Premier League : GameWeek 31 | Liverpool two points clear at top

Premier League : GameWeek 31 | Liverpool two points clear at top

31st game-week of English Premier league 2018-19 action just concluded, slowly leading into the swing at end of the season. 


The recent set of fixtures, which also included Liverpool against Fulham and Chelsea against Everton, had some brilliant football on offer, added with some major surprises. Here are all the results and highlights from the week gone by:

West Ham United 4-3 Huddersfield Town

West Ham came from two goals down to secure a stunning win on Saturday. Javier Hernandez scored twice in the last six minutes as West Ham secured a dramatic 4-3 Premier League win over rock-bottom Huddersfield Town at the London Stadium. Goals from Mark Noble and Juninho Bacuna inside the first 20 minutes set the tone of the game until Karlan Grant put the visitors ahead. Angelo Ogbonna got his team back on the right track with set the scoreline of the game. Javier Hernandez was substituted on and he was the one that equalized, and ultimately won the game for the Hammers.

Burnley 1-2 Leicester City

Wes Morgan headed home a late winner as 10-man Leicester City claimed a 2-1 victory at out-of-form Burnley. Just four minutes in, City were reduced to 10 men after England defender Harry Maguire fouled Gudmundsson as he drove through on goal and was shown a straight red card. The expulsion encouraged Leicester who played very well. After half an hour played, they took the well-deserved lead at the free kick. James Maddison was fouled just outside the penalty area and got the goal with a delicate shot 0-1. The goal stood for five minutes when 19-year-old Dwight McNeil equalized 1-1. Leicester got the winning goal in the 90th minute when Youri Tielemans got away and helped Wes Morgan who nodded in 2-1.

Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle United

Matt Ritchie scored with almost the last kick of the game to earn Newcastle a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. Salomon Rondon opened the scoring with a superb free-kick on the stroke of half-time but Joshua King turned the game in Bournemouth’s favour in the second half, sending Martin Dubravka the wrong way from the penalty spot before finishing coolly into the far corner from Dominic Solanke’s pass. Benitez was unhappy with referee Mike Dean’s decision to award the hosts a spot-kick following Federico Fernandez’s foul on Nathan Ake. The draw lifts Bournemouth above Everton into 11th place, while Newcastle remain 13th.

Fulham 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League but needed James Milner’s late penalty to avoid dropping points at Fulham. Leading through Sadio Mane’s 11th goal in as many games in all competitions, the visitors failed to put a limited Fulham side away, allowing the hosts back into the game. A dire defensive mix-up between defender Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson gifted Ryan Babel an equalizer against his former club on 74 minutes. But Fulham keeper Sergio Rico then made an equally poor blunder, dropping Mohammed Salah’s curling shot and fouling Mane as the Senegal forward went for the ball. Substitute Milner calmly hit his penalty down the middle as Rico dived right, sending a relieved Liverpool back to the top for the first time since 1st March.

Everton 2-0 Chelsea

Everton eased the pressure on Marco Silva and dented Chelsea’s top-four hopes with a morale-boosting 2-0 win at Goodison Park on Sunday. Richarlison punished Chelsea’s profligacy just after half-time and Gylfi Sigurdsson converted the rebound from his own saved penalty to secure only the Toffees’ second victory in nine Premier League games at home. Marco Silva’s men, who dramatically lost 3-2 at Newcastle United last time out, were thoroughly outplayed in the first half, but an improved performance from Jordan Pickford helped keep the visitors at bay. Defeat for Chelsea, their first since the EFL Cup final, leaves them three points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal with eight games remaining.

Also Read: Top 4 race in EPL

Liverpool VS Cardiff City | Premier League Prediction

Liverpool VS Cardiff City | Premier League Prediction

Liverpool will look to continue their fine form when they host Cardiff City on Saturday.


On 27th October, Liverpool will host Cardiff City as the Reds look forward to extending their unbeaten home streak in the Premier League to 26 matches. Anfield has proved to be a fortress for Liverpool this Premier League season with their strong run at home extending from last season into this one. More than just a win, the visitors at the Kop have found it difficult to even find the net at least once in the game. The last someone scored at Anfield was in February when Michail Antonio netted one in the 59th minute, nonetheless, the game was won by Liverpool emphatically with a stunning 4 – 1 scoreline. Since then the Reds haven’t conceded at home, which now totals to 841 minutes in playing time. The club record is 934 minutes and the team this season seems to be inching closer to beating that.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are in a great form as they got back to winning ways in Champions League against Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday with a 4 – 0 thumping. The famed front 3 of Firmino, Salah and, Mane all found the net on the weekday fixture with the Egyptian bagging two (which is being considered as Salah’s return to scoring ways as well). LFC’s front three have scored 15 times between them in the Reds’ opening 13 games this season. At the same stage of 2017/18 season, they had recorded a total of 13. The Reds have scored two more goals (16) and conceded 13 fewer (three) than they had at this stage of last season. 

In the last 58 years, Cardiff and Liverpool have met four times with Reds winning all four. Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock has faced Liverpool six times as a manager in league football. He has won once, with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in November 2014 (3-1). He has lost all four visits to Anfield in league and cup, with Notts County, Sheffield United (twice) and Queens Park Rangers.

Liverpool made five changes on Wednesday from the side that defeated Huddersfield Town 1-0 in their previous league outing. The same side is now expected to be fielded on Saturday afternoon with Fabinho making his first start in the league. The fixture hands Fabinho the opportunity to impress during the absence of both captain Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita with the pair both carrying injuries.

On the challenge of facing the Reds, the Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock said: “I think their front three is probably the best around the world. But we’re playing quite well and I think we can cause problems. You’ve got to go there and believe. We’ve all got to play to the top of our potential to give them a good game, and hope that they have a bit of an off day. I know the lads are looking forward to it; it’s not every day you go to Anfield. It’s a special place for football.”

Jurgen Klopp in the pre-match conference noted that no match is ever easy and that Cardiff despite their poor form is a side to be reckoned with, “We are aware of the quality of Cardiff. Last week gave them a big boost but before they were not bad, the games before then were pretty tight, and they could have got a different result. They deserve all our respect and they’ll get it.”

What Can we expect from Chelsea this Season?

What Can we expect from Chelsea this Season?

Chelsea have consistently been one of the most successful teams of this century, especially since Roman Abramovich came to West London and pumped the Club with Russian Money. The one thing that has happened consistently along with success is a long list of Managers that have taken the reins at Stamford Bridge. Almost a recurring theme at the Club, they Sign a Manager, he does well, and the moment he slips up there is no second thought, and he’s shown the door. Therefore it’s safe to say that Chelsea is probably the most unpredictable team in the League and no predictions can be made when it comes to the Blues. But let’s give it a shot shall we? 

First up, Chelsea have made a perfect start to the Premier League, winning 4 out of 4 games including an exciting 3-2 win over Arsenal. Things are looking up for Maurizio Sarri and his men but the Blues will need to make sure they continue improving, and The “Sarriball” continues to dominate. Realistically what Chelsea fans can expect from this Season is a Top 4 Finish, maybe pushing for the 3rd place at the most. So what does Chelsea need to do for that to happen?

 

Continue playing attacking Football 

Chelsea are playing a much more attractive and attacking style of Football under Maurizio Sarri and the Blues are getting the desired results. Under Sarri the West Londerers have kept a bulk of the possession and have recorded the highest number of passes in the Premier League (2,996 passes as of 10th September 2018). If Chelsea can continue playing with the same amount of flair and vigor, they really could go all the way.

 

Sort Out the Defence

The West Londoners haven’t looked very solid defensively, especially David Luiz who has switched off at crucial moments and has been shambolic in 1 on 1 situations Marcos Alonso has been impressive but can improve defensively. The Blues also have a new Custodian on Board in the form of Kepa Arizzabalga it will take time for the Spaniard to build some understanding with his defense. 

Strikers will need to come to the party.

Yes, Morata and Giroud have been below par but they’re both not traditional Premier League strikers. Giroud is a Target man who makes the rest of the frontline looks good while Morata is a Striker that needs a little more room to operate compared to most Strikers in the English game. Giroud seems more suited against smaller teams who defend deep while Morata can wreck real havoc against traditional Football playing teams. If it doesn’t work out we know Sarri likes playing Wingers in a false Nine position, so The Blues have quite a lot of options. 

 

The Top 4 should be a realistic goal for Chelsea but Sarri and his men will have to work their socks off.

 

 

 

 

Watford 2 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur, Highlights | Premier League

Watford 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Highlights | Premier League

On Sunday, 2nd September, as the first short segment of this season’s premier league concluded with the international break coming up next, Vicarage Road witnessed pure passion, drama, and energy as the home side came from behind to stun the visiting North Londoners. After four games, Watford now stands third having won all four, with the last one sure to find a special place in the minds of the Watford supporters, as Spurs toppled 2-1, courtesy the Hornets’ sting.

Only Chelsea and Liverpool can match Watford’s record of winning all four Premier League games so far, and while they are ahead of Javi Gracia’s side on goal difference, they are not ahead by much. Never ­before have Watford won their first four matches of a top-flight campaign, and not for 31 years have they achieved victory in the league over Tottenham Hotspur. This is a Spurs side, lest we forget, who had also won their first three games this season, including that 3-0 rout against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Watford were durable but limited in the first half. Spurs had most of the ball and most of the opportunities to ­begin with, as Dele Alli went close with a looping header and then Davinson Sanchez powered a ­effort high and wide. After such a stodgy first half, it felt fitting that Spurs took the lead in the most ungainly fashion. Alli’s lofted pass was cleared to Lucas Moura, whose stabbed cross cannoned off Doucoure’s waist before spinning inside Ben Foster’s near post.

Watford were still 1-0 down with 20 minutes left but continued to push forward tirelessly. The Spurs defense eventually buckled, but before then this was a story of Tottenham’s inability to turn possession into goals at the other end of the pitch. Pochettino has a new attacking system with two strikers – Lucas Moura partnering Harry Kane up front – with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen just behind. However this time, it did not work. Watford had woken up and got their leveler moments later through Deeney, who got up well before glancing a header into the bottom left corner from Holebas’ dangerous right-wing set-piece. The equalizer gave the hosts energy, and they duly took the lead seven minutes later through defender Cathcart, rising highest among a swamp of players to turn a header past Michel Vorm.

Since Javier Gracia took over as Watford manager in January, no side has won more home Premier League games than the Hornets (seven, level with Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, and Spurs). This was the first time that Tottenham lost a game in which they had been leading in the Premier League since November 2016 against eventual champions Chelsea, ending a run of 48 league matches without defeat when taking the lead at any stage.

“It’s so painful to concede two goals like we did and it’s so painful that the first half looks like a friendly,” Pochettino said. “We need to show more respect to this competition and compete much, much better. It’s difficult for me to understand. It was very painful. I think it’s a good wake-up call for everyone.”

“I am, very happy, like all of the Watford fans. We are enjoying the moment, to win four games in a row is not easy, and we try to keep our level in the next games. It had been an amazing start. We are in a good moment and trying to enjoy it, knowing we have won four games – but it is only four games”, said Garcia.

Watford’s best-ever start to a top-flight campaign goes on and they will now have the international break to bask in what they have achieved. Having beaten Brighton, Burnley, and Crystal Palace, they knew that Tottenham would represent a test from a higher level. Despite being below their best until the Doucouré blunder, they passed it.

Brighton vs Manchester United, Match Prediction | Premier League

Brighton vs Manchester United, Match Prediction | Premier League

Manchester United go up against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Sunday. Jose Mourinho’s men will be looking to take all three points and keep the winning Momentum after the Red Devils won 2-1 at home against Leicester in the opening fixture of the Premier League. Brighton, on the other hand, will be looking for a change of fortune after a 2-0 loss against Watford. Chris Hughton will be hoping his team can put in a repeat performance from three months ago when the Seagulls beat Manchester United 1-0 at Home.

Should Manchester United win today, Jose Mourinho would set a new Club record- the first United Manager to win his opening two games of a season in all of his first three years as boss.

Team News

Brighton: Columbian winger Jose Izquierdo and Florin Andone will most likely return to the squad having missed the trip to Vicarage Road on Matchday 1. Izquierdo could earn his first start of the season after returning late following his World Cup exploits with Colombia in Russia. It is still unclear whether Florin Andone will have recovered from his groin problem. Captain Bruno is the Seagulls’ only other concern, the right-back was withdrawn during the first half against Watford last Saturday.

Predicted XI: Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo, Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March, Gross, Murray

Manchester United: Nemanja Matic recently underwent surgery for an abdominal issue picked up at the World Cup in Russia. New signing, Diogo Dalot has also undergone an operation for a knee problem. Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo also had surgeries picking up injuries while on International duty. Antonio Valencia limped out of a Pre-Season game with San Jose Earthquakes with a calf injury, while Ander Herrera is out following a hamstring problem during the loss to Bayern Munich in United’s final Pre-Season Game.

Predicted XI: De Gea, Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Pogba, Mata, Sanchez, Lukaku

Key Players

Brighton & Hove Albion- Pascal Gross

Gross was Brighton’s best player last Season, scoring 7 and assisting 8 in his debut campaign with the Seagulls. The German Midfielder will be looking to better that tally this Season and a good performance against Manchester United will be a big boost for him.

Manchester United- Paul Pogba

Manchester United’s record Signing will be looking to have a major impact for the Red Devils this Season and will be hoping all the controversy and speculation regarding his future is now behind him. Pogba is a World Champion and Manchester United’s captain for this game, there is no better time than now to prove all his critics wrong.

Prediction: Brighton 0-1 Manchester United

Mourinho will pull the win off, get an early goal and then park the bus. Centre-Backs Lindelof and Bailly are looking solid and a clean sheet shouldn’t be a problem.

Gameweek 1: Premier League Team of the Week

Matchday 1: Premier League Team of the Week

Matchday 1 of the Premier League is done and dusted and fans of the Beautiful game are thrilled to see the most competitive League in World Football back on their TV Screens. There were a host of performances that caught our eye on Matchday 1, so let’s find out who made our Premier League Team of the Week. 

Goalkeeper – Alex McCarthy (Southampton)

Southampton’s  Alex McCarthy made 6 saves for the Saints in their 0-0 draw against Burnley, more saves than any Goalkeeper who kept a Clean Sheet. 

Left-Back – Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

134 appearances and Luke Shaw has finally scored a goal! After being heavily criticised by manager Jose Mourinho it seems like Shaw has taken it all in his stride and is ready to prove his critics wrong.

Centre-Back – Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

The World’s Most expensive defender was rock solid against West Ham and is easily one of the best Centre-backs in the Premier League. £75 Million well spent!

Centre-Back – Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)

Vertonghen put Spurs in front in the 8th minute to score his first goal for Tottenham in 5 years.  The fact that it was Goal-Line technology that helped Vertonghen get on the scoresheet may just inch the FA towards introducing VAR in the Next Season.

Right-Back – Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

The Premier League’s Mr. Consistent Cesar Azpilicueta is just phenomenal. Consistency along with versatility, Azpilicueta is every Manager’s dream defender and the Spaniard was amazing for the Blues against Huddersfield making 106 Touches, more than any other defender on Matchday 1.

Central Midfield – Jorginho (Chelsea)

Jorginho made his highly anticipated debut for the Blues and the Italian was controlling Chelsea’s midfield from start to end. The Former Napoli Midfielder will be essential in Chelsea’s transition from Antonio Conte’s Counter-Attacking style to Maurizio Sarri’s swift attacking play.

Central Defensive Midfielder – Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton)

The Portuguese Midfielder was on song against Everton in a thrilling 2-2 Draw. Neves was praised for his mind-blowing Free-Kick that convincingly beat Jordan Pickford. The Premier League has certainly gained a top-class Midfielder.

Central Attacking Midfielder – Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Paul Pogba has been in the media for all the wrong reasons, an alleged move to Barcelona, fall out with Manager Jose Mourinho and a reported argument with the Club about his wages. Most of these reports have been deemed false and Pogba is certainly not affected.

Left-Wing – Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Sadio Mane loves an opening day, doesn’t he? The Senegalese International is often under-appreciated because of Mohamed Salah’s Goalscoring prowess nevertheless Mane was Liverpool’s hero on Matchday 1 with an impressive brace.

Centre-Forward – Richarlison (Everton)

Everton splashed £50 million to snap the Brazilian up from Watford and many Pundits laughed at the inflated price tag for Richarlison who was average at best. Richarlison proved his critics wrong by scoring a brace on debut and he will be looking to consistently perform for the Toffees.

Right-Wing – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Raheem Sterling switched on “Beast Mode” against Arsenal to pull off an Impressive 2-0 Win at the Emirates Stadium. Sterling scored a spectacular Goal from outside the box and was a constant threat for Arsenal with his pace and dribbling skills. Top Performance.