Premier League Game of the Week: Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City

These are the games that Tottenham must win if they are to achieve something great this season. A 2-0 win over a quality side such as Manchester City is huge for the London club. There was also the added spice of the great rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, and Mourinho yet again goes away from this weekend with the bragging rights.

After Heung-Min Son put Tottenham 1-0 win up as early as the 5th minute, one could tell how the game would play out. We’ve seen it before when Mourinho was manager of Inter Milan when they had to face Guardiola’s Barcelona in the Champions League. An early goal is great but from then on in its back to the walls.

While City dominated in possession that doesn’t mean that Tottenham didn’t have their chances to punish Guardiola’s team even more, but City could ill afford to lose this game and created most of the chances throughout the game.

In the first half alone City had 11 attempts on goal, Tottenham’s sole opportunity ended in a goal, which just underlined how the club seem transformed this season with more of a killer instinct. The second half was much like the first in that City controlled the ball and Tottenham defended well and looked for the counter attack.

Though he didn’t score at the weekend special mention should be given to Harry Kane who was all over the field, sprinting down the wings, looking to distribute the ball and even getting back, what a display the England international put in. But this was collective hard work from every player, Tottenham were that good and despite the riches on show from City the truth is that the club just ran out of ideas.

The game was effectively over just past the hour mark when Kane set up Giovani Lo Celso for Tottenham’s second. What was incredible is that Lo Celso had only been on the pitch for just over 30 seconds as a second half substitute.

City remained a threat but as the time went by it was clear that Tottenham had done their home work and the 2019 champions had become quite predictable in the process.

Tottenham are top of the league and unlike the last time they reached the summit, this counts more as the full weekend’s games have been completed.

It seems fitting that Tottenham reached 1st place by beating a great team in Manchester City, and it was a game that the home side bossed for the majority of the match. It also felt like a turning point. For Tottenham a new beginning filled with dreams under Jose Mourinho and for Manchester City perhaps the beginning of the end under Pep Guardiola.

Despite the many problems that Mourinho has faced in the last four years- failing at Chelsea in his 2nd season comeback with the club, then his nightmarish ending to his Manchester United managerial position, he seems to have come out the other end, and Tottenham could well be his last big hurrah before taking over on the international stage. Something special seems to be brewing at the club and one is reminded of Mourinho’s time a decade ago at Inter Milan. In Italy he took a well known club and turned them into serial winners.

At Tottenham the dream remains to be competitive and under former manager Mauricio Pochettino the club were heading in that direction, nobody can fault reaching the Champions League final. But something was just missing, a winning dynamic that for some reason couldn’t be achieved under Pochettino who left the club filling the hearts of many but not filling the trophy department.

This is why Mourinho was brought in to install that winning mentality. Forget Liverpool having to wait 30 years for a league title that ended last season and spare a thought for Tottenham who have had to wait since 1961. True it is early days and the Premier League is so hard to win, but there is hope at least, and Tottenham do have an uncanny ability to win trophies when the year ends in a 1. We will have to wait and see.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Serie Best Fantasy XI – Round Eight

Ivan Provedel (7 points): it was a pretty good showing for defenses, like in the last round before the break, as six of them managed to keep a clean sheet, two in the same game (Spezia-Atalanta). The Aquilotti’s goalkeeper was by far the busiest in the weekend and shined in particular on a pair of monster saves on point-blank attempts by Robin Gosens.

Merih Demiral (7 points): his partnership with the returning Matthijs De Ligt worked just fine against Cagliari as Juventus blanked the opponents, plus he put his overwhelming physicality to good use on set pieces in the opposing box, rattling the crossbar in one occasion and setting up Cristiano Ronaldo’s tap-in in another one. Continue reading

Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 9

Tottenham are the new league leaders after they beat Manchester City 2-0 at home in a huge game for Jose Mourinho’s team. It was the 4th win in a row for Spurs and they lead on goal difference from Liverpool who overcame Leicester 3-0.

Chelsea are in 3rd place and just 2 points behind Tottenham as they remained undefeated for their 10th game in a row in all competitions and got a 2-0 victory over Newcastle. Everton won for the first time in four games against Fulham and Manchester United have crept up to 10th place after they got a narrow 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. It is a concern to see Manchester City so far down in 13th place though.

After another exciting weekend in the Premier League did any of your players make the team of week 9? Let’s take a look.

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris- Tottenham 7pts

Given that Tottenham were playing Manchester City this was always going to be a busy time for Hugo Lloris and he made some good saves and communicated well with his defence to keep a clean sheet as Tottenham beat City 2-0.

Defender: Andrew Robertson-Liverpool 7pts

Andrew Robertson assisted in Liverpool’s 2nd goal for Jota and then helped to keep a clean sheet as Liverpool won a very important game against Leicester beating them 3-0. Robertson now has 3 assists already for the season.

Defender: Angelo Ogbanna- West Ham 5pts

West Ham have been putting together some impressive results lately and they kept another clean sheet at the weekend by beating Sheffield United 1-0. Angelo Ogbanna had a great game at the back and he has helped to keep four clean sheets this season.

Defender: Eric Dier- Tottenham 5pts

Huge game for Tottenham and Eric Dier shone through with a commanding display at the back as Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0. Dier earned another 5 points in the process and he is currently the highest ranked defender in the team in the fantasy points.

Defender: Hector Bellerin- Arsenal 5pts

Hector Bellerin arguably put in his best performance of the season in defence as Arsenal head on to a 0-0 draw away to Leeds. Arsenal were under a lot of pressure and Bellerin kept focused throughout the match.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 6pts

Bruno Fernandes keeps being the difference when Manchester United do win games and his cool head to convert the penalty won a narrow game 1-0. Fernandes has scored six goals already this season and has 30 points in the United midfield, 22 more than the 2nd placed player.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Liverpool 6pts

Diojo Jota was arguably the best summer transfer in the Premier League, his switch from Wolves to Liverpool has added another layer for the champions. Jota was on hand to score Liverpool’s 2nd goal as they beat Leicester in a crunch encounter 3-0.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool 6pts

Roberto Firmino rose to the occasion and had more chances in the game than usual possibly owing to the fact that Mohamed Salah was unable to play. Firmino put himself in more attacking options and his hard work paid off as he scored Liverpool’s 3rd goal as they eased to a 3-0 win over Leicester.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Tottenham 6pts

Giovani Lo Celso was the unlikely hero as the ex Real Betis player scored Tottenham’s winning goal against Manchester City. That was Lo Celso’s first goal of the season and his value is 7m.

Striker: Dominic Calvert-Lewin- Everton 8pts

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is having the best season of his career so far and scored 2 goals as Everton beat Fulham 3-2. It was an important victory for the club who had lost their previous three games in a row. Calvert-Lewin took his goals well, scoring his first after just 42 seconds and has scored 10 goals this season already.

Striker: Sebastian Haller- West Ham 4pts

Sebastian Haller was the hero for West Ham as he scored the only goal of the game as the Hammers overcame Sheffield United 1-0 away from home. Haller has scored 2 goals in the league and his value is 7.5m.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

La Liga: Best 11 Players of Week 10

Barcelona lost their 3rd game of the season and they are now down in 12th position and 12 points behind current leaders Real Sociedad. Sociedad have won 70% of their games so far and have pulled out a 3 point lead at the top.

Real Madrid could only draw 1-1 away to Villarreal and Atletico Madrid have gone 2nd after beating Barcelona. Let’s see if any of your players made the team of the weekend below.

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak- Atletico Madrid 7pts

Jan Oblak kept his sixth clean sheet of the campaign and one of the most important ones as Atletico Madrid overcame Barcelona 1-0 at home. Oblak had to make 5 crucial saves and now has 42 points overall.

Defender: Kieran Tripper- Atletico Madrid 5pts

Kieran Trippier has been one of the best defenders in Spain this season and has really grown as a player with Atletico Madrid. He helped to keep a clean sheet and shut out Barcelona.

Defender: Nacho Monreal- Real Sociedad 5pts

Real Sociedad won a tough game 1-0 over Cadiz and Monreal really put in a shift to keep the newly promoted side at bay. Monreal has kept 4 clean sheets so far this season and is valued at 8.5m.

Defender: Felipe- Atletico Madrid 5pts

Felipe is the 3rd best ranked defender in the league and helped to keep a 5th clean sheet for Atletico Madrid. This game at the weekend was more impressive given that he shut out Lionel Messi and co, as they beat Barcelona 1-0.

Defender: Zaldua- Real Sociedad 5pts

Not many defenders picked up points over the weekend in La Liga and the best defending teams have been Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad. Zaldua played well and maintained the back line superbly. He has only managed to start 2 games this season but could see that increase with this performance.

Midfielder: Yannick Carrasco- Atletico Madrid 5pts

What a game for Yannick Carrasco who scored the only goal of the match to beat Barcelona 1-0. Carrasco had just been booked and his game didn’t look so good but a few minutes later and just before half time he scored. He has scored 2 goals this season and now has a total of 17 points.

Midfielder: Gonzalo Melero- Levante 4pts

Levante drew 1-1 with Elche and Gonzalo Melero scored the opening goal of the game for Levante. He also put in a good shift in midfield and distributed the ball well. His value is worth 6m.

Midfielder: Angel Correa- Atletico Madrid 4pts

Angel Correa has appeared in the team of the week on many occasions and he has been a solid player for Atletico. He played a very pivotal role for the club as they overcame Barcelona 1-0 and at times kept Messi quiet.

Midfielder: Adnan Januzaj- Real Sociedad 4pts

Adnan Januzaj provided his first assist of the season as Real Sociedad beat Cadiz 1-0. He is the 2nd best ranked midfielder for the club and has 20 points overall now.

Striker: Oscar Plano- Real Valladolid 6pts

Oscar Plano opened the scoring for Real Valladolid as they beat Granada 3-1. He also set up the clubs 2nd goal and had an overall brilliant game away from home. It was Plano’s first goal of the season.

Striker: Lucas Perez- Alaves 6pts

Alaves were expected to lose to Valencia and sprung a surprise by drawing the game 2-2. Lucas Perez earned six points by assisting in the first goal for the club and then converting a penalty. The striker has scored 2 goals so far this season and his value is 4m.

Think you know Spanish football? Play https://liga-fantasy.com now!

Napoli 1-3 AC Milan: Three things we learned as Ibrahimovic brace ends ten-year winless run

Milan certainly bounced back from the 2-2 draw against Hellas Verona this evening, ending a ten-year winless run away at Napoli. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the big hero once again with a brace, helping the Rossoneri reclaim the top spot in the league standings. 

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring after just 20 minutes, managing to get away from Kalidou Koulibaly in the box. Theo Hernandez spotted this and picked him out with a perfect cross, which the Swede met with his head. It looked very easy, but that was indeed a world-class finish by the 39-year-old.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Eight

Standings implications: Milan emegered victorius in the monumental clash with Napoli, as their title bid gains credibility in each round. 2nd-placed Sassuolo kept it rolling and bested Verona away, which is no easy feat. The other top teams did not stumble in feasible fixtures as Roma crushed Parma, Juventus romped Cagliari even though the result was not very large, Lazio cruised past Crotone, while ‘Pazza Inter’ was on full display against Torino as they mounted a four-goal comeback in the second half. Atalanta dropped the ball versus Spezia and could not get more than a nil-nil tie.

Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round Eight versus Cagliari

For once this season, Juventus did not mess about in the Cagliari fixture, controlled the pace from start to finish with minimal dips in focus and intensity and took home with a well-deserved shutout victory.

Merih Demiral (7 points): a duo of young and explosive studs makes more sense for the slightly reckless way Juventus defend in the new regime, although they were more balanced than usual in this one, then it surely helps that Matthijs De Ligt was in pristine shape in his first game back after shoulder surgery, looking as dominant as ever. Continue reading

Man Utd: Three key battles to look out for ahead of the West Brom fixture

As the international break finally comes to an end, normal services in domestic football, with Manchester United taking on West Brom in the Saturday evening fixture at Old Trafford.

Given that the side are yet to win a league game so far this season at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will have to be at their very best, on and off the ball, in order to turn their unexplainable form at home around. On the other hand, the Baggies will be aiming to make improvement on both sides of the pitch, as they have not claimed a single victory this term.

On paper, the host have too much quality in midfield and attack for the visitors to handle, though, with the number of surprises that have risen in recent months, anything is possible within Premier League football. If Slaven Bilic’s West Brom are able to keep United’s attack limited and prove to be ruthless on the counter, then there is a chance of them walking away with at least a point.

With no further ado, here are the three key battles to look out for at Old Trafford this evening…

Marcus Rashford vs Darnell Furlong

With two goals and three assists to his name in seven league appearances, Marcus Rashford will be aiming to improve on his consistency and efficiency in the final third as the pundits and the Manchester United supporters are expecting him to reach 20 league goals by the end of the campaign. When looking at his burst of pace, movement with and without the ball as well as his confidence in front of goal, the target of scoring 20 league goals is definitely achievable for Rashford.

Rashford will be in for a close and tight encounter with Darnell Furlong, who is West Brom’s regular option at right-back and is more than capable of being a crucial player on both sides of the pitch. When comparing Furlong to the other full-backs in the league, only Andrew Roberton and Tariq Lamptey have had more touches than the right-back in the opposition’s box. However, his key duty is to nullify the threat that Rashford provides before he can proceed to being a threat himself.

Callum Robinson vs Harry Maguire

Scoring only 6 goals in eight league fixtures, West Brom do not possess many talented attacking players, but they will be highly depending on Callum Robinson, who will be looking to get in between the lines of the central defence. As his two league goals so far, this season have come at home to Chelsea, the 25-year-old Irish international certainly has the confidence to score against big teams.

Although the Red Devils are expected to dominate majority of the possession at Old Trafford, if the Baggies are still able to create a few chances on the counter or through the set-piece method into the feet of Callum Robinson, then it is more than possible for the attacker to walk away with a goal or two. He will be up against captain Harry Maguire, who will be looking to get back to his best and to his normal self, especially after the personal experience he has had on and off the football pitch.

Bruno Fernandes vs Jake Livermore

Given the huge number of midfield options that Solskjaer has available, as well as Donny Van de Beek and Paul Pogba being a choice from the bench, it will be Bruno Fernandes who will be leading the midfield and will be connecting the dots from midfield to attack. Considered as Manchester United’s best and important player in the starting line-up, the side’s attack and creativity runs through the Portuguese international, who will be looking to continue to provide the goods.

Meanwhile for West Brom, Jake Livermore is expected to play the lone defensive-midfield role, where he will be sitting in front of the defence, providing the balance and stability to the midfield. The 31-year-old will be hoping to keep Fernandes as quiet as possible, and will be aiming to help the team through his leadership, range of passing and most importantly, his Premier League experience.

Serie A Predictions – Round Eight

Crotone-Lazio: the Squali have hauled in just two points so far, tying against Juventus and Torino and losing five times already. The Biancocelesti shared the spoils with the Bianconeri as well and had defeated Bologna and Torino the two matches before: they usually do well versus the minnows. 1-3.

Spezia-Atalanta: the Liguri have been very combative so far and they lost only versus Juventus in the past four rounds, where they soundly defeated Benevento and had 2-2 ties with Parma and Fiorentina. The Bergamaschi drew with Inter in the past game after returning to winning ways the week before against Crotone. The Aquilotti will make it tough but the guests could take advantage of their defensive shortcomings: 2-3. Continue reading

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: 3 things to watch

It’s the La Liga game of the weekend, and by a distance.

Atletico Madrid host Barcelona at the Wanda Metropolitano as the only unbeaten side in the Spanish top flight, whilst the Catalans are desperate for the points to see them move up the table after a stuttering start.

Diego Simeone has still never beaten Barca in the league, and this will be his 18th attempt at doing so. Continue reading