The soccer news starts with the 2018-19 Champions League draw and trouble in Group B. Barcelona and Spurs might be the obvious favorites, but a revived Inter Milan and Dutch champions PSV should cause problems. It’s probably not a group of death for either of the favorites, but it’s also not Group A, C, or G where picking the 3rd-place team is probably more difficult than who advances.
UEFA’s new look Champions League with more group stage places for the elite domestic leagues still creates an old problem. Some of these clubs are not like the others, potentially turning the schedule into a foregone conclusion by the time we reach late November.
We can thank the seeding for that. Pot 1 is where the tournament will eventually happen. UEFA’s beloved coefficient makes sure of that. The defending Champions League and Europa League winners along with the winners of the top six domestic leagues go into that pot. The rest fill out the pots based on coefficient, so Liverpool ends up the only viable threat in pot 3. The result is a top heavy group stage by design.
If UEFA and the elite clubs wanted it, they could create a better tournament. They don’t, for the obvious reasons. No super club wants to bow out at the group state, much less end up dropping to the Europa League. The push is for more exclusivity, not less. That’s part of the renewed push to create a third European competition for lesser leagues. UEFA can let the coefficient run the show as long as it suits the elite clubs. Which means it favors the elite clubs in a version of the Champions League that matters in mid-February when the knockout round begins.
Also in the soccer news, Geoff Cameron moved from Stoke City to QPR on a season-long loan. Cameron hadn’t made an appearance for Stoke City, five games into the Championship season.
I decided over the summer that I wanted a change and something new,” Cameron said. “The boss here has been interested in me before and I’m excited to play for him. He wanted me here which is always a big part when they believe in your ability. I want to help the team and get us up the table.”
The Athletic’s Joshua Kloke talks to Michael and Bob Bradley. MLSsoccer.com’s Sam Stejskal interviews NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff looks at DC United’s schedule during the international break.
Bundesliga Fanatic’s Gerry Whittmann with how well Josh Sargent is doing with Werder Bremen II. Yahoo Sports’ Leander Schaerlaeckens on the current era at Manchester United. Goal’s Stephan Darwin has Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s opinion on his tenure. ESPN’s Matt Scott looks at the economics at Arsenal. Pro Soccer Talk’s Kyle Bonn relays Michel Platini’s opinion on VAR.
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Graphic courtesy of UEFA