Gerard Deulofeu

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 28

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One and two are pretty much set in stone, but there’s a new three on the block and only they seem a threat to challenge two.

It’s a lot of words to preview one of our final club power rankings of the Premier League season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — A great win over Leicester inspires thoughts that the tricky schedule won’t be as big of an issue as it first looked.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

19. Aston Villa — The guts shown in the League Cup Final are replicable. Can Dean Smith coax them out again (and again)?
Last week: 19
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Saints
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday at Leicester City

18. Bournemouth —  Nice draw with Chelsea.
Last week: 17
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

17. Watford — The win over Liverpool is a dream. The loss of Gerard Deulofeu is a nightmare.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Palace

16. Newcastle United — So drab. And if there isn’t another win soon, the back end of the schedule will send them down.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — At some point, the unluckiness has to wear on the Seagulls. Performances have been better than the depths of the table.
Last week: 13
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Wolves

14. West Ham United — much-needed win has them out of the table on goal differential.
Last week: 16
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

13. Crystal Palace — Roy Hodgson deserves a lot of praise for conjuring life back into the Eagles. If Christian Benteke could finish, the Eagles would be tempting the UEL places.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 1-0 at Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

12. Southampton — The Saints are on a plateau.
Last week: 12
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 at West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

11. Sheffield United — Did the week off provide Chris Wilder a plan to play Sander Berge and John Lundstram together effectively?
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Norwich City

10. Burnley — Unextinguishable.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Newcastle United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

9. Arsenal — Pablo Mari looked good against Portsmouth. West Ham will be a slight step up.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. West Ham

8. Leicester City — Two points from four matches, with Villa next. Brendan Rodgers should count his blessings the chasing pack has largely taken a collective nap.
Last week: 6
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Norwich City
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday v. Aston Villa

7. Manchester United — Bruno Fernandes is a magician. It’s a shame we won’t get to see him with Marcus Rashford any time soon (though he’s set to make it back before the end of the season).
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Everton
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Man City

6. Everton — Is Jordan Pickford really a problem? For your average side, no, but Everton wants to shoot high. He needs to do a bit better with the expected stops, because he’s got a knack for the wild stops.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday at Chelsea

5. Tottenham Hotspur — Results must improve, but so much the system. What’s the plan?
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Wolves
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

4. Chelsea — Disappointing draw with Bournemouth, but few behind them did anything to justify dropping them further.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Bournemouth
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton

3. Wolves — They can and will out-run and outlast you, and Raul Jimenez will devour your back line.
Last week: 7
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 3-2 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

2. Man City — Bold prediction considering Aymeric Laporte is out: City will finish within 19 points of Liverpool to preserve their record triumph from 2017/18 over Manchester United.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Won 1-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

1. Liverpool — A loss was bound to happen, and more may come as Liverpool reprioritizes the Champions League and perhaps the FA Cup.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

Deulofeu out for season in massive blow to Watford

Gerard Deulofeu
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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As big of a win as Watford’s 3-0 defeat of Liverpool was on Saturday, they suffered a loss of similar magnitude.

Gerard Deulofeu tore a meniscus and ruptured an ACL and will miss the rest of the season and likely the start of next.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“We wish him all the best, we wish his family well,” said club captain Troy Deeney. “Unfortunately this is the game that we play. It’s going to be a real tough one and we wish him well. I said to him at half-time ‘we’re going to win this for you’, and thankfully we did, thankfully I’m a man of my word.”

Deulofeu had four goals and five assists in just over 2,100 minutes this season, chipping in 1.2 tackles and .9 interceptions per contest.

He’s also averaging 1.6 key passes and 2.2 successful dribbles per game (all stats via WhoScored). Both of those figures are top 20 in the Premier League.

Deulofeu is a huge loss for the Hornets, who will need more magic from Ismaila Sarr and consistency from Roberto Pereyra. Will Hughes has impressed as well but there are few playmakers like Deulofeu in the league, let alone Watford.

The good news is that Watford is currently outside the drop zone on goal differential, and still face five bottom half sides.

Watford’s Sarr’s ‘unbelievable talent’ dooms Liverpool’s historic run

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Who would have guessed that Liverpool’s emphatic unbeaten run of 423 days – the second longest ever top-division unbeaten run – would end on a cold, soggy night at Vicarage Road to the dominance of 22-year-old Ismaila Sarr?

[ MORE: Klopp reacts | Social media, too ]

Liverpool remain indisputable favorites to lift the league title, but they will fall short to Arsenal’s Invincibles. Jurgen Klopp‘s men were vulnerable on Saturday. The potent performance put together by Watford will be talked about for years to come. And perhaps no other player on the field came as close to the protagonist role as Sarr.

The winger stood out from the rest, scoring twice before setting up captain Troy Deeney for the third and final goal of the bout. To the BBC:

“Ismaila Sarr is an unbelievable player, unbelievable talent,” Deeney said about his teammate. “He still has a lot to learn, and will continue to learn. But I think it’s a full team performance and a special mention has to go to Gerard Deulofeu as well, it looks like it’s going to be a bad one.”

Sarr, who turned down Barcelona during his career’s infant years, exhibited exactly why that was an option to begin with. The Senegalese was the cog of a well-oiled engined that took care of its chances. There’s no way around it.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“First of all credit to Watford,” Liverpool’s captain Virgil Van Dijk said following the Reds’ first loss in 45 Premier League matches. “They deserved it. The chances they created they stuck to their plan and I don’t think we created too many big opportunities. We shouldn’t take the credit away from Watford.
“If you concede three goals, that’s something we didn’t have for quite a while. That’s something we have to improve as a team in total and we will. It’s very tough to take this one. The only positive thing is we have an FA Cup game in a couple of days.
“The last game, one set piece, one good goal. Today obviously it should be better. If you look at the whole season we’ve been pretty good defensively. We have the most clean sheets in the league.”
For Nigel Pearson, the win comes at a precious time. The Hornets were on the outside looking in, with a seven-match winless streak behind them heading into Saturday.
In theory, three points in such fashion at home against this Liverpool should taste like silverware to a club flirting with mediocrity like Watford has all season long. In practice, it’s just another vital win for Watford.
“It’s such an important win for us,” he said. “But it is one win. Our season has been tough so far, with losing last week and not playing well, we were keen to get a response.

“They are such an outstanding side, we had to get our performance right – as close to max as possible – and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win. We threatened with the ball and defended with discipline, energy and commitment. That’s been the message from day one.

“It’s in our own hands, and we have to deliver that performance week in, week out.”

And a stellar 90-minute performance from Sarr that will go down in the books for obvious reasons.

Liverpool’s unbeaten run ends in blowout

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Ismaila Sarr and Watford battered sorry Liverpool 3-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday to stop two key aims of the Reds’ historic season.

The impending Premier League champions will not go down in history as one of England’s only unbeaten teams, and also fall short of setting a new record for consecutive league wins.

The Reds also come five matches short of Arsenal’s record for consecutive unbeaten matches in Premier League history (49).

[ MORE: Klopp reacts | Social media, too ]

Man City and Liverpool will live together (forever?) with 18-consecutive league wins.

Watford needed this win badly, and Nigel Pearson‘s men pull out of the drop zone with 27 points.

Liverpool still leads the league by 22 points over Manchester City.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Three Four things we learned

1. A beautiful run ended by a messy performance: The 2019/20 Liverpool team may go down as the best in the history of England and, perhaps, the world. Let’s get that out of the way, as well as this: You’d hate to be on the Reds’ fixture list in the coming weeks.

The Reds had the ball a lot late as Watford closed up shop, but they had little to no foothold in the game from moment No. 1. Outshot 14-7 with just one shot on target, it was the variety of errors that killed them.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men will still win the league, and the manager was classy in greeting Pearson and assistant Shakespeare with a smile and hug before the final whistle. He’s an incredible ambassador for the club, who are still are favorites to have a claim as one of the best teams of all-time. But they won’t go unbeaten. And they’ll (probably) forever share the longest domestic win streak with their era rival. Fitting, fair, but frustrating for the Reds.

2. Let down by the brightest star: In a way befitting the shock of the occasion, the biggest errors of Liverpool’s history-ruining loss came for its best player.

Both Virgil Van Dijk and Andy Robertson were out to lunch as the Reds took the lead, a seemingly harmless ball bouncing over Dejan Lovren to Abdoulaye Doucoure. The Frenchman then got a pass beyond Van Dijk with ease, and Robertson had no handle on Sarr as the winger punched a shot into the back of the goal.

It was even worse for Van Dijk on the second, as he was asleep to Sarr’s danger after a 50-50 battle on the sideline led to a loose ball.

 

3. Sarr the star: Ismaila Sarr had two goals and an assist, but he could’ve scored five as the Reds were wide open and chasing the match. In 79 minutes, the danger man delivered scares across the soon-to-be champs back four. He now has five goals and four assists in his first Premier League season, but few will stand out more than the two and one on Saturday.

4. Dark cloud looms over incredible win: Watford needed this win badly, and it qualifies as a major surprise that the Hornets went on to win after a scary injury to star man Gerard Deulofeu.

The Spaniard has keyed Watford’s run from the depths of the table, and his absence will call into question the club’s hopes of staying in the top flight.

Man of the Match: Sarr.


Gerard Deulofeu had the match’s first chance, dribbling around Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho to fizz a shot wide of the near post.

Watford saw a shot from Deulofeu sail wide, and Fabinho broke up a Will Hughes chance in the 12th minute.

The Hornets continued to threaten against off-kilter Liverpool, with Doucoure and Deulofeu especially busy.

Watford’s heart would’ve sunk when Deulofeu’s leg appeared to lock up in a 50-50 with Virgil van Dijk. He was stretchered off the pitch.

An extraordinary sequence saw Alisson Becker bungle the ball upon Troy Deeney pressure, but Liverpool was able to thwart the chance.

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The second half again saw Watford ready to roar, Roberto Pereyra setting up Sarr for a shot that Alisson pushed over the bar.

Moments after Liverpool failed to capitalize on a mess in the Watford box, the Hornets took the lead.

Sarr darted in front of Andy Robertson after Abdoulaye Doucoure got the better of a sleepy Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk was asleep again when Deeney belted a ball off the sideline that drifted past him and onto the path of Sarr, who beat Alisson 1v1.

Then came the third, as Sarr raced past the Liverpool back line and this time cued up Deeney for a goal.

Fernandes runs the show as Manchester United crushes Watford

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
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Bruno Fernandes scored a goal and helped set up two as Manchester United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Anthony Martial recorded United’s second goal with a magical finish off his own rebound after Fernandes sent him through on goal, while Mason Greenwood added a late goal after a 1-2 with the Portuguese.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

United is now fifth with 41 points, three points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

Watford had a goal chalked off by VAR, and remains in the bottom three with 24 points. That’s one point off 17th and two off 16th.


Three things we learned

1. Bruno as advertised: There was no question Fernandes addressed a need for the Old Trafford set, but few would’ve seen the Portuguese revolutionizing the team’s attack so quickly (and also underlining how badly United has missed Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba). It’s not silly to say Fernandes could’ve had four assists on the day. Magnificent stuff from the 25-year-old. No surprise he has Cristiano Ronaldo’s endorsement.

2. Greenwood shows another glimpse: The Mason Greenwood hype train hasn’t been as pronounced as Marcus Rashford’s of years past, and we’re grateful for that. But his shoulder move and sick cut before dribbling 50 yards to combine with Fernandes on the third goal of the game was gorgeous stuff. More hope for the future.

3. This: It’s easy to forget the heights of which somewhat-mercurial Anthony Martial is capable.

Man of the Match: Fernandes had four key passes and was perfect in his take-ons and ground duels. Incredible show.


Poor communication between Harry Maguire and Nemanja Matic sprung Troy Deeney toward goal, but United left back Luke Shaw saved his teammates further blushes with a block.

Abdoulaye Doucoure then ran onto a dummied Gerard Deulofeu pass but found himself closed down by David De Gea.

United should’ve been up through Wan-Bissaka when Foster parried a cross onto his path, but the English back struck the ball tamely into the outside of the goal.

Bruno Fernandes led a terrific 38th-minute move, and Daniel James eventually teed up Fred for a shot that curled wide of the goal.

The January signing danced past Ben Foster and hit the deck when the Watford goalkeeper went to ground. VAR stayed with the call on the field, and Fernandes finished well with a little hop step.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Deeney looked to have made it 1-1 in the 52nd minute, thumping a. ball into the top of the goal when a corner kick was turned off the post by Craig Dawson‘s arm. It was attached to his body, but that does not matter in the attacking box.

Martial instead made it 2-0 off a Fernandes feed, collecting his own rebound before dribbling Watford dizzy and spinning a chip into the goal.

Fernandes spotted Maguire with a seeing-eye cross in the 69th, but the defender’s header was poor.

Greenwood scored his goal in the 75th, carrying the ball 50 yards before working a 1-2 with Fernandes and finishing with aplomb.

Odion Ighalo came close to getting on the board for his new club against his old one, but Adam Masina deflected his shot off the post.