Sunday, 29 January 2017

Wolves Stun Reds At Anfield

Sports - Football - FA Cup - LFC 1:2 WWFC

Wolves completed the perfect stunner by beating Liverpool 1-2 at Anfield, thereby eliminating them from the FA Cup in the fourth round.

It took the visitors just over 52 seconds to take the lead thanks to Richard Stearman heading in Hélder Wander Costa's free kick with poor marking by seven red shirts just watching on.

Paul Lambert's men dominated from then on, man of the match Costa menacing the Reds, and in the ninth minute ran right through them for the ball to end up just wide after a bit of a stumble.

Throughout the match, it seemed like Jürgen Klopp's men were just watching, not attacking the ball, not marking nor moving, making it too easy for Wolves.

And when Divock Origi lost the ball in his own half five minutes before the break, it was Costa again who pounced on it, broke out and away on the counter.

Challenged by Alberto Moreno, the 23-year old winger crossed the ball to Andreas Weimann who made no mistake of beating Loris Karius with a nice side-footer.

That took Liverpool to the break, 0-2 down, having not recorded any shots on target themselves, Anfield sounding anxious and angry.

Philippe Coutinho replaced Connor Randall after the break to bring more stability and threat to the home side and they did create more.

But it was nowhere near their usual pushing and pressing, making Wolves' marking job much easier, too many players staying static, standing, watching.

Both keepers did not have much to do, Liverpool over-touching, over-playing rather than moving and threatening, substitute Daniel Sturridge missing a couple of sitters.

The only notable save in the second half was made by Karius late on after another counter.

A couple of minutes after that, Origi headed a goal in off Sturridge, giving the Reds a glimmer of hope of a comeback with just under five minutes of normal time to go.

But it was too little, too late, and the huffy and puffy Merseysiders were well beaten for the third time in a row after going unbeaten at Anfield for 370 days before Saturday's loss to the Swans.

Here is my match report of their last match, defeat against Southampton in the EFL Cup semi final second leg.

The 8,300 travelling fans could not have asked for more from their side and the trip was well worth it watching Wolves, the deserved winners.

The three previous occasions they had beaten Liverpool in the FA Cup, they went on to win the trophy. Good luck to them!

Klopp's men are welcoming Chelsea to Anfield next, for their Premier League clash Tuesday evening, the last day of a very dry and dire January for the Reds.

Out of the EFL Cup... Out of the FA Cup... Just a two-point gap keeping them in the top four in the league... It couldn't get any worse... Could it?!

Liverpool Goal: Origi 85:22min.

Wolves Goals: Stearman 0:52min & Weimann 40:50min.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 18 Moreno, 17 Klavan, 12 Gomez, 56 Randall (10 Coutinho 45); 5 Wijnaldum (booked 51'), Lucas (c), 53 Ejaria (23 Can 74'); 11 Firmino (15 Sturridge 65'), 27 Origi, 58 Woodburn. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 7 Milner, 22 Mignolet, 35 Stewart, 59 Wilson.

Wolves Team: 31 Burgoyne; 2 Doherty, 30 Hause (booked 48'), 5 Stearman (booked 29'), 16 Coady; 8 Saville, 14 Evans (booked 89'); 63 Weimann (10 Mason 77'), 4 Edwards (c), 17 Helder Costa (43 Ronan 67'); 9 Dicko (22 Bodvarsson 71'). 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 6 Batth, 21 Lonergan, 26 Enobakhare, 55 Gibbs-White.

Match Stats: 1st & 2nd half LFC-WWFC
Attempts: 4-5 & 20-7
On target: 0-2 & 5-3
Offside: 0-1 & 1-2
Corners: 3-2 & 7-4
Fouls: 4-7 & 7-13
Bookings: 0-1 & 1-3
Possession: 79%-21% & 79%-21%

Referee: Craig Pawson
Man of the match:  Hélder Wander Costa
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 52,469

Pictures and stats taken from the BBC match report and live coverage.

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Saints Outclass Reds To Reach Cup Final

Sports - Football - EFL Cup - LFC 0:1 SFC

Southampton reached their first final in 38 years beating Liverpool 1-0 in the EFL Cup semi final second leg at Anfield, 2-0 on aggregate, confidently, convincingly and deservedly so over the two legs.

Jürgen Klopp's side did not come out all guns blazing as expected being 1-0 down from the first leg.

The Saints, without key defender Virgil van Dijk due to injury, looked solid at the back and threatening on counters, the scorer of the first-leg goal Nathan Redmond breaking and bossing from the left.

Dusan Tadic came closest in the first half, spurning a chance at point blank, Loris Karius blocking and holding on gratefully.

The under-fire German keeper also denied skipper Steven Davis, who fired another good chance high and over.

The Reds missed Sadio Mané, youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold the only one pressuring, covering and creating anything on the right flank for the home side.

Not much changed after the interval, the home side enjoying more possession, pushing and pressing, but not creating much threat.

The closest Liverpool came was when Fraser Forster punched away Emre Can's attempt, to watch it bounce over him, sending him scrambling back to stop it from crossing the line.

It was a good recovery from what could have ended up very embarrassing for the English stopper.

Apart from that, the evening grew more and more frustrating for the hosts, Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana wasting chances and giving away the ball again and again.

Klopp left the changes late, bringing on Divock Origi the Kop were chanting for, replacing Can with just over ten minutes to go.

And why Georginio Wijnaldum came on for Philippe Coutinho with only a couple of minutes remaining and not earlier, only the German manager knows.

Anfield was just as furious as their boss, watching Southampton wasting time and a handball appeal against substitute Shane Long denied by referee Ben Atkinson.

Replays showed it was a close call, the ball coming off the top of the arm/shoulder, a 50/50 call, the officials staying consistent as in not giving much.

It was too little, too late for the Reds, and when Origi went down in the box challenged by Jack Stephens in injury time, it just looked desperate.

The corner that followed taken by James Milner was dire and led up to another Southampton counter, started by substitute Josh Sims with a great run and pass, finished off nicely by Long.

This win means Saints manager Claude Puel is unbeaten in six against Liverpool (W3, D3), whilst it's Klopp's first semi-final defeat in seven as a manager.

The result drags down Liverpool's form so far this year, the only win coming against League Two side Plymouth Argyle in their FA Cup third round replay, losing three and drawing three of the seven games played so far this year.

Southampton will be going to the final at Wembley on the 26th February to meet either Manchester United or Hull City, having not conceded a single goal in the competition.

They are looking to win their second major trophy since beating the Red Devils in the 1976 FA Cup final. History in the making?

Southampton Goal: Long 90:44min.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 7 Milner, 6 Lovren, 32 Matip, 66 Alexander-Arnold; 20 Lallana, 14 Henderson (c), 23 Can (27 Origi 78'); 10 Coutinho (5 Wijnaldum 87'), 15 Sturridge, 11 Firmino. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 17 Klavan, 18 Moreno, 21 Lucas, 22 Mignolet, 58 Woodburn.

Southampton Team: 1 Forster; 21 Bertrand, 3 Yoshida, 24 Stephens, 2 Soares; 8 Davis, 14 Romeu, 16 Ward-Prowse (23 Hojbjerg 59'); 11 Tadic, 9 Rodriguez (7 Long 45'), 22 Redmond (39 Sims 81'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 4 Clasie, 15 Martina, 38 McQueen, 41 Lewis.

Match Stats: HT & FT Liverpool-Southampton
Possession: 72%-28% & 73%-27%
Attempts: 4-5 & 13-7
On target: 2-1 & 3-2
Corners: 1-2 & 8-4
Fouls: 5-2 & 8-2
Bookings: 0-0 & 0-0

Referee: Ben Atkinson
Man of the match: Oriel Romeu
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 52,238

Pictures and stats taken from BBC match report and Sky Sports live coverage.

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 22

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 22

The 22nd week of the Premier League action saw:

261 shots - most by Manchester United = 25
30 goals - most by Swansea & West Ham = 3 each
214 fouls - most by Watford = 16
31 bookings - most by Stoke & Spurs = 4
1 red card - Xhaka for Arsenal
3 penalties - 3 scored (Tadic for Saints, Gray for Burnley & Sánchez for Arsenal)

Thoughts and love to the Hull City player Ryan Mason and his loved ones and all the best for his recovery. 🙏🏻

Bournemouth were 23rd in League Two at Obama inauguration in 2008! 😱

Pep loving his post-match interviewer once again... 🙈

What a game! Swansea shocked Liverpool with their first league win at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp's men looked all over the place in the first half, came back in the second half, but could not finish it off and the Welsh side capitalised on the Reds' weakness. Paul Clement looks like he is making the crucial difference in the relegation battle. Meanwhile, Arsenal left it very very late against Burnley to stay in the title race with a hint of a shout. Red cards, penalties, goals, no goals, offsides, not offsides, plenty of controversy once again! More to that below...

What a team! Dire stats left, right and centre: Leicester are the joint-worst defending champions with just 21 points from 22 games (equalling Ipswich's 1962-63 record). Victory remains scarce also for both Bournemouth (just 1 in 7) and Watford (winless in last 7 in the Premier League). Affected and downed most by their crumbling defence or as David Moyes branded conceding goals as a "disease", Liverpool are still looking for their first league win of the year (D2, L1), Middlesbrough remain winless in 5 and Sunderland are back to bottom after their fourth defeat in 5 league games. Meanwhile, Chelsea must be laughing at the top of the table with a seven-point cushion, after a less-than-impressive win but most importantly 3 points gained against Hull.

What a man! Wayne Rooney finally broke legend Sir Bobby Charlton's club record scoring his 250th goal for Manchester United. He bcame the Red Devil's top scorer with a 94th minute free-kick cracker, to make it 1-1 and grab a point at Stoke. It could have been worse for United. Fernando Llorente's double for Swansea downed Liverpool and Andy Carroll's double for West Ham meant two wins in a row for the Hammers with a man on fire. On the other end of the spectrum sits Arsenal's Granit Xhaka after his 5th dismissal in the league since the beginning of last season, more than any other player in Europe's top five divisions. What were you thinking?! 👊🏻💩🙈💩👎🏻

What a goal! Roberto Firmino's leveller for Liverpool was a nice one but all for nothing in the very frustrating end. There were plenty controversial decisions, penalties given, not given, offside given, not given, as mentioned above. Everton's winner should have been disallowed not for Jeff Schlupp's injury antiques, but for offside. Hull should have had a penalty and a free kick in the build up to Chelsea's goals...

What the hell?!?!?! ... And Pep wasn't happy either! The ex Barca boss went mad for a penalty not given for Kyle Walker's push on Raheem Sterling, just because his player didn't go down. Seconds later, Son Heung-min equalised to make it 2-2 after City had beaten Hugo Lloris twice to make it 2-0 thanks to the keeper's howlers. He is not the only one who is unhappy with the referee, Andre Marriner in this case. As listed and repeated above, Arsenal, Hull, Crystal Palace,.... The list goes on and on about decisions that should have gone the other way but the refs didn't or couldn't do anything. Everyone is just left wondering and cursing, replays show who/what/where/how/why - why can it still not be used?!?!?! Pathetic! Annoying! Costly! ⚽️💩🙈💩⚽️

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

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 21

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 21

The 21st week of the Premier League action saw:

226 shots - most by Tottenham = 21
29 goals - most by Arsenal, Tottenham & Everton = 4 each
247 fouls - most by Everton & Man United = 17 each
31 bookings - most by West Ham = 4
0 red cards - lucky escape for Pogba once again, read below...
2 penalties - 2 scored (Stanislas for Bournemouth & Milner for Liverpool)

Video evidence of:

Pep in shock

Pogba wrestling

Andy's stunner

What a game! Merseyside v Manchester as Sky billed it... The Scousers won! Big time! More at Goodison Park than at Old Trafford, but the reactions showed who was on top and expected more! Everton made their chances count and totally outshone and stunned City, leaving Pep Guardiola in shock suffering his biggest defeat ever. Liverpool lead thanks to consistent and reliable penalty taker James Milner (10/10 for him, 6/6 for LFC), and were in control for most of the match, until Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoilt Jürgen Klopp's show with a late leveller, more to that one below... And in my match report.

What a team! Tottenham were the most convincing contenders if anything or anyone can compete or catch up with Chelsea. The Blues moved seven points clear at the top thanks to Marcos Alonso's double, downing champions Leicester 3-0. But Harry Kane stole the show at White Hart Lane, with a convincing hat-trick, contributing to Spurs' total dominance and 4-0 thrashing of West Brom, which takes Slaven Bilic's men up to second place, level on points with Liverpool in third.

What a man! Chelsea forward Diego Costa and West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet should both be banned/fined/punished for their their disgusting, unprofessional and greedy behaviour! Do contracts mean anything nowadays?! Or is it all just pounds/euros/dollars/whatever the Chinese currency is?! You either love the game or just yourself!!! Both were dropped because of their spoilt-brat antiques leaving both their managers fuming. The bigger point was made and proved with both sides winning, it is not all just about you!!!

What a goal! This weekend saw another awesome, brilliant, beautiful scissor kick, this time starring Andy Carroll for the Hammers, heels over head, as they thrashed Crystal Palace 3-0 at the Olympic Stadium. This season is turning into football porn with stunners like this becoming a weekly feature! See link above to see for yourself.

What the hell?! Ok, I'm maybe not the most neutral reporter, but how the hell did Paul Pogba stay on the pitch after head-locking/choke-slamming Jordan Henderson to the ground?! Oh, and how convenient for United as well, that the linesman did not see a clear offside in the buildup to Ibrahimovic's equaliser, mentioned above! Funny José Mourinho did not mention nor moan nor pick on the referee after the match on this occasion... Click here to see for youself what drives me so mad about United's luck!!! And in my match report.

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

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports.

Ibrahimovic saves point for United

Sports - Football - Premier League - MUFC 1:1 LFC

Zlatan Ibrahimovic extended United's unbeaten run to twelve league games (5D, 7W) as he levelled the score late on against bitter rivals Liverpool making it 1:1 and a point each at Old Trafford.

Jürgen Klopp and his men will see it more as two points dropped than one point won after showing great control and sternness.

They had taken the lead in the 27th minute thanks to James Milner's spot kick, given against an embarrassingly obvious handball by Paul Pogba, and the visitors controlled the game from then.

The £89m-striker was lucky to stay on the pitch after wrestling Jordan Henderson to the ground, his arm around the Red skipper's throat.

Keeper Simon Mignolet impressed with a strong display, denying Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the first half.

Red Devils' boss José Mourinho had seen enough and left the dugout for the break before time was added on.

Wayne Rooney came on after the interval, replacing Michael Carrick, looking to break Liverpool and the club record.

The Scouser did bring more confidence and threat to the Red Devils, but Klopp knew how to deal with that, bringing on Philippe Coutinho and more stability with it.

The German's face and voice said it all just seconds before the leveller, loud, angry, devilish...

Ibrahimovic equalised in the 84th minute off the rebound after Antonio Valencia powered it in off the post. Replays showed a United player was offside in the build-up.

It's the Swede's 14th goal in his first 20 Premier League matches, equalling Alan Shearer's and Sergio Agüero's records.

And it didn't finish there. Ander Herrera was cautioned in the dying minutes for pulling Roberto Firmino's shirt. Both managers clashed on the touchline as both felt the opponent should have a man sent off.

The Portuguese manager calmed his players down in the final minutes, Sir Alex Ferguson smiling in the stands.

Liverpool felt robbed. Klopp had to breath in and out before answering any post-match questions, clear signs of frustration.

The draw does mean Milner is still unbeaten in the 46 games where he has scored and Liverpool have recorded least defeats of all Premier League teams (two, same as Tottenham).

But every goal and point dropped will hurt as Chelsea are now seven points clear at the top with 17 games to go.

Liverpool Goal: Milner pen 26:37min.

Manchester United Goal: Ibrahimovic 83:09min.

Manchester United Team: 1 De Gea; 36 Darmian (27 Fellaini 76'), 5 Marcos Rojo, 4 Jones, 25 Valencia; 11 Martial (8 Mata 65'), 21 Ander Herrera (booked 90'), 16 Carrick (10 Rooney 46'); 9 Ibrahimovic, 22 Mkhitaryan, 6 Pogba. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 20 S Romero, 17 Blind, 12 Smalling & Rashford.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 7 Milner, 17 Klavan, 6 Lovren (booked 31'), 66 Alexander-Arnold; 5 Wijnaldum (booked 61'), 14 Henderson, 23 Can; 27 Origi (10 Coutinho 61'), 11 Firmino (booked 90'), 20 Lallana. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 11 Gomez, 18 Moreno, 34 Stewart, 53 Ejaria & 15 Sturridge.

HT & FT stats: MUFC-LFC
Possession: 52%-48% & 55%-45%
Attempts: 4-5 & 9-13
On target: 2-1 & 3-4
Corners: 3-5 & 5-7
Fouls: 9-8 & 17-13
Bookings: 0-1 & 1-3

Referee: Michael Oliver
Ground: Old Trafford
Attendance: 75,276

Pictures and stats taken from the BBC match report

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Saints Outplay Liverpool In Semi First Leg

Sports - Football - EFL Cup - SFC 1:0 LFC

Southampton outshone and -played record winners Liverpool in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final, beating the Reds 1-0 at St Mary's.

It could and should have been a much worse score for the Reds, under-fire and second-choice keeper Loris Karius making some crucial saves, especially in the first half.

The Saints had taken the lead thanks to Nathan Redmond's fine finish off Jay Rodriguez just 20 minutes into the clash.

The English midfielder could have had a hat-trick if it weren't for the 23-year-old German stopper denying him again and again, keeping the visitors in the tie.

Jürgen Klopp conceded defeat after the match and that it should have been 3-0, leaving Saints boss Claude Puel happy with the display but a bit disappointed with the result.

It was by far the worst performance under the German boss, the Reds dominating possession but recording less shots and only two on target, leaving Fraser Forster with not much to do.

Man of the match  Virgil van Dijk bossed the show from the back, frustrating the visitors, Roberto Firmino the only Red to get an attempt on target.

Southampton will be desperate to keep hold of the popular centre-half throughout and beyond the January transfer window.

Liverpool will be desperate to come back from this dire defeat, lucky to have just one goal between the two when they meet again at Anfield in just over two weeks.

(The game was so bad, there is not more to write about. No discrediting Southampton, it was a great win for them!)

Southampton Goal: Redmond (20').

Southampton Team: 1 Forster; 2 Soares, 3 Yoshida, 17 van Dijk (c), 21 Bertrand; 14 Romeu, 4 Clasie (23 Hojbjerg 73'), 8 Davis (16 Ward-Prowse 82'); 9 Rodriguez (booked 81') (7 Long 82'), 22 Redmond, 11 Tadic (booked 65'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 24 Stephens, 38 McQueen, 39 Sims, 41 Lewis.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 2 Clyne, 6 Lovren, 17 Klavan, 7 Milner (c); 21 Lucas, 5 Wijnaldum (10 Coutinho 61'), 23 Can; 15 Sturridge, 20 Lallana, 11 Firmino (27 Origi 83'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 12 Gomez, 18 Moreno, 22 Mignolet, 35 Stewart, 58 Woodburn.

Match Stats: SFC-LFC
Attempts: 11-9
On target: 5-2
Corners: 2-5
Fouls: 11-5
Bookings: 2-0

Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Ground: St Mary's Stadium
Attendance: 31,480

Pictures and stats taken from the BBC match report.

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 20

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 20

The 20th week of the Premier League action saw:

240 shots - most by Liverpool = 21
29 goals - most by Bournemouth, Arsenal, Everton & West Brom = 3 each
192 fouls - most by Watford = 15
40 bookings - most by Man City = 5
3 red cards - Francis for Bournemouth, Fernandinho for Man City & Feghouli for West Ham
4 penalties - 4 scored (Wilson for Bournemouth, Baines for Everton & Defoe for Sunderland x 2!!!)

What a game! Tottenham's 2-0 win against league leaders Chelsea thanks to Dele Alli's double at White Hart Lane was, as Mauricio Pocchetino put it, massive! Massive for them, massive for everyone! The Blues' first defeat in over three months means three points dropped, and the game is still on in the title race. The season is not over as too many had already ticked it off. Antonio Conte's side is not perfect, stopped from recording their 14th consecutive win and making Premier League history. Spurs meanwhile are unbeaten at home this season, beware of the overlooked sneaking up.

What a team! It was the first time Arsenal came back from three goals down, Bournemouth the victims. Olivier Giroud was the hero once again with an injury-time winner after being involved in the other two goals, too, to make it 3-3 at Dean Court.The dramatic comeback was helped by Simon Francis being sent off for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey, Cherries boss Eddie Howe felt it was "harsh". Harsh but true, the Gunners' stubbornness payed off, hitting and hurting the home side hard.

What a man! Everton manager Ronald Koeman enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win against his former side Southampton, thanks to Enner Valencia (73'), Leighton Baines (81' pen) and Romelu Lukaku (89), taking the latter's league tally to 54. Only Harry Kane (59) and Sergio Agüero (77) have scored more Premier League goals since the Belgian forward's debut in September 2013. Everton did leave it late, but it was worth it for them, leaving Saints down and dire in 10th after three consecutive defeats.

What a goal! New Swansea boss Paul Clement can be more than happy with his winning start moving his side off the bottom of the Premier League table. Spanish right back Àngel Rangel found the winner at Crystal Palace in the 88th minute, crucial and crushing for Sam Allardyce in his first home game with the Eagles, who are now hovering just one place and one point above the relegation zone. It was the first time ever the former England boss has lost his opening home Premier League match, having previously won four and drawn one.

What the hell?! Leicester, oh Leicester. 21 points from 20 Premier League games is the worst return by reigning league champions and there is nothing much else to report from their dull 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough. Meanwhile at the Stadium of Light, Jürgen Klopp was left shaking his head in disbelief (with a sarcastic smile on his face) after his side gave the lead away, twice, handing two spot kicks to non-other than Jermain Defoe. After beating Manchester City last week, Liverpool will be gutted to have dropped two points against the struggling Black Cats. The happier and more grateful and relieved David Moyes will be after two defeats in a row.

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

Click her for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures and stats taken from the BBC match report.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 19

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 19

The 19th week of the Premier League action saw:

270 shots - most by Man United = 32!
33 goals - most by Burnley, Chelsea & Spurs = 4 each
216 fouls - most by West Brom = 17
37 bookings - most by Leicester = 5
1 red card - van Dijk 2nd yellow for Saints
1 penalty - 1 scored (Barnes for Burnley)

Their boss José Mourinho was sad.

Usain Bolt was much happier with his side's win.

Whilst Jürgen Klopp doesn't care.

What a game! Stoke proved a tough test for league leaders Chelsea in the six-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge, five of which were scored in the second half. The Potters threw everything at the Blues, they were up for it, but a classy Diego Costa and Willian double proved too much for Mark Hughes' men. Antonio Conte's side stay six points clear at the top after their 13th consecutive league win, equalling Arsenal's record of most consecutive wins in a season consisting of 38 games from 2001-2. Can anything or anyone stop them?!

What a team! Manchester United rolled back the years, scoring two goals within seconds, turning the game on its head in the final minutes. Middlesbrough had taken a shock lead in the second half thanks to midfielder Grant Leadbitter (67') after the hosts had hit the post twice. But Aitor Karanka's men grew tired and the Red Devils pounced on that, Anthony Martial (85') and Paul Pogba (86') making the most of it and taking their unbeaten league run to ten games, winning all five in December, moving them to just one point behind Arsenal in fourth place.

What a man! Man of the match Harry Kane (27' & 33') and Dele Alli (41' & 46') sealed an easy 1-4 win for Tottenham at Watford with a double each. The England striker must love New Year's Day, matching Thierry Henry's record with his 59th goal in 100 Premier League games. After thrashing Southampton 1-4 last week as well, it was the first time since October 1960 Spurs scored four goals in two consecutive away games - the season they did the Double. Promising. Andre Gray more than deserves a shoutout too after being the first Burnley player to score a Premier League hat-trick, downing Sunderland 4-1 at Turf Moor.

What a goal! Olivier Giroud's elastic "scorpion" goal, looped in off Alexis Sánchez, that gave Arsenal the lead against Crystal Palace, was a beauty. The piece of magic resembled Henrikh Mkhitaryan's stunner from last week, with the main difference being, it was not offside! It was the Frenchman's second goal in as many games, keeping the Gunners in the title race with a shout, in third place, three points behind Liverpool in second, nine behind Chelsea at the top. Hal Robson Kanu's stunner as West Brom beat Saints 1-2 at St Mary's deserves a mention, too, in the Welshman's first Premier League start since May 2013.

What the hell?! Liverpool recorded just five shots in their win against Manchester City, man of the match Georginio Wijnaldum (8') on the scoreboard with the one and only goal. It was a rare defensive performance by the Reds, keeping back and even wasting time at the end. Very unlike Jürgen Klopp and his teams, but the German manager didn't care, the main thing was the clean sheet and three points. City meanwhile looked very laboured, the defeat taking them out of the top four, down to fifth, level on points with Spurs in fourth, Pep Guardiola not happy. Click here for my match report.

My Predictions - Actual Results
(Forgot to make predictions, hence, auto-allocation = 1:0)
Hull City 1:0 Everton - 2:2
Burnley 1:0 Sunderland - 4:1
Chelsea 1:0 Stoke City - 4:2
Leicester 1:0 West Ham - 1:0
Man United 1:0 Middlesbrough- 2:1
Southampton 1:0 West Brom - 1:2
Swansea 1:0 Bournemouth - 0:3
Liverpool 1:0 Man City - 1:0 or click here for my match report
Watford 1:0 Tottenham - 1:4
Arsenal 1:0 Crystal Palace - 2:0

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Wijnaldum Header Beats City

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 1:0 MCFC

Liverpool recorded their fourth consecutive league win, beating Manchester City 1-0 at Anfield, a rare clean sheet which keeps them in second place, six points behind league leaders Chelsea.

It was a rare defensive and more conservative display by the Reds, creating just five shots and holding less possession (43%), very unlike Jürgen Klopp and his usual attacking football mentality.

The only shot on target for the hosts came just eight minutes into the game, man of the match Georginio Wijnaldum heading in off Adam Lallana's cross, and it ended up being the winner.

It took Liverpool's annual total of league goals to 87, their most in a calendar year since 1985.

It was an intense affair, but lacked true quality making it less competitive, more edgy and frustrating.

The Sky Blues looked laboured throughout, but didn't give keeper Simon Mignolet much to do, the Reds happy to stay back and even wasting time at the end.

Big man Sergio Agüero had returned after serving his four-match ban, but was left starving for service and deserted.

Usually dangerous and productive Kevin de Bruyne was also made redundant, pushed aside by the hosts' intense pressing.

David Silva and Yaya Touré tried but failed to call the shots and create any real threats from the middle as well.

This defeat doubled Pep Guardiola's total of losses he suffered in the entire 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign with Bayern Munich (2) and opened up a ten-point gap to the top spot.

Klopp meanwhile made it 5-4 taking the lead in the head-to-head between the two top managers, dismissing any criticism of his side's defence.

It was the fourth consecutive league win for Liverpool against Manchester City for the first time since 1981.

Both sides have less than 48 hours rest, the Reds having to travel to Sunderland, whilst City head back home to host Burnley, both afternoon 3pm kick-offs.

Liverpool Goals: Wijnaldum 8'.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 2 Clyne, 6 Lovren, 17 Klavan (booked 7'), 7 Milner; 14 Henderson (c) (27 Origi 64'), 5 Wijnaldum, 23 Can (booked 75'); 11 Firmino, 19 Mané (21 Lucas 89'), 20 Lallana. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 15 Sturridge, 18 Moreno, 53 Ejaria, 66 Alex-Arnold.

Manchester City Team: 1 Bravo; 24 Stones, 5 Zabaleta (c) (15 Navas 86'), 30 Otamendi (booked 93'), 11 Kolarov; 17 De Bruyne, 21 Silva; 25 Fernandinho, 7 Sterling, 32 Yaya Touré (72 Iheanacho 89'); 10 Agüero. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 3 Sagna, 6 Fernando, 13 Caballero, 22 Clichy, 75 Garcia Serrano.

Match Stats: Liverpool-Man City
Possession: 43%-57%
Attempts: 5-9
On target: 1-2
Corners: 4-6
Fouls: 12-12
Bookings: 2-1

Referee: Craig Pawson
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,120

Pictures and stats taken from BBC match report.

Click here for my previous LFC match report.