Crabs offense busts out of mini-slump, crush PUF Caps to avoid series sweep

first_imgArcata >> Through their first two games of their series against the Pacific Union Financial Capitalists, the Humboldt Crabs could count the number of hits they had on one hand.That changed on Sunday afternoon.In a major, major way, too.The big hit that the Crabs were searching for finally arrived in the fourth inning of their series finale against the Caps. And then hit after hit followed, as Humboldt scored nine runs in the fourth and got another stellar start from right-hander Matthew …last_img read more

Solar Hits a Wall in Massachusetts

first_imgIncentives that have played a major role in the rapid increase of photovoltaic (PV) installations in Massachusetts are nearing their limits, cutting the financial return on solar projects while state legislators contemplate their next move, The Boston Globe reports.One of the subsidies, solar renewable energy certificates, hit the cap of 1,600 megawatts of PV through a combination of installed projects plus those in the planning stage. Utilities buy renewable energy certificates, called RECs, to help them meet renewable energy requirements. They can be more valuable to the owners of PV systems than net metering.The brisk pace of new solar installations in Massachusetts also pushed one utility, National Grid, to its net-metering cap last spring. That hasn’t stopped new PV projects from being developed, but it has lowered reimbursements under the program for larger solar installations from the retail rate for electricity to something closer to the wholesale rate, according to Mary-Leah Assed, a National Grid spokeswoman.Retail-sized projects, those under a rated capacity of 10 kilowatts, are not affected.Even so, John DeVillars, managing principal at BlueWave Capital, a solar developer in Boston, told The Globe, “The industry’s on hold, basically. Until there’s clarity on the next incentive program, very little activity will take place.”Massachusetts has one of the more active PV records in the country. The Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, says that the state installed 308 MW of PV capacity in 2014, the fourth highest amount in the U.S. Its 944 MW total makes it sixth overall in the country. Vermont asks for higher limits from regulatorsVermont’s Green Mountain Power (GMP) said last fall that it had reached the net-metering cap set by lawmakers, but added it would ask the Public Service Board to extend the program. In the meantime, the utility said that it would continue to accept new PV systems from homes and businesses as long as the systems are rated at 15 kilowatts or less.Community projects between 15 kW and 150 kW with a total rated capacity of 7.5 megawatts also would be allowed when they serve homes or businesses that can’t place PV arrays on their own properties.GMP said that the Public Service Board is studying a new net-metering plan that would go into effect next year.The utility has created a solar map that shows the location of solar installations around the state, and where new projects have been proposed. Different colors mark where there’s plenty of remaining capacity for new projects, and where the grid is approaching capacity.Net-metering and interconnection rules are set by individual states. In a 2014 report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said that about half of all states with net-metering policies include limits on the amount of renewable energy that can be installed. Of the 44 jurisdictions with net-metering, 57% have some type of restriction on total capacity, and 37% have no restrictions. Caps generally range from 0.2% to 9% of peak demand, although two jurisdictions have much higher limits, NREL said. EQ Research publishes an online summary of net-metering policies around the country. It includes a state-by-state listing showing which states have caps, which do not, and how much of an individual state’s cap has been reached. Net metering caps are also an issue elsewhereIn neighboring New Hampshire, the state House of Representatives is discussing a bill that would raise the state’s cap on net metering by 25 MW to a total of 75 MW of installed PV capacity. According to a report, the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association (NHSEA) says that most of the state’s utilities have reached their allotted amounts of energy under the existing net-metering cap. One solar installer, SunRay Solar, said last month that it would lay off one-third of its employees because Eversource had reached its cap.The New Hampshire Senate already has passed a bill that would increase the cap by 25 MW.While welcoming the increase, NHSEA said it would be “insufficient over the course of the year to keep businesses and consumers able to continue to choose on-site, renewable self-generation with transparency and market stability.”Kim Quirk, the owner of a solar company in Enfield, N.H., complained that the current plan would not allow any business forecasts beyond this summer, and would prevent the company from hiring more people.center_img Extensions need approval from lawmakersMassachusetts lawmakers are bogged down in negotiations on raising the net-metering limits, with the House supporting a plan that’s more favorable to utilities and the Senate backing a plan endorsed by solar advocates.Senator Benjamin Downing, co-chairman of the state legislature’s energy committee, said that the issue could be resolved soon, or get tangled in debate over energy policy that would put off a decision until summer, The Globe said.Peter Lorenz, a spokesman in the Department of Energy Resources, said that Governor Charlie Baker was committed to working with legislators and to develop an alternative to the solar certificate program.As in other parts of the country, the debate over incentives in Massachusetts have pitted electric utilities against solar advocates. Utilities say that the incentives unfairly increase the cost of electricity for non-solar customers, while solar energy advocates say that solar installations improve the grid’s reliability and reduce the need to operate fossil-fuel burning plants.last_img read more

Four Powerful Beliefs You Must Hold to Succeed In Sales

first_imgThere isn’t anything that is going to have a greater impact on your results in sales (or anything else, for that matter) than your beliefs. Here are four beliefs that fuel your success, and without which success is impossible.Believe That You Can Make a DifferenceOne of the most powerful beliefs you can hold is the belief that you can make a difference. This is the foundation of being a Level Four Value Creator. It’s the belief that, through your effort, you can produce a better outcome. In your life and in other people’s lives. In your business and in other people’s businesses.The opposite belief, the belief that you can’t make a real difference, is a terribly unhealthy belief. It breeds a palpable lack of confidence and insecurity. It’s why some people struggle to produce results, struggle to prospect, and struggle to ask for the price they are worth.Your self-worth is based on your belief that you can make a difference.Believe That You Will SucceedIf you believe you will succeed, you will not only take action, you will continue to take action until you get the results you’re after. Believing you will succeed is an extraordinarily powerful belief. It’s called expectation theory: we get what we expect.Have you ever met someone that was utterly convinced that they would succeed, despite any and all evidence to the contrary? Because they expect to succeed, eventually, they do.If you believe that you can only fail, you won’t take the actions you need to take to succeed, to make a difference, or to grow. Why bother putting forth the effort? Expectation theory works in both directions. If you expect to succeed, you will. If you expect to fail, you most assuredly will too—even if you only fail because you failed to take action.Believing you can succeed is the root of taking action. It’s fuels your initiative.Believe That Other People Will Help YouSome people act as if all of the people around them are in on their plan for world domination. They believe other people will help them. They believe the people they know want to help them, and that strangers too want to help them. So they ask for help.The belief that other people will help you is a critically powerful belief because it’s the key to having the confidence to ask for that help. You aren’t alone. You aren’t on your own. There are a lot of people willing and able to help you—if only you will ask them.Believing other people will help you is a form of resourcefulness.Believing That When Things Go Wrong, They’ll Still Work OutOne of the fundamental attributes of all successful people is a sense of optimism, the belief that even if things go wrong, they’ll still work out in the end. This is a powerful belief because it allows one to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm, as Churchill once said. It enables resourcefulness, persistence, and determination.Believing there is no path forward is an unhealthy and dangerous belief. It kills initiative, and it’s usually a lack of resourcefulness and optimism that lead to this belief.The belief that things will work out is optimism. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always get the outcome you want when you want it. It’s the belief that if you continue working towards your goals, eventually you will get a positive result.The beliefs that you can make a difference, that you will succeed, that others will help you, and that things can still turn out well after a setback are the beliefs that lead to success. The opposite of these beliefs are the unhealthy beliefs that lead to poor results.QuestionsDo you believe you have the power to make a difference? Do you believe you are a value creator?Do you believe deeply that you will succeed?Do you believe that other people will help you if you enlist them?Do you believe that when things go wrong, they’ll still eventually work out? Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more

Jasprit Bumrah not keen on resting for Sri Lanka game: I’d like to play as many games as possible

first_imgIndia’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah’s ability to bowl yorkers at will has been a key factor in his team’s progress to the Cricket World Cup semi-finals and the right-arm pacer attributes it to the long hours he spent honing the skill.Bumrah sealed India’s 28-run victory against Bangladesh on Tuesday with two trademark yorkers to claim the last two wickets in successive deliveries and finish with figures of 4-55.The right-arm quick’s accuracy and death-overs mastery make him a limited overs asset and the 25-year-old attributed his skill to his work in the nets.”Whenever I practise in the nets, I practise each and every situation – be it with the new ball, be it with the old ball, or death bowling at the death,” the bowler with an unusual action told reporters.”I tick all the boxes in the nets. In the match, it’s all about execution and keeping a clear head.”All of that preparation helps me in the matches. If the work ethic is good, then execution becomes much easier.”How do you master the art of bowling yorkersYorker King @Jaspritbumrah93 has the answers #TeamIndia #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/bHReXVVzbrBCCI (@BCCI) July 2, 2019Bumrah has used the yorker delivery to good effect in the tournament to claim 14 wickets from seven matches with an impressive economy rate of 4.6.His unique release point and accuracy render him nearly unplayable at times and difficult to score off otherwise.NET PRACTICEBumrah, who likes to simulate match situations in the nets, said he did not consider himself a master of the delivery.advertisement”I do it again and again and again in the nets. The more you do it, you get decent at it.”You can’t master it but you still try to get better at it. It’s all about repetition. It’s like the length ball – you have to do it again and again (in the nets) and try and replicate it in the game.”Another aspect of his bowling is to control his aggression according to the requirement of the team, he said.”I try to keep things simple. Reading and analysing the wicket as soon as possible is important. Sometimes you run after wickets, but I focus on team goals – what the team wants me to do right now.”Not chasing success, I want to focus on my process. If I do that, eventually everything gets sorted out.”Qualifying for the semi-finals with a match to spare affords India the luxury of resting their strike bowler for Saturday’s group clash with Sri Lanka but Bumrah does not want to put his feet up.BOOM Boy got no chill – No need for a rest reckons @Jaspritbumrah93 #TeamIndia #CWC19 #BANvIND pic.twitter.com/HPlSRb4yoIBCCI (@BCCI) July 2, 2019″This is my first World Cup so I’d like to play as many games as possible… The more matches you play, the more you enjoy.”Also read | Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya star as India beat Bangladesh to enter semi-finalsAlso Read | What happens to Pakistan if England beat New Zealand?Also Read | India qualify for World Cup semi-finals for 7th timelast_img read more

“YOU MUST HAVE A BIT OF MAORI”

first_img“HE MIHI” “Te mea a tua tahi he mihi ki te atua na na nei me te whakamutunga o nga mea katoa tua rua te whare e tu nei- tena koe te papatuanuku takato nei ki waho tena koe e nga rangatira ma- tena koutou e nga koutou katoa- tena koutou no reira- tena koutou no reira- tena koutou tena koutou tena tatou koutou katoa” “The first thing to do is to acknowledge the Lord who is the creator of all things secondly is acknowledgement of this building then acknowledgment of the land and of mother earth. greetings greetings to all distinguished guests to all of us assembled here tonight, greetings greetings to everyone” This is a rough translation of a Maori thankyou speech that Wally Rifle, the coach of New Zealand’s Mens 20 years side, gave officials, coaches and selectors during an NTL function. Wally, as well as Donna Morgan, coach of the New Zealand Womens 20 years, and Tony Lagahetau, assistant coach of the Mixed 18 years, are in Australia for this year’s Open/20 year’s NTL competition. “We’re spying”, chuckles Wally. “No, seriously, not joking with you, we are”, he says. The New Zealand trio openly admit that when they flew into Australia they thought they were on a mission. Video cameras in hand they thought they were here to spy, to sneak information back to New Zealand about Australia’s Youth World Cup preparation, about the style of play and the players. They thought they were here to do it all without arousing our suspicion of three New Zealanders decked out in New Zealand national uniforms walking around with video cameras. But their visit hasn’t gone as expected. “We have been blown away by your hospitality,” says Wally. “Welcoming people is something very important in Maori culture and we think you people must have some Maori in you because you’ve been so great!” “Everyone has been very hospitable and hopefully we get the opportunity to return the favour sometime soon”, says Wally. Tony Lagahetau describes his NTL experience as not only enjoyable but as a realisation of the strength and depth of Australian touch football. “The skill level that we have seen here this week is incredible, especially the Womens 20 years, it’s all very high and we’ve seen some awesome games of touch”, he says. “It’s also become clear to us why your Open teams and style of play is so strong. We can see it is played and coached in the younger players as well. It makes it stronger and well executed at the Opens level”, says Tony. They also admitted to being impressed by how professional the tournament and sport was run here. “Everything about your tournament is outstanding. Your ethics and professionalism,” he says, “everything from your uniforms, to where your selectors are allowed to stand, to your twin towers in the commentary box!” With the three coaches heading back to New Zealand on Wednesday, we have to admit we will miss their crazy antics around the fields, they’ve been a lot of fun, added another dimension to the 2004 NTL’s and we’ve been more than glad to host them. Bring on that Youth World Cup! Rachel Moylelast_img read more

2013 X-Blades National Touch League

first_imgAustralia’s best Touch Footballers have converged on the BCU International Stadium in Coffs Harbour to compete in the 2013 Touch Football Australia X-Blades National Touch League (NTL). Over 100 teams across 14 divisions will participate at the event, while the 2013 event signals the return of the Elite Eight Series, which was first played in 2011. The NTL, which will be held between Wednesday, 13 March and Saturday, 16 March, returns to Coffs Harbour, which has previously held the event from 1997-2008. To view the updated draw, please head to the NTL website, which can be found by clicking on the following link – www.ntl.mytouchfooty.com. Stay tuned to www.austouch.com.au in the lead up to the event for all of the latest news and information. You can keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information from the 2013 X-Blades National Touch League in the following ways:Websiteswww.ntl.mytouchfooty.comwww.austouch.com.auSocial MediaFacebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus (be sure to use the hashtag #NTL2013)Instagram –search for ‘Touch Football Australia’YouTubewww.youtube.com/touchfootballausRelated Fileselite_8_and_ntl_media_release_-_web-pdfRelated Links2013 X-Blades NTLlast_img read more

UDC Moves to Restore Financial Viability

first_imgThe management of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is moving to contain operating expenses, as part of measures to improve the agency’s financial viability.General Manager of the Corporation, Desmond Malcolm, says coming out of an Auditor General’s report, which found several operational efficiencies and “huge losses”, an operational programme has been set in motion.“The UDC Board and Management decided to come up with a number of initiatives which, in effect, would stop the bleeding of the company … reducing the loss and ensuring that, as quickly as possible, the UDC can move from a loss position to a break-even position,” he stated.He was addressing a press conference held recently at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, to indicate the way forward for the organisation.As part of the improvement measures, Mr. Malcolm informed that the UDC will be taking “a serious inventory” of energy management and stationery use throughout its entire operation with a view to cutting costs.“We will also be monitoring salaries, allowances, travel, and so on, to reduce or at least contain those expenses,” he pointed out.Turning to the operations of the Montego Bay Convention Centre, the General Manager told JIS News that focus will be placed on reducing energy costs and marketing the facility.“One of the areas of high expenses is energy and we do have plans to make the Convention Centre more energy efficient … it was discovered that there are issues of massive underground water leaks and high water bills. We were able to effectively deal with that, so much so, that our water bill has dropped by as much as 400 per cent. We are also going to focus a lot on marketing because that is where the heart of this operation is. We need to get conventions and other activities going on in this centre so we can, at least, reach a break-even position,” Mr. Malcolm said.He informed that several proposals have been put forward for the use of the facility, including casino gaming and accommodation, and there is a suggestion to develop the property across from the centre through a partnership arrangement.The UDC General Manager said another option being “seriously looked at” is leasing the facility to an operator.“I don’t think that operating a convention centre, necessarily, is the best thing for the UDC. So that is another option for us, to lease the assets to an operator, and developing the land across the street for a hotel or any other such business that would bring economic activity to this area,” he stated.Contact: Glenis A. Roselast_img read more

UNSC opens closed door meeting on India revoking special status to JK

first_imgUnited Nations: The UN Security Council on Friday began a rare closed door meeting to discuss India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan, backed by its all-weather ally, China, requested “closed consultations” on the issue.The outcome of the UNSC meeting will not be a formal pronouncement as the consultations are informal in nature. India and Pakistan are not attending the meeting, which is open only to the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’China, a permanent member of the UNSC and close ally of Pakistan, had asked for “closed consultations” in the Council, which began its deliberations at 10 am (7:30pm IST) in the Security Council Consultations Room. On August 5, India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution removing special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and has also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Reacting to India’s decision, Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner soon after deciding to downgrade diplomatic ties with New Delhi. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIndia has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution revoking the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality. Russia’s deputy permanent representative, Dimitry Polyanskiy told reporters before entering the meeting room that Moscow’s view is that it is a “bilateral issue” between India and Pakistan. He said the meeting was being held to understand what is happening. “That’s what closed consultations are for. What does Russia think the next step should be- we favour bilateral track between india and Pakistan. You know our position. It hasn’t changed. Today we have closed consultations and we will just exchange opinions and see what we can do and what we cannot do. It is a normal process.” When asked if Russia was concerned over the tense situation between India and Pakistan, Polyanskiy said, “we are very much concerned. We hope to avoid it. Asked if the Council can play a useful role, he replied, “We first need to discuss and then we’ll see.” Replying to another question, he said, “sometimes it is better not to touch upon such an issue. It’s a bilateral issue,” the Russian diplomat said. It is significant that the discussions are not being held at the horse-shoe table in the Security Council Chamber, which is a more formal format for meetings. In a setback to Pakistan’s intentions, the consultations on its letter to the Council are closed and informal and there will unlikely be a formal pronouncement after the meeting, diplomatic sources said. In the letter to the UNSC, Pakistan had requested that its representative be allowed to participate in the meeting, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council. But Pakistan’s request was not allowed, the sources said. According to UN records, the last time “the Security Council addressed the dispute between India and Pakistan over the territories of Jammu and Kashmir” under agenda item ‘The India-Pakistan question’ was in 1965. The Council’s schedule said “Security Council consultations (closed) India/Pakistan”, listed for 10 am. Sources said since it is a consultation, any outcome is not formal pronouncement. A UN diplomat had told PTI that China had asked for closed consultations on the Security Council agenda item ‘India Pakistan Question’. “The request was in reference to the Pakistani letter to Security Council President Joanna Wronecka,” the diplomat said. Poland is the Security Council President for the month of August. The five permanent members of the UNSC are China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. The 10 non-permanent members are Belgium, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and South Africa. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” and refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. He had highlighted the Simla Agreement which rejects any third-party mediation on the issue. PTIlast_img read more

It Might Finally Be Someone Elses Turn In The Champions League

2017-18Lionel MessiBarcelona0.6970.4191.117 2017-18Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid0.9000.2191.119 2016-17Lionel MessiBarcelona0.6910.4161.107 Dele AlliTottenham3.0130.556 If Tottenham can get Dele and Dier back — while keeping just about everyone else healthy — there is enough talent in this squad to make a run.Atletico MadridChance: 9 percentSPI: 87.2 (6th)Status: Up 2-0 on Juventus going into second legDiego Simeone’s club has been here before. But with the big three weakened, the formula that has brought Atletico to the brink of a trophy in the past could now take it over the line. The statistical indicators are all the same, and the team has maintained its lockdown defensive style. Atletico has conceded the fewest goals in La Liga (17) and the second-fewest expected goals (24) despite allowing opponents the majority of possession (51 percent). The club has managed continuity despite the fact that Simeone has overhauled his midfield personnel, as Rodrigo replaced Gabi at defensive midfield and Thomas Lemar joined from Monaco to support Saul Niguez as a hybrid wide/center midfielder.What Atletico will need to go deep in this tournament is a second goal-scorer. Antoine Griezmann remains the club’s star forward, but he has had no support this year. The expensive signing of Diego Costa has turned into a bust; he has managed just 14 shots and one goal in nearly 1,000 minutes. But in the winter window, Atleti pulled off a coup by signing Alvaro Morata on loan from Chelsea. The Spanish forward had put up big underlying numbers for the Blues but disappointed with his finishing, converting just 16 Premier League goals from more than 21 expected goals. But for Atleti, he already has scored three goals and assisted one in less than 400 minutes. If Morata can maintain his shot production and the goals return, he and Griezmann should be a formidable strike pairing to set in front of that defense.LiverpoolChance: 10 percentSPI: 92.8 (2nd)Status: Tied 0-0 with Bayern going into second legLiverpool faces a much more dangerous second-leg match than Spurs or Atletico. The Reds solidly outplayed Bayern in their first match, but Liverpool’s forwards, particularly Sadio Mane, struggled to finish their chances. Now Liverpool needs either a draw or a win in Munich.The key question for Liverpool is its ball progression. This season, Liverpool has been highly effective at moving the ball up the field, ranking second in progressive passes and runs in the Premier League behind Manchester City.2A progressive pass or run is defined as a pass that advances the ball at least 10 yards beyond its furthest progression in the move or into the 18-yard box, and a progressive run must progress the ball similarly and eliminate a defender with a successful dribble. But the club has spread the responsibility around. No Liverpool player is in the league’s top 10 in progressive passing. Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner rank 11th, 16th and 17th, respectively. Liverpool recently drew 0-0 against rivals Manchester United and Everton in two matches during which Keita didn’t play at all and Shaqiri and Milner made only substitute appearances in midfield (of 18 and 27 minutes respectively). Manager Jurgen Klopp needs to find more ways to get two of Keita, Milner and Shaqiri on the pitch in big matches to carry the load. Again, this is a doable task. Liverpool’s quality is there if it can just get through a high-stakes match next Wednesday.Paris Saint-GermainChance: 16 percentSPI: 91.6 (5th)Status: Up 2-0 on Manchester United going into second legPSG has an unbalanced roster. After an unprecedented spending spree in 2017, manager Thomas Tuchel ended up cobbling together a midfield this season by converting one of his defenders, Marquinhos, to the position. But it has hardly mattered. So long as PSG can at least contain its opponent’s attack, Kylian Mbappe and company will do enough on their end: It took only one chance in the first leg against Manchester United for Mbappe to change the game, outpacing the defenders at a sprint by several yards. Mbappe has married his incredible speed to a quickly improving perception of space, and his production has been unreal. So far this season, he’s outproducing even Lionel Messi, who has defied age with one of his best seasons in the past five years. Even accounting for the easier opposition the French striker faces in Ligue 1, Mbappe’s production has been incredible. Matt DohertyWolverhampton3.4620.282 2014-15Lionel MessiBarcelona0.7850.4741.259 2015-16Luis SuarezBarcelona0.8200.3491.169 Jordan AyewCrystal Palace3.3030.327 As of March 4, 2019The big five are the Premier League (England), Ligue 1 (France), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy) and the Bundesliga (Germany).Source: Opta Sports Ander HerreraManchester United6.0990.287 NameTeamTackles + Int per 90xG +xA per 90 2014-15Luis SuarezBarcelona0.6520.5031.155 Gylfi SigurdssonEverton2.6190.349 2015-16Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid0.8680.2391.107 Lucas MouraTottenham2.8050.399 expected per 90 minutes Sead KolasinacArsenal2.9350.370 2014-15Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid0.8300.3211.151 2018-19Lionel MessiBarcelona0.7200.5411.261 2015-16NeymarBarcelona0.6240.5341.158 The most offensive of the defensive-minded2018-19 Premier League leaders in expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes among players with at least 2.5 tackles and interceptions 2015-16Pierre-Emerick AubameyangBorussia Dortmund0.8750.2401.114 With Neymar expected to return in April, Mbappe should have his primary creative support back in time for at least one leg of the quarterfinals (so long as PSG does not falter against United). The pair of them rival Messi and Luis Suarez as the best attacking duo in the world, and if Tuchel can maintain a structure behind them, Neymar and Mbappe are easily enough firepower to win the Champions League.Manchester CityChance: 24 percentSPI: 94.2 (1st)Status: Up 3-2 on Schalke going into second legHere is the favorite. With a one-goal lead going into a home leg against Schalke, City is strongly favored for the quarterfinals. Once there, Pep Guardiola’s side continues to look like the most well-rounded in Europe. The only thing that can hold City back seems to be injuries. The club went into a tailspin when both Fernadinho and David Silva were injured in December. These two midfielders, both 33 years old, remain the guts of the club. Silva leads the Premier League by a wide margin in progressive passing, with more than 5.4 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes, and only Eden Hazard is also over 5.0. Fernandinho seems even more central to City’s success: He stands 12th in the league in progressive passing and leads the team in both tackles and interceptions. Guardiola has yet to figure out a successor to either player in the squad or a true replacement when either of them is unavailable.With its dominant underlying numbers, a weakened field and an easily winnable round of 16 match, City is just 540 minutes away from a Champions League trophy. If Silva and Fernandinho can just be healthy from April on, the Citizens should be the Champions League favorites.Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich are hardly out of it. But PSG and City rate ahead of them, and Liverpool likely will move up if the Reds can get by Bayern. With the traditional powers of European soccer increasingly wobbly, one of these other clubs could, with the right mix of quality play and good fortune, be the team to finally knock them off and lift the trophy.Check out our latest soccer predictions.CORRECTION (March 4, 2019, 7 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a group of five teams, including Liverpool, had not won the Champions League before. Liverpool won the competition in 2005. Felipe AndersonWest Ham3.7270.340 SeasonNameTeamgoalsassistsgoals + assists Abdoulaye DoucoureWatford3.1750.377 2018-19Robert LewandowskiBayern Munich0.8370.2891.125 2017-18NeymarPSG0.6340.5391.173 2015-16Lionel MessiBarcelona0.7630.4591.222 2018-19Kylian MbappePSG0.9980.3631.360 As of March 4, 2019Source: Opta Sports European soccer’s “big three” — Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich — have combined to win the past six Champions League trophies and seven of the past eight. But this season, these clubs aren’t quite as dominant as they used to be, and there’s just a 31 percent chance that one of them will win it all this year, according to the FiveThirtyEight Soccer Power Index. The door is wide open for a new champion. So who will walk through?The SPI projections identify five other clubs with at least a 5 percent chance of lifting the trophy. But while it seems that change is coming to the Champions League, don’t expect a Leicester City-style underdog run. None of the five clubs that could knock off Barcelona, Madrid and Bayern quite qualifies as an “underdog.” Two contenders — Liverpool and Atletico Madrid — have appeared in three of the past five Champions League finals, losing all three. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have never reached a Champions League final but boast massively expensive squads paid for by unfathomably wealthy owners.1City’s owner, Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is a high-ranking member of the Emirati royal family, and PSG is a subsidiary of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Even Tottenham Hotspur ranks among the world’s 10 richest clubs, according to Deloitte’s estimates.So we are not exactly seeing a revolution in European soccer. Rather, it appears that the gap has narrowed between the big three and a larger elite — the next five to 10 best clubs in the world. Still, the Champions League is more wide open than it has been in recent memory. Each of these five teams has a real chance to break the big three’s lock on the trophy.Tottenham HotspurChance: 5 percentSPI: 83.6 (11th)Status: Up 3-0 on Borussia Dortmund going into second legTottenham is statistically the weakest club on the list. It also features one of the thinnest squads of the clubs remaining, having pressed youth team players like Oliver Skipp and Kyle Walker-Peters into service in key matches this season. With no signings at all made in the past two transfer windows, Spurs are not built to weather an injury crisis and compete against the world’s best teams at the same time.Health is Tottenham’s chief concern. Striker Harry Kane has returned from injury, but the club is still missing two key midfielders, Dele Alli and Eric Dier. Without either, Spurs have struggled to turn over opponents in midfield as the press of manager Mauricio Pochettino requires — Dier and Dele are the team’s only midfielders averaging more than 3 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes.Dele in particular is key for Spurs, as he manages to produce as both a ball winner in midfield and a shot creator. No one in the Premier League with similar defensive numbers comes close to Dele’s shot production. Lucas Moura, Dele’s Tottenham teammate, comes in second in expected goals plus assists among players with at least 2.5 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes, and but the gap between them is huge. Ayoze PerezNewcastle3.5150.337 Mbappe is having a Messi-like seasonThe best seasons in the big five European leagues by expected goals per 90 minutes plus expected assists per 90, 2014-19 read more