Leicester crash out of FA Cup and it’s manager Claude Puel’s fault

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Leicester were knocked out of the 3rd round of the FA Cup after their shock loss to Newport County by 2-1 at the weekend. And the blame game should be directed at Leicester’s manager Claude Puel.

Puel made wholesale changes to his normal Premier League squad with the biggest gap being upfront with the omission of Jamie Vardy. One can only wonder why Puel has not respected the FA Cup?

Of course back in 2016 Leicester shocked everyone when they won the Premier League, something that we are not likely to see again for a very long while. But realistically speaking when the likes of a team like Leicester start the season, they are usually not going to win the league.

There are three competitions that they can win, the league, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and only the cup competitions give teams like Leicester a realistic chance of winning. Their Carabao Cup hopes were fought with more pride but they went out at the quarter final stage against Manchester City on penalties which was very unfortunate given that they would have played Burton Albion in the semi finals- then again if they cannot Newport…..

But this match was a real shocker for them. It is one thing going out of a cup competition against the champions of England quite another against Newport. But what was Puel thinking, not to take this game seriously?

Leicester are currently 7th in the league but they are almost 20 points behind 4th place and will not be finishing in a Champions League position. At the other end they are almost 20 points from the bottom three and will not be getting relegated, so why didn’t Puel start his best team for this game and why didn’t he get the team behind this fantastic competition- after all it is a trophy at the end of the day which is up for grabs, and nothing makes sense about The Foxes attitude coming into this game. Newport always seemed like the hungrier team and now they have got their just rewards.

For Puel this is a real head shaker not to be fully committed to a cup competition. It’s true that the top 4 sides in England haven’t always taken cup competitions as seriously but then again they are challenging for the league title or a European one, Leicester are challenging for 7th place trying to get to 6th.

Puel’s attitude and other managers around him need to change as cup competitions remain the best chances to win trophies for mid table teams and Puel should be a little embarrassed about his choices at the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will Liverpool react to losing in the Premier League?

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For the first time this season it finally happened, Liverpool after 21 games lost a game in the Premier League.

It was a fantastic run which saw some fantastic results including only a week ago demolishing Arsenal 5-1. But the run came to an end when the Reds visited the Etihad the home of current champions Manchester City and lost 2-1 in a quite frenetic game of football.

Liverpool still have the advantage in the league and lead by 4 points as they try to win England’s top domestic competition for the first time since 1990. But now that they have lost how will Liverpool react? History has told us it is how you finally react to a loss that defines you as a champion. In the league we will have to wait another week given that cup matches take over England this weekend.

One wonders if that is a hindrance or actually a good thing for Liverpool. On one hand it’s frustrating as the team want to play their next league game, win it, and prove that the City loss was just a tiny blip. On the other hand if they can get a good FA Cup win then that could restore some confidence going into the next league match. So that remains interesting to see.

Liverpool will play Wolves and the game is away from home which could be a tricky 90 minutes for the club. The fact that they have been paired with a Premier League team at this stage of the cup is not to their advantage. But of course they will still be favourites to win. But if they did lose then a serious question will be asked, ‘are Liverpool losing their bottle?’ It has happened before and manager Jurgen Klopp will have to field a strong side and get the victory over Wolves- that match does not take place until Monday.

In the league Liverpool’s next games are against the likes of Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester and the last two games are at home. These are all winnable games for the club, but at the same time, you never quite know in regards to the Premier League.

It seems that February will be a big month for Liverpool where towards the end of it they will have to play Bayern Munich in the Champions League and then follow that up with an away match against Manchester United who have been in terrific form, and the Merseyside derby follows just a week after that.

There is all to play for and of course Manchester City and Tottenham will have to keep winning too, but Liverpool are under real pressure again to produce the goods when it matters. That is how hard it is to win the Premier League nowadays.

 

 

EPL Weekend Picks – Round 13

David Silva

The 13th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City travel to West Ham, while Tottenham host Chelsea in one of the biggest games of the campaign so far. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…

GK – Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Wolves play two of the Premier League’s lowest-scoring sides — Huddersfield and Cardiff — over the next week, so Rui Patricio is well worth considering. The Portuguese goalkeeper has 18 points so far this season.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 12

alvaro morata chelsea

The 12th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City take on Manchester United, while Liverpool host Fulham and Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…

GK – Alisson (Liverpool)
Alisson is an expensive addition at 10.00m but he’s worth every last million. The Liverpool goalkeeper has 42 points this season and he’s likely to add to that tally against Fulham on Sunday.

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EPL Best XI – Sturridge joins Kane in attack

Daniel Sturridge

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea maintained their unbeaten starts in Week 7 of the 2018-19 season, while Manchester United’s poor run continued with a 3-1 loss at West Ham. Let’s take a look at the top players from the weekend’s games…

GK: Jordan Pickford, Everton – seven points
It’s been a tough start to the season for Jordan Pickford but he finally got his first clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Fulham at Goodison Park, earning himself seven points. He is still on minus points (-3) overall, but this is a start!

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EPL Best XI – Riyad Mahrez leads the way

Riyad Mahrez

The sixth weekend of the Premier League season saw Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea maintain their unbeaten starts to the campaign, while Burnley picked up their first three points of 2018-19 with a 4-0 win over Bournemouth. Let’s take a look at which players made our Best XI of the Weekend.

GK: Petr Cech, Arsenal – seven points
With eight teams keeping clean sheets this weekend, EPL Fantasy managers picked up plenty of points from goalkeepers and defenders. Petr Cech was key in the first half of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Everton, earning himself seven points.

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Fantasy EPL – Predicted Lineups

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Tottenham vs Liverpool

Tottenham predicted lineup: Vorm, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Trippier, Davies, Dembele, Dier, Eriksen, Moura, Kane
Questionable: Lamela, Son
Out: Loris, Sissoko, Ali

Liverpool predicted linup: Alisson, Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Mane, Firmino, Salah
Questionable: Keita, Matip
Out: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lovren

Bournemouth vs Leicester

Bournemouth predicted lineup: Begovic, Frances, Ake, Cook, Smith, Gosling, Lerma, Rico, King, Wilson, Fraser
Questionable: Cook, Smith, Ibe
Out: Pugh Stanislas

Leicester predicted lineup: Schmeichel, Maguire, Morgan, Chilwell, Pereira, Mendy, Ndidi, Ghezzal, Albrighton, Maddison, Gray
Questionable: Iheanacho, Silva
Out: James, Soyuncu

Chelsea vs Cardiff

Chelsea predicted lineup: Kepa, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho, Hazard, Giroud, Willian
Questionable: Morata, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek
Out: Fabregas

Cardiff predicted lineup: Etheridge, Bamba, Morrison, Bennet, Manga, Camarasa, Reid, Ralls, Arter, Ward, Hoilet
Questionable: Zohore, Murphy
Out: Gunnarsson, Mendez-Laing

Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace

Huddersfield predicted lineup: Lossl, Kongolo, Schindler, Zanka, Hadergjonaj, Lowe, Billing, Moy, Van La Para, Diakhaby, Kachunga
Questionable: Mounie, Pritchard
Out: Hogg, Sobhi

Crystal Palace predicted lineup: Hennessey, Van Aanholt, Sakho, Kelly, Wan-Bissaka, Milivojevic, McArthur, Townsend, Ayew, Sorloth
Questionable: Benteke, Zaha, Soare
Out: Tomkins, Dann, Wickham

Manchester City vs Fulham

Manchester City predicted lineup: Ederson, Laporte, Stones, Walker, Mendy, Gundogan, Fernandinho, David Silva, Mahrez, Jesus, Aguero
Questionable: Kompany, Silva, Sterling
Out:
De Bruyne, Bravo

Fullham predicted lineup: Bettinelli, Le Marchand, Fosu-Mensah, Mawson, Odoi, McDonald, Sessegnon, Seri, Schurrle, Mitrovic, Vietto,
Questionable: Anguissa, Christie, Chambers

Newcastle United vs Arsenal

Newcastle United predicted lineup: Dubravka, Lascelles, Clark, Fernandez, Yedlin, Dummett, Diame, Ki, Kennedy, Perez, Rondon
Questionable: Joselu, Atsu
Out: Ritchie, Shelvey, Manquillo, Lejune

Arsenal predicted lineup: Cech, Mustafi, Sokratis, Nacho, Bellerin, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Mkhitaryan
Questionable:
Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Iwobi
Out: Koscielny, Kolasinac

Watford vs Manchester United

Watford predicted lineup: Foster, Cathcart, Kabasele, Janmat, Holebas, Doucoure, Capoue, Pererya, Hughes, Deenye, Gray
Questionable: Success, Mariapa
Out: Cleverly, Deulefeu

Manchester united lineup: De Gea, Smalling, Lindelof, Valencia, Young, Pogba, Pereira, Matic, Lingard, Sanchez, Lukaku
Questionable: Bailly, Herrera, Martial, McTominay
Out: Fellaini, Shaw, Jones

Wolves vs Burnley

Wolves predicted lineup: Patricio, Coady, Boly, Bennet, Jonny, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jota, Traore, Costa
Questionable: Jimenez, Saiss, Bonatini
Out: Enobakare, Cavaleiro

Burnley predicted lineup: Hart, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley, Taylor, Cork, Hendrick, Lennon, Westwood, Wood, Barnes
Questionable: McNeil, Gibson
Out: Brady, Defour, Pope, Walters,

Everton vs West Ham

Everton predicted lineup: Pickford, Holgate, Zouma, Kenny, Digne, Sigurdsson, Davies, Schneiderlin, Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman
Questionable: Walcott, Baines,
Out: Richarlison, Keane, Jagielka, Mina, MaCarthy, Bernard, Coleman

West Ham predicted lineup: Fabianski, Cresswell, Diop, Balbuena, Fredericks, Wilshire, Sanchez, Snodgrass, Antonio, Andersen, Arnautovic
Questionable: Masuaku, Noble, Chicharito, Yarmolenko
Out: Reid, Carrol, Lanzini

Southampton vs Brighton

Southampton predicted lineup: MaCarthy, Soares, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Elyounoussi, Redmond, Ings, Long
Questionable: Austin
Out:

Brighton predicted lineup: Ryan, Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Montoya, Propper, March, Bissouma, Knockaert, Murray
Questionable:
Balogun, Gross, Bruno,
Out:
Izquierdo, Andone
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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 5

Alexandre Lacazette

Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso are among the high-scorers for EPL Fantasy managers so far this season, but there are plenty of other players across the league who could be worthy of inclusion in your team this weekend.

GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s big-money summer signing has picked up 12 points so far this season – Liverpool’s Alisson is the only goalkeeper with more – and he will surely add to that tally in the upcoming matches against low-scoring Cardiff and West Ham.

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EPL Fantasy Predictions: Matchweek 5

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Tottenham vs Liverpool Wembley Stadium

This lunchtime kickoff is one you won’t want to miss. While Spurs slipped up against  surprisingly imperious Watford,  Liverpool remained stalwart at the King Power. These kinds of tests away from home prove championship quality, and we think Klopp and the reds are at that level. Salah was Liverpool’s sole scorer against Spurs last season, and this may be a good time to jump on the wagon.

Bournemouth vs Leicester – Vitality Stadium

Two teams commanded by two impressive managers who know how to get results in the Premier League. Chelsea gave nothing away to Bournemouth when the Cherries visited Stamford Bridge before the international break, but we are picking Howe’s men to beat the Foxes who looked uncoordinated in the attack against Liverpool without Jamie Vardy.

Chelsea vs Cardiff – Stamford Bridge

If I were a fantasy Premier League manager I’d be jumping out of my seat to bring in a couple of Sarri’s forwards in for this one-sided looking clash at the Bridge. Pedro is in a good run of scoring form, while Hazard netted for Belgium against Scotland during the break.

Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace – John Smith’s Stadium

Huddersfield did very well to get a point at Goodison Park last matchweek, but Crystal Palace will know they absolutely need to start picking up points sooner or later. We are looking at the height of Crystal Palace to make the difference and snatch a draw from a set piece.

Manchester City vs Fulham – Etihad Stadium

If you’re asking us to pick Fulham over the champions, it’s a real shout. But Wolves held the stellar Citizens attack at bay earlier in the season, and Fulham have shown more in an attacking sense. – especially with Mitrovic’s double for Serbia over the break. We are still going with Pep, singling out Mr. Aguero to continue his good run of form.

Newcastle vs Arsenal – Saint James’ Park

With defense proving as optional as ever under Emery’s brief tenure, Newcastle will feel they could really upset the oddsmakers when the Gunners visit Tyneside. Solomon Rondon will by drooling at the chance to have the home crowd behind him as he runs at the shaky pairing of Mustafi and Sokratis.

Watford vs Manchester United – Vicarage Road

We like Holebas and Pereyra in this one, but goals are coming from everywhere amongst the Watford ranks these days. United meanwhile have had to rely thoroughly on Lukaku. The big Belgian has only 16 in 68 games against the top six, and since Watford have already beaten a top six club, we feel this will be a draw, with Mourinho shutting up shop as he is want to do away from home.

Wolves vs Burnley – Molineux

Nunu Espirito Santo is doing his best to make Molineux a fortress in his first EPL season, and we think this is a good opportunity to nab some clean sheet points from the Wolves defense and GK as Burnley are tied for the second fewest goals scored.

Everton vs West Ham – Goodison Park

Away at Everton will be a difficult place for Manuel Pellegrini to try and affect some positive change around the Irons dressing room, so we are going with Everton and backing Theo Walcott to make the difference.

Southampton vs Brighton – Saint Mary’s Stadium

We like Southampton in this South Coast clash, with Danny Ings looking particularly good for his price. He’s already scored with the Saints this season, even after such an enormous spell out with knee injuries at Liverpool.
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Fantasy EPL Predictions: Matchweek 4

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Leicester vs Liverpool – King Power Stadium

While Maguire’s 95th minute winner will certainly send the Foxes tail up into this clash against the early league leaders, we think Liverpool will continue building their defensive record this season and claim the win. Fantasy managers who own stock in the Anfield Defense will look ahead with joy, as Leicester will be without Jamie Vardy, whose scoring record against the Reds is remarkable – 7 strikes in 5 games.

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