early bird gets the worm.

To register for a spot and for complete clinic schedule, please visit the North Texas Soccer website: Click Here

 

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Notre Dame Fall in Hectic Round of 16
Notre Dame Fall in Hectic Round of 16 avatar

Number 1 Notre Dame were the biggest upset victims in the NCAA’s weekend round of 16, falling 2-1 in double overtime to 16 seed Indiana. The underdogs wiped out a 1-0 deficit, erasing a Kyle Richards tally on a goal from Nikita Kotlov, who added to his hat trick last time out.

Notre Dame were the shock elimination of the tournament. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Less than a minute into the second overtime period, Kotlov connected with Matt McKain’s ball into the box, picking out strike partner Eric Zavaleta. The Hoosiers leading scorer made no mistake, heading home his 17th goal of the year, and sending the number 1 seed home early.

Of the remaining seven games in the round, two were settled by penalty kicks and two went to overtime, while Louisville needed an 85th minute deflection to squeak by Northwestern. And that doesn’t even factor in unseeded University of San Diego’s 2-1 upset victory over Tulsa, leaving San Diego as the only unseeded team to survive as one of the tournament’s Elite 8.

Maryland’s Sunny Jane (10) scored a brace to see them through on a convincing win. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The number two seed overall, Maryland, were the only team to let their fans enjoy a stress free day, as they cruised to a 5-1 win over Coastal Carolina. Maryland’s Sunny Jane scored twice for the Terrapins and Coastal Carolina were overmatched by this Maryland team that now must wear the mantle of favorites.

Caleb Porter’s Akron side were hoping to send their highly regarded coach off to the MLS Portland Timbers with a second NCAA title in three years, but the Zips came up short against 10 man Creighton, on penalty kicks. Creighton lost sophomore Jose Ribas to a 91st minute red card, but held on to get to pk’s. Two freshmen came up big in this huge win for the Blue Jays, goalkeeper Jeff Gall and German born goal scorer Timo Pitter.

Pitter notched the Jays lone goal from play, and then shrugged off the pressure to send Creighton to the Elite 8 when he converted the final penalty kick. For his part, keeper Gal saved a penalty just seconds into overtime, and held up his end in the penalty kick shootout.

Georgetown’s Brandon Allen celebrates his goal against Syracuse. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Georgetown and UConn were two high seeds, numbers 3 and 4, who needed more than the allotted 90 minutes to advance. Georgetown trailed on a 29th minute goal from the Orangemen’s Jordan Vale and they needed an 85th minute goal from their outstanding freshman Brandon Allen to tie the game. The match went to overtime, and eventually all the way to penalty kicks, where the Hoyas would prevail.

UConn’s Carlos Alvarez got an assist on the game winning goal. )ISI Photos/ Andrew Katsampes)

UConn also fell behind in their game with New Mexico State, but Nicholas Zuniga picked a pretty good time to score his first college goal, an O.T. strike that sent the Huskies to an Elite 8 showdown with Creighton.

Fairleigh Dickinson University gave UNC quite a scare, but they couldn’t find the goal they needed to end North Carolina’s 40 game home unbeaten streak, and they fell in overtime. Carolina senior Cameron Brown was the Tar Heels hero, scoring from Rob Lovejoy’s well placed cross. UNC will try to extend that very impressive home unbeaten streak when they host Indiana in the Elite 8.

Quarterfinal Schedule: Home teams listed first, all times Eastern Standard Time

Friday, November 30, 6PM

North Carolina (9) vs. Indiana (16)

Saturday, December 1, 1PM

Georgetown (3) vs. University of San Diego

Saturday, December 1, 5PM

Maryland (2) vs. Louisville (10)

Sunday, December 2, 1PM

UConn (4) vs. Creighton (12)

 

For interactive table Click Here

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Jump into South Texas Soccer- 2013 Winter Governing Board Meeting
Jump into South Texas Soccer- 2013 Winter Governing Board Meeting avatar

The South Texas Soccer Association will host the 2013 Winter Governing Board Meeting Feb. 22-24, 2013 for members to get the new year started off right with some informative and fun South Texas soccer events!

It will be held at Moody Gardens in Galveston, TX with plenty of planned activities in store for all soccer enthusiasts. The schedule will include:

  • Friday Night: Vendor reception
  • Saturday: Soccer expo vendor show, coaching clinic and demonstrations, referee workshops

South Texas parents, team and club officials, administrators, coaches and referees are encouraged to come out, as this will not only be a vital educational experience but a great way to meet representatives from all 31 South Texas Soccer Association member associations and local clubs.

A complete schedule of detailed events will be out in the near future. Please check the South Texas Soccer Association website: Click Here

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NCAA Women’s Top Four
NCAA Women’s Top Four avatar

The bracket for the NCAA Women’s Division I Soccer Championship has been whittled down to just four teams, as the quarterfinals came to a close Friday. The expected No. 1 seeds made it to the semifinals, well, all except for BYU, who was booted after a stunning upset by No. 2 North Carolina.

You can never underestimate UNC as their History speaks for itself. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

The third ranked team was taken out by 14th ranked North Carolina after a neck and neck game, with two overtimes ending 2-1. Junior forward Crystal Dunn scored those two winning goals, one in the first four minutes and the last in the second overtime. BYU equalized in the 27th minute, keeping the score 1-1 until the 107th minute, where Dunn scored the winner off an assist from junior forward Kealia Ohai and senior forward Alyssa Rich.

Stanford will hope to retain their title. (ISI Photos/Steven Limentani)

North Carolina gears up for the semifinals, where they will take on No. 1 Stanford. Yea, Stanford has been a steady and strong brick wall, but if the Tar Heels can pull through after defeating  powerhouses like BYU, Baylor and Radford- all three hadn’t lost a game since August this season- then who knows what can happen in the semis. At this stage, it’s anyone’s game, and after a few upsets that kept them out of the cup the past few seasons, this could be the Tar Heels year to shine, as they make their first College Cup appearance since 2009.

FSU’s Tiffany McCarthy scored the game winning goal to lead her teams to the semis. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Then you have good ole’ Florida State, as they move on to play Penn State after senior forward Tiffany MCCarty found the back of the net on a header, beating Notre Dame 1-0 in the quarterfinals. This is the Seminoles sixth College Cup appearance in school history, and with the season they’ve had under the guidance of head coach, Mark Krikorian, who led the team to four of these appearances, they may very well be staying in San Diego past the semifinals.

Penn State defeated talented Duke 1-0, taking out the team that played Stanford last year in the Championships. Senior Midfielder Christine Nairn scored the winning goal on a penalty kick in the 13th minute.

Penn State’s Christine Nairn once again showed her worth as she scored the game winning goal. (ISI Photos/Thomas Eisenhuth)

The Nittany Lions have had quite the battle this season, barely beating Michigan in penalty kicks in the third rounds. But, it goes to show that they can tango with the top, as they advance to play Florida State. This will be their first college cup appearance since 2005.

The Semifinals will be held November 30 in San Diego, and the final two will move on to compete for the title of the long anticipated 2012 College Cup. Check out the bracket, Click Here

 

 

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Concacaf U20 Draw – U.S. To Face Costa Rica and Haiti
Concacaf U20 Draw – U.S. To Face Costa Rica and Haiti avatar

The United States were placed in Group A of the Concacaf U20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico in a draw held on Wednesday. The U.S. will compete with Costa Rica and Haiti in the opening stages of the tournament, which takes place from February 18 – March 3, 2013, in Puebla.

Tab Ramos will be hoping to lead his team to the round.
(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Coach Tab Ramos and his team need only to claim first or second place in the three nation group to advance out of group play and on to the quarterfinals. Haiti have never qualified for the U20 World Cup and it would be quite a shock if either the U.S. and Costa Rica were to fail to to advance.

The other groups are :

Group B: Canada, Nicaragua, Cuba.

Group C: Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico

Group D: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao

The U.S. were eliminated by host country Guatemala with a 2-1 loss in the quarterfinals of this event in 2011. Coach Thomas Rongen was fired after that disappointment, and while Ramos is not thought to be on the firing line, the U.S. youth program could use some success after the 2011 flop and last year’s failure by the U23’s to make it to the London Olympics.

The quarterfinals will be played on February 26, and 27, with the semis taking place on March 1. The tournament closes out on March 3, with the final and the third place game. All four of the semi finalists qualify for the big prize, a trip to the U20 World Cup 2013, in Turkey. The Cup will be held from June 21 through July 13.

Jose Villarreal, one of the U.S. U20 stars in action for LA Galaxy. (ISI Photos/David Bernal)

Ramos’ record is an unimpressive 3-6-0 in 2012, but the Young Yanks finished the year on an up.  The team won the last two matches of the year, consecutive victories over the Scotland and Azerbaijan U21 teams in Marbella, Spain. In addition to playing in Spain, the U.S. U20 team competed in Northern Ireland, Chile and Uruguay, with improving results as the year went on.

After dropping the first four games under Ramos, the Americans broke through with a 1-0 win over Turkey in the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. Victor Pineda, the first homegrown player in Chicago Fire history, scored the game winner, one of three goals for Pineda on the year. The U.S. got two goals from L.A. Galaxy rookie Jose Villarreal in the 2-0 win over Scotland and closed out the year topping Azerbaijan 3-2 , on goals from Daniel Cuevas, Mario Rodriguez and Benji Joya.

Victor Pineda should be available. (ISI Photos/Don Feria)

As with all U20 coaches Ramos will have to have a deep squad, because players are often not released by their parent clubs for the preliminary rounds, leading to the U20 World Cup. Players like Will Packwood, Birmingham FC, Sean Cunningham, Molde, on loan to Stabaek, both in Norway, and Luis Gil, a regular for Real Salt Lake, can often be held back if their club coaches need them during non FIFA mandated breaks. All youth team coaches deal with this issue, and it will have been up to Ramos to build sufficient depth in the squad to get his team through.

 

 

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EPL Week 13: News, Previews and Predictions
EPL Week 13: News, Previews and Predictions avatar

It has reached that time of the week once again when Gotsoccer prepares you for another EPL roller coaster weekend, so sit down, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

Another one bites the dust

After weeks of speculation over whether QPR’s Mark Hughes, Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert or Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini would be the first EPL coach to get the boot, the unfortunate party in the end was Chelsea’s Roberto Di Matteo.

Di Matteo was shown the door by Chelsea despite leading them to two trophies last season. (Getty Images)

The news was somewhat surprising given that Di Matteo had only recently delivered Chelsea the FA Cup and their first Champions League trophy last season, and had them neatly perched at the top of the EPL just four games ago. However, a four game winless streak in the EPL, followed by a defeat midweek in the Champions League seems to have sealed the Italian’s fate.

Under normal circumstances the sacking would be surprising, but not at Chelsea who’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich seems to change coaches as often as he changes his underwear—8 coaches in 9 years is said to have coast Abramovich $144m, and it has been calculated that by the year 2025 at least one person in your family will have been a Chelsea coach.

Rafa Returns

After almost 2 years out of soccer Rafael Benitez returned to the game to take the hot seat at Chelsea. Benitez is not the most popular of people with Chelsea fans, having had a series of public confrontations with former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho while managing Liverpool.

Benitez was unveiled as the new Chelsea boss on thursay. (Getty Images)

The appointment does seem somewhat strange as Abramovich seems to be obsessed with making Chelsea into a team that plays attractive attacking football, and Benitez is famed for creating solid and perhaps boring teams.

Benitez did managed Torres at Liverpool though, so maybe Abramovich hopes he can help the out of form striker find his scoring boots..

The Spaniard has been given a contract until the end of the season, and will have a chance to win over the Blues fans when Chelsea host Champions Manchester City on Sunday.

Many feel Benitez has been appointed to steady the ship while Abramovich waits for ex Barca coach Guardiola to end his one-year sabbatical.

Hughes finally shown the door

Elsewhere, Mark Hughes became the second EPL managerial casualty of the week after being sacked by QPR.

Nicknamed “Sparky” in his playing days, Hughes just couldn’t spark QPR into life. (Getty Images)

The Welshman was brought in last season and helped the Hoops survive on the last day of the season, but despite splashing cash over the summer they have continued to struggle and are bottom of the EPL without a win.

Harry Redknapp who was sacked by Tottenham back in June is favorite to replace Hughes at the helm.

Just Deserts

Ukrainian side Shakter Donesk were described as “bandits without morals” midweek after they scored a controversial goal in their 5-2 win over Danish team Nordsjaelland in the Champions league.

Adriano claims his striker’s instincts took over. (Getty Images)

Play was briefly stopped midway through the first half after Nordsjaelland striker Morten Nordstrand went down clutching his face.

However, Shakter scored straight from the restart with striker Adriano intercepted teammate Willian’s pass. The midfielder had tried to play the ball back to Nordsjaelland’s goalkeeper from an uncontested drop-ball before Adriano intercepted the pass, rounded the keeper and put the ball into the empty net.

After the game Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said: “I asked my players what happened. Adriano said: ‘It was instinct, I see the ball and I dribbled and I scored a goal’.

UEFA has since charged Adriano for violation of principles of conduct, though the striker was not the only player acting in an unsporting way. Indeed, Nordsjaelland can’t really have too many complaints as replays suggest that Morten Nordstrand actually feigned injury, going down clutching his face when contact was made to his chest.

Previews and Predictions

Last week was actually a record breaking week, but for all the wrong reason, as I scored the lowest tally yet.

Week 12

Score

My Predictions

SATURDAY
Arsenal v Tottenham 5-2 3-1
Liverpool v Wigan 3-0 2-0
Man City v Aston Villa 5-0 3-0
Newcastle v Swansea 1-2 1-1
QPR v Southampton 1-3 0-0
Reading v Everton 2-1 1-2
West Brom v Chelsea 2-1 1-1
Norwich v Man Utd 1-0 1-3
Sunday
Fulham v Sunderland 1-3 2-0
Monday
West Ham v Stoke 1-1 1-0

A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.

Last week I got 3 correct results without any perfect scores, giving me a record breaking low of 3 points.

The best total so far was 12 points back in week 8, let see if I can top it in week 13.

 

SATURDAY

Manchester United Vs QPR

United unexpectedly lost last week away to Norwich and will be looking to get back to winning ways against the side that is bottom of the EPL.

Rooney should return to the starting eleven having returned from injury. (Getty Images)

The Red Devils left most of their star players out of the Champions League game midweek, but should field a more familiar team plus Wayne Rooney, who missed last week’s loss to Norwich through injury, for the clash against Rangers.

QPR have yet to win a game in the EPL, and a trip to Old Trafford is probably the last place they would like to visit to try and get one.

Rangers were terrible against Southampton last week, and most of their players looked like they couldn’t care less.

It was always a matter of time before coach Mark Hughes was shown the door, and I guess the only good thing for him is that he has probably been spared the misfortune of watching his side given a good hiding on Saturday, as I can’t see anything other than a comprehensive United win.

Prediction: 4-0

Aston Villa Vs Arsenal

Aston Villa are third bottom of the EPL and have lost their last two game, though both those games were against the top two Manchester clubs. Villa were perhaps a tad unfortunate to lose 5-0 to Manchester City last weekend, but to be honest they never really looked like getting anything out of the game.

Arsenal will be hoping Giroud can keep up his good form, but will have to do without Walcott who is injured. (Getty Images)

Arsenal were going through a rough patch, but seem to have turned the corner after beating Spurs last week and then Montpellier midweek in the Champions League.

Striker Giroud finally seems to have settled after a rocky start to his career in London, and has now scored three times in his last two games. The Gunners will have to do without Theo Walcott though, the winger is out after picking up a shoulder injury.

The Villians have shown signs of improvement lately, but I think they will lose their third game on the trot against the Gunners.

Prediction: 0-2

SUNDAY

Swansea Vs Liverpool

The early game on Sunday sees Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers return to the team he left last summer to take the job at Anfield.

The Swansea side is much changed from the team Rodgers coached, and new Coach Michael Laudrup certainly has stamped his style on the Welsh side. They are unbeaten in their last three EPL games, and won away to Liverpool in the League Cup only last month.

But Liverpool have improved a lot since that defeat, and Luis Suarez just can’t seem to stop scoring – the Uruguayan has scored five goals in his last four games and is the leading marksman in the EPL with 10 goals.

Michu is the EPL’s leading scoring midfielder with 7 goals. (Getty Images)

Swansea though, also have a player in prolific scoring form in Spaniard Michu – the midfielder has already scored seven goals for the Swans in the EPL since joining in the summer.

I think this game is going to be close, but the Swans are quite strong at home and I expect them to just edge this one.

Prediction: 2-1

Chelsea Vs Manchester City

Neither of these teams did well midweek in Europe, and Chelsea’s failure cost coach Di Matteo his job, though the Londoners still can qualify for the next round of the competition unlike Manchester City.

Can New coach Benitez help Torres rediscover his form? (Getty Images)

Chelsea have entrusted Rafa Benitez with the task of steering them to success for the remainder of the season, and it will be interesting to see if the Spaniard, who is not famed for managing teams who play attractive soccer, can get the Blues to play the way their owner so desperately seems to want.

The Blues have been on a poor run recently and are without a win in their last four EPL games, but a win this weekend would see them move within a point of leaders City.

Manchester City have not been anywhere near their best this season and yet they somehow lead the way in the EPL. However, their lack of form has cost them in Europe’s premier competition, and it seems they are struggling to take their game to the next level.

In the EPL City can play poor and still bully their way to a win, but they haven’t been able to do that Europe and I don’t think they will be able to do that at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Prediction: 2-1

Tottenham Vs West Ham

An EPL weekend of soccer just would not be complete without a London Derby and this week’s offering sees north against east as Spurs take on the Hammers.

Bale was once again Spurs best player last week. (Getty Images)

Spurs lost comprehensively last week to neighbors Arsenal, though they were controlling the game before striker Adebayor was sent off for a reckless challenge.

Spurs have been indifferent this season, they started slowly, then went on a good run and have now lost their last three games in EPL.

West Ham play the way you would expect a Sam Allardyce side to play i.e strong in the tackle and balls into the box whenever possible, and are always awkward opponents to play against.

I think the Hammers’ style of play may frustrate Spurs for a while, but I expect Tottenham’s superior class to see them through in the end.

Prediction: 2-0

 

Week 13

My Predictions

SATURDAY
Sunderland v West Brom 2-2
Everton v Norwich 3-1
Man Utd v QPR 4-0
Stoke v Fulham 1-1
Wigan v Reading 2-0
Aston Villa v Arsenal 0-2
SUNDAY
Swansea v Liverpool 2-1
Southampton v Newcastle 1-2
Chelsea v Man City 2-1
Tottenham v West Ham 2-0

 

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New Women’s Professional League – Third Time Lucky
New Women’s Professional League – Third Time Lucky avatar

After months of speculation US Soccer President Sunil Gulati today announced a new, U.S. Soccer led, women’s professional soccer league. Six months after the official shuttering of WPS, and almost a year after the league suspended operations, Gulati introduced the eight team league in a conference call with the national soccer media. Also in attendance were leaders of the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federation of Mexican Football, along with a representative of the new league’s team owners.

Alex Morgan playing for Western New York in the WPS (ISI Photos)

Despite the failures of the WUSA, which played from 2000 – 2003, and WPS, which lasted from 2009 until 2012, the parties involved believe that this third time will be the charm, in large part because of what they see as an improved business model.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati explained that his organization would run the as yet unnamed league’s front office, a significant savings for the team owners. In another innovative move the federations of the United States, Canada and Mexico, would directly finance the salaries of a number of their own national team players, also lessening the risk factor for the ownership groups.

The Canadian Soccer Federation would cover the salary of Christine Sinclair who was a standout in the WPS, and is also in the running for the FIFA Player of The Year. (ISI Photos/J. Adam Fenster)

U.S. Soccer would take on the salaries of up to 24 national team players, Canada would finance up to 16, and Mexico would supply a minimum of 12 players to the league. With as many as seven players per team coming from the three Concacaf national teams, Gulati believes that the new league will be, “immediately one of the top leagues in the world.” The business model was described as being, “less hype, better performance,” with the hype hopefully to follow.

The WPS rejuvenated Lori Lindsay’s international career for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Robyn McNeil)

Gulati said that, “not everything is finalized,” in fact the U.S.Soccer President, said, “that things are happening at a breakneck pace.” No team owners were named at today’s conference call, although Gulati indicated that one team will be owned by an MLS ownership group, and that some former WPS groups will be involved.

With eight teams, the league would avoid the need for a waiver from FIFA to operate as a tier one professional league, something that WPS required throughout its existence. The locations of the teams are to be Boston, New Jersey, upstate New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, Portland, and Seattle.  Gulati said that these were the best eight teams to start the league, and that cities such as Los Angeles, that are not in the first eight , could be considered in the future.

Christen Press has had an outstanding season in Sweden and may be enticed back to the States with the new league starting. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Gulati was not prepared to announce any commitments from national team players, although he reported, “very good signals,” adding that, “they want to see what the league looks like.”

The league is expected to be up and running by March or April, and will run through September or October. Gulati stressed the importance of a women’s professional league, saying, “the best way, long term, to build a (national) team is to have a league.”

Marta was one of the stars of the WPS, but at a very high cost. (ISI Photos/Perry McIntyre)

Many more details are expected to emerge in the coming weeks and we will try to keep you up to date on developments regarding team ownership, the salary cap, player commitments, and maybe even the name of the league.

 

 

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The Quest for a Pro Team in Indiana Begins
The Quest for a Pro Team in Indiana Begins avatar

Channel 8 Interview on the future of a pro soccer team (courtesy of Indiana Soccer)

For the past few months, talk of the establishment of a pro soccer team in Indianapolis is starting to take root with the hopes of receiving the official go- ahead for 2014.

A group of Indiana business executives, who have kept their identities confidential up to this point, have launched an interactive website, www.indyprosoccer.com, to rally up support for what they believe will be a progressive leap in raising soccer awareness in the Indiana Soccer community. The website will serve as a means for fans to input their thoughts on a stadium, team name and team colors as well as collect pledges for season tickets.

Former President and General Manager of MLS Chicago Fire, Peter Wilt, has been hired by the group to advance the bid. He recently held a weekend-long open discussion at the beginning of November with Indiana Soccer members to examine the expansion and promotion of soccer in North America. The goal in Indiana is to create a team that will play in the North American Soccer League and eventually move to MLS in the future.

Channel 8 interviewed Indiana Soccer Director of Education, Steve Franklin and Commissioner of the Indiana Soccer League, George Perry about these new developments. Here’s a small taste of what Franklin had to say.

“Having watched many of the superstars like Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer and Best in the old NASL growing up in Rochester, it allowed me the role models to hone my own skills as a player. Having our own NASL team in Indianapolis will give our youth players an opportunity to see soccer played at the professional level firsthand. It will also allow many of the players from our solid collegiate programs throughout the state of Indiana to have a place to take their game to the next level. It will only enhance what we are trying to promote here at Indiana Soccer.”

A decision to move forward with a team will be made within the next 60 days. To read the full Indiana Soccer story and to catch the Channel 8 report, please visit the Indiana Soccer website: Click Here

 

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MYSA Implements Four Year Rotational Policy
MYSA Implements Four Year Rotational Policy avatar

It’s a month of change for Missouri Youth Soccer, as Board Directors met Nov. 3 and voted to adopt a fresh 4 year State Cup and President’s Cup Rotational Policy to determine cup locations.

The new policy will terminate the former bidding process, so each year the location of the events will be held at specific districts and will have a new rotation plan every four years.

More details are to follow within the next few months, as MYSA will decide the dates of determining a location and playing dates for the next four years.

Check below to see the chosen districts where the State and President’s cup will rotate first, and make sure to follow up on new changes by visiting MYSA’s website. Click Here

Seasonal Year

Fall State Cup / Presidents Cup
Summer State Cup

Spring Presidents Cup

2013/2014

Eastern District

Central District

2014/2015

Western District

Southern District

2015/2016

Eastern District

Western District

2016/2017

Southern District

Eastern District

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2012/2013 Arkansas State Cup Results
2012/2013 Arkansas State Cup Results avatar

 

Courtesy of ASSA

The 2012/2013 Arkansas State Cup finals have come to a completion and Arkansas soccer players look to summer 2013 to compete in the President’s Cup and Southern Regionals.

The U15-U19 girls and boys competed in a Champion’s Division and President’s Division this past weekend, with Champion Division winners advancing to Southern Regionals and President Division winners advancing to the President’s Cup.

Congratulations to the victorious teams listed below, and be sure to visit the Arkansas State Soccer Association website to view some great action shots from the tournament: Click Here

Courtesy of ASSA

  Boys:

  • U15 Champions Division – Little Rock FC ’98B (winner) & Ft. Smith Express 98 Boys (finalist)
  • U16 Champions Division – Little Rock FC ’97B Elite (winner) & NWA Lightning Strikers 97B (finalist)
  • U16 President’s Division – Maumelle SC River City United (winner) & Arkansas Rush Nike 97B (finalist)
  • U17 Champions Division – Arkansas Comets FC 96B Premier (winner) & Little Rock FC ’96B (finalist)
  • U17 President’s Division – Berryville Aztecas 96B (winner) & Bryant United 96/97 Boys (finalist)
  • U18 Champions Division – Berryville Aztecas 95B (winner) & Bryant United 94/95 Boys (finalist)

 

Girls:

  • U15 Champions Division – Arkansas Comets FC 98G Premier (winner) & NWA Lightning Strikers 98G (finalist)
  • U16 Champions Division – Arkansas Comets FC 97G Premier
  • U16 President’s Division – ASC Dragonflies 97 (winner) & NWA Lightning

    Courtesy of ASSA

    Strikers 97G (finalist)

  • U17 Champions Division – Little Rock FC ’96G (winner) & NWA Lightning Strikers 96G (finalist)
  • U17 President’s Division – Arkansas Rush Nike 96G
  • U18 Champions Division – NWA Lightning Strikers 95G
  • U19 President’s Division – Bryant United ’95G (winner) & Searcy Livewires (finalists)
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Dallas Sidekicks Present Black Friday Special
Dallas Sidekicks Present Black Friday Special avatar

Nothing makes the holiday season more memorable than watching your favorite soccer team out on the field! The Dallas Sidekicks have announced a Black Friday special for fans to cheer them on as they play against RGV Flash on November 30.

From 9 AM to 9 PM this Friday, fans can purchase one ticket and get a second ticket free.  It’s the perfect post-Thanksgiving treat for the whole family!

This offer is based on availability so get on it before they disappear. Please visit the North Texas Soccer Facebook page for more information on the Nov. 30 game and to purchase tickets: Click Here

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Dempsey U.S. Player of The Year
Dempsey U.S. Player of The Year avatar

For the third time in his career Clint Dempsey was named U.S. Soccer’s Athlete of the Year, joining a select group with Kasey Keller and Landon Donovan who have won the award more than two times. Recently retired goalkeeper Keller collected three awards, while Landon Donovan leads the way with four.

U.S. Soccer also announced that U17 midfielder Rubio Rubin is the Young Player of the Year, and that Felicia Schroeder is the winner of the organization’s first ever Disabled Athlete of the Year.

Schroeder’s achievement will surely inspire many young girls. (ISI Photos/Renee McKay

Schroeder played a big part in the United States Gold medal performance at the World Deaf Football championships, held last July in Turkey. Schroeder, who plays professionally in the Swedish First Division for Kvarnsveden, scored four goals for the victorious American squad.

Rubio Rubin in action for the U17′s (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Rubin is a skillful midfielder who scored eight goals for the national team in 2012, and he is also a member of the Portland Timbers Academy team. Still a key player for the United States U17’s, Rubio joins some pretty good company in winning this award.  The list includes Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan and last year’s winner Brek Shea. The complete list of Young Player of the Year Award winner’s is below, and Rubio has a lot to live up to. Every player on that list, with the exception of 2009 winner Luis Gil, who is still just 19 and may get there yet, has played at least one game for the full United States team.

1998: Josh Wolff

1999: Ben Olsen

2000: Landon Donovan

2001: DaMarcus Beasley

2002: Bobby Convey

2003: Freddy Adu

2004: Eddie Johnson

2005: Benny Feilhaber

2006: Jozy Altidore

2007: Michael Bradley

2008: Sacha Kljestan

2009: Luis Gil

2010: Gale Agbossoumonde

2011: Brek Shea

2012: Rubio Rubin

Dempsey’s win was no surprise, in a year that saw Dempsey score six goals for the national team, including five in World Cup Qualifying. Dempsey also brought his club game to new heights, scoring 17 goals in the English Premier League and earning a high profile transfer to Tottenham Hotspurs. This has also been the year that has seen Dempsey become the face, if sometimes scowling, of the United States men’s team. With Donovan absent for much of the USMNT schedule, Dempsey has overtaken Donovan in the eyes most as the Yanks best, and most important player.

Clint Dempsey scored the winning goal for Tottenham against Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Through U.S. Soccer Dempsey said, “I want to thank the fans for voting for me.” The fan vote counted for 50%, with the national media and U.S. Soccer making up the other half. Dempsey continued, “It’s always great to be recognized for doing a good job, but at the same time, it’s been a team effort from all the players and coaches.”

Dempsey also said that, “I’ve been trying to better myself every year and do my part to help the team do well.” Although happy to win the award, Dempsey made his priorities clear saying, “the most important thing is that we make it to Brazil and do well.” “Deuce” emphasized that, “we want to qualify for the World Cup, that’s the main focus.” “It’s not about getting awards,” Dempsey underlines, “it’s about the team doing well.”

Clint Dempsey has been a different class. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

If all goes according to plan, Brazil 2014 will be Dempsey’s third World Cup representing his country. It doesn’t sound like the native of Nacogdoches, Texas is taking anything for granted when he speaks of the World Cup saying, “it’s something you don’t want to let slip through your fingers, so we have to make sure we take advantage of that opportunity.”

Below find the all of the previous winners of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Award. Clint Dempsey joins Landon Donovan as the only consecutive winners.

1984: Rick Davis

1985: Perry Van der Beck

1986: Paul Caligiuri

1987: Brent Goulet

1988: Peter Vermes

1989: Mike Windischmann

1990: Tab Ramos

1991: Hugo Perez

1992: Marcelo Balboa

1993: Thomas Dooley

1994: Marcelo Balboa

1995: Alexi Lalas

1996: Eric Wynalda

1997: Kasey Keller

1998: Cobi Jones

1999: Kasey Keller

2000: Chris Armas

2001: Earnie Stewart

2002: Brad Friedel

2003: Landon Donovan

2004: Landon Donovan

2005: Kasey Keller

2006: Oguchi Onyewu

2007: Clint Dempsey

2008: Tim Howard

2009: Landon Donovan

2010: Landon Donovan

2011: Clint Dempsey

2012: Clint Dempsey

 

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