Happy Monday! I'm Mike Goodman here to start your week right on the Golazo Starting XI newsletter. Before your work week even got started, we've had some news that could shake up the top of European soccer, a manager fired in the Premier League and much much more. Let's go!
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📺 On Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network
All times U.S./Eastern:
🇮🇹 Serie A action
⚽ Verona vs. Lazio, Monday, 12:30 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
⚽ Monza vs. Sampdoria, Monday, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
⚽ Salernitana vs. Juventus, Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇦🇷 Argentine Primera Division
⚽ Gimnasia vs. Defensa y Justicia, Monday, 4 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
⚽ Hurcan vs. Banfield, Monday, 7:30 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
📺 What else we're keeping an eye on
⚽ FA Cup: Sheffield Utd vs. Wrexham, Tuesday, 2:45 p.m.
⚽ The Forward Line
🇺🇸 USMNT fallout as Marsch is out at Leeds
American manager Jess Marsch is out at Leeds United. It's been a long time since Leeds have won a game of soccer in the Premier League, and Marsch now pays the price for their slump. Since a Nov. 5 4-3 win over Bournemouth, Leeds have gone seven matches without a win, picking up only three points in the process. The team remains outside the relegation zone, sitting in 17th place with 18 points, tied with Everton but ahead on goal difference, and crucially with a game in hand. They've played 20 matches while every other team in the bottom half of the table has played 21.
This must make for an extremely odd situation for Weston McKennie who just arrived at Leeds to join fellow Americans Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson, who were supposed to be playing for an American manager. Now, a single game after McKennie's arrival, that manager -- and his distinctive high-octane pressing style -- is gone.
All that said, there's plenty of reason for optimism at Leeds. While the team might be struggling, the underlying numbers are not particularly bad. There are actually eight teams worse than Leeds based on expected goal (xG) difference, including Nottingham Forest, the team that defeated Marsch's side over the weekend and ultimately sealed his fate.
Additionally, the Premier League's increasing economic situation might make it easier for clubs to lure some of the best managerial talent from around the world, even for sides stuck at the bottom reaches of the table. Everton stayed close to home and hired Sean Dyche, but other clubs have been able to reach around the world for top managerial talent. Aston Villa brought in Unai Emery, most recently seen taking Villarreal to the semifinals of the Champions League, Wolverhampton lured Julien Lopetegui after he was axed by Sevilla, and Brighton replaced Graham Potter with Italian Roberto De Zerbi, most recently of Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.
All of that is to say that Aaronson, Adams and McKennie are probably going to be fine. Leeds are still viewed as a longshot to get relegated, despite the months-long slide, and there's every chance that they'll be playing under a strong manager as they fight to secure that survival. As for Marsch, it's tempting to say he's a little unlucky given how much better the team's underlying stats were than their results. But still, it's not like it's a surprise that going three months without a league win will cost him his job. The next question for him is whether or not the United States men's national team shows up at his door once they key in on their managerial search.
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🔗 Midfield Link Play
Man City accused of breaking financial rules
The Premier League stunned the world of soccer on Monday when it announced a raft of accusations that Manchester City broke financial rules. Everybody is being cagey about what this could possibly mean with the Premier League issuing a statement detailing the violations and saying that the matter will be reported to a commission as the rules call for. Manchester City for their part, issued a short statement maintaining their innocence.
While we likely won't know the ultimate outcome for City for quite some time, the fact that the Premier League made multiple serious accusations suggests that the possibility for serious penalties exist. City, however, have a history of beating these kinds of accusations in court. UEFA already tried to suspend them from international play only to see Europe's Court for Arbitration of Sport overrule the suspension on grounds that the statute of limitations had passed for enforcing such a penalty. This time around, however, City reportedly won't be able to appeal to CAS under Premier League rules, but both City and the Premier League could launch an appeal if they wanted to. We're going to be following this story closely in the coming weeks and months.
And now let's get to some links:
🔗 AC Milan's unravelling continued in their loss to Inter in the Derby della Madonnina.
🔗 The Paramount+ had a great time in Boston at the watch party.
🔗 A massive earthquake hits Turkiye and Syria; Newcastle and Ghana voice fears for Christian Atsu's safety.
🔗 Harry Kane broke a scoring record during Spurs' upset win over Man City.
🔗 Arsenal suffered a shock defeat to Everton, but Chuck Booth says it won't hurt their title chances.
🔗 Manchester United are set to be without another midfielder as Casemiro picked up a three-game suspension.
🔗 House of Champions: Fabrizio Romano joins the crew as they react to the Man City news.
🔗 Attacking Third: Orlando Pride's third overall NWSL draft pick Emily Madril joins the show.
🔗 The Sounders' Club World Cup cameo is over, but Booth explains why the MLS' schedule was just too much to overcome.
🔗 Newcastle's Joelinton is having a baby! And he did a one-of-a-kind gender reveal.
🔗 And remember, all of your soccer needs -- from Champions League to Serie A to NWSL and so much more -- are available on Paramount+. Try one month for free by using the code: SERIEA.
💰 The Back Line
💵 Best bets
We're looking for intrigue the next couple of days. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and all times U.S./Eastern.
- FA Cup: Sheffield United vs. Wrexham, Tuesday, 2:45 p.m.
💰 THE PICK: Wrexham (+525) -- This is a bad bet. Don't make this bet. Wrexham are a fifth division club facing off against a side that has aspirations to play in the Premier League. Wrexham are also obviously a public team, a story that has transcended soccer to make it into the pop culture sphere. It's exactly the kind of team you're supposed to bet against. But I refuse to bet against this story. You can follow SportsLine's best bets here.
- Serie A: Salernitana vs. Juventus, Tuesday, 2:45 p.m.
💰 THE PICK: Juventus (-180) -- Betting on a team like this is hard. Who knows how the off-field drama will influence the players when they're between the lines. But with uncertainty comes opportunity. Salernitana, meanwhile, somehow just stole a win against Lecce despite being outshot 15-10 and losing the xG battle 1.44-0.87. Before that they hadn't won a game since October. Juventus get it done. You can follow SportsLine's best bets here.