King Kompany leads City to glory

Vincent Kompany

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Now deep into his 11th year at Manchester City and with over 33 years spent on this earth, Vincent Kompany is still able to defy the odds when they are stacked against him.

With 70 minutes on the clock and Leicester City proving to be well-organised and almost a match for the defending league champions, the home team needed some magic.

They needed an inspirational captain to step up and take charge. Kompany didn’t disappoint. City’s number 4 released an unstoppable drive from all of 30 yards. It flew past Kasper Schmeichel’s outstretched arms and into the top corner. Continue reading

Leicester and Rodgers to push for Premier League top six next season?

Leicester City

As a club, Leicester City has had more anguish to deal with this season than most.

Back in late October, the club’s 60-year-old Thai owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, along with four others, including the pilot, died when his helicopter crashed to the ground shortly after takeoff from the King Power Stadium.

Srivaddhanaprabha had just watched his team draw 1-1 at home to West Ham United before then attempting to make his usual helicopter trip back to his home in London.

A grey cloud covered the club over the following weeks with the playing staff all attending their previous owner’s funeral in Bangkok. Continue reading

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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Predicted lineups for this weekend’s EPL action

EPL Logo

Starting on Friday night, the English Premier League has a full schedule of games over this coming weekend.

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

Leicester City v Newcastle United

Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison, Gray, Vardy, Barnes

Newcastle XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Perez, Hayden, Ki, Almiron, Rondon Continue reading

EPL Weekend Picks – Week 34

wes-morgan

This weekend’s Premier League will see the season continuing to take shape as, with just a few games to go, there is still a wide open title race and only one relegation spot left to fill. Liverpool leapfrogged Man City back into top spot last weekend, but the Citizens have a game in hand – just how much of a say will Chelsea and Crystal Palace have on Sunday against the top two? Palace host City while Chelsea travel to Liverpool and so there could well be more twists and turns in this title race yet. Towards the bottom of the table, already-relegated Huddersfield and Fulham both have tricky fixtures, with the Terriers at Tottenham while Fulham host Everton. Let’s take on a 4-3-3 here and see which players will fancy their chances.

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Predicted lineups for this weekend’s Premier League action

Firmino and Salah

The FA Cup semi-finals take place this weekend in England. As a result, there will be only six Premier League fixtures played between Friday and Monday.

St Mary’s is where the action starts with the meeting of Southampton and Liverpool on Friday night. It’s a huge fixture in the Premier League title race with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds looking to go back on top with a win.

At the other end, Burnley will be hoping to take something from their game at Bournemouth as they look to shake off Cardiff City in the battle to survive relegation.

Arsenal and Chelsea are the only two teams from the top-four battle who are in league action over the coming days. Continue reading

EPL Weekend Picks – Week 33

HiguainThere is quite a bit of Premier League football to see this week, with games every day bar Thursday. For the purposes of this week’s list we will be looking more at the matches taking place between Friday 5th and Monday 8th, so Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s fixtures won’t be considered too heavily here. Friday sees Southampton hosting Liverpool in what should be an entertaining game, while Saturday’s best match sees Newcastle welcoming Crystal Palace to Tyneside. On Sunday, Arsenal travel to the blue half of Merseyside to do battle with Everton, and Chelsea host West Ham on Monday. With that in mind, let’s adopt a 4-3-3 formation this time around and look into our crystal balls to see which players could be worth your consideration.

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EPL Best XI – Week 32

MilivojevicAt this late-ish stage of the season, Premier League clubs do of course start gaining games in hand over some of their rivals. At the time of writing, for example, league leaders Liverpool have played 32 games, while second-placed Man City have featured in 31 and Arsenal (in fifth) are on 30. Of course, Monday evening games play a part, but so too does the progress of different teams in different competitions. Liverpool now have a two point lead at the top of the table, though City have of course played that one game less. It is now time to look at which players performed the best for their clubs in this past weekend’s round of games, adopting a 4-4-2 formation here. For simplicity, we are calling this week 32 but that may not apply to all teams of course.

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EPL Best XI – Week 31

nobleThere was only half a round of games in the Premier League this past weekend, what with FA Cup action also going on, and so with just ten teams taking part picking a best XI may be slightly different to usual. Sunday’s action was fun-packed, as Everton raised some eyebrows by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park – their first home victory since mid-January – putting a big dent in Chelsea’s top-four ambitions. Liverpool were tested more than many will have been expecting at Craven Cottage, a late James Milner penalty putting them top of the table with a 2-1 win against Fulham. On Saturday, Bournemouth played out a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle, Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley and West Ham beat Huddersfield in a 4-3 thriller.

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Predicted lineups for this weekend’s EPL action

Eden Hazard

It’s FA Cup weekend coming up so there are just five EPL matches to look forward to.

Saturday’s games see Bournemouth host Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United at the Vitality Stadium while Huddersfield Town make the trip to London to face West Ham United.

Brendan Rodgers brings his Leicester team to face Burnley at Turf Moor at the same time. Burnley have lost their last three league games while Leicester won 3-1 against Fulham last time out.

On Sunday, Liverpool travel to meet Fulham as The Reds look to go back to the top of the Premier League, temporarily at least. Everton play host to Chelsea later that day. The Toffees have won just once in their last six games. Chelsea drew 1-1 with Wolves last Sunday.