EPL Best XI – Week 31

nobleThere was only half a round of games in the Premier League this past weekend, what with FA Cup action also going on, and so with just ten teams taking part picking a best XI may be slightly different to usual. Sunday’s action was fun-packed, as Everton raised some eyebrows by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park – their first home victory since mid-January – putting a big dent in Chelsea’s top-four ambitions. Liverpool were tested more than many will have been expecting at Craven Cottage, a late James Milner penalty putting them top of the table with a 2-1 win against Fulham. On Saturday, Bournemouth played out a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle, Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley and West Ham beat Huddersfield in a 4-3 thriller.

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Virgil Van Dijk becoming the world’s best defender

Virgil Van Dijk Liverpool

Few central defenders keep Robert Lewandowski completely quiet. There’s even fewer who do it in the manner in which Virgil van Dijk did on Wednesday.

Rio Ferdinand may think otherwise, but the evidence has become compelling, Van Dijk is the best central defender in world football. The giant Dutchman is yet to put a foot wrong since arriving at Anfield for a world-record fee.

Plenty raised their eyebrows when Liverpool paid £75 million for his services, questioning whether he was actually good enough to warrant such a fee. The doubts were raised as a result of his nondescript performances for Southampton in the months leading up to the move. Continue reading

EPL Weekend Picks – Week 31

vardyWith a reduced run of fixtures in the Premier League this coming weekend owing to FA Cup Sixth Round action, there are only ten teams from which to take this week’s weekend picks. The pick of the upcoming fixtures is arguably Everton hosting Chelsea in the 4.30pm kickoff on Sunday, while Bournemouth host in-form Newcastle on Saturday. Burnley do battle with Leicester and West Ham take on Huddersfield in Saturday’s other games, while Sunday’s earlier game sees Fulham welcome Liverpool to Craven Cottage. Taking all of that into account, let’s adopt a 4-3-3 this time and see which players could be set to work their way into fantasy management consideration.

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Manchester City maintain one-point lead in title race

Sadio Mane

Last Saturday evening, Manchester City went in at half-time with the score still 0-0 against Watford. Liverpool’s staff, players and fans worldwide will have watched on with the hope that Javi Gracia’s Hornets were going to do the unthinkable and prevent City from taking all three points.

A second-half hat-trick from the brilliant Raheem Sterling changed all of that. Yet, it could all have been so different.

Ben Foster and the Watford back four had frustrated City in the first period. If they had held out for even ten minutes after the interval, who knows what may have transpired?

The first goal should not have stood. Sterling was offside from Sergio Aguero‘s knock on. As soon as City’s number seven moves for the ball he is interfering with play. The whistle should have been gone before the Watford defender got a foot on it.

EPL Best XI – Week 30

sterlingThis past weekend we saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lose his domestic unbeaten run as Man Utd manager, with Arsenal triumphing 2-0 at the Emirates. Elsewhere, Liverpool maintained pressure on league leaders Man City with their 4-2 win over Burnley at Anfield, and Southampton caused something of an upset by beating Tottenham 2-1 on the south coast. There were wins for Brighton and Cardiff, with Newcastle also putting in an impressive showing with their 3-2 home win against Everton. With that in mind, we will now adopt a 4-4-2 formation and see which players performed the best for their clubs in England’s top flight this past weekend.

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The EPL’s likely starting lineups for this weekend

Ross Barkley

This weekend we have another full schedule of ten EPL matches to look forward to. Here are the predicted lineups for every EPL game.

Crystal Palace v Brighton

Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Dann, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha

Brighton XI: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Knockaert, Andone, Jahanbakhsh

Questionable: n/a

Out: Speroni, Sakho, Souare (Crystal Palace); Balogun, Gross (Brighton)

Liverpool must unleash Salah, Mane and Firmino to hold off Manchester City

 

Liverpool Klopp Salah Firmino Mane

Jurgen Klopp needs to unleash Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to get Liverpool to the title.

 

As Liverpool smashed Watford at Anfield on Wednesday night, there was a sense of the old Liverpool coming back to the fore. Two 0-0 draws inside a week had some concerned about the Reds.

They were particularly worried about the form of their front three. More than one claim that trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino haven’t been the same this year. In the numbers alone, that seems a strange argument to make.

Salah has 20 goals in all competitions and is the top scorer in the Premier League. Mane has 15 to his name and in some parts of the campaign has been near on world-class. Firmino, meanwhile, has chipped in with 11 and continued his rise to the best false nine in Europe. Continue reading

Bayern result shows Liverpool focus is on the Premier League

Liverpool Manchester United Bayern Munich Premier League Champions League

It’s been a while since Liverpool had to choose between the Premier League and the Champions League. With the top four the best they could hope for in recent years, the latter took precedence.

For a club with as rich a history in Europe as the Reds, it made sense. A run to the Europa League final in 2016 provided cherished memories for fans that had been starved of anything special for several years.

The run to the Champions League final last season did the same. Thrilling wins over the likes of Manchester City and Roma are still talked about. They were exciting occasions that sit among Liverpool’s best nights in Europe.  Continue reading

Sadio Mane becoming world-class for Liverpool

 

Sadio Mane

Ask Jurgen Klopp to list his biggest regrets from his time at Borussia Dortmund and not signing Sadio Mane is one of them. It was a mistake the German was keen to avoid at Liverpool.

When the Reds paid £36 million to secure him from Southampton, many eyebrows were raised. Some suggested Mane would be another example of the club paying over the odds for a Saint. Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana were examples of such errant spending. Klopp had no such doubts, though.

Three years on his faith that Mane would be worth the money is justified on a weekly basis. Ask Liverpool fans who watch on a regular basis and they are have not missed Mane’s excellence. Continue reading

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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