Our predicted lineups for this weekend’s EPL action

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This weekend sees the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures taking place before the season draws to a close on Sunday, May 12th.

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

Everton v Burnley

Everton XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Calvert-Lewin

Burnley XI: Heaton, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood Continue reading

EPL: Premier League Predictions for Week 35

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The English Premier League only has a few weeks left and there is clearly a reason why football fans regard the league as the most exciting and competitive. That is because the league title is the closest of all the European major leagues and will most likely go down to the wire between Liverpool and Manchester City.

There are 2 Champions League places to take care of as Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham do battle to secure a top 4 place. And Cardiff have given themselves a chance by beating Brighton in midweek- all is to play for as we enter another weekend of Premier League football which should be enthralling and fascinating.

Manchester City v Tottenham

Just where do we start after the teams played out an incredible Champions League 2nd leg quarter final where City won 4-3 on the night but went out on the away goals rule. City need to win this game or that could be the title over too. They will be utterly determined to win this game at home now. Watch out for Raheem Sterling who was denied a hat trick because of VAR, a system not used in the Premier League yet. Manchester City to beat Tottenham

Bournemouth v Fulham

Fulham got a terrific victory over Everton last weekend even though they are down, but their away form is very poor. Eddie Howe’s side are safe and beat Brighton 5-0 in their last match. Callum Wilson could be the difference between the sides, but this should be a close game. Draw

Huddersfield v Watford

More than likely Watford’s mindset will be preparing for the FA Cup final even if it is still a month away. They will be without influential player Troy Deeney who was sent off in the defeat against Arsenal. Huddersfield are relegated and have little to play for, except for home pride and we could see a surprise result here. Huddersfield to beat Watford

West Ham v Leicester

West Ham have been in poor form but the players put in a great shift against Manchester United at Old Trafford and if they can take something from that game even though they lost they could do well here. Felipe Anderson played very well. Leicester have been strong under Brendan Rodgers but lost their last game at home to Newcastle where they didn’t turn up. West Ham to beat Leicester

Wolves v Brighton

Wolves have been excellent this season but they have just 1 win in their past four games. However at home against a poor form side like Brighton this should be 3 points and they could be back in the hunt for a 7th place finish. Brighton continue to be poor in 2019 and could now face a relegation dog fight. Wolves to beat Brighton

Newcastle v Southampton

The Magpies pulled off a great result last weekend going to Leicester and getting a 1-0 win and playing well. Southampton have just 1 win in their past four games and this is their furthest trip in league fixtures. We will opt for the home win here in a game where we could see plenty of goals. Newcastle to beat Southampton

Everton v Manchester United

Since the beginning of March Everton have found form and Marco Silva’s job has been saved. But they put in a toothless display against Fulham last weekend and lost. Back at home where they beat Arsenal and Chelsea recently they can give United a game. United have been in average form and were knocked out in the Champions League against Barcelona, but remain a danger as they hunt for a top 4 finish. Could Everton’s Richarlison be the difference? Draw

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Arsenal should have few problems against Palace and get all three points. The Gunners have been one of the best teams in the league at home and have lost here just once back on the opening day of the season. Palace are safe and have little to play for. Pierre Emerick- Aubameyang is in great form and will relish this game. Arsenal to beat Crystal Palace

Cardiff v Liverpool

Cardiff got a massive victory over Brighton in midweek to give themselves a chance for survival. But they must keep winning. The problem is they are facing Liverpool and this will be a difficult match. Liverpool just keep on collecting the points, and whilst this will be  a difficult game for the Reds they should have enough quality up front to hurt the home team. Liverpool to beat Cardiff

Chelsea v Burnley

Chelsea still have a great chance to finish in the top four, the problem is that their direct rivals have 5 games to play while they have 4. That means that every game counts but winning at least at home is essential. Eden Hazard is looking the business as he possibly wraps up his career with the Blues. Burnley are in excellent form with 3 wins from their last 3 games but have lost 9 times on the road this season. Chelsea to beat Burnley

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EPL: Premier League Predictions Week 33

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With just over a month to go until the Premier League wraps up the two horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool continues, there is just 1 point in it and this battle looks sure to go down to the wire. Champions League places are also up for grabs. Fulham and Huddersfield have been relegated but there is still one more place to decide although it looks likely that could be Cardiff who need to start picking up the points.

Below we take a look at the games ahead of the weekend and predict who we think will come out on top.

Southampton v Liverpool

Liverpool need all three points but Southampton will be a difficult opponent at St Mary’s when the two teams go head to head on Friday night. Goals have dried up for Mohamed Salah but Sadio Mane has been on fire and Liverpool will be the odds on favourites to win this game. When they are not playing well they are getting just the right amount of luck and look unstoppable. Liverpool to beat Southampton

Bournemouth v Burnley

Bournemouth have been in poor form but at the same time they are safe and have won just 1 game in the last five. Burnley can really turn the screw on 18th placed Cardiff with a win here and go further clear which could virtually secure their status in the Premier League. The boost for them is that they have just beaten Wolves and ended a 4 game losing streak. Draw

Huddersfield v Leicester

Now that Huddersfield are down they might just be able to relax and enjoy their football. Leicester are trying to be the best of the rest and finish in 7th place and are in very good form now under new coach Brendan Rodgers and Jamie Vardy will be hoping to get back on the score sheet. Leicester to beat Huddersfield

Newcastle v Crystal Palace

The teams come into this game with the same form and Palace are just 1 point above Newcastle. Newcastle’s form is spectacular at home where they have won their last 5 games in a row and they should have too much for Palace. Newcastle to beat Crystal Palace

Everton v Arsenal

Can Everton win 3 games in a row? They will face  a difficult team in Arsenal and the Gunners are in very good form. Arsenal are looking good for 3rd place and have more quality than  Everton. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is in good form and they have plenty of goals in their team. Arsenal to beat Everton

Chelsea v West Ham

West Ham have had some poor results lately and even the games they have been winning they haven’t been very convincing. Chelsea at home have been superb this season and Olivier Giroud has finally found his goal scoring boots. Chelsea to beat West Ham

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EPL Weekend Picks – Week 33

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

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Arsenal overcome Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League

It’s been a mixed few days for Arsenal. Thursday saw the Gunners lose out to Rennes, but they recovered from that setback to beat Manchester United 2-0 today.

Thursday night started well for Arsenal, as Alex Iwobi put them ahead after just four minutes. However, Sokratis’ first half dismissal marked the beginning of the Gunners’ capitulation, as goals from Benjamin Bourigeaud and Ismaila Sarr as well as an own goal from Nacho Monreal gave Rennes a two goal lead to take into the second leg.

Meanwhile, Manchester United had one of their greatest nights in years on Wednesday. They overturned a two goal deficit at the Parc de Princes to overcome PSG in the Champions League thanks to Rashford’s late penalty.

However, there was a role reversal for the teams this afternoon. Arsenal’s character is often questioned but they showed plenty of that today to overcome Thursday’s mishap, against a side who have been prolific opponents since Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s arrival.

There was a similarity between this game and the one in France though, as the Gunners established an early lead. Granit Xhaka struck a speculative effort from outside the box 12 minutes into the match. Many would have expected David de Gea to be equal to it -considering the strike wasn’t carrying an extraordinary amount of pace- but the swerve the Swiss international put on the ball fooled the keeper. The ball hit the back of the net, putting the Gunners 1-0 up.

The Red Devils did have chances to bring the scores level. However, the likes of Romelu Lukaku, who had been so prolific in Paris, were unable to put their chances away. In the 69th minute they were made to pay for their lack of clinical edge when Fred was adjudged to have fouled Alexandre Lacazette in the box. The Frenchman gave the ball to his strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had missed from the spot in the dying moments of the recent North London Derby draw. He made no mistake this time though, as he coolly passed the ball into the net, sending de Gea the wrong way.

Despite the game being fairly even there was never the feeling that United would get back into the game following that moment. There were no more goals in the game, as the Gunners won 2-0, inflicting Solskjær’s first league defeat as Manchester United manager.

This result sees Arsenal go fourth in the league with just seven games of the season remaining. They aren’t able to look too far forward yet though, as Thursday sees them partake in another incredibly important match. They will play the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie against Rennes, needing to come from behind as they did in the last round against BATE Borisov.

Following on from that, their next Premier League match will be at home against Newcastle United on April 1st, after the international break.

 

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Should Arsenal be worried by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s woes?

If there was one image that defined Arsenal’s dismal Europa League defeat to Rennes on Thursday night, it was the sight of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slumped on the bench, expression giving away his true feelings. Those feelings weren’t especially warm given the circumstances.

Indeed, Unai Emery’s decision to take off Aubameyang when Arsenal were 2-1 down and in need of a goal was a peculiar one. This left the Gunners without a striker on the pitch, without an out ball, and ultimately without a hope. Aubameyang was as puzzled by his manager’s call as the rest of us.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Alexandre Lacazette

Despite this, there can be no denying that Aubameyang’s form has dropped off in recent weeks. Against Rennes, the former Borussia Dortmund forward as poor, but this wasn’t an isolated case. In fact, Aubameyang’s recent performances may well be cause for concern for Emery and the Gunners.

He has scored just four times in 2019. With the exception of the 2-1 win over Cardiff City in January, Aubameyang has struggled to make an impact for Arsenal. Once the pace-setter at the top of the Premier League scoring charts, Aubameyang now seems to have lost his groove having been overtaken by Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah.

This weekend, Arsenal face a potentially season-defining fixture. Manchester United travel to North London on Sunday with a place in the top four on the line for both sides. Whoever comes out on top will have the momentum to go on and clinch qualification for next season’s Champions League.

It’s for this reason that Aubameyang’s dip in form is concerning, at least in the immediate term. Arsenal were this week shown what happens when opposition sides fail to take their chances against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with Manchester United riding their luck to knock out Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Gunners need someone to be ruthless in front of goal in the way Kylian Mbappe and co. weren’t at the Parc des Princes otherwise they will suffer the same problems PSG did. Emery will have Alexandre Lacazette to deploy as a number nine, but Arsenal have found their best performances this season when both he and Aubameyang have dovetailed with each other. Emery might not be able to count on the optimum form of the latter, though. Not right now, anyway.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Week 28

shawThis weekend’s Premier League fixture list promises another round of tension, goals, celebration and despair. Proceedings get underway Saturday lunchtime with the north London derby, Spurs welcoming Arsenal as their guests at Wembley. We also have a relegation clash as Brighton host bottom side Huddersfield, while on Sunday we have a west London derby – Fulham vs Chelsea – and the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. Manchester City look to continue their bid to retain the Premier League crown when they travel to Bournemouth 24 hours before Liverpool’s trip across Stanley Park, and with both of those fixtures proving potentially slippery for the top two this weekend could well start to shape the landscape as the domestic season rolls on.

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Violence, racism and shame- Serie A is light years away from the glory days

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There are people of a certain age who still fondly remember when the best players in the world played all over Italy’s Serie A and the league was filled with the greatest players showboating the greatest of skills in magnificent stadiums and where money to buy these players seemed like a pot that had no limits.

Serie A gave us the great AC Milan team who dominated football domestically and in Europe for a good 6 years. Up until Real Madrid won back to back Champions League in 2017 Milan had been the last team to so making that feat in 1990, for a record that had stood for 27 years. That great side that boasted the likes of Paolo Maldini, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and the incomparable Marco van Basten were simply breath-taking.

But other teams such as Napoli with Diego Maradona no less also made waves and teams would regularly reach European finals. It all seemed to go wrong in Serie A by the late 1990s heading into the early 2000s when the Spanish league took off with the emergence of the great teams Real Madrid and then Barcelona. Italy have still had their say, look at Inter Milan’s win in the Champions League in 2010 and Juventus have reached a few finals since. But Serie A seems to have been left back almost in a time that the footballing world have forgot.

Violence, hooliganism, stadiums falling apart, racism and deaths. Sadly a death occurred on Boxing Day when Serie A returned to playing one day after Christmas for the first time in almost 40 years. These situations used to happen in England but when one sees how things have changed in the Premier League then despite the commercialisation of it and the oft used words gravy train something very positive has come out of it all.

That isn’t to say that racism is not in England, Raheem Sterling and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang can verify that isn’t the case, but there has been a huge improvement. Sadly in 2018 Italian football seems rather like England was in the early 1980s, where violence seems to be brewing in each game. The edginess for some may feel more exciting than in the Premier League for example but that excitement is evaporated when lives are at risk all over a game of football.

Serie A is continually letting itself down and sponsors, well at least the main ones will not want to back the league. Italian football will hopefully rise once more but just now and for a good few years it feels as if it is stuck in some time warp. A sweeping change is needed and needed fast because it feels all rather embarrassing right now.

 

EPL Best XI – Leroy Sane leads the way

Leroy Sane

The 13th weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Manchester City and Liverpool maintain their unbeaten starts, while Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Tottenham. Let’s take a look at the top points scorers from the weekend’s games…

GK: Jonas Lossl, Huddersfield – seven points
Jonas Lossl kept his third clean sheet of the season as Huddersfield won 2-0 away at Wolves on Sunday. The Dane now has 14 points from his last three games.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 10

aubameyang lacazette

The 10th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Liverpool face Cardiff, Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace and Tottenham host Manchester City. Let’s take a look at some of the players who you should consider adding to your EPL Fantasy team before the weekend.

GK – Alisson (Liverpool)
With six clean sheets from nine matches, Alisson’s points total of 42 has only been bettered this season by Manchester City’s Ederson. The Liverpool goalkeeper, valued at 10.00m, is likely to add to his tally against Cardiff on Saturday.

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