Premier League Game of the Week: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United

The biggest fixture in England was played at the weekend and this match against two teams who have won 39 league titles between them was always going to generate all of the attention, the world over and not just in England. That it ended 0-0 shouldn’t deter from the hype around the game and what it currently means for the league title.

You couldn’t have had a better build up to Liverpool vs Manchester United. Liverpool who haven’t lost a home game in 2 years in the league and, who currently have the best home record this season up against the team who have the best away record this season.

No one could have expected it but Manchester United are unbeaten away and we are almost at the half way stage of the season. They are also top of the league and Liverpool could have bounced back to the top with a victory. In the end it felt as though both teams wanted to keep their fantastic records in check and it wasn’t the most exciting game to watch.

The real surprise for Liverpool was having two midfielders starting in defence. When we will ever see captain Jordan Henderson in central defence again? But somehow he looked assured and for the most part Manchester United were contained.

It was a game of two halves where Liverpool threatened in the first, controlling the pace of the game without really giving United much food for thought. But the way Liverpool were bossing the ball about it seemed like it would be a long afternoon for United.

In the 2nd half though that wasn’t the case and United started to find their groove through the brilliant Bruno Fernandes. His shot from a Luke Shaw assist made Alisson work hard in goal. Indeed Shaw had a terrific game and was all over the pitch and very inspired.

Paul Pogba had another chance after Fernandes but shot the ball at Alisson. This could have been quite a turning point in the Frenchman’s season, the player who scored the winner in Manchester United’s last game against Burnley could have been the hero again. Pogba has had a difficult season at the club and this could have gone some way to redeeming that.

Perhaps the game was telling that Liverpool had 14 attempts on goal but only 3 shots on target, indeed United had one shot on target more and not many teams over the past 2 years have had that at Anfield.

In the end it was a good result by Manchester United getting a point away from home and a disappointing one for Liverpool dropping another two at home. There must be some concern that Liverpool’s most dangerous strikers have gone quiet of late in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

It should say everything about the game that the players who picked up the most points were the goalkeepers. Both Alisson and David de Gea picked up 7 points each for their clean sheets.

Liverpool can still win the league and they remain the danger but th drop off from last season is quite evident and one has to wonder if fatigue has caught up with Jurgen Klopp’s team?

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Premier League Game of the Week: Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool

Isn’t it always the case that the league champions find a moment and a game to just remind all of the pretenders that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Forget Liverpool’s recent win over Tottenham, that was crucial and could well set the club on their way for back to back titles. This win at the weekend was a statement, and your rivals do not like statements.

There was a feeling that Crystal Palace were in store for a hammering when Liverpool took a very early lead through Takumi Minamino. It was only his 2nd start of the season for the Reds and he scored after just 3 minutes after being set up by Sadio Mane.

It should have come as no surprise then when Mane doubled the Reds lead just after the half hour mark. Mane has a knack of scoring goals past the Eagles and has done so on the past six occasions. A third goal was imminent and came just before half time, this time by Roberto Firmino, the hero in the Tottenham victory and the champions were well on their way to three points, the score at half time was 3-0.

Whilst Liverpool had bossed possession it was interesting to see that at half time both clubs had had 3 shots on target each and Alisson had been made to work and made some fine saves, it’s just that Liverpool were more clinical.

If the first half had been closer than the score had suggested then the 2nd half would be all Liverpool with another four goals to come and Palace did not even have 1 shot on target.

The goals started to reign in seven minutes after the whistle went and Jordan Henderson scored a rare one for the club. Firmino then added his 2nd of the game after 68 minutes, and it was 5-0. The game was over but someone seemed to be missing from the score sheet.

That someone was Mohamed Salah arguably the best goal scorer the Premier League has had in the past 18 months. But the Egyptian would not be denied and he scored not one but two goals within the last 10 minutes to seal a fantastic victory. He also went to the top of the goal scorer’s chart and now has 13 goals so far this season.

It was a fantastic win for Liverpool and they seem to be able to pull out these type of scores a few times a season. This match felt like the champions had awoken from a slow start by their standards and that will be the worry for their rivals.

It got even better for Liverpool when Tottenham went on to lose against Leicester and Liverpool have now pulled a 4 point gap at the top. The Reds will face West Bromwich Albion at home on Boxing Day and they will be expected to win that. Leicester face a tough game against Manchester United and Tottenham will be in a tricky match away to Wolves. if all goes right Liverpool could pull seven points clear going into the new year games.

Top 3 Performers for Liverpool so far in the fantasy rankings

1. Mohamed Salah 66pts

2. Roberto Firmino 33pts

3. Sadio Mane 30pts

Top 3 Performers for Crystal Palace so far in the fantasy rankings

1. Wilfried Zaha 32pts

2. Christian Benteke 10pts

3. Andros Townsend 10pts

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Weeks 13 and 14

Two lots of Premier League games have been played in less than a week and the overall winners seem to be the current champions Liverpool. The Reds have pulled away by 4 points after they beat Tottenham in a crucial game at Anfield and then destroyed Crystal Palace 7-0.

Tottenham have had a week to forget with defeat at Liverpool and then they lost against Leicester and have slipped down to 5th place. Everton have got back on form and have won 3 games in a row and Leicester have gone 2nd on 27 points with 3 wins from their last four.

Let’s take a look below at the players that have made the final team for week’s 13 and 14.

Goalkeeper: Damien Martinez- Aston Villa 14pts

Only one team kept 2 clean sheets in the week and that was Aston Villa. Goalkeeper Damien Martinez earned 7 points each as he kept a clean sheet against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion. Martinez has kept seven clean sheets so far.

Defender: Matt Targett- Aston Villa 10pts

Matt Targett has been a rock in defence in Aston Villa’s last 2 games which has seen them earn 4 points from the week. The latest victory being a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the derby game.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold- Liverpool 7pts

Liverpool have been superb this week and Alexander-Arnold earned yet more points as he kept a clean sheet as Liverpool destroyed Crystal Palace 7-0. He has helped keep three clean sheets so far.

Defender: Tyrone Mings-Aston Villa 9pts

Tyrone Mings has made it again in the best team of the week and played his part as Villa drew against Burnley 0-0 and then beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0. Mings now has 34 points overall and is Villa’s best defender so far.

Defender: Andrew Robertson-Liverpool 7pts

Another cool and calculated performance from the Scotsman. Robertson has had to do even better this season with Liverpool having so many injuries. He played his part in the Tottenham and Crystal Palace victories very well.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 12pts

Mohamed Salah is always a danger which he reminded the Premier League once again. Salah scored 3 goals in the two games during the week. Opening the scoring against Tottenham which set up the win and then scoring two goals past Crystal Palace as the Reds won 7-0. Salah is now top goalscorer with 13 goals.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino-Liverpool 12pts

Roberto Firmino has been quiet for his standards this season but played his part well in the crucial win over Tottenham as he scored the last minute winner and he earned a huge 12 points this week alone. His value is 9.5m.

Midfielder: Scott McTominay-Manchester United 10pts

Scott McTominay had an excellent game at the weekend as he earned 10 points by scoring 2 very early goals against Leeds United. He set up a later goal too as Manchester United ran out 6-2 winners and they are the in form team in the league right now.

Midfielder: Bertrand Traore- Aston Villa 10pts

Bertrand Traore starred in the Midlands derby as Aston Villa beat their fierce rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-0. Traore set up the first goal and then scored the 2nd in a memorable game for the midfielder. His value is 8.5m.

Striker: David McGoldrick- Sheffield United 9pts

David McGoldrick assisted at the weekend to give Sheffield a point against Brighton- only their 2nd of the campaign. In the previous game he scored twice against Manchester United, so had a personal brilliant game, although the Blades lost 3-2.

Striker: Anthony Martial- Manchester United 10pts

Anthony Martial earned 10 points and got some critics off his back too. He assisted in an incredible 3 goals and scored once for his club over the past two games and was just brilliant as Manchester United beat Leeds United 6-2 at home. For the season that was Martial’s first contribution to United’s goals, perhaps that is the spark he needs.

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The Best 11 Players in the Premier League 2020/21 so far

With the Premier League taking an extended break because of the international fixtures this is an opportunity to look at your fantasy football team and see who is doing the best and grabbing those all important points in the early stages of the Premier League campaign.

In a 4-4-2 formation we will look at the players who are performing the very best so far.

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy- Chelsea 21pts

The injury to Kepa has given Edouard Mendy a life line at Chelsea and he has reacted in the best way possible with a terrific start to the campaign. Mendy has 21 points so far the most of any goalkeeper in the Premier League and has kept 3 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Ben Chilwell- Chelsea 24pts

Considering this is his first season with the Blues Ben Chilwell has been more than terrific and has stood out as one of Chelsea’s most important players so far this season. He has helped the club to 3 clean sheets so far but isn’t afraid to get involved in the action and has scored 2 goals and assisted in a further 2. His value is 6.5m.

Defender: Kurt Zouma- Chelsea 24pts

Kurt Zouma could well be having his best season as a player. At one point it felt that he could lose his place within the Chelsea team, so to come back and start the season the way he has has been impressive. Whilst forming a great partnership with Chilwell he has also scored 3 goals, again impressive for a defender.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard- Southampton 24pts

Southampton have been a major surprise team in the Premier League this season and currently have the best form. Jannick Vestergaard has helped the Saints in keeping 4 clean sheets is valued at 6m and has also scored 2 goals already for the club this season.

Defender: Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa 22pts

Tyrone Mings has really turned his form around since last season. He has been the best overall defender at Aston Villa keeping 4 clean sheets and has also been tidy up front scoring goals too. He can be bought for just 4.5m.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 36pts

Like the last few seasons it’s been a terrific season so far for Mohamed Salah who again continues to light up the Premier League. Whilst it hasn’t been the greatest start for Liverpool they are still well within the mix and Salah has contributed by scoring 8 goals already.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa 33pts

There is no doubt about it Jack Grealish is having his best season as a football player. He has been involved in 9 Aston Villa goals scoring 4 and assisting in 5 as the club have started well for this season and his value is incredible at just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 24pts

Bruno Fernandes is arguably Manchester United’s best signing in a decade, since Cristiano Ronado. He has scored 5 goals and made 3 assists in what has been a troubling start for the club, but Fernandes has been one of the best players in the Premier League.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 24pts

Could this be Wilfried Zaha’s best season yet and a turning point in his career? Often a player who is touted at moving from Palace to one of the big six clubs in England he is certainly proving his credentials this season. Zaha has been Crystal Palace’s most effective player and has scored 5 goals and assisted in another two. His value is 8.5m.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 44pts

Harry Kane has been outstanding and Tottenham have been solid climbing into the top 2 clubs in the league. Kane already has 44 points and has scored 7 goals and assisted in another 8, he has been involved incredibly in 80% of Tottenham’s league goals this season. There is a reason then that his value is up at 14.5m.

Striker: Heung- Min Son- Tottenham 38pts

The fact that the two best striker positions in the league go to Tottenham players tells you everything you need to know about how the club have started the season. Heung-Min Son has scored one goal more than Kane with 8 and has assisted in another 2 goals. On his day there isn’t a better striker currently playing in Europe. Kane and Son must be amongst the most deadliest strike pair in European football.

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Did Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah really dive against West Ham and should he be punished?

The big controversy over the weekend in the Premier League was when Liverpool played West Ham. The Reds came back from a goal down to beat David Moyes side 2-1. But their equaliser came by the way of a penalty, which many media pundits and ex footballers believe should never have been given.

Inside the box Mohamed Salah tries to take hold off the ball but West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku clearly caught the striker on the sole of the foot and Salah went down. In theory this was always going to be straight forward and the referee awarded a penalty. The problem is how Salah went down.

Salah seemed to turn into a 180 degree angle and it looked like he almost threw himself to the ground. Was their contact? Yes, did it warrant a player to go down as Salah did? This is what is questionable.

At the end of the day whilst pundits and the media are saying that there was no penalty to be had- there actually was. Masuaku’s challenge was clumsy, one can’t even point to the fact that he was going for the ball as his foot was nowhere near it, it was a silly challenge and disputing whether it was a penalty or not does not seem correct, 100% in the rules of the game this was a penalty and Masuaku had clearly made an error. But that doesn’t make what happened right.

It doesn’t feel like a natural way to go to the ground and it could have been in Salah’s mind that he knows he has been touched but to make it 100% convincing to the referee he must go down in a ‘Hollywood’ style way. And he did. So yes Liverpool deserved the penalty but maybe Salah as a consequence of how he went to ground deserved a yellow card.

Salah has a history of going to ground quite easily, and it is not a good character strait of his. He is without doubt one of the best forwards in the Premier League and one of the best in Europe. His impact at Liverpool can’t be measured. And of course because of this he is seen as a role model. That is why the more you look at how he went down just feels wrong, Salah is a role model to many kids growing up who will undertake the game and say quite rightly that they were influenced by Salah.

But players do not seem to get cautioned if they have been fouled against- that seems to make sense, but there are cases like Salah where it could be an exception to the rule. As an example everyone remembers when Brazilian star Rivaldo feigned injury in their 2002 World Cup match against Turkey- it’s a long time ago but it is a great example. Rivaldo was technically fouled as the ball was shot on purpose at him. It actually hit him as he was about to take a corner on the arm and partial stomach, and yet Rivaldo touched his face, screaming and went down. A foul suddenly meant a sending off for Turkey because of Rivaldo’s overreaction. It was an anti football moment by such an incredible player.

Salah’s foul in the penalty box just felt the same way. Of course Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended the Egyptian and he said that he had marks to prove he was fouled. No one is denying this, because Salah was fouled. It is the reaction afterwards that feels that the game of football has been let down once more.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool

When final scores used to come through on television years before the internet and phones and apps, this was our only source of knowing the results and quick. When big scores came through that fact had to be reminded by spelling out the actual score. If a game was 6-0 next to the 6 would be spelt out SIX just so you knew. Doubly great if you supported the team, rubbing salt into wounds if you didn’t. This past weekend that would have been used again, only this time with a sentence of exclamation marks.

To be sure and just to remind us that we are indeed on planet Earth, Aston Villa beat Liverpool 7-2, SEVEN goals past the reigning champions, seven goals past the team who have reached the Champions League final twice in the last 3 years and won one of them, seven goals past the reigning World Club Cup holders, seven goals past a team who had gone up until the end of February last season without defeat. It was an astounding result, in an incredible game of which wrapped around it is an incredible season so far.

Liverpool were the odds on favourites to beat Aston Villa and make it four wins out of four. The script Gods had it that Liverpool would ease to victory, that the two rival Merseyside teams would be 1st and 2nd in the league, both unbeaten and would play each other next on October 17th for what would have been billed as the most important Everton-Liverpool derby in a generation. Whilst that match still remains of high interest a shine was taken off who would lose their 100% record when Villa put Liverpool to the sword at the weekend.

Had Villa beaten Liverpool in a struggling all out defending 1-0 game, that would have been seen as a surprise, after all Villa just escaped relegation last season and Liverpool finished 60 plus points in front of them. But this was an all out slaughter which to be fair was over by half time.

New signing Ollie Watkins from Brentford emerged as the hero as did Villa veteran Jack Grealish so ever criticised as being good but not as good as he thinks he is, well at the weekend both were Lionel Messi level good.

Watkins scored a hat trick in 39 minutes all in the first half and opened up the scoring for the hosts in the 4th minute. By the 22nd minute it was 2-0. In fact in 17 first half minutes Villa had put 3 goals past what should have been an impregnable Liverpool defence. Whilst it’s true that Liverpool were dearly unlucky to have lost first choice goal keeper Allison in the warm up for the game, one could well argue his absence may wouldn’t have made much difference even if Liverpool may have kept the score down with him. Adrian, his replacement was absolutely at fault for the 1st goal but he shouldn’t be made the scapegoat Liverpool all round were just very very poor.

Grealish had already provided two goals in the first half and in the 2nd half he would become goalscorer as he netted twice and even new signing Ross Barkley a former Evertonian of course scored. For Liverpool the ever dangerous Mohamed Salah tried his best and personally one couldn’t fault him here, he actually scored 2 goals himself, but these will certainly be two goals that Salah would rather forget in a hurry.

It was interesting to note that possession wise Liverpool dominated and yet conceded so many goals. What does this all mean? Was it simply a one off blip much like their 3-0 defeat at Watford last season? Was it because a couple of regulars were missing, especially captain Jordan Henderson? Was it simply a little complacency and fatigue?

As for Villa they have started the season in brilliant form and have 3 wins from three and have kept intact their own 100% start to the season even after their Liverpool test.

This season just feels unique and very much unlike any other, Villa may slump as the weeks and months take hold, but they have already looked like a team who won’t be involved in a relegation dog fight for that manager Dean Smith must be commended for his summer buys. For Klopp the international break has arrived and he will have 10 days to try and understand what just happened.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 3 Picks

After EFL Cup action midweek the Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime with Brighton & Hove Albion hosting Manchester United at the AMEX Stadium.

Crystal Palace host Everton in a game between two sides on a 100% win record to start the 2020-21 campaign, whilst Chelsea will be looking to get back to winning ways away to West Bromwich Albion.

Sunday sees Leicester City travel to Manchester City whilst the best has been saved to last when defending champions Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Monday night.

Here are our picks for your fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Clean sheets haven’t been easy to come by in the opening two weekends of the season but Rui Patricio kept one away to Sheffield United in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ opening game before facing a rampant Manchester City on Monday night. With a trip to the London Stadium on Sunday there’s a good opportunity for Nuno’s side to keep a second clean sheet against West Ham United’s poor attack.

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Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 1

The new English Premier League season kicked off last weekend with defending champions Liverpool starting in a 4-3 thriller over newly-promoted Leeds United. The weekend started with Manchester City and Manchester United, who were given an extra week’s rest due to their involvement in European campaigns abroad last month.

With eight games played here’s a look at the players who made a real difference over the weekend. Did you have them in your team? Do you have them this weekend maybe?

Goalkeeper: Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace) – 7pts
Six goalkeepers started the new season with a clean sheet and one of the biggest surprises was Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win at home to Southampton. Vicente Guaita made a couple of important stages towards the end to maintain his shut out and three points for Roy Hodgson’s side.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 2 Picks

All 20 Premier League teams will be in action this weekend for the first time in 2020-21, with four games on Saturday, four on Sunday and the final two of the gameweek taking place on Monday night.

Manchester City and Manchester United were given last weekend off due to their involvement in European competition abroad last month. The Citizens start their campaign away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night, whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side host Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.

Here are our fantasy football suggestions for the weekend:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Everton started the season with a 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend as Carlo Ancelotti handed debuts to three of his summer signings. Allan did an excellent job in protecting the back four whilst James Rodriguez created a number of chances in the opening half.

The Toffees welcome West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime with the newly-promoted side having been beaten 0-3 at home by Leicester City without really causing any problems for the opposition. Slaven Bilic’s side may not see much better luck this weekend against an organised defence so Jordan Pickford should be a good pick between the sticks.

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Premier League’s Game of the Week: Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United

There was no contest about Round 1′s match of the week in the Premier League. It was Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield- the two teams played out an epic 7 goal thriller, and all that was sadly missing were the fans.

Liverpool as champions were the red hot favourites to dispatch Leeds and make light work of the newly promoted team. However there were two things standing in Liverpool’s way. Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa’s XI and history. Before talking about the Leeds boss, it is important to highlight the return of Leeds to the English top division after years in the shadows. Without doubt Leeds is a club that belongs among the top teams in England and the neutrals should wait till fans are allowed back because the club’s boisterous following would make Elland Road an intimidating place to visit. Don’t forget to check out Leeds United tickets here.

Bielsa is a character, a very good coach and pays attention to detail. Despite the fact that he can’t speak English, which is obviously going to be highlighted in press conferences, he is someone who will impress you with his work ethic and attention to detail. After the game even Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was all smiles for Bielsa’s side, he appreciated that Leeds as a team had at last come to Anfield and tried to win the game.

Then there is the history. Liverpool and Leeds will remind older generations of the classic days of the 1960s and 1970s, Bill Shankly for Liverpool and Don Revie for Leeds, some games could get very hairy with several bookings for both sides. It was a very different era of course but you could feel and evoke that some of that had filtered down onto Anfield in the year 2020.

The first goal was scored inside the very early minutes after Leeds defender Robin Koch handled the ball. This decision split football fans and the media down the line though because the ball appeared to hit another part of his body before it hit his arm. The referee gave the penalty regardless but the new laws clearly state if the ball hits your body and then your arm then it’s not a penalty. Mohamed Salah (who else?) slotted the ball home and it was expected that Liverpool would run riot and Leeds would fall apart. Not so quick!

Leeds drew level 8 minutes later through a superb Jack Harrison goal and the game was on. Following the Leeds United goalkeeper’s mistake, Virgin van Dijk- so deadly from crosses- headed one in unmarked on the 20th minute and Liverpool had taken the lead once more. We were witnessing end to end attacking football and every minute was being savoured. Patrick Bamford brought Leeds level for the second time after half an hour! The game was crazy, and the lucky few inside the stadium were enjoying it.

The goals weren’t about to stop there though and the champions came back to 3-2 up just three minutes later and it was Salah again with a beautiful dipping shot. Half time ended 3-2 to the Reds. Midway through the second half though Leeds incredibly made it 3-3 through a fine Mateusz Klich goal. It looked like the game would end in a draw which Leeds would have deserved but there was one final sting in the game.

Leeds gave away a bad penalty through Rodrigo, who stuck his foot out in the challenge. Usually late penalties can be controversial but Leeds had nothing to complain about here and with just two minutes remaining for all their attacking play and excitement Leeds had made a naive error. Salah stepped up to score again and win the game for Liverpool 4-3 and in doing so scored a hat trick, a perfect start for the Egyptian. And an enjoyable start for Liverpool, 3 points already in the pocket and 4 goals scored. Let’s hope their other games this season are as half as exciting.

As for Leeds well done to them, they played great and without fear, so if they keep that up then they should be able to stay in the Premier League this season while making an impact.

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