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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 35

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 35

21 goals - most by Man City = 5
205 shots - most by Arsenal = 20
74 on target - most by Man City = 12
93 corners - most by Leicester = 11
169 fouls - most by Watford = 17
26 yellow cards - most by Crystal Palace = 5
0 red cards
1 penalty - 1 scored (Groß for Brighton)

What a game! It was a desperate show at the King Power on Thursday night, both Leicester and Southampton missing chances, failing to record anything, ending up sharing a point each after a goalless show, keeping them 8th on 44 points and 18th four points from safety respectively. Not much to shout about for either side, the Saints fans the more worried.
Doomed rock-bottom West Brom on the other hand performed a perfect comeback from two goals down on Saturday to grab a point from Liverpool, late drama and bad refereeing, click here for my full match report.
It was too little too late by Stoke as well on Sunday, taking the lead against Burnley thanks to Badou Ndiaye but ending up conceding an equaliser, Ashley Barnes grabbing a point for the visitors at the bet365 stadium, condemning the home side to more misery and closer to certainty of relegation.

What a team! Brighton moved closer to Premier League safety with a hard-fought point against Tottenham last Tuesday, Pascal Groß levelling the score from the spot 143 seconds after Harry Kane had put the visitors ahead shortly after the break at the Falmer Stadium. With the London side much changed ahead of their FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester United on Saturday, Chris Hughton felt the point was well deserved. The Red Devils meanwhile made seven changes for their match at Bournemouth on Wednesday, ending up comfortable 0-2 winners thanks to Chris Smalling and sub Romelu Lukaku, despite the Cherries’ hard work and penalty appeal(s). Refereeing had once again not been good all round this week, more below.
Manchester City showed the glaring gap and difference between the top and the bottom of the table thrashing 17th placed Swansea 5-0 at the Etihad on Sunday, followed by awesome scenes afterwards of selfies, chants and celebrations of the fans and players all over the pitch. Can only say congratulations again! 

What a man! The biggest news was Arsène Wenger’s announcement on Friday, of leaving Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years. End of an era. And as a Liverpool fan I can say to the Gunners and their fans, be careful what you wish for. That unbeaten team (of 2004) is the best I’ve ever watched and that is a lot to say and see during the Fergie era!!! Yes, that’s a long time ago and a lot has happened since, but you cannot ignore the Frenchman’s massive influence in the team and game in general, how much it has changed and evolved with him! It will be hard to follow up. Names like Brendan Rodgers are already flying around. I’m just shaking my head... Pf... Taking charge of his 1,228th game on Sunday, facing West Ham, the atmosphere was certainly different, it was all about “Merci Arsène”. There were plenty of injuries and changes ahead of their Europa League semi-final. And the Gunners huffed and puffed and missed plenty, Joe Hart made a couple of splendid saves, it looked like same old frustrations. But it all exploded in the second half, the Hammers fighting back but three goals in seven minutes including Alexandre Lacazette’s brace made it 4-1 and was enough to keep the Emirates loud and singing “There’s only one Arsène Wenger!”.

What a goal! ((What a miss it was by Alvaro Morata for Chelsea, with just keeper Nick Pope to beat and make it 0-2 at Turf Moor in their game in hand on Thursday night, the Spaniard put the golden chance wide. The visitors were lucky enough to be ahead through Kevin Long’s own goal. Burnley equalised eight minutes later thanks to Barnes. But Victor Moses restored the lead for the Blues soon after.))
Rafael Benítez’s 100th game in charge of Newcastle was not much to write about on Monday night, Theo Walcott spoiling the show with a fine walloping finish to hand Everton their fifth consecutive top-flight win against Newcastle for the first time since January 1920 and end their run of three league games without a win. It was the only shot on target for the Toffees. The Magpies have won just one of their last 14 league trips to Goodison Park (D3 L10). And it says a lot that these stats were a more interesting read than the match itself. ZzZzZ

What the hell?! The goalless draw between Watford and Crystal Palace on Saturday ended feisty with bookings galore - how the referee at the Hawthorns didn’t distribute cards I just do not understand! As mentioned above, the refereeing has been so bad and inconsistent all round, something needs to be done! VAR has not been popular with the teams, but some kind of review system has to be introduced to improve the game! And not make the officials look like ignorant, bias, insecure and/or dodgy dummies! I keep ranting on about it nearly every week, the teams have rejected the VAR system, BUT SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!!!

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

*rescheduled/postponed due to the FA Cup semi-finals

((Game in hand, see week 31; 3 goals, 5-16 shots, 2-5 on target, 3-2 corners, 9-11 fouls, 1-0 yellow cards; not counted towards this week’s totals))

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.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Stubborn Baggies Snatch A Point Late On

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

West Brom came back from two goals down in the last eleven minutes to make it 2-2 and grab a point back from Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday at the Hawthorns.

Danny Ings scored his first Liverpool goal since the 4th October 2015 Merseyside derby to give the Reds the lead just four minutes into the match.

Sadio Mané produced a fine move on the left in the build-up, to cross to Georginio Wijnaldum who set up the former Derby player for the opener.

The Reds had made five changes ahead of their Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday, whilst the Baggies remained unchanged from their win at Old Trafford last weekend.

The home side had plenty of chances to come back into the match before and after the break but a certain Egyptian spoilt that possibility.

Sub Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set up Mohamed Salah just over six minutes after coming on, the top scorer bouncing the ball up and past everyone from close range to make it 0-2 to the visitors.

With that goal Salah equalled Luis Suárez’s LFC record of 31 Premier League goals in a single season.

Jake Livermore pulled one back for the bottom side with just over ten minutes to go, netting the rebound off a Loris Karius save from a couple of yards out, the Red keeper not happy.

Ahmed El-Sayed Hegazi got away with a couple of reckless tackles, first with a late challenge on Ings earlier on (followed by a punch in the stomach), then elbowing Salah in the buildup to the home side’s goal, referee Stuart Attwell not seeing and/or having any of it!

With a couple of minutes to go, a soft free kick, taken by skipper Chris Brunt on the left, was headed in by Salomón Rondón to make it 2-2 and complete a perfect comeback for Darren Moore’s men.

The caretaker coach could not have asked for a better reaction, Jürgen Klopp’s side never really got on top of things, the German blaming the dry pitch whilst the home side created more of less and grabbed a point back from the Red clutches.

It’s maybe too little too late to avoid relegation for West Brom, but at least gives them some encouragement to look forward to something next season, a side that actually gels and plays together! 

Moore has won five points from his three Premier League games in charge (W1 D2 L0), one more than Alan Pardew won in his last 11 games for the Baggies (W1 D1 L9). 

Meanwhile it was a wake-up call for Liverpool ahead of their European clash against Roma on Tuesday, they have to take more care and concentration at the back to not make all the class and sparks at the front go to waste!

HT Stats: WBA 0-1 LFC
Possession: 30%-70%
Shots: 4-5
On target: 1-2
Corners: 5-4
Fouls: 5-0

FT Stats: WBA 2-2 LFC
Possession: 38%-62%
Shots: 13-9
On target: 6-3
Corners: 7-4
Fouls: 12-5
Yellow cards: 0-1

West Brom Goals: Livermore 79’ & Rondón 88’.

Liverpool Goals: Ings 4’ & Salah 72’.

West Brom Team: 1 Foster; 3 Gibbs (17 Burke 76’), 26 Hegazi, 25 Dawson, 2 Nyom; 14 McClean (6 Evans 71’), 11 Brunt (c), 8 Livermore, 10 Phillips; 19 Rodriguez (4 Robson-Kanu 89’); 9 Rondón. 4-4-1-1
Subs not used: 5 Yacob, 13 Myhill, 20 Krychowiak, 28 Field.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 18 Moreno (booked 69’), 17 Klavan, 4 van Dijk, 12 Gomez; 7 Milner, 14 Henderson (c), 5 Wijnaldum; 19 Mané (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain (65’), 28 Ings (9 Firmino 65’), 11 Salah (6 Lovren 84’). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 22 Mignolet, 26 Robertson, 29 Solanke, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the match: Matt Phillips
Ground: The Hawthorns
Attendance: 24,520

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

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

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 34

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 34

The 34th week of the Premier League action saw:

29 goals - most by Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Liverpool & Man City = 3 each
236 shots - most by Liverpool = 20
80 on target - most by Crystal Palace = 8
108 corners - most by West Ham = 10
230 fouls - most by Stoke = 21
39 yellow cards - most by Southampton = 5
0 red cards 
1 penalty - Gündogan for Man City

What a game! Unlike last week, this weekend kicked of with a cracker at St Mary’s. Southampton could not have asked for a better start after going two goals up thanks to Dušan Tadić (21’) and Jan Bednarek (60’), Chelsea just chasing shadows, the home side in total control. However, a crazy eight minutes in the last quarter saw three goals, substitute Olivier Giroud with a brace (70’ & 78’) and Eden Hazard (75’) completing a perfect comeback for the Blues, stunning and silencing the Saints. What a turnaround. And more goal-fests were on their way, see below.
Crystal Palace and Brighton enjoyed a love-hate relationship with set pieces in their clash at Selhurst Park - seeing four goals netted in the opening quarter!!! And that was not all, see below.

What a team! Burnley are moving closer to Europa League qualification recording their fifth consecutive win with two goals in three minutes in the opening nine minutes by former Fox Chris Wood (6’) and Kevin Long (9’), Jamie Vardy (72’) pulling one back eventually but Leicester were nowhere, wasteful, too little too late, just like last week, a record eighth time the Yorkshire man has scored and lost this season. Man of the match Nick Pope did a brilliant job keeping and frustrating the hell out of the 2016 champions.
Manchester City ended Spurs’ 14-match unbeaten run beating the Londoners confidently 1-3 at Wembley in the late late kick-off on Saturday, bouncing back from their Champions League exit against Liverpool and leaving them on the brink of winning the Premier League. See below who served them the title on Sunday.

What a man! Mohamed Salah (69’) headed in his 30th league goal, 40th of the season in all competitions, after Sadio Mané (7’) netted his 10th and 17th respectively and Roberto Firmino (90’) finished the game off with his 15th and 25th respectively, to make it Liverpool 3-0 against Bournemouth at Anfield. That takes the front trio’s total to 55 goals in the league, 82 all round, the Reds moving up to third overtaking Tottenham after their defeat against Man City. And that’s the eighth clean sheet in the last 12 games, five conceded, 29 scored by Jürgen Klopp's men, the only unbeaten team at home left in all four divisions. Mind-blowing! 
West Brom caretaker boss Darren Moore absolutely dwarfed Manchester United manager José Mourinho, not just in statue but with the teams’ contrasting performances as well. Watching the match, you would have never have guessed it was at Old Trafford, the bottom side dominated play and didn’t let the Red Devils into the game, Jay Rodriguez (73’) heading in the winner that handed Manchester City the title for the third time in seven years. I’m sure Sir Alex Ferguson was wondering who/what/why he was watching and seeing, whilst Pep Guardiola’s golfing afternoon most certainly turned so much sweeter, becoming the first Spaniard to win the English title. And with five games to spare they equalled the English top-flight record of United (1907-08 & 2000-01) and Everton (1984-85) of being crowned the earliest champions! Congratulations to the Citizens, definitely simply the best this season! 

What a goal! Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha’s second was a lovely finish, raising and heading the ball in acrobatically, to make it 3-1 after just 24 minutes against Brighton. José Izquierdo made it five goals in under 35 minutes with a sublime curl into the bottom corner to make it 3-2. Game on!!! The scoreline stayed that way though after the all-guns-blazing firing start taking Roy Hodgson’s men to only their second win in the last 11 games and six points clear of the drop zone.
Swansea’s Kyle Naughton’s own goal gave Everton the lead against the run of play in Wales (43’), off his face, it was a bit bizarre, the home side thinking they’ve cleared it, the ref’s watch proving differently. Jordan Ayew grabbed a goal and point back for the Swans (71’) but it will still have felt like two points dropped, Toffees boss Big Sam praising Wayne Rooney for his performance, much in contrast to last week’s Merseyside derby tantrum.
Substitute Tom Ince left it later than late to find a last-minute winner against Watford (90’+1’), slotting in Mathias Jørgensen’s fine cut back to record the Tigers’ first win in six. Crucial goals and points all round in the relegation battle, this result taking Huddersfield seven points clear of the bottom three.
And it was all about the subs at West Ham too, Peter Crouch netting for Stoke after Joe Hart spilled Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot (79’) before Andy Carroll grabbed a point back with a fine volley (90’) coming off the bench in his first game since January. It was a late rescue after the home side already saw three goals disallowed, the result leaving the Potters in 19th, the end of their 10-year PL stint edging closer and closer, the Hammers happier in 14th, seven points safe from the drop zone.

What the hell?! Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso was lucky not to see red for his challenge on Saint Shane Long, Mark Hughes was not happy, Antonio Conte saw nothing of course. Yeah, rrrrright.
Newcastle recorded their first home win against Arsenal since 10 December 2005 ending a losing streak of ten games with their 2-1 comeback win at St James’ Park on Sunday thanks to Ayoze Pérez (29’) and Matt Ritchie (68’) after Alexandre Lacazette (14’) had opened the scoring for the visitors. The Gunners continued their miserable away run remaining winless on the road in 2018 - losing five successive away league games for the first time since 1984. Salud to Rafael Benítez, his club should be safe in 10th, 13 points clear of the drop; same old misery for Arsène Wenger, stuck in sixth, Burnley sneaking up on them in seventh. Merde.

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

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.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Red Over Blue Again & Into CL Semis

Sports - Football - Champions League - MCI 1:2 LIV

Liverpool booked their place in the Champions League semi-final for the first time in a decade after coming back from behind to beat Manchester City 1-2 in the quarter-final second leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, thrashing them 1-5 on aggregate. 

Mohamed Salah started for the Reds after missing out the goalless Merseyside derby on Saturday due to injury, whilst the Citizens made four changes to the side that lost the mad Manchester derby at the weekend with Sergio Agüero on the bench.

And the home side could not have asked for a better start after their shock in the first leg at Anfield, Virgil Van Dijk losing the ball looking for a free kick, former Red Raheem Sterling ripping through the visitors, given too much space to run and provide Gabriel Jesus who netted the opener after just one minute and 57 seconds! Too easy!

Kevin De Bruyne sent a chance high soon after, before Sadio Mané and Nicolas Otamendi collided, City keeper Ederson Moraes getting involved and pushing the Senegalese again and again, both names were added to the referee's book after just 14 minutes.

It was a feisty, breathtaking start, the home side dominating and pressing, testing the visitors again and again, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and Andrew Robertson dealing and coping well with all the pressure, clearing the ball again and again, top class.

Sterling went down too easy too many times, desperately looking for trouble against Robertson, the referee had a word, whilst Alexander-Arnold and Bernardo Silva were cautioned for choking Leroy Sané and verbal protests respectively.

Roberto Firmino was also booked for catching De Bruyne too late, the Belgian too quick for the Brazilian striker on the counter before Liverpool finally got their first shot on target with nearly 40 minutes on the clock, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain serving Ederson an easy catch.

The first half ended as crazy as it started, Bernardo Silva hitting the bar before Jesus' shot was blocked, James Milner with the last touch and Loris Karius nowhere near, Sané netting the rebound, but the flag was up, goal disallowed.

The Ox and Salah combined well in the final seconds before the interval, a nice one-two and rare Red combo attack, but the chance went just high. It stayed 1-0 at half-time without any time added on.

Spanish referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz probably needed the break more than anyone else after a crazy 45 minutes, City boss Pep Guardiola was not happy with the officials and sent to the stands from the restart, obviously having taken his protests too far.

Jürgen Klopp could be glad it was only 1-0 but surely needed the Reds to step up if they did not want to collapse under all the pressure and after having worked so hard. And they didn't. Quite the opposite.

Their Egyptian star shined once again, beating Ederson with a lovely move and finish after collecting the ball off a falling Mané in the box, making it 1-1 with his 10th European goal and 39th in all competitions eleven minutes after the break.

Guardiola communicated with his coaching staff to make changes, Agüero and Ilkay Gündogan were brought on, the home side looking to make their continuous dominance count, but to no avail.

Firmino gave the Reds the lead with just under a quarter of an hour to go, 1-2 on the night, 1-5 on aggregate, his 24th goal of the season after Otamendi gave the ball away and Fernandinho backed away, breaking more European records.

The front duo of Salah and Firmino have both scored more goals in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign for Liverpool than any other player in the club's history (10 each = 20).

These two goals bring the Reds' total to 33 goals in the Champions League this season, the most by an English side in a single campaign.

It was just not City's night, seeing another goal disallowed for offside, correctly this time, Sané mistiming his runs too regularly, no wonder the officials kept raising their flags. 

It stayed 1-2, the Reds' persistence paying off and breaking down the Citizens once again, making it three wins out of three meetings, to reach their 18th European semi-final.

City had scored three or more goals in 12 out of their 26 home games this season, so, they are more than capable to come back from three goals down, but Klopp's men were able to stop them.

Liverpool have only lost by three or more goals three times under Klopp:
Watford 3-0 (2015)
Tottenham 4-1 (2017)

The German made sure that didn't happen again this time, recording his seventh win against Guardiola, the first time the Catalonian has lost three times in a row since May 2015 with Bayern.

Next on the list for the Reds are Bournemouth at Anfield Saturday evening, surely the Kop will be bouncing still after this display - ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ! :-D

Man City Goal: de Jesus 2’.

Liverpool Goals: Salah 56’ & Firmino 77’.

Match Stats: MCFC 1-2 LFC
Possession: 68%-32%
Shots: 20-5
On target: 3-3
Corners: 9-2
Fouls: 5-7
Yellow cards: 2-4

Man City Team: 31 Ederson (booked 14’); 14 Laporte, 17 De Bruyne, 25 Fernandinho; 30 Otamendi, 2 Walker; 7 Sterling, 33 de Jesus, 21 D Silva (c) (10 Agüero 66’), 20 B Silva (booked 30’) (8 Gündogan 74’); 19 Sané. 3-2-4-1
Subs not used: 1 Bravo, 4 Kompany, 18 Delph, 35 Zinchenko, 47 Foden.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 26 Robertson, 4 van Dijk (booked 65’), 6 Lovren, 66 Alexander-Arnold (booked 29’) (2 Clyne 81’); 5 Wijnaldum, 7 Milner (c), 21 Oxlade-Chamberlain; 19 Mané (booked 14’), 9 Firmino (booked 35’) (17 Klavan 81’), 11 Salah (28 Ings 89’). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 18 Moreno, 22 Mignolet, 29 Solanke, 58 Woodburn.

Referee: Antonio Miguel Matheu Lahoz
Man of the match: Mohamed Salah
Ground: Etihad Stadium
Attendance: 53,461

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report, Sky Sports app, Twitter, BT Sport and beIN sports match coverage.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 33

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 33

The 33rd week of the Premier League action saw:

29 goals - most by Man United & Arsenal = 3 each
220 shots - most by Chelsea = 23
74 on target - most by Southampton = 8
96 corners - most by Bournemouth = 11
188 fouls - most by Stoke City = 19
34 yellow cards - most by Man City = 6
3 red cards - Pröpper for Brighton, Stephens for Southampton, El Neny for Arsenal
0 penalties

What a game! The weekend started with Merseyside derby disappointment, a goalless training game at Goodison Park, click here for my full match report! To Manchester madness in the evening, it was a game of two halves all right!!! City were bossing it in the first half, Vincent Kompany and İlkay Gündoğan putting the Citizens on top and it could have been so much more, no reply whatsoever from the Red Devils. Until the second half, two goals in two minutes by man of the match Paul Pogba (53' & 55') and Chris Smalling with just over 20 minutes to go completed the comeback for the visitors. Pep Guardiola's men had more chances, including substitute Sergio Agüero and Raheem Sterling, but the woodwork and David de Gea saved the day for José Mourinho's team. That's the blue side of Manchester's title celebrations postponed for now, whilst the red part widened the gap to their Scouser rivals in third place.

What a team! Newcastle recorded their third Premier League win on the trot beating Leicester thanks to goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Pérez, Jamie Vardy pulling one back late on. More below. Boss Rafa Benítez feels his side are "nearly" safe, in tenth place, ten points from the drop zone, with a game in hand, I think Rafa is right with his assumption. Muy bien. The Foxes meanwhile, have lost momentum, remaining stuck in eighth, six points behind Burnley in seventh after their 1-2 comeback at Watford. The two sides meet next weekend, a win is a must for Claude Puel's side if they want to stay in the race for Europa League qualification. A far cry from the title-winning side two years ago... Très triste!

What a man! Christian Eriksen's brace helped Tottenham to their sixth consecutive league win consolidating their place in the top four by beating Stoke 1-2 increasing the home side's relegation fears stuck in 19th, four points from safety. Swansea meanwhile came from behind to grab a point at West Brom, the Baggies ending their eight-game run of straight defeats in Darren Moore's first match as caretaker manager in place of Alan Pardew after just 21 matches in charge (W3 D5 L14).
Joe Hart made a couple of top-class saves for West Ham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, taking two points off Chelsea and bagging their own thanks to sub Chicharito's goal seconds after coming on. The point took the Hammers four points clear of the drop zone in 14th.

What a goal! Joshua King's last-minute goal for Bournemouth nicked a point against Palace after the London side had come back twice at Dean Court! The draw keeps the Eagles in 17th, widening the gap to the drop zone ever so slightly but crucially to three points. A crazy couple of minutes at the Amex Stadium saw Jonas Lössl give Brighton the lead seeing the ball rebound off his head and into his own net before Steve Mounié pounced on Shane Duffy's back pass to equalise for Huddersfield. Davy Pröpper's late sending off gave the visitors some hope of grabbing a late winner, but it stayed 1-1, a crucial point in the relegation battle for the sides in 13th and 16th respectively.
Danny Welbeck scored two and made one, sealing the win for Arsenal, just, 3-2 against Southampton on Sunday, which saw both teams reduced to ten men in injury time. Both sides scraped and scratched, punched and hit, the Gunners dealing the Saints the final blow, it was not an easy watch for either side.

What the hell?! The referees did not make many friends again this weekend!!! Foxes defender Harry Maguire was lucky not to be sent off for his hand on Toon Dwight Gayle's face. The following bust-up didn't help either side. And Leicester's penalty appeal for Paul Dummett's collision with Riyad Mahrez was overlooked/ignored as well. You could argue things evened themselves out... There was a handball before West Brom's goal, which could/should have been a red card in the end. Was it just a bit of luck for the caretaker boss?! And City should have had a penalty after Ashley Young's two-footed tackle on substitute Agüero. Various booking decisions by the officials were very questionable at the Etihad. The derby is a difficult and challenging clash to officiate and keep control over, but come on! The Merseyside derby saw no bookings for the first times since 1992, but there were numerous questionable decisions there as well, clashes, fouls, etc. It was like the referees were just reluctant to make any decisions!!! Did they have any bets on?!

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

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