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United We Stand: World Soccer Talk Podcast

We dive into Manchester United-Liverpool analysis, as well as discussing the other Premier League games from the weekend. Plus we delve into various other topics including what it is about the Premier League formula that makes it the must-see soccer league right now.

Hosts Christopher Harris and Kartik Krishnaiyer also discuss the news about the UEFA Champions League rights in the United States, as well as Peacock making several improvements.

Also discussed are our thoughts about NBC’s coverage of the Premier League and the job that Peter Drury is doing. We also debate what the issue is with Christian Pulisic at Chelsea Football Club. And the latest news about FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2022 World Cup.

Listen to the show via the player above or via this link.

Launched in 2006, the World Soccer Talk Podcast is the longest running podcast on the planet. Every week, we share the latest news about watching soccer on television and streaming, in addition to discussing what we like and dislike, and featuring your questions and feedback in our Listener Mailbag segment.

HEAR MORE: Listen to our archive featuring hundreds of soccer interviews

Send in your questions, comments and feedback via e-mail, via Twitter (@worldsoccertalk) or Facebook. We’ll read them out on-air in the next episode. Or call our voicemail line and leave a message at 561-247-4625.

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  1. TheOriginalTom

    August 26, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    I missed this week’s pod, I’ll catch it over the weekend. Do you still do watch recommendations? What is everyone’s watch recommendation this weekend? Portland v Seattle Friday night is a good as both teams might miss on play-offs; but what about from Europe on Saturday or Sunday morning?

    • Christopher Harris

      August 28, 2022 at 7:39 am

      Tom, we missed it on this particular episode, but we’ll bring it back on the next one and moving forward.

  2. Mercator

    August 25, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    Yep, that’s the gist of it. The Premier League is its own thing stuck on top of the EFL, but which still promotes/relegates from the EFL. Just make a 20 team ESL and do the same thing. Relegate the 3 worst teams and Europa League becomes the promotion tournament for the domestic league winners the prior year.
    Start it off with the top 20 non-EPL teams by coefficient: Bayern, Madrid, Barca, PSG, Juve, Atletico, Roma, Sevilla, Leipzig, Ajax, Porto, Villarreal, Dortmund, Lyon, Inter, Atalanta, Napoli, Frankfurt, Benfica. Shaktar Donetsk would actually be in the 20, but realistically would swap them out with Sporting (the next per 5yr coefficient) or Milan (corruption/derby). This is a lot like the EPL, realistically of the first 3 clubs will probably win the league, the 4th could but won’t because of poor decisions (United) and Juve/Atletico as outside contenders (Arsenal/Spurs).
    3 relegated teams would go back to their domestic leagues, and top 3 Europa league teams would replace them. Europa could be a 48ish team tournament, knockout, both finalist get promoted and the third place game decides the final member. Domestic leagues go down to 18 team maximum, so leagues losing 3+ teams don’t have to promote too many, and if 2 teams from the same country are relegated in the same year they can go to 20, then 19, then 18 the following years to avoid relegating teams that don’t expect it (rude and unfair to start the season thinking 2 teams are relegated and then 4 end up being relegated because 2 teams came down from the ESL). CL would be top 8 EPL teams and top 8 Super League teams, reverse seed (1 v 8, 2 v 7, etc). This would be less games across the board, less for CL, less for the smaller domestic leagues, but better quality in the CL and ESL (and more competitive in domestic leagues).
    Of course all of this would require competence and grace from UEFA to split revenues in a way that would shuffle enough money down to the domestic leagues to keep them viable, while still giving the ESL teams enough money to reliable compete against each other and the EPL. UEFA doesn’t want to do this and probably can’t do it, and I’m sure many euros would be downright offended by EPL v ESL playoff which is a tacit admission EPL is king of the domestic leagues and would again give the English a privileged position in European and world football. The clubs can’t really do it cause the Germans would get on their high horse and promotion via Europa would require UEFA cooperation. So needless to say I think there is no real chance of it happening. Much more likely the Saudis throw some money around and start some global super league with a few big European clubs and whoever else will put up a billions to join.

    • Mercator

      August 25, 2022 at 10:02 pm

      This should be in response to Dave below sorry

  3. Mercator

    August 25, 2022 at 9:08 am

    Really good discussion on Pulisic and I’m glad I’m not insane thinking Tuschel has nothing against him either. I think many fans don’t want to admit it, but I’m just not sure he is of starting caliber at a regular top 4 club. It’s nothing against him, the very best players in the world play for top clubs at his position, but I do think he would be infinitely better off at a place like Newcastle. It really had to sting to get beat by Leeds and to see guys like Aaronson and Adams playing a huge part in the game while he rides the bench. I actually think he has generally performed when he plays – the Cl goals are nothing to wave off – but he doesn’t have a great injury record either. I wouldn’t go into a season as manager with him as my only serious option on the right or left…he would be a real injury risk. So of course a top club like Chelsea will bring in a top player at that position, and now Pulisic is fighting him for minutes. The same would happen at man united. He can go and have a great season, but it’s man united they will splash out for a star winger and Pulisic will be in the same position in a year or two. Go to Newcastle, get your playing time, and rise with the club. He has stars in his eyes and is overlooking what a legend a solid player like him could be at a massive club like Newcastle that will inevitably slowly push its way to the top. Anyway that’s my rant.
    I will lay off Peacock for the time being as the $20 annual deal is cheap enough I can’t really complain. BUT I thought Rebecca Lowe’s dig at Mustow was interesting because it did seem deliberately provocative and this is one of the thing I think the NBC broadcast lacks. Not conflict, but a bit of passion. You see this on Sky, Neville is genuinely devastated every time United lay an egg. You see heated arguments, Jamie Carragher calls people out for past views that were dead wrong.I don’t think NBC should or needs to copy this, but some of these recent games have just been barn burners, Tuschel and Contre are ready to brawl and I’m out of my seat and it cuts back to the NBC studio where everything is professional, serious and put together. Sometimes I don’t mind if they go back to the studio and everyone is yelling about what happened – I’m doing the same after some of these games! Maybe its because Arsenal are good or United are bad, but this seems to be one of the best starts to the season in recent memory – every week there have been 2-3 just crazy games.

    • Roberto

      August 25, 2022 at 11:49 am

      yes, but in the end the same teams will be on top! So, some drama now but we know the ending.

      • Michael F

        August 25, 2022 at 6:32 pm

        It’s a battle for spots at the top and bottom. Which is awesome. Love the Premier League.

  4. greg

    August 24, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    You were indeed kinder to NBC in this ep, and looks like lots of us agree with your take on Drury vs Arlo, with Drury being an upgrade. But you miss the forest for the trees when you compare the halftime shows on Peacock – why was the Man U v Liverpool halftime better than the weekend? Because they don’t have as much commercial time to run relative to studio talk time. So they’re not rushing their takes. If you’re going to compare that context is important…halftime on the broadcast (NBC or USA (and NBCSN before) is always rushed due to all the commercials they have to run.

    Three cheers for the Paramount/CBS reup on UEFA cup competitions and the Fox news re taking announcers to Qatar to call games there.

    Disagree on boring matches in EPL…every week has at least one turgid match. Everton v Chelsea in week 1, Wolves v Fulham & Newcastle v Brighton week 2, the 1st half of Spurs v Wolves this past week. Perhaps fewer boring matches than other leagues? Hard to say without watching all of them.

    re: football docs, apparently the Figo doc on Netflix is supposed to be great. And don’t overlook Copa90 Stories www[]youtube[]com/c/copa90stories/videos – all are good, like the Pompey v Southampton Derby Days episode and the new episode on Betis.

  5. dave

    August 24, 2022 at 12:10 am

    Enjoyable discussion as usual. Two items piqued my interest:
    1. The comment that EPL is becoming a de facto “super league” is intriguing. My gut sense is that Super League was driven by desperation – some founders need to secure seats at the table before their cachet declines, while some laggards joined reluctantly out of FOMO. As time goes on, founders may get even more desperate. Barcelona for example seem to be eating their seed corn. But FOMO for laggards may fade. Five years from now, will City or Arsenal or Liverpool have any big concerns if Real Madrid and Juventus have a party without them?
    2a. ESPN for a long time were arguably more important to leagues than any given league was to ESPN. I suspect those days are going if not gone. I get no sense the Big Ten is worried about lack of exposure or relevance due to absence of ESPN. If anything, they may look forward to cross-promotion on Saturday-Sunday as FOX-CBS-NBC partner on Big Ten and NFL
    2b. ESPN no longer have the deepest pockets. I suspect if it comes to a bidding war for a prime property like World Cup that ESPN have little chance of beating Apple or Amazon. It puts ESPN in uncharted waters, as exposure/relevance and deep pockets have long been central to ESPN’s dominance of the sports landscape. Interesting times

    • Mercator

      August 25, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      I clearly have some free time at the office today, but I think if you game out a European Super League without the EPL, you get something that looks a lot like the EPL. 6-8 TOP teams and then a bunch of decent teams like Porto or Ajax, but not clubs on the same level as the Top 6-8 clubs like Madrid or Bayern. Since 2004 the only CL finalists are the big 6 EPL clubs and 9 others (3 Italy & Spain, 2 Germany, 1 France). It’s not a diverse group and realistically the big clubs would never get relegated, and teams like Sporting, Rangers or Marseilles would be the yo-yo teams that go back and forth between the ESL and their national leagues.
      A 20 team Super League could pull all the big clubs out of Western European leagues, making the domestics competitive again. The Champions league could be reformed into a straight playoff between the EPL and ESL, and Europa could go back to the old champions league format, only include DOMESTIC CHAMPIONS, and be used for promotion to the ESL. CL is so many games when we know who the last 8-16 teams will be. Just cut the nonsense and make it a 16 team tournament (home/away legs and single final) with the top 8 from EPL and ESL. Less games overall, better games in the new CL and in ESL, and significantly more competition across Europe. The big clubs can still bully local teams in the domestic cup competitions.
      I think we are actually past the point where the big EPL teams would be really concerned about being left out of a super league. I think that idea was only attractive to the English clubs because it included no possibility of relegation. I actually don’t think clubs like Barca or Bayern are fine with the current situation because they win easy trophies – everyone at these clubs know in the medium to long run even they are going to struggle to compete with EPL money they cannot match playing Almeria or Augsburg every week.

      • dave

        August 25, 2022 at 7:53 pm

        If you have more free time, I find your idea interesting. Am I getting the key details of your proposal as:
        * “Domestic” leagues would be 1) EPL, 2) ESL (no EPL teams), and 3) non-EPL/ESL (same non-EPL domestic leagues as today, minus ESL teams)
        * Best performers in EPL/ESL face off in UCL next year, direct to round-of-16
        * ESL promote/relegate with non-EPL domestic leagues (perhaps by way of UEL) while EPL promote/relegate with EFL
        Allocating money may be challenging, UEFA may go nuts, and there may be logistical hurdles, but it seems great from a competition standpoint. Much better than the original ESL proposal and rollout. I especially like that every team in every “domestic” league is relegation-eligible

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