Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Sturridge double downs Spurs

Sports - Football - EFL Cup - LFC 2:1 THFC

Daniel Sturridge's double ended up being enough to eliminate Tottenham from the EFL Cup in the fourth round with Liverpool beating Spurs 2-1 at Anfield.

The much criticised striker was on fire, could and should have had a hat-trick with chances galore for the Reds, but had to settle for "just" the two goals and the man-of-the-match award.

Both managers made plenty of changes from the weekend, the whole 11 by Jürgen Klopp, 10 by Mauricio Pochettino, showing faith in their youngsters.

21-year-old Divock Origi impressed, producing, creating and providing plenty of chances. Liverpool proved themselves the more dominant and took the lead early on thanks to Sturridge's instinctive strike from six yards after just nine minutes.

And the home side took control in the second half, Origi and Sturridge combining well, the prior sending the latter clear to slide his second goal under Michel Vorm.

The England striker had wasted a couple of sitters beforehand, curled another chance against the bar late on, so, had plenty of opportunities to make it three and the Matchball his.

But the Spurs youngsters were not to be downed that easily and made it a more nervous finish for the Reds after they conceded a penalty when substitute Erik Lamela was fouled and saw Vincent Janssen send keeper Simon Mignolet the wrong way to make it 2-1 with just under 15 minutes to go.

Both sides missed chances late on, leaving Pochettino on his knees in frustration and defeat, Klopp the happier, obviously, seeing his side extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 matches, 8 of them wins, taking them to the EFL Cup quarter final.

Liverpool Goals: Sturridge 9' & 64'.

Tottenham Goal: Janssen pen 76'.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet, 66 Alexander-Arnold (booked) (2 Clyne 68'), 21 Lucas, 17 Klavan, 18 Moreno, 5 Wijnaldum, 35 Stewart, 53 Ejaria, 16 Grujic (booked) (23 Can 89'), 15 Sturridge, 27 Origi (28 Ings 68' (booked)).
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 6 Lovren, 19 Mané, 20 Lallana.

Tottenham Team: 13 Vorm, 16 Trippier, 38 Carter-Vickers, 27 Wimmer (booked), 33 Davies, 15 Dier (12 Wanyama 67'), 29 Winks (booked), 25 Onomah, 28 Carroll (11 Lamela 61'), 14 Nkoudou (39 Harrison 83'), 9 Janssen.
Subs not used: 5 Vertonghen, 30 López Sabata, 45 Walkes, 46 Amos.

Match Stats: Liverpool-Tottenham
Attempts: 18-9
On target: 9-5
Corners: 6-6
Fouls: 12-19
Possession: 46%-54%

Referee: Jonathan Mass
Man of the match: Daniel Sturridge
Attendance: 53,501

Pictures taken from the BBC match report

Click here for my previous LFC match report

Monday, 24 October 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 9

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 9

The 9th week of the Premier League action saw:

174 shots - most by Liverpool and Crystal Palace = 14 each - least so far (227, week 7)

19 goals - most by Chelsea = 4 - least so fat (20, week 7)

238 fouls - most by Man United = 17

39 bookings - most by Sunderland = 5

No red cards not penalties first time this season - but there should have been at least one, see below... => What the hell?!

This week has seen the least number of shots and goals so far this season (after week 7 which saw 227 shots and 20 goals).

Stamford Bridge made sure they were heard - "You're not special anymore!" adding salt to United's wounds.

And José Mourinho did take it personally and let Antonio Conte know how he felt. Very sour grapes indeed.

What a game! Chelsea's 4-0 thrashing of United not only showed how far Chelsea have come since Conte's takeover and Mourinho's departure, but also how far United have fallen since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement and the Portuguese's tenure. The Blues broke down the Red bus in the first minute - 30 seconds to be exact - thanks to Pedro and took over total control from there, riding high and all over United. The Red Devils were all over the place, missing organisation and stability, skipper Wayne Rooney being absent due to injury (apparently/allegedly, although rumour has it, Mourinho wants the Scouser out). Gary Cahill smashed one in from close range, Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante completed the rout with all the space and time in the world, United's non-existent back line and keeper David de Gea just watching. This dire defeat keeps United on 14 points, which means even much-demonised LVG had recorded more points after nine games at this stage last season (= 19) and only in 2014/15 under David Moyes had they recorded less (= 13).

What a team! It was not pretty, but Burnley did it again! The Clarets recorded another strong home win, making teams dread more and more to come and play at Turf Moor. With only 34% possession, Sean Dyche's men were less dominant, but more and better organised defensively with some old-school blocks at the back and reliable challenges in the middle. Criticised as "ugly" and "dirty work", it still ended up being rewarding = three points in the bag, hard-earned and well deserved. Ask high-flying Liverpool how it is to play here...!!!

What a man! Pep Guardiola's change did the job, after seeing John Stones gifting Southampton the opener after 27 minutes, Nathan Redmond taking advantage of the giveaway. Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho equalised in the second half, nine minutes after coming on, making it eight goals in his last 11 Premier League games for Man City. But still, the Saints ended up grabbing a point at the Etihad, taking the Sky Blues' winless run to five games. They have certainly lost their way after ten straight wins and everyone had already crowned them champions a bit prematurely. I'm sure the former Barca man does not have to worry too much with his side still top of the table on goal difference. However, he did have his say after the disappointing draw, keeping his side locked in and listening, the media and press calling it an "angry 50-minute inquest". What would be a better way of coming back on track than beating bitter rivals United in the EFL Cup midweek.

What a goal! Hull's misery continues thanks to a brilliant strike by Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri, from nearly 25 yards, it was an unstoppable stunner, leaving keeper David Marshall hopelessly beaten. And a lovely curling free-living from 20 yards made it 0-2, handing the Potters a crucial win and a deserved man of the match award for the Swiss star.
Winston Reid left it very late and controversial for West Ham, scoring in the 90th minute to record the Hammers' first home win at the Olympic Stadium since August...

What the hell?!...  But Moyes was not happy that goal counted and is looking at facing charges after a tunnel bust-up with referee Bobby Madley. Replays did show at least two West Ham players did look offside. Desperate times for Sunderland, stuck at the bottom of the table, luck is definitely not going their way...
Much in contrast to Moussa Sissoko, what were you thinking?! How the officials did not spot the big fat elbow beats me! Bournemouth's Harry Arter accepted the Spurs sub's apology and said all was forgiven, but the three-match ban he has received in the meantime is appropriate to say the least!

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

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks

All pictures taken from the BBC match reports

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 8

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 8

The 8th week of Premier League action saw:

256 shots - most by Southampton = 34!

27 goals - most by Bournemouth = 6!

200 fouls - most by Man United = 20

30 bookings - most by Middlesbrough = 5

2 red cards - Xhaka for Arsenal and Creswell for West Ham - both harsh!

6 penalties - 2 saved, 4 scored

Danny Murphy did not get it quite right, but still an interesting read ahead of LFC v MUFC

The clash ended up disappointingly goalless, but looking back at some memorable moments will definitely keep you more entertained!

Despite all mind games and point gained apparently, Mourinwho?

What a game! Saturday had everything in it! In contrast to Super Sunday/Red Monday, it did not disappoint! All games had chances, goals, controversies and heroics left, right and centre! Although, Southampton top the list of chances with 34 shots, which is a record this season so far! They will be disappointed they beat Burnley only 3-1! But all games were smashing and MOTD was epic on Saturday. And the top scorers of the day came first in the highlights show...

What a team! Bournemouth absolutely smothered Hull City, it could have been even worse than 6-1! Eddie Howe's men made it three home wins in a row with that thrash, taking them up to ninth, whilst the Tigers' defensive woes continue, dragging Mike Phelan's side down to 16th the week after he was finally made permanent. Not a good start.
Liverpool could not often say this in the past, but they were disappointed to leave Anfield with just a point against bitter rivals Man United thanks to a great couple of saves by David de Gea. It just shows how much progress they have made under Jürgen Klopp and the more promising the future looks for the Reds.

What a man! Maarten Stekelenburg deserves the knighthood as far as Everton are concerned (or whatever the Dutch equivalent is)! Stopping two spot kicks and making crucial and breathtaking saves during the match, the keeper denied Man City three crucial points in the title race and made Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero look amateur. The Dutch stopper did not help neither's men confidence with penalties, much to team mate Phil Jagielka's relief after he conceded both spot kicks. Legendary performance!

What a goal! Romelu Lukaku's opener for the Toffees against Pep Guardiola's side was a great finish to a counter, some poor defending helped along the way. Mesut Özil's magnificent volley into the roof of the net gets my vote too, completing a lovely team goal off a deliciously chipped cross by Alexis Sanchez to make it 3-1 to the Gunners against Swansea.

What the hell?! How the hell Granit Xhaka and Aaron Creswell can be sent off when Antonio Barragan stayed on the pitch for Middlesbrough?! Already on a yellow, the defender kept bullying and fouling the opposition without any further consequences, much to Watford's dismay, but Isaac Success and co stayed and ended on top, bagging the three points. The inconsistencies of the officials are gob-smacking! And if the FA let managers like José Mourinho get away with the pre-match comments and then the gestures the Portuguese made on the sideline during the match, how can they expect less pressure and more respect for the referees?! Ridiculous!

My Predictions - Actual Results
Chelsea 2:1 Leicester - 3:0
Arsenal 1:1 Swansea - 3:2
Bournemouth 3:1 Hull City - 6:1
Man City 3:1 Everton - 1:1
Stoke 1:1 Sunderland - 2:0
West Brom 2:2 Tottenham - 1:1
Crystal Palace 3:2 West Ham - 0:1
Middlesbrough 1:1 Watford - 0:1
Southampton 1:0 Burnley - 3:1
Liverpool 1:1 Man United - 0:0

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks

All pictures takes from the BBC match reports 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 7

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 7

The seventh week of the Premier League action saw

227 shots - most by Man United = 24

20 goals - most by Chelsea, Everton and Spurs = 2 each

198 fouls - most by Spurs = 20

32 bookings - most by Bournemouth = 4

0 red cards

2 penalties - 1 scored, 1 saved

What a game! Watford came back from behind twice in a four-goal thriller against Bournemouth at Vicarage Road, after the visitors had hit the woodwork three times in the second half. Captain Troy Deeney's 99th goal for the club had levelled Callum Wilson's headed opener, before substitute Isaac Success secured the point for the home side, levelling out substitute Joshua King's long-range deflected effort with just three minutes between the two goals.

What a team! Chelsea ended their slump of a run after two successive league defeats, beating Hull City in a hard-earned 2-0 win at the KCOM Stadium, thanks to Willian and Diego Costa.
James Milner's late penalty gave Liverpool a hard-fought win at Swansea, making the Reds the most prolific away side this season.
And last but definitely not least, vibrant Spurs impressed most with their thrilling 2-0 victory against City, outplaying Pep Guardiola's side throughout, making an early but clear statement regarding their challenge for the title.

What a man! After another defeat, all eyes and pressure are on Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin and whether he will keep his job past the international break. Despite a spirited performance against high-flying Liverpool, no points were recorded for the Swans, once again, leaving them hovering above the relegation zone on goal difference, having not won in the league since the opening day of the season. The owners did state before the match that the manner of the performances would have as much of a bearing on Guidolin's future as the results, so, there is still some hope for the Swansea boss.

What a goal! Dimitri Payet's wonderful equaliser for West Ham against Middlesbrough not only ended the Hammers' dreadful run of four successive league defeats and gave the Frenchman his first league goal of the season, but also showed an exemplary piece of individual play, beating five players on his way. Substitute Anthony Martial's fine sweep and curled shot which gave United the lead was a skillful effort, too. However, David de Gea's giveaway which led to Joe Allen poking in an equaliser, handed Stoke a point and spoiled the show for the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

What the hell?! Arsenal left it very late at Burnley, indeed, and how Laurent Koscielny's goal counted, I cannot and do not fathom. Theo Walcott had headed the ball towards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose effort went in off Koscielny's elbow, standing on the goal-line. So, not only was it a handball, but also offside could have been argued to chalk off that goal. Even Mister "I have not seen it" Arsène Wenger looked bemused and admitted the Gunners were lucky to have been given that goal.

My predictions - Actual results
Everton 1:0 Crystal Palace - 1:1
Swansea 0:2 Liverpool - 1:2
Hull City 1:2 Chelsea - 0:2
Sunderland 0:0 West Brom - 1:1
Watford 1:1 Bournemouth - 2:2
West Ham 2:0 Middlesbrough - 1:1
Man United 3:1 Stoke - 1:1
Leicester 2:0 Southampton - 0:0
Tottenham 0:1 Man City - 2:0
Burnley 0:1 Arsenal - 0:1

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks

All images taken from the BBC match reports