Zaha leads Crystal Palace to victory at Burnley

Leave a comment

Crystal Palace continued their fine start to the season as they beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Goals in each half from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp set the Eagles on their way as Burnley huffed and puffed but Vicente Guaita was on hand to deny them

With the win Palace move up to 10th on 18 points, while Burnley remain on 18 points.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha back to his best: For much of this season Zaha has been a shadow of himself after a tumultuous summer but he was superb against Burnley. His goal right on half time swung the game in Palace’s favor and he dug deep to secure a vital win for the Eagles.

2. Away day specialists deliver again: Zaha’s pace on the break was key in this game, as Jordan Ayew and Andros Townsend also caused Burnley plenty of problems. Palace have now picked up three of their five wins this season away from home and with a favorable run of games coming up, now is the time for them to take advantage of picking up points on the road.

3. Burnley stutter in attack: Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood peppered the Palace goal late on but it was too little too late for Burnley. They looked sluggish in attack and Nike Pope will be very disappointed with the two goals he conceded.

Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha – A menace all game long, the only way Burnley could stop him was by kicking him and that almost got Phil Bardsley sent off. What a display from Palace’s talisman.


In a tight game in the first half Palace looked dangerous on the counter attack as Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew were causing plenty of problems.

Burnley did have the best chance of the first half as the ball was played in to Ashley Barnes but his first touch let him down at the crucial moment as a golden opportunity came and went.

Palace then thought they had taken the lead after scoring a comical goal as Cheikhou Kouyate, Patrick Van Aanholt and finally Jordan Ayew all had a goal but PVA was offside when he played it to Ayew to score.

However, Palace did take the lead right on half time as Zaha scored his second goal in as many games (and of the season) as he cut in from the left and drilled a low shot past Nick Pope at his near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half Phil Bardsley clashed with Zaha and VAR was used to determine if a red card should be given, but it was waved away.

Palace then sealed the win as after a mistake from Ben Mes, Schlupp controlled and finished at the near post, with Pope again at fault.

Chris Wood skied an effort over the bar and then almost bundled the ball home but Palace survived as Burnley cranked up the pressure late on. Vicente Guaita denied Wood and Jack Cork fired the rebound over, as it just wasn’t Burnley’s day.

Handicapping the Elite Eight of Premier League March Madness

Premier League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton, stand up.

The Toffees scored the major upset of the first round of our week of Premier League March Madness, eliminating Manchester United to advance to our Elite Eight.

Voting in the quarterfinal round begins Wednesday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League. Our editor JPW said “they have effectively won the NIT,” to which we add, “a very rich NIT!”

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the next four matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Tuesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 9 Arsenal
No. 4 Chelsea v. No. 12 Everton
No. 3 Leicester City v. No. 6 Wolves
No. 2 Man City v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

For what it’s worth, your noted handicapper only scored winning projections on four of the eight pre-quarterfinals.

There were only two significant upsets, which either show the respect voters gave this season’s on-field performance or a vast hatred of Manchester United and Spurs.

Maybe that’s true on the United front, but Arsenal’s power as a sort of sleeping giant bodes well for its match-up with Liverpool. That said, the Reds’ faithful is fired up for this online poll title before the much bigger title to come, and their season will make anyone but Arsenal fans think before voting against them.

Chelsea and Everton is a pretty tasty match-up, too, with both sides proving they can take down loyal and big fan bases. I like Everton to come up with the goods again, carrying a bit more momentum with voters than Chelsea’s easy-enough topping of Newcastle.

Wolves impressed in beating Palace, and a Twitter follower rightly mentioned that they have significant El Tri backing this side of the proverbial pond. Is that enough to knock out Leicester City? It’ll be tight, but we’ll say yes.

Man City should waltz past Sheffield United, but this is the sort of fixture in which both teams have surprised this season. Still, we’ll give it to Pep’s virtual men, just.

Spanish federation: La Liga will play at least every 72 hours upon restart

Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Leave a comment

When La Liga returns, get ready for it to return with a fury.

The Spanish Football Federation and Spanish Footballers’ Association agreed to a minimum 72-hour gap between matches after La Liga aimed for a minimum of only 48 hours (which, frankly, seems nuts).

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

La Liga president Javier Tebas gave three days between May 28 and June 28 for a possible restart earlier Tuesday, as the return of football in one Europe’s top leagues starts to take shape.

The league and its players reportedly came to terms on a 48-hour gap, but the federation would not stand for that. It seems the players want to get to transfer window quicker, and the league wants a new season worth of revenue to begin as quickly as possible.

There are other concerns for the players, too, given the time of year.

From Marca:

“The Federation thus puts the players’ health above the competition. In addition, during the months of May, June, July and August, it will pay special attention to the hosting of matches in severe heat, solar radiation and humidity which work against the health of the players,” it added.

The report also says that the SFA is unimpressed with FIFA’s idea that contracts will be expanded universally through the end of the season, quoting the players’ group as defending “the individual right of the worker.”

Players had previously rebelled against the idea of government furloughs after talks regarding pay cuts took longer than expected.

As with everything in this COVID-19 pandemic era, the restart is going to take complex navigation. We’re going to have some new temporary concerns as well as a whole lot of “new normals.”

Solskjaer hits out at criticism of players, leagues

Leave a comment

Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the Premier League and soccer in general have become an easy target amid the coronavirus pandemic.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Man United manager joined our partners at Sky Sports in the UK to discuss life during the nationwide lockdown in the UK and was asked about criticism of clubs and players as talks continue about wage cuts.

“For me football is an easy target sometimes,” Solskjaer said. “For me it’s unfair to call on any individual or footballers as a group because I already know players do a great amount of work in the community, and players are doing a lot to help this situation. Discussions are taking place between players and clubs, what kind of contribution they’ll make. It’s not easy for anyone, and to be called out is not fair for me.”

The English game, including Premier League clubs, have been criticized for applying for the UK government’s furlough scheme which will pay staff 80 percent of their current wages.

Liverpool issued an apology and reversed their decision to furlough 200 staff members and Tottenham and Newcastle have been criticized for using the scheme, while players have revealed various views on whether or not the 2019-20 season should be finished or deemed null and void.

Man United have said they will not use the furlough scheme to pay their staff and Solskjaer defended any mistakes that have been made by certain clubs or owners over the past few weeks.

“Mistakes are being made and have been made by loads of people and that’s how we learn as well. Now it’s about making better decisions, good decisions, I think we all want to help the NHS, the communities, and I think it’s important every single club do what they think is right. We’re all good people, and I’m sure we all want this to be over with as soon as possible. For me it’s about following the guidelines from the government as well,” Solskjaer added.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Sweet 16

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Our Premier League March Madness tournament had a thrilling Sweet 16 stage as there were shocks and drubbings aplenty.

With thousands of votes cast, the Elite Eight is set up perfectly as plenty of heavyweights collide on Wednesday.

The standout results in the Sweet 16 were #12 Everton just holding on to shock #5 Man United, while #9 Arsenal edged out their north London rivals #8 Tottenham with 54.86 percent of the vote.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

#3 Leicester City hammered #14 Southampton in the biggest winning margin with a whopping 79.1 percent of the vote, while #1 Liverpool, #2 Man City and #6 Wolves all advanced with #4 Chelsea battling past a valiant effort by #13 Newcastle.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
Tuesday: Sweet 16 results in full
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

Plus, our own Nick Mendola handicapped the field and here is who he thinks will be the favorites to win it all and which teams you should look out for as dark horses over the next few days. His predictions are wild and Arsenal fans will want to prove he is correct and they pick up a first piece of silverware under Mikel Arteta.

Here are the full slate of results from our Sweet 16 matches as our Premier League March Madness tournament continues on Wednesday with the Elite Eight!