Jonny Evans

Leicester edge past Burnley amid VAR drama

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Leicester City beat Burnley 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as an emotional day for the Foxes ended in victory.

Leicester’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha — who tragically died in a helicopter crash on Oct. 27, 2018 — was honored by the home fans in their closes home game to mark the anniversary of his passing.

Burnley took the lead through Chris Wood but Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans secured the comeback win for Leicester, as Wood was denied a late equalizer via VAR drama.

With the win Leicester momentarily moved second in the table on 17 points, while Burnley have 12 points.


3 things we learned

1. Vardy delivers again: As Burnley fans taunted him with chants about his wife, Vardy nodded home to make it 1-1. His celebration was aimed at Burnley’s fans and once again he had delivered for Leicester. Vardy has scored six times in nine outings this season and even though Leicester possess more talented players technically, he is so effective.

2. Burnley right to feel aggrieved by VAR: Burnley should have drawn this game 2-2. Wood bundled the ball home but VAR said he had fouled Johnny Evans. That will go down as a mistake as the former Leicester striker was a constant thorn in the Foxes side and should have grabbed Burnley a point. Sean Dyche was right to be livid on the sidelines.

3. Leicester’s progress continues on emotional day: As scarves were waved throughout and a minute of applause in the 60th minute took center stage, Leicester’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was honored by the Foxes fans on Saturday. His tragic death came almost a year ago and since then the Foxes have kicked on and progressed to the next level under Brendan Rodgers. On and off the pitch the Foxes are moving forward as they aim to further honor Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Man of the Match: Youri Tielemans – A superb overall display in midfield and capped it off with a wonderful finish to secure the win. What a player he is.


Leicester started brightly but Burnley were dangerous on the break as Chris Wood was denied by Kasper Schmeichel.

Caglar Soyuncu then headed wide from a corner as the Foxes got going. James Maddison then had a shot deflected wide after combining with Harvey Barnes but Leicester were then behind.

Dwight McNeil swung in a cross to the far post and former Leicester striker Wood powered home a header to make it 1-0.

Leicester’s Vardy then struck a shot into the side-netting and right on half time he equalized. Barnes’ cross found the veteran striker as Vardy headed home an equalizer. Game on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half Leicester dominated as Ayoze Perez had a decent chance and Vardy then had the ball in the back of the net but Demarai Gray was correctly called offside.

Tielemans then gave Leicester the lead they deserved as Ricardo Pereira‘s cross found the Belgian midfielder who slammed home to make it 2-1.

Burnley then thought they had made it 2-2 as Wood bundled the ball home after Westwood won the ball back, but VAR was used and Wood was adjudged to have fouled Jonny Evans. No goal.

Liverpool stay perfect, beat Leicester in stoppage time

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Liverpool kept their 100 percent record intact, as James Milner‘s last-gasp penalty kick secured a 2-1 victory against Leicester City.

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After Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the lead, James Maddison equalized late on at Anfield as Brendan Rodgers‘ men looked to have grabbed a point.

But then Milner scored from the penalty spot to stretch Liverpool’s club-record winning streak to 17 league games and eight from eight this season.

Liverpool stay top of the table on 24 points, while Leicester have 14 points.


3 things we learned

1. Liverpool’s luck continues: The Reds haven’t got going this season, and they’ve won all of their opening eight games. It looked like Klopp’s side were finally going to run out of luck on Saturday, as Leicester caught them cold late on but Mane then won a penalty kick. In wins against Southampton, Sheffield United, Chelsea and now Leicester they were lucky to get over the line. In truth, Liverpool haven’t got out of second gear this season. Klopp won’t care. They’re top.

2. Leicester prove top four credentials: It was far from a great display from the Foxes but they were resilient and showed they can grab points against the big boys. They will need to do that if they’re going to finish in the top four, not least the top six. Brendan Rodgers’ side put in a mature display and did him proud on his return to Anfield. This wasn’t a swashbuckling Leicester display, but it was steady and solid, and they were unlucky not to grab a point.

3. Matip missed: Dejan Lovren came into the starting lineup and he looked shaky and Liverpool really missed Joel Matip. The towering center back is out injured and has Joe Gomez struggled recently, meaning Lovren will have to get up to speed quickly for Liverpool. In the end Matip’s absence didn’t cost Liverpool, but they did look a little less solid.

Man of the Match: Sadio Mane – Took his goal really well and dug deep to do plenty of defensive work on both flanks. He continues to stand tall for Liverpool and won the late penalty kick.


Early on Liverpool did all the pressing as Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu held things together for the Foxes at the back.

A cross from the right caused Liverpool’s defense some issues as Dejan Lovren tried to clear but sent a looping header towards his own goal.

As the first half wore on Leicester batled their way into the game as Ben Chilwell was causing Sadio Mane plenty of problems down the Foxes left flank.

Firmino then missed a great chance as Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped in a lovely ball from the right. At the other end Adrian produced a fine save from Soyuncu’s header after James Maddison whipped in a superb free kick.

Then Liverpool took the lead right on half time. James Milner’s superb long ball found Mane on the break and the Senegalese winger raced clear and finished calmly to make it 1-0.

Just after the goal Firmino pulled the ball back to Mane and his effort was straight at Kasper Schmeichel when he should have doubled Liverpool’s lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Schmeichel produced a fine save at the start of the second half as Alexander-Arnold’s cross found Salah and his flick was pushed away by Leicester’s goalkeeper.

Jonny Evans then cleared but the ball hit Mane and almost rebounded in as Liverpool kicked on in the second half. Leicester steadied themselves and started to cause a few problems in attack with half time sub Marc Albrighton a box of tricks. Ricardo Pereira‘s cross from the right was cleared by Alexander-Arnold as that sprung the game into life.

Firmino’s effort squirmed just wide and then Albrighton set Jamie Vardy free but he squandered a great chance at the Kop end. Andrew Robertson then had a great chance but Schmeichel saved well. Dennis Praet then flashed a shot just wide for Leicester as the game finished in an end-to-end fashion, and the Foxes grabbed a late equalizer.

Substitute Ayoze Perez wriggled free and played in Maddison, who had been quiet all game long, and the Englishman finished low past Adrian.

Virgil Van Dijk could have won it for Liverpool late on but he fluffed his lines as he nodded Robertson’s cross over, but just when it looked like the Reds would drop their first points of the season the winner arrived.

Mane was brought down by Albrighton in the box and Milner kept his cool to make it eight wins from eight as Liverpool remain perfect.

Five biggest surprise players in PL

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Heading into the new Premier League season, we all thought we knew which players would have breakout campaigns and impress.

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But it hasn’t exactly worked out like that in the opening weeks of the season, has it?

Below we take a look at five players who have surprised us all, so far, and have set the tone for fine campaigns.


Dani Ceballos (Arsenal, on loan from Real Madrid)
Man of the Match display on his first PL start against Burnley, the Spanish international looks the part. Able to create chances galore, he set up both of Arsenal’s goals in the 2-1 win over Burnley. But more impressive than that was his ability to work hard defensively to win the ball back. He did that for the game-winning goal and if Ceballos continues to play like this, it will be tough for Arsenal to buy him permanently from Real next summer.


Erik Lamela (Tottenham)
The Argentine is finally fully fit and has impressed in the opening weeks of the season. A goal and an assist to his name already, Lamela scored a clever goal against Man City and worked his tail off. He’s started both games and with confusion over Christian Eriksen‘s future, plus Dele Alli‘s injury, Spurs are glad to have Lamela back in the frame. Son, Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso will challenge him for minutes, but right now Lamela is a guaranteed starter for Spurs.


Teemu Pukki (Norwich City)
Four goals in his first two PL games, it’s safe to say Pukki has taken to life in the top-flight like a duck to water. The Finnish striker is making up for lost time, with the 29-year-old scoring a hat trick in the 3-1 win against Newcastle and he grabbed a consolation goal at Anfield on the opening day. After scoring 29 goals in the second tier last season, Pukki showed his quality. After spells with Sevilla, Schalke and Celtic which didn’t really work out, Pukkimania is set to take over the PL. Norwich could have bagged one of the best free transfers in recent memory.


Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester City)
Who needs Harry Maguire, right? Leicester didn’t spend any of the $100 million they received from Man United for their star center back and now it is easy to see why. They have Jonny Evans, Wes Morgan and now Turkish center back Caglar Soyuncu, who has become a cult hero in the opening weeks of the season. Soyuncu was brought in last summer and made just six PL appearances last season as he learned the ropes. The 23-year-old is a Turkish international and has shown incredible composure on the ball, like Maguire, and is forming a great partnership with Evans.


Ashley Barnes (Burnley)
We shouldn’t be too surprised by Ashley Barnes play on the pitch. What you see is what you get. He bullies opposition defenders and is a battering ram of a center forward. But we should be surprised by his output. He scored twice against Southampton and once against Arsenal, and he could have scored even more. Barnes is getting himself into the right positions and Burnley are creating more chances with dangerous crosses into the box. The Clarets look back to their best and that’s because Barnes is leading the line with plenty of confidence.

Premier League Numbers Nerd: Week 1

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Small sample sizes can make for terrible science, but they’re delightful for stat hounds and simple amusements.

For example, the Premier League’s opening weekend saw a hat trick for Raheem Sterling and braces for Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Ashley Barnes.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]

Who was the top dog of the week in terms of match rating, though? Man City’s Riyad Mahrez, who was nearly perfect with two assists, 83.3 percent passing despite his placement in low success areas of the pitch, four tackles, two interceptions, and four key passes.

Here are our favorite numbers, notes, and names from Week 1 (Stats via WhoScored):

Two (2) assists is the current top total in the league. It won’t surprise you to see Mahrez and Paul Pogba on that figure, but the third player to do it is… Burnley’s Erik Pieters!

Four (4) players won eight or more aerial duels: League-leader Christian Benteke (9) of Crystal Palace, as well as Newcastle’s Joelinton, Burnley’s Ben Mee, and Brighton’s Shane Duffy.

Under five: Three players in the Premier League played 90 minutes and couldn’t register higher than a 5.0 on WhoScored’s rating system. Kurt Zouma of Chelsea (4.86) could not come close to replicating his stalwart play with Everton last season and conceded a penalty and four goals. West Ham star Issa Diop (4.93) had the sort of statistical day a lot of players do against Man City, and two of his back line teammates joined him in the Bottom Six. And Grant Hanley of Norwich City posted a 4.99, dinged largely by an own goal despite completing 92.3 percent of his passes against Liverpool.

Five (5) –> Villa fans will want this to be six, as Tyrone Mings couldn’t stop Tanguy Ndombele‘s equalizer, but no player in the Premier League blocked as many shots as the former Bournemouth man. And we’re not done with him yet.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Five is also the league-best number of key passes recorded, by Chelsea’s Pedro. Perhaps Frank Lampard‘s feeling about his team’s play in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United will make sense over time.

And five is also the most fouls drawn by anyone in Week 1, with Villa’s Jack Grealish and Palace’s Jordan Ayew needing some time in an ice bath.

Finally, five is the number of players who completed more than 80 passes on Opening Day. Leicester’s Ben Chilwell led the way with 85, followed by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Toby Alderweireld (Spurs), Harry Winks (Spurs), and Jonny Evans (Leicester).

Seven (7) interceptions were made by Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, the most in the league. Seven is also the amount of fouls committed by Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic against Everton, three more than anyone else (Yes, he saw yellow).

Eight (8): The amount of shots taken by Harry Kane, double the amount of anyone else in the Premier League.

Eight is also the most successful tackles won by a single player this weekend, done by Liverpool’s Fabinho and Aston Villa’s John McGinn?

Seventeen (17): This would also be more appropriately read as “Seven-(expletive)-teen!” Aston Villa’s Mings cleared danger 17 times against Spurs, almost double the No. 2 man, Palace’s Martin Kelly.

100%: Only one field player in the league played more than a half-hour and completed all of his passes, and that was… Christian Pulisic of Chelsea and these United States of America. He was 12-for-12, but here’s the bad news: That came as part of a statistically miserable 6.09 showing.

Welcome to unruly expectations, Harry Maguire

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It’s going to be challenging and it’s foolish to expect anything different, but comparing Harry Maguire‘s first full season as world record defender to Virgil Van Dijk is a tough way to go about evaluating the former Leicester City man’s gigantic move to Manchester United.

First and foremost, Van Dijk was the missing piece of Jurgen Klopp‘s master plan and turned a very good team into an elite one.

Maguire is just one step back, albeit a $103 million one, for a wobbly Manchester United who could’ve really used this player back when Jose Mourinho specifically wanted him for his system.

Statistically, there are a few others difficult aspects of this comparison thanks to Van Dijk engineering his move during the January window and playing a half-season with Saints before going to Anfield.

Let’s just choose their final full seasons with their previous Premier League employers (even if that is flawed thanks to a long-term injury for Van Dijk).

Maguire is 26, and will be moving to United at the same age that Van Dijk split St. Mary’s for Anfield.

Both players were instantly set to become the defensive centerpieces for their new sides, and Van Dijk had better tackles and interception numbers before the move, Maguire’s passing numbers were superior.

Van Dijk then saw his touches explode on a better team, and you have to remember we’re comparing Maguire to a player who became a Ballon d’Or candidate upon joining his new team. It’s unfair to expect the numbers to be close at this point.

Maguire is one of the better long ball playing center backs in the game, and his passing numbers should rival Van Dijk’s once he settles into his new digs.

But he’s also going to have gigantic expectations hoisted upon him, especially considering he was the 14th ranked center back in the Premier League (min. 15 appearances) last season, not too far ahead of partner Jonny Evans. For comparison, Van Dijk and Joel Matip were one and two. You can imagine which one is pulling up the other in each case.

What Maguire represents, however, is Red Devils chairman Ed Woodward acknowledging that he had been negligent at the back, failing to sign proven Premier League commodities to play in front of David De Gea.

And Maguire will give Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw the freedom to maraud — something Maguire doesn’t hate doing from time-to-time — and give larger measures of confidence to the midfielders in front of him.

The prices of the transfer market are now insane and a new normal. Gone are the days when $10 million could land a big club a big player, as the Premier League’s money allow teams like Leicester City to play hardball.

Finally, perhaps it’s wrong to compare the two players given that Maguire’s fee is subject to the English player tax, which isn’t a real thing but also the reason we’ve seen nutty fees for any player who brings significant Three Lions experience or hope (See: Barkley, Ross and Drinkwater, Danny).