Fantasy Premier League: Differential Picks for Gameweek 35

We are officially in the final stretch of the marathon. FPL managers have a lot at stake and are desperate to pull ahead of their fellow runners. And this section of precious FPL tips aims to make the task easier. 

Premier League Gameweek 34 was feisty as ever, as all top teams turned up to make the Premier League Matchday 34 a grand occasion. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City dug deep to bury their past demons and registered a comfortable 3-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool responded to Manchester City’s comprehensive win by nicking a solid 2-0 win over Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea, who will now need a bit of favor from the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal to secure Champions League football for next season. Manchester United and Arsenal secured slender wins over West Ham United and Watford, respectively, while Tottenham cruised to a 4-0 win over Huddersfield. 

Premier League Gameweek 35 will aim to return the English top-flight to all its glory. All 20 sides are in action this week and will look to pick up right where they left off last week. 

Here are Fantasy Premier League differentials for Gameweek 35:

Kevin De Bruyne — Manchester City — £9.7m — 4.9%

Yes, the Manchester City maestro doesn’t come cheap, but the man is worth every single penny on his day. The Belgian has struggled with niggling injuries this season, which has hurt his numbers, but, now, he is once again ready to help his team in the final stretch of the season. 

Manchester City have a double Gameweek this time around. In their first encounter, they host Tottenham Hotspur, hoping to avenge their Champions League exit, earlier this week. For the second match, they take on derby rivals, Manchester United, at Old Trafford, which practically is their game in hand.

Alex Iwobi — Arsenal — £5.4m — 1.6%

Alex Iwobi probably is not the first name that pops to mind when we talk about influential Arsenal stars, but the player is certainly capable of doing something spectacular with the ball at his feet. Unai Emery hasn’t always been generous with game time, but after Thursday’s demanding Europa League clash with Napoli, he might want to rotate some of his players for the upcoming Premier League double Matchday. 

The Gunners had to dig surprisingly deep to secure last week’s 1-0 win at Watford, but that away win is bound to give them some confidence. At home, they have been almost spotless this season, and we expect the trend to continue against Crystal Palace. In their next match, they make the trip to Wolverhampton, which has all the makings of being an end-to-end contest. 

Danny Ings —Southampton — £5.4m — 2.9%

Over the last weeks, Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side has done superbly to return to winning ways. They still have a bit of work to do, but by the looks of it, they are on their way to featuring in the next edition of the Premier League. Shane Long has been the more in-form forward lately, but Ings’ reliability is quite exemplary. 

Like Arsenal and Manchester City, Southampton, too, have a double Gameweek. For the first one, they make the trip to Newcastle, while their next match pits them against Watford, away from home. Two consecutive away games are never good for a team fighting for survival, but Saints’ recent form gives them plenty of reasons to be optimistic. 

Premier League : GameWeek 30 | Man City one point clear at top

Premier League : GameWeek 30 | Man City one point clear at top

The 30th match-week of English Premier League 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Sunday and brought with it some breathtaking action, wonderful goals and the usual dose of excitement and drama.

Match-week 30 of Premier League witnessed plenty of excitement and emotions. Manchester United lost two valuable points against Arsenal at the Emirates, while it was a comfortable week for teams like Liverpool and Man City, who secured all three points. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Manchester City 3-1 Watford

Raheem Sterling stole the show as he grabs a hat-trick against Watford to help Manchester City register a 3-1 win and pull four points clear in the title race and pile the pressure on 2nd placed Liverpool. The England winger bagged three goals inside 13 minutes in the second half, the first of which should have been disallowed, to make it five straight wins in the league for Pep Guardiola’s side. Gerard Deulofeu grabbed a late consolation just 20 seconds after coming off the bench for Watford but the damage was already done. City have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League games, and are on the longest current winning run in the competition with six games.

Leicester City 3-1 Fulham

Jamie Vardy scored two late goals as Leicester City beat Fulham 3-1 in Brendan Rodgers’ first home game in charge of the Foxes. Leicester took the lead in the 21st minute when Vardy beat the offside trap and laid the ball on to Belgian midfielder Tielemans, who is on loan from Monaco, and he netted his first Premier League goal with a simple tap-in. Substitute Floyd Ayite equalized shortly after the break when he surged into the penalty area and beat goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a shot which took a deflection off two Leicester defenders. Vardy restored Leicester’s lead with a trademark finish in the 78th minute, drilling in a low shot past Sergio Rico from inside the penalty box. Vardy sealed the home side’s win with a scrambled close-range finish in the 86th minute.

Newcastle United 3-2 Everton

Ayoze Perez scored twice and set up Salomon Rondon in a stunning performance At St James’ Park, Newcastle stormed back from two goals down at half-time to secure a vital 3-2 victory over Everton in a captivating match. The Newcastle striker had leveled three minutes earlier after Pickford spilled Miguel Almiron’s stinging drive into his path, while Perez also set up Salomon Rondon’s fine volley to get the hosts back into the game. Until then, Rafael Benitez’s side had felt aggrieved at referee Lee Mason’s decision not to send Pickford off for a foul on Rondon, with the England goalkeeper saving a poor subsequent penalty from Matt Ritchie. The Magpies’ mood darkened when, moments after that save, Richarlison tapped in his side’s second after Martin Dubravka parried Andres Gomes’ low cross straight to the Everton winger.

Southampton 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse scripted a spectacular comeback win for Southampton who stunned Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday after being completely outplayed in the first half. Tottenham held the lead at half-time through Harry Kane’s opener and fully deserved their advantage following the dominant first 45 minutes. However, the Saints came roaring back with two goals from Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse in a much improved second-half display. The Spurs now have lost three consecutive away games in the Premier League for just the second time under Mauricio Pochettino, previously doing so in November 2017.

Liverpool 4-2 Burnley

Liverpool on Sunday had to survive Burnley’s scare on both ends of the game to secure a 4-2 win on the strength of two braces by Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, keeping the pace with the Premier League’s standing leader Manchester City. The home side went 1-0 behind when Ashley Westwood’s corner looped over Alisson straight into the back of the net. 13 minutes after going behind, Jurgen Klopp’s men equalized through Roberto Firmino. In the 29th minute, Liverpool took a 2-1 lead. In the 67th minute, Heaton miscued his goal-kick and Liverpool countered to set up Firmino for his second of the game. Salah was tackled in the box after taking too long to shoot and the ball fell straight to Firmino for another open goal. Johann Berg Gudmundsson later made it 3-2 in stoppage time to set up a nervy finish before Mane rounded Heaton and bagged his second to seal the victory.

Chelsea 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

An injury-time goal from Eden Hazard salvaged a point for Chelsea against a dogged Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Sunday. The Blues looked like they were going to suffer their second defeat of the season against the West Midlands outfit with Raul Jimenez putting the visitors in front at Stamford Bridge. Wolves broke from inside their own half with some attractive interplay before Jimenez clipped the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga to give the visitors the lead in the 56th minute. With time running out it looked like it was going to be a memorable win for Wolves against the Blues but it was Belgian international Hazard to the rescue in the 92nd minute.

Cardiff City 2-0 West Ham United

West Ham United fell to a frustrating 2-0 defeat at Cardiff City on Saturday, when a goal at the start of each half kept the points in South Wales. Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa punished some sloppy defending from the visitors to get the goals, which Cardiff proceeded to defend relatively comfortably. Declan Rice struck the post in the second period, but the Hammers were unable to break down a stubborn home rearguard with regularity and they could have few complaints about the final score.

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United

Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 in a crucial Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Granit Xhaka put Arsenal ahead with a good striker in the 12th minute, while Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang converted a penalty in the second half to win the match for Arsenal. The Gunners put in an impressive display, while United were below par and most of their players looked a bit jaded. It was only United’s 2nd defeat in 18 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as Arsenal continued their impressive home form. They have now defeated United, Chelsea, and Tottenham in their home ground in the Premier League.

Also Read: 5 most controversial defenders in PL history

Premier League : GameWeek 29 | Man City one point clear at top

Premier League : GameWeek 29 Round Up | Man City one point clear at top

The 29th match-week of English Premier League 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Sunday and brought with it some breathtaking action, wonderful goals and the usual dose of excitement and drama. 

Match-week 29 of Premier League witnessed plenty of excitement and emotions. Liverpool, again lost two valuable points against Everton in the Merseyside derby, while it was a comfortable week for teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United, and Man City too, who secured all three points. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Arsenal

Hugo Lloris saved a late penalty to secure a 1-1 draw for Tottenham against Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday after Harry Kane had equalized with a spot-kick of his own. Arsenal had a chance to win it in the final minutes when substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was adjudged to have been fouled in the area, but the striker’s weak effort from the spot was pushed away by Lloris. Aaron Ramsey had put Arsenal ahead in the 16th minute but Kane leveled in the 74th from a disputed penalty after he was pushed down in the box following a free kick. However, replays showed he was offside when the free kick was taken.

Burnley 1-3 Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha shone as Crystal Palace secured victory again to pile misery on Sean Dyche’s relegation-threatened Burnley side. Crystal Palace took the lead after Jeffrey Schlupp’s cross was turned into the net by Burnley’s Phil Bardsley. The visitors doubled their advantage at Turf Moor thanks to a well-taken finish from forward Michy Batshuayi. Wilfried Zaha tricked his way into the box before unleashing a powerful low drive to score Palace’s third goal. Burnley scored a late consolation goal with Ashley Barnes netting in the last minute of Saturday’s match.

Bournemouth 0-1 Manchester City

Manchester City opened up a one-point gap at the top of the league table with a crucial victory against Bournemouth with substitute Riyad Mahrez scoring the only goal. It was a second 1-0 win in the space of four days for City, who once again dominated possession but were forced to be patient against dogged and defensive opponents. City continued to push forward in the second half and deservedly took the lead after 55 minutes. Charlie Daniels failed to properly clear Bernardo Silva’s pass, the ball falling to Silva who teed up Mahrez to fire home at Artur Boruc’s near post.

Also Read: Why everyone should watch Man City documentary – All or Nothing

Manchester United 3-2 Southampton

Romelu Lukaku’s 89th-minute strike at Old Trafford, his fourth goal in two games, fired United back into the top four at the expense of Arsenal, who were held by Tottenham. The visitors who took the lead in spectacular fashion through Yann Valery’s long-range strike. The Red Devils leveled with another lovely strike from Andreas Pereira early in the second half before Romelu Lukaku turned the game on its head with a second for the hosts within six minutes. However, the Saints looked to have salvaged a share of the spoils when James Ward-Prowse scored a brilliant free-kick on 75 minutes, only for Lukaku to snatch the win for the hosts with just two minutes left on the clock.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Cardiff City

Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez were on red-hot form as Wolves ended a three-match winless run in the league with victory over struggling Cardiff. Jota broke the deadlock in the 16th minute, finishing confidently past Neil Etheridge following a free-flowing move. Wolves doubled their lead just two minutes later when Jota teed up Jimenez, who fired low into the corner for his 11th league goal of the campaign. Leander Dendoncker nearly made it 3-0 in the first half but struck the post from point-blank range before being denied by Etheridge on the follow-up. The win lifts seventh-placed Wolves onto 43 points – while Cardiff remain 18th, two points off safety following a third consecutive defeat.

West Ham United 2-0 Newcastle United

West Ham United claimed a 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday evening, moving them up to ninth in the Premier League. Declan Rice opened the scoring for the hosts after just seven minutes when he met Robert Snodgrass’ pinpoint corner. Mark Noble doubled the Hammers’ lead shortly before half-time, exquisitely putting away a penalty after Javier Hernandez was fouled in the box. Chances were few and far between in the second half, with the visitors going close late on when Salomon Rondon struck the post. The win sees Manuel Pellegrini’s side stretch their unbeaten run at the London Stadium to six games in all competitions, with their last defeat at homecoming against Watford shortly before Christmas.

Fulham 1-2 Chelsea

Chelsea beat west London neighbors Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage in Scott Parker’s first game in charge of the home side. With 20 minutes played, the Blues broke the deadlock as Willian found Cesar Azpilicueta, who crossed the ball into the area for Gonzalo Higuain to apply a superb first-time finish and leave Sergio Rico well beaten. But Fulham were level for just four minutes after that through Calum Chambers, however, before Jorginho found the back of the net with an accurate finish from 20 yards out, having been set up by Eden Hazard. Sixth-placed Chelsea have a game in hand and are now a point behind fifth-placed Arsenal and two adrift of Manchester United in fourth.

Everton 0-0 Liverpool

Liverpool missed the chance to go to the top of the Premier League after being held to a 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby at Everton. The Reds arrived at Goodison Park on the back of a 16-game unbeaten run against Everton in the Premier League, stretching back eight-and-a-half-years to October 2010, while both sides had picked up just two wins from their last six games. And, while Jurgen Klopp’s men carved out several good chances to score, Everton put in a determined display to secure a deserved share of the spoils to ensure their neighbors remain in second place, a point behind Manchester City, while the Toffees sit 10th on 37 points.

Premier League : GameWeek 28 Round Up | Reds one point clear at top

Premier League : GameWeek 28 Round Up | Reds one point clear at top

The 28th match-week of English Premier League 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Wednesday and brought with it some breathtaking action, last-gasp goals and the usual dose of excitement and drama. 

Match-week 28 of Premier League witnessed plenty of excitement and emotions. Liverpool, returned to their winning ways after a huge victory over Watford, while it was a comfortable week for teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United and Man City too, who secured all three points. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Huddersfield Town 1-0 Wolves

A stoppage-time winner from Steve Mounie helped Huddersfield beat Wolves 1-0 to clinch their first Premier League win in three months. Mounie forced home a rebound in the first minute of time added on to halt the Terriers’ run of five straight defeats and secure them just their third win of the season. Huddersfield, who had taken only one point from their previous 14 matches, also secured their first points under boss Jan Siewert. Huddersfield remain bottom of the table, still 11 points from safety.

Newcastle United 2-0 Burnley

Newcastle have pulled seven points clear of the Premier League relegation places with a 2-0 win against Burnley at St James’ Park. Newcastle took the lead on 24 minutes with a stunning 25-yard strike from Schar which flew into the top corner of the net off in the inside of the post. They got the second goal of the night on 38 minutes when Matt Ritchie’s cross from the left dropped over Salomon Rondon in the middle and fell to the feet of Longstaff who took a touch before drilling a low angled drive into the far corner of the net.

Southampton 2-0 Fulham

Southampton gave their fans a performance to cheer about on Wednesday night at St Mary’s, as the Saints lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with a win over Fulham. They scored with their first legitimate attempt on goal in the 23rd minute when Rico’s attempted punch from a corner dropped perfectly to Romeu on the edge of the area and he fired a half-volley through a crowd of players and into the net. The Saints Saints grabbed the second goal of the game on 41 minutes when Rico could only parry a curling Nathan Redmond attempt into the path of Ward-Prowse and he slid the ball into the net.

Arsenal 5-1 Bournemouth

Arsenal’s top four push looks to be building up ahead of steam as they dismantled Bournemouth 5-1 at the Emirates. The Gunners were fluid and ruthless in attack as Mesut Ozil opened the scoring before Henrikh Mkhitaryan made it two in the first half. Having given themselves a glimmer of hope with Mousset’s goal, a sluggish start to the second half from the visitors gifted Arsenal a third when Laurent Koscielny’s deflected effort got the better of a desperate Boruc, who clawed the ball out but only after it had crossed the line.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester United

Romelu Lukaku’s dual strike helped Manchester United to an easy victory over a lethargic Crystal Palace side. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team took the lead in the 33rd minute when Lukaku curled a shot past Vicente Guaita after more good play by Shaw. Two minutes after half time Paul Pogba headed Diogo Dalot’s cross over the bar before Lukaku scored his second goal of the evening in the 52nd minute when he cleverly clipped the ball over Guaita. Roy Hodgson’s team did score in the 65th minute when Joel Ward fired a close-range shot past David de Gea after Schlupp had created the opening. United put the seal on their victory when Ashley Young finished off a fine move by the visitors with seven minutes left.

Liverpool 5-0 Watford

Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk both scored twice as Liverpool returned to winning ways with a dominant performance against Watford to stay top of the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side were 2-0 up in 20 minutes at Anfield as Senegal forward Mane headed the first before doubling the lead with an outrageous back-heel, Trent Alexander-Arnold providing both assists. Mohamed Salah hit the post before Divock Origi beat Ben Foster at his near post to make it 3-0. Van Dijk scored two late headers as Liverpool eased to their biggest win of the season and stayed one point clear of Manchester City.

Also Read: Who is Klopp’s best signing so far?

Manchester City 1-0 West Ham United

A second-half penalty from Sergio Aguero proved enough for Manchester City as they defeated West Ham 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium. City’s pressure paid nicely just short of the hour whenas substitute Bernardo Silva entered into the box and appeared to go down easily under a challenge from Felipe Anderson. Stuart Atwell had no doubts and Sergio Aguero calmly rolled home past Lukasz Fabianski.

Despite the controversy, the lead was deserved and it almost felt like game over from there as the match petered out somewhat.

Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea registered a 2-0 win in a rather dull London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. An opening goal from Pedro was added to by an own goal from Kieran Trippier as Spurs leave the Bridge red-faced. hosts who edged the keenly-contested London derby with Pedro scoring 13 minutes into the second half, before a late howler of an own goal from Kieran Trippier sealed the points. The win keeps Chelsea in sixth position, three points off Arsenal in fourth but with a game in hand, while Spurs remain third but are now nine points adrift of leaders Liverpool after a second successive defeat.

Fantasy Premier League: Players to Avoid for Gameweek 28

Fantasy Premier League: Players to Avoid for Gameweek 28

Gameweek 27 didn’t offer many goals but still presented an abundance of entertainment to  Fantasy Premier League managers. We saw Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool return to the summit with a frustrating 0-0 draw at Manchester United on Sunday, opening up a one-point lead over second-placed Manchester City. Second-placed Manchester City and Chelsea took part in the final of the Carabao Cup, hence didn’t participate in the Premier League. 

Top-four contenders, Arsenal picked up a comfortable 2-0 win over Southampton, while Tottenham Hotspur succumbed to a shock defeat at Burnley on Saturday.

Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to Chelsea headlines Matchday 28, but there are many other mouth-watering clashes to enjoy, as well. Fantasy Premier League managers are in for an unpredictable Matchday, and this section is all about making their task a little easier. 

Here are four players to avoid for Matchday 28: 

Eden Hazard – Chelsea vs Tottenham – £10.8m

Eden Hazard undoubtedly is one of the best players in the Premier League, but the last few weeks haven’t been very kind on the Belgian skipper. He did his best to force a result against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final but couldn’t force a breakthrough. And considering the way Chelsea are playing right now, he’s not expected to enjoy much against Tottenham, either. 

Alternative: Paul Pogba – Crystal Palace vs Manchester United – £8.9m

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s favorite midfielder is arguably the most in-form player in the world right now and should be having a field day at Crystal Palace on Wednesday. 

Also Read: Lesser known facts about Eden Hazard

Roberto Firmino – Liverpool vs Watford – £9.2m

Premier League leaders, Liverpool, are set to be without first-choice striker Roberto Firmino for the foreseeable future after he rolled his right ankle in Sunday’s 0-0 stalemate at Manchester United. Watford aren’t always the easiest teams to play against and the forward will certainly be missed at Anfield on Wednesday.

Alternative: Raul Jimenez – Huddersfield vs Wolves – £6.9m

The Wolves forward has been directly involved in 17 goals this season, including 4 goals in the last 4 Premier League matchdays. Against the worst side in the division, he’s expected to get plenty of joy and hopefully a couple of goals. 

Marcus Rashford – Crystal Palace vs Manchester United – £7.7m

Manchester United forward, Marcus Rashford, has been a revelation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He went into the match against Liverpool in blistering form but couldn’t finish the match unscathed. As his side were already out of substitutions, he had to continue playing through the pain, but the player won’t be fit to feature against Palace this Wednesday.

Alternative: Romelu Lukaku – Crystal Palace vs Manchester United – £10.7m

It’s pretty much a like for like substitution. The Belgian fell out of favor since Solskjaer’s introduction but is expected to enjoy an extended run over the next few weeks. 

Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City vs West Ham United – £6.0m 

Manchester City lifted their first silverware of the season beating Chelsea on penalties on Sunday night. But the Carabao Cup success came at a hefty cost. They lost Fernandinho and Laporte to injuries and are likely to be without their services for the next several weeks. 

Alternative: Lucas Digne – Cardiff vs Everton – £5.3m

The Everton defender has been in brilliant form lately and is expected to have another comfortable outing this week. Cardiff have managed to score 6 goals in as many league matches and should much threat to Digne‘s back-line. 

Carabao Cup – Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City | Report and Talking Points

Carabao Cup - Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City | Report and Talking Points

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City defended their Carabao Cup beating Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea on Penalties at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night. 

Fans, well aware of the pedigree of the two sides in action, anticipated a high-scoring Carabao Cup final. Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to the sky-high billing, but there still was plenty of drama for us to enjoy. 

Having thrashed Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium just a couple of weeks back, the defending champions started the match as outright favorites. Chelsea, on the other hand, were desperate not to repeat the mistakes they made a fortnight ago and focused on keeping things tight at the back. 

As anticipated, City dominated possession and looked effortless on the ball, but, thanks to Sarri’s tactical shifts, struggled to make inroads into the Chelsea box. Their passing, as always, was immaculate, and they were in charge of proceedings in the first half. Chelsea looked more than happy to soak up the pressure and play on counters. 

In the second half, Sergio Aguero hit the back of the net, only for his strike to be ruled out for offside. Ross Barkley and N’Golo Kante came close to putting the Blues ahead, but neither of the two midfielders could keep their efforts on target. 

Extra time commenced, and the teams picked up right where they left off in the second half. Chelsea, following their two decent attempts, looked a tad more confident going forward and forced the City defenders to be on their toes. Aguero and Raheem Sterling came close to scoring for the holders, but ultimately, neither of the two teams managed to find the back of the net. With a 0-0 stalemate on the scoreboard, the match went to penalties. 

Jorginho — Chelsea’s opening spot-kick taker — fumbled his effort and allowed Ederson to make a comfortable save. Leroy Sane and David Luiz also missed their chances, but Sterling’s thumping drive won the tie for the Etihad outfit. 

Talking Points

Manchester City Show their Gritty Side

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are hailed universally for their effortless, incisive football. Last night, they weren’t allowed much time and space on the ball, which made it difficult for them to influence play the way they generally do. 

However, despite failing to impose their style of play, City didn’t allow Chelsea to get a foothold and did their best to keep the Blues scrambling for answers. 

Sarri’s Plan 

Following the embarrassing 6-0 drubbing at the Etihad Stadium, Maurizio Sarri looked desperate not to let City have their way in the final of the Carabao Cup. So, over the last two weeks, he devised a perfect plan to keep Chelsea from getting outplayed.

Last night, his players stood by him to deliver a defensively astute performance. Eden Hazard, who was Chelsea most potent weapon going forward, made a few darting runs in the second half, forcing City to fall back. 

Kepa Fiasco

Chelsea goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga is the most expensive shot-stopper in the world. And last night, he audaciously exercised his powers to undermine his coach. 

Before the penalty shootout, Sarri wanted to bring on penalty specialist second-choice keeper Willy Caballero. Kepa, who seemed to have a cramp at the time, made gestures and threw tantrums to stay involved, clearly insulting the coach and Caballero in the process. 

Also Read: Man City – All or nothing

Champions League: Round of 16 – 1st Leg Round Up

Champions League: Round of 16 – 1st Leg Round Up

UEFA Champions League Round of 16’s second four matches came to a conclusion on Wednesday and all lived up to their high-voltage expectations. 

Barcelona’s Champions League last-16 tie against Lyon remains finely poised after a goalless draw in the first leg, away from home on Tuesday, while the stage is similar for Liverpool also, with the same score-line at Anfield against German giants Bayern Munich. On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid delivered a major shock when they overcame Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus 2-0, while Manchester City scored two late goals to beat Schalke 3-2 at Veltins-Arena. Here’s a full round-up of the action.

Lyon 0-0 Barcelona

Barcelona failed to score despite managing 25 shots in their goalless stalemate at Olympique Lyonnais in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday, leaving the tie finely balanced ahead of next month’s second leg. Though Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele impressed, Barcelona struggled to produce any clear cut chances in response. Moussa Dembele had both the last chance of the first half and the first chance of the second half. But heavy touches allowed Gerard Pique and ter Stegen to get the better of him on those occasions. Then, with 20 minutes to go, came the game’s biggest chance. Jordi Alba picked Suarez out brilliantly but the Uruguayan, slipping as he shot, fired wide. Sergio Busquets had an effort from 18 yards tipped as the clock ran down, then Lionel Messi drilled a free-kick into the wall with Lyon standing firm.

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Lyon will be pleased to have kept a clean sheet for the first time in the competition this season but they will have to defy the weight of history if they are to progress, having not won an away game at this stage since 2005/06. Though Barcelona are without a win in their last six away knockout games, with this result, the Catalan club are now favorites to go through to the quarters, as the second leg will be hosted at Camp Nou.

Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich

The hosts posed the greater threat but were either wasteful in front of goal or kept out by Bayern’s well-organized defense. Sadio Mane missed a handful of first-half chances, most notably dragging a shot on the turn wide from inside the penalty area when unmarked. Joel Matip also failed to convert Roberto Firmino’s cross from six yards. Matip almost handed Bayern an away goal early on when his misdirected clearance rebounded to safety off Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson. The German champions were excellent defensively in the second half, with Mane’s 85th-minute header at the near post the closest Liverpool came to scoring. The second leg at the Allianz Arena will take place on 13 March.

Also Read: Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich | Talking Points

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Bayern have lost only two of their past 26 home Champions League games, and with this record on home soil, Niko Kovac’s men will be confident of progress in front of their own fans. But Liverpool are undefeated in their previous four trips to Germany, two wins and two draws, and know if they can score it will give them a huge advantage with away goals counting as double in the event of a draw.

Schalke 2-3 Manchester City

Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling scored late goals as 10-man Manchester City stunned Schalke at Veltins Arena to claim a 3-2 first-leg win in their Champions League last-16 tie. Despite leading through Sergio Aguero’s 18th-minute effort, City were behind at the break after Nabil Bentaleb scored a pair of spot-kicks. The first of those, awarded after a lengthy period of deliberation and confusion, was given for a handball against Nicolas Otamendi, who was booked for that transgression and then picked up a second yellow card with 22 minutes remaining. Substitute Sane scored against his former club with a sensational free kick in the 86th and Sterling grabbed a 90th-minute winner

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Manchester City have never failed to win a European tie after winning the away first leg. There have been nine such contests, most recently against Basel in last year’s round of 16 (4-0 away, 1-2 home). They will be without the suspended Otamendi and Fernandinho for the return but the portents are certainly in Guardiola’s charges’ favor.

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus

Atletico Madrid registered a huge victory over Juventus in the Champions League last 16 first leg thanks to two goals from their center-backs at set-pieces. Diego Simeone’s side were denied a penalty and an Alvaro Morata goal by the video assistant referee before they opened the scoring. Jose Maria Gimenez pounced from eight yards after Morata’s header was blocked by Mario Mandzukic. Diego Godin netted a half-volley, via a deflection off Cristiano Ronaldo. Striker Costa and midfielder Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid and Juve left-back Alex Sandro will all miss the second leg on Tuesday, 12 March after picking up their third bookings of the tournament.

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Atletico Madrid, under the tutelage of Diego Simeone, has still not lost a European match against any Italian opposition, winning five and drawing twice. Equally important for Juventus is that the Old Lady have been eliminated in all five UEFA ties in which they lost the first leg 2-0 away from home. Other than that, Atletico’s defense is a tough nut to crack. So Juve have to deliver something extraordinary to keep their European dreams alive.

Champions League: Schalke 2-3 Manchester City | Match Report & Talking Points

Champions League: Schalke 2-3 Manchester City | Match Report & Talking Points

Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling scored two invaluable late goals to hand Manchester City a 3-2 comeback win at Schalke in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday night. 

Against the Bundesliga strugglers, Manchester City were meant to have a comfortable night. But what panned out under the floodlights in Germany, most certainly, was far from pleasant for the visitors. 

City, as expected, started the game on the front foot, showcasing their unmatched quality. Schalke didn’t fall back despite the onslaught and chose to stick to their lofty rivals. Despite the German outfit’s best attempts, Manchester City found themselves ahead only minutes past the opening quarter. City’s veteran midfielder, David Silva, capitalized on Schalke’s indecisiveness on the edge of his box and fed the ball to Sergio Aguero, who didn’t make any mistakes tapping the ball in from close range. 

The opening goal made Manchester City confident, urging them to push for more. However, two VAR-induced penalties in the first half turned the game on its head. Nabil Bentaleb stepped up to the plate and slotted both of them convincingly past City stopper, Ederson. 

The match went from bad to worse for the defending Premier League champions, in the second half, when defender Nicolas Otamendi got marching orders with just over 20 minutes left to play. Then came Manchester City’s moment of inspiration in the form of Leroy Sane’s impeccable free-kick, with the former Schalke player curling his effort from distance to restore parity for the Sky Blues. 

Finally, Raheem Sterling rose up to the occasion and exploited Schalke’s indecisiveness to seal the win for Manchester City in the 90th minute. 

Here are three major talking points from Wednesday’s encounter: 

A Controversial First Half

The match between these two explosive teams was always meant to churn up some controversial calls, but not many expected VAR to be the focal point. The hosts were brave in their approach and were ultimately rewarded by the Video Assistant Referee in the final minutes of the first half. 

Both penalties, in theory, were rightly rewarded, but the time VAR took, to make the decisions, was certainly unsavory. 

Manchester City Show their Class

On paper, Manchester City are one of the strongest teams in Europe, and last night, they once again proved there is more to them than meets the eye. 

The defending Premier League champions aren’t only about fantastic passes, and clever movement, they are also more than capable of digging deep when necessary. In the second half, after Otamendi’s dismissal, the comeback seemed like an improbable task. But City’s relentless prevailed, and they deservedly walked away with three crucial away goals. 

Sane Comes Back to Haunt 

Playing against his former club, Leroy Sane was brought in to make the difference for Manchester City in the dying moments of the match. In the end, he did, scoring an unstoppable free-kick from a fair way out. 

The accuracy, curl he generated, and speed everything was right up to the mark, making the set-piece one of the best we have seen all season. Out of respect, Sane didn’t celebrate against his former club, calling it a weird moment, after the match.

Also Read: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus |Talking points 

Fantasy Premier League: Players to Avoid for Gameweek 27

Fantasy Premier League: Players to Avoid for Gameweek 27

Gameweek 26 offered an abundance of entertainment to  Fantasy Premier League managers. We saw Jurgen Klopp’s leaders return to winning ways with an emphatic 3-0 win over Bournemouth and restore their three-point advantage at the top of the Premier League table. Second-placed Manchester City responded in style, thumping Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad.

Top-four contenders Arsenal and Manchester United picked up comfortable wins, while Tottenham Hotspur kept pace with the leaders with yet another impressive victory.

Liverpool’s trip to Manchester United headlines Matchday 27, but there are many other mouth-watering clashes to enjoy, as well. Fantasy Premier League managers are in for an unpredictable Matchday, and this section is all about making their task a little easier. 

Here are the top five players to avoid for Gameweek 27: 

Leroy Sane – Manchester City – £9.5m

Leroy Sane, hands down, is one of the best players in the Premier League, but the last few weeks haven’t been very easy on the German. He seems to have fallen out of favor at the club and has looked pretty short of confidence lately. Manchester City also have blanks on Matchday 27th and 31st — yes, that means no Sergio Aguero either — making Sane an ideal candidate to offload. 

Alternative: Heung-Min Son – Spurs vs Burnley – £9.0m

The Tottenham Hotspur star has been in blistering form lately, scoring in each of his last 3 outings. He is one of the most dependable players right now and is expected to have a stellar impact against Burnley as well. 

Eden Hazard – Chelsea – £10.8m

It’s safe to say that the Belgian has been in stellar form for the Blues this season. The team’s leading scorer — 3rd in the Premier League — has led from the front, scoring 12 goals in 25 league appearances. Sadly, Chelsea have a weekend off in Gameweek 27, making him an ineffective purchase. 

Alternative: Paul Pogba – Manchester United vs Liverpool – £8.8m

Paul Pogba has been a revelation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and we expect the fine run to continue even against the league leaders. The man, who has directly contributed to 14 goals in 9 league matches under Solskjaer, will be out for blood against the Reds at Old Trafford on Sunday. 

Roberto Firmino – Manchester United vs Liverpool – £9.3

Liverpool have one of the fiercest strikeforce in the Premier League, and each of the three members can be just as decisive. However, since the turn of the year, the Brazilian forward hasn’t been at his lethal best. In the last 8 matches across all competitions, Firmino has only managed two goals and an assist — a lackluster return considering his quality. 

Alternative: Raul Jimenez – Bournemouth vs Wolves – £6.8m

The Wolverhampton Wanderers forward has managed to score 3 goals and provide an assist in the last 4 Gameweeks. Bournemouth don’t have the meanest defense in the division and should present enough opportunities for Jimenez to add to his tally. 

Chris Smalling – Manchester United vs Liverpool – £5.6m

Chris Smalling performance in Monday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Chelsea was truly commendable. But his displays, so far, haven’t been that reassuring. He is still a very capable defender, but against Liverpool’s intimidating strikeforce, he is bound to have some difficulties. 

Alternative: Victor Lindelof – Manchester United vs Liverpool – £5.0m

Victor Lindelof has turned his Manchester United career around over the last seven months. He’s now one of the first names on the team-sheet and deservedly so. Not only is he an impeccable defender, but his ability to attack set pieces could also come in handy against the Reds. 

Also Read: Everything you should know about United vs Liverpool Rivalry 

Football Matches: Top 5 Matches You Just Can’t Miss this Weekend

Top 5 Football Matches You Just Can’t Miss this Weekend

Weekend, football, and nailbiting clashes – the ultimate stressbuster in existence. After a gloomy, and practically never-ending week; we are finally here, hours away from kicking off this weekend’s scheduled, unadulterated action.

We don’t have any Premier League matches this week, but have a number of intriguing FA Cup fifth round clashes to look forward to.

With a host of football matches to choose from, picking just the right one can often be a hectic task. So, we have taken it upon ourselves to help fellow fanatics out.

Here are five football matches that you can’t afford to miss this weekend:

Newport vs Manchester City (Saturday, 11:00 pm)

On paper, this fixture seems like a mismatch of the highest order, but FA Cup’s knack for churning out unpredictable results makes this an interesting contest. Newport County play in League Two, the fourth tier of English football, and shouldn’t pose much threat to City’s flamboyance, but their home stadium could make things interesting for neutrals.

The pitch at Newport isn’t the greatest out there and won’t aid Manchester City’s effortless passing football. Pep Guardiola‘s men have enough quality to beat any team in the world, but they probably won’t find it a walk in the park, this weekend.

Prediction: Newport 0-2 Manchester City

Real Madrid vs Girona (Sunday, 4:30 pm)

Santiago Solari’s Real Madrid had to dig deep to get the 2-1 win at Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Ajax. The match against Girona won’t probably be that competitive, but Real Madrid can’t afford to slack against a side as potent as Girona.

After a lackluster start to the league campaign, Los Blancos seem to have steadied their ship. They have produced some impressive results over the last couple of weeks — including a 3-1 win at Atletico Madrid — and will look to get another comprehensive win under their belt against the 17th-placed side in the division.

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Girona

Also Read: Champions League Round of 16 – As it happened

FC Nurnberg vs Borussia Dortmund (Tuesday, 1:00 am)

This match isn’t technically this weekend but is still a part of Gameweek 21 in the Bundesliga.

Statistically, the worst team in the division, FC Nurnberg, will look to get an unlikely win when they host Lucien Favre’s leaders on Monday night. The hosts haven’t been able to hold their ground in the division so far but would love to make a statement against the most impressive team in Germany, this season.

Borussia, on the other hand, are going through a rough patch. They were handed an emphatic 3-0 drubbing at Tottenham on Wednesday night and will need a proper response. They still have a five-point advantage over second-placed Bayern, which they will be desperate to maintain right at the end of the campaign.

Prediction: Nurnberg 1-3 Dortmund

FC Barcelona vs Real Valladolid (Sunday, 1:15 am)

La Liga leaders, Barcelona, will look to return to winning ways when they welcome Real Valladolid to Camp Nou on Saturday night.

The Catalans haven’t won any of their last three matches across all competitions, delivering sub-par performances in all three of them. Their talisman, Lionel Messi, has struggled in recent games, while players like Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal have failed to justify their potential.

Beating the league 15th-best side shouldn’t be a problem, but the Blaugrana will be under pressure to produce something worth remembering.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Valladolid

Chelsea vs Manchester United (Tuesday, 1:00 am)

Manchester United will look to will need to at their very best if they are to get the better of Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United were handed a harsh reality check by Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Now, the Norwegian, who endured the first defeat of his Manchester United managerial career on Tuesday night, will seek a fitting response from his spirited men against a familiar foe.

Chelsea, too, aren’t in the best of forms. They were beaten 6-0 at Manchester City, last Sunday, and could only manage a narrow 2-1 win at Malmo in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie. It’s difficult to pick a favourite here, but United’s 2-0 defeat against PSG could give Chelsea an edge. It is a football match you just cannot miss.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United