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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Premier League Predictions: Week 27

Whilst Liverpool will win the league this season all of the attention has turned to European places. Any of five different teams could finish 4th and there are some mouth watering games coming up at the weekend, including Chelsea v Tottenham. Below are our predictions for the games this weekend.

Chelsea v Tottenham

Chelsea lost to Manchester United in their last game here and have been defeated at home 5 times. They did beat Tottenham in the reverse fixture and Tottenham do have an injury crisis. This could be a low scoring game where we expect Jose Mourinho on his emotional return to Stamford Bridge to come out as a winner. Tottenham to beat Chelsea

Burnley v Bournemouth

Burnley have gone unbeaten for the last 4 games and are in very good form. Bournemouth are in 16th and a loss here could spell disaster. The club have lost their last 4 games in a row away from home, and we think they could halt that run. Draw

Crystal Palace v Newcastle

Palace have no wins this year and have lost their last 3 games in a row. Newcastle did lose 4-0 to Arsenal last weekend but actually played some good football. Allan Saint-Maximin looked very quick and this will be a hard game for the home side as the Magpies look to push on. Newcastle to beat Crystal Palace

Sheffield United v Brighton

Brighton have lost 8 of their 13 away games and they face an uphill struggle to get anything from this game as the Blades look to advance on 4th place as best they can. Sheffield United to beat Brighton

Southampton v Aston Villa

The Saints have recovered well in recent months but they come into this game having lost 3 of their last 4. Aston Villa looked impressive against Tottenham and could give Southampton a real game here. Jack Grealish can run the show. Draw

Leicester v Manchester City

Leicester have been terrific this season but each time they have had to play the better teams they have failed, and we can see them losing this one. It should be very entertaining. Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy will both have a point to prove but a win here could see City get daylight to Leicester and move 7 points clear of them. Manchester City to beat Leicester

Manchester United v Watford

United have some key players out but Bruno Fernandes looks like he can step up in midfield. Also Anthony Martial has  a new lease of confidence as the main striker after Marcus Rashford’s injury. Watford have done quite well recently but should be no match for United here. Manchester United to beat Watford

Wolves v Norwich

Wolves will be the favourites but they are struggling to win games, with just one win in their past five. Norwich in bottom who look like they will go down, have little to lose now and are just trying to enjoy their football. They could spring a surprise. Norwich to beat Wolves

Arsenal v Everton

Arsenal had an excellent second half v Newcastle and that will inject confidence in the side. Everton haven’t looked better for a good 18 months and also unlike Arsenal didn’t have to play in the Europa League in midweek. Everton don’t do well at Arsenal but we can still see them going away here with a point. Watch out for Dani Cellabalos who could pose all sorts of problems with his pace against the away side. Draw

Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool are 22 points ahead they will win the league but the objective is remaining unbeaten too. They should win this game with ease but may have to work very hard at it as West Ham will play very defensively and try and make life hard. There is just too much quality in this Reds side though and Mohamed Salah loves playing against West Ham who could well be relegated this season. Liverpool to beat West Ham

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of the Weekend

Because of the winter break in the Premier League there were just 5 games played at the weekend. All of the favourites won their games including Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool. But let’s take a look at the players who made a difference this past weekend in the Premier League.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel- Leicester 7pts

A few goalkeepers earned 7 points but Kasper Schmeichel deserves credit as his Leicester side went away from home against a very difficult Wolves side and got a point, keeping a clean sheet too as the game ended 0-0. That was the goalkeepers 9th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Romain Saiss- Wolves 5pts

It’s no mean feat to keep Jamie Vardy and co from scoring a goal and Saiss helped his side Wolves keep a clean sheet at home against the team in 3rd place. Saiss has 17 points this season.

Defender: Trent-Alexander Arnold- Liverpool 5pts

On fantasy ranking points Alexander Arnold is the best defender in the Premier League and he showed his qualities again as Liverpool beat Norwich 1-0 away from home to record his 12th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Virgil van Dijk- Liverpool 5pts

His teammate van Dijk and recognised as one of the worlds best defenders also helped keep a clean sheet and the player now has 74 points in the fantasy rankings and is just 9 behind his team mate in 2nd place.

Defender: Wes Morgan -Leicester 5pts

Wes Morgan had a lot to do in the back four of Leicester as Wolves who were at home asked many questions of the Foxes. Morgan held his ground well and earned 5 points in the process.

Midfielder: Mesut Ozil- Arsenal 6pts

Ozil has been under pressure for the past two seasons for his performances, but against Newcastle he was on the ball. Not only did his side keep a clean sheet but he also scored a goal, his first of the season in the league.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane- Liverpool 5pts

Sadio Mane showed his qualities coming on late in the game v Norwich and ended up scoring the winner- a classy finish too. He dropped a point because he was booked in the final minute though.

Midfielder: Jordan Henderson-Liverpool 4pts

It should come as no surprise to see Henderson’s name on the team of the weekend yet again. He earned 4 points after a solid, professional display as Liverpool continued their unbeaten run this season with a 1-0 win over Norwich.

Midfielder: Lucas Torreira- Arsenal 2pts

It was rare joy for Arsenal and Torreira to win a game, and so many defenders ended the weekend with 2 points. Torreira deserves his place after a tormented time this season with Arsenal, he held firm and didn’t give Newcastle a look in.

Striker: Nicolas Pepe- Arsenal 8pts

Nicolas Pepe has been criticised this season as he has started his career with Arsenal very slow. But at the weekend he was on top form and earned 8 points after he scored a goal and he also assisted in the opening goal. In 240 seconds he showed why Arsenal had paid over £70m for him.

Striker: Heung-Min Son- Tottenham 6pts

If Tottenham are to finish in a Champions League place a large chunk of that could go to the fact that in Son they have a great striker. He scored 2 goals as Tottenham beat Aston Villa in a thrilling 3-2 win. He now has 9 goals for the season and looks in brilliant form.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 26

The winter break is still here but we do  have staggered games, and that means we will see 6 games at the weekend. The likes of Liverpool, Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal will all be in action. Let’s take a look at the games and the players who could stand out.

Wolves v Leicester

Here are two teams very equal and two teams that have surprised many fans this season. We think this early kick off will end in a point apiece for the teams. It will be interesting if Wolves’ Diogo Jota can get a run out as he scored a hat trick against Leicester last season. Draw

Southampton v Burnley

The Saints have had a slight knock back losing 2 of their last 3 games and Burnley are unbeaten in their last 3 games. We will take the draw here in a game that we expect to have plenty of chances for both sides but also be physical. Draw

Norwich v Liverpool

It would be the biggest shock of the season if Norwich were to become the first team to beat Liverpool this season. Norwich are bottom of the league and have lost 15 games, they are also 7 points from safety. Liverpool really should have no problems to win this game and should ease to victory. Although we should remember that Norwich did beat Manchester City here earlier in the season. Liverpool to beat Norwich

Aston Villa v Tottenham

Aston Villa are just 1 point above the bottom three and have one win in their last four games. The club have won 40% of their home games which isn’t good enough in this league. Tottenham have had a little rest also, but Jose Mourinho is in a good mood and the players look more settled under him. Watch out for Steven Bergwijn can he create magic like he did a few weeks ago? Tottenham to beat Aston Villa

Arsenal v Newcastle

Mikel Arteta has just 1 win in his 7 league games, but also has only lost one, the club just keep on drawing games. So do Newcastle who have 3 in their last four games. If Newcastle can use Joelinton to his full capacity he could be a handle and he likes playing in London. Draw

Chelsea v Manchester United

The big game. With Chelsea in 4th they could really slip up for their Champions League hopes if they don’t get a win. United have already won here in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season. This could be and should be an epic game. United are in 8th and if they lose this game they would slip 9 points behind a Champions League place. N’Golo Kante can run things in midfield and we are going to back the home side over an injury depleted United one who have only won 3 games away from home. Chelsea to beat Manchester United

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Leicester and Chelsea the Premier League pretenders play out match that summarises their seasons

It was interesting to see Leicester and Chelsea come together at the weekend. Mostly because the teams have been so similar in the Premier League, the teams that could have, but aren’t quite there yet, that was the feeling of a game that felt like 3rd place at the World Cup, but was never going to be played like a friendly.

Both clubs are looking to qualify for the Champions League without challenge- well that is the idea anyway, which is working out much better for Leicester. The Foxes have an 8 point gap to 4th place Chelsea and Leicester will not mind that Manchester City have passed them in the league and could go 5 points clear of them if they beat Tottenham on Sunday, City the current champions are not the threat to Leicester.

This game which finished in an entertaining 2-2 draw pretty much confirmed that Leicester will be playing Champions League football next season and that is quite a magnificent achievement for the team. True they won the league in 2016, but they were supposed to drop off after that and never be heard of again. But under Brendan Rodgers the team have felt alive again and have become a very difficult side to beat, especially at home. A surprise loss to Southampton and a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool are the clubs only blemishes at King Power Stadium.

A superb first half of the season means that Leicester have a 13 point safety net not to finish in a Champions League place. If Tottenham beat Manchester City on Sunday evening that would still be a 12 point safety net. Leicester look good for it and with just 13 games remaining they should be fine.

As for Chelsea they have 41 points and have evidently slowed down, almost to a halt in recent weeks. Just one victory has been achieved by Frank Lampard’s side in the last five games where they have earned 6 points from 15. The only saving grace is that the clubs that were supposed to have caught them up have found plenty of banana skins along the way. Both Manchester United and Tottenham are finding it hard to patch wins together, though as said above if Tottenham beat Manchester City they would go four points behind Chelsea and surely at that point the Blues would start to feel the pressure. As it stands Sheffield United are in 5th and are five points behind, but not many people will believe that the Blades can push on from there.

The game played between Leicester and Chelsea was a good one. Chelsea took the lead, Leicester came back and took the lead before a Chelsea equaliser through Antonio Rudiger who had scored the clubs first goal settled the game. It was an encounter that on reflection of both sides taking a point felt like much ado about nothing. But these two teams are littered with quality and could well make inner and deeper roads next season if they can keep their best assets and add to them. For now they are the sports teams who will have to settle for nothing this season, apart from Champions League qualification, which at this time only looks guaranteed for one of them.

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