If you missed topflight club soccer easily available on most cable packages, the Premier League is back. Europe is attempting to play on quickly to return to what passes for a normal schedule. With the leagues in Scotland and France already underway, La Liga and the Premier League begin this weekend.
For USMNT fans, the main story remains Christian Pulisic at Chelsea. Now wearing the #10 shirt, Pulisic is in line to be a key contributor to Frank Lampard’s squad this season. Finishing 4th and qualifying for the Champions League, there’s plenty of pressure on Chelsea to show that they can contend for the title.
“Other people can talk about us challenging or not,” Lampard said. “In the last two seasons we have a finished a lot of points behind Liverpool and Manchester City, so we have to first look at closing the gap and build confidence by getting the team working well together. I’m not jumping ahead and making any predictions on us. I know what it takes to win Premier Leagues. When you look at the teams who have dominated in recent years, they are a story that has run over a few years in terms of recruitment, coaching and improvement on the training pitch that translates to the pitch. It’s not a simple story that bringing in players must win the league, it doesn’t work that way.”
DeAndre Yedlin’s situation at Newcastle United isn’t settled, at least according to reports. Injury issues and coaching preferences limited his playing time last season, adding to speculation that Yedlin may make a move. Regardless, he starts the season with a club that finished 13th.
“If I look at the squad of players, I think we’re stronger today than we were 12 months ago and that’s the thing, for me – to gradually improve us,” Newcastle United coach Steve Bruce said. “We did OK last year under difficult circumstances, but we can’t just settle and be happy with mid-table. Can we progress? Can we stay injury free? And can we try and enjoy the season that lies ahead of us?”
Antonee Robinson joins Tim Ream at newly-promoted Fulham. Like all teams making the move from the Championship to the Premier League, the main goal is avoiding relegation.
“The challenge now is that we’ve gone from being expected to win the majority of weeks and trying to get promoted, and we now go into a division where we understand it’s going to be a lot more difficult,” Fulham coach Scott Parker said. “It’s a challenge that we have to embrace and take on, and I feel we are in a good place to do that. Mentally we’re in a place where we all understand what we face, and we’re looking forward to that.”
Moving to MLS, San Jose had no answers at Seattle, losing 7-1. Jordan Morris opened the scoring in the 4th minute with Raul Ruidiaz doubling the lead in the 12th. It was 3-0 in the 15th minute with a goal from Kelvin Leerdam. Joevin Jones made it 5-0 in the 20th with Ruidiaz scoring again in the 33rd. Joao Paulo Mior scored in the 48th with Jones adding another goal in the 59th minute. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski converted a 71st minute penalty.
“To be honest, I’m speechless and embarrassed,” Wondolowski said. “I want to apologize to our fans, they deserve better, to watch that and endure that for 90 minutes. We have to start from square one. We built up so many valuable morals that we need to implement into our game plan. When the whistle blew, we let all that blow out the window and to be honest, a lot of that is on me, the captain, to make sure we’re ready, to make sure we’re sharp and to be ready for the little things. I think we were lackadaisical on the field. Credit to Seattle, they’re an amazing team. They’re the champions for a reason so all the credit to them. It was embarrassing for us.”
SI.com’s Jonathan Wilson focuses on the uniqueness of this Premier League season. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney on Leeds United’s return and the strength of the top six. The Independent’s Sam Wallace has his 2020-21 predictions. The Athletic’s Oliver Kay with the pressure on Liverpool.
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