MAN UTD OUT GUNNED BY ARSENAL

Arsenal stake claim on 4th spot

All eyes and focus were at the emirates stadium to witness the duel between Arsenal and Manchester United. In a fixture that always provides plenty of entertainment, Emery’s men were going to do battle with a United side who were full of confidence especially after their heroics in the champions league against PSG in midweek.

A few years ago (many moons to be honest) this match would have been billed as a top two clash. However, those days are over for now at least and fans of both sides have to accept their current standing respectively as they look to secure a top 4 finish. Arsenal took the initiative right from kick off and attacked Man Utd with intent. Arsenal can be a little bit unpredictable at times and you’re never quite sure which Arsenal will turn up on match day.

Unlucky for Man Utd, the Arsenal that they were faced again was the precise passing and attacking Arsenal accompanied with hard work. Although Man Utd went closest to scoring in the first few minutes of the first half after Lukaku hit the crossbar from close range (should have scored!!), it was Arsenal who took the lead through Xhaka after he struck the ball from distance which deceived De Gea to give Arsenal the lead in the 12th minute.

United did create chances in the game but to no avail as Arsenal showed some good defensive displays also much to the frustration of the United forwards. Arsenal knew they needed another goal to ensure all 3 points and when Lacazette was brought down in the penalty box it was left to Aubameyang to do the rest. The Gabon striker coolly dispatched the resulting penalty in the 69th minute. The win means Arsenal sit 4th in the league with 8 games to play.

Tottenham will be thanking their North London rivals for beating Man Utd because if the result had gone the other way then United would be 3rd on goal difference. What has happened to Spurs in recent weeks? How can you go from being title contenders to a 3rd and 4th place battle (I just don’t understand). All that hard work and graft for nothing.

Spurs suffered another loss (no surprises) to Southampton 2-1. Kane opened the scoring for Spurs in the 26th minutes before Valery leveled for the saints in the 76th minute. The winner came courtesy of Ward-Prowse in the 81st minute sinking Spurs to their 3rd defeat in 4 games. They’ll be very lucky to remain in 3rd place come the end of the season.

The battle for the summit still remains the same as 1 point separate Manchester City from Liverpool as both teams won their respective games comfortably. City are looking more and more likely to defend their title and win a much coveted back to back championship.

Chelsea meanwhile drew 1-1 with Wolves after Hazard equalised for the blues late in the 92nd minute of added time. Crystal Palace lost 2-1 to Brighton, Cardiff beat West Ham 2-0, Newcastle beat Everton 3-2 in a thrilling encounter, whilst Bournemouth beat Huddersfield 2-0 away.

AUB

Gunning for fourth!!!!!!!!

Cheeky Mane back heals Reds to victory

Liverpool hanging on

Liverpool proved in their match against Watford that they have exactly what it takes to be crowned champions (Spurs take note). The current leaders came out of the blocks full of desire and energy with the incredible Mane leading the charge. Klopp’s men wasted little time finding the net as Mane scored to put the home side ahead after 9 minutes of play.

His second goal followed shortly on the 20th minute and what a goal it was. It will definitely go down as one of the greatest goals scored in the premier league history (yes i said it!!!). He sublimely back healed the ball past the out-rushing Watford goalkeeper after his controlled first touch set up the opportunity. Watford had it all to do and rarely gave Liverpool any worries. Van Dyke also joined in on the fun banging in two headed goals and Origi got in on the act also. The game ended 5-0 to Liverpool and deservedly so.

It was a good day for Arsenal also who are pushing for the final champions league spot as they easily saw of Bournemouth at the emirates. The game saw the return of the ever neglected Mesut Ozil and the German international marked his return to first team action with a goal in the 4th minute. Arsenal fired on all cylinders and won the game 5-1.

Manchester United are also fighting for the 4th spot along with Chelsea respectively and both teams won their respective matches. Man Utd won 3-1 against Crystal Palace with Young and Lukaku grabbing the goals. Chelsea won 2-0 at home to Tottenham leaving them 3 points from 4th place. Spurs let themselves down again and played poorly against Chelsea. I think it’s safe to say that the title dream is permanently over for Tottenham.

In the other games, Manchester City won 1-0 against West Ham, Southampton beat Fulham 2-0, Everton won 3-0 against Cardiff, Newcastle United won 2-0 against Burnley, Huddersfield defeated Wolves at home 1-0 and Leicester won 2-1 against Brighton.

Other News

Fulham have sacked boss Claudio Ranieri after 17 matches. Ranieri will be succeeded by Scott Parker who takes the helm as caretaker manager until the end of the season. The tinkerman only managed 3 wins in 17 matches which is a far cry from the heroics and miracle he performed with Leicester in their premier league winning campaign.

As much as we all love Ranieri, unfortunately you get judged on results. The 2-0 defeat against Southampton proved enough for the club’s hierarchy to take action and relief him of his duties at Craven Cottage.

Whilst we say goodbye to one manager we are happy to welcome another to the premier league. Brenda Rodgers has been confirmed as the new Leicester City manager having left Celtic. Much has been written about his Celtic legacy, however the premier league offers a different Challenge and he will be very aware of what to expect.

Rodgers previously managed Swansea and Liverpool and almost won the league with the latter if not for the now infamous Steven Gerrard slip (the memories!!!). He will be ready and chomping at the bit am sure (lets hope he lasts longer than 5 minutes).

 

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Arrivederci Ranieri!!!

Tottenham bottle title chance AGAIN

Spurs spurn opportunity

The game against Burnley saw the return to action for Spurs striker Harry Kane. The England marksman graced his return with a goal which would have delighted Spurs fans for about 15 minutes or so (am sure). However, what frustrates me with this particular set of Spurs players is their inability to take initiative and seize opportunities when they arise.

Lady luck had made it possible for Spurs to close the gap on leaders City to just 2 points, meaning victory and 3 points away to Burnley. Unfortunately, what we had was another fine display by a bunch of bottlers. It’s becoming very obvious that time and again whenever Pochettino’s players face the slightest bit of pressure they crumble or at the very least fail to deliver.

I hate to bring up the past but we’ve seen the same group of players throw in the towel in the last 16 Champions League game against Juventus last year having had the advantage of killing the tie. We’ve seen the same group bottle the FA cup semi finals on two occasions as well as failing to capitalise when chasing Leicester for the premier league title. When will these players learn to fight ? It’s disappointing, because they’ve been on such a great run of late and credit to them but they must do better otherwise this crop of talent will be remembered as the nearly men (Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle come to mind).

Burnley definitely turned up to fight and it was going to take a massive effect from Spurs to overcome them. The home side took the lead after Wood put them ahead on the 57th minute before the returning Kane leveled in the 65th minute with a neat finish. Spurs did endeavour to search for the winner but it was Burnley who ran away with all 3 points when Barnes was left unmarked at the back post prompting  the home supporters into immediate jubilation (and who could blame them) as their team won 2-1.

Tottenham meanwhile, have a lot of questions internally about their mentality and inability to step up to the plate. With that being said, the Spurs still go marching on and really have to hope that both Liverpool and Manchester City drop points between now and the rest of the season. The end is near and the games will come thick and fast let’s hope it’s a better result next time out.

The good news for Spurs is that Liverpool also dropped points away to Manchester United in a goalless draw at Old Trafford. United were forced to use all 3 substitutes before halftime which would have been frustrating for Manager Solskjaer. His counterpart, Liverpool Manager Klopp would have been disappointed that they were unable to secure all 3 points and will feel as though they have lost points.

Liverpool have now played their game in hand over City and sit at the top with a point separating them from City. Salah was very quite in the game against United and created little opportunity. Pogba was unable to break the deadlock and both sets of players will feel the draw was the right result.

In the other premier league matches over the weekend, Arsenal beat Southampton 2-0 thanks to goals from Lacazette and Mkhitaryan. Newcastle also won 2-0 against Huddersfield with goals from Rondon and Perez putting them a few points into safety for now. Crystal Palace were the highest scorers this weekend with an impressive 4-1 victory away to Leicester City whilst Bournemouth drew 1-1 against Wolves.

carabao

CONGRATULATIONS TO MANCHESTER CITY ON WINNING THE CARABAO CUP!!!!

 

Chelsea battered by City storm

A thumping, a beating…….

‘O dear, O dear’!!! Chelsea players have let themselves and their supporters down today in the game against Manchester City. The game was billed as the supposed match of the weekend between the current champions and the previous title holders. However, what we witnessed was far from a competitive game of football.

With all due respect, Manchester City did what they always do (entertain with flair and style) whilst Chelsea looked like they just got out of bed after a long night out. The supporters and neutrals were hoping for a battle but what they got was a team that was severely dominated and totally outplayed and outclassed in every sense of the word.

Don’t get me wrong I thought the game was fantastic, albeit one sided however City did not fail to deliver and must be credited for their endeavour and superb performance. Their football was breathtaking at times and you sometimes forgot who their opponents were. Yes it’s very true and clear that Chelsea were disappointing but take nothing away from City who now sit at the summit of the League and look unstoppable.

City’s dominance echoes their performance against Arsenal a week ago and with Aguero now fully fit and firing on all cylinders, who exactly is going to stop them. City wasted little to no time to find the net when Sterling put the home side ahead after just 2 minutes of play. Aguero then followed with 2 goals in the 13th and 19th minute respectively before Gundogan added a fourth in the 25th minute of the match. Aguero got his 2nd hat-trick in 7 days after converting a sweetly taken penalty in the second half before Stirling added another later in the game to complete the route with the match ending 6-0 to City.

So where does this leave Chelsea? Will Sarri be sacked before the end of the campaign? Will Hazard be there next season? At present things are ominous for the West London club and the whole seems to be getting deeper and deeper. They need to bounce back as quickly as possible as they are now 6th in the table (even ARSENAL are above them haha!!!).

Liverpool got back to winning ways again after their 3-0 win against Bournemouth and are level on points with City. The Reds have a game in hand will increase the lead to just 3 points should they defeat their next opponents. Mane put them ahead in the 24th minute with a neat finish before Salah and Wijnaldum added to the tally. Bournemouth put in a respectable performance but you always felt Liverpool would get the result especially in front of the KOP.

As the weeks go by,  its looking more and more like a three horse race as Spurs continue to progress without the injured Harry Kane. Tottenham overcame a very good Leicester  side at Wembley as they earned a well deserved 3-1 victory. Vardy missed a penalty with what was his first touch of the game but did manage to pull one back for the visiting side. Spurs are still marching on and will push and fight till the end (City and Liverpool fans beware).

Man United should be praised for the way they have virtually turned their season around. The red devils saw off Fulham and won the game 3-0 with Paul Pogba grabbing 2 goals and starting to realise his potential. After the saga of the previous manager, United are now back in the top four and look to be getting stronger and stronger. Pep Guardiola has branded them as title contenders also but I think that cobblers.

AG2

 Goal machine hits 3 again!!!

King Kun rules Arsenal

Gunners fall as City Triumph

I am not quite sure who I had down at the start of the season to win the league but after Manchester City’s performance against Arsenal at the weekend, your guess is as good as mine. In a game that lived up to all expectations City had the opportunity to close the gap on leaders Liverpool and did just that.

The game had barely kicked off before Aguero opened the scoring in literally what was the first minute which sent the home fans into early Ecstasy. The Argentina forward was in no mood for messing around (you could tell he was up for the game). Arsenal to their credit also looked like they were up for the game and shortly equalised through defender (and captain) Koscielny.

On a good day Arsenal may have had a result, however, Aguero seemed to have rediscovered his form at the right time for City. And, the little magician was back at it again as he added another two for the defending champions. He was given a well deserved standing ovation by the home supporters in appreciation for his man of the match display.

City pressed and outplayed an Arsenal side that seemed at times to run out of ideas. The gulf between the two teams was clear for all to see as City dragged themselves right on the heals of Liverpool. I am sure Guardiola and his band of men must believe they have a great chance of defending their title having managed to close the gap and hold a better goal difference to their rivals.

Whilst things are progressive for City, Liverpool can’t quite say the same as they were held to a 1-1 draw against West Ham away. This was one of the worst performances from this current crop of Liverpool players. I’m not quite sure what happened to the likes of Salah and Firmino as both were very disappointing.

If Liverpool harbour any ambitions of being premier league champions, they’ll need to do a lot better. They have had a great season thus far and have clearly improved on last season (especially in the league). To be champions in May is no mean feat and the players will need to dig deep if they want the crown otherwise the trophy will remain at the etihad.

West Ham have come a long way under Manuel Pellegrini and could have won the game. I can’t help but feel the result benefits City hugely and perhaps maybe this is the turning point in this season’s campaign. Liverpool took the lead through Mane before Antonio drew level for West Ham. Origi came on at half time for Liverpool and could have scored a late winner but was stopped by Fabianski.

Tottenham who are also considered title contenders by some got a late win against Newcastle. Son was the hero of the day as he helped his side to a 1-0 win without the injured Harry Kane. Spurs are now the only team in premier league history to have not purchased players in both transfer windows. Will Daniel Levi’s (chairman) gamble pay off for Spurs? Only time will tell as the Spurs go marching on.

AG

King Kun Aguero strikes back!!!!!!!!!!!!!

City stumble at Newcastle

Liverpool close to title

Manchester City may have inadvertently handed Liverpool the title after their defeat away to Newcastle 2-1. City had the opportunity to close the gap to the league leaders and took the lead in the first minute of the game through Sergio Aguero (you couldn’t blame the travelling City supporters from thinking the game would go their way).

Whilst City impressed and applied pressure they were unable to make it count in the final third. Newcastle managed to grab an equaliser in the 66th minute through Rondon before Ritchie scored in the 80th minute by way of a penalty (I’m sure there are no complains from the Newcastle players and fans alike).

In the game between Fulham and Brighton, the London side fell behind after Murray gave Brighton a two goal lead in the 3rd and 17th minute of the game respectively. It was looking like a tough day ahead for Fulham. However, we all want to know what Manager Ranieri said to his players at half time because a totally different side appeared after the break.

Fulham were full of imagination and creativity and attacked with purpose. They were rewarded for their endeavour after Chambers pulled a goal back. Mitrovic busy was ruffling the feathers of the Brighton defence and succeeded with a brace of goals before Vietto added another in the 79th minute. The match ended 4-2 to a delighted Fulham team and manager with a well deserved 3 points and entertaining comeback.

Manchester Utd having previously won all their games leading up to the match against Burnley could only achieve a hard fought draw. Burnley must have believed they would be leaving Old Trafford with all 3 points especially after Woods scored to make it two nil to the visitors. However, Manchester United were not yet defeated and produced a fight back even Fergie would have been proud of as Pogba and Lindelof scored late the earn the Red Devils a draw.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth made light work of Chelsea by winning at home 4-0. Arsenal maintain their pursuit of a top four finish with a 2-1 victory over Cardiff. Everton won away to Huddersfield 1-0 thanks to a Richarlison effort. Southampton drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace as did Leicester against Liverpool. Spurs, with the returning Son (and goal scorer) came from behind to win 2-1 against Watford.

Crystal Palace broken at Anfield in blockbuster

Salah double aids Reds

The weekend was full of goals and unrivaled Premier League action with only one match failing to provide any goals for on watching supporters. All teams were involved in the entertainment and where better to start the round up than the game between Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Salah and Co know winning the title won’t be easy as the pressure mounts.

In a game that produced a lot of attacking prowess and flair, it was Palace who took the lead through a Townsend effort on the 34th minute before Salah equalised for Liverpool on the 46th minute. The game was thoroughly enjoyable as both teams attacked (nothing beats a good game of attacking football). Palace created opportunities to take the lead but it was Firmino who put Liverpool ahead in the 53rd minute before James Tomkins levelled for palace in the 65th minute. Salah put the Reds ahead after relentless attacking pressure.

The game would eventually end 4-3 to Liverpool. Both teams did their fans proud (I seriously doubt you’ll find anyone in the country who didn’t enjoy that game) and Liverpool would appear to have at least a finger on the trophy at this stage.

In the early kick off between Wolves and Leicester, the match also produced the same score-line as above with Wolves winning the game 4-3. Jota put in a man of the match display for Wolves and is fully deserving of the hat-trick he scored in a nail-biting encounter. Wolves had the advantage with an early 2 goal lead through Jota (4th minute) and Ryan Bennett (12minute).

For a moment it looked like they would run away with the match, however, Leicester are no slouches and did well to level the game on two occasions. Unfortunately for Leicester they were undone right at the death as Jota completed his hat-trick in injury time to earn Wolves a very lucky 3 points. Although both managers would have been happy with the draw, it is Jota and Wolves with the pearly whites on show.

Tottenham have a growing injury crisis and without Kane in the side the struggle for goals was evidenced for all to see in their game against Fulham. As much as I like Fernando Llorente, his best years are behind him and he’s certainly no replacement for a striker of Kane’s calibre. Still without a signing being made Spurs were able to smash and grab all 3 points thanks to Harry Wink’s late header.

Fulham had been ahead thanks to an own goal by Tottenham striker Llorente (what is he like!!) and had some good passing play especially with new signing Ryan Babel. Spurs kept their heads and did not capitulate but were rewarded when Dele Alli equalised early in the second half before Wink grabbed the winner much to Ranieri’s annoyance. If Spurs are really to mount any type of title challenge, surely Daniel Levi needs to bring out the cheque book and buy talent.

There were wins also for Manchester City who beat Huddersfield away 3-0, Manchester United beat Brighton 2-1 and Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 to close the gap in the race for the top four. The goalless match came in the game between Watford and Burnley whilst Bournemouth beat West Ham 2-0 and Southampton won 2-1 against Everton.

jota

Jota what the doctor ordered!!!