Premier League Roundup: Moyes defeated in Everton reunion; top five snag wins

1 Comment

The Premier League’s top five remains unchanged after Wednesday’s action, but attention is sure to gravitate to that fifth place team, with Everton’s win at Old Trafford serving as an early measuring stick for where the Red Devils and  Toffees sit after David Moyes’ spring move to Manchester United. The Blues’ late win over Moyes’ new team is sure to enliven debate as to which club ended up with the better boss, with for Everton fans regretting where their revamped squad sits after 14 games.

Elsewhere, Arsenal cruised to another win, maintaining their four-point lead at the top after Chelsea won a shootout in Sunderland. Manchester City started to exorcise their road demons, while Luis Suárez made another thunderous claim to being the league’s best player with dominant display at Anfield.

We start at the top and make our way down the table. Here’s your Premier League roundup:

(Highlights for all games are on their way.)

Arsenal 2-0 Hull City

Nicklas Bendtner is not only alive. As of the second minute of today’s visit from Hull City, he’s kicking. The enigmatic Dane scored his first Arsenal goal in over 1000 days to give the league-leading Gunners and early lead, and when Mesut Özil doubled the hosts’ lead two minutes into the second half, Arsenal were on their way to what’s becoming a characteristically controlling victory.

Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea

Jozy Altidore’s first goal since returning to the Premier League gave the Black Cats an early lead, one that reversed when Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a one-goal advantage going into halftime. After John O’Shea pulled Sunderland even five minutes into the second, Hazard restored Chelsea’s lead, one which grew to two after a late Phil Bardsley own goal. The Sunderland defender would make up for it with a goal in the 86th, but the Blues were able to hold on to stay within four of Arsenal.

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City

Two goals from Yaya Touré and an opener from Sergio Agüero had City up 3-0 after 74 minutes. An own goal from Costel Pantilimon and Victor Anichebe’s 94th minute score brought the Baggies within two, but with come the final whistle, West Brom was unable to offset what had been a dominant display by the visitors.

Liverpool 5-1 Norwich City

Luis Suaréz came into the day tied for second in the Premier League in goals, but with four on Wednesday, the Liverpool sniper passed Sergio Agüero to go two clear atop the league’s scoring charts. Goals in the 15th, 20th, 35th and 74th minute moved Suárez to 13 on the year and spearheaded an overwhelming performance from Liverpool, who amassed 28 shots en route to their first five-goal day of the season.

Manchester United 0-1 Everton

In a match that’s sure to spur as many Red Devil questions as Toffees plaudits, it’s Everton that got the better for their former manager, an 86th minute goal from Bryan Oviedo proving the difference in the first meeting between David Moyes and the club he left last spring. Putting home a late Romelu Lukaku ball across the box, the replacement left back handed United their second home loss of the season, showing Moyes’s former team may be better than the one he’s taken over. Regardless, the biggest victory of the Roberto Martínez era has Everton fifth, even on points with Liverpool for the league’s final Champions League spot.

Fulham 1-2 Tottenham

One of Fulham’s strongest performances of the season still left the team emptied handed and in the drop zone, Spurs having fought back from a one-goal deficit to claim a much-needed win. Thanks to second half goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, Tottenham claim their first league win since Oct. 27, going seventh in the process. Fulham, however, showed more life than they have at any time this season, putting six shots on target despite falling for the 10th time this campaign.

Swansea City 3-0 Newcastle United

Swans’ second win in three ends the Magpies’ four-match winning streak, with goals from Nathan Dyer and Jonjo Shelvey augmented by an own goal from Mathieu Debuchy. Dominating possession throughout, Swansea appeared to be playing into Newcastle’s hands before Dyer broke through in first half stoppage time. Debuchy’s help in the 66th minute gave Michael Laudrup’s team the room they needed to move up two spots to 11th place.

Southampton 2-3 Aston Villa

With a counter attack reminiscent of their season-opening win at Arsenal, Aston Villa pushed Southampton’s losing streak to three, with goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Libor Kozák, and Fabian Delph seeing Villa into the table’s top half. Twice, through Jay Rodriguez and Pablo Osvaldo, Southampton came back, but on a day in which they held 77 percent possession and put nine shots on target, the Saints couldn’t force the third past Brad Guzan, leaving Mauricio Pochettino’s team to suffer their first home loss of the season.

Stoke City 0-0 Cardiff City

Two sides lacking the nous to carve through the others’ defense were left with a possibly predictable draw, the sides’ combined 31 shots only translating into five tries on target. The day’s best chance came in the 40th minute when Jordan Mutch forced a diving save from Stoke’s Asmir Begovic, but with the Peter Crouch on the losing end of too many battles with Cardiff’s defense, the home side was never able to break through.

Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham United (Tuesday)

Marouane Chamakh got revenge for his failed time at West Ham with a header just before halftime, the former French international’s opener holding up come the final whistle. With the first victory of the Tony Pulis era, the Eagles are out of the Premier League cellar, their third win of the year pushing Palace above Sunderland.

Transfer news: Milik to Arsenal; Telles to Chelsea

Milik
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the latest transfer Alex Telles is the latest left back linked with a move to Chelsea, while Arsenal are reportedly the favorites to sign striker Arkadiusz Milik.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Starting in north London, Arsenal continue to be linked with a host of attacking players ahead of the upcoming transfer window and Arkadiusz Milik is the latest.

The Napoli and Poland star, 26, has long been linked with a move away from the Stadio San Paolo and given the fact that the Naples club look unlikely to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, the likes of Milik, Kalidou Koulibaly and a few others may have to move on to offset the huge loss of funds.

Per the report Italian outlet Repubblica, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is keen to offload Milik and would rather sell him to Arsenal than another Serie A rival, as Juventus are reportedly interested too. Napoli could lower their asking price for Milik, who is out of contract next summer, if a Premier League club emerges as a genuine contender to sign him.

The sticking point for the Gunners? Milik would cost $45 million and Mikel Arteta’s side don’t seem to have significant transfer funds as they’ve been linked with plenty of loan and swap deals ahead of the summer window.

That said, if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaves this summer (he has just one year left on his contract) and Alexandre Lacazette is also sold and sent to Atletico Madrid in a swap deal for Thomas Lemar, Arteta will have some extra cash a huge drop in his wage bill to work with.

Milik, on paper, would seem to suit the Premier League well. He reminds me of Edin Dzeko as he can hold the ball up, is powerful in the air and despite his horrendous luck with injuries he is still extremely mobile and can lead the line. Arteta seems pretty happy with young strikers Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah who he used often in central roles before the suspension in March but Milik has plenty of experience and would be a focal point to their attack.

Telles
Getty Images

Moving to west London, Chelsea are reportedly want to buy Telles from FC Porto but face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain for the Brazilian full back.

According to Le 10 Sport in France, Chelsea and PSG will battle it out for the Porto left back and they claim that Chelsea have been tracking Telles for some time and have a jump start on other clubs. He is only contract to Porto until the summer of 2021, so there’s a cut-price deal to be made there.

Telles, 27, made his debut for Brazil last year and after starting his career in his homeland he’s played for Galatasaray, Inter Milan on loan and now Porto for the last four seasons. He is considered as one of the best full backs playing in Portugal and has chipped in with 21 goals in 183 appearances in all competitions for Porto.

As we’ve mentioned before, Chelsea need a more solid left back defensively but Frank Lampard still has an attacking playing style and therefore Telles seems like a very good fit. Emerson Palmeri is a little too defensive, while Marcos Alonso is too attack-minded and left back is an area where the Blues clearly want to strengthen in the upcoming transfer window. They’ve been linked with Nicolas Tagliafico and others and as clubs start to circle across Europe for Telles, Chelsea’s intentions will perhaps become clearer in the weeks ahead.

VIDEO: Top 10 players in the world as soccer resumes

Leave a comment

Who are the top 10 soccer players in the world right now as the season is about to resume in multiple leagues?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With the Bundesliga in full flow for a few weeks, Spain’s La Liga will return next week and the Premier League and Serie A will follow the week after.

Given that there are so many superstars scattered across those four leagues, here’s a list of the top 10 players set to be in action over the summer months as we will be treated to a sort of bonus World Cup with multiple leagues spreading out games over multiple days as top four, title and relegation battles take center stage.

From Manchester to Milan and Barcelona to Berlin, there will be so many superstars in full flow in the coming months.

Of course, the Ligue 1 season in France is canceled so we can’t watch Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for at least a few months. If we could, the Paris Saint-Germain duo would be high up on the list of top 10 players in the world right now as the soccer world gets ready to resume in empty stadiums.

Top 10 players in the world who will be in action this summer

10. Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

9. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

7. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

6. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

5. Bruno Fernandes (Man United)

4. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Which clubs have toughest, easiest remaining PL schedule?

Leave a comment

Now we know that the Premier League will return on June 17, which clubs have the toughest and easiest remaining schedule to navigate?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have taken a deep dive into the remaining schedule for all 20 Premier League clubs and it is intriguing to see this list. I love this kind of analysis.

Based on the current Premier League table, our partners have calculated the average position of teams who all 20 clubs have to face in their remaining schedule.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

First, here’s the list and below we will break down which Premier League clubs have the toughest or easiest remaining schedule and why.


Average opponent position

Man United: 12.3

Man City: 12.1

Wolves: 11.8

Southampton: 11.7

Newcastle: 11.4

Leicester: 11.3

West Ham: 11.3

Chelsea: 11

Norwich: 11

Everton: 10.7

Burnley: 10.6

Liverpool: 10.6

Arsenal: 10.5

Tottenham: 10.4

Watford: 10.1

Sheffield United: 9.4

Brighton: 8.6

Aston Villa: 8.4

Crystal Palace: 8.2

Bournemouth: 8.2


Analysis

This is very revealing when it comes to the ‘strength of the remaining schedule’ for all 20 Premier League clubs and explains why some fans are still hesitant to see their teams back in action, while others are licking their chops in anticipation of a late-season surge up the table.

In short: if you are Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Brighton you could struggle in this relegation battle. All three clubs have plenty of the big boys left to play, while fellow relegation rivals West Ham and Norwich have much easier schedules, on paper, to navigate.

As for the top four battle, Man United look to have a clear edge on Chelsea in the race for fourth place but Wolves are also high in this list so Nuno Espirito Santo’s side look well sit to finish off another remarkable season with a flourish. Sheffield United have a very tough remaining schedule so if they can stay in the top six it will be a fabulous achievement for Chris Wilder’s side, while we should keep an eye out for Southampton and Newcastle to potentially make a late surge up the table given the respective strength of their schedules.

However, this is just a study on the average position of teams they are facing. It doesn’t taken into account the players now available after recovering from injuries which impacted plenty of clubs in varying degrees, or the fact that different teams will adapt differently to playing in empty stadiums. If the Bundesliga is anything to go by, away teams have dominated so far and that could mean that the more away games Premier League teams have left in their schedule (six of Villa’s final 10 games are at home, while six of Sheffield United’s final 10 games are away) the more points they could pick up.

We all know funny things happen late in the season every season and with an intense scrap for the top four, Europa League spots and the battle against relegation, previous form can go out the window as desperation sets in. Still, stats like these are fascinating to sift through and give us an inclination as to wide to expect on a general level.

Liverpool, Man United show support for Black Lives Matter

Liverpool
Liverpool FC
Leave a comment

Liverpool and Man United have joined the growing number of clubs and players across the world offering their support to the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA and honoring George Floyd.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN last Monday there have been widespread protests across the USA.

A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Over the weekend Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed messages of support on their jerseys, while USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram took a knee after he scored in the Bundesliga.

On Monday Liverpool players posted a photo of their entire squad taking a knee around the center circle at Anfield during a training session with the message Black Lives Matter and Unity is Strength, while Man United star Marcus Rashford released a powerful statement on the widespread protests across the USA.

Paris Saint-Germain and France superstar Kylian Mbappe also posted an image on social media with the caption “police with us, not against us.”

Across the soccer world clubs and players are speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and honoring George Floyd.