My#2020 #NewYear #Resolutions

Chelsea fans have to be up and at ’em early.

The first day of 2020 brings us a full day of Premier League, thank goodness. Here’s the schedule and if for some unfathomable reason, TheBlackPitch.com is your main source of soccer insights AND you’re a Chelsea fan, I hope you have some other reminder to wake up early for the first match, because we’re only hours away at this point, and you’re likely still out in the streets, whooping it up and drinking yourself into the abyss that was 2019.

PSA: Don’t drink and drive. If you’re gonna drink, don’t drive and if you’re gonna drive, don’t drink.

All times shown are Eastern

Of course, tomorrow (or today, depending on when you’re actually reading this) will be a good day to have NBC Sports Gold Premier League Pass. The Watford v. Wolves match should be interesting, as should the West Ham v. Bournemouth. It’ll be West Ham’s first match at home with newly-reappointed manager David Moyes. Typically, you’d expect a bit of a rebound bounce from a club bringing in a new manager, so we’ll see what the actual turnaround might look like for The Hammers. Of course, the standard NBCSN lineup will provide plenty of fun for the day, as I anticipate you, like me, won’t be leaving the couch.

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

The bigger thing I’ve been thinking about is resolutions for the new year, as it relates to my indulgence in soccer/football/the beautiful game. Here are my Top 5 Resolutions for 2020.

Make a better effort to consistently catch the NWSL and Women’s FA club matches. As much as I’ve caught matches here and there, both leagues haven’t been in my regular rotation as much as they should be. Part of this was tracking down a better way to watch, which I think I might have a solution for, but some of this really comes down to putting together a viewing calendar to make sure I’m not tuning in last minute, all of the time. I do this for Premier League, Bundesliga and MLS, so I simply need to add these leagues to the rotation.

See at least four of the Des Moines’ Menace’s home matches this season. I like the Menace. I have a ton of fun watching the lads, especially in recent seasons. Part of being a supporter of local soccer is getting out to the soccer you have in your community. Sometimes, and this is me being totally transparent, but our local club can be a bit of out-of-sight, out-of-mind for me, and remember, soccer is my favorite sport. Part of this is the ease of watching the bigger clubs with the better viewing options. While it allows me to be a soccer fan and digest a lot of matches, it also allows me to be a lazy fan. I have to be out supporting the community in which I live if I hope that we ever have a real chance at fostering a club in a larger league in the Des Moines area.

Regularly watch USL Championship and USL One matches on ESPN+. While these aren’t new additions to ESPN+ (I believe), I simply need to add them to the rotation. In recent months, my attention has turned to interests in the more localized/regional soccer options. These are all great clubs and I don’t mean this in any type of disrespect, but it’s simply easier to be a fan of the biggest clubs in the world. Soccer has to be, first and foremost, local for it to grow and flourish. So, while our Menace will be playing at the League Two level and I’ll have to see it in person, I can help the audience grow by watching the matches on ESPN+.

Watch at least half as many Sheffield Wednesday matches as I watch Chelsea FC matches. One of these days, the Owls will be in the Premier League. Then, my heart will be tugged into two parts. But, until that day, I need to do a better job keeping up with SW.

Finish hanging my new Chelsea FC and Sporting KC flags in my home office. Typical me. Received two brand-new, beautiful flags to hang in the home office, but both are sitting, folded neatly on my desk. There’s got to be a break in the action on New Year’s Day, right?

End of November Recap for the #PremierLeague #ChampionshipLeague #WSL and #SerieA

Goodness, where to start. First and foremost, I finally picked up an Apple TV and installed NBC Sports Gold – Premier League Pass and ESPN+, so I’m literally swimming in leagues and matches, which is fantastic. If you’re thinking about streaming options for league play, the Apple TV makes it super easy. I’m already getting my fill of many of the Premier League matches on NBC Sports and NBC, Bundesliga on Fox channels, but my sweet spot in football match-ups is in the Championship League, so I finally have a better way to keep up with the league. Still watching #WSL on the FAPlayer, which is fine, but I’m hoping they have a better streaming option that I can connect via the Apple TV in future seasons, and I’m anticipating the return of MLS and NWSL (I picked up the Yahoo Sports app).

In the meantime, back to this past week’s match-ups.

Premier League

Past weekend in the Premier League
  • Surprises: ManCity drawing away against Newcastle, Arsenal drawing away against Norwich City and ManUnited drawing at home against Aston Villa.
  • Liverpool took out Brighton by a goal (thought this would be a bigger spread)
  • West Ham got the best of Chelsea (see the previous post)
  • And the Premier League sort of resets with sacked managers, soon-to-be sacked managers and clubs in flux.
As of Week 14

Liverpool still leads the run 8-points clear of Leicester City (#2). Chelsea is clear 6-points of Tottenham. Norwich City, Watford and Southampton carry on their woes at the bottom of the table. Hopefully, West Ham is showing a turnaround and maybe Pellegrini keeps his role as manager. Arsenal and ManUnited seemingly have plateau’d their performances, but are still on rather shaky ground. Everton appears to be in dire straits at #17.

I mentioned earlier some clubhouse shake-ups with managers in the Premier League. This feels like it’s happening more quickly than it has in recent seasons and honestly, I hope this is a trend that doesn’t continue. At the beginning of September, Watford sacked Javi Garcia who had spent 594 days with the club. They then bring in Quique Flores, who was sacked today at 85 days. (Goodness.) Mauricio Pochettino had more than 2,000 days with the club before being sacked in favor of bringing in Jose Mourinho. Arsenal dismissed Unai Emergy who had 555 days with the club. His former assistant manager and club legend, Freddie Ljungberg is running as the interim manager. Flores was the 24th casualty in the English leagues in the 2019/2020 season. Sheesh.

English Women’s FA League

West Ham’s club was on a roll, gaining the three-points against Manchester United earlier in the day. Chelsea destroyed Birmingham City with six goals and a clean sheet.

Chelsea still has their week 8 match to play and potentially score another 3-points to put them back at the top of the table.

As of Week 8

Championship League

Sheffield Wednesday visited Charlton Athletic and stole the match with three-points. It was still 1-1 after the half, but Sheffield Wednesday turned up the heat and knocked in two more shots. Brentford’s home match against Luton Town should have had mercy rules, as L-Town walked away with a thorough thrashing 7-0. Leeds United beat Middlesbrough (not a huge surprise against the very bottom of the table) and hold the top of the table with five wins in their last five appearances.

As of Week 19

Serie A

Inter took out SPAL at home and has the top of the Serie A table. Juventus missed a prime opportunity to take the top spot with a draw against Sassuolo. Fiorentina took a tough defeat against Lecce and Franck Ribery and had to have assistance walking off after suffering a serious ankle ligament injury, one that may keep him off the pitch for the remainder of the season. Atalanta, Torino, Roma, Milan, Lazio and Bologna also carried away 3-points over the weekend.

As of Week 14

Premier League will have a lot of mid-week action to tune in for.

Chelsea FC Women Clean the Pitch Against Birmingham City

Chelsea FC grabbed their largest win of the season in a visit to Birmingham City with a 0-6 win over the home team (Chelsea grabbing 6 points and walking away with a clean sheet against Birmingham City).

  • This is the 25th consecutive WSL match on the road that they’ve won
  • The no-loss run on the road dates back to May 2017
  • Scorers included Ji (2′), Bright (37′), England (45’+1′), England (63′) and a pair from Spence (48′ and 52′)

Just a reminder, you can watch all of the Super League matches on the FA Player app or your desktop. Visit https://faplayer.thefa.com/home/womens-super-league to sign up today.

Chelsea take on Everton at Everton on Dec 1. (Full schedule is also found on the FA Player site.)

Sam Kerr Signs with Chelsea FC Women

Sam Kerr with the #20 shirt

Recent NWSL golden boot winner, Sam Kerr, signed a 2 1/2 year contract with Chelsea Women to start up December 27. Kerr, an attacker on the pitch, had spent time with the Chicago Red Stars and also on the Australian National Team.

Very exciting news, indeed, for Chelsea fans.

I can’t wait to join the club and hopefully you welcome me with open arms because I’m so excited to come and represent the club and show what I’m made of. And hopefully we’ll win some silverware together.

Sam Kerr via Chelsea FC news
Table as of 11.26.2019

Chelsea sits atop the table for the league after 7 weeks of match play with 19 points, including the past five matches as all wins. ManCity and Arsenal both following a point behind. Adding Kerr to the mix will help drive the overall goal differential higher and, hopefully, continue to drive Chelsea through the season.

Congrats Sam!