Chelsea 0 (10) vs. (11) 0 Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Review

Proud of the team but wastefulness cost us…

Chelsea took on Liverpool at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday evening. The pre-match narrative and build up by pundits had formed to make it seem like it was the world against Chelsea because the London Clubs ownership. Liverpool selected a strong XI with everyone who was expected to start making the XI except Kelleher who started in goal and Keita who replaced Thiago in the warm up. Mendy started in goal for Chelsea with a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger after Christensen injured his Achilles in training. Azpilicueta, and Alonso started as the wing backs with Kovacic and Kante in the midfield. Pulisic, Mount and Havertz started up front. Strong lineups from both teams.

Chelsea started the game brightly with Pulisic going close in the opening minutes. Azpilicueta played a brilliant ball in but Pulisic’s shot was directed straight at Kelleher from close range. Chelsea then went close again with Mount missing from close range and seeing his shot go wide. Liverpool then grew into the game and dominated possession for much of the 1st half. Mendy was forced into making a stunning double save. The first half ended with Liverpool having had the better half.

The 2nd half began with Chelsea starting strongly once again. Pulisic played in Mount thanks to a brilliant lobbed pass and Mount hit the post which was very unlike him. Mendy made a couple more good saves but Liverpool were largely at bay in the 2nd half. Keita should have been sent off for a tackle on Chalobah but somehow the foul went Liverpool’s way while Chalobah required stitches after the game. The game headed into extra time with Chelsea having not been clinical in the final 3rd.

Extra time was all Chelsea and Liverpool looked tired. Lukaku scored a brilliant goal running in behind the Liverpool defence but it was ruled offside. When it went to VAR his whole body was onside and the goal should have stood but  VAR dubiously used his left arm as the marker to rule it offside. Havertz then scored another goal but he was offside. The game headed into penalties and all players scored their penalties except Kepa who’s shot went sky high. Liverpool won the cup.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Mendy was man of the match thanks to his stunning saves in the first half especially. It was a brilliant performance over the 119 odd minutes. Mendy had little to do for the final 45 or so minutes though. Kepa came on as planned but could not save Chelsea in penalties his time out. No blame was given to him because without him we wouldnt have reached the final in the first place. Just not his day this time.

Defenders

Chalobah had a tough time against Luis Diaz on the right hand side but managed it well none the less. Silva was amazing once again playing the whole game and converting his penalty. He made a stunning clearance during the game albeit it looked like Salah’s chip was going wide. Rudiger was his usual self. Azpilicueta and Alonso actually did quiet well throughout the game and both were a danger from the wing back positions. Alonso also kept Salah quiet. Reece James had to come on for Azpilicueta late on and he did well. It was good to see him back. A clean sheet on any other day and that is all you can ask from you defence.

Midfielders

Kante had a decent game in midfield. The physicality seemed to be getting to him at times but he was brilliant at other times. Kovacic was amazing and he did really well throughout the game. Jorginho came on late in the game helped control the tempo and retain possession for Chelsea. Mount was the main cause Chelsea lost the game. Two brilliant chances and he should have finished both of them. It happens though and there is no need to dwell on it. The finishin has to improve as a whole. 

Forwards 

Pulisic did well for much of the game and he played in a brilliant ball for Mount that should have been a goal. Pulisic himself missed a solid chance though. Havertz was very good throughout and continues his run of good form. Had the ball in the back of the net but was offside. Timo came on in the 2nd half and added pace in behind. Werner also had the ball in the back of the net but he was offside. Lukaku also came on and did well. The hold up play was better and he was more mobile. He scored a perfectly good goal which wrongly ruled offside and he drew a late save from Kelleher as well. Just were not clinical.

Manager

Tuchel would have been proud of that performance and the team did play really well. The manager coached a win and we would have won if we were not wasteful with our chances. As long as Tuchel is Chelsea manager though we will continue to get more chances at trophies.

Not our day and the luck was missing on the night. The finishing boots by some players were also left at home. Finishing has cost Chelsea dearly all season and it is something we have to improve on. Proud of the team though and if we continue to play like that and take our chances we should end the season strongly. Next up is a trip to Luton Town in the FA Cup 5th Round. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Preview

More cups!

FA Cup 5th Round

Peterborough vs. Man City

Peterborough beat QPR in the last round and sit bottom of the Championship. They have since drawn one and lost five. Man City beat Fulham 4-1 in the last round and sit top of the Premier League. They have since won four and lost one of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Man City. Anything else and it would be a massive shock. 

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City

Palace beat Hartlepool 2-0 in the last round and they sit 11th in the Premier League. Palace have since won one, drawn three, and lost one. Stoke beat Wigan 2-0 in the last round and sit 15th in the Championship. Stoke have won one, drawn two, and lost two since. Palace are the better team on paper and are at home so they should win this even if Stoke cause some problems. 

Middlesbrough vs. Tottenham

Middlesbrough beat United on penalties in the last round and sit 8th in the Championship. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Spurs sit 7th in the Premier League and beat Brighton 3-1 in the last round. They have since won two, and lost three of their games. With Tottenham away and the form that they are in this result could go either way. Spurs though are still favourites on paper.

Southampton vs. West Ham

An all Premier League clash as Southampton take on West Ham. Southampton sit 9th in the Premier League and beat Coventry City 2-1 in the last round. The Saints have since won three and drawn one of their games. West Ham sit 5th in the table and beat Kidderminster 1-2 in the last round. The Hammers have since won two and drawn two. Neither team is unbeaten in their last four but Southampton have won one more game. This should be an interesting game between two good teams and the result can go either way.

Liverpool vs. Norwich

The newly crowned Carabao Cup champions take on another cup as they welcome Norwich City in an all Premier League clash. Liverpool beat Cardiff 3-1 in the last round and have since won five and drawn one of their games. Norwich beat Wolves 0-1 in the last round and sit bottom of the table. Norwich have since drawn one and lost three of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Liverpool.

Everton vs. Boreham Wood

Everton beat Brentford 4-1 in the last round and sit 17th in the Premier League as they take on Boreham Wood. Everton have since won one and lost three of their games. Boreham Wood sit 3rd in the National League and beat Bournemouth 0-1 in the last round. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Everton are at home and even though Boreham Wood will give it their all Everton should win this game. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Leicester

Burnley sit 18th in the table as they take on Leicester who sit 13th. A win for Burnley would take them out of the relegation zone and into 15th in the table on goal difference with two games in hand remaining. A win for Leicester won’t mean much movement but it will take them closer to mid table with three games in hand remaining. A big game for both teams Burnley have only lost one of their last five games while Leicester have lost three and drawn two. One game to keep an eye on.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Valencia take on Bilbao with an aggregate score of 1-1. Betis take on Rayo Vallecano with an aggregate score of 2-1. The Valencia Bilbao game is finely poised and the result can go either way. Betis have a slight advantage but Vallecano are no pushovers and will give it a go. Any team can reach the final. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

Milan take on Inter, and Juventus travel to Fiorentina. Two very good games and neither team are clear favourites in their fixture. Milan and Inter are going though a rough patch at the moment while Juventus are inconsistent. Fiorentina are having a decent season. Who will take advantage in the 1st leg?

DFB Pokal Quarter-Final

Union Berlin take on St.Pauli, Hamburger take on Karlsruher, Leipzig travel to Hannover, and Bochum welcome Freiburg. Leipzig are the most high profiel team remaining in the cup. Freiburg are having a very good season though and so are Union Berlin. Anything can happen. 

Coupe De France Semi-Final

Nice take on Versailles, and Monaco travel to Nantes. Nice should beat Versailles and reach the final while Monaco and Nantes will be a more cagey affair. Nice will be favourites though with Monaco and Nantes being at a similar level this season. 

Weekend Football Review

Major movenement!

Premier League MW 27

Southampton 2 vs. 0 Norwich

Adams and Romeu scored for Southampton as the Saints ran out comfortable winners against Norwich. Southampton move up to 9th in the table while Norwich remain bottom of the table and five points from safety. 

Leeds 0 vs. 4 Tottenham

Doherty, Kulusevski, and Kane scored in the first half while Son scored in the 2nd as Tottenham bounced back and won comfortably at Leeds. Leeds dropped down to 16th wth the loss and it saw Bielsa sacked as a result of it. Jessy Marsch is lined up to take the helm but Leeds are truly in a relegation battle at the moment. Spurs move up to 7th with the win five poins from top four.

Brentford 0 vs. 2 Newcastle

Dasilva was sent off for Brentford in the 11th minute to give Newcastle a man advantage. Joelinton and Willock then added the goals as the Magpies won comfortably. A silver lining for Brentford and football in general was the comeback of Christian Eriksen. Brentford drop down to 15th and find themselves in a relegation battle while Newcastle jump up to 14th in the table with yet another win.

Crystal Palace 1 vs. 1 Burnley

Schlupp scored in the 9th minute to give Palace the lead but Milivojevic scored an own goal in the 46th minute to bring Burnley back into the game. Neither side could find the winner. Palace remain 11th in the table while Burnley remain 18th, one point from safety. 

Brighton 0 vs 2 Aston Villa

Cash scored in the 17th minute while Watkins scored in the 68th minute as Villa finally got a win after a run of poor results. Brighton drop down to 10th with a third successive loss while Villa move up to 12th with the win. 

Man United 0 vs. 0 Watford

United huffed and puffed but they couldn’t tear down Watford. So many missed chances for the home team and Watford were able to leave with a point. United remain 4th in the table two points above 5th while Watford remain 19th and three points from safety.

Everton 0 vs. 1 Man City

Foden scored in the 82nd minute due to a big mistake from Keane and then Rodri committed the most blatant hand ball you will ever see but no penalty was given as Everton were robbed of a point at home. Everton drop down to 17th in the table a point above the relegation zone while City remain top of the table six points clear of Liverpool who have a game in hand.

West Ham 1 vs. 0 Wolverhampton

Soucek scored in the only goal of the game in the 59th minute as West Ham got all three points in this important game. West Ham move into 5th in the table two points behind United while Wolves drop down to 8th in the table and seven points behind Man United. 

La Liga MW 26

Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 0-1, Atletico beat Celta Vigo 2-0, Villarreal beat Espanyol 5-1, Sevilla beat Betis 2-1, Real Sociedad beat Osasuna 1-0, and Barcelona beat Bilbao 4-0. Real Madrid reman six points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla behind them. Betis are the only team to lose in the top seven as they see their gap to 4th cut down to one point. Barcelona sit 4th with Atletico 5th, and Villarreal 6th in the table. The title race is not over but Real Madrid have regained form in recent weeks. The top four race is also alive and running with five teams vying for two spots. An interesting season in Spain. 

Serie MW 27

Milan drew with Udinese 1-1, Inter drew with Genoa 0-0, Juventus beat Empoli 2-3, Roma beat Spezia 0-1, Napoli beat Lazio 1-2, and Atalanta are yet to play. Napoli go top of the tabel on goal difference as the Milanese teams continue to drop points. Milan sit 2nd and Inter 3rd. Juventus sit five poins behind Inter in 4th. Atalanta sit 5th and a win would take them to within three points of Juventus. Roma move up to 6th while Lazio sit 7th. A close race at the top while Juventus have a good buffer from 5th at the moment. Anything can happen but it is advantage Napoli for now.

Bundesliga MW 24

Hoffenheim beat Stuttgart 2-1, Leverkusen beat Arminia 3-0, Bayern beat Frankfurt 0-1, Leipzig beat Bochum 0-1, and Dortmund drew with Augsburg 1-1. Bayern go eight points clear at the top of the table as Dortmund drop points. Leverkusen and Leipzig make up the top four. Bayern as I have said are their own worst enemy and this weekend they returned to winning ways and created a bigger gap. Not much to look at in Germany.

Ligue MW 26

Nice drew with Strasbourg 0-0, PSG beat St.Etienne 3-1, Reims beat Monaco 1-2, Marseille drew with Troyes 1-1, and Lille beat Lyon 0-1. PSG go 15 points clear at the top of the table with Marseille, Nice, and Rennes making up the top four. Lille, Monaco, and Lyon sit 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. Ligue 1 just a formality at this point. 

Chelsea vs. Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Preview

Another chance to win a trophy!

Chelsea take on Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup Final. Liverpool last won the league cup in 2012 when they beat Cardiff City on penalties. Klopp himself has not won a domestic cup since taking over as Liverpool boss. Liverpool beat Norwich, Preston, Leicester, and Arsenal to reach the final and are currently on a 9 game winning run in all competitions albeit not having played particularly great in many of those games. The acquisiton of Luis Diaz has added more depth up front and Liverpool do go into this game as the favourites. 

Chelsea last won the League Cup in 2015 beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final. Since then the club have reached the final the last being in 2019 under Sarri eventually losing on penalties to Manchester City. Chelsea beat Aston Villa, Southampton, Brentford, and Tottenham to reach the final. An all Premier League route. At the moment Chelsea are on a six game winning run in all competitions. Chelsea already have the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup to their name this season. The team and Tuchel have fallen a bit behind City and Liverpool in the title race but remain active in all competitions this season. The previous two meetings against Liverpool this season have end in score draws. The last one came recently in January when Liverpool took a 2-0 lead but Chelsea came back 2-2 before half time. Chelsea go into this game with some confidence in the team once again after what has been a dire winter period. Not many lossess but several draws which have cost the team. 

Chelsea Team Preview

The only player out injured is Ben Chilwell but everyone is back involved in training now which will be a relief to Tuchel. The first big debate for the lineup comes in goal. Kepa has been involved in all the cup games so far but Mendy is back and did also play in the Club World Cup final. Kepa deserves to start but Mendy is the better goalkeeper while the game is going on. Mostly due to his range of saves. Whatever decision Tuchel makes will be followed but I would go with Mendy in goal and bring in Kepa if the game goes to penalties. Chelsea should return to a back three for this game with Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger making it up. Reece James is back and in Tuchel’s words has been brilliant in training. I would start him at right wing back with Azpilicueta shifting to left wing back. Kante, and Kovacic should form the midfield. The front three is another big question. Pulisic should start given he impressed against Lille and against Liverpool earlies this year. Havertz has done very well and should also start. Mount is back training but Ziyech is in form. I would go with Mount for this game just because he can bring that extra energy to the press. There will be plenty of space in behind and Werner could also be an assest from the bench if need be. Ziyech would be perfectly fine though. Lukaku should come off the bench. A strong lineup regardless.

Liverpool Team Preview

Liverpool have a fully fit squad as well bar Firmino who is out injured. Liverpool’s lineup is a bit less speculative. Alisson will be in goal with a back four of Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson. Thiago, Henderson, and Fabinho should start in midfield with a front three of Salah, Jota, and Mane. If Jota is not fit enough to start then Mane will play up top with Diaz coming in from the left. We all know what to expect from Liverpool and its front three. The defence has been a bit shaky this season and Van Dijk has not really come back all guns blazing. A strong lineup either way.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea and Liverpool have a history and the games are always feisty. Add on top of that the whole Klopp, Tuchel debate and its a good narrative for a final. Liverpool are favourites but Chelsea like to be the underdogs. It’s going to be a very interesting game but its all about taking the chances. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

Races on all fronts!

Premier League MW 27

Southampton vs. Norwich

10th placed Southampton are unbeaten in their last four as they take on Norwich who sit bottom of the table and five points from safety. Southampton have one game in hand while Norwich also have one game in hand. Norwich are trying to survive in the league but it does look like they will go down once again. Norwich won the reverse fixture 2-1. The result can go either way but Southampton will be favourites.

Leeds vs. Tottenham

15th placed Leeds take on 8th placed Tottenham with both teams under massive pressure. Leeds have one game in hand and sit only three points above the relegation zone while Spurs have two games in hand and sit seven points from top four. Spurs have lost four of their last five while Leeds have done the same. Two teams in need of a win the result could go either way. Spurs won the reverse fixture 2-1. 

Brentford vs. Newcastle

14th placed Brentford take on 17th placed Newcastle with only two points separating the teams. Brentford are one of those clubs which are in a relegation scrap as well with the gap minimal at this point. Brentford have no games in hand while Newcastle have two games in hand. Brentford have lost four of their last five while Newcastle are unbeaten in their last five. Massive pressure on Brentford while Newcastle are in a period of good form. The reverse fixture was a 3-3 draw. 

Crystal Palace vs. Burnley

Palace sit 11th as they take on Burnley who sit 18th in the table. Palace have no games in hand while Burnley have three games in hand. Burnley are in a period of good form having only lost one of their last five while Palace finally managed to win when they beat Watford. No pressure on Palace but Burnley are the ones chasing survival. A big game for the away team. The reverse fixture ended in a 3-3 draw. 

Brighton vs. Aston Villa

9th placed Brighton have lost their last two as they take on Villa who sit 13th and have also lost their last two. Two teams in identical form with Brighton having one game in hand while Villa have two. The result can go either way. Villa won the reverse fixture 2-0.

Man United vs. Watford

Man United sit 4th in the table a point clear of 5th as they take on Watford who sit 19th in the table. Man United have not been playing well but they have faced favourable fixtures and got decent results. This is the final relatively easy game before a run of tough fixtures. Watford have one game in hand and are fighting for survival but United should win this. Watford won the reverse fixture 4-1. 

Everton vs. Man City

16th placed Everton have three games in hand as they take on City who lead the league by three points. Everton and Lampard need to return to winning ways but after City lost last weekend they will face a tough test. With Liverpool not playing this weekend City can create a six point gap even though Liverpool will have a game in hand. A massive game for both teams. City will be favourites. City won the reverse fixture 3-0. 

West Ham vs. Wolverhampton

West Ham sit 6th in the table and have only won one game in their last five as they take on Wolves who sit 7th in the table with a game in hand. Both teams are still fighting for 4th but have no advantage now. Both teams need a win as well. Wolves won the reverse fixture 1-0. 

La Liga MW 26

Real Madrid travel to Rayo Vallecano, Atletico take on Celta Vigo, Villarreal take on Espanyol, Sevilla welcome Real Betis, Real Sociedad welcome Osasuna, and Barcelona take on Bilbao. Real Madrid sit 6 points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona making up the top four. Atletico sit 6th in the table. Some massive games this weekend with Real Madrid potentially increasing their gap if results go their way. One to keep an eye on.

Serie MW 27

Milan take on Udinese, Genoa welcome Inter, Juventus travel to Empoli, Roma travel to Spezia, Lazio take on Napoli, and Atalanta take on Sampdoria. Milan sit 2 points clear of Inter and Napoli while Juventus sit 4th. Atalanta sit 5th in the table. Lazio sit 6th. Roma sit 8th. The title race could take some more turns this weekend with some teams facing tough opposition. 

Bundesliga MW 24

Hoffenheim take on Stuttgart, Leverkusen take on Arminia, Bayern travel to Frankfurt, Leipzig travel to Bochum, and Dortmund travel to Augsburg. Bayern sit six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and all the other teams can do is hope they drop more points. That does not seem likely though and it is more or less a race for the other places. 

Ligue MW 26

Nice travel to Strasbourg, PSG take on St.Etienne, Monaco take on Reims, Marseille travel to Troyes, and Lyon welcome Lille. PSG sit 13 points clear and the title is all but over. Marseille, Nice, and Strasbourg make up the top four. Monaco sit 6th and Lyon sit 8th. Some interesting fixtures in terms of the top four race but other than that not much to fight for. 

Midweek Football Review

An interesting week of results!

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Villarreal 1 vs. 1 Juventus

Vlahovic scored in the 1st minute to give Juventus the lead but Parejo equalised for Villarreal in the 66th minute. Neither side could find the winner as the game ended in a draw. Anyone can go through in the 2nd leg but Juventus will be favourites given the home advantage and no away goals. 

Atletico Madrid 1 vs. 1 Man United

Felix scored in the 7th minute and Atletico dominated the whole game and should have scored several more but the finishing was abysmal. United managed to equalise in the 80th minute thanks to Elanga. The 2nd leg is a free for all but United will have to play way better than they did in this game. Atletico will need to stay strong defensively and take their chances. All to play for.

Benfica 2 vs. 2 Ajax

Tadic scored in the 18th minute to give Ajax the lead but Benfica equalised through a Haller own goal in the 26th minute. Haller restored Ajax’s lead in the 29th minute but Yaremchuk equalised for Benfica in the 72nd minute. Another draw and neither side is able to take advantage. All to play for in the 2nd leg but Ajax will have the home advantage.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley 1 vs. 0 Tottenham

After the high of beating Man City, Tottenham’s world came crashing down as Burnley beat them thanks to a Mee goal in the 71st minute. Tottenham had several chances but were not clinical. Burnley remain 18th in the table but only two points from safety now. Tottenham remain 8th in the table and seven points from top four with four losses in their last five games. Conte especially looked shocked after the game and it all seems to be crashing already. 

Watford 1 vs. 4 Crystal Palace

Mateta scored in the 15th minute to give Palace the lead but Sissoko equalised for Watford in the 18th minute. Gallagher restored Palace’s lead in the 42nd minute and Zaha got two goals late in the game to seal a big win for Palace. Watford drop down to 19th in the table four points from safety and it is looking like they will be going down this season. Palace finally win a game and move up to 11th in the table. 

Liverpool 6 vs. 0 Leeds

Salah got two penalties, Mane got a double, and Matip along with Van Dijk added the rest as Liverpool ran out comfortable winners against Leeds. Liverpool did not play particularly well but Leeds given the way they play are always open to conceding goals. Liverpool remain 2nd but cut the gap to the top to three points. Leeds remain 15th but only three points above the relegation zone as relegation becomes a real threat for them.

Arsenal 2 vs. 1 Wolverhampton

Hwang gave Wolves the lead in the 10th minute but Arsenal mounted a late comeback. Pepe equalised for Arsenal in the 82nd minute and Sa scored an own goal in the 95th minute to give Arsenal a massive win. Arsenal move up to 5th in the table now only a point behind Man United. Wolves remain 7th in the table six points from top four. 

Midweek Football Preview

Champions League time once again!

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Villarreal vs. Juventus

Villarreal sit 6th in La Liga as they take on Juventus who sit 4th in Serie A. Villarreal have won 8, drawn 2 and lost 2 of their games since the group stage. Juventus have won 7, drawn 5, and lost 1. Two teams in similar form going into this game. Neither team is touted to go far in the Champions League this season and I doubt Villarreal will fear this Juventus team. This fixture could go either way. 

Atletico Madrid vs. Man United

Atletico sit 5th in La Liga as they take on Man United who sit 4th in the Premier League. Atletico have won 5, drawn 1, and lost 7 of their games since the group stage. United have won 7, drawn 4, and lost 2 of their games. It is safe to say that Man United are the team in better form while Atletico have been inconsistent at best. Ronaldo loves playing against Atletico and United have a good chance of going though, Atletico though might turn it up for these fixtures. The result can go either way but Man United will be favourites. 

Benfica vs. Ajax

Benfica sit 3rd in the Primeira Liga as they take on Ajax who sit top of the Eredivisie. Benfica have won 8, drawn 2, and lost 4 while Ajax have won 10 and lost 1 of their fixtures. On form it should be a win for Ajax who have looked rampant in Europe and domestically this season. Benfica can ofcourse cause problems and have talented players but over two legs I think Ajax should go through.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Tottenham

18th placed Burnley take on 8th placed Tottenham as teams play their games in hand. Burnley have only lost one of their last five games and look in good form while Spurs have won two of their last five games having lost three. It would be typical Spurs to beat City and then drop points against Burnley who will be a completely different test. Burnley would still have three games in hand and a win would take them into 18th and two points from safety. Spurs would have two games in hand and a win would take them into 7th. Big game for both teams.

Watford vs. Crystal Palace

18th placed Watford take on 13th placed Crystal Palace. Watford finally managed to win at the weekend and would have one game in hand post this fixture. A win would see them remain 18th but a point from safety. Palace have not won a game in a while and this is their only game in hand. A win would see them move up to 11th in the table though. It is a London Derby and both teams need a win, Watford for survival hopes and Palace for morale. The result can go either way.

Liverpool vs. Leeds

Liverpool sit 2nd while Leeds sit 15th in the table as the two go head to head. This is Liverpool’s only game in hand for now and a win would take them to within three points of Man City and 10 points clear of Chelsea. Leeds would have one game in hand remaining and a win would take them into 14th. Leeds have lost three of their last five games and Liverpool are rampant. Liverpool should win this game comfortably. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 0-3. 

Arsenal vs. Wolverhampton

6th placed Arsenal take on 7th placed Wolves in a big game for European places. Arsenal would have two games in hand remaining after this game and a win would take them into 5th and a point behind Man United. Wolves would have one game in hand remaining after this game and a win would take them into 5th and 3 points from 4th. A big game for both teams and the result can go either way. Arsenal won the reverse fixture 0-1. 

Weekend Football Review

The title race is back!

Premier League MW 26

West Ham 1 vs. 1 Newcastle

Dawson scored in the 32nd minute to give West Ham the lead but Willock equalised right before half time to bring Newcastle back into the game. Neither side could find the winner in the 2nd half. West Ham remain 5th in the table four points from top four while Newcastle remain 17th but four points clear of the relegation zone. A good point for Newcastle but not for West Ham. 

Arsenal 2 vs. 1 Brentford

Smith Rowe and Saka scored in the 2nd half to give Arsenal a two goal lead and Brentford got a consolation goal through Norgaard in the 93rd minute as Arsenal sealed all three points. Arsenal remain 6th in the table four points from top four while Brentford remain 14th in the table but risk falling into a relegation race.

Brighton 0 vs. 3 Burnley

Weghorst and Brownhill scored in the 1st half while Lennon added a 3rd in the 2nd half as Burnley ran out surprise winners at Brighton. Brighton remain 9th in the table while Burnley move into 19th and five points from the relegation zone. Dyche is beginning to get the survival bid rolling for Burnley once again. 

Liverpool 3 vs. 1 Norwich

Norwich took the lead in this game in the 48th minute as Rashica scored to make it 0-1 for the canaries. It only served to wake Liverpool up as Mane, Salah, and Diaz all scored to seal the comeback and win for the home team. Liverpool remain 2nd in the table seven points clear of Chelsea but now only six points behind Man City as the title race gets reignited. 

Southampton 2 vs. 0 Everton

Armstrong and Long scored in the 2nd half for Southampton as they ran out winners against Everton. Southampton remain 10th in the table with the win while Everton remain 16th four points above the relegation zone. A 2nd loss in thre games for Lampard as goes through a rough start at his new club.

Aston Villa 0 vs. 1 Watford

Dennis scored in the 78th minute as Watford got a big win against Villa. Villa remain 12th in the table but now only have one win in their last five as Gerrard’s honeymoon period seems to be over. Watford move into 18th in the table and four points from safety as they try and survive this season.

Man City 2 vs. 3 Tottenham

The game that reignited the title race. Kulusevski gave Spurs the lead in the 4th minute to shock the fans inside the stadium. Gundogan equalised in the 33rd minute and it looked like City would run rampant. Kane though restored Spurs lead in the 59th minute. It looked like Spurs would hold on for a win but fortune struck City as they were awarded a penaly in the 92nd minute. Mahrez converted to equalise for City. Kane had other plans in mind though as he scored the winner in the 95th minute. City remain top of the table but see their lead cut down to six points. Spurs remain 8th in the table seven points from 4th as they get a big win and end their losing run.

Leeds 2 vs. 4 Man United

Maguire and Fernandes scored in the first half to give United a 0-2 lead. In typical United fashion though they conceded two goals in the 53rd and 54th minute to see Leeds come back into the game. Leeds open as they are though lost the game thanks to goals from Fred and Elanga. Leeds remain 15th in the table with the loss while United remain 4th and four points above 5th. It was a big win for United given their upcoming games. 

Wolverhampton 2 vs. 1 Leicester

Neves scored in the 9th minute to give Wolves the lead. Lookman equalised for Leicester before half time but Podence scored the winner for Wolves in the 66th minute. Wolves remain 7th in the table six points off of 4th and in the hunt for European places while Leicester remain 11th and suffer yet another loss with Rodgers going through a very tough period. 

La Liga MW 25

Villarreal beat Granada 1-4, Atletico beat Osasuna 0-3, Real Madrid beat Alaves 3-0, Sevilla drew with Espanyol 1-1, Barcelona beat Valencia 1-4 with Aubameyang scoring a hattrick, Betis beat Mallorca 2-1, and Bilbao beat Sociedad 4-0. No surprises this weekend with Sevilla being the only team who dropped points. Real remain six points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona making up the top four. Atletico, Villarreal, Sociedad, and Bilbao make up the teams behind them. An interesting race for sure no slip ups this weekend.

Serie MW 26

Juventus drew with Torino 1-1, Roma drew with Verona 2-2, Milan drew with Salernitana 2-2, Fiorentina beat Atalanta 1-0, Sassuolo beat Inter 0-2, Lazio drew with Udinese 1-1, and Napoli play on Monday night. Milan remain two points clear at the top of the table with Inter, Napoli and Juventus making up the top four. Napoli can go top on goal difference if they win their game tonight. Atalanta, Lazio, Fiorentina, and Roma make up the teams outside the top four. Mourinho has alot of work to do at Roma. The title race is going well in Italy it will be interesting to see whether Napoli take advantage.

Bundesliga MW 23

Mainz beat Leverkusen 3-2, Hoffenheim beat Wolfsburg 1-2, Koln beat Frankfurt 1-0, Bayern beat Furth 4-1 after conceding first, Dortmund beat Monchengladbach 6-0, and Leipzig beat Hertha Berlin 1-6. Bayern remain six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with Dormtund, Leverkusen, and Leipzig making up the top four. Hoffenheim sit 5th in the table. The title race still exists in Germany but the teams behind Bayern will hope that the reigning champions slip up a few more times. 

Ligue MW 25

Lille drew with Metz 0-0, Lyon drew with Lens 1-1, Nantes beat PSG 3-1, Nice beat Angers 1-0, Monaco drew with Bordeaux 1-1, and Clermont beat Marseille 0-2. PSG remain 13 points clear at the top as Marseille failed to take advantage. Nice and Strasbourg make up the top four. Rennes, and Monaco sit 5th and 6th with Lyon 8th. PSG are going though a rough patch but the teams around them are equally poor and so no one took advantage. Nice did cut the gap to 14 points from the top but that is a sizeable margin.

Crystal Palace 0 vs. 1 Chelsea MW 26 Review

Big win given the circumstances!

Chelsea travelled to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon to play Crystal Palace for MW 26 of the Premier League season. Palace had drawn their last two games and had not won in any of their last few. Tuchel selected a strong lineup with Mendy in goal and a back four of Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, and Sarr. Kante and Jorginho made up the midfield with Havertz, Pulisic, and Ziyech playing behind Lukaku up top. A strong lineup and one which many expected would score some goals. 

The game was a stop start one and end to end. Chelsea had two good chances in the first half with Kante and Pulisic going close. Rudiger forced Guaita into a fine save from long range. The 2nd half saw Chelsea drop off and as the game went on Palace gained momentum. The Eagles still failed to register a shot on target as Chelsea’s defence stayed strong. Chelsea scored a late goal after Kovacic played through Lukaku who’s shot deflected into the path of Ziyech but Lukaku was offside. The game looked like it was heading for a draw but Alonso delivered a good cross to the far post and Ziyech pulled in behind to volley it past Butland to give Chelsea all three points. A smash and grab performance but with Liverpool winning and City losing it was important Chelsea did not drop points. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

A clean sheet return for Mendy and he had nothing to do for much of the game. No shots on target for Palace but there were some nearly there shots. This is clean sheet no 9 for Mendy in the league this season and hopefully many more are to come.

Defenders

A clean sheet for the back four this time. We were essentially playing four centre backs with Christensen, and Sarr playing as makeshift full backs. They did a decent job but there was very little attacking threat. Sarr did put a good ball in which Kante should have scored. Silva, and Rudiger were solid as usual. Alonso came on in the 2nd half and delivered the assist that got Ziyech the winner. An overall good performance.

Midfielders

Kante, and Jorginho were not required in this game as we had majority of the possession. Kante is wasted in forward areas because attacking is not his game. It wasn’t a great outing. Kovacic had an instant impact when he came on as he started to play balls through the middle of the pitch. Loftus-Cheek also came on and had a decent impact but he was returning from injury.

Forwards

Another night to forget for the attack. Pulisic was good in the first half but playing as an attacking midfielder he didn’t enjoy the same freedom he would have on the wing. Havertz did a good job overall as he worked hard off the ball and was phyiscal in his challenged. Lukaku was extremely poor and only had SEVEN touches over the whole game. I don’t care whether it’s the system or the players no one should only register seven touches and Tuchel was visibly frustrated with him. Ziyech was the only silverlining as he was a constant threat down the right hand side again. A game winning goal on two occasions and he continues to step up. 

Manager

Tuchel said that the team was jet lagged and a few of the players were suffering from a cold. He said he was not expecting too much from the team in this game having played two extra time games over the last few weeks. All Tuchel will care about is the three points from this result but he would not have liked how little some players offered to the team.

Chelsea remain 3rd in the table with the win seven points behind Liverpool and 13 behind Man City with a game in hand over them. All Chelsea can do at this stage is go on a run and take it one game at a time. Next up is a visit by reigning French Champions Lille in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea MW 26 Preview

A return to Premier League action!

Chelsea sit 3rd in the table with a game in hand as they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Palace 13th in the table with a game in hand and have drawn three and lost two of their games. Palace have had a decent first season under Vieira playing some exciting attacking football with young players. Chelsea won the reverse fixture 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and will be hoping to do the same in this game.

It’s been more than 20 days since Chelsea played Tottenham in their last Premier League game. Since then there has been an international break and Chelsea have been crowned World Champions. The time away from the Premier League sees Chelsea sitting 16 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Chelsea are also seven points behind Liverpool and only four points ahead of Manchester United. In the pre match conference Tuchel said that the main aim for right now is to build their gap from 4th and then reassess at the end of the season. Chelsea will not want to get dragged back into a top four race and there is still a slight small chance that they can cut the gap to the top albeit not win the league. The essential goal still remains to finish in the top three and within single digits of whoever wins. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea are still without Reece James, and Ben Chilwell. James should return to training next week. Mason Mount is also out with an ankle injury but Chelsea are hoping he is back next week. Mendy should start in goal with a back four of Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Silva, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho should start in midfield with Pulisic, and Ziyech as the wingers and Havertz and Lukaku up top. Chelsea coud play with a back three as well but I think the back four is bringing out the best in players like Ziyech at the moment. Pulisic deserves a run as a winger as well while Havertz and Lukaku have shown that they can build some sort of partnership up front. Regardless Chelsea should have a strong XI on the pitch and strong subs on the bench. Ruben is also back for this game.

Crystal Palace Team Preview

Palace will be without Gallagher who cannot play against parent club Chelsea. Gallagher has been a big player for Palace and is already lined up to make an impact at Chelsea next season. Guehi has done well at centre back for Palace and is a mainstay for them. Guaita should start in goal with a back four of Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, and Ward. Schlupp, Hughes, and McArthur should start in midfield. Zaha, Edouard, and Ayew should start up front for Palace. Players like Olise, and Eze can provide plenty of threat with their pace and creativity of the bench or if they start. Benteke, and Mateta are also available. It’s a good team with plenty of pace and there is always a threat.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea return to the bread and butter on Saturday. The problems for Chelsea remain that the players are not clinical enough but hopefully the Club World Cup win is the boost they need. Lukaku scored two and maybe it can spur him on. Chelsea will have to be clinical and tight at the back. COME ON CHELSEA!!!