Premier League’s Game of the Week: Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City

If any of Manchester City and Leicester were going to win 5-2 then 99% of the chance it would be Manchester City, at the weekend we saw the rule to that exception.

In a stunning result Leicester who have started the season in style put 5 goals past Pep Guardiola’s City side, champions in two out of the last 3 seasons as they sailed to a stunning 5-2 victory at the Etihad.

And no one could have seen it coming. In City’s first game of the season they made light work of Wolves beating them 3-1. Whilst Leicester had started well they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek against Arsenal, though Brendan Rodgers was able to leave a few regulars out.

As for the game it looked over almost as soon as it had started as Riyad Mahrez the former Leicester player, who else? gave City the lead. This was now going to go to script surely and City were supposed to wipe the floor with the unbeaten Leicester, but that didn’t happen.

Leicester made their presence felt and James Maddison was all over the pitch, there was a sense that this game wasn’t all going to be about City. Then before half time Leicester were awarded a penalty and Jamie Vardy scored his 3rd goal of the season. The half ended 1-1, and still even with 45 minutes gone nobody could have predicted the outcome.

It was early in the second half that the change happened. Vardy scored again a brilliant flick that put the Foxes in the lead, and then just five minutes later it was another penalty, again for Leicester and in the space of 21 minutes Vardy- the top goalscorer last season had completed his hat trick.

At 3-1 the game wasn’t over and yet it felt it like the home side despite their quality had been winded. The game rolled on and City tried but the minutes ticked away and then the brilliant James Maddison smashed a long range shot right into the back of the net, it was 4-1, the game was over for City, but the game wasn’t over.

New signing for Guardiola’s team Nathan Ake got a goal back to make it 4-2 near the end, could there have possibly been a crazy comeback? In the Premier League you can really never say never but that wasn’t happening today.

A third penalty confirmed that when Youri Tielemans converted, the score was now 5-2. It was an incredible result and even though there were 3 penalties there was nothing controversial about the decisions, no one complained everyone accepted even Guardiola had to, his team had been well and truly beaten and he was right to be annoyed with his defenders after the game, basic errors at this level left viewers stunned.

With the win Leicester the 2016 champions are top of the league once more, they have scored an incredible 12 goals. For City this feels like deja vue in that they started slow last season and dropped too many points as their rivals Liverpool started strongly, the gap is already six points between City and the champions.

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Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 2

Heung-min Son scored four as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Southampton 5-2 and Dominic Calvert-Lewin grabbed a hat-trick as Everton beat 10 man West Bromwich Albion by the same score.

Clean sheets were hard to come by in the Premier League last weekend, with only Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea and Aston Villa keeping one.

Here’s a look at the players who made a real difference in the fantasy football last weekend:

Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa) – 7pts
Aston Villa’s new signing introduced himself to the fans by saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on his debut. Emi Martinez was one of only three goalkeepers to keep a clean sheet on matchday 2.

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After his first season with Manchester United is Harry Maguire really worth £80m?

There was heaps of pressure put on England international Harry Maguire when he joined Manchester United at the beginning of last season for £80m. For one that figure broke the world transfer record for a defender. For two you could have been forgiven for thinking that the star defenders over Europe were looking at the transfer and thinking Harry who?

Of course Maguire by the transfer had put in some brilliant performances for both Leicester City and England where he had broken into the national team. But Maguire had not been seen in Europe due to not playing in either the Champions League or Europa League, so the transfer seemed like a scratch your head moment.

However those in the Premier League knew of Maguire’s strengths, and sometimes it’s not the overall quality that you have that counts in the league but the experience you have. Imagine for example taking a world class defender from Serie A and pitting them in the Premier League- they may get to grips with the pace of the league after a while, but already having that experience you hit the ground running. This is what United were buying and then of course there is always going to be a premium price when your new signing is an England international.

One of the other negative points about breaking transfer records was that Maguire hadn’t justified his price tag, no matter if he had put in some reliable and solid games with club and country. How does one justify spending £80m on a player who has won zero trophies? The problem lies in the fact that the player has no winning experience, still age is on his side. At 27 and in his position he could well have 10 years at the top of the game where he will be hoping to become a legend at Old Trafford.

How has his debut season fared then with the red devils? Maguire started decent enough but did make a few errors as the winter months kicked in. However at the turn of the year he really started to find his rhythm on the pitch and formed an excellent partnership with Victor Lindelof.

Do you have Maguire in your fantasy team? If so you will be interested to note that he came out on top of all the defenders in the side gaining 52 points. He only scored 1 league goal this season but that isn’t so important, it’s not his job to bang in the goals, though he would have liked to have created some and he didn’t. However he did help the club to 13 clean sheets when he played.

Ultimately then after a shaky start Maguire looks to have had a solid season with the club and that isn’t easy with such a step up to a club like United and what it means. He has helped them into a 3rd place finish and that will mean Champions League football for next season which should further enhance his reputation.

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Leicester City 0-2 Manchester United: Solskjaer and his men pull through on the final day to achieve Champions League football

On the final day of the 2019/20 Premier League season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had to avoid a defeat at all costs in order to receive Champions League football for next season, as they took on a Leicester City side that were missing a number of key players from the starting XI.

With the likes of Ben Chilwell, Caglar Soyuncu, James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira unavailable for the Foxes, Brendan Rodger’s men had a huge task ahead of themselves on Sunday afternoon, as they left themselves in a difficult position since the season restarted, winning just two games out of eight.

Looking into the game as a whole, the visitors had the edge when it came to dominating possession of the ball and making full use of it, achieving 55% possession, creating two big chances during the match and completing 95 passes in the attacking third. On the other hand, the hosts managed 68 successful passes in the final third, given that it took them till the hour mark to gain momentum.

In all honesty, there was hardly any action in the first half or much urgency from either side to go on to taking the lead, with both teams ensuring that there was no room for any mistakes. Following the half-time break, the game was taken up a notch by both Leicester City and Manchester United, as they had realised that Chelsea were beating Wolves and were not showing any signs of weaknesses.

From there onwards, Leicester were causing problems to the United defence but were not testing the goalkeeper at all. The visitors were able to make the breakthrough at 70th minute, as the host were caught out at playing from the back, which led to them giving a penalty away. Bruno Fernandes calmly stepped up to take it and sent Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way to give his team the lead.

The Foxes continued to pile on the pressure and go all out for a top four finish in the final 15 minutes of the game, however, the Red Devils’ managed to seal the victory late in added time, through substitute Jesse Lingard, who managed to caught Schmeichel off guard before kicking the ball into an empty net. In the end, United finished in third place on 66 points, just above Chelsea on goal difference, whilst Leicester City remain in fifth place and have to settle for Europa League football.

Here are the three things we learnt from United’s final league fixture of the campaign…

Champions League football is now officially confirmed for next season

After the side’s recent drop off in terms of results and performances, it did not look like the Red Devils had it in them to pull through on the final of the day season. With stalemates at Old Trafford to Southampton and West Ham as well as the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea, majority of the Manchester United supporters were expecting the team to typically crumble under pressure.

However, that was not the case today, as they were able to keep the likes of Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez very quiet whilst having the capability to work on a few good phases themselves in midfield and attack. With Champions League football now confirmed for next season for Manchester United, the club will be able to make progressive moves financially and sportingly.

The only way is up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his exciting long-term project

It’s been quite the first full season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United, who will be more than happy with a 3rd place finish as well as the opportunity to still compete in the Europa League competition next month. Given the ups and downs, the injury issues alongside the lack of squad depth, Solskjaer has done a good job in removing the deadwood and helping the football club to move into the right direction once again, something that Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho had actually failed to do.

Solskjaer has put the club and the players ahead of himself, and the immense work he has put in is now starting to pay off, as there is a cheerful and encouraging environment on and off the pitch, where the players are playing attractive and intelligent football whilst picking up the much needed results. The critics and the Ole haters have been totally silenced, as United’s unbeaten run since the end of January has allowed the team to do the unthinkable and push for a late top four finish.

Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial have played a crucial role since the restart

A lot of the focus has been on the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood since the Premier League has restarted, though, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes have been the deadly duo that has allowed the team to finish in the top four with their chances. Despite Chelsea and Leicester City’s lack of consistency, Bruno and Martial have been the two key individuals to be the constant threat for Solskjaer’s side, as their movement and creativity has been second to none.

Bruno’s ability to score from the penalty spot has to be appreciated, especially when you have to remember the fact that both Rashford and Pogba had missed a couple of penalties at the start of the season, which could have helped the side to confidently finish in third place. Not only that, Martial’s playmaking quality and clinical instincts are now starting to be well-recognised, particularly by those who thought he was not good enough to lead the line and become United’s main number nine.

The four Premier League players to have in your Fantasy team for the rest of the season

With just three months of football remaining, every single Fantasy Premier League manager will be reviewing their teams and be aiming to make the most out of the outstanding features they have, whether that’s the wildcard option, the bench boost, the free hit or even the triple captain selection.

Unsurprisingly, the Premier League has been really unpredictable this season, as majority of the teams in the league and a lot of the well-known players from the top-six sides have been inconsistent. However, with 11 league fixtures left and the European Championship to take place this summer, a large number of individuals will be working their socks off to reach this grand stage.

Not only that, given the return of the prestigious Champions League as well as the Europa League football, all Fantasy Premier League managers will be doubting any important decision they make and they will not be totally sure of what results to expect or predict in the upcoming fixtures.

With no further ado, here are the four perfect Premier League players to have in your team…

Goalkeeper – Alisson

Having the best defensive record in the league, conceding 15 goals in 26 league games, there’s no doubts at all that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are miles ahead of the rest of the teams in the country and are potentially on their way to ending the season undefeated. On that note, having Alisson Becker in your team is a no brainer, who is on 10 clean sheets along with Nick Pope, despite playing nine games fewer than the Burnley shot stopper due to the calf injury he picked up back in August.

The 27-year-old Brazilian international is now being recognised as the best goalkeeper in the league and one of the best in Europe, as he continues to put in the hard work between the goalposts along with helping the side through his ability to play as a ball-playing individual. With Liverpool’s fixtures looking straightforward, barring the games away to Arsenal and Manchester City, there should be no huge problems in seeing Alisson to carry on achieving the consistent clean sheets, who is only valued at £6.2m.

Defender – John Lundstram

A lot of FPL managers would have found out by now about the advantage and benefits of having John Lundstram in their team, someone who is a central-midfielder but is actually seen as a defender on the Fantasy Football app and website. The main positives are when Sheffield United keep a clean sheet or when Lundstram himself bags a goal, as he is able to go onto gaining a few extra bonus points, which is why he has accomplished over 100 points and is expected to gain more and more.

Although he has been benched by Chris Wilder over the last couple of weeks for the Blades’ record signing in Sander Berge, he is expected to be brought back into the line-up soon rather than later, as the side are continuing to push for a spot in next season’s Europa League and will want to finish the campaign on a high note. With the side having the second best defensive record in the league, along with Lundstram being the club’s third best player in terms of direct goal contributions, it would surely be an easy and simple decision of bringing him into your backline for a figure of just £5.0m.

Midfielder – James Maddison

For sure, his form over the last two months has not been brilliant, but with the likes of Norwich, Aston Villa and Watford coming up for Leicester City, it would be more than ideal to keep or bring James Maddison into your fantasy football team. The English playmaker has managed to produce 68 key passes so far this season, with only three other players in the league outdoing him in this area.

With the Euros coming up this summer, Maddison will hope that his performances throughout the season as well as what he produces in the final few months will be enough to persuade Gareth Southgate to select him in the squad, as he will have a number of players to choose from due to the rise of Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and many other individuals. Back onto Maddison, for a value of £7.4m, he is bound to come in with the goals and assists for the Foxes, as they actually have an easy run of games before they face Spurs and Man Utd towards the end of the campaign.

Striker – Tammy Abraham

In his first full season as a regular starter for Chelsea, Tammy Abraham has shown up with the much needed goods, as he has notched 13 goals and three assists in 25 league appearances. Given the ongoing injury he has had from the start of this year, he has not been able to perform the same way as he was once doing and it has prevented him from playing at his best, but with the recent winter break and some further time off, he is now fully back at 100% and is ready to score the crucial goals once again.

It’s not easy to choose the ideal striker in your fantasy football team, but for a team that’s quite attacking-minded as Chelsea are and with Abraham always starting ahead of the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud, he will always seem like the most suitable option as he aims to end the season on 20 league goals and over. Chelsea’s remaining fixtures from now till the end of the season does not seem difficult at all, barring Liverpool and Man City, the rest look like straightforward victories if they can be dominant and ruthless on both sides of the pitch.

Can Leicester City finish above Manchester City this season?

Just last month, all the focus seemed to be on whether Leicester and Manchester City could hang onto the coattails of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the title race.

Fast forward to the present day and it seems much has changed. Thanks to a Boxing Day defeat at home to Liverpool – and the manner of how The Reds dominated in that 4-0 thrashing – The Foxes’ focus now must be on keeping their place in the Premier League’s top four.

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The best 11 performing players in the Premier League 2019/20 so far

The 2019/20 Premier League season is 3 months so what better time after a quarter a third of the season gone that we look at the top performing players for each position based on European Fantasy football points. This is a great way to get your fantasy team back on track and to figure out who is performing and who isn’t. This is a team dominated by Manchester City and Leicester players with a few surprises in between.

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel

Dad Peter would be very proud of his sons start to the Premier League campaign with Leicester. Schmeichel is heads and tails above other goalkeepers and has 33 points already. He has kept 5 clean sheets which is the equal best so far.

Defender: Ben Chilwell

We stay with Leicester, and the best defender with the most points is Ben Chilwell. He has 33 and has had a solid start to the season, assisting in 3 goals, scoring himself and keeping five clean sheets. He earned another valuable 5 points at the weekend too as Leicester beat Arsenal 2-0.

Defender: Edna Stevens

Not many people would have put Edna Stevens down to be one of the best performing defenders this season. But Stevens has got off to a brilliant start with his club Sheffield United.  He has been part of a back four that has kept five clean sheets plus he has assisted in a goal.

Defender: Jonathan Evans

Maybe Evans isn’t talked about much, but the Leicester defender is having a very good season. He has 23 points so far and picked up another 4 at the weekend. He has set up one goal and helped keep 5 clean sheets. If you are looking to do some online football betting and have an interest in researching more then you should check out LSM which can offer you a suitable tool to engage in football betting.

Defender: Andrew Robertson

Liverpool’s Andrew Roberson has been one of the best defenders in the league in the past 18 months and he is proving that again as Liverpool are in 1st place. He has only kept 2 clean sheets, but has set up 4 goals and scored one already.

Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City’s deadly attacking midfielder has accumulated the most points in his position and has 38 so far. From 10 starts he has scored 3 goals and assisted in another 8 for a great record after such a short period of time.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling

Staying with Manchester City is attacking midfielder Raheem Sterling who has bagged 7 goals so far and assisted in one goal. He currently has 36 points and is just two behind his teammate.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane is simply ever consistent and a thorn in many peoples sides. The Liverpool winger has already scored 7 goals and has two assists. He has 35 points and it would only take one good week to see him fly into 1st position.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva

So 3 of the four best midfielders are from one club Manchester City which says a lot about the champions quality. Silva has started 8 games but has scored 5 times already, assisted in a further two goals and when he has played City have kept five clean sheets, that’s pretty good going from the Spaniard.

Forward: Jamie Vardy

The Leicester forward has been wonderfully consistent since being with the Foxes, but this season the 32 year old is on course to have his best of his career, at least stats wise. Vardy has racked up 49 points in fantasy football, easily the best in the league and has scored 11 times and assisted in two further goals. He is pure gold right now for the club

Forward: Tammy Abraham

The Chelsea forward has been a revelation this season under Frank Lampard and has started the season like a world class forward. He has 44 points and has scored 10 goals and assisted in two others. He is already the surprise player of the new Premier League season.

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Jamie Vardy has ensured his legend status at Leicester City after Arsenal are beaten

At the time of writing Leicester are sitting in 2nd place in the Premier League and there are now genuine memories, hopes and wishes of what the club did in season 2015/16 and that is winning the Premier League. The clubs win over Arsenal by 2-0 just reinforced that fact that the Foxes are back.

Leading that title chase is Jamie Vardy. The striker breathes and bleeds Leicester and has been a constant within the teams most successful era of their history, simply put he installs belief, the will to win and most importantly he just keeps on scoring goals.

Vardy opened the game up against Arsenal with just 15 minutes left to play in a match that was terrifically entertaining and end to end stuff but ultimately one that looked like Brendan Rodgers side would end up dropping 2 points at home. It was headed for 0-0 until Vardy’s great goal which crushed Arsenal and then Leicester went onto score a 2nd moments later through the impressive James Maddison.

Vardy’s rise to top goalscorer in the Premier League has been stunning given that he was playing non-league football at the beginning of this decade with Halifax Town. But he is Leicester through and through. He has 11 goals already this season from 12 games and is on course to beat his best Premier League total of 24 goals when the Foxes won the league.

At the weekend he scored his 111th goal for the club in the league and there looks like no signs of the player slowing down. What is remarkable is that his career in the top flight did not kick off until he was 28 and it would felt to him that his football career had simply passed him by. He is an exception to the rule that you can still make it at the very top. One can count on your hand the amount of players that have risen from the ashes to perform well when they have gotten older, Ian Wright would be one of those players too.

Perhaps the British media have given the striker scant praise over the years, and it’s true that he isn’t the most prolific striker in England or Europe for that matter. But he does score goals, and does get himself in the right places in the area- he’s simply always there and always a threat.

Vardy is 32 but at this rate he has another 2-3 seasons with Leicester to keep on proving how important he has been at the club. Surely whatever happens now he has his foothold in the history of the club and also a staute will be awaiting him at King Power Stadium. How long can Leicester keep pushing Liverpool and Manchester City is anyone’s guess.

They remain the league’s outsiders and you get the feeling that Vardy and Leicester will love it that way.

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Leicester can confirm top-four credentials with positive performance at Old Trafford

It is still early days but after four games of the Premier League season, Leicester City are the side who look best equipped to challenge the big six. Brendan Rodgers’ charges are third in the standings heading into this weekend’s trip to Old Trafford, with two wins (against Sheffield United and Bournemouth) and two draws (against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea) representing a solid start to the new campaign.

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Brendan Rodgers is creating small miracles at Leicester City

A glance at the Premier League table shouldn’t hold too many surprises, Liverpool top with a 100% record, Manchester City close behind, whilst Norwich and Watford are struggling. But look closer and you’ll see a team that you wouldn’t expect to be so high up, and that is Leicester City.

True Leicester stunned everybody when they won the league title in 2016, but since then they have reverted back to, well, just being Leicester, a decent team who try to finish in mid table with relegation never quite far away.

However that thought process seems to have changed since the arrival of ex Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers was at Celtic where he had been incredibly successful in Scotland, although with the transistion of Rangers it could be argued that Celtic did not really have any proper competition- still you can only beat what is put out in front of you and Rodgers did do a superb job with the legendary Glasgow team.

What was surprising about Rodgers joining up with Leicester was the timing, he came in February last season and Celtic’s loss has been Leicester’s gain. The Foxes look rejuvenated and started to bring about solid results and ended up finishing the season on a high.

That high has continued and the team are in great confidence going into this season. They currently sit in 3rd place and have not lost a game, only Liverpool and Manchester City are the other unbeaten teams so far.

The statistics are very interesting since Rodgers took over also. He has a 47.5% win rate with the Foxes which doesn’t look that great, but it is a win rate only and so when the club draw that isn’t included. The wider picture is that from 15 games since Rodgers has been in charge the club have only lost 3 times. They have gained 26 points in that time and if we took that as an average throughout the season then Leicester would finish on 65 points, their highest in Premier League history not counting their league win.

There is a good attitude around the club and they won’t be easy to beat this season and won’t be pushovers for the bigger teams. Look at how they came away from Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and got a 1-1 draw. That was impressive given that the team were 1-0 down and it was Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s first game at home in charge of his beloved team.

That type of spirit shows that this team have a lot of quality this season, and whilst thinking that they can go on to win another title feels too wishful, Rodgers is creating small miracles with the club, and they are aiming to finish high in the league this season with a deep cup run to boot. Back against them at your peril.

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