Inter go 11 points clear of Milan with 9 games to go

Surely the Serie A title will be Inter’s now after they pulled 11 points clear at the top. Milan could only draw 1-1 at home to Sampdoria and Inter won at the weekend and then followed that up with their 22nd win of the season on Wednesday evening when they beat Sassuolo 2-1. Inter have won their last 10 games in a row and have simply been fantastic this season- and they will be deserved champions it seems.

Let’s take a recap on Inter’s last 2 games in the league.

This past weekend Inter played Bologna away from home in what is never an easy game for any club in the league. Bologna are in 11th place but have always made it tricky for teams visiting and they did so once again for the champions elect. In the end it took a solo effort from Romelu Lukaku to settle the game just after the half hour mark. Lukaku.

Inter were technically the better side but Bologna had their chances although they did go quieter in the 2nd half. It was Lukaku’s goal that won the game in a 1-0 win and it was Lukaku’s 20th goal of the season as he tries to catch up with Cristiano Ronaldo. It was hardly a vintage performance from Inter, but it’s all about those 3 points and they were able to achieve that at the weekend.

In midweek Inter played Sassuolo this was a game that was originally scheduled a few weeks ago but a Covid outbreak in the Inter side put paid to that and so it had to be carried over. Inter won the game 2-1 through the usual suspects of Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.

Lukaku opened the scoring after just 10 minutes after a cross by Ashley Young, Lukaku sweetly headed the ball in. It was a first half in which Inter played good football and looked like the better team and they went in 1-0 up at half time.

Inter doubled their lead half way through the second half when Lukaku broke clear and played the ball to Martinez who made no mistake in scoring his 15th league goal of the season. However just before that break Sassuolo really should have been awarded a penalty. Indeed the away side got the better of Inter in the 2nd half and were much the better side and were unlucky to have not at least drawn the game in the end, even though they were able to pull a goal back with five minutes to go.

Inter coach Antonio Conte had this to say after Inter’s latest victory, “We had to become more determined, more focused in every situation, as well as more resilient. There are games like today where we can be up against teams with no pressure and if we are more clinical, we can score five or six goals. Sassuolo kept it open to the end, even if they scored only when Milan Skriniar was off the field. I congratulate Sassuolo, as they came here to play their game and this performance shows how much we’ve grown. With this attitude, we’d still be in the Champions League.”

This weekend Inter will play 18th placed Cagliari at home and will be the favourites to win that one, although the away side are battling relegation, though they haven’t won a game in over 5 weeks.

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£150m? Why wonderkid Haaland isn’t even worth £70m

Move over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo- Erling Haaland is the new kid in town and soon every kid in the playground will be donning his shirt. Which new club that will be is still anyone’s guess but Haaland has taken the headlines by storm and it seems that over the past two weeks everyone has been talking about the Norwegian player who is still only 20.

The hype seems genuine enough, Haaland scores goals, but he is tall, huge in fact, and is quite a presence and his speed is lightning quick, his current club Borussia Dortmund seem to have found a gem of a player.

Haaland has already scored 124 goals in all competitions in his career and this season alone has 33 goals from 33 games. It is stunning and certainly reminds one of Messi and Ronaldo’s records. In short Dortmund are not going to keep him and he is certainly going to be transferred this summer.

In truth at 20 he could probably do with another season in the Bundesliga, but here’s the catch- he can leave next summer for £68m, that is stipulated in his buyout contract. Now that would still be a tidy profit for Dortmund of almost £50m, but of course they want more.

If Haaland was to leave this summer it is possible that he could go for upwards of £150m, that’s the figure that has been talked about. The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City and PSG may just be able to convince their purse strings and in some cases their banks to hand over that kind of money for a player who may well light up world football for the next 15 years.

But let’s face it, it is a gamble.

The Bundesliga with all due respect isn’t the highest bar to judge oneself. True the current European champions are Bayern Munich, but they are almost a one off. Like PSG who reached last year’s final too- it doesn’t mean that particular league is strong. That isn’t to say German football isn’t strong, but currently one would have to question.

Take Timo Werner at Chelsea who was scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga, when Chelsea were able to snap up the German international for around £60m it looked like a bargain. However Werner has had a poor debut season with the Blues, and quite frankly his confidence looks shot. He may improve next season, then again…. The Premier League, La Liga and Serie A are simply at a higher level, and you can get found out.

It doesn’t seem like Haaland will have any troubles adjusting to a different league but when prices of £150m are being quoted doesn’t someone have to say, well, hang on a second?

What has Haaland proved so far, yes he looks good, yes he can score goals, but he hasn’t done anything significant yet. True he’s young but how about make a mark- because all of the other greats have done so.

Imagine for example in the 2nd leg of Dortmund’s quarter final Champions League tie against Manchester City Haaland makes the difference and helps knock City out of the competition. That would be quite a marker to lay down. No one is expecting Haaland to join his new club loaded with trophies in his resume just yet, but perhaps one would like to see some showing in a big match first.

It is why in reality Haaland is only worth his buyout clause he hasn’t really been able to make that difference not to a team yet, not like Kylian Mbappe for example, although of course Mbappe is in a better team.

Dortmund of course will understand that if they sold Haaland for £70m one day he could be sold on for £200m plus and they don’t want to miss out, that is the business of football. Some players simply are not worth what clubs are prepared to offer.

Ideally everyone should be happy with a smaller fee, it’s still profit for his original club but Dortmund will go for the top price, and honestly you can’t blame them for that. As for Haaland the truth of how great he will be is only going to be revealed next season at his new club.

 

Premier League Game of the Week: Chelsea 2-5 West Bromwich Albion

Curse those international breaks, this is what Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was probably thinking when the final whistle sounded at Stamford Bridge this past weekend. But this was a game that looked over and out at least 20 minutes before the end.

West Bromwich Albion defeating Chelsea away from home was something, a shock, a surprise on a certain level. It can happen. But scoring 5 goals, that simply was not expected and the result was easily up there with Aston Villa putting 7 goals past Liverpool earlier in the season. It was mammoth and it had Tuchel fuming and Baggies manager Sam Allardyce laughing and grinning like a Cheshire cat. It was a small beautiful moment in a season, which for West Brom has looked desperate and toothless.

It’s always a surprise when one third of the game has gone without goals and then there were 7 but that was almost the case with this match and the goals didn’t arrive until the 27th minute and it would be predictably the home team that would open the scoring through Christian Pulisic. Marcos Alonso produced a near brilliant free kick that the keeper could not take hold of and Pulisic was in the right place at the right time to tap in from only a few yards out.

It is worth mentioning by this time that Thiago Silva of Chelsea had already been booked for holding, because just two minutes later he received his second booking and was sent off for a challenge that had actually happened after the ball was struck. The challenge looked nasty and was two footed but one could also believe that there was no malice intended, it didn’t matter though and Chelsea were now down to 10 men.

Everything was to change in injury time of the first half, something quite spectacular indeed, and it is this unpredictable nature of the Premier League which probably makes it the best competition in Europe- barring the fact of course that Manchester City are running away with the league.

West Brom’s Sam Johnstone looping pass found an unmarked Matheus Pereira who then looped the ball past Edouard Mendy in goal and on the 45th minute +1 it was 1-1. Pereira wasn’t finished yet though. There was chaos in the Chelsea defence as West Brom came forward again and despite there being 3 defenders in front of Pereira his shot still went past them and into the back of the net. Suddenly West Brom were heading into the break 2-1 up.

True you could argue that Chelsea had had the better chances of the first half but West Brom had not come here to defend and park the bus like many would have expected, and they remained a constant threat and had chances of their own. Even still Chelsea remained the favourites to go on and win the game despite being reduced to 10 men. That myth was busted within 20 minutes of the 2nd half re start.

There would be no 2-2 score line and then the inevitable Chelsea come back, West Brom firstly went 3-1 up and then 4-1 up. It felt like madness on paper but in reality was grounded in hard work and a desire to win a game that nobody thought would be possible for Allardyce’s side.

Callum Robinson slotted in a beautiful third and when Mbaye Diagne soon after scored a fourth goal for the Baggies, this was suddenly looking very easy for the away side who are in 19th place.

West Brom did show some vulnerabilities at the back, and this is why they could get relegated this season to let in Chelsea for 2-4 when the Blues easily picked them off and the goal was finished by the impressive Mason Mount from just a few yards out. Suddenly a threat from the home side was there, this is a game that Chelsea could possibly draw. But it was the away side that needed these points.

But as the time went on Chelsea were not able to find the chances in the final third to create much danger and then Robinson scored his 2nd of the game, perhaps the finest of the encounter with a beautiful little dip beating the keeper for an incredible 5-2 victory.

Chelsea lost their first game in over 2 months and Tuchel has faced his first taste of defeat in the Premier League. The result is a blow to the Blues top 4 chances too and they saw West Ham pass them for 4th place and the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham have edged nearer.

As for West Brom, well Sam Allardyce has never been relegated with his teams and perhaps the great escape is on. It would indeed be the greatest given how West Brom are in 19th with 21 points and are 8 points from safety with just 24 left to play.

Let’s take a look at the latest betting odds for relegation in the Premier League.

Sheffield United 1/500

West Bromwich Albion 1/25

Fulham 8/11

Newcastle 11/10

Burnley 16/1

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La Liga: Best 11 Players of Week 29

Week 29 looks like it was a turning point in La Liga was a huge blow to Atletico Madrid’s chances of winning the title. Atletico lost 1-0 away to Sevilla and have seen their huge lead cut down. Real Madrid are only 3 points behind and if Barcelona win their game in hand they will only be 1 point behind. Is the writing on the wall for Atletico? It looks increasingly likely.

Barcelona didn’t play at the weekend but they remain the best in form side in La Liga and have earned an incredible 28 points from a possible 30.

Let’s take a look below at the players who impressed the most as La Liga returned this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Bono- Sevilla 7pts

Bono has been here so many times and is clearly one of the best goalkeeper’s in Spain this season. This was his 13th clean sheet of the season and what it was as Sevilla marched to Champions League qualification as they beat league leaders Atletico Madrid 1-0.

Defender: Ferland Mendy- Real Madrid 5pts

Ferland Mendy has been of Real Madrid’s best defenders this season and he earned another 5 points at the weekend to take his tally to 53. He has helped to keep 11 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Nacho- Real Madrid 5pts

Nacho has 30 points now as Real Madrid beat Eibar 2-0 at home to keep yet another clean sheet and possibly close in on the league title. Nacho made some great judgments on the ball and had a solid game.

Defender: Pedro Lopez- Huesca 5pts

Pedro Lopez showed a lot of maturity at the back for Huesca as they pulled off a terrific result to beat Levante away from home by 2-0. He’s hardly played any games this season and that is why he only has 9 points overall. His value is worth 5m.

Defender: Alberto Moreno- Villarreal 5pts

Alberto Moreno was part of a Villarreal defence that kept a clean sheet as they went to Granada and won 3-0. Moreno now has a total of 5 points given that this was indeed his first game for the club this season.

Midfielder: Marco Asensio- Real Madrid 6pts

Marco Asensio had an interesting game for Real Madrid as they beat Eibar 2-0. He scored the opening goal but it was ruled out by VAR but then a couple of minutes later he made amends for that and scored a proper opening goal.

Midfielder: Casemiro- Real Madrid 4pts

Casemiro has had a solid and professional season with Real and he assisted in the clubs first goal as they beat Eibar 2-0. Casemiro now has two assists for the season and has a total of 40 points so far.

Midfielder: Jesus Navas- Sevilla 4pts

Jesus Navas helped out at the back at times as Sevilla beat Atletico Madrid 1-0. Navas also assisted in the only goal of the game, to round up a very good performance from the midfielder. Currently he is the clubs 4th best midfielder so far.

Midfielder: David Ferreiro- Huesca 4pts

David Ferreiro assisted in Huesca’s goal as they beat Levante 2-0 at the weekend to earn a good 4 points. He has 3 assists now and is ranked at number 1 Huesca midfielder with a total of 23 points.

Striker: Gerard Moreno- Villarreal 14pts

It was a special weekend for Gerard Moreno who doesn’t always get the credit that he deserves. Villarreal beat Granada 3-0 and he scored all the goals to get a hat-trick. Moreno now has 19 goals this season and is 2nd in the top goalscorers.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo 8pts

Iago Aspas had a terrific game as he scored and assisted in the other 2 goals as Celta Vigo beat Alaves 3-1. Aspas has had a good solid season and has appeared in the team of the weeks a few times now. He has 10 goals and has also assisted in a further 10.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 30

Chelsea losing 5-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion, let that sink in because it may have to do over the course of several weeks. This season in the Premier League has thrown out some very surprising results, and it is as if the league was giving a welcomed if not delayed response to the arrival Thomas Tuchel. The defeat was Tuchel’s first in charge of the Blues and it has come at a dreadful time for them.

Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 and perhaps Jurgen Klopp’s side are over their dismal form and they are just 2 points from the top 4 now. Both Manchester teams won with Manchester City beating Leicester and they are 14 points clear. Manchester United consolidated 2nd place and they will surely finish in the top 4 now and are 11 points clear of 5th.

Let’s look at the players who made a difference over this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Alisson- Liverpool 7pts

Alisson will have been very happy to keep a clean sheet away to a quality side like Arsenal as Liverpool looked solid again to win the match 3-0. That was Alisson’s 7th clean sheet of the season so far and he had to make a few good saves early on as well and stayed very focused throughout the game.

Defender: Benjamin Mendy- Manchester City 9pts

It was the perfect weekend for Benjamin Mendy who kept a clean sheet as league leaders Manchester City impressively beat Leicester 2-0 away from home. The icing on the cake was that Mendy scored a goal- the opening goal just before the hour mark which set up the eventual win. That was Mendy’s 2nd goal of the season and his value is worth 6.5m.

Defender: Trent Alexander- Arnold- Liverpool 7pts

Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates for a fantastic win for the champions. Alexander-Arnold now has 8 clean sheets to his name for this season he also assisted in the clubs first goal of the game bringing his total to 36 points.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Another solid performance from one of the most impressive defenders in the Premier League this season. Dias was commanding and very confident on the ball even away to Leicester who are in 3rd place in the league. Dias now has 78 points so far and his value is 7.5m.

Defender: Andrew Robertson- Liverpool 5pts

Andrew Robertson looked back to his self assured best holding the back line particularly well and frustrating Arsenal as Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners. Robertson earned 5 points in the process for his clean sheet and now has a total of 43 points.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 6pts

Salah looked back and sharp especially in the 2nd half of the Arsenal goal and the player scored his 18th goal of the season as he put the Gunners to the sword. He looks set to finish the season strongly.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Liverpool 9pts

An absolutely brilliant weekend for Diogo Jota saw the Liverpool player come back from an injury lay off to start scoring the goals again and he scored 2 for Liverpool as they beat rivals Arsenal 3-0. Jota now has 8 goals for the Reds and considering his injuries this season he has had a very good campaign in his debut season for the Reds.

Midfielder: Nathan Redmond- Southampton 6pts

Nathan Redmond was involved in one of the best games of the weekend as Southampton came back against Burnley from two goals down to beat them 3-2. Redmond assisted in Danny Ings 2nd goal for the Saints and then grabbed the winner.

Midfielder: Jack Harrison- Leeds United 4pts

Jack Harrison scored a good goal to open the scoring for Leeds as they beat Sheffield United 2-1 at the weekend. That was Harrison’s seventh goal of the season and he now has 54 points.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 8pts

Harry Kane has had a fantastic season and the Tottenham striker was on hand to score 2 goals as they drew 2-2 with Newcastle at the weekend. Ultimately it was a disappointing result for Tottenham given that they were leading 2-1 but personally for Kane those 2 goals means he has 19 goals. Kane is the top scorer now in the Premier League.

Striker: Callum Robertson- West Bromwich Albion 8pts

In an incredible game not just for Callum Robertson but for 19th placed West Bromwich Albion who beat Chelsea- unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel 5-2 at Stamford Bridge. Robertson scored 2 goals and now has 4 goals for the season. His value is 5m.

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3 key players who have reinvented Chelsea’s winning way under Thomas Tuchel

When Thomas Tuchel landed the Chelsea job at the end of January after Frank Lampard was sacked Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp mused that he has been given a gift, and Klopp was absolutely right.

The problem with that statement though was that Chelsea’s brilliant players- and they really do have plenty were not performing to their maximum best under Lampard. They simply could not be coached by him and he had to go.

Bringing in Tuchel was an ace move, the German had worked wonders at PSG and stream rolled their domestic success. He almost reached the top of the mountain last summer as he guided PSG to their first ever Champions League final, but ultimately they lost in a close final to Bayern Munich.

Even though there would be disappointment for Tuchel last year with being a runner-up in the Champions League and then being sacked from PSG, he did earn pedigree and he also earned respect. It is this respect which is now filtering through to the Chelsea stars, and it is obvious that Tuchel gained it as soon as he arrived at the club.

But which players have really picked up their game since he took to the Stamford Bridge dugout? It’s interesting that one player in Timo Werner, Tuchel’s German countryman continues to struggle and Werner only has 30 points so far for a striker and has scored just 5 goals.

Let’s take a look then at the best 3 Chelsea players who have really stepped up their game and made an impact under Tuchel already.

- Mason Mount was bubbling with form under Lampard but has exploded with Tuchel in charge. He is quick, confident on the ball and is scoring goals. Six months ago he may have not been on Gareth Southgate’s list for the Euro’s this summer, but he will be one of the first on it now. Mount is able to score goals in the important games.

-Mateo Kovacic has really benefitted from Tuchel’s tactical switch of playing 3 at the back and while the defender looked lost under Lampard at times he has come into his own. He reacted very well to Tuchel’s method of play, but Chelsea have a strong team and he will have to keep that form up.

-N’Golo Kante is in a long line of brilliant midfielders for Chelsea, from everyone from Michael Essien to Frank Lampard. Though unlike Lampard Kante’s forte is not about goals, instead he has been dominating the midfield and games and has looked like one of the shining stars of this Chelsea side.

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Sarri edges closer to Roma head coach and best performers of the club so far

Former Chelsea and Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has edged closer to becoming the new coach for Roma according to reports.

Of course Paulo Fonseca is still in charge of the Giallorossi but it is as clear as daylight that if the club do not qualify for the Champions League then Fonseca will lose his job.

Currently Roma are in 6th place and are 5 points behind 4th place Atalanta. All is not lost but it has become increasingly clear that the club are struggling of late and have lost 3 games from their last five, this includes losing their last two in a row. Apart from Atalanta the Giallorossi will also be battling with Napoli and the emerging Lazio for 4th.

It is thought that Sarri has conducted talks with Roma and that it is now in an advanced stage. With Sarri’s extensive experience this could be a great move for Roma. There are also rumours that Fonseca just can’t win given that he may be replaced even if the club end up in the top four. This is a story that could run for the next 2 months so watch this space.

Roma’s best performers so far in 2020/21

Domestic football has taken a two week break for internationals but the action returns this weekend. Roma will play Sassuolo away from home. Whilst Fonseca’s side will be the favourites to win that game looks tricky and could be very close.

With the break in place we haven’t seen any action for 14 days so we will take a look at the best performing players for the club so far.

- Henrikh Mkhitaryan with 70 points is the best overall player for the club so far. He has scored 9 goals and assisted in another 8. He started the season in brilliant form although faded in the middle. Despite Roma’s recent woes he has played some good football and will be hoping to finish the season in style.

- Lorenzo Pellegrini is a superb player when he is on his game. The one worry is he hasn’t been consistent enough but he usually steps up for the big games. His value is worth 7m and he has been involved in 10 goals so far with 6 of those coming from assists.

- Special mention should go to Rick Karsdorp in defence because with 36 points he is ranked as the best Roma defender. His value is just 5m so he would have been a real bargain this season and he has assisted in 5 goals and even scored one. The important statistic for him though is always going to be clean sheets and he has managed 8 so far.

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Superstar Martinez could be heading for Barcelona as Inter approach Aguero

Name who has been the best player for Inter this season as they try to win their first scudetto in 11 years and most people would say Romelu Lukaku. But Lautaro Martinez wouldn’t be too far behind after a stunning season.

The 23 year old Argentinian has really impressed this season and even last summer he was starting to attract the mega clubs of European football. The fact that Inter should win Serie A this season is spearheaded by Martinez’s fantastic statistics for Antonio Conte’s side.

Martinez has scored 14 league goals so far from 27 games and has 16 overall from 37. He is projected to be the next star of world football when it comes to strikers. One could suggest that Martinez is the type of player that started slow in his career, if we compare him to Kylian Mbappe but Martinez has all of the qualities to become just as good as Mbappe and perhaps even beyond. In short Inter have quite a star on their hands.

It is thought that the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG, Manchester City and Barcelona are very interested in taking the player and one would have to wonder how much for? The pandemic has brought prices down for now, but one would still presume that Martinez’s price tag could be between £100-150m. Can Inter afford not to sell at that price?

Manchester City are on the look out for a striker as veteran forward Sergio Aguero has announced that he will be leaving the club after 10 years playing at the Etihad. Obviously a straight swap is out of the question but City might be able to offer Aguero plus £120m, and that could be tempting for Inter. True Aguero is pushing on for age now but he is still sharp and alert and would score goals in Serie A.

There have been rumours that Inter have been looking at Aguero for his quality and experience although the one drawback is the amount of times he has been injured over the years. Still Aguero leaves the Premier League having scored the most goals ever for an overseas player and that could seal the deal with Inter.

PSG seem to have bottomless pockets and that would be quite a capture for the French champions who could, in effect, over the most money to Inter.

However one would have to suspect that if Martinez was going to leave the San Siro it would be to go to the Camp Nou and link up with his countryman Lionel Messi. Barcelona still want Neymar to return but surely going for youth would be the correct move for the Catalan club.

As for Martinez he may be tempted to stay at Inter and try and deliver the club the Champions League. Ultimately though the final decision will come down to Inter and if big money is offered this will be a huge test for the club who will probably be forced to sell.

As for this season, Serie A took a break for the past 10 days due to the international games. But Inter resume their title challenge away to Bologna on Saturday. Presently Inter are 6 points ahead of 2nd placed Milan and have a game in hand.

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The Best 5 Premier League players so far in 2020/21

Domestic football is on a break until the beginning of April, so there are no Premier League team of the week.

This is a chance then to see which Premier League players have been performing the best this season based on their fantasy points and gives you the chance to see if you have any players.

Together with picking out the top 5 we will also have honourable mentions of other players who have performed well this season and could well make their way into the top 5 by the end of the season.

The top 5 best Premier League players so far this season:

1. Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 101 pts

If you had Bruno Fernandes in your team at the beginning of the season what a pick that would have been given that the midfielder costs just 8.5m. He has been such an important player for Manchester United that we can say that the club would not be 2nd without his input. And let’s talk about his contribution so far the Portuguese star has scored 16 goals and assisted in another 10 goals. If you want to know why United are doing well in the Premier League this season, look no further.

2. Ederson Moraes- Manchester City 98pts

When Manchester City win the league this season people will talk about how well Ilkay Gundogan has performed alongside Phil Foden. But the key to City’s title will be in their defence and Ederson in goal has had a terrific season. So far he has helped to keep 16 clean sheets, which is a fantastic record. On top of that Ederson has even assisted in a goal, which is a remarkable fact. He continues to get better by each season.

3. Harry Kane- Tottenham 93pts

By far England’s best striker Harry Kane may not win any trophies this season (the Carabao Cup withstanding) but even if he doesn’t what a personal season it has been again for Kane. Kane’s record for Tottenham in the league is nothing short of mind blowing and he has been involved in 30 of the clubs league goals. Tottenham have scored 49 goals, just let that sink in. Tottenham will be doing everything in their power to keep their star forward this summer as he will surely be in demand.

4. Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 90pts

It almost feels like this has been a quiet season for Salah given his presence over the Premier League in the last 2 seasons. But actually Salah has been as busy as ever, it’s just that Liverpool as a team faced such an implosion that nobody could have seen it. Still for Salah he has scored 17 times and assisted in 3 goals, that is hardly a poor season and the Egyptian international himself is actually having another solid and brilliant campaign.

5. Edouard Mendy- Chelsea 86pts

In truth Edouard Mendy was scripted to be the 2nd goal keeper at Chelsea, but once given his chance he has impressed enough to become the clubs number 1 shot stopper. It’s encouraging for him that new manager Thomas Tuchel has kept him on and can also, like former manager Frank Lampard, see his immense qualities. Mendy has kept 14 clean sheets so far and is turning out to be a real star with the Blues.

Honourable mentions:

John Stones is having his best season as a professional player and is such an important part of the set up at Manchester City. Before this season his place was genuinely under threat but he has stepped up to the mantle and is not just defending well but is good to score goals too- he currently has 4 so far.

Ilkay Gundogan another Manchester City player, like Stones is having his best season. Gundogan can be provider but he has also scored some very important goals this season and has 12 so far. Ruben Dias is yet another City player in defence which has held everything together and looks like the perfect replacement for club legend Vincent Kompany. Dias has 73 pts so far.

Let’s not forget about Harry Kane’s strike partner, Heung-Min Son who has been unfortunate lately having his injury and missing some key games. But Son has had brilliant spells this season and has scored 13 goals and assisted in another 9. Indeed Kane and Son are arguably the best striker partnership in Europe when they are firing on all cylinders.

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Roma fall 5 points from Champions League qualification with back to back defeats

Roma already knew the league was over for some time but still held out hope for a top 4 place finish and entry into next seasons Champions League but that now looks in doubt after the Giallorossi lost their 8th game of the season.

Eight games just seems like too many to lose by this stage of the season if you have dreams of playing in Europe’s most elite competition but this is where Paolo Fonseca’s team stand.

Roma lost 2-0 at home to Napoli to record their 3rd defeat in 5 games and to make it back to back losses for the Giallorossi.

Dries Mertens was the thorn in Roma’s side as the player scored two goals within three first half minutes. The first was a sublime free kick and the second was from his head. That was Mertens sixth and seventh goals of the campaign and with 58 points so far the midfielder has the most of any Napoli player.

After the game Roma coach Paulo Fonseca was puzzled by the clubs slow start but saw encouraging signs in the second half, he said: “ This is not the way we wanted to play. We didn’t do anything in the first half because the team was lacking courage. We are all responsible, because when we are afraid of playing and afraid of losing, it becomes too difficult. The fact we saw the second half being completely different, that means it is a psychological issue and we could only really get going once we’d fallen behind. If the team was bad all the way through, I’d say we were incapable. If the team was bad in every game, I’d say that was an issue. The fact we had a totally different attitude in the second half means it is the mentality that was at fault.”

The worry for Fonseca is that his job could be on the line if the club do not at least finish in 4th place. The favourite person to step in if Fonseca is sacked looks to be Massimiliano Allegri who has taken some time away from the game and could be the perfect candidate.

To summarise Roma have 50 points and are 3 behind 5th place Napoli and 5 points adrift of Atalanta who now occupy the final Champions League spot. Five points isn’t the end of the world given that there are still 30 left to play for but Roma will be mindful that Napoli, who leap frogged them with this win also have a game in hand which just complicates matters further still.

Roma’s next game is after the international break where they will play 8th placed Sassuolo away from home. Whilst they are 11 points behind Roma they also have a game in hand and last season they beat Roma 4-2 in this very fixture. Indeed Roma have only beaten Sassuolo once in the league from the last four matches played.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of form but Roma’s best player

It’s clear as daylight that Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks like the shadow of the player that graced Serie A at the start of the season and one has to wonder if the midfielder is fatigued? Still he is the best player Roma have according to the fantasy Serie A points and he currently has 70 so far.

The Giallorossi will need his form to turn around if they have any hopes of finishing in the top 4. Mkhitaryan has been good value for money for the fantasy teams with his value at 7.5m and he has scored 9 goals which is very impressive from his position.

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