Hope for Tottenham? Six of the best Champions League second-leg comebacks

Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (6-5 on aggregate), 2017

A 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona in the first instalment of PSG’s round of 16 clash in 2016/17 felt like a coming-of-age result for the Ligue 1 side in Europe, yet they somehow contrived to throw it all away by going down 6-1 in an extraordinary return match at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona still needed three goals to progress heading into the 88th minute of the second leg, but a double from man-of-the-match Neymar and Sergi Roberto’s dramatic decider completed one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in football history.

Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 Milan (5-4 on aggregate), 2004

Milan entered the 2003/04 campaign with hopes of becoming the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues since Arrigo Sacchi led the Rossoneri to two in a row in 1989 and 1990. They got their quarter-final meeting with Deportivo La Coruna off to a perfect start with a 4-1 win at San Siro, with all four goals (two from Kaka and one each for Andriy Shevchenko and Andrea Pirlo) coming in the space of eight minutes.

Milan’s lead was wiped out by the midway point of the second leg, however, as first-half efforts from Walter Pandiana, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque gave Deportivo the away-goals advantage. Carlo Ancelotti’s men therefore needed to score to edge back ahead on aggregate, but it was Fran Gonzalez who grabbed the decisive fourth of the night to send the Spaniards through.

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 on aggregate), 2018

Barcelona fans could have been forgiven for booking time off work to attend the Champions League semi-finals after their 4-1 triumph over Roma in the first leg of the 2017/18 quarter-finals. That scoreline did not tell the full story of a game in which the Serie A side created plenty of opportunities, but a three-goal lead heading into the second leg appeared to be enough for Ernesto Valverde’s charges.

Edin Dzeko gave Roma hope with a sixth-minute strike in the Italian capital, before Daniele de Rossi made Barcelona nervous by converting from the penalty spot just before the hour mark. It was left to Kostas Manolas to make himself the hero, the Greek defender heading home in the 82nd minute to send the Stadio Olimpico into raptures.

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (5-4 on aggregate), 2012

A 3-1 loss to Napoli in the first leg of their last-16 tie was not quite the final straw for Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea manager, but the Portuguese was sacked less than two weeks later. Roberto Di Matteo was installed as caretaker boss with the hope of securing a top-four finish in the Premier League, with most fans realistic about the club’s slim chances of further progress in Europe.

Yet Chelsea produced a brilliant performance in the second leg to advance to the quarter-finals. A 3-1 scoreline after 90 minutes sent the game to extra time, in which Branislav Ivanovic scored the all-important ninth goal of the tie to complete a magnificent comeback. Improbably, Chelsea then went on to defeat Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern Munich to win their first ever European Cup.

Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid (5-5 on aggregate), 2004

European champions in 1998, 2000 and 2002, Real Madrid were favourites to lift the trophy again in 2004 as the competition reached the quarter-final stage. That feeling was only strengthened when los Blancos beat Monaco 4-2 in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, although subsequent events meant that Fernando Morientes’ late effort to reduce the deficit to two goals was hugely significant.

On loan at Monaco from Madrid, Morientes also scored in the second leg, with Ludovic Giuly’s brace completing a 3-1 win and sending the principality club through to the last four against the odds.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 on aggregate), 2019

Just last season, Liverpool showed that nothing can be taken for granted in the Champions League. And while Tottenham are just 1-0 down to RB Leipzig midway through their last-16 tie, Liverpool had three goals to make up in this semi-final clash.

They did it in spectacular fashion, Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum both notching braces to leave Lionel Messi and co. stunned. It was a phenomenal feat, and one which set the Reds on the path to their sixth European crown.

 

The FA would be wrong to punish Tottenham’s Eric Dier

Eric Dier made more headlines off the pitch then on it as Tottenham crashed out of the FA Cup in midweek against Norwich, who are currently bottom of the Premier League table.

As the players were leaving the pitch with his side Tottenham having just lost on penalties to the Canaries Dier could be seen to jump into the crowd in amazing scenes. What transpired was that he was reacting to something that was said to his brother who was in attendance. As a fan had shouted abuse, Dier found his tipping point, blood boiling and entered the stands to confront the fan. As cowards go, this fan was top of the list and seeing Dier coming towards him he ran off. Not in a million years did he actually think Dier would jump the advertising boards to confront him, but he did.

Inevitably the FA have got involved and Dier could be looking at a ban, but the FA need not show their power in this incident. When matters of racism arise in England the FA are always quick on the mark and show a zero tolerance attitude and they need to be applauded for that, other leagues can learn from the FA’s attitude on this. But it does seem that the FA love to show their power to other matters.

Take the Everton game when Carlo Ancelotti was sent off for swearing at the referee after seeing a last minute Everton winner ruled out against Manchester United. Whilst the FA rescinded the red card, they still fined Ancelotti £8,000. Pocket money to him, but why the fine for a swear word?

What Dier did was nicely summed up by his manager Jose Mourinho who said it was not professional but he could understand the circumstances as it was an attack on his family member.

Some have tried to compare the incident to Eric Cantona’s infamous kick on a fan in 1995, and that is so wide of the mark. There was no violence in this confrontation, although the fan ran away so we will never know. What Dier did wasn’t correct but there is two sides to the story. No abusive fan bullying his brother and no incident. That is as clear as day and one would hope that the FA would consider this.

The ideal scenario would be to see the fan banned from the ground, if not for life at least for the next couple of years. The season is almost over, so a season ban makes no sense. They should talk to Dier and that should be it, no ban and no fine. But make it clear that they won’t tolerate that behaviour again. For example why didn’t Dier motion to the stewards to act on the incident before he had too?

So Dier was silly to react but he was also protective. Maybe the people who decide his fate need to think what they would do in that situation before handing down judgement.

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Is suspending VAR ever going to be a realistic option for the Premier League?

When you sat back and thought about the 2019/20 Premier League season during your last summer holidays, you would’ve been at a loss to pinpoint the biggest talking point of the season. All things considered, that is quite remarkable given that Liverpool will most likely smash the 100 point mark, and be crowned champions after putting together the most impressive Premier League campaign ever witnessed.

In fact, Jurgen Klopp’s men should top the table by the biggest winning margin by any
side ever in the history of the Premier League. But, alas, that still won’t be at the
forefront of your mind as you sit on the Costa Smeralda.

Instead, as you sip on something cool whilst the azure waters of the Mediterranean lap
at your feet, you’ll be thinking about VAR and what a catastrophe it has been in its
debut season in the Premier League. Almost no one is happy with VAR at this stage,
and the calls for it to go are growing louder and louder, and are now almost coming
from every corner. Will the Premier League listen and finally suspend VAR?

What is the extent of VAR’s interference this season?

The latest count on VAR, and the goals or incidents that it has affected, comes in at 75
after the controversy in the game between Spurs and Manchester City, where the North
London club claimed victory after benefiting from the Video Assistant Referee. All in
all this season, 38 goals have been disallowed and 19 decisions made that led to goals.
Furthermore, 12 penalties have been awarded and four overturned, with 25 goals
ruled out for offside. Carrying on from there, VAR has seen fit to award five red cards
whilst overturning three.

Needless to say, after having a look at those figures, VAR has stolen the limelight throughout this season. Some decisions are less controversial than others, but some are quite ridiculous, namely Declan Rice’s handball in the build-up to Robert Snodgrass’ goal at Sheffield United, that denied the Hammers a share of the spoils late on at ramall Lane.

There is every chance, should West Ham get relegated, that they look back on that decision as one of the key moments behind their Premier League demise. This controversial situation looks a distinct possibility given that, as of early stages in February, Betway have priced Moyes’ men at 5/4 to go down.

Indeed, VAR is beginning to act as the hand of fate, with its decisions beginning to add
up, which will inevitably have a longer-lasting impact. But it’s not just the basement
clubs that are struggling.

Many have asked if Manchester City are indeed feeling the brunt of VAR. It should be
said that there is a tendency for supporters to feel like there is a conspiracy against
their clubs at the best of times but, when VAR intervenes and disallows goals, fans feel
like they officially have proof. In the cold light of day, and once the emotion dies down,
it’s clear to see that simply isn’t the case.

Does common sense actually go out the window?

The main problem with VAR is that supporters feel like it nit-picks too much, hence
why we all talk about the armpit offside now, after VAR ruled out a Firmino goal on the
barest of margins. So, in essence, what the fans are saying is that we want VAR but
don’t necessarily want it to scrutinize a possible situation too closely. It’s hard not to
shake your head after weighing up that logic.

Sure, VAR is frustrating, but to accuse it of being too accurate, well, anyone can see
how flawed an argument that is, given that its sole purpose is to use all means possible
to make the right decision. Could it be done slightly faster? Absolutely, but these things do take time. In any case, what you’ll probably find if the Premier League does decide to persevere with VAR, is that we were dealing with a raw version of it that had many teething issues.

Will the Premier League stick with VAR?

Everything says that they will so rather than put it on the scrapheap. They are
rumoured to be inviting the 20 Premier League clubs to sit down and debate what the
league is calling ‘radical changes.’ Having said that, the Premier League doesn’t strike
you as an organization that will sit idly by whilst VAR ruins the product that they have
built up over the past 27 years.

It’s unlikely that lead sponsors like the gaming giants EA Sports will stand by and not
make much a noise of this cacophony of disapproval gets any louder. The same can be
said for the soft drink titans Coca-Cola and their affiliation with the Premier League.
These big boys of industry, not to mention the league’s main sponsors, are not going to
let VAR turn people away from the beautiful game.

If the team at Stockley Park don’t streamline VAR in its current form, then you’d have
to say that it is in real danger of getting the boot after the playing of the 2020/21
season.

This isn’t the Jose Mourinho Tottenham were looking for as season boils down to the FA Cup

So it looks like the season for Tottenham is going to come down to the FA Cup, and they have a manager in Jose Mourinho who wins trophies. Even at his nightmare period with Manchester United Mourinho won silverware and this is the hope that Tottenham cling on too.

In truth has Mourinho’s appointment improved Tottenham as a whole since sacking Mauricio Pochettino last November? Statistically it just about has in Mourinho’s first 12 games in charge he earned 20 points. In Pochettino’s 12 games in charge before being sacked this season he earned 14. But this season under Mourinho Tottenham are on course to earn at least 10 points under what Pochettino earned last season.

Though Tottenham still find themselves in the mix for a top 4 spot, which would mean Champions League football next season, this is not down to how good they have been, but more about how inconsistent Chelsea have been in 4th place. The lack of putting any number of winning games together has given the likes of both Tottenham and Manchester United hope. But the reality is that Tottenham look like they will miss out on Champions League football next season, evidently they are just not a good enough side this season to finish in the top four. That was hammered home again last weekend when they lost 3-2 at home to Wolves, despite being a goal up.

One of the biggest factors in getting Mourinho in and reportedly paying him in the region of £15m a season was that he wins games on a consistent basis and finds a way. His home form in league games is undisputed, but this season under him Tottenham have already lost 3 at home, this under a man who once went 9 years over 150 games without defeat at home. It does feel that Tottenham were looking for the Jose Mourinho of 2005 and have landed with an inferior product.

The Champions League this season is very much in the balance after the club lost the 1st leg against RB Leipzig 1-0. That was a home game and if Leipzig score first in Germany in the return match, Tottenham would need to score at least 2 goals on the night. Tottenham remains a very good side, let’s not forget that they made the Champions League final last year, but they are clearly a few levels below most of the teams left in this seasons competition.

Of course injuries have played their part. Not only did they lose Harry Kane but Heung-Min Son who had found his goal scoring boots is also out injured, and both players are missing months instead of weeks. But something else is missing with the club and it could well be that Mourinho is well past his sell by date, or maybe he just doesn’t have the quality of players at his disposal. Will more money be spent this summer, well you can guarantee it, but then all of the pressure will be under Mourinho with nowhere to escape if the club do not pick up and start challenging for trophies.

This season then looks like it will come down to the FA Cup. And make no mistake if Tottenham did finish outside the top four, but qualified for the Europa League and won the FA Cup the fans would take that. For all of the great play under Pochettino and the memorable wins, the club won nada, nothing, zilch. And fans want to see trophies held aloft at the end of the day.

Today the club will turn to the FA Cup where they will play Norwich in their replay and try to qualify for the quarter finals. Lose that and one senses all momentum could depart a ship that sometimes looks worryingly lost at sea.

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Antonio Rudiger left frustrated at a lack of evidence after he says he was racially abused

Chelsea player Antonio Rudiger has reacted after the FA have come back and said that they couldn’t charge anyone in the game with Tottenham as there was no evidence to suggest that Antonio Rudiger was racially abused when the clubs played each other at Tottenham’s new ground a few weeks ago.

Rudiger had said that he had heard monkey chants aimed at him and a full investigation was then launched. In other incidents within the grounds there were 6 arrests but none were directly linked to Rudiger’s claim.

Tottenham have said that they have video equipment which can follow every fans face and even lip reading techniques and there has simply been no evidence to suggest that Rudiger suffered racist abuse. Of course this doesn’t mean that he didn’t.

It’s been a very difficult season in the Premier League for racist chanting and abuse and it does look like it is on the rise sadly once more. Although clubs zero tolerance policy of handing out life time bans for fans, is a fantastic measure and really is the way to go, one would hope that other leagues would follow suit.

Rudiger was understandably feeling down at the FA’s findings and he had this to say. “I’ll always raise my voice but in relation to this, I’m alone. Racism has won. The offenders can always come back to the stadium, which shows these people have won. It’s a disaster.”

Rudiger added: ”I became a father last Thursday and you start thinking society hasn’t come far enough in fighting racism, so my kids will probably suffer as well. If nothing changes, if kids don’t get good education and parenting, we’ll lose.”

Chelsea football club added their thoughts to the situation also via a club statement. ‘As Tottenham’s statement makes clear, a lack of evidence does not mean an incident did not take place. It is vitally important we continue to encourage all players, whatever shirt they wear, to report racist abuse without fear of doubt or reprisal.’

This is an incredibly controversial moment within the league because it is very probable that Rudiger heard something, and yet with all of the technology that the clubs have at their disposal they were not able to find the evidence to get the section of fans.

Rudiger though shouldn’t feel too down about what has happened. If it has, then it is disgusting and no one can make any excuses about that. But he is fortunate to play in a league that does take racism seriously and for that the Premier League despite its faults is heading in the right direction.

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6 classic Chelsea vs Tottenham games from the Premier League era

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham (May 2016)

Although they were not involved, this was one of the most famous games in Leicester City’s history. Tottenham’s failure to win at Stamford Bridge handed the Premier League title to Claudio Ranieri’s men, many of whom were gathered at Jamie Vardy’s house to watch the action unfold.

Spurs stormed into a 2-0 lead but then lost their heads to an extent in the second half, with nine of their players ending the night in the referee’s notebook. A superb Eden Hazard strike ended their title dreams late on.

Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea (January 2015)

A Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham gave Chelsea their toughest game of the season on New Year’s Day 2015. Kane scored twice to take his tally for the season to 17, with Danny Rose, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli also getting on the scoresheet for Mauricio Pochettino’s charges.

Chelsea had been an entertaining attacking force in the first half of the campaign, but this defeat persuaded Jose Mourinho to shut up shop for the run-in.

Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea (January 2017)

Chelsea had won 13 games in a row prior to their visit to White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day, only for Spurs to stop them in their tracks. Dele Alli scored twice, both of them headers, to give the hosts victory.

Spurs were arguably the best team in the country for a while after this game, but the eventual runners-up finished seven points behind Antonio Conte’s champions – the same margin that separated them after this encounter.

Chelsea 4-3 Tottenham (February 1994)

A seven-goal thriller in the 1994/94 season ended in Chelsea’s favour, although both teams endured underwhelming campaigns. Spurs led 2-0 inside the first quarter thanks to goals from Steve Sedgley and Jason Dozzell, but it was Chelsea who led 3-2 at half-time through Mal Donaghy, Mark Stein and John Spencer.

Andy Gray restored parity for Tottenham in the second half, but Stein was the hero after holding his nerve from the penalty spot in the 89th minute.

Tottenham 4-4 Chelsea (March 2008)

A pulsating clash in north London ended with the capital clubs each earning a share of the spoils. Chelsea led 2-1 at half-time after goals from Didier Drogba and Michael Essien either side of Jonathan Woodgate’s effort, and then extended their advantage further when Joe Cole found the net early in the second half.

Tottenham fought back, though, with Dimitar Berbatov and Tom Huddlestone drawing them level. Cole then grabbed his second of the day to put Chelsea ahead once more, only for Robbie Keane to grab a dramatic equaliser in the 88th minute.

Tottenham 2-3 Chelsea (September 2001)

Chelsea left it late before sinking Spurs in this 2001 encounter, with Marcel Desailly’s header earning them maximum points at the death. Tottenham thought they had salvaged a draw through Teddy Sheringham, but Chelsea refused to give in and found the time to strike for the third time that afternoon.

Claudio Ranieri’s side would go on to finish sixth, three places higher than a Tottenham team managed by Glenn Hoddle, who beat the Blues in a two-legged League Cup semi-final in January.

Premier League: Fantasy Weekend Picks: Matchday 27

Based on fixtures coming up this weekend and players form let’s take a close look at the players that could make a difference this weekend in the Premier League.

Formation:4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Alisson-Liverpool

Alisson has been superb as expected this season and he has conceded just 1 goal in his last five games. Liverpool will play West Ham to wrap up another weekend of Premier League football on the Monday night, and this could be perfect for Alisson to keep yet another clean sheet.

Defender: Harry Maguire- Manchester United

Harry Maguire got a lot of stick this week as pretty much everyone thought he should have been sent off v Chelsea. But he wasn’t and he went on to score the winning goal. United kept a clean sheet, and this bit of luck may just spur the player on to do well again. United will face 19th placed Watford at home and will be the favourites to do well.

Defender: Eric Bailly- Manchester United

In keeping with United it is good to see Bailly back after injury and he has  immediately helped keep a clean sheet on his return. It may be worth going for the player again as he comes up against Watford at home. His value is 8m.

Defender: Enda Stevens- Sheffield United

Stevens has been one of Sheffield United’s best players and the great thing about choosing the player as he can be used in both defence and midfield. He has 41 points so far and has kept 9 clean sheets and United will be favourites at home to do well against Brighton.

Defender: Willy Boly- Wolves

Willy Boly has been on form and has 23 points so far and has been able to keep 5 clean sheets too. Wolves are in the mix and they will play the bottom club Norwich at home where you would think they can record a win and possibly a keep clean sheet to go with it.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Wolves

Diogo Jota can cause a lot of problems and with Wolves being at home to Norwich we expect him to be very lively. He has scored 3 goals this season and his value is 7.5m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso – Tottenham

With injuries mounting up, Lo Celso could get a game when his club take on Chelsea. Spurs need a midfielder that can make the tricks and see the gaps and make a difference and Lo Celso could well do that. He can be brought in for 6m.

Midfielder: Dani Ceballos- Arsenal

Dani Ceballos has only had 8 starts but he is starting to gain the trust of his manager and was impressive in Arsenal’s last game when they beat Newcastle 4-0. The Gunners will take on Everton and his skills could make a difference in midfield. He has 2 assists from his limited time and is just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United

Fernandes is already making people think he is the right buy for United, he is early into his career with the club but is worth picking as he wants to impress every week especially with Paul Pogba on the sidelines.

Striker: Anthony Martial- Manchester United

With injuries for United Martial is getting that chance to shine and he scored against Chelsea in the clubs last game. Now at home v Watford the odds would look good for him to add to his 9 goal tally he has so far.

Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- Arsenal

Arsenal have struggled this season but Aubameyang keeps on scoring and being their star dust. Arsenal will be at home against Everton a team he likes to play against, and we could see him scoring again at the weekend. He has 15 goals so far and is 9m.

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Premier League: Game of the Weekend: Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham

A five goal thriller took place at Villa Park as Tottenham won a rare away game to beat Aston Villa 3-2 for three crucial points.

It was a meeting of the minds, old and new with Aston Villa assistant John Terry reconnecting with Jose Mourinho his former manager and mentor at Chelsea all those years ago. And this was a game.

Villa started with a very daring formation of 3-4-3 with the possibility of putting one player up front back into midfield. And Tottenham went for 4-2-3-1. The away team trying to crowd out midfield and then have Heung-Min Son up front on his own.

The early exchanges would be something that Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld would not forget in a hurry. He latched onto a ball and ended up scoring an own goal after just 9 minutes to give Villa the lead. It looked like Tottenham could have been heading for their 6th away defeat of the season at that point.

But on the 27th minute Tottenham equalised and it was ironic that it would be Alderweireld who would get the goal. Only his 6th goal for the club and his 25th goal in all competitions throughout his career. With the game at 1-1 Tottenham found a new belief, they were back in the game now. Towards half time there was a penalty call as it appeared that Villa’s Bjorn Engels had handled the ball but the referee was happy not to give it. It finally went to VAR and there was a long delay, which was unfortunate- is this what football is really all about now? But VAR came back and did give the penalty. Suddenly Tottenham had the chance to go into the first half in the lead.

Heung-Min Son took the penalty but his effort was saved by Pepe Reina however the ball rebounded and the South Korean made no mistake in stabbing at home and Tottenham were leading 2-1.

It had been a fantastic and frantic first half of football that had seen 38 attempts on goal, with 10 on target for Tottenham and 4 on target for Villa. And nobody could wait until the second half got underway.

In some ways this was a game of redemption; Alderweireld had scored an own goal and then scored a goal to get his side back in the game and now Bjorn Engels was on hand to do just the same. After conceding the penalty in the first half, Jack Grealish set up Engels who equalised inside 10 minutes of the re start and we had a game on.

Whilst Villa should be given credit for wanting the win and not wanting to settle for the draw, Tottenham were on top in the 2nd half producing 7 shots on target to Villa’s eventual 2. This game looked like it would end 2-2 though, which would have been a big point for the home side but would have dented Tottenham’s top 4 aspirations. But this game wasn’t over.

Villa had held out until the 94th minute with the whistle about to blow there was a clear panic in defence and the ball fell to Son who made no mistakes and scored a glorious winner that sent the team, the away fans and Mourinho ecstatic. It was huge and the win put Tottenham just one point behind Chelsea for 4th. It was also Son’s 9th goal of the season in the league.

Whilst there was jubilation in the Tottenham camp there was frustration of what could have been in the Villa one and relegation remains a big threat for the club who are in 17th and are just one point from safety.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of the Weekend

Because of the winter break in the Premier League there were just 5 games played at the weekend. All of the favourites won their games including Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool. But let’s take a look at the players who made a difference this past weekend in the Premier League.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel- Leicester 7pts

A few goalkeepers earned 7 points but Kasper Schmeichel deserves credit as his Leicester side went away from home against a very difficult Wolves side and got a point, keeping a clean sheet too as the game ended 0-0. That was the goalkeepers 9th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Romain Saiss- Wolves 5pts

It’s no mean feat to keep Jamie Vardy and co from scoring a goal and Saiss helped his side Wolves keep a clean sheet at home against the team in 3rd place. Saiss has 17 points this season.

Defender: Trent-Alexander Arnold- Liverpool 5pts

On fantasy ranking points Alexander Arnold is the best defender in the Premier League and he showed his qualities again as Liverpool beat Norwich 1-0 away from home to record his 12th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Virgil van Dijk- Liverpool 5pts

His teammate van Dijk and recognised as one of the worlds best defenders also helped keep a clean sheet and the player now has 74 points in the fantasy rankings and is just 9 behind his team mate in 2nd place.

Defender: Wes Morgan -Leicester 5pts

Wes Morgan had a lot to do in the back four of Leicester as Wolves who were at home asked many questions of the Foxes. Morgan held his ground well and earned 5 points in the process.

Midfielder: Mesut Ozil- Arsenal 6pts

Ozil has been under pressure for the past two seasons for his performances, but against Newcastle he was on the ball. Not only did his side keep a clean sheet but he also scored a goal, his first of the season in the league.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane- Liverpool 5pts

Sadio Mane showed his qualities coming on late in the game v Norwich and ended up scoring the winner- a classy finish too. He dropped a point because he was booked in the final minute though.

Midfielder: Jordan Henderson-Liverpool 4pts

It should come as no surprise to see Henderson’s name on the team of the weekend yet again. He earned 4 points after a solid, professional display as Liverpool continued their unbeaten run this season with a 1-0 win over Norwich.

Midfielder: Lucas Torreira- Arsenal 2pts

It was rare joy for Arsenal and Torreira to win a game, and so many defenders ended the weekend with 2 points. Torreira deserves his place after a tormented time this season with Arsenal, he held firm and didn’t give Newcastle a look in.

Striker: Nicolas Pepe- Arsenal 8pts

Nicolas Pepe has been criticised this season as he has started his career with Arsenal very slow. But at the weekend he was on top form and earned 8 points after he scored a goal and he also assisted in the opening goal. In 240 seconds he showed why Arsenal had paid over £70m for him.

Striker: Heung-Min Son- Tottenham 6pts

If Tottenham are to finish in a Champions League place a large chunk of that could go to the fact that in Son they have a great striker. He scored 2 goals as Tottenham beat Aston Villa in a thrilling 3-2 win. He now has 9 goals for the season and looks in brilliant form.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 26

The winter break is still here but we do  have staggered games, and that means we will see 6 games at the weekend. The likes of Liverpool, Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal will all be in action. Let’s take a look at the games and the players who could stand out.

Wolves v Leicester

Here are two teams very equal and two teams that have surprised many fans this season. We think this early kick off will end in a point apiece for the teams. It will be interesting if Wolves’ Diogo Jota can get a run out as he scored a hat trick against Leicester last season. Draw

Southampton v Burnley

The Saints have had a slight knock back losing 2 of their last 3 games and Burnley are unbeaten in their last 3 games. We will take the draw here in a game that we expect to have plenty of chances for both sides but also be physical. Draw

Norwich v Liverpool

It would be the biggest shock of the season if Norwich were to become the first team to beat Liverpool this season. Norwich are bottom of the league and have lost 15 games, they are also 7 points from safety. Liverpool really should have no problems to win this game and should ease to victory. Although we should remember that Norwich did beat Manchester City here earlier in the season. Liverpool to beat Norwich

Aston Villa v Tottenham

Aston Villa are just 1 point above the bottom three and have one win in their last four games. The club have won 40% of their home games which isn’t good enough in this league. Tottenham have had a little rest also, but Jose Mourinho is in a good mood and the players look more settled under him. Watch out for Steven Bergwijn can he create magic like he did a few weeks ago? Tottenham to beat Aston Villa

Arsenal v Newcastle

Mikel Arteta has just 1 win in his 7 league games, but also has only lost one, the club just keep on drawing games. So do Newcastle who have 3 in their last four games. If Newcastle can use Joelinton to his full capacity he could be a handle and he likes playing in London. Draw

Chelsea v Manchester United

The big game. With Chelsea in 4th they could really slip up for their Champions League hopes if they don’t get a win. United have already won here in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season. This could be and should be an epic game. United are in 8th and if they lose this game they would slip 9 points behind a Champions League place. N’Golo Kante can run things in midfield and we are going to back the home side over an injury depleted United one who have only won 3 games away from home. Chelsea to beat Manchester United

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