Monday, 14 May 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 38

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 38

The 38th week of the Premier League action saw:

31 goals - most by Tottenham = 5
247 shots - most by Swansea = 26
93 on target - most by Liverpool & Swansea = 11 each
98 corners - most by Man City = 12
193 fouls - most by Burnley = 14
22 yellow cards - most by Man United = 4.
0 red cards
1 penalty - 0 scored

What a game! Leicester and Tottenham could just not stop scoring. The two sides shared NINE GOALS between each other!!! What a comeback it was by the London side, trailing three times, 3-1 down at the break to lead 4-3, see Gazza dancing, the Foxes equalising and Harry Kane netting his second and the match winner - not enough to clinch the Golden Boot though. With Erik Lamela’s double and Christian Fuchs’ own goal, it ended 5-4 at a very entertained Wembley and with a very happy Mauricio Pochettino seeing his side end up third. Jamie Vardy’s brace, together with Riyad Mahrez and Kelechi Iheanacho all on the scoreboard, was still not enough and just another defeat at the end of a disappointing season for the 2016 champions. Claude Puel called the match crazy, which it was, but it cannot hide the fact that finishing 9th after their 15th defeat is just not good enough and it remains to be seen who will be the boss and stay part of the team at the King Power Stadium next season.

What a team! Newcastle took Chelsea apart with the great help of Ayoze Pérez’s brace, two goals in four minutes, after Dwight Gayle’s header from close range gave the home side the lead at St James’ Park. The little chance the Blues had of sneaking into the top four was blown away by the Magpies, manager Antonio Conte taking the blame for such a disappointing campaign. The Londoners still have the FA Cup final to play next weekend, but either way, no matter how that ends, I would be very surprised to see the Italian still at the Stamford Bridge helm next season, given their Russian owner's managerial record, not exactly the patient one... Newcastle on the other hand would love for their boss Rafa Benítez to stay after the Spaniard guided their side back up into the PL and up to 10th, but his relationship with the hierarchy puts doubt on that as well...
The miracle of a 10-goal swing was not to be for Swansea, no matter how much they tried at the Liberty Stadium (26 shots!). After taking the lead early on thanks to Andy King, the Welsh side fell behind Stoke after Badou Ndiaye's equaliser and Peter Crouch's winner turned the game around within ten minutes, all in the first half. And it could have been worse, the visitors missing a penalty in Wales, Martin Olsson penalised for handball, Xherdan Shaqiri’s spot kick saved by Łukasz Fabiański in the bottom left corner. Just like their run under Carlos Carvalhal, 17 points from the first 9 games, to only three from the last 8, the Swans’ run went from top to flop, just not good and consistent enough to stay up.

What a man! Will the 3-1 defeat and plenty of bubbles for Everton at West Ham put another nail in Big Sam’s coffin? The Hammers moved up two places to finish 13th after this fine win, inspired by Manuel Lanzini once again with two goals and Marko Arnautović adding to the Toffees misery and making Oumar Niasse’s goals count for nothing. David Moyes’ men ended a very topsy turvy campaign on a high, finishing 13th after beating his former side who appointed Allardyce on a slide and fall of their own. The big boss will point out the blue side have finished in 8th, top half of the table, much better than expected after heir nightmare start, but I will be very surprised to see him still in the same job in August.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again like in their last home game last weekend served Arsène Wenger with a perfect send-off, this time at Huddersfield, his goal completing the Gunners’ first away win in 2018. It was a nice touch by the Terriers to display "Merci Arsène" and join in the standing ovation after 22 minutes to celebrate the Frenchman’s 22 years at the London club, a reign of 1,235 matches (707 wins, 280 draws, 248 defeats). The John Smith’s Stadium was the 48th different ground Wenger has won at in the PL - a record (breaking Sir Alex Ferguson’s 47). Who will dare to fill those shoes I wonder...
Roy Hodgson meanwhile was celebrated at Crystal Palace after a comfy 2-0 win against already relegated West Brom, pulling the side out of trouble and much higher than anyone would have expected after their pointless and goalless start to the season, losing their opening seven games. But the ex-England boss was still sad to see his former side Albion go down, especially after their impressive resurgence under caretaker manager Darren Moore, this being their only defeat in his six matches in charge. The Baggies still finished bottom, for a record 10th season in the top flight and second time in the Premier League era (also 2008-09).

What a goal! Dominic Solanke finally opened his account for Liverpool with a smacking finish and thanks to an unselfish Mohamed Salah setting him up with his pass in the box after he had scored the opener - his record 32nd goal of the season, most by any player in a 38-game PL season. Much-criticised defender Dejan Lovren rose to head in the third, his celebration showing how much it meant to him. And Andrew Robertson scored his first for the Reds as well to make it 4-0. It was the great Egyptian of course who collected all the records and awards after the match, but it was an exemplary team display. Brighton were left watching in awe, Jürgen Klopp’s men all over them, just what the Merseyside’s doctor ordered before their Champions League final in 13 days.
Marcus Rashford showed how to tap it in and win it for Manchester United against Watford, there was not much else notable that happened in the match. Like the rest of the season, the Red Devils weren’t much to watch but still got the points, typical José Mourinho - who had made nine changes for this match. United ended the season in second place on 81 points, their highest finish since Fergie retired in 2013. I’m sure their current Portuguese boss will underline and point that out to anyone who dares to criticise him and his less-entertaining style.

What the hell?! If that was not typical Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus whacking in the winner Agüero-style in the dying seconds of added time (94’) at Southampton as the commentators were already lauding the point and draw. But it ended 0-1 at St Mary’s, three points and the full century of points for Pep Guardiola’s men, a record 100 points from 38 games, 50 at home, 50 away, muchas gracias!!! What an achievement! And the Saints were still happy too, nice and safe after the Swans’ defeat, mentioned above.
And Jermain Defoe set up Bournemouth’s last-second winner in injury time as well, unselfishly serving Callum Wilson the goal to make it 1-2 at Burnley after Joshua King’s delicious curling equaliser levelled Chris Wood’s opener. Sean Dyche can still be happy with his side’s best league finish since 1973-74 and Europa League qualification in 7th place, returning to European football for the first time in 51 years.

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

Click here for last week’s Premier League Picks.

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

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 37

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 37

The 37th week of the Premier League action saw:

19 goals - most by Arsenal = 5
241 shots - most by Man United & Arsenal = 16 each
76 on target - most by Watford & Arsenal = 8 each
110 corners - most by Bournemouth = 11
205 fouls - most by Stoke = 18
43 yellow cards - most by Stoke = 5
1 red card - Yoshida for Southampton 
0 penalties

What a game! The scenes at the Hawthorns! Jake Livermore netted the injury time winner for West Brom against his former side Tottenham, scruffy scramble over the line, but they won’t care! The win took them off the bottom and fighting on to the last week - depending on other results, especially games in hand, see below. Caretaker boss Darren Moore stayed very quiet and controlled on the sideline, they may still go down, but still, what a job he has done! 10 points from 5 games (in contrast to Alan Pardew's 8 points from 18 games)! Wow! Swansea’s 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth added to the Albion’s party. And after the Saints conceded a late late late late equaliser at Everton, you never know... Huddersfield earned a hard-fought and deserved point at Manchester City, whose title celebrations were long overdue, party for both sides. The crucial relegation crunch battle was the game in hand between Southampton and Swansea... See below.

What a team! Brighton secured their place in the Premier League for another season by beating Manchester United on Friday night. Thanks to goalline technology, Pascal Groß’ header that was cleared by Marcos Rojo but counted as it had just crossed the line, just, a centimetre or two. Chris Hughton’s men deserved the win, their first in eight games, outplaying a tired and forceless looking United, even José Mourinho conceded defeat in attitude as well as the match. It is the first time the Red Devils have ever lost away to three newly promoted clubs in a league season.
Leicester continued their poor end to the season as well, West Ham ending up comfortable 0-2 winners, guaranteeing their safety. So too Newcastle with their third straight defeat in the league, losing 2-1 at Watford, the Londoners ending their own run of seven league matches without a win and ensuring their own PL survival.

What a man! A speedy recovery and all the best to Sir Alex Ferguson and his loved ones, football rivalry aside, you do not wish such unwell on anyone. And if there is an undisputed football icon and legend no one can touch or even get close to, Fergie is the one and only.
Arsène Wenger got a nice Emirates farewell, Arsenal thrashing Burnley 5-0, giving their old boss a fine ending to his reign just as it started 7,876 days before, victorious. It’s the Frenchman’s 475th win in 826 Premier League games, 415th victory in 606 home games in all competitions, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace and Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolašinac and Alex Iwobi adding to the class and party. Merci Wenger.

What a goal! Xherdan Shaqiri’s free kick was a cracker to give Stoke the lead against Palace in the Saturday lunchtime kickoff, curling the ball off the wall and into the top right corner. But it was not to be, James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt capitalising on gaps and slips in defence to turn the game around in the second half, condemning Paul Lambert’s men to relegation and ending their 10-year stint in the top league. It started so loud and bouncy but ended all silent and in tears at the bet365 Stadium. Such a shame. Roy Hodgson meanwhile can be very proud how his side have secured their safety and may finish on a club-record high.
Olivier Giroud’s header was enough for Chelsea to beat dominant but points-dropping Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. The Blues remain fifth but the game in hand keeping them in the fight for the top four. The Reds meanwhile, after knocking Manchester City out of the Champions League 5-1 on aggregate, keep dropping points with draws against West Brom and Stoke and this defeat, it would be disappointing for them to fall further down, so nothing else than a win is expected in the final week. Click here for my full match report.

What the hell?! The games in hand played midweek more or less decided the relegation battle and European spots, Southampton celebrating a huge win in Wales thanks to Manolo Gabbiadini’s strike, condemning West Brom down and out despite their strong form under their caretaker boss mentioned and lauded above and leaving Swansea on the brink thanks to goal difference. 
Huddersfield celebrated their safety like title winners after fighting out a point at Chelsea despite the Blues’ dominance. Leicester beat Arsenal for the first time in the Premier League since 1994, serving Wenger yet another away defeat in his penultimate game in charge of the Gunners, making it seven consecutive top-flight away defeats for the first time since 1966. 
League champions Manchester City broke more records by beating Brighton 3-1, scoring most goals in a single PL campaign = 105 and taking Pep Guardiola’s men to a record 97 points, the Spaniard eyeing and expecting his side to complete the century. 
Harry Kane sealed the win and Champions League spot with his 29th PL goal for Tottenham against Newcastle at Wembley, the London side overtaking Liverpool to third. 
Manchester United meanwhile secured their second place with a less impressive goalless draw at West Ham, Mourinho not happy being second-best of course and with the drop in points and belief, much in contrast to David Moyes, who’s more than content with the run of and point for his side. 
That just about finishes off a mad week of footy, all the ups and downs and in-betweens, literally!

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

Games in hand (see week 31 & *week 35*) saw 10 goals (*2*), 132 shots (*25*), 56 on target (*7), 49 corners (*9*), 95 fouls (*17*), 16 yellow cards (*1*) & 1 red card (Mavropanos for Arsenal):
Swansea 0:0 Southampton - 0:1
*Chelsea 3:1 Huddersfield - 1:1*
Leicester 1:1 Arsenal - 3:1
Man City 5:1 Brighton - 3:1
Tottenham 1:1 Newcastle - 1:0
West Ham 2:2 Man United - 0:0

All stats not added to this week.


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

Liverpool Fail 1-0 At Chelsea

Sports - Football - Premier League - CHE 1:0 LIV

Chelsea kept the pressure on Liverpool and Tottenham, still in fifth place but able to break into the top four with a game in hand and depending on the results in the last game of the season, after beating the Reds 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.


Jürgen Klopp’s men dominated much of the game but were unable to capitalise, unlike Olivier Giroud who headed in Victor Moses’ cross to give the Blues the lead against the run of play with just over half an hour gone.

Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané created more but just not enough, Thibaut Courtois doing well denying the latter a couple of times. 

Antonio Rüdiger on the opposite end saw his header ruled out for offside before Marcos Alonso put another chance inches wide, the home side doing well keeping control after going ahead.

Manager Antonio Conte was happy his side kept the fight up and going with this win, Cesc Fàbregas and Eden Hazard forming a danger factor on a regular basis, seeing the first time LFC have failed to score in consecutive Premier League games since their German boss took over. 

The Reds, after knocking Manchester City out of the Champions League 5-1 on aggregate to qualify for the final in Kiev, keep dropping points with draws against West Brom and Stoke and this defeat.

It would be very disappointing for the Champions League finalists to fall further down, so nothing else than a win is expected against Brighton in the final PL fixture.

After going unbeaten against the “big six” in the first eight league away games (W4 D4), Klopp has watched his side lose the last four out of five (D1).

Liverpool have only lost more Premier League games against Manchester United (28) than against Chelsea (20). 

Chelsea Goal: Giroud 32’.

FT Stats: CHE 1-0 LIV
Possession: 32%-68%
Shots: 12-10
On target: 4-5
Corners: 3-1
Fouls: 12-9
Yellow cards: 3-2

Chelsea Team: 13 Courtois (booked), 28 Azpilicueta, 24 Cahill, 2 Rüdiger, 15 Moses (booked) (21 Zappacosta 89’), 4 Fàbregas (11 Pedro 90’+3’), 7 Kanté, 14 Bakayoko, 3 Alonso (booked), 10 Hazard (22 Willian 86’), 18 Giroud.
Subs not used: 1 Caballero, 8 Barkley, 27 Christensen, 33 Emerson.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius, 2 Clyne (booked) (14 Henderson 59’), 6 Lovren, 4 van Dijk, 26 Robertson (29 Solanke 74’), 66 Alexander-Arnold, 5 Wijnaldum, 7 Milner (18 Moreno 89’), 11 Salah (booked), 9 Firmino, 19 Mané.
Subs not used: 17 Klavan, 22 Mignolet, 28 Ings, 58 Woodburn.

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Man of the match: Olivier Giroud
Ground: Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 41,314

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Liverpool Through To Their 8th CL Final

Sports - Football - Champions League - ASR 4:2 LFC

Liverpool battled through to the Champions League final but not without hiccups and late drama, losing 4-2 at Roma on Wednesday night, qualifying 7-6 on aggregate after their 5-2 Anfield glory in the first leg, adding up a record number of goals in a European semi-final.


Man of the match Sadio Mané netted the opener after just over eight minutes, pouncing on Roberto Firmino's fine pass after Radja Nainggolan's giveaway, the first goal conceded by the Italians at the Stadio Olimpico in the competition this season.

That left Eusebio Di Francesco's men needing four goals to progress and were helped when James Milner headed Dejan Lovren's clearance into his own net, not knowing much about it as it was so quick, just 15 minutes gone.

Top scorer Mohamed Salah was kept quiet by his former side and continued his goal drought (of two games), but surprisingly Georginio Wijnaldum made it 1-2 (3-7 on agg) with his first goal away from home, capitalising on Edin Dzeko's failure to head the ball away and nodding it in unmarked

But the home side didn't give up, Stephan El Shaarawy hitting the post before Roma's late rally and drama saw them come back, Dzeko equalising shortly after the restart when Loris Karius pushed Shaarawy's shot straight to him.

The Liverpool keeper made some crucial saves and blocks, but couldn't help but just watch as the ball went in off the post, Nainggolan with the shot that put the Italians ahead for the first time 3-2 on the night, four minutes to go.

And the final seconds added to the Reds' nerves and worries as the Belgian added another goal from the spot, substitute Ragnar Klavan punished for handling the ball, making it 4-2 (6-7 on agg). GULP!

The officials had a lot on their hands and a few decisions were questionable, especially harsh and inconsistent with the offside flag, and their take on challenges and handballs, but that's nothing new.

After the full-time whistle Jürgen Klopp was buzzing and celebrated with the fans, who had to wait till early hours in the morning to be released from the ground, but it created some awesome and unforgettable scenes.

It was great to see the team celebrate so wholeheartedly, skipper Jordan Henderson bringing a flag for Sean Cox onto the pitch. YNWA! XxXxX

The Reds will attend their 8th European final in Kiev, an English record, against record-12-times European winners Real Madrid on the 26th May 2018.

We all know what happened the last time these two sides met in a final... :-D #BOOM

Click here for all the know-how-who-what of the two great sides in the competition. #HISTORY #LEGENDS

Roma Goals: Milner OG 15', Dzeko 52', Nainggolan 86' & pen 90'.

Liverpool Goals: Mané 9' & Wijnaldum 25'.

Match Stats: ASR 4-2 LFC
Possession: 60%-40%
Shots: 24-11
On target: 6-5
Corners: 7-3
Fouls 10-14
Yellow cards: 2-3

AS Roma Team: 1 Alisson; 11 Kolarov, 20 Fazio, 44 Manolas (booked), 24 Florenzi (booked); 4 Nainggolan, 16 De Rossi (21 Gonalons 69'), 7 Pellegrini (17 Uender 53'); 92 El Shaarawy (48 Antonucci 75'), 9 Dzeko, 14 Schick. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 28 Skorupski, 5 Jesus, 25 Peres, 30 Gerson.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 26 Robertson (booked), 6 Lovren (booked), 4 Van Dijk, 66 Alexander-Arnold (2 Clyne 90'); 7 Milner, 14 Henderson, 5 Wijnaldum; 19 Mané (17 Klavan 83'), 9 Firmino (29 Solanke 87', (booked)), 11 Salah. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 22 Mignolet, 18 Moreno, 28 Ings, 58 Woodburn.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slvn)
Man of the match: Sadio Mané
Stadium: Stadio Olimpico
Attendance: 61,889

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report, i and Times newspapers, Twitter and beIN sports coverage.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 36

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 36

The 36th week of the Premier League action saw:

22 goals - most by Crystal Palace = 5
229 shots - most by Liverpool & Man City = 19 each
70 on target - most by Palace = 9
77 corners - most by Liverpool & Man United = 9 each
202 fouls - most by Brighton = 17
23 yellow cards - most by Southampton = 5
1 red card - Albrighton for Leicester
1 penalty - 1 scored (Benteke for Palace)

What a game! Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the league for a decade and José Mourinho has never lost a home league game against Arsène Wenger. No surprise then when the Gunners suffered their sixth away defeat in a row for the first time since January 1966 losing 2-1 late on against United on Sunday afternoon. That means the Londoners are the only side left in the top four divisions in England without a single point on the road in 2018 (P6 W0 D0 L6). The French boss lined up the youngest starting eleven (average age 24y 67d) in the league since August 2011 - when they were thrashed 8-2 at the same ground. The match was not much of a contest, unlike the rivalry battles from the past as recounted in the previews and buildup, more like a training game, not much speed nor physicality. Paul Pogba fired the home side ahead after 16 minutes before former Red Devil Henrikh Mkhitaryan levelled the score soon after the interval and it looked like the visitors were able to get something out of the game. But Maroune Fellaini smashed in the winner in injury time seconds after Marcus Rashford had a goal disallowed, serving Wenger a bitter final farewell. “We want you to stay!” was the chant from the home fans. OUCH!

What a team! It was not Leicester’s day on Saturday afternoon at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace led comfortably in the first half thanks to man of the match Wilfried Zaha and James McArthurMarc Albrighton’s last-man tackle earned him a straight red and added to his side’s misery shortly after the break. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Patrick van Aanholt sealed the deal 4-0 later on, Christian Benteke topped it 5-0 from the spot, their joint-biggest win in the top-flight since December 1972 (when they thrashed Manchester United 5-0), thank you very much, leaving Roy Hodgson and co all smiles after going up to 11th with this win, 99.9% safe. What relegation worries?! Who would have thought a couple of months ago?! Claude Puel meanwhile, after his side's third defeat in the last four games, is under hotter than hot fire walking on super-thin melting ice...
Newcastle didn’t have much to cheer about either on Saturday afternoon losing 0-1 to West Brom thanks to Matt Phillips, the season trickling away for the Toons with their second defeat on the trot, whilst the bottom side are experiencing a remarkable upturn in form since Darren Moore has taken over as caretaker, four games unbeaten. Shame it has all come a bit too late for the Baggies, needing a miracle to survive, five points from safety with two games left to play and some other teams with a game in hand.

What a man! Dušan Tadić was outstanding for Southampton in their crucial 2-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday. The Serb’s brace made the difference, the first a low finish after a counter attack, the second a superb run and drilled-in winner after Joshua King had fired in an equaliser for the visitors. Mark Hughes seems to be making a difference for the Saints, this win being vital in their fight for safety, taking them to just one point behind the Swans in 17th.
Huddersfield were pulled closer to the relegation zone after Everton beat them too comfortably at home, Cenk Tosun and Idrissa Gueye sealing the 0-2 win for the Toffees. What was all the negative fuss around Big Sam when he took over at Goodison Park?! The Toffees went up to eighth with this win, totalling 14 points from the last seven games as the boss himself pointed out as he departed from the post-match interview. Point. Made. David Wagner and his Terriers meanwhile are dangling in 16th, just three points from the drop with Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal left to play. TRIPLE OUCH!!!

What a goal! Most of the goals at the London Stadium were just comical, Manchester City all over West Ham. First Leroy Sané’s cross/shot was deflected in by former Red Devil Patrice Evra’s head, then Declan Rice and Pablo Zabaleta ping ponged Kevin De Bruyne’s low cross into the back of their own net. The Hammers did hit one back, Aaron Cresswell curling a free kick in nicely around the ball (which should have actually been a penalty as the foul was committed inside the box), but crumbled to bits after that. Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho were too quick and netted two more from close range after the restart, th-r-ash - and the Citizens could have had a penalty in between as well, Raheem Sterling chopped to ground. It ended 1-4, taking Pep’s men’s total to 102 goals in the PL and leaving no question who’s on top, all sorts of records tumbling (goals, points, away and in total). But the only downer was that it seemed like the ref didn’t know any rules - what’s offside? And what are the lines and box for?! Pf. More to the flopping refereeing standards below.
It was a scrappy one at Wembley on Monday night, Watford keeper Orestis Karnezis handing Dele Alli the opener before Harry Kane doubled Tottenham’s lead and secured the three points to the home side, moving them one step closer to Champions League qualification, 4th placed, five points ahead of Chelsea in 5th and just one point behind Liverpool in 3rd with a game in hand on the Reds. The Hornets meanwhile are still not completely safe, in 13th, six points clear from the drop zone, but other teams with games in hand. Next week will be crunch time for a lot of teams, top and bottom four/five/six/seven/eight/you get my drift...

What the hell?! The refereeing was below par once again as mentioned above, at Anfield as well, not excusing Liverpool’s tired display against Stoke City, but just pointing out how crucial the officials’ decisions can be and are. Click here for my full LFC match report of the frustrating goalless lunchtime kickoff on Saturday. ARGH!!!
Burnley had a couple of penalty appeals waved away as well, both clear handballs, Brighton grabbing a point from them at Turf Moor, the prior needing just one more point to secure their place in the Europa League, whilst the latter slip to 14th, five points clear of the relegation places.
Chelsea’s Gary Cahill was a very lucky man not to concede a spot kick for his tackle on Swansea’s Nathan Dyer in Wales in the Saturday evening kickoff. The Blues ended up 0-1 winners thanks to Cesc Fàbregas’ early goal and bad refereeing, leaving the Swans dangling just one point above the drop zone, all the questionable decisions keeping the battle to safety wide open, as detailed above.

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

Click here for last week’s Premier League Picks.

All pictures, stats and facts were taken from the BBC match reports, PL and Sky Sports apps, Twitter and SFR coverage.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Dire Goalless Draw Not Helped By Ref

Sports - Football - Premier League- LIV 0:0 STK

It ended goalless between Liverpool and Stoke City in the lunchtime kickoff on Saturday, the Potters squeezing out a point and keeping their manager Paul Lambert’s unbeaten record at Anfield intact, a Premier League record of five games without defeat (5 = 2W 3D).


The home side did dominate as expected, star man Mohamed Salah missed a sitter early on and put a free kick wide.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out injured for the rest of the season, young defender Trent Alexander-Arnold played in a more attacking position, stumbling and wasting a great chance in the box.

Danny Ings, in place of a not-yet-fit Sadio Mané up front, saw his goal disallowed, flagged offside, so close.

Stubborn and very physical, the visitors had a couple of chances as well, nothing to worry Loris Karius too much though.

The second half continued dragging and frustrating for Jürgen Klopp and his men.

There was a handball appeal against man of the match defender Erik Pieters late on, who certainly gave his all, Georginio Wijnaldum was furious with the officials.

Virgil van Dijk was booked seconds later, Ryan Shawcross threatened with a chance but missed, it was end to end stuff in the final minutes.

James Milner was not happy with the referee either, nothing given after he was felled down, unlike when he had challenged to win the ball earlier on.

Six minutes were added on for all the injuries, Wijnaldum headed high, everyone in white surrounding Salah.

The great Egyptian looked tired, producing seven shots, none on target, the most he has had without scoring in a single game for Liverpool in all competitions. 

Roberto Firmino saw his penalty appeal in the final seconds ignored, Pieters getting away with it again, hugs all round as replays showed.

The Reds will be rightly disappointed to not have gotten more out of the match they bossed throughout, but the final edge was missing.

It was the first time in nine games the Reds failed to score at home in the league, since drawing 0-0 against West Brom in December, netting 27 in the eight games between the two goalless draws.

Klopp and co will be glad not to have more names added to the injury list after a very physical game with a lot of clashes and ouches, Jordan Henderson going down at the end of the first half but continued after treatment.

Next is the second and decisive leg of the Champions League semi-final in Rome on Wednesday before a trip to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League at the weekend with Chelsea looking to break into the top four.

Stoke meanwhile are three points from safety with two games left to play in the league (against Crystal Palace next weekend and at Swansea on the final day).

HT Stats: LIV 0-0 STK
Possession: 66%-34%
Shots: 7-1
On target: 1-0
Corners: 0-2
Fouls: 2-10
Yellow cards: 0-2

FT Stats: LIV 0-0 STK
Possession: 72%-28%
Shots: 19-5
On target: 2-1
Corners: 9-2
Fouls: 7-14
Yellow cards: 1-2

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 17 Klavan, 4 van Dijk (booked 88’), 12 Gomez; 18 Moreno, 5 Wijnaldum, 14 Henderson (c), 66 Alexander-Arnold (2 Clyne 65’); 28 Ings (7 Milner 65’), 9 Firmino, 11 Salah. 3-4-3 on Sky & PL apps, good old 4-3-3 on BBC & SFR with 18 & 66 completing the back line whilst 12 is in the middle... Bit of both in the end, sometimes back 5!!!
Subs not used: 6 Lovren, 22 Mignolet, 26 Robertson, 29 Solanke, 58 Woodburn.

Stoke City Team: 1 Butland; 3 Pieters, 15 Martins Indi (32 Sobhi Ahmed 52’), 17 Shawcross (c), 6 Zouma; 2 Bauer, 27 Ndiaye, 4 Allen, 22 Shaqiri; 25 Crouch (booked 36’) (24 Fletcher 65’), 18 Diouf (booked 42’). 4-4-2
Subs not used: 7 Ireland, 16 Adam, 20 Cameron, 29 Haugaard, 40 Campbell.

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the match: Erik Pieters
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,255

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the Sky Sports and BBC match reports, Twitter, Sky Sports and Premier League apps and SFR coverage.