Premier League Game of the Week: Leicester 2-2 Manchester United

For entertainment you can go to Las Vegas but at the weekend the King Power Stadium would run the city of sin very close. Leicester and Manchester United shared the points and the goals in a game blessed by attacking football which eventually ended 2-2.

For Manchester United their incredible away start to the season ended where they had won their previous six games in a row. United had taken the lead twice in the game only to be pegged back. But on the face of it getting a draw away to Leicester shouldn’t be seen as a bad result but United would have left the game thinking that they had just lose 2 points and gained one.

It was a game borne out of brilliant skill and a swashbuckling never say die attitude and it felt like a very English game of football. There were only 10 goal attempts overall, 5 for each side, so we have seen better games in that respect this season but this was still an intriguing duel that you couldn’t keep your eyes off of.

A cross into the area started the scoring, and a quite brilliant assist from Bruno Fernandes getting his toe to the ball which caught out Leicester’s defenders and pinged it to an unmarked Marcus Rashford set the striker up for an easy opportunity that he wasn’t going to miss and United led the game.

Manchester United’s lead would only last eight minutes though as Harvey Barnes expose De Gea in goal and lashed a beautiful shot thundering into the net from the edge of the area.

In the second half Antony Martial’s goal was ruled offside by VAR and then everything changed once Edinson Cavani was introduced in the 75th minute. It took the attacker just four minutes to set up United’s 2nd goal after his assist to Fernandes who scored his 10th goal of the season. But soon after it was 2-2 as Jamie Vardy came to the rescue and scored a rather simple goal that De Gea and United’s defence must have been concerned about.

In the end whilst United held the technical skill cards Leicester had the back bone not to give up and a draw seemed like a fair result.

These two teams, for some will be the pretenders to Liverpool’s title this season but both have shown they have a lot of quality and are able to put points and wins together. It would be no surprise this season if both clubs finished in the top 4.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 12

Nothing much changed at the top of the Premier League as the best performing teams dropped points. Tottenham and Liverpool could only draw their respective games and Chelsea lost their first match in 3 months as they lost 1-0 at Everton.

There were wins for West Ham, Southampton and Leicester and those three clubs put pressure on the top 3. The much hyped Manchester derby was quite a dire affair that ended 0-0 and the pressure has grown on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta who saw his club lose their 4th game at home in a row, Arsenal are in 15th position.

Let’s take a look below at the best performing players over the weekend.

Goalkeeper: Nick Pope- Burnley 7pts

Nick Pope gets the vote ahead of other goalkeepers that kept a clean sheet as Burnley were never expected to get a win and a clean sheet at Arsenal. Pope made some good saves and had to be alert as Burnley were under a lot of pressure and Arsenal had six shots on target. Pope now has 14 points overall.

Defender: Jan Bednarek- Southampton 7pts

Jan Bednarek earned 7 points at the weekend as Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-0. Not only did Bednarek keep a clean sheet, which is his 5th of the season but he also assisted in the Saints first goal which set their victory up.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard-Southampton 5pts

Jannick Vestergaard is having a great season for Southampton and he commanded the defence and back four with a veterans touch. He made some good interceptions and was always seconds ahead as Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-0. The defender’s value is 6m.

Defender: Michael Keane-Everton 5pts

It’s never easy shutting out Chelsea and Michael Keane was part of an Everton defence that showed resilience against the Blues who had not tasted defeat in 3 months. Keane was inch perfect and his timing was spot on. He now has 10 points for the season which is the most of any Everton defender and he can be added to your team for 6.5m.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton 5pts

Yerry Mina is looking more solid as a player under Carlo Ancelotti and he had an eventful game getting into the thick of things as Everton saw out a 1-0 victory over Chelsea. Mina has helped to keep 2 clean sheets at the back for Everton so far this season.

Midfielder: James Maddison- Leicester 10pts

James Maddison not only helped out in defence with his run backs but he also scored 2 goals, Leicester’s 1st and 3rd as they beat Brighton 3-0 at home. Maddison has really showed his quality again this season and the midfielder has scored 3 goals and been involved in 4 so far for the Foxes.

Midfielder: Stuart Armstrong- Southampton 6pts

Stuart Armstrong now has 22 points overall and capped another splendid weekend as Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-0. Armstrong scored the 2nd goal which set up the club for all three points and they have started the season very strong as they look to finish in a European position.

Midfielder: Nathan Redmond- Southampton 6pts

Nathan Redmond was commanding in midfield and he scored his first goal of the season as his club overpowered Sheffield United 3-0. Redmond now has 12 points overall and is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Mateusz Klich- Leeds United 4pts

Leeds lost against West Ham 2-1 on Friday but Mateusz Klich is proving to be one of the Leeds’ best players this season. He scored the penalty for Leeds goal and put in a very good and energetic performance. The midfielder now has 23 points and is valued at 6.5m.

Striker: Jamie Vardy-Leicester 8pts

Jamie Vardy is here once again and the striker assisted in goals and scored one at the weekend as Leicester beat Brighton 3-0 and he earned 8 points in the process. This season is turning out to be a good one for both him and club and Vardy now has 10 goals to his name.

Striker: Dwight Gayle- Newcastle 4pts

There were a few strikers who made it to 4 points but Dwight Gayle saved his club with just 8 minutes to go and won the game for them as Newcastle beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1. Gayle was also returning from injury and what a way to get back on track. Gayle’s value is just 5m.

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Why Southampton could be the next Leicester under Hasenhuttl

One team of the last decade that has really made huge improvements on a limited budget has been Premier League side Southampton.

It’s interesting to go back 10 years and note that Southampton were playing in League One, the third tier of English football and have progressively recovered to become a staple side in the top flight. Since 2012 they have been a regular fixture in the Premier League and one senses that the club went through 3 stages; the first one was celebrating if they were to finish 17th, poor season, but survival. The second to become a mid table team and the third to challenge for honours and European places. This current season could be the one to define the club.

The Saints as they are known by their nickname have hired some very good managers. They were the ones that brought Mauricio Pochettino to England when they hired him from Espanyol and he guided the club to 8th place before joining Tottenham. They have also hired Ronald Koeman in that time who pulled off some terrific results. Koeman guided the club to seventh then 6th place finishes each time qualifying for the Europa League- no mean feat for a club who six years prior were playing in League One.

It was only in 2017 that Chinese company Lander Sports Investment decided to buy a stake in the club and now the overall stake owner is Gaio Jisheng, and he has invested a lot of funds within the club to bring in real quality. But with the team struggling to keep solid managers that had a proven track record they needed to nail down someone else that would commit more seasons to them. It seems that in Ralph Hasenhutl they have found their man.

Hasenhuttl came from RB Lepizig and spent the majority of his playing career in Austria though towards the end of his playing time he also played in Germany.

Hasenhuttl joined the Saints in the middle of the 2018/19 season where the club were residing in 18th place with Mark Hughes freshly sacked and he was able to guide the club to 16th and safety. Small steps but steps that were needed. At this time it felt like Southampton were going backwards from the beginning of the decade because they were not able to keep hold of quality managers and also were selling players. Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane who both went to Liverpool being prime examples.

In his next season the Saints finished 11th and 18 points from the relegation zone and finished the season so strong that he was awarded the manager of the month. In this current season the club are one of the best in form sides in the league and are in 4th place just 2 points shy of the top spot.

There are a few players, stand out ones, that have really contributed to Southampton’s start. Danny Ings really burst on the scene last season for the club scoring 22 goals meaning he finished joint 2nd in the top goalscorers list for the Premier League. He has started this season off well too netting 4 goals in just 5 games. After selling van Dijk and Mane to Liverpool it only seems fair that in the end Southampton would get some quality back, and Ings was brought in from the Reds initially on loan and then a permanent transfer.

Jannick Vestergaard at the back has been another astute signing. The centre back has made mistakes but he has also remained solid after his transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach 2 years ago and has worked closely under Hasenhutl. He also pops up for the odd goal too and has already made himself quite a name this season.

There is a lot of quality in this Southampton side to the point that on any given week when everything clicks they can absolutely beat any team in the league. And their figure point is James Ward-Prowse, the current captain of the club.

Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton since the beginning of the 2010s when they were playing in the Championship, he is the Jamie Vardy of Southampton, a one man club for so long, though in Ward-Prowse’s case he really is a one man club. They will likely build a statue of him when he leaves, and fans will be hoping that the 26 year old will stay at the club for many more years yet.

His form has been brilliant and of course that could well attract some of the bigger players in the game. He is the pivotal reason Southampton have started the season so well and when he is on form the club as a whole are.

Could Southampton go a huge step forward then and win the league? It doesn’t seem likely but then again look at Leicester and what they achieved with a decent manager and a few good players.

Of course the objective this season for Southampton isn’t so much to win the league but to be a force within it and try and finish in their highest ever position. At this current time without doubt they are one of the best this season and that in itself is an incredible feat given this time last year they were reeling from a 9-0 home defeat by one…. Leicester City, in which many comparisons can be made.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Matchday 8

The Premier League’s top team keeps changing and throughout the weekend we saw Liverpool replaced by Southampton and then Leicester and the 2016 champions will be over the moon to be in front going into the November international break.

Liverpool could only draw 1-1 at Manchester City as Leicester beat Wolves. Everton continue to nosedive and lost their 3rd game in a row, this time at the hands of Manchester United where Edinson Cavani scored his first goal for the club. Aston Villa have bounced back in remarkable style by beating Arsenal 3-0 away from home, whilst Chelsea have made in roads into the top 5 as they battered Sheffield United 4-1.

Which players came out smelling of roses and made the final 11? Let’s take a look below.

Goalkeeper: Damien Martinez- Aston Villa 7pts

Damien Martinez has made the team of the weekend before and the Aston Villa keeper made it 4 clean sheets this season as Villa stunned Arsenal away from home and won the game 3-0. Arsenal were poor but Martinez still had a few crucial saves to make.

Defender: Matt Doherty- Tottenham 7pts

Matt Doherty earned 7 points at the weekend as Tottenham battled to a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. Doherty helped to keep a clean sheet and also assisted in Harry Kane’s winning goal for a perfect weekend for the player who now has 10 points overall and is rated the best defender at Tottenham currently in the fantasy football rankings.

Defender: Eric Dier- Tottenham 5pts

Eric Dier played a solid game, one of his best so far this season with Tottenham as he helped to keep a clean sheet as they beat Slaven Bilic’s West Brom 1-0. This is the 2nd game that Dier has been involved in helping Spurs to keep a clean sheet.

Defender: Tryone Mings- Aston Villa 5pts

Tyrone Mings is back in the team of the weekend after Aston Villa pulled off a great result beating Arsenal 3-0. Mings was great at the back and held the ball up well and of course helped to keep a clean sheet for Dean Smith’s side.

Defender: Christian Fuchs- Leicester 5pts

Christian Fuchs helped to keep Leicester’s 2nd clean sheet of the season as they battled to a 1-0 win over Wolves. Wolves remained a danger and had 7 attempts on goal but a defence led by Fuchs kept the visitors at bay.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 9pts

Bruno Fernandes has been on top of his game this season and last and his two goals in just 7 first half minutes brought back United to life to go 2-1 up against Everton. He then set up Edinson Cavani to score his debut goal and kill the game off at 3-1 to earn 9 points for the weekend. Fernandes now has 24 points overall and is valued at 8.5m.

Midfielder: Stuart Armstrong- Southampton 6pts

Stuart Armstrong now has 16 points after earning a further six at the weekend as his 2nd goal wrapped up the game for the inform Southampton as they eased to a win 2-0 win at home against Newcastle.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley- Aston Villa 4pts

Ross Barkley seems like a new player at Aston Villa and it was his assist that set up Villa for the win and their 2nd goal of 3. Barkley now has 14 points in total so far this season.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa 4pts

Jack Grealish has 33 points in total for Aston Villa and is far and away the clubs best player in the fantasy rankings. Grealish was on hand to assist in the clubs 3rd goal as Villa stunned Arsenal and beat them 3-0.

Striker: Gabriel Jesus- Manchester City 4pts

Manchester City have really missed the services of Gabriel Jesus when he was injured but he’s back now and he scored the all important equaliser as City fell behind to Liverpool. The crunch game ended 1-1 and Jesus scored a glorious solo goal with class written all over it.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 4pts

It looked as if Tottenham’s game with West Bromwich Albion was going to end 0-0, that would have been a surprise but Harry Kane popped up to score the winner with just two minutes remaining. He now has 7 goals this season and is valued at 14.5m.

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Why Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane are England’s best strikers in a generation

Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has finished the Premier League season as top goalscorer notching 23 goals. This is the first time that Vardy has earned the reward despite constantly banging in goals for the Foxes for a good few seasons now. Not even when Leicester won the league in 2016 was he able to finish on top of the pile. The man who stopped him was Harry Kane for Tottenham who claimed 25 goals that season.

Vardy’s success story is still extraordinary given that a decade ago he was playing non league football and rose through the ranks to not only play for Leicester but win the league with them, score plenty of goals and play in the Champions League- Hollywood would be hard pressed to have come up with that success story.

Vardy is 33 and still has a good few seasons left in him. He is a goal scoring machine that there is little doubt and he has scored 61 goals in the league for Leicester in his last 106 games. He just has an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and can read the game so well. It’s true that some fans and pundits will never see him as world class because despite winning the league he isn’t playing for one of the top 4 clubs, but yet again he has proven his worth to Leicester this season. There is little doubt that when Vardy decides to leave the club, he will go as a legend.

This season Harry Kane blew hot and cold but the cold spells were mostly due to him picking up injuries. Still Kane who is England’s number 1 striker for the international team presently was able to score 18 goals he also assisted in a further 2, and all of this was achieved by playing 29 games, that’s an impressive return by all accounts.

Kane simply didn’t have enough games under him to be top scorer this season, but it is something that he has achieved on 2 previous occasions in 2016 and 2017 where he netted a combined 54 goals.

In Vardy winning the top goalscorer award this season he became the first Englishman to do so since Kane. And here is a fact, the only Englishmen to finish top of the goalscoring charts in the past 19 years are Vardy and Kane. Not even Wayne Rooney was able to achieve that. Still in his hey day he had to complete with world class players such as Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Still it is something to be celebrated especially for Vardy, who sometimes takes unfair criticism. It’s not another official piece of silverware for his club, but it is another personal badge of honour for the player.

Did you have either Kane or Vardy in your fantasy team this season? If not you might want to consider them in a months time when the Premier League kicks off the 2020/21 season. The official date is September 12th and you can check out the stats and all you need to know at the link below.

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All of Sheffield United’s hard work was undone in the last 3 Premier league games

One of the outstanding teams in the Premier League this season has been Sheffield United. However Chris Wilder’s side finished in 9th place, and a quick glance at their final league position would suggest that the Blades did well enough but did not exceed any expectations.

That of course would be unfair on the Blades who really turned out some terrific results and found good consistency, alas even this effort in such a tough league was not enough. Manager Chris Wilder would be right to be very frustrated that his side haven’t even reached the Europa League after all of their efforts.

In a sense he should be proud once the dust has settled on the league season given that United may have been some people’s tip to go down or be involved in a relegation dog fight. That never looked like happening though.

It was United’s first season back in the Premier League in 12 years and for that they have really made their mark this season. Stand out results included beating Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and being involved in a 3-3 classic with Manchester United. Even when they played Liverpool earlier in the season who were flying at that stage they only lost the game 1-0. They also reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup before being knocked out by Arsenal with that game finishing 2-1.

Perhaps one problem has been goals, and the club ended the season without a prolific goalscorer. Both Lys Mossett and Oli McBurnie were the clubs top goalscorers with 6 goals each.

The most frustrating part of the campaign will be the Blades last 3 games though. They lost all three and had they won them they would have actually finished in 5th place ahead of Leicester. What will be somewhat annoying to the club is that all 3 games could have been won on another day.

The terrible run started after they had just beaten Chelsea 3-0, which was a fantastic result for the club. But then they followed that up with a 2-0 defeat at Leicester. Even then two wins in their last two games would have assured them of European football for next season. But the Blades then lost at home to Everton 1-0. This was seen as a shock result given how poor Everton have been since the restart. They ended the campaign by losing 3-1 at Southampton and the ghost was certainly given up by that time.

The Blades ended the season poorly but on reflection they have had a good season. They won 14 games and conceded less goals than Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves, Tottenham and Arsenal to name a few.

Perhaps European football would have been a distraction for next season anyway, and of course how many times have we seen teams newly promoted have a good first season and then lose it all the next? As long as they keep Wilder in the dug out one would think that United will be fine, but they will rue these last 3 games for much of the summer one would expect.

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From Manchester City to Arsenal who can win the FA Cup this season as the quarter finals get under way?

It may have been easy to forget that amongst the Premier League restarting and we having staggered games as the league tries to finish by the end of July, there is also the FA Cup to complete. England’s oldest prize gets off and running again this weekend and we are at the quarter final stages.

Let’s take a look at the matches due to be played, which is interesting given that every team is from the Premier League, its has been 14 years since we have seen this occurrence.

Norwich v Manchester United (June 27th)

Manchester United will start as favourites and despite focusing on the league and trying to get a top 4 spot they will be taking this game very seriously. The club would love to win some silverware this season. As for Norwich they look certain to be relegated this season and so might as well give everything in this game. Expect goals, but we expect Manchester United to go through.

Sheffield United v Arsenal (June 28th)

A few weeks ago you may have said the Blades would have been too strong for Arsenal. But United have started the league again poorly, not really on the money. Arsenal lost their first 2 games but were impressive and professional against Southampton. This could be Arsenal’s biggest game of the season and they should be ready to squeeze through to the semi-finals.

Leicester v Chelsea (June 28th)

This should be a very fascinating game as 3rd in the league is against 4th. Leicester have not started the continuation of the season well, getting draws and they have seen their gap to Chelsea cut to just 1 point. The Blues have been brilliant and have just beaten Manchester City so they won’t fear any team. This will be another close game but you look at the quality in this Chelsea team and you can see them powering through here.

Newcastle v Manchester City (June 28th)

With the league now over Manchester City will go for this cup and try to beat Newcastle. The club easily have the superior team and will be odds on favourites to win this game. However nothing is a given and Newcastle have shown some qualities of their own lately. There is always one surprise in the rounds, and this could be the game where that happens. After all let’s face it City have actually had quite a miserable season overall. The big egg for them so to speak will be in August when the Champions League kicks off again. We could well see a shock in this game.

 

 

 

Why Frank Lampard is not happy with 4th place as Chelsea look to finish in the top three

You’ve just beaten Manchester City 2-1 and you know you have a very good team, normally you’d be very happy in the press conference after the game. So why wasn’t Frank Lampard? The Chelsea manager looked almost angry at the questions he was being asked and yet there was this focus and desire in his eyes.

You get a sense with Lampard that nothing is better than winning. Make no mistake he would have been delighted to get a win over Pep Guardilola’s City side. It was only a short time ago that City were beating Chelsea 6-0 and a lot has changed at Stamford Bridge since then.

Chelsea have played two games since the Premier League restart and have two wins both resulting in the same score line of 2-1. The first match over Aston Villa was impressive given that they went behind and it took until the 60th minute to find an equaliser even though they were far the better team. But that game summarised this Chelsea team. They will play you down, play at their pace and make enough attacks, that they actually make the opposition tired.

There is no doubt about it that this current Chelsea side are a reflection of what Lampard expected as player, no short cuts, hard work and a winning attitude. Much has been said of the lack of quality of British managers in the game, and Lampard might just be able to step out of that shadow.

For most of the season Chelsea have been in 4th place, finish there and they play Champions League football next season. This would be a success given it is Lampard’s first season with the club in the dug out. But now there is a feeling of 3rd place especially after beating Manchester City.

You almost get the feeling that after having Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United breathing down their necks trying to take the last Champions League place that Lampard has had enough. Why settle for that battle when they could go one step further and take 3rd from Leicester?

At one time that didn’t seem possible- Leicester were a good 3 wins away, that isn’t the case now there is just 1 point in it, and if you were a betting man you would probably be tempted to say that Chelsea could take 3rd this season.

So the press conference wasn’t about Lampard being angry about the result obviously not. It was about him knowing that he has achieved nothing at the club. Beating City is fantastic, but this season the objective will be a deep run in the FA Cup and getting that 3rd place.

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This is how the Premier League season could be saved after Coronavirus

The Coronavirus continues to stop life as we know it and as a consequence that means no football. There has been talk by the FA in England that the Premier League could resume on the weekend of June 13th. But that is a best case scenario.

To add to the problems is that for many clubs there are still 9 games to be played and yet UEFA have stipulated that they would like domestic seasons to be completed by July 31st so they could then dedicate the month of August to the Champions League and Europa League.

The top leagues in England seem to be waiting for one reason only and that is the amount of money that is at stake that would be lost this season to TV companies. It is in the region of £700m, that’s what it would cost the FA if they voided the top leagues. Lower leagues have already been declared void and null. In Belgium the league season was brought to an end. The Dutch Erdevisie could close down their league and in Scotland a voting process is taking place to end the season.

So what is the best option for the Premier League?

As time goes on and the PM of England Boris Johnson states that a 2nd wave of the virus could emerge it looks more and more likely that the current season will be voided. If that is announced the problem is over and the next season could start later in the year. Or there is another way, which would be to stop the league season and end it with play off games.

First up Liverpool should be declared winners of the league. They are 25 points clear with 9 games to go, let’s face it the league is over as far as the title winners go. Liverpool had hit some poor form by their standards just before the virus hit but they are not going to lose 8 of their 9 games after losing just one in a year. Not going to happen. Currently Jurgen Klopp’s team need just 2 wins to wrap up their first league title in thirty years.

In the name of gamesmanship one could conclude that Liverpool deserve their title, and if the season was to restart it would only be a matter of time before they would have won it. So let’s give them the title and leave them out.

Next up is Manchester City who are in 2nd place. On account of them being 12 points clear of 5th and very unlikely on losing a top 4 place with the quality the reigning champions have at their disposal they should also be left out of a play off place and should qualify for the Champions League. Of course all of that depends on their appeal with UEFA over an earlier sanction which could see them lose it anyway, but that is an argument for another day.

In an ideal world then, to see who will take up the other 2 places of the Champions League we could have a play-off which would take in teams placed from 3rd to 6th (4 places). 3rd Leicester would play 6th placed Wolves and 4th Chelsea would play 5th placed Manchester United. The two teams who win qualify for the Champions League. Matches could be played behind closed doors as a one off game at Wembley Stadium, with heavy policing outside to stop the congregation of fans.

Of course the likes of Sheffield United in 7th place would feel unjust given that only goal difference separates them from Wolves. Tottenham who are 2 points behind Wolves and Arsenal who are three points would probably feel that they had a good run in chance to compete, but at the end of the day if the league is not abandoned then cut off places are needed. Those teams from 7th to 10th would then go into a play off anyway to determine who plays in the Europa League.

As for relegation Norwich are bottom, but are just six points from safety and with 27 left on the board for them it would seem unfair to just relegate them. So why not a play off?

This is where things could get very heated as it would feel unfair if say the bottom three of the Premier League played off against the top 3 of the Championship who would have felt they have earned their right to have the chance to play in the Premier League. The next objective then would be to have the bottom three of the Premier League play off against the next 3 clubs in the league positioned in 17th, 16th and 15th places. The team in 15th which is currently Brighton are after all just 2 points clear of the relegation zone. But it is evident that those clubs would complain about being rounded up into a play off for survival.

The games would be incredibly exciting though, and for most would amount to a fair way of ending the season. Instead of having to play out another 100 league games, the season could be decided in 9 games.

To some it might sound fair and to others very unjust, but at this time it almost feels like play-offs could be the perfect option for a very troubling and complex moment.

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Liverpool aren’t the only losers if Premier League is null and void- spare a thought for Leicester

One would have thought that we had stepped into another dimension trying to confirm that in 2016 Leicester had actually won the Premier League, but win it they did. That isn’t to take anything away from Claudio Ranieri’s team, it was fully deserved but still even in March of that season Leicester had their doubters that they would actually push on and win it.

It was a magnificent victory from a team that had started at odds of 5000/1 to win the league title at the beginning of the season. Indeed because of them and the fact that some bookmakers were stung by that price, teams of equal standing are now quoted to win the league at around 1000/1 when a new one kicks off.

Leicester had reached their Everest and it was at this point that we could fully accept their achievements. The next part of the script was to see the fall of the team. After all surely they couldn’t hang on to the players that won them the league, maybe the manager would leave too, and what Leicester fan would mind, they achieved the unthinkable just be glad you witnessed it.

What followed over the years didn’t quite run out like that. Sure the club lost quality in the likes of N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez both going to former champions Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, indeed Mahrez would win another league with City. In the end Ranieri didn’t leave, instead with unrealistic expectations to do well in the following season he was sacked. Although it was clear that the Italian had maybe lost focus, he was being asked to try and win another lottery after just doing so, perhaps the full motivation wasn’t there.

Anyhow Leicester were supposed to just become a staple Premier League team, maybe finishing in the top 10 from time to time. But this season has been a revelation for them and it all started at the back end of last season when Brendan Rodgers left Celtic to join up with them. Leicester finished the season strong, maybe that meant they could start this season in similar fashion?

The team went for it and challenged both Liverpool and Manchester City, easily the two best teams in the league. For a time being 3rd wasn’t good enough and they passed champions City despite Liverpool being so far out in front in the lead. The season has caught up with them, and they have lost some games but with 10 games to go they are in 3rd place.

8 points separates them from 5th and they are well on course to qualify for the Champions League, though Chelsea in 4th and Manchester United in 5th have been eating into their lead. Still one couldn’t see the Foxes giving up a Champions League place at this stage. Now playing in the Champions League when they won the league was as ever expected and they did well in their debut time there reaching the knock out stages before narrowly exiting to Atletico Madrid by the odd goal.

But there seems something more fulfilling to return to the Champions League through sheer Premier League consistency. It would also say a lot about Rodgers- maybe some thought the ex Liverpool manager was spent after deciding to manage Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. But Rodgers has made a huge statement with Leicester. It is sure that his future lies away from the King Power Stadium and his achievements should land him a big job.

However despite all of the hard work, Leicester could miss out on playing in the Champions League if the league is declared null and void. That would mean that this league didn’t in fact happen. So no Champions League qualifiers needed because we would just use the four teams that qualified from last season, a reset button if you like.

Now we can have sympathy if this happens to Liverpool who have in theory won the league and could miss out. The big difference though is that we know Liverpool will bounce back, that remains uncertain that Leicester will, and playing in the Champions League for next season could have been their last in some time, who knows?

But it is important to remember that if the league is null and void it isn’t just Liverpool missing out, Leicester’s hearts would surely be broken too.

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