Money wasn’t key to Manchester City’s title win over Liverpool- Pep Guardiola was

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Congratulations to Manchester City for winning back to back titles for the first time in the history of the club. They were tested until the very final moments of the season over 9 long months and this title win will be extra special given just how strong Liverpool were.

City needed to win their last 14 games in a row which is a staggering achievement to fend off Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team and finished with 98 points, the records and plaudits will keep on coming for a very special side.

Of course money has changed the club from a side who just a decade ago were struggling in the lower leagues, being the reliable other half of Manchester who would gain promotion only to fight relegation season after season. An odd victory over a top 4 side was deemed as the best it could get once upon a time for City. So since the cash injection earlier this decade, the trophies have followed.

However this season and the way that City won it was down to Pep Guardiola’s guidance. Yes it is easy to criticise him, he seems to only go to the biggest clubs with the largest wallets. But to win this season and take the title from the hands of Liverpool (remember at the turn of the year Liverpool,had a 7 point advantage) to do that was down to skilful man management. This is where Guardiola earned his money this season.

It is obvious that Guardiola sits one on one with his players and has turned many of them from very good players to world class ones. Look at how Raheem Sterling has come on in the past 18 months, the change has been massive. And not only does Guardiola make players better, he shares what Arsene Wenger did when he first came to Arsenal in that he impacts players personal lives too, from dieting to their psychological positive input. It means that when City were under pressure to win games, they just kept on rolling out the wins, whatever Liverpool can do we can do just that little better, that was the message here.

For Liverpool you wonder what will happen next, 29 years for a title now and when you finish on 97 points and have lost just 1 game the whole season which was against City, you wonder what else you have to do to get that title. Most seasons that points haul would have easily have been enough to win the title. Next season how do Liverpool approach it, more of the same, but they have such a great rival to contend with.

The good news for the Reds is that they have the Champions League final against Tottenham as a consolation. Surely it would be unthinkable to have Liverpool end the season with nothing again after their heroics over the past year, but you never know.

Predicted lineups for the final EPL games of the season

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The Premier League season draws to a dramatic close this Sunday. All 20 teams are in action, playing out their final game of the 2018/19 campaign.

If Manchester City can take all three points at Brighton, then they will be crowned Premier League champions for the second consecutive season under Pep Guardiola.

If City lose or draw and Liverpool win at home to Wolves then Jurgen Klopp will have delivered the first league title to the Merseyside club for 29 years.

It’s all to play for.

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

King Kompany leads City to glory

Vincent Kompany

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Now deep into his 11th year at Manchester City and with over 33 years spent on this earth, Vincent Kompany is still able to defy the odds when they are stacked against him.

With 70 minutes on the clock and Leicester City proving to be well-organised and almost a match for the defending league champions, the home team needed some magic.

They needed an inspirational captain to step up and take charge. Kompany didn’t disappoint. City’s number 4 released an unstoppable drive from all of 30 yards. It flew past Kasper Schmeichel’s outstretched arms and into the top corner. Continue reading

EPL: Premier League Predictions for Week 37

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There are just 2 games left in the Premier League and all options are open. Who will win the league? Manchester City or Liverpool? City lead by just 1 point and the answer looks like it’s going down to the final game. Both have of course qualified for the Champions League.

However 3rd and 4th is still up for grabs, and Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will do battle for those places. Then there is the curious place of relegation. The final place is down to Cardiff and Brighton, one of them will be going down- more will be revealed this weekend.

Below we take a look at the fixtures for this weekend and predictions.

Everton v Burnley

Everton have been in good form for the last 2 months now and at home they have won their last 3 games in a row and unbeaten in 4. Burnley have also been in good form, but they should be outclassed for this game. Gylfi Sigurdsson has been brilliant this season for the club and he could get on the score sheet. Everton to beat Burnley

Bournemouth v Tottenham

Tottenham will start as favourites but they lost against Ajax in midweek in the Champions League, and their focus will be on the 2nd leg. If they are not on the ball they could lose this game the good news is that Bournemouth’s form has collapsed and they have been very poor. Tottenham to beat Bournemouth

West Ham v Southampton

West Ham have gone their last two matches unbeaten and last week they became the first ever team to beat Tottenham at their new stadium. Southampton are safe and have lost just one game in their past four. Shane Long can give the Hammers a lot of problems and we are expecting the spoils to be shared here. Draw

Wolves v Fulham

How ironic that Fulham have been brilliant since they have got relegated and have won their last 3 games in a row. This game though is a big stretch for them away to Wolves. Wolves are going for a 7th place finish and the likes of Diogo Jota could be the difference. This has the potential to be a big score for the home team. Wolves to beat Fulham

Cardiff v Crystal Palace

This is it for Cardiff, they must win this match. They are at least at home, and they have had a mixture of being unlucky and poor in recent months. If Cardiff lose they will be going down. As for Palace they have won 4 of their last 5 away games and just look like quality. Cardiff have not beaten Palace since 2012, this might be a very close match. Cardiff to beat Crystal Palace

Newcastle v Liverpool

Liverpool have a terrible record at St James’ Park at the same time if they lose or even draw this game their league title will be in jeopardy. Newcastle are safe and in decent form, winning 4 of their last 5 games at home. Liverpool are in brilliant form, but will have the 2nd leg of their Champions League game against Barcelona on their mind too. Rafa Benitez obviously loves his former club- and they have the better quality at the end of the day. New PFA player of he year Virgi van Dijk will also want to put in a performance. Liverpool to beat Newcastle

Chelsea v Watford

Chelsea’s major criticism in the second half of the season has been focus because they have the quality. If they don’t focus here they give up a top 4 place. Of course a few days later they have the Europa League. Players such as Gonzalo Higuaín and Olivier Giroud have to step up. Chelsea to beat Watford

Huddersfield v Manchester United

Manchester United look like they will miss out on a top 4 place after their poor form of the last month. Having said that playing Huddersfield represents the perfect chance for them to win and score goals and reinstall confidence. Paul Pogba has been under a lot of criticism lately he should try and relish this opportunity to score and help his team in what should be an easy victory for the club. Manchester United to beat Huddersfield

Arsenal v Brighton

This game will be attack v defence and even though Arsenal come here having lost their last 3 games in a row we expect Unai Emery’s side to get back on track and win this match. Arsenal still remain a very strong side at home with just 2 defeats all season, but this match could be settled by one piece of magic. Mesut Ozil to step up? Arsenal to beat Burnley

Manchester City v Leicester

If Liverpool beat Newcastle they will be 2 points clear at the top for the whole weekend as this match takes place on Monday evening. Leicester under Claude Puel beat City earlier in the season, but now City are at home and will be massive favourites to get all three points. They are sure to start quick and Sergio Aguero will be a danger throughout. Manchester City to beat Leicester

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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

Manchester City have Sergio Aguero to thank for their Premier League campaign

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Just how important may Sergio Aguero’s goal against Burnley be for Manchester City come the end of the season. The Argentine’s decisive goal has placed Pep Guardiola’s side back to the summit of the Premier League above Liverpool, with just two games remaining. Continue reading

EPL Weekend Picks – Week 34

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This weekend’s Premier League will see the season continuing to take shape as, with just a few games to go, there is still a wide open title race and only one relegation spot left to fill. Liverpool leapfrogged Man City back into top spot last weekend, but the Citizens have a game in hand – just how much of a say will Chelsea and Crystal Palace have on Sunday against the top two? Palace host City while Chelsea travel to Liverpool and so there could well be more twists and turns in this title race yet. Towards the bottom of the table, already-relegated Huddersfield and Fulham both have tricky fixtures, with the Terriers at Tottenham while Fulham host Everton. Let’s take on a 4-3-3 here and see which players will fancy their chances.

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Liverpool or Manchester City for the Premier League title- The Run in is analysed

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Liverpool have just 6 games left to play in the Premier League and Manchester City have 7 games as the league nears the end. Who will win it out of these two? Liverpool have the advantage of a two point lead but of course City have that extra game which is in theory away to bitter rivals Manchester United, so not an easy one. We look below to see who could end up winning the league.

Manchester City:

Cardiff- The first team Manchester City will play on their quest for back to back titles is Cardiff. City are at home where they have lost just once this season and will be massive favourites to beat 18th placed Cardiff. At the same time Cardiff are fighting for survival, but City will have too much quality for them and should win  3pts.

Crystal Palace- After the Cardiff game City will be involved in the FA Cup and Champions League before facing Palace in mid April. This could be a tricky tie as we all remember Palace beating City at the Etihad 3-2 in a stunning result. Whilst there will be scares along the way City should be able to squeeze past Palace in a very nervous game. 3pts.

Tottenham Hotspur- This match is bizarre scheduling given that just 3 days earlier the two teams would have clashed in the 2nd leg of the Champions League. By this point depending if City have beaten Tottenham in that competition we think City could be physically drained and we will back the draw for this match. 1pt.

Manchester United- Two very difficult games against top 4 sides and that could be the key to whether City win the league or not. They will be away to their biggest rival. At the same time let it be known that United will not be partial to help Liverpool win the league. City will save themselves over the Tottenham game for this one, and we have seen cracks in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, so we will go with the away win. 3pts.

Burnley- The way Cardiff are playing it could make survival easier for Burnley by this point and the players could be switched off against  a very motivated City side. Not only do we expect a win but there could be quite a few goals too. 3pts.

Leicester- Leicester have been confident under new coach Brendan Rodgers but what are they really fighting for 7th place? The truth is that this is another home game for City who should be able to outclass Leicester. Rodgers is ex Liverpool so will tell his players to give everything for this game but expect City to just pip them. 3pts

Brighton- Brighton will be more than safe by this point and that is why we should see a calm game where City ease to a professional victory, we can’t see City losing any more games this season and this should be another win. 3pts.

 

Liverpool:

Southampton- No one is saying it but the game against Southampton will be key to Liverpool’s title chances. The Saints are in great form and can give Liverpool a tough game. We think they can beat them, as Liverpool tend to underrate them. 0pts.

Chelsea- Chelsea look very weak defensively against the better teams and given this match is an Anfield we expect Liverpool to win. But it is also a game where Chelsea can be dangerous and do have the quality. But Liverpool should have enough. 3pts.

Cardiff- It looks like Cardiff will be going down, could they be down or be on the edge by this match? If so Liverpool can come here and score quite a few goals. We think either way they will win fairly easily. 3pts.

Huddersfield- No disrespect to Huddersfield but this game at Anfield has the potential to be a cricket score. They are already down and Liverpool should still be in the hunt for the league title. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Liverpool hit six goals in this match. 3pts.

Newcastle United: Another sure fire 3pts. Rafa Benitez will ensure that Newcastle don’t exactly have their gear sticks on 6, as he will want his former club to win the league. Plus Newcastle are very safe and can’t really significantly move up the table. 3pts.

Wolves: Wolves have been fantastic this season but have still struggled on the road and we expect  Anfield to be a show of emotion whether Liverpool still have a chance of the league or not, and this will be a battering ram of a performance by them. 3pts

After totalling up the points we have the final league looking like this:

1st Manchester City 96pts

2nd Liverpool  94pts

 

 

EPL Best XI – Week 32

MilivojevicAt this late-ish stage of the season, Premier League clubs do of course start gaining games in hand over some of their rivals. At the time of writing, for example, league leaders Liverpool have played 32 games, while second-placed Man City have featured in 31 and Arsenal (in fifth) are on 30. Of course, Monday evening games play a part, but so too does the progress of different teams in different competitions. Liverpool now have a two point lead at the top of the table, though City have of course played that one game less. It is now time to look at which players performed the best for their clubs in this past weekend’s round of games, adopting a 4-4-2 formation here. For simplicity, we are calling this week 32 but that may not apply to all teams of course.

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Focus turns back to the EPL title race this weekend

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Like any good story, there are sure to be plenty more twists in the tale of the title race over the next seven weeks.

It’s looking very likely that the matter may only be decided on Sunday, May 12th, the final matchday of the Premier League season.

As we approach the end of the last international break during this league campaign, the players and managers at Liverpool and Manchester City will be gearing up for that final sprint.

They will know all too well that whoever can hit the ground running in the best possible manner this weekend will carry an advantage that may be hard for their opponents to overcome between now and May.

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