Premier League Game of the Week: Liverpool 0-2 Everton

The last week in the English Premier League was always going to be about the Merseyside derby, and it ended up being an historic one as Everton beat their city rivals Liverpool 2-0.

Just to put the victory into context this was Everton’s first victory of any kind over Liverpool in 11 years. But it gets better as the records tumble and this was also Everton’s first victory at Anfield since 1999.

The game as one would expect started at a frantic pace even without fans present. Liverpool had set up as a 4-3-3 with again Jordan Henderson being deputised in defence and with that alarming 3 at the front strike partnership of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had come into the game having lost their last 3 home matches, lose this and it would be the first time since 1923 that the Reds had lost 4 games at home in a row.

Everton were expected to be more cautious but still played 2 up front away from home in the form of Richarlison and James Rodriguez who had been pushed further forward. Manager Carlo Ancelotti understood about the looming threat of the hosts and deployed 5 at the back.

Everton got off to the best start possible as James threaded a beautiful ball through to Richarlison who made no mistakes with his shot and Everton were in the lead of the derby within 180 seconds of kick off. That was Richarlison’s 4th goal of the season. For his standards the Brazilian has been quiet in this campaign however in the last few weeks starting with the Tottenham victory in the FA Cup Richarlison has found his form.

Possession wise after the goal was scored Liverpool dominated but interestingly Everton seemed like they could deal with whatever Liverpool presented them- and it wasn’t much. The champions had just 2 shots on target, Everton away from home had one more in the first half.

In the end Liverpool would end up with 72% possession and had a further 4 shots on target and Salah looked to have broken through near the end but Jordan Pickford in goal made some fine saves. Michael Keane really stood out at the back for the visitors and while Liverpool were now creating the better chances Everton were containing them.

Of course it didn’t help that Henderson had to leave the pitch with a groin injury, though at the present time the club captain isn’t expected to miss any further games.

Everton sealed victory after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sent clear his shot rebounded from Alisson but Trent-Alexander Arnold went for the tackle, he didn’t touch Calvert-Lewin but was adjudged to have impeded him in his run and Everton were given a penalty. There was a VAR call but the referee had made his mind up. Gylfi Sigurdsson made no mistakes in converting the penalty and that was his fourth goal of the season so far.

Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford

There were two Jordan’s on the pitch, one in blue and one in red. But Jordan Pickford for Everton was superb in goal. He has just come back from a rib injury and made some vital saves to keep his side in the game. Simply put if it wasn’t for Pickford’s display Everton could have lost the game.

Pickford only has 7 fantasy points this season because he has played 19 games and been injured and of course conceded goals early in the campaign. His value is 7m and this is the type of performance that could drive him to achieve more clean sheets. So far this season he has 4.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 21

It’s been full steam ahead for the 2019 champions Manchester City who have emerged as the favourites to win the league title. City have won 26 points from their last 30 and at the weekend beat Sheffield United 1-0. City are 3 points clear at the top and have a game in hand.

Liverpool look back after their slump and have scored 6 goals in their last 2 games which were both away ones against Tottenham and West Ham. Tottenham’s league title hopes look dashed after losing back to back games and even the top 4 is in doubt now. Thomas Tuchel has started life with Chelsea with a draw against Wolves and a win over Burnley and Arsenal have gone seven league games unbeaten in their best period of form this season.

Let’s take a look below at the best 11 players of the Premier League over the past week, and you can check to see if any are in your side.

Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez- Aston Villa 7pts

Damian Martinez has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League this season and he earned another 7 points and his 10th clean sheet of the season as Aston Villa went to Southampton and won 1-0. The Saints had plenty of chances on goal and Martinez, as often this season, was there to protect his goal.

Defender: Cesar Azpilicueta- Chelsea 9pts

Not only did Cesar Azpilicueta keep a clean sheet as Chelsea beat Burnley 2-0 but he also scored one of the Blues’ goals. It was his 1st goal for the club this season and his value is 7m.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold- Liverpool 6pts

Trent Alexander-Arnold was secure at the back for Liverpool to earn another six points as the champions beat West Ham away from home 3-1 and he now has 25 points overall this season.

Defender: Marcos Alonso- Chelsea 9pts

Marcos Alonso had the perfect game for him as he kept a clean sheet his first of the season since he has only started 4 league games and he also scored the winning goal for Chelsea as they beat Burnley 2-0 at the weekend.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Ruben Dias has been one of the best defenders in the league so far and he collected another 5 points as Manchester City beat Sheffield United 1-0. It was Dias’ 12th clean sheet of the season so far.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 8pts

You just can’t keep him down and Mohamed Salah is back! Salah scored 2 goals at the weekend as Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1 and his 2nd one was superb. Salah is now the leading goalscorer in the Premier League with 15 goals so far.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane- Liverpool 6pts

Sadio Mane’s season has been slowly getting better after a sluggish start and he is becoming a staple player for Liverpool again. His influence has been shown in the last 2 games where Liverpool have beaten Tottenham and West Ham by the same score line of 3-1 and he has been able to earn another six points.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool 6pts

Roberto Firmino had to start from the bench against West Ham but the Brazilian still came off it to score a goal as Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1 at the weekend. Firmino has scored six goals so far this season.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley- Aston Villa 6pts

Ross Barkley was the difference yet again as Aston Villa secured a great 1-0 victory over Southampton and a very important one. Barkley got the only goal and he has 22 points overall now.

Striker: Patrick Bamford- Leeds United 8pts

Patrick Bamford turned it on at the weekend as Leeds stunned Leicester by beating them 3-1. Bamford assisted in Leeds opening goal, then scored the 2nd and then assisted again in the 3rd. He was probably the player of the weekend in the Premier League pound for pound.

Striker: Callum Wilson- Newcastle United 8pts

Newcastle were expected to lose at Everton but striker Callum Wilson refused to read that story and he scored 2 goals as Newcastle beat Everton away from home 2-0. Wilson has had an excellent season so far scoring 10 goals and assisting in another 4.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 15

The games are coming in thick and fast in the Premier League which is the only domestic major league in Europe that continues throughout the holiday season.

There have been surprise draws like Liverpool dropping points against West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal finally won a game. Everton and Leicester are in good form. So let’s see which players made the final cut this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier- Leeds 7pts

Leeds beat Burnley in a very close game that finished 1-0. Meslier was very busy having to stop six shots on target and keep very aware. He earned his 7 points and now has -5 points in total and will hope to move that into a positive soon.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Ruben Dias has really landed on his feet in his role as one of Manchester City’s best defenders. Dias has now helped to keep seven clean sheets and earned another 5 points at the weekend to put his total to 32 so far for this season.

Defender: Ola Aina- Fulham 5pts

Ola Aina isn’t a household name as he battles with Fulham this season but he kept his third clean sheet of the season as Fulham drew 0-0 with the in form Southampton. Aina now has 15 points and his value is 4.5m.

Defender: Ryan Bertrand- Southampton 5pts

Ryan Bertrand has earned 13 points so far and he was at the heart of a Saints defence who had to keep alert against an inform Fulham team with the game finishing 0-0.

Defender: Nathan Ake- Manchester City 5pts

New signing Nathan Ake only has seven points so far but has only started 5 games but he played very well in keeping the defence compact as Manchester City eased to a 2-0 win against Newcastle at the weekend.

Midfielder: Bertrand Traore- Aston Villa 6pts

Bertrand Traore is really in form these past few weeks and the Villa midfielder scored a goal as his club beat Crystal Palace 3-0 in a one sided game.

Midfielder: Ilkay Gundogan- Manchester City 6pts

Ilkay Gundogan scored his 2nd goal of the season and the opening one as Manchester City beat Newcastle 2-0 to move dangerously up the table after a slow start to the season.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 5pts

Fernandes keeps putting in great displays and he earned a further 5 points at the weekend as Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leicester in an absorbing top of the table clash. Fernandes scored his 10th goal of the season and has 53 points overall and he is the 2nd best ranked midfielder in the fantasy rankings.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane- Liverpool 4pts

Sadio Mane scored Liverpool’s opening goal and he now has six so far. Although the Reds could only draw 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion, Mane put in a solid display and seems to be getting better week by week.

Striker: Gylfi Sigurdsson- Everton 4pts

Sigurdsson scored a very important goal as Everton beat Sheffield United 1-0. It was only the players 2nd goal of the season, but meant all 3 points for the club at the weekend and took Everton into 2nd place.

Striker: Anwar El Ghazi- Aston Villa 4pts

El Ghazi is turning out to be the surprise striker in the Premier League this season and the player is in form. He now has 4 goals for the season and has an overall points total of 16. El Ghazi scored Villa’s final goal as they brushed aside Crystal Palace 3-0.

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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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Why Southampton could be the next Leicester under Hasenhuttl

One team of the last decade that has really made huge improvements on a limited budget has been Premier League side Southampton.

It’s interesting to go back 10 years and note that Southampton were playing in League One, the third tier of English football and have progressively recovered to become a staple side in the top flight. Since 2012 they have been a regular fixture in the Premier League and one senses that the club went through 3 stages; the first one was celebrating if they were to finish 17th, poor season, but survival. The second to become a mid table team and the third to challenge for honours and European places. This current season could be the one to define the club.

The Saints as they are known by their nickname have hired some very good managers. They were the ones that brought Mauricio Pochettino to England when they hired him from Espanyol and he guided the club to 8th place before joining Tottenham. They have also hired Ronald Koeman in that time who pulled off some terrific results. Koeman guided the club to seventh then 6th place finishes each time qualifying for the Europa League- no mean feat for a club who six years prior were playing in League One.

It was only in 2017 that Chinese company Lander Sports Investment decided to buy a stake in the club and now the overall stake owner is Gaio Jisheng, and he has invested a lot of funds within the club to bring in real quality. But with the team struggling to keep solid managers that had a proven track record they needed to nail down someone else that would commit more seasons to them. It seems that in Ralph Hasenhutl they have found their man.

Hasenhuttl came from RB Lepizig and spent the majority of his playing career in Austria though towards the end of his playing time he also played in Germany.

Hasenhuttl joined the Saints in the middle of the 2018/19 season where the club were residing in 18th place with Mark Hughes freshly sacked and he was able to guide the club to 16th and safety. Small steps but steps that were needed. At this time it felt like Southampton were going backwards from the beginning of the decade because they were not able to keep hold of quality managers and also were selling players. Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane who both went to Liverpool being prime examples.

In his next season the Saints finished 11th and 18 points from the relegation zone and finished the season so strong that he was awarded the manager of the month. In this current season the club are one of the best in form sides in the league and are in 4th place just 2 points shy of the top spot.

There are a few players, stand out ones, that have really contributed to Southampton’s start. Danny Ings really burst on the scene last season for the club scoring 22 goals meaning he finished joint 2nd in the top goalscorers list for the Premier League. He has started this season off well too netting 4 goals in just 5 games. After selling van Dijk and Mane to Liverpool it only seems fair that in the end Southampton would get some quality back, and Ings was brought in from the Reds initially on loan and then a permanent transfer.

Jannick Vestergaard at the back has been another astute signing. The centre back has made mistakes but he has also remained solid after his transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach 2 years ago and has worked closely under Hasenhutl. He also pops up for the odd goal too and has already made himself quite a name this season.

There is a lot of quality in this Southampton side to the point that on any given week when everything clicks they can absolutely beat any team in the league. And their figure point is James Ward-Prowse, the current captain of the club.

Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton since the beginning of the 2010s when they were playing in the Championship, he is the Jamie Vardy of Southampton, a one man club for so long, though in Ward-Prowse’s case he really is a one man club. They will likely build a statue of him when he leaves, and fans will be hoping that the 26 year old will stay at the club for many more years yet.

His form has been brilliant and of course that could well attract some of the bigger players in the game. He is the pivotal reason Southampton have started the season so well and when he is on form the club as a whole are.

Could Southampton go a huge step forward then and win the league? It doesn’t seem likely but then again look at Leicester and what they achieved with a decent manager and a few good players.

Of course the objective this season for Southampton isn’t so much to win the league but to be a force within it and try and finish in their highest ever position. At this current time without doubt they are one of the best this season and that in itself is an incredible feat given this time last year they were reeling from a 9-0 home defeat by one…. Leicester City, in which many comparisons can be made.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 4 Picks

Leicester City, Liverpool and Everton are the last remaining teams with a 100% winning record as we head into the fourth round of Premier League fixtures, whilst Fulham, Sheffield United and Burnley all remain pointless.

In some of the most-anticipated games of the weekend, Leeds United host Manchester City on Saturday and Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford as his Tottenham Hotspur face Manchester United.

Here are our recommended picks for your fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)
Clean sheets have been at a premium to start the 2020-21 Premier League season and Liverpool have kept just one in their first three. However, a trip to Aston Villa on Sunday should be a good opportunity for Alisson to double that tally.

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EPL Predictions Gameweek 1

The 2020-21 English Premier League season kicks off in London on Saturday lunchtime as Fulham play host to Arsenal.

Eight matches in all will take place on the opening weekend, concluding with Brighton & Hove Albion hosting Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

With Manchester United and Manchester City competing in the latter stages of European competition last month the two clubs have been given the opening weekend off, to explain the shorter schedule.

Here’s a look at each of the weekend’s games:

Fulham vs Arsenal

Arsenal have won the FA Cup and Community Shield in Mikel Arteta’s first couple of months in charge and should fancy their chances of picking up three points in their season opener too. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be the obvious selection for your fantasy team given the forward has scored 22 goals in each of the past two seasons, whilst Dani Ceballos (3.50m) and Damian Martinez (1.0m) offer good value for money in this game.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 1 Picks

The English Premier League returns on Saturday as Fulham entertain Arsenal in the opener of the 2020-21 season.

With the return of the most exciting league in the world sparks the return of the fantasy football season too. Week 1 is always the busiest for players as they select a team from scratch with an eye on both the following week and the entire season in mind.

This season is perhaps more difficult than ever as Manchester City, Manchester United, Burnley and Aston Villa don’t feature the opening weekend as a result of the former two’s participation in the latter stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League campaigns.

With that in mind, here are 11 players who you should strongly consider for the opening weekend:

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale
Dean Henderson returned to Manchester United at the conclusion of the last campaign and Sheffield United have replaced their successful loan signing with Aaron Ramsdale in goal. The Blades have kept a number of clean sheets over the past two seasons and the former Bournemouth man is a shot stopper so could pick up some points versus Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

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Liverpool are Premier League champions but who were their best players this season?

Finally after 30 years Liverpool are the champions of England after Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 last night. It meant that City could no longer catch Liverpool. Of course in reality with such a huge lead in the league it was always going to be a matter of time before Liverpool won the title, but the joy has been immense in and around the city of Liverpool.

The players and manager Jurgen Klopp have been stunned and emotional and who could blame them after the club have had to wait so long to see a league title. So far Liverpool have lost just 1 game this season and one game in the last 18 months in the league. It has been simply incredible and they could still beat Manchester City’s record haul of 100 points also.

As it stands Liverpool are the World, European and domestic champions, and not even Covid-19 which threatened to ruin their title run in could stop them. Congratulations to Liverpool and with Klopp as manager one could think that this could be the beginning of a dominating era for the club.

But who has stood out for them this season? Who has made that all important difference? Below we look at the 5 best players according to euro fantasy league’s rankings:

5) Andrew Robertson 80pts

Robertson is probably seen as the unsung hero, but he has been superb in defence for the last two seasons now and is indispensable for the club. He has been a part of a team that has kept 13 clean sheets and he has also assisted in 8 goals.

4) Virgil van Dijk 83pts

One of the truly best defenders in the world and only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo stopped him from capturing the best player awards. Confident, commanding he is like a rock and has really rose to his challenge in the back four. He has been involved in 5 goals and has helped keep 14 clean sheets. A towering presence.

3) Sadio Mane 94pts

Sadio Mane is a perfect example of a player that just gets better and better with every passing season. He is so competitive and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Not only has he scored 15 goals this season but has also assisted in another 7. A growing legend at the club.

2) Trent Alexander-Arnold 98pts

Proven to be perhaps the best defender this season for Liverpool, Still so young his best years are in front of him and yet he is a champion everywhere. He has kept 14 clean sheets and assisted in an incredible 12 goals- the most of any Liverpool player so far this season.

1) Mohamed Salah 107pts

Out in front is the Egyptian international. If some players are said to get better like a fine wine, then Salah is like the most expensive and elegant Champagne on the market. The striker is full of speed and his goals are simply magnificent, a world class player who has gotten better under Klopp. He has scored 17 goals this season and assisted in 7. That means he has been involved in 24 league goals for Liverpool from the 70 they have scored. That works out at almost a 35% contribution. Impressive.

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European Fantasy League: Team of the season

Let’s hope that the football season isn’t over and the recent Coronavirus can be conquered enough for us to re start the seasons in their respective counties. However if that isn’t possible there has been talks that this season could be null and voided. That still feels unthinkable, but there is that chance. If so, if the leagues were to end today, which 11 players gracing European football would make the final cut in the team of the season for 2019/20?

Based on European Fantasy League’s point system let’s take a look at the winners, who have performed the best up to now.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Marco Bizot- AZ Alkmaar (103pts)

Marco Bizot is having a great season and has the most points for a goalkeeper in the major European leagues. He has been able to keep an incredible 17 clean sheets for his club. He is valued at just 8m and surely is one of the outstanding bargains of the season.

Defender: Owen Wijndal- AZ Alkmaar (85pts)

Like AZ Alkmaar’s goalkeeper Wijndal has done very well this season. He has scored just one goal this season but that isn’t his job and we shouldn’t forget that he has also assisted in another 6 goals. He has been part of a team that has kept 17 clean sheets.

Defender: Trent-Alexander Arnold- Liverpool (84pts)

Based on his EFL points Trent-Alexander Arnold is far and away the best defender in the Premier League this season. He has made an outstanding 12 assists and been involved in the same number of clean sheets for his side who have easily been the best club side in England this season.

Defender: Virgil van Dijk- Liverpool (73pts)

Continuing with Liverpool players van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the game in world football today. He has scored 4 goals which is impressive for a defender and been like a rock at the back.

Defender: Andrew Robertson- Liverpool (73pts)

It’s incredible to think that 3 of the four best defenders in Europe play for one club in Liverpool. Robertson has been part of a defence that has help keep 12 clean sheets and Liverpool have conceded 20 goals this season when he has been in the side. He seems to improve by every passing season.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool (99pts)

Of course Salah can play as an attacker too, but likes to drop back. Despite having some spells of non scoring he still has 16 goals and also has assisted a further six times too. He is a world class player and usually rises to the occasion time and again.

Midfielder: Oussama Idrissi- AZ Alkmaar (89pts)

Maybe not many people have heard of Idrssi but he continues to have a very good season in the Netherlands. He has racked up 89 points and been involved in 16 goals, scoring 13 of them. His value is just 7.5m and looks to be a real bargain.

Midfielder: Dusan Tadic- Ajax (87pts)

Tadic has not only scored 11 goals for Ajax but has also assisted in another 14 in what has been a stunning season so far for the talented player. His value is just 8m.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane-Liverpool (86pts)

Sadio Mane has been excellent now for 2 seasons and has mostly been the big difference for Liverpool in their attacking threat. He has been involved in 21 of the clubs league goals this season, a stunning stat and a very dangerous player.

Striker: Ciro Immobile -Lazio (118pts)

A star of Serie A, and one of the very good strikers of the past few years. But this one Immobile has really gone up another level. Lazio has a chance to win their first league in 20 years and most of that is down to his goals. He has 27 so far and has also assisted in another 7.

Striker: Lionel Messi- Barcelona (103pts)

A best of team wouldn’t feel complete without Lionel Messi. Barcelona and Messi have had their troubles this season but at the end of the day Barcelona are still top of the league and in the Champions League. Messi is also top scorer in La Liga and has 19 goals and an amazing 12 times he has set up for others.

Overall top 3 players:

1- Ciro Immobile- Lazio

2. Lionel Messi- Barcelona

3. Marco Bizot- AZ Alkmaar