FIFA are correct to uphold decision to ban Chelsea for two transfer windows and Sarri should be happy with the outcome

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Chelsea have been told by FIFA that they will indeed serve a two window transfer ban which was imposed on them earlier in the season for breaching signing of youngsters and that means the club will not be able to sign any new players until the summer of 2020.

Chelsea will appeal to the courts of attribution but could be likely to lose. Whilst Chelsea should be punished, one cannot get away from the fact that UEFA are not promoting the game in the right direction. Unless one truly hates the club does anyone associated with football want to tie two hands behind a clubs back? Chelsea could win the Europa League enter the Champions League and not be able to buy any new players. Basically killing their chances of winning the competition before they have even started.

On top of that Chelsea have the problem of Eden Hazard their star player who looks like he will be leaving the club in the summer to join Real Madrid. This was further highlighted when the star player was seen nodding his head in a no fashion when fans asked him to stay at the club last week.

Surely the situation is a harsh one for the club who, yes, should receive a ban this summer but not extended to two windows. Ideally why not fine the club £500,000 and give back to hospitals or put back into the grassroots of the game. After all the ban won’t hurt as much as not being out of a little pocket for the club.

Of course the good news if the club are to be banned for purchasing players is that Maurizio Sarri’s job will be safe. It was oddly under threat a few months ago, even though he has steered Chelsea to a Europa League final, a Carabao Cup final and a top 4 place ensuring Champions League football either way next season, that’s not too bad for your debut season surely?

Still who will want to join the club now knowing you can’t buy any players for over a year? That would be like playing Monopoly and going round the board several times until your rivals all have the properties they want. In that sense Sarri suddenly holds all of the cards and with a strong link to Roma, Sarri may just think enough is enough and walk in the summer if he is not being respected at the club.

For now Chelsea are doing well, but the future hardly looks bright.

 

UEFA must ensure Champions League & Europa finals have genuine fans attending

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UEFA will be under pressure to act ‘for the good of the game’ after it emerged that around only 20% of fans will be attending the Champions League final and Europa League final. It is a shocking statistic and a damning fact about the two prestigious finals.

The Europa League final will take place in Baku at the Olympic Stadium which boasts a capacity of 68,000. The all English final will be between Chelsea and Arsenal which is sure to a memorable game of football and yet here is the damning fact. Arsenal have only been allocated 6,000 tickets for their fans, Chelsea for some reason is even lower at 5,800. That equates to less than 20% of capacity.

UEFA and its partners and sponsors will be taking a percentage of tickets, this can amount to anything between 5,000-10,000 nobody knows quite sure how many. That is just a fact of the major finals that sponsors will be getting tickets and is part of modern football business. But where then are the other 38,000 tickets? Well they will go on general sale to anyone in the world that enters a lottery type ticket allocation.

While it should be applauded that neutral football fans around the world will get to see a final showpiece or at least given that chance, that it should be 55% of them is disconcerting. Whatever happened to genuine fans watching their own teams, especially in a football final? Does UEFA want the final devoid of all atmosphere is that the main goal here?

The same applies to the Champions League final although more tickets have been allocated. The final will take place at Atletico Madrid’s home ground of Wanda Metropolitan which holds like Baku around 68,000. Liverpool and Tottenham have been given 16,000 tickets each, about 5,000 will go to UEFA and the rest just over 30,000 goes to general fans again.

It mean of course that long standing season ticket holders of both clubs simply won’t be able to go. The final which takes place on June 1st, is arguably Tottenham’s biggest match in their history. They have never reached a European Cup final, and it will be a massive occasion for the club. But loyal fans will have to watch the game elsewhere.

A proper figure of 25,000 tickets each should be made available for fans of the respective clubs. If UEFA cannot guarantee this, then why play matches in smaller grounds? Perhaps the final needs to be played in stadiums boasting 80,000 capacities or more? What is so frustrating is that the solution seems an easy one. The current state of ticketing is painfully wrong, playing host to touts as well as fans being charged excessively, ripped off or worse still ending up in the area designated for rival fans.

 

EPL: Premier League Predictions for Week 38

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This is it- the final weekend of the English Premier League season. It all comes down to the very final day where all games will be played on Saturday at 3pm. Will Manchester City win back to back league titles or will Liverpool claim their first league title since 1990?

All is set to be revealed in what has been a quite absorbing and fantastic league title race. We take a look below at the predictions for each game.

Brighton v Manchester City

Brighton are safe and will play Premier League football next season after Cardiff were relegated last week. This is the match for Manchester City, win and they will be champions again. Much could rest on the fitness levels of Fernandinho and the goal scoring qualities of Sergio Aguero. One mark against City is that they are only just winning games. Manchester City to beat Brighton

Burnley v Arsenal

Arsenal would have to win 8-0 and hope that Tottenham lose to Everton in order to finish in the top 4. Football is amazing but we can’t see this happening. Instead Burnley are in decent form, Arsenal have been very poor the last 6 weeks and we expect Arsenal to lose again. Chris Wood will be dangerous for the Gunners and too hot to handle.  Burnley to beat Arsenal

Crystal Palace v Bournemouth

When these two play we usually see goals and we should see a very entertaining game of football. Christian Benteke could return for Palace after smashing his cheekbone to play a farewell last game of the season. Both sides have similar qualities. Draw

Fulham v Newcastle

Fulham have been brilliant at home since being relegated and Newcastle do not have much to play for here. Plus they rarely travel to Fulham and get a result. Having said that the Magpies Salomon Rondon can be a danger. Fulham to beat Newcastle

Leicester v Chelsea

Chelsea will be exhausted after the Europa Cup tie which could see them in a final. They have basically qualified for a top 4 and will take it easy here. Leicester are just too good if you are not 100% and we expect Brendan Rodgers side to get all three points and end the season on a high. Plus Jamie Vardy loves scoring against Chelsea. Leicester to beat Chelsea

Liverpool v Wolves

Liverpool made the Champions League final in stunning fashion in midweek but they must focus on this game and get a win if they have any chance of winning the league title for the first time since 1990. Returning forward Mohamed Salah will be on fire for this game and we can only see one winner here given that Wolves have already secured 7th place. Liverpool to beat Wolves

Manchester United v Cardiff

Manchester United have all the qualities to win, the problem is that a quarter of this team know they won’t be playing for the club next season. Cardiff are relegated and we may see the best of the club with zero pressure on them. United have been extremely poor form wise. Draw

Southampton v Huddersfield

Southampton have blown hot and cold in the past few weeks but this game being their final one and at home they should have the quality to be too pacey for Huddersfield and win this game. Huddersfield claimed a brilliant point last weekend against Manchester United but that was at home. Southampton to beat Huddersfield

Tottenham v Everton

Tottenham against all expectations reached the Champions League final in glorious style. The team will be tired and they will be focused on the final on June 1st. Everton have been in solid form but we can see a pre season type of game complete with a happy atmosphere. Watch out for player of the moment Heung-Min Son who has a good chance to keep on scoring goals. Draw

Watford v West Ham

Watford will likely rest most of their first team squad to prepare for the FA Cup final the following Saturday. This gives West Ham a very good chance of claiming a victory. Marko Arnautovic grabbed a brace for the club in their 3-0 win over Southampton and he could well be on target to grab the headlines again. West Ham to beat Watford

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EPL: Premier League Predictions for Week 37

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There are just 2 games left in the Premier League and all options are open. Who will win the league? Manchester City or Liverpool? City lead by just 1 point and the answer looks like it’s going down to the final game. Both have of course qualified for the Champions League.

However 3rd and 4th is still up for grabs, and Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will do battle for those places. Then there is the curious place of relegation. The final place is down to Cardiff and Brighton, one of them will be going down- more will be revealed this weekend.

Below we take a look at the fixtures for this weekend and predictions.

Everton v Burnley

Everton have been in good form for the last 2 months now and at home they have won their last 3 games in a row and unbeaten in 4. Burnley have also been in good form, but they should be outclassed for this game. Gylfi Sigurdsson has been brilliant this season for the club and he could get on the score sheet. Everton to beat Burnley

Bournemouth v Tottenham

Tottenham will start as favourites but they lost against Ajax in midweek in the Champions League, and their focus will be on the 2nd leg. If they are not on the ball they could lose this game the good news is that Bournemouth’s form has collapsed and they have been very poor. Tottenham to beat Bournemouth

West Ham v Southampton

West Ham have gone their last two matches unbeaten and last week they became the first ever team to beat Tottenham at their new stadium. Southampton are safe and have lost just one game in their past four. Shane Long can give the Hammers a lot of problems and we are expecting the spoils to be shared here. Draw

Wolves v Fulham

How ironic that Fulham have been brilliant since they have got relegated and have won their last 3 games in a row. This game though is a big stretch for them away to Wolves. Wolves are going for a 7th place finish and the likes of Diogo Jota could be the difference. This has the potential to be a big score for the home team. Wolves to beat Fulham

Cardiff v Crystal Palace

This is it for Cardiff, they must win this match. They are at least at home, and they have had a mixture of being unlucky and poor in recent months. If Cardiff lose they will be going down. As for Palace they have won 4 of their last 5 away games and just look like quality. Cardiff have not beaten Palace since 2012, this might be a very close match. Cardiff to beat Crystal Palace

Newcastle v Liverpool

Liverpool have a terrible record at St James’ Park at the same time if they lose or even draw this game their league title will be in jeopardy. Newcastle are safe and in decent form, winning 4 of their last 5 games at home. Liverpool are in brilliant form, but will have the 2nd leg of their Champions League game against Barcelona on their mind too. Rafa Benitez obviously loves his former club- and they have the better quality at the end of the day. New PFA player of he year Virgi van Dijk will also want to put in a performance. Liverpool to beat Newcastle

Chelsea v Watford

Chelsea’s major criticism in the second half of the season has been focus because they have the quality. If they don’t focus here they give up a top 4 place. Of course a few days later they have the Europa League. Players such as Gonzalo Higuaín and Olivier Giroud have to step up. Chelsea to beat Watford

Huddersfield v Manchester United

Manchester United look like they will miss out on a top 4 place after their poor form of the last month. Having said that playing Huddersfield represents the perfect chance for them to win and score goals and reinstall confidence. Paul Pogba has been under a lot of criticism lately he should try and relish this opportunity to score and help his team in what should be an easy victory for the club. Manchester United to beat Huddersfield

Arsenal v Brighton

This game will be attack v defence and even though Arsenal come here having lost their last 3 games in a row we expect Unai Emery’s side to get back on track and win this match. Arsenal still remain a very strong side at home with just 2 defeats all season, but this match could be settled by one piece of magic. Mesut Ozil to step up? Arsenal to beat Burnley

Manchester City v Leicester

If Liverpool beat Newcastle they will be 2 points clear at the top for the whole weekend as this match takes place on Monday evening. Leicester under Claude Puel beat City earlier in the season, but now City are at home and will be massive favourites to get all three points. They are sure to start quick and Sergio Aguero will be a danger throughout. Manchester City to beat Leicester

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Our predicted lineups for this weekend’s EPL action

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This weekend sees the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures taking place before the season draws to a close on Sunday, May 12th.

Here are our predicted lineups for those EPL fixtures so have a read in preparation for another EPL fantasy football round.

Everton v Burnley

Everton XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Calvert-Lewin

Burnley XI: Heaton, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood Continue reading

Cardiff and Neil Warnock will hold onto Premier League survival miracle for now

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What a season it has been for Cardiff City, who have had to battle against the threat of relegation for most of the season. Of course one cannot talk about Cardiff’s season without mentioning the tragedy of Emiliano Sala’s plane crash when the Nantes player had just been signed by Cardiff.

One wonders if Sala would have saved Cardiff from the drop? It is a possibility given that the player had vastly improved in front of the goal in the past 12 months and was becoming a really good striker. He would have scored goals for Cardiff and could have earned the club those couple of wins that they have been missing. His passing remains one of the great shocks in modern footballing times.

As for the players that Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has had to work with, overall the club have been poor this season and their league position doesn’t lie. However one can think that Cardiff have also been unlucky. The offside goal that Chelsea scored, took 3 points effectively away from the side. And, when they were losing 1-0 to Liverpool, the Reds 2nd goal, a penalty looked soft and finished the game off, it could have ended a draw on a different day.

Cardiff look down, everyone seems to agree and when you are massive odds on with the bookmakers, well that is supposed to seal the deal. But the club do still have hope, because in 17th place Brighton have been decidedly awful since 2019 came through the front door of the AMEX Stadium.

Chris Hughton’s side have been for the less of a word, boring to watch. Sometimes boring is needed in football. When they are playing a superior team then they have to try and park the bus as it is called. But overall even when they have been playing teams with the same qualities as them they have become a team afraid to lose, celebrating a draw like it’s a win is always a bad sign with 15 games to go of the season.

Hughton is one of football’s good guys and knows his stuff about the game and is very down to earth. But the way his team plays it seems that they won’t be missed if they go down. At the same time Brighton are favourites to stay up and currently they are 4 points ahead of Cardiff with just 2 games left to play. That is a massive lead, and it is even bigger. You see Brighton have a  much superior goal difference so in effect that lead is 5 points with just 6 left on the board. How do Cardiff do this, and come back?

Well the good news for them is Brighton will have to travel to Arsenal next. Now Arsenal are in dreadfully poor form but one must think this will not continue especially at home. Note 3 of the clubs four recent defeats have come away from home. If Arsenal do oblige then Cardiff must find a way to win again. They were, for example, poor at the weekend when they lost to already relegated Fulham.

The same weekend Cardiff will play Crystal Palace and the only hope for that game for Warnock and his team is that they are at home. Though the Bluebirds have won just 1 game from their past five in front of their home fans.

If Cardiff win and Brighton lose the league will look like this; 17th Brighton 35 points, 18th Cardiff 34. Then it is game on for the final day of the season. Only there is a problem for both teams.

Brighton will be at home against Manchester City who will be more than likely needing to win for the league title. Cardiff will be away against Manchester United who will be looking to finish the season on a high after some miserable form. Both sides on paper could lose, which would change nothing.

The problem for Cardiff is that they will need to win their last two games to survive, and that, at this stage, will be a miracle. Just like who will win the league or claim those final Champions League places the relegation battle looks as exciting as ever and could well go down to the final game of the season, which could in turn affect the league title out come. Who needs Hollywood?

 

 

Arsenal’s defensive problems cost them again

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This week was always going to be a relatively testing one for Arsenal, as they faced Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City. However, only the most pessimistic among the Gunners faithful will have predicted things would go this badly.

After losing 3-2 against Crystal Palace last Sunday, it will have been presumed by many that Arsenal would improve this week- especially as they are still in with a chance of getting their first top four finish since the 2015/16 campaign. However, the Crystal Palace performance was replicated defensively in this week’s two games, as they lost 3-1 and then 3-0 against Wolves and Leicester respectively.

The three goals conceded against Wolves all came in the first half, as Ruben Neves scored in the 28th minute, Matt Doherty netted in the 31st before Diogo Jota rounded things off during injury time. Arsenal were able to get a consolation -ironically through a defender- as Sokratis Papastathopoulos got on the score sheet in the 80th minute.

The Gunners made two defensive changes ahead of the Leicester game, as Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac replaced Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal. However, while the Gunners didn’t concede in the first half, they did damage their chances in the early stages once again. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off, in the 38th minute, for a second bookable offence when he slid in on James Maddison.

Youri Tielemans struck the first blow for Leicester in the 59th minute, before a late double from Jamie Vardy made the scoreline look more convincing. Both of Vardy’s goals could arguably have been avoided, as defensive lapses played their part in giving him the chances.

That Arsenal are still struggling at the back, at this stage of the season, will be a source of great frustration for Unai Emery. There have been some brilliant and resolute performances from a defensive point of view, such as the away leg against Napoli, but this type of performance hasn’t come on anywhere near a consistent enough basis.

What will encourage the manager and his players though, is that despite these and other problems Arsenal have endured this campaign, they are still in with a hope of securing Champions League football for next season. They will travel to Valencia on Thursday for the first of their two semi final legs, to get within one match of the Europa League title- and the automatic Champions League place which comes with it.

Obtaining it through the league also still isn’t out of the question, especially after Chelsea drew with Manchester United following Arsenal’s defeat to Leicester. The Gunners’ two remaining Premier League fixtures come against Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley, two games which are winnable on paper. If they get victory in both of these matches and Chelsea slip up against Watford or Leicester, Arsenal will go above them and into fourth (though that is dependant on goal difference if one of Chelsea’s results is a draw).

Having Champions League football at The Emirates is still a realistically achievable goal for Arsenal, though they will have to sort their defensive woes if they are to obtain it.

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From Tottenham to Manchester United who will claim 3rd and 4th in the Premier League?

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We don’t know who will win the Premier League yet but we do know the teams in the running, Manchester City and Liverpool have already qualified for next seasons Champions League. But there are still two places up for grabs and yet there are 4 teams chasing those places. It looks like it will go down to the wire, but which two teams are likely to get the places?

Tottenham:

Tottenham are the clear favourites to seal a Champions League top 4 position and are currently in 3rd place with 70 points. They have a 3 point advantage over their direct rivals with just 3 games left to play. Tottenham start their games off with a home match against West Ham. This should be straight forward but the club will be thinking of their Champions League match against Ajax, the semi-final showdown is a huge part of Spurs’ footballing history and the players will be thinking of it. That game could well end in a draw.

After that Tottenham will be away to Bournemouth who are safe and now playing for anything and they should be able to get a hard working win there. They will finish the season off at home against in form Everton. This should be a fascinating game but the club will be determined to get all 3 points at their new stadium to wrap the season up. It won’t be easy for Spurs but we can see them getting at least 7 points.

Final Points Total: 77pts.

Chelsea:

Chelsea have blown hot and cold this season and have looked like world beaters at times. But the second half of the season has seen Maurizio Sarri’s side struggle more and they have concentrated more on their Europa League campaign. They will play Manchester United away this weekend and we can’t see them getting anything from a very difficult game plus they have the Europa League semi-finals on their mind. Win that and they get to play in the Champions League anyway.

After that they will be at home to Watford, and while Chelsea will still see the Europa League as priority we do expect them to get a win in this match. But it will be very close judging on how the team have performed over the past few months. They finish the season away to Leicester which will be a difficult game, and the best we can see there is that they walk away with a draw.

Final Points Total: 71pts.

Arsenal:

Much like Chelsea, Arsenal will have the Europa League on their mind where they have reached the semi finals and will play Valencia in what could be two very difficult games for the club. We could also have an all English final which would be quite incredible.

As for the games, Arsenal will play Leicester away on Sunday. Arsenal have been in poor form losing their last 2 games and conceding 6 goals, but we don’t think this will last with the quality they have and they can beat Leicester. The Gunners rarely lose 3 games in a row, and will have to be at their best against the Foxes.

Next Arsenal will play Brighton who have been very poor but fighting for survival, and Arsenal should have more than enough to get all 3 points at home, they have lost just 2 times at the Emirates all season. They finish the season with an away game against Burnley who might be able to come away with a draw, so we see Arsenal getting at least 7 points.

Final Points Total: 73pts.

Manchester United:

Somehow United still have a chance after their poor form in recent weeks and even if they do not qualify for the Champions League they have given it a massive shot in the arm since December and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival. They will play Chelsea on Sunday and we believe that the club can get the win at home and turn their poor form around. It is a massive game for both sides considering they are both going for 4th place.

After that and considering the club are not involved in any other competitions unlike their rivals they will play Huddersfield, the poorest side in the league. They will be away granted, but we expect an easy win over a side who have lost 28 times this season. United finish their season at home to Cardiff. They could end up relegating them on the final day of the season or maybe the club will be down by then anyway. It doesn’t matter, United will have too much class for the team and should win that too. We see them finishing on a high and getting 9 points.

Final Points Total: 73.

So from the above we see Tottenham getting 3rd place but Arsenal and Manchester United finishing with 73 points each and Chelsea missing out on 71. Goal difference could be the key between United and Arsenal.

Currently Arsenal have an advantage of +16 goals over United, so that looks to have sealed the deal and by the skin of their teeth Arsenal should be able to fend off United even if they win all their remaining games.

We will wait and see if indeed it plays out like this.

3rd- Tottenham   77

4th  Arsenal       73

5th Manchester United   73

6th Chelsea      71

 

 

EPL: Premier League Predictions for Week 36

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Have Manchester City taken a step closer to winning back to back EPL titles? City beat Manchester United in the derby in midweek to move 1 point clear of Liverpool with the same games played in a much needed win.

Liverpool will play on Friday night where they can reclaim top spot, but City will get a chance to get that back yet again on Sunday as the champions of the league look like going down to the wire.

We take a look at what should be a very exciting weekend in the Premier League with some brilliant fixtures taking place below.

Liverpool v Huddersfield

The Premier League kicks off on a Friday night where Liverpool will be the massive favourites to beat the already relegated and bottom club Huddersfield. Liverpool are unbeaten at home and with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have the quality to not just win this match but score lots of goals. Liverpool to beat Huddersfield

Tottenham v West Ham

Tottenham are looking good for a top 4 place now after their last gasp win against Brighton has moved them 3 points clear of 4th place Chelsea. They will need to get the job done against West Ham. But all focus will surely be on their Champions League semi-final match against Ajax and we expect to see a surprise match where the team end equal. Draw

Crystal Palace v Everton

Palace have been in decent form and pulled off a superb result last week to beat Arsenal 3-2 at the Emirates. They have crept up the league well. Everton are in good form but still look questionable away from home and Palace could get a win. Watch out for Christian Benteke who was brilliant last week against Arsenal. Crystal Palace to beat Everton

Fulham v Cardiff

Fulham are down but they proved the other week against Everton in a 2-0 win they are not out. There is still a lot of fight in Cardiff who have a belief they can still survive this season. Whoever is more hungry will surely win this game, and that could rest with the away side here. Cardiff to beat Fulham

Southampton v Bournemouth

There is still the smallest of chances that Southampton could get involved in a relegation dog fight. But they have got some decent results under their belts the last few games and should be too much for their opponents watch out for Shane Long who appears to have his goal scoring boots back on. Southampton to beat Bournemouth

Watford v Wolves

A really great clash here as the two surprise teams of the league season go head to head. Both are chasing 7th place and this should be  a very close game. Wolves got a fantastic result beating Arsenal 3-1 in midweek. Draw

Brighton v Newcastle

Newcastle will put everything into this game because they have some tough fixtures to end the season and it won’t be easy for many more points. Ayoze Perez is on fire for the Magpies after his hat-trick in their last match. Brighton are in real trouble and could well be relegated. Newcastle to beat Brighton

Leicester v Arsenal

Leicester keep on battling and have been strong and came back to make it 2-2 away to West Ham in their last game. Arsenal have crumbled with losses against Crystal Palace and Wolves. Arsenal have the Europa League semi-final on their mind, but with a little luck can come away here with a scrappy victory. Arsenal to beat Leicester

Burnley v Manchester City

Burnley have been back to their 2017/18 form in the past few weeks and the general theory is that they can give Manchester City a game here. But take out their 2-2 draw at Chelsea and they have not been beating quality teams on their good run. This match could be close but City are several levels from where Burnley are and they should continue their fantastic run. Bernardo Silva is in excellent form for City. Manchester City to beat Burnley

Manchester United v Chelsea

There is a lot of pressure on United to perform and start winning games after losing against Everton and then Manchester City. This match in theory represents their final chance at a top 4 place. Chelsea are a quality team but United if they want to play to their potential can get all the 3 points. It’s about time Romelu Lukaku showed up though. Manchester United to beat Chelsea 

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Chelsea’s top 4 finish is likely over but hope remains for Europa League glory

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If Chelsea do indeed end the Premier League season outside of the top 4 then they went out of the battle with a whimper after a 2-2 draw against Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

It was a game that the Blues fought hard for in the first half as they went behind in the early exchanges and by the 25th minute mark the game had already had 4 goals, echoing the excitement of the recent Champions League fixture between Manchester City and Tottenham. But while both of those teams should finish top 4- City is guaranteed of course, Chelsea look like they have blown that chance.

Chelsea are level with Tottenham on points which is all well and good but Tottenham have a spare game which they will play tonight, at home against the bottom club Huddersfield, in what should be an inevitable, comfortable win. There is also the case of Arsenal making that top 4 charge and it looks like both Chelsea and Manchester United will be the teams to miss out on Champions League football next season.

A win was expected against Sean Dyche’s Burnley and perhaps this match where Chelsea are playing a bottom half team at home summarised the clubs season in that they have stayed within their comfort zone and only looked like the team that coach Maurizio Sarri has a vision for when playing in the Europa League.

The Europa League has clearly become a priority for the club and they have been brilliant in a very tough competition. Beating Slavia Prague and scoring 5 goals past them in both legs was superb given how Prague had knocked out Europa League specialists Sevilla in the previous round.

Winning the competition is one major trophy and it is also a gateway into the Champions League even if the club do finish 5th or 6th, so there is all to play for. Chelsea will meet Germans Eintract Frankfurt, who are superb at home but wasteful away and the Blues will be favourites to advance to the final where they would meet either Valencia or a mouth watering clash against fellow Premier League team and Londoners Arsenal. Perhaps the neutral wants the all English final but football has never been that easy to predict.

As for the league, one wonders if the egos of the club have the fight left in them. Chelsea’s next match is away to Manchester United in another potentially explosive game as both will be rolling the dice, perhaps for the final time to reach a top 4 spot. In between their Europa League semi-final they will play Watford at home and round up the season with an away match against Leicester.

It’s very conceivable that Chelsea won’t win another game this season and it is very clear that all of their eggs are in the Europa League basket.