The soccer news starts with week 5 in the Premier League and a simple question. Do we really know much about the 2019-20 season? The September international break does a quality job in disrupting any momentum one way or the other for the start of the Premier League season. Teams already in trouble may be able to regroup. Teams already stockpiling points may wonder why the games need to stop.
Liverpool is top of the table after four games on the maximum 12 points with Manchester City in second due to their 2-2 home draw with Spurs. Neither of them face tremendous difficulties with the restart of the season. Liverpool hosts Newcastle and Manchester City is at Norwich City. Making sure their returning internationals are healthy and ready to resume the club campaign is the extent of their problems entering the fifth matchday.
It's Leicester City in 3rd-place and Crystal Palace in 4th currently raising the banner for Premier League disruption. Both would've probably preferred to keep that momentum going.
Leicester City started the season with draws at home to Wolves and at Chelsea. They beat Sheffield United away and Bournemouth at home. They've had the international break to think about playing at Manchester United this Saturday and hosting Spurs next week. Leicester's schedule isn't easy. They're at Anfield on October 5, a run of four league games where only Newcastle at home seems manageable. It's an open question if momentum lasts through the break.
It's the same question for Crystal Palace, at Spurs on Saturday and ahead of Arsenal in the table on goal difference. Palace opened the season with a draw at Everton, losing at Sheffield United. They followed that up with a win at Old Trafford and beating Aston Villa 1-0 at home. Taking all three points at Manchester United needed Paul Pogba failing to convert a penalty and the Villa result included the referee denying what looked like a late equalizer. If there's momentum in the Premier League, Palace certainly had it. They come back from the break with most of the news centered on Wilfried Zaha's dissatisfaction that he didn't move clubs in the transfer window.
The Premier League isn't a league of momentum. Instead, it's a league of a handful of clubs trying to maximize points to get just enough separation at the top of the table. Liverpool's title challenge last season ended up not meaning much since Manchester City won every game after January. That's not so much momentum as a super club doing its job domestically. The expectation is winning against the bulk of the schedule. Eventually, that pushes back against any momentum generated by outsider clubs. The international breaks normally aren't going to help a smaller club running hot on a string of results. Neither is the Premier League schedule and the stark reality that this is a league for the elites.
The Mirror's John Cross updates the search for a new Premier League CEO. BBC Sport's Dan Roan explains Middlesbrough's issue with clubs selling their stadiums to their owners. Bundesliga Fanatic's Mathew Burt previews an important weekend in Germany. DW's Matt Ford looks at the resumption of the Cologne vs Gladbach rivalry.
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