Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 32

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 32

The 32nd week of the Premier League action saw:
243 shots - most by Man City = 23
29 goals - most by Tottenham & Everton = 4 each
221 fouls - most by Man United = 20
34 bookings - most by West Ham & Man United = 5 each
1 red card - Sebastian Larsson for Sunderland
1 penalty - 1 scored (Milivojevic for Palace)

What a game! From the first minute, it was all bang boom bang, comeback versus comeback, game on at Goodison Park! Everton took the lead in the first minute thanks to Tom Davies poking in the joint fastest goal in the Premier League. But champions Leicester came back hitting two in six minutes, Islam Slimani in the fourth and Marc Albrighton in the tenth minute. The Toffees showed more stubbornness and hunger though, Romelu Lukaku's double taking his tally to 13 in the last eight home games and turning the game on its head yet again. The Belgian striker served Craig Shakespeare his first defeat, making it a club record of seven out of seven home wins for Ronald Koeman's men. Great entertainment, which saw the home side in seventh move level on points with Arsenal in sixth, whilst the Foxes stay in 11th.

What a team! Liverpool did what Arsenal were not able to - both played absolute shambles, the Reds making much needed changes at the break to turn the game around at Stoke, whilst the Gunners kept firing blanks and looked nowhere near anything at Crystal Palace. Jürgen Klopp started with the youngsters, but after seeing his side being chopped to bits and falling behind thanks to boyhood Evertonian Jonathan Walters, the German brought on Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino who both banged in a goal each to take and turn the game around 1-2 and make a statement, even though the boss was adamant they didn't start due to lack of fitness... Arsène Wenger meanwhile looked clueless and helpless at Selhurst Park, his team mirroring that in their way of play, or lack of, the Eagles bossing it from start to finish, winning convincingly 3-0. If the games reveal or reflect anything, then it's the contrasting trend/spiral each side is finding themselves in!

What a man! This weekend my vote goes to the keepers, so many superb saves! Wow! Simon Mignolet kept Liverpool in the game with some great quick-reaction, reflex-type stops, putting his body on the line till the final whistle, very much appreciated by his team mates and manager and fully deserved to be crowned man of the match. Both Ben Foster and Fraser Forster served tung twisters for the commentators with their super saves at the Hawthorns, Jordy Clasie the only one to find a way through with a perfect strike, bang into the right side of the net to make it 0-1 to Southampton. And it was thanks to Forster it stayed that way late on, denying West Brom a late equaliser. Darren Randolph also starred keeping West Ham ahead after Cheikhou Kouyaté had given the Hammers the lead at the Olympic Stadium, with some astonishing stretching and diving, denying Swansea any way back into the game and point with it. Show stoppers and stealers with it, well and truly!

What a goal! Dele Alli's right-foot curler into the top right corner that opened the scoring for Tottenham against Watford gets my vote. It was a beauty that just started what ended up being a thrashing onslaught that downed the Hornets 4-0 with Eric Dier and Son Heung-min also on the scoreboard. The double for the latter saw Spurs complete their 11th straight home win, their best run since 1987. Table-toppers Chelsea also eased to a win at Bournemouth, Marcos Alonso making it 1-3 with a perfect unstoppable free-kick, left-foot curler into the top-right corner. It just finished off a top class win, the Cherries just could not compete with the likes of Eden Hazard, who scored the second goal and is outrunning and -scoring anyone and everyone at the moment it seems. Top class.

What the hell?! The refs were so hypocritically useless once again this weekend. On the one hand, Firmino and Kouyate got booked for celebrating their goals for Liverpool and West Ham respectively, but then Burnley's Ashley Barnes got away with elbowing his opponent in the face and then giving him a blow in the nuts just to top it off. Oh, and the last defender Michael Keane incident bringing down Patrick Bamford also at the Riverside, shouldn't that have been red rather than yellow? It ended up goalless between Boro and Clarets, the bottom three remaining winless in the last six, and deservedly so looking at this less impressive encounter. And then seeing Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson sent off for the first time in his 278 Premier League appearances the next day in the Super Sunday clash against Manchester United... It just crushed any kind of chance the Black Cats had against the Red Devils, destroying any kind of competition there was. And it was harsh. Very harsh. And very inconsistent.

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

Click her for last week's Premier League Picks.

All stats and pictures are taken from MOTD and BBC match reports.

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