Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 27

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 27

The 27th week of the Premier League action saw:

27 goals - most by Man City = 5
238 shots - most by Chelsea = 20
84 on target - most by Man City = 11
107 corners - most by Tottenham & Man United = 10 each
210 fouls - most by Crystal Palace & Man United = 15 each
25 yellow cards - most by Leicester & Bournemouth = 3 each
0 red cards
3 penalties - 2 scored (Milivojevic for Crystal Palace, has converted more penalties than any other players in the Premier League this season = 5, van La Parra for Huddersfield)

What a game! It was a Super Duper Sunday: Huddersfield bagged their first points of 2018 thrashing Bournemouth 4-1, Alex Pritchard with his first goal for the club, Steve Mounié with a brace, denied a hat-trick by Rajiv van La Parra from the spot in the final seconds of the match. The win pulled the Tigers out of the relegation zone and dropped Newcastle right into it before their clash against Manchester United. Note: Before. The Magpies showed everyone how it's done, the goalkeeping by debutant loanee Martin Dúbravka and defending was out of this world, making Matt Ritchie's goal enough to beat Manchester United. José Mourinho doesn't like St James' Park, D3 L4, nor the current boss there after his 6th defeat in all competitions against the Spaniard (only Pep Guardiola has beaten him more times = 9)! Rafa Benítez was fuming in the first half, decision after decision going against the home side, but got it all back in the second half, their first home win since October taking his side up to 13th! Muchas gracias! And last but definitely not least, Liverpool finished off the triple Super Sunday at Southampton, cruising to a 0-2 win at St Mary's thanks to Roberto Firmino and non-other than Mohamed Salah, taking them up to third, two points behind Man United in second. Click here for my LFC match notes. Vielen Dank!

What a team! Tottenham overpowered Arsenal on Saturday in the lunchtime kickoff, Harry Kane heading in the winner a few minutes after the break. It could have been two or three more if it weren't for Petr Čech, who made a couple of quick, full-stretch, top-class saves. It ended 1-0 at Wembley, no real competition, disappointing arch rival derby, Spurs having just lost one of their last eight Premier League games against the Gunners, W3 D4. Kane's total is 32 goals in all competitions, four more than any other player in Europe's big five leagues and is only the second player to score in four consecutive home Premier League appearances against Arsenal, after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink between 1997 and 2001. Arsène Wenger made a double-change to attack and press Mauricio Pochettino's side more in the second half, but it was too little too late, which summarises the Frenchman's profile at the club. Just one shot on target recorded in the whole match, that is just not good enough if you want to compete against the top teams.

What a man! Five goals and three points to Manchester City against Leicester, Jamie Vardy with the only reply, Kevin De Bruyne starring for the league leaders with three assists, Sergio Agüero with a hat-trick, sorry, four goals, taking him to 14 goals in the last seven home games and 197 in total for the club. Lost track? The Citizens beat the Foxes 5-1, taking them top of the second-half goals table ahead of Liverpool, it was just a nightmare for Kasper Schmeichel! Claude Puel was made to regret his change of formation after the interval (it was 1-1 at halftime). Guardiola has no such regret nor worry whatsoever, his side 16 points clear at the top.
It was a welcome win for David Moyes after goals by Javier Hernández and Marko Arnautović were enough for West Ham to beat Watford and take them to 30 points, five above the drop zone, one behind Bournemouth in 10th, ending their run of four games without a win which had already unsettled some Hammers fans. It was Javi Gracia's first league defeat, keeping the Hornets' away form worrying.

What a goal! A great strike, low drive by Ki Sung-yeung won it for Swansea against Burnley, they are on a roll! The Welsh side moved up to 15th with this win, their third home win in a row in the league, taking them two points clear of the drop zone. Despite sitting in seventh, Burnley have been finding life much more difficult in 2018 with no wins in the last nine games in all competitions and longest winless run in the league with 10 games (D5 L5).
The rest of the goals on Saturday were just bad defending more than good quality shots. No marking whatsoever! West Brom wouldn't care how they come, if only they could hit the back of the net! The Baggies lost to a poor Chelsea side 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday night thanks to Eden Hazard's double and Victor Moses. Alan Pardew's men had chances as the Blues were a mess once again, but just couldn't get it on target. Poorer than poor, I'm afraid at this rate they will definitely go down. I would also be very surprised to still see Antonio Conte at the Chelsea helm for much longer, his side playing nowhere near the quality of last season's champions! This result cannot and will not cover nor hide that!

What the hell?! How crucial will Mathew Ryan's penalty save be for Brighton at Stoke City?! It was an unbelievable stop denying Charlie Adam and sparing a point for the home side after Xherdan Shaqiri's strike had cancelled out José Izquierdo's opener. The penalty was softer than soft, the players' dispute who should take it didn't help I'm sure, Jesé not a happy man and rightly so. Keeper Ryan made the crucial save, Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert tackling and clearing the ball off the line respectively in the dying seconds afterwards. Paul Lambert was understandably gutted after the second-half comeback, his side remaining in the drop zone, whilst Chris Hughton felt justice was done. It was a crazy finish to an otherwise below-par game, that's why I always say and preach NEVER leave a game early!!!
It all happened in the second half at Goodison Park as well, loads of chances for both sides, four goals, Everton ending up on top 3-1 against Crystal Palace, Sam Allardyce a much happier man, especially after last week's thumping they got. It was the first time in the Premier League two former England managers played against each other since late Bobby Robson's Newcaste faced Kevin Keegan's Man City in 2004.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Tottenham 2:2 Arsenal - 1:0
Everton 1:1 Crystal Palace - 3:1
Stoke City 0:0 Brighton - 1:1
Swansea 1:0 Burnley - 1:0
West Ham 1:1 Watford - 2:0
Man City 3:1 Leicester - 5:1
Huddersfield 1:2 Bournemouth - 4:1
Newcastle 0:1 Man United - 1:0
Southampton 1:2 Liverpool - 0:2 or my match notes
Chelsea 1:1 West Brom - 3:0

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Twitter and SFR coverage.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

FT Match Notes: Saints 0-2 Reds

Sports - Football - Premier League - SOULIV

Saints kick off the action in red and white stripes, Liverpool all glowing orange.

2' First LFC corner, cleared.

3' Firmino goes down, edge of the box, pushed by Hoedt, nothing given, would have been harsh.

5' First corner for the home side, fist punch by Højbjerg, blocked and stopped first hurdle.

6' FIRMINOOOOO NETS IT, left-footer into the bottom right, thanks to Salah's pass back from the right, counter was too quick for the Saints' defenders to make it back in time to cover, 0-1. Boom.

8' Bertrand free kick on the left, headed away and cleared, first hurdle/defender again, Liverpool counter quick again, the Ox with a low deflected shot, McCarthy saves/collects comfortably.

9' Liverpool fans nice & loud MO SALAH MO SALAH MO SALAH! BOBBY FIRMINO!

10' Alexander-Arnold's cross from the right goes too far, out of reach, goal kick.

12' Captain Bertrand with a brilliant run to catch the ball before it went out and win a throw on the left. Commitment.

Southampton have now made nine errors leading to goals, only Arsenal have made more.

15' Tadic clear on the left, flag goes up.

18' Karius blocks and clears Højbjerg chance, face-to-face, head-to-head, just a couple of yards between them in the box, close one!

22' Firmino tries to follow the ball out for a corner, instead accidentally tips and trips it out for a goal kick, sarcastic cheers around St Mary's. Threat cleared, lol.

Halfway through, 2-2 shots, 1-2 on target, advantage Liverpool thanks to Firmino. 66% possession to the home side though! Matip slices and messes up a clearance for a throw as I write that.

25' Firmino goes down in the box way too overdramatic there, Stephens behind him, arm(s) on shoulder, but ref ignores it rightly.

26' Mané shot wide. The Reds keep pushing and pressing on the counter.

29' CARRILLO HEADER bounces straight into Karius' gloves, attempt on target though.

30' Karius gloves Ward-Prowse's header over for a corner, close again. The flag is up against the Saints.

32' Mané not happy with goal kick given, thinks Soares coming across him got the last touch.

34' Robertson with a ball across the box from the left, no one there to connect with it, shame.

36' Third Southampton corner, Liverpool unable to clear the bouncy ball, flag goes up eventually anyways, and breath. Chaotic and nervous stuff there by the Reds.

37' Matip is the first one in the ref's book for hugging and bringing down Tadic.

38' Saints free kick is collected by Karius, just one bounce, no real threat there.

40' Bertrand puts the ball out for a goal kick and they replay the LFC goal, Hoedt the guilty one giving the ball away in the buildup, before Salah passes from the right.

41' Karius collects the ball again, neither side are really in control here.

42' AND SALAH MAKES IT TWOOOOO!!! What a move! Right through the heart of the Saints defense, the Egyptian passes to Firmino, who flicks it back to him with a cheeky back-footer through into the box, for Salah to slash it in with his left foot into the left corner. 0-2. World class. Boom boom.

1 minute added on. Liverpool fans cheering, singing, echoing those names again. Firmino trips and tumbles and loses the force of the break and chance in the box and the ball with it. And that's HT 0-2, Southampton have nothing to show for all their dominance, Liverpool lethal on the counter, Firmino and Salah on the scoresheet.

HT Stats: SOU 0-2 LIV
Possession: 54%-46%
Shots: 5-5
On target: 4-3
Corners: 3-1
Fouls: 2-3
Yellow cards: 0-1

Liverpool kick off the second half, no changes made by either team.

46' Free kick given against Can, even though the Red skipper looked more hurt when Højbjerg tripped and fell over him, clumsy yellow.

47' Saints waste that chance, flag goes up once again. Play is stopped, Lemina doesn't look well...

50' SALAH SHOT high and out for a goal kick after Mané's acrobatic take was blocked off Firmino's cross from the left.

54' Cross goes out for a throw, Saints unable to keep the ball for long, Reds keeping the pressure up and going, but not top-quality flowing nor glowing.

55' Firmino gives the ball away, Matip wins it back, Højbjerg concedes a free kick, it goes out for a goal kick.

57' Ball goes out for a throw, first change of the game is made by the home side, unwell Lemina is replaced by Boufal.

59' Free kick to the Saints on the left, Ward-Prowse takes, Hoedt puts it just wide from close range. Chance. Gone.

60' Klopp brings on Milner for Oxlade-Chamberlain, first Red/orange change, like for like, or more defensive? Takes the captain's armband off Can.

62' Liverpool get pulled back to retake the free kick, way too quick there, Romeu booked, he looked the one in pain chasing the Reds. Wijnaldum kicks high and out for a goal kick, he has never scored away from home.

64' Mané to Firmino, Hoedt clears.

65' Van Dijk stops Saints' move forward, Liverpool with much more of the ball this half.

66' Can whacks the ball way high from distance after another charge, Milner on the right, Mané and Firmino threats were cleared from the box.

67' Flag is up against the Saints again. After four shots on target in the first half, nothing so far since the restart. Disappointing. For them.

71' FIRMINO SHOT saved by McCarthy, after Højbjerg's error, Salah puts the rebound into the side netting. Point blank stuff.

72' Long comes on for Ward-Prowse, second change for the home side, Saints fans shouting "you don't know what ye doing".

75' Mané and Robertson shots blocked, they are all lining up for Liverpool!

76' MANEEEEE denied AGAIN, actually, slipped it well wide himself, no one else to blame. Chance.

77' Van Dijk is beaten on the left (attacking that is), Saints fans cheer, throw to the Reds/orange.

79' Firmino is replaced by former Saint Lallana, second change made by Klopp. Free kick given against Liverpool, another attack stopped, Mané the culprit.

80' Last change made by Pellegrino, Davis on for Romeu, again "you don't know what ye doing" echoing around. Too little too late?

82' Karius punches away a rare Southampton chance, some chanting "when the Saints go marching in", which there hasn't been too much of this afternoon, chants nor marches.

85' LALLANAAAAA puts a chance across goal and wide of the far post, set up by Salah of course. 6-16 shots, 4-4 on target, all Red/orange this half!

89' Last change for the Reds, Salah applauded off, former Saint Lovren on, more boos by the Southampton fans, surprised they have any breath/voice/nerve left.

4 minutes added on, kick about for the visitors. YNWA echoes in the background, St Mary's emptying.

Van Dijk heads away the ball, Saints with the ball, backed into their own half, can't get into the red/orange box, and the full time whistle finally blows.

It couldn't have been easier for Klopp's men, the bit of competition there was in the first half was totally gone after the break, it could have been four or five for the Reds, Mané missing and wasting most.

0-2 at the end thanks to Firmino and Salah, their pressing and pushing and wonderful football enough to flatten and beat the Saints.

The Reds go up to third thanks to the win, two points behind United in second after their defeat at Newcastle, whilst Southampton drop into the relegation zone, 18th, one point behind Huddersfield in 17th.

FT Stats: SOU 0-2 LIV
Possession: 51%-49%
Shots: 6-16
On target: 4-4
Corners: 3-1
Fouls: 5-8
Yellow cards: 1-2

Liverpool Goals: Firmino 6', Salah 42'.

Southampton Team: 13 McCarthy; 21 Bertrand (c), 6 Hoedt, 5 Stephens, 2 Soares; 18 Lemina (19 Boufal 57'), 14 Romeu (booked 62') (8 Davis 80'); 11 Tadic, 23 Højbjerg, 16 Ward-Prowse (7 Long 72'); 9 Carrillo. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 3 Yoshida, 20 Gabbiadini, 22 Redmond, 44 Forster.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 26 Robertson, 4 van Dijk, 32 Matip (booked 37'), 66 Alexander-Arnold; 5 Wijnaldum, 23 Can (c) (booked 46'), 21 Oxlade-Chamberlain (7 Milner 60'); 19 Mané (6 Lovren 89'), 9 Firmino (20 Lallana 79'), 11 Salah. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 18 Moreno, 22 Mignolet, 28 Ings, 29 Solanke.

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Mohamed Salah
Ground: St Mary's
Attendance: 31,915

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All info, stats and facts were taken from the Sky Sports app, Twitter and SFR match coverage.

HT Match Notes: SFC 0-2 LFC

Sports - Football - Premier League - SOULIV

Saints kick off the action in red and white stripes, Liverpool all glowing orange.

2' First LFC corner, cleared.

3' Firmino goes down, edge of the box, pushed by Hoedt, nothing given, would have been harsh.

5' First corner for the home side, fist punch by Højbjerg, blocked and stopped first hurdle.

6' FIRMINOOOOO NETS IT, left-footer into the bottom right, thanks to Salah's pass back from the right, counter was too quick for the Saints' defenders to make it back in time to cover, 0-1. Boom.

8' Bertrand free kick on the left, headed away and cleared, first hurdle/defender again, Liverpool counter quick again, the Ox with a low deflected shot, McCarthy saves/collects comfortably.

9' Liverpool fans nice & loud MO SALAH MO SALAH MO SALAH! BOBBY FIRMINO!

10' Alexander-Arnold's cross from the right goes too far, out of reach, goal kick.

12' Captain Bertrand with a brilliant run to catch the ball before it went out and win a throw on the left. Commitment.

Southampton have now made nine errors leading to goals, only Arsenal have made more.

15' Tadic clear on the left, flag goes up.

18' Karius blocks and clears Højbjerg chance, face-to-face, head-to-head, just a couple of yards between them in the box, close one!

22' Firmino tries to follow the ball out for a corner, instead accidentally tips and trips it out for a goal kick, sarcastic cheers around St Mary's. Threat cleared, lol.

Halfway through, 2-2 shots, 1-2 on target, advantage Liverpool thanks to Firmino. 66% possession to the home side though! Matip slices and messes up a clearance for a throw as I write that.

25' Firmino goes down in the box way too overdramatic there, Stephens behind him, arm(s) on shoulder, but ref ignores it rightly.

26' Mané shot wide. The Reds keep pushing and pressing on the counter.

29' CARRILLO HEADER bounces straight into Karius' gloves, attempt on target though.

30' Karius gloves Ward-Prowse's header over for a corner, close again. The flag is up against the Saints.

32' Mané not happy with goal kick given, thinks Soares coming across him got the last touch.

34' Robertson with a ball across the box from the left, no one there to connect with it, shame.

36' Third Southampton corner, Liverpool unable to clear the bouncy ball, flag goes up eventually anyways, and breath. Chaotic and nervous stuff there by the Reds.

37' Matip is the first one in the ref's book for hugging and bringing down Tadic.

38' Saints free kick is collected by Karius, just one bounce, no real threat there.

40' Bertrand puts the ball out for a goal kick and they replay the LFC goal, Hoedt the guilty one giving the ball away in the buildup, before Salah passes from the right.

41' Karius collects the ball again, neither side are really in control here.

42' AND SALAH MAKES IT TWOOOOO!!! What a move! Right through the heart of the Saints defense, the Egyptian passes to Firmino, who flicks it back to him with a cheeky back-footer through into the box, for Salah to slash it in with his left foot into the left corner. 0-2. World class. Boom boom.

1 minute added on. Liverpool fans cheering, singing, echoing those names again. Firmino trips and tumbles and loses the force of the break and chance in the box and the ball with it. And that's HT 0-2, Southampton have nothing to show for all their dominance, Liverpool lethal on the counter, Firmino and Salah on the scoresheet.

HT Stats: SOU 0-2 LIV
Possession: 54%-46%
Shots: 5-5
On target: 4-3
Corners: 3-1
Fouls: 2-3
Yellow cards: 0-1

Liverpool Goals: Firmino 6', Salah 42'.

Southampton Team: 13 McCarthy; 21 Bertrand (c), 6 Hoedt, 5 Stephens, 2 Soares; 18 Lemina, 14 Romeu; 11 Tadic, 23 Højbjerg, 16 Ward-Prowse; 9 Carrillo. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 3 Yoshida, 7 Long, 8 Davis, 19 Boufal, 20 Gabbiadini, 22 Redmond, 44 Forster.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 26 Robertson, 4 van Dijk, 32 Matip (booked 37'), 66 Alexander-Arnold; 5 Wijnaldum, 23 Can (23), 21 Oxlade-Chamberlain; 19 Mané, 9 Firmino, 11 Salah. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 6 Lovren, 7 Milner, 18 Moreno, 20 Lallana, 22 Mignolet, 28 Ings, 29 Solanke.

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Ground: St Mary's

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All info, stats and facts were taken from the Sky Sports app, Twitter and SFR match coverage.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 26

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 26

The 26th week of the Premier League action saw:

35 goals - most by Arsenal = 5
247 shots - most by Brighton, Crystal Palace & Watford = 21 each
92 on target - most by Bournemouth, Newcastle & Watford = 8 each
94 corners - most by Man City = 13
206 fouls - most by Stoke City & Huddersfield = 19 each
36 yellow cards - most by Burnley & Huddersfield = 4 each
1 red card - Bakayoko for Chelsea
5 penalties - 3 scored (Milivojevic for Palace, Kane for Tottenham, Deeney for Watford)

What a game! Two goals in three minutes turned the game around for Southampton just before the break at The Hawthorns after West Brom had taken the lead early on. Ahmed Hegazi had headed the home side ahead 4', Mario Lemina levelling the score with a 20-yard stunner 40' before Jack Stephens' header put the Saints ahead 43'. On loan from Liverpool Daniel Sturridge started for the Baggies for the first time but didn't show much input with just one shot in the game. James Ward-Prowse made it three after the restart before Salomón Rondón pulled one back for the hosts with just under 20 minutes to go. But the points went to the visitors, saving Mauricio Pellegrino's job? This result ended their 12-game winless run, whilst Alan Pardew's men have been plunged down to the bottom of the table.
Bournemouth made a comeback against Stoke City, sub Lys Mousset with the winner 79', his first Premier League goal, after Josh King's low equaliser 70', Xherdan Shaqiri with the early headed opener. This win extended the Cherries' unbeaten run to seven games, the longest current run shared with Tottenham, and moved them up to ninth. It's Paul Lambert's first defeat in charge of the Potters, seeing his side drop back into the relegation zone.

What a team! It took only six minutes for Aaron Ramsey to give Arsenal the lead against Everton, finding all the gaps. Laurent Koscielny doubled the score with a low header, under 15 minutes gone, Big Sam frowning at his defense, Arsène Wenger all smiles. Game over?! A Ramsey smacker from over 20 yards out made it three 19', the January club-record £56m signing from Dortmund netted the fourth 38' (even though replays showed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was offside), and with just over 15 minutes to go Ramsey completed his first career hat-trick (the 20th Gunner to do so in the PL) to make it 5-1 to the home side after substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin had pulled one back for the visitors. It was just what the Gunners' doctor ordered after all the transfer fiasco and bad results. The only bad news for them was that keeper Peter Čech had to go off injured after colliding with Oumar Niasse who hit the post. Apart from that and the one goal, the Toffees were shambles, no contest whatsoever.

What a man! Paul Pogba dropped to the bench for Manchester United's match against Huddersfield, José Mourinho ringing in the changes after last week's disappointing result and display. It worked, Romelu Lukaku breaking the Terriers' bus after the interval. New arrival from Arsenal Alexis Sànchez doubled the lead netting the rebound off his weak spot kick, his first goal for the Red Devils. David Wagner's men couldn't even produce a shot on target and are the 20th consecutive team to lose on their first PL visit to Old Trafford, since Derby County won there 3-2 in 1996-97. The home side cruised to the three points at Old Trafford in the end, reducing the gap to the top to 13 points.
The referee took centre stage at Anfield after Mohamed Salah's double nearly won it for Liverpool if it weren't for Victor Wanyama's thunderbolt equaliser and Harry Kane's late late controversial leveller from the spot after the top striker had missed another dubious penalty minutes beforehand for Tottenham. It all happened in a mad final ten minutes, the game ending 2-2 with plenty of talking points, especially about the officials!!! Click here for my full match report to find out who stole the top scorers' limelights!

What a goal! What a smacker Manchester City's opener at Burnley in the early kick-off on Saturday was! Off a Kevin De Bruyne corner, taken short to Bernardo Silva on the left side, passed across to Danilo 10ish yards outside the box, who nailed it with his right foot curled into the top right corner of the net, giving keeper Nick Pope no chance, one, two, three, bang, unstoppable. Pep Guardiola's men dominated throughout, how Raheem Sterling missed a sitter from just a couple of yards out, only the former Liverpool man knows. His manager reacted furious and took the midfielder off. And the Citizens were made to pay, 82', Johann Berg Gudmundsson whacked in the equaliser at the back post from close range, off sub Matthew Lowton, between two defenders and past keeper Ederson Moraes, who got a glove to it but not more. It's the first time the league leaders dropped points in the final ten minutes in the league this season, but still extended their lead to 16 points before the afternoon matches. Sean Dyche and his men must have been chuffed with the point and style of their comeback despite having now gone nine league games without a win.

What the hell?! After scoring a mesmerising equaliser for West Ham against Brighton, Javier Hernández kicked the ball into his own face. From wow to ouch, top to flop, boom to blooper, lmao! And to add salt to that sour wound, José Izquierdo cut inside and went for it, putting Brighton ahead with a sensational finish, pace, power, pow, wow. Pascal Groß made it 3-1 and three points for the Seagulls at the Amex, manager Chris Hughton's first win in seven. It was the 10,000th match played in Premier League history.
Swansea equalised with their first and only shot on target at Leicester thanks to Federico Fernández, after Jamie Vardy had put the dominant home side ahead, their missed chances proving costly at the King Power Stadium.
And Watford took 10-man Chelsea to pieces on Monday night, thrashing them 4-1 at Vicarage Road, putting Blues manager Antonio Conte on thinner than thin and rapidly melting ice. At least the Italian took the blame after the match questioning his lineup but oddly still maintained his position not feeling any pressure. Pf, has he forgotten who his employer is?!
My predictions went down the drain, drastically and dramatically once again. Who can spell that d-word at the back of the field for me please? Defennse? Defents? Lol! :-P

My Predictions - Actual Results
Burnley 1:2 Man City - 1:1
Bournemouth 3:1 Stoke City - 2:1
Brighton 1:2 West Ham - 3:1
Leicester 2:1 Swansea - 1:1
Man United 3:0 Huddersfield - 2:0
West Brom 1:0 Southampton - 2:3
Arsenal 2:1 Everton - 5:1
Crystal Palace 2:2 Newcastle - 1:1
Liverpool 2:2 Tottenham - 2:2 or my match report
Watford 1:1 Chelsea - 4:1

Click here for my previous Premier League Picks Of The Week.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Twitter and SFR coverage.

Late Kane Pen Drama Draw At Anfield

Sports - Football - Premier League - LIV 2:2 TOT

The officials took centre stage at Anfield, sad but true, as everything happened in the last ten minutes plus added time, including two controversial penalties, three goals, Liverpool and Tottenham separating on 2-2 and a point each in the end of the late Super Sunday clash.



And it started oh so well for the home side when star man Mohamed Salah opened the scoring after just two minutes and 43 seconds, pouncing on Eric Dier's poor back pass and giving the Reds the lead.

It was the Egyptian's 20th league goal in 25 games, the fastest in over a century for LFC, the fifth fastest ever to reach that tally after George Allan (18 games in 1896), Fred Pagnam (23 in 1915), Ronald Orr (24 in 1909) and Frank Becton (25 in 1896).

Spurs dominated possession and play throughout looking more like the home side, Liverpool holding and defending well, getting some chances on the counter, until the craziest final ten minutes commenced.

Substitute Victor Wanyama's thunderbolt from 25 yards out levelled the score seconds after he came on when keeper Loris Karius thought he had punched the ball well clear.

The German stopper conceded a penalty five minutes later, bringing down Harry Kane in the box, slightest if any contact visible, but the fall was oh so well choreographed.

Referee Jonathan Moss consulted his linesman, who was clearly heard saying he had no idea if Dejan Lovren touched the ball beforehand, replays confirming the top striker was offside anyway.

But the spot kick was still given despite all. Kane sent a weak penalty down the middle, Karius saved it, justice was served as far as the Kop was concerned.

Tense finish, but that was not all.

Into added time, Salah made it 2-1 and 21 league goals for him, all on his own, moving past four Tottenham defenders and keeper Hugo Lloris, a magnificent move and finish.

The Reds thought they had bagged it, including boss Jürgen Klopp who ran down the sideline in celebrations.

HOWEVER, the game is never over until the final whistle has been blown.

94' the final minute of added time, Virgil van Dijk failed to clear the ball, instead caught Erik Lamela in the box, who fell into the defender and then down as if hit by a bullet, well rehearsed in drama group by the looks.

Again, referee Moss took ages talking with his assistant after ignoring and waving the penalty appeal off originally, replays showing the Dutch centre back tried to pull away his leg, but the Argentine winger made sure he fell into him.

Moss pointed to the spot, Kane didn't make a mistake of it this time, sending Karius the wrong way and making it 2-2 with his 100th Premier League goal in 141 games and at just 24 years of age.

The England striker joins an elite club, Alan Shearer the only quicker scorer to reach the PL century in just 124 games.

But the way Harry reached that total overshadowed a great contest after three great goals, Mauricio Pochettino ending the happier of the two managers with the point.

Klopp was understandably stumped, miffed by the decisions and lack of explanation and justification.

Football is the only sport where the officials do not, cannot and will not verify and/or explain their decisions, to the players, managers, staff and/or paying fans and public, which is ridiculous!!! Disgraceful!!!

With this draw, Tottenham have won only two of their 26 games at Anfield in the Premier League (8%). They remain fifth, down to just four points ahead of Arsenal in sixth, but just one point behind Chelsea after their Monday night defeat at Watford.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their past 15 league games at Anfield (W8 D7), the second longest current run in the competition, after Manchester City (25 games). They remain third, five points behind Manchester United in second and just one point ahead of Chelsea in fourth.

The Reds travel to 15th placed Southampton next. Fingers crossed the refs won't spoil the show there!!!

Liverpool Goals: Salah 3' & 90'+1'.

Tottenham Goals: Wanyama 80' & Kane 90'+5'.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 26 Robertson, 4 van Dijk, 6 Lovren, 66 Alexander-Arnold (booked 42'); 7 Milner (booked 58') (32 Matip 78'), 14 Henderson (c) (5 Wijnaldum 65'), 23 Can (booked 90'+6'); 19 Mané (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 65'), 9 Firmino, 11 Salah. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 18 Moreno, 22 Mignolet, 28 Ings, 29 Solanke.

Tottenham Team: 1 Lloris (c); 33 Davies, 5 Vertonghen, 6 Sánchez (11 Lamela 71'), 2 Trippier; 19 Dembelé (12 Wanyama 79'), 15 Dier; 20 Alli (booked 69'), 23 Eriksen, 7 Son (18 Llorente 90'+2'); 10 Kane. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 13 Vorm, 17 Sissoko, 24 Aurier, 29 Winks.

HT Stats: LIV 1:0 TOT
Possession: 39%-61%
Shots: 6-4
On target: 2-1
Corners: 3-4
Fouls: 9-4
Yellow cards: 1-0

FT Stats: LIV 2:2 TOT
Possession: 34%-66%
Shots: 9-13
On target: 3-6
Corners: 3-7
Fouls: 15-9
Yellow cards: 3-1

Referee: Jonathan Moss
Man of the match: Mohamed Salah
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,213

Click here for my last LFC match report/notes/rant.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report, Sky Sports app, Twitter and SFR coverage.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 25

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 25

The 25th week of the Premier League action saw:

24 goals - most by Swansea, Liverpool & Bournemouth = 3 each
256 shots - most by Tottenham = 22
68 on target - most by Man City = 10
82 corners - most by Man City = 9
181 fouls - most by Crystal Palace, Newcastle & Burnley = 15 each
22 yellow cards - most by Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Southampton & West Brom = 3 each
0 red cards
5 penalties - 4 scored (Noble for West Ham, Salah for Liverpool, Murray for Brighton, Vardy for Leicester)

What a game! A lot of my predictions went out of the window once again, more to Arsenal's and Manchester United's embarrassing shockers below. Stamford Bridge witnessed a surprise-and-a-half too. Defending champions Chelsea didn't record a single shot on target in the first half. Man of the match Callum Wilson was a constant threat and woke the home side up when the former Coventry striker gave Bournemouth the lead six minutes after the break. Two goals in three minutes by former Hammer Junior Stanislas and former Chelsea centre back Nathan Aké totally downed the Blue ship, where was the defence?! Antonio Conte wasn't a happy man, having a dig at the fact his side had to play on transfer deadline day. I don't think the display nor result cheered the fiery Italian man up... Eddie Howe on the other hand and much in contrast was a very happy and proud man and rightly so, the Cherries unbeaten in six league games and scoring three goals at a top six side in the Premier League for the first time.

What a team! Swansea are flying high, climbing out of the relegation zone for the first time since November (at least for the night, they are still off the bottom after Wednesday's matches) after recording another shock win, this time against Arsenal, 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium. More to that match below.
Manchester City beat West Brom nice and comfortably at the Etihad, widening the gap at the top to 15 points thanks to Fernandinho, an excellent Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Agüero of course and their utter dominance, no surprise there. Pep Guardiola was still shouting and gesturing till the end but surely couldn't have been happier, especially with everyone else around them crashing and crumbling. 15 POINTS!!! FIFTEEN!!!

What a man! Carlos Carvalhal is working wonders at Swansea after seeing the Welsh side record back-to-back wins for the first time this season, shocking Liverpool last week and Arsenal this week, and I believe the Portuguese when he said the win tasted "like honey". Sweet. Arsène Wenger on the other hand is not winning over any fans with this kind of display and only three wins in 13 away league games this season. A top four finish is looking less and less likely for the Gunners. Merde! Ex-Arsenal man Theo Walcott's double that helped Everton beat Leicester on his debut after the January transfer must have added salt to the wound... Putain!

What a goal! Taxi for Petr Čech! What a giveaway it was by the Arsenal keeper to hand Jordan Ayew a tap-in which gave the Swans the lead. Sam Clucas' double either side of that blooper levelled the score just about a minute after Nacho Monreal had given the Gunners the lead and then sealed the win for the Welsh side.
It was a smacker-and-a-half by Emre Can that gave Liverpool the lead at Huddersfield and calmed the nerves. Roberto Firmino doubled the lead from a tight angle before Mohamed Salah made it three goals and three points from the spot for the Reds. Click here for all my match notes.
It was a massive goal for Newcastle against Burnley, especially after their penalty miss, scored by captain Jamaal Lascelles, set up by new signing Kenedy's corner. Clarets keeper Nick Pope saved Joselu's tame spot kick denying the Magpies a breakthrough earlier on. Rafael Benítez's men are the 18th team to win a penalty in the PL this season, Sean Dyche's side and Swansea the only clubs yet to be given one in 2017-18. But the visitors had the last laugh at St James' Park, Sam Vokes levelling the score late on thanks to an evil bounce coming off keeper Karl Darlow, an own goal in the end. More misery on Tyneside. Loved Kevin Keegan's quote in the crowd (see pic). All over the crowd. Wow.

What the hell?! Christian Eriksen put Tottenham ahead against Manchester United with only the sixth touch of the match, 10.44 seconds in! David de Who? The Red Devils (tried to) hit back from the restart, but Spurs held solid, what a start it was at Wembley! But, as it turned out and replays showed, Harry Kane was in the opposition's half on kick-off, the goal shouldn't have stood. VAR anyone? The England top striker kept mocking, beating and running United's defense into bits. Defender Phil Jones' own goal off Kieran Trippier's cross doubled Mauricio Pochettino's side's lead, United boss José Mourinho fuming on the sideline. Not so fuming I bet you when seconds later Antonio Valencia fouled Dele Alli in the box but nothing was given. That's what the English midfielder gets from all his diving... Who wants to be a ref, ey?! It could have been 7 or 8 for Spurs after that, if it weren't for the Spanish stopper that has saved United so many times. It stayed 2-0, three big points for the London side in the race for the top four, their opponents nowhere near them on Sunday, chasing shadows. Mourinwho?

My Predictions - Actual Results
Swansea 1:3 Arsenal - 3:1
West Ham 2:2 Crystal Palace - 1:1
Huddersfield 1:2 Liverpool - 0:3 or my match notes
Chelsea 1:0 Bournemouth - 0:3
Everton 1:1 Leicester - 2:1
Newcastle 0:0 Burnley - 1:1
Southampton 1:0 Brighton - 1:1
Man City 4:1 West Brom - 3:0
Stoke City 2:0 Watford - 0:0
Tottenham 2:2 Man United - 2:0

Click here for my previous Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Twitter and SFR coverage.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

FT Notes: Huddersfield 0-3 Liverpool

Sports - Football - Premier League - HUDLIV

Pre-match notes:

14th Huddersfield's league run:
D D L L L

4th Liverpool's league run:
W W W W L

Six changes for Liverpool after their FA Cup defeat against West Brom, keeper, three in defence, two in midfield. Not really surprising after the last couple of results and Jürgen Klopp's general rotation policy and rhythm this season.

David Wagner made seven changes from his side's 1-1 FA Cup draw against Birmingham, a long injury list not helping the German, but a bold move with just three at the back, a clear message to his best mate, no favours tonight!

I'm expecting the worst, but hoping for the best, don't have a clue what to expect after the last few matches... #LIVMCI #SWALIV #LIVWBA 💩🙈🙏🏻🙈💩

My (optimistic) prediction: 1-2 (cursing myself) #jinx? #COYR ⚽️👊🏻👏🏻👊🏻⚽️

Match notes:

1' Kick-off by the Reds, the ground bouncing, echoing, mad, the French commentators not knowing what hit them. Love it.

3' Mané messes up collecting a fine cross, fails to break past the last two in the process, Firmino picks the ball up, shoots from afar, Lössl has it, easy. First attempt on target though.

6' Chaotic start, neither side settling, the ball bouncing and falling here, there and everywhere, the fans still dominating every and all attention and focus! Awesome!

8' Can loses the ball just as Liverpool looked like dominating and pressing, the home side hit back with some lovely interplay, keeping the ball well.

9' Karius collects. And breath. Robertson breaks on the other side, right side of the box, wins a throw, comes to nothing.

11' Free kick to the Terriers near the centre circle, they're taking it slow.

12' Neither side able to keep the ball atm, give, take, shake, make, break, leak...

13' Milner puts the ball out for a goal kick, no threat by the visitors there.

14' Robertson smashes the ball out for another goal kick, I think that was supposed to be a cross...

15' Huddersfield threat cleared, the only thing Liverpool are dominating at the moment is possession, nearly 80%!

17' KARIUS SAVE! Van La Parra cross from the left met by Depoitre free in the box, right-foot shot is kept out nicely, strong save, the Red defence just watching again, where was the cover? I think I've scribbled and questioned that plenty of times before in much frustration...

20' Lössl collects, after Salah surrounded by Huddersfield players was unable to do much with the ball.

22' First corner for the Reds, Salah won it and takes it, punched away by Lössl, another Liverpool corner on the other side eventually.

23' Milner takes the second corner, cleared, the Reds keep the ball and the home side back, on guard.

24' CAN SHOT curled to the left corner, Lössl dives to his right, keeps it out. Strong performance by the stopper so far.

Over halfway through the half, Huddersfield can be happy the way they have kept Liverpool out and frustrated - CAN SCORES WHILST I WRITE THAT!!! 0-1 deflected right-footed low volley from outside the box into the bottom right-hand corner, a smacker, no chance for Lössl. 26' #BOOM

30' Liverpool with 90% possession over the last 10ish minutes, a couple of chances blocked, I wouldn't say they are bossing it just one goal ahead, but will be very happy having finally broken down the Terriers! The Red fans are now the louder ones, just. Hardly.

35' Lössl collects, most of the play has been around the centre circle, neither side pushing for much, the Reds dominating possession still.

37' Kongolo clears another Liverpool threat, Salah behind him in the box, not far, well played.

39' Mané concedes a free kick, Hogg falling all over him, a couple of yards outside the box...

40' Ref Friend is taking his time, making the marks, whistles, nice curled shot by Löwe but wide, not far off though. The crowd is on fire.

42' BALL IN THE NET FOR HUDDERSFIELD but the ref had already blown the whistle, flag up against Mooy, calm down (talking to myself).

43' Firmino flagged offside as Lössl blocks his shot away with his gloves.

45' Liverpool pouncing around the Huddersfield box again and again, the home side blocking and defending for their lives.

FIRMINO MAKES IT TWOOOOO as the announcement of one minute added on is made. From the tightest of tight angles on the left, right-footed sneaky low shot in past Lössl, squeezed between keeper and post, 0-2.

And that is half time, 0-2. #WOOHOOOOO

HT Stats: HUD 0-2 LIV
Possession: 23%-77%
Shots: 2-7
On target: 1-4
Corners: 0-3
Fouls: 2-4

The Terriers looked to frustrate their visitors, but the Reds are on top at the break thanks to Can and Firmino.

46' Huddersfield restart the game, no changes made by either side during the interval.

Just read LFC have scored most away goals in the PL this season = 30, two ahead of league leaders MCFC (28), followed by CFC (24) and MUFC (22).

53' Browsing through all the tweets, loving it, Swansea have taken the lead against Arsenal, Twitter going mad, not much happening here, Liverpool with most of the ball, not much in and around the box though. Can hear the fans chant Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Mo Salah.

54' Mané header straight to Lössl who only has to make half a dive to his left, Liverpool with 89% possession since the break. Comfy?

58' Milner slashes one shot in from outside the box with his right foot, not bad, Lössl punches it up and out for a corner, which is cleared.

59' Huddersfield are looking tired now, lucky Mané slips in the box and the ball goes out for a goal kick, Liverpool were all over them then.

63' The Terriers with the ball for a change but Robertson coped and clears.

64' First change made by Wagner, Quaner replaces Mounié.

183-704 passes made, says it all.

66' Can cross from the right, Schindler clears for a throw on the right.

69' MANÉ HEADER wide. Not. His. Night. It was a nice diagonal cross by Can though.

73' PENALTY APPEAL by the Terriers, the ref waves play on. Robertson v sub Quaner in the box, high boot by the defender, towards the ball, not the player, would have been very very harsh, right call.

73' Salah run, beats Lössl storming towards him, with a cheeky left-footer from the outside of the boot, into the side-netting. Shame. Would have been a nice one.

Just read the Swans have gone 3-1 up against Arsenal, my boyfriend next to me swearing his face off (a Gunner in case you didn't guess). Oh how I know how he feels. BUT NOT TODAY!

77' PENALTY TO LFC Can brought down by Hogg in the box!

78' SALAH NETS IT TO MAKE IT 0-3 easy to the keeper's left after he jumped the other way. That surely seals the three points for the Reds! ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

81' Firmino on the left, left-legs the ball into nowhere, out for a goal kick, laughs all round. Looking at the scoreboard, okay, I will lay off him...

82' LFC double- substitution, Salah is replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum comes on for skipper Henderson, who will be happy with this game after a long time out.

85' Karius kicks the ball away for a Huddersfield throw, no threat whatsoever, his team mates looking at him bewildered.

86' Flag up against the Terriers, Liverpool take their time to take the kick.

87' Ince with a low shot out for a throw, and I just realised I completely missed the home side's double-substitution shortly after the third goal... *quickly*editing*and*correcting*below*

89' Firmino comes off for Solanke, last change for the Reds.

Three minutes added on. YNWA echoes in the background.

The FT whistle blows, three goals and three points for the Reds thanks to Can, Firmino and Salah. THREE POINTS! BOOM!

That's more I like it! Dominance from start to finish, some threats, but nothing to break Liverpool for a change. A CLEAN SHEET!!!

FT Stats: HUD 0-3 LIV
Possession: 25%-75%
Shots: 5-14
On target: 1-7
Corners: 1-4
Free kicks: 8-8

This is exactly what the red doctor ordered, especially ahead of the clash against Tottenham on Sunday.

Here are a few facts and stats to finish with:

Liverpool have lost just once in their past 16 Premier League games, winning 11 and drawing four.

This was the 58th ground at which Liverpool have played in the Premier League - they've won at more stadiums than any other side in the competition (54).

Huddersfield are without a win in their past seven Premier League games (three draws followed by four losses) and have enjoyed just two wins in their past 14 in the competition (D3 L9).

Mohamed Salah has had a hand in 25 Premier League goals this season, the most of any player in the competition (19 goals, 6 assists).

More on the BBC website.

Liverpool Goals: Can 26', Firmino 45'+1 & Salah pen 78'.

Huddersfield Team: 1 Lössl; 5 Löwe (22 Ince 79'), 25 Jorgensen, 26 Schindler, 5 Kongolo, 33 Hadergjonaj; 8 Billing, 6 Hogg (c), 10 Mooy (17 van La Parra 79'); 20 Depoitre, 24 Mounié (23 Quaner 64'). 5-3-2 (not 3-5-2 as first thought)
Subs not used: 2 Smith, 13 Coleman, 21 Pritchard, 44 Hefele.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 26 Robertson, 6 Lovren, 32 Matip, 6 Gomez; 7 Milner, 14 Henderson (c) (5 Wijnaldum 82'), 23 Can; 19 Mané, 9 Firmino (29 Solanke 89'), 11 Salah (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 82'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 4 van Dijk, 22 Mignolet, 28 Ings, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

Referee: Kevin Friend
Man of the match: Emre Can
Ground: The John Smith's Stadium
Attendance: 24,121

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report, Twitter and SFR coverage.