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

IMG_2615

IMG_2616

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!!!

Weekend Football Preview

Some big games this weekend!

Premier League MW 26

West Ham vs. Newcastle

West Ham sit 5th in the table with no games in hand as they take on Newcastle who sit 17th in the table with two games in hand. Newcastle have won their last three games in a row and are unbeaten in their last five. West Ham have only won two of their last five games. West Ham are at a risk of losing ground in the top four race and Newcastle are in good form at the moment. It’s an interesting game for sure. West Ham won the reverse fixture 2-4. 

Arsenal vs. Brentford

A London Derby as 6th placed Arsenal have three games in hand and sit four points behind United who sit 4th. Brentford sit 14th in the table with no games in hand and ended their losing streak last weekend with a draw. Arsenal should win this game but Brentford need to start winning if they want to not get dragged into a relegation battle. Brentford won the reverse fixture 2-0. 

Brighton vs. Burnley

9th placed Brighton have one game in hand as they take on Burnley who sit bottom of the league and have four games in hand. Burnley sit seven points from safety and lost last weekend. Brighton only have one win in their last five games but also only one loss. An interesting game both teams will want to win it. Brighton won the reverse fixture 1-2. 

Liverpool vs. Norwich

Liverpool sit 2nd in the table having won their last four, with one game in hand and sitting 9 points behind Man City. Norwich sit 18th in the table with one game in hand and four points from safety. This should be a straight forward win for Liverpool. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 0-3. 

Southampton vs. Everton

Southampton sit 10th in the table with one game in hand with one loss in their last five games. Everton sit 16th in the table with three games in hand and finally ended their losing streak as Lampard got his first win last weekend. It’s a big game for Everton in terms of the relegation race while Southampton will want to try and get into Europe. An exciting game expected. Everton beat Southampton 3-1 in the reverse fixture.

Aston Villa vs. Watford

12th placed Villa only have one win in their last five games and have two games in hand as they take on Watford who sit 19th in the table with no wins and two games in hand. Villa need to win this game as Gerrad goes through a slight slump while the pressure is on Watford in every game. Watford beat Villa 3-2 in the reverse fixture. 

Man City vs. Tottenham

City sit 9 points clear at the top with no games in hand having won four of their last five as they take on Spurs who sit 8th with three games in hand and having lost their last three. I would love to say that Spurs could make this game interesting and City could drop points but there is very litte chance of that happening. City should win this game and Conte will have lost four in a row. If Spurs get something out of this game it would be a great point or three for them. Spurs won the reverse fixture 1-0. 

Leeds vs. Man United

Leeds sit 15th in the table and have not won any of their last three games having two games in hand. United sit 4th with no games in hand and are unbeaten in their last five. This should be a straight forward win for United as they usually beat Leeds. United won the reverse fixture 5-1. 

Wolverhampton vs. Leicester

Wolves sit 7th in the table with two games in hand and have lost only one of their last five games. Leicester sit 11th in the table with three games in hand but only have one win in their last five games. Two teams on the opposite sides of the form spectrum. In current form Wolves should win this game and the pressure is on Leicester to perform. Leicester won the reverse fixture 1-0. 

La Liga MW 25

Villarreal travel to Granada, Atletico travel to Osasuna, Real Madrid take on Alaves, Sevilla travel to Espanyol, Barceloan travel to Valencia, Betis take on Mallorca, and Real Sociedad travel to Bilbao. Real Madrid sit four points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis and Barcelona making up the top four. Atletico, Sociedad, Villarreal, make up the teams behind them. The race is heating up and Real Madrid are going through a slump in form at the moment. It will be interesting to see if their are more slip ups. 

Serie MW 26

Juventus take on Torino in a derby, Roma take on Verona, Milan travel to Salernitana, Atalanta travel to Fiorentina, Inter take on Sassuolo, Lazio travel to Udinese, and Napoli travel to Cagliari. Milan sit at the top a point clear of Inter but Inter have a game in hand. Napoli and Juventus make up the top four. A
Atalanta, Lazio, and Roma make up the teams behind them. Another very close and interesting race, and it’s a weekend where there could be some slip ups. 

Bundesliga MW 23

Leverkusen travel to Mainz, Wolfsburg take on Hoffenheim, Frankfurt travel to Koln, Bayern take on Furth, Dortmund take on Monchengladbach, and Leipzig travel to Hertha Berlin. Bayern sit six points clear at the top of the table with Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Leipzig making up the top four. Bayern and Dortmund are going though a slump in form at the moment but Bayern should still remain clear in this race. 

Ligue MW 25

Lille take on Metz, Lyon travel to Lens, PSG travel to Nantes, Nice take on Angers, Monaco travel to Bordeaux, and Marseille take on Clermont. PSG sit 13 points clear with Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg making up the top four. Monaco, and Lyon are playing catch up. The title race is over in this league but the rest are trying to get into the Champions League places. 

Midweek Football Review

Straightforward results.

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Paris Saint Germain 1 vs. 0 Real Madrid

No away goals meant that Real Madird set up to defend in this game. It was a poor performance from the away team and PSG were a threat throughout. The winner came in the 94th minute as Mbappe scored to give PSG the advantage. Mbappe will probably be heading to Madrid in the summer but right now he is making it count for PSG.

Sporting Lisbon 0 vs. 5 Man City

Mahrez, Silva, and a Foden double meant that City were 0-4 up at half time against Lisbon. Sterling scored in the 58th minute to make it five and send them through to the next round. The 2nd leg is just a formality now as City seal a place in the quarter-finals. 

RB Salzburg 1 vs. 1 Bayern Munich

Adamu scored in the 21st minute to give Salzburg the lead. It looked like they were heading for a win but Bayern equalised in the final moments thanks to a goal from Coman. Bayern were no where near their best and Salzburg did well. I still think Bayern should seal the win in the 2nd leg. 

Inter Milan 0 vs. 2 Liverpool

This was a very close game and Inter had several chances to give themselves the lead but Liverpool held on at the San Siro. Firmino then scored in the 75th minute to give Liverpool the lead and Salah made it two in the 83rd minute. Liverpool should now go through regardless of the 2nd leg as Inter failed to make the most of their chances. 

Premier League (Game in hand)

Man United 2 vs. 0 Brighton

Solksjaer was back in the dugout spiritually as United gave a performance that would make him proud and against all odds got three points. Brighton were the better team throughout but failed to take chances and United through moments won the game. Ronaldo scored a brilliant goal in the 51st minute and Dunk was sent off for Brighton in the 54th minute. Brighton still dominated but Fernandes scored in the 97th minute to seal the deal. United move back into 4th with the win two points ahead of West Ham. Brighton remain 9th in the table with the loss.

La Liga (Game in hand)

Levante scored in the the 54th minute thanks to Melero and beat Atletico 0-1 in what was a surprise result in Spain. Atletico remain 5th in the league and fail to take their chances while Levante remain bottom and 10 points from safety. 

Midweek Football Preview

THE CHAMPIONS!!!

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Paris Saint Germain vs. Real Madrid

One of the standout fixtures of this round as PSG take on Real Madrid. PSG have won seven drawn two and lost one of their games since their last group stage game. Real Madrid have won eight, drawn three, and lost two of their games. A pretty similar track record as both teams lead their respective leagues as well. PSG I feel are flattering to decieve at the moment sitting 13 points clear in Ligue 1 while Real have entered 2022 in inconsistent form. There are no away goals so it should encourage teams to go all out in both legs. This is what Messi was bought for and he has been in good form recently. It will be a very interesting game but over two legs I think Real Madrid will beat PSG. 

Sporting Lisbon vs. Man City

Sporting sit 2nd in the Portguese league as they take on Premier League leaders Man City. Sporting have won 11, drawn one, and lost two of their games. Man City have won 11, and drawn one of their games. City are the clear favourties without a doubt and they should progress easily over two legs. Sporting always stand a chance but I doubt they get anything over two legs. 

RB Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich

Austrian leaders RB Salzburg take on German leaders Bayern Munich in this fixture. RB have won six, and lost one of their games since the group stage while Bayern have won six and lost two of their games since the group stage. Similar to Man City I doubt Bayern Munich will face any problems over two legs against Salzburg. Bayern have not started the new year in great form having lost two games but overall they will have enough. Salzburg have nothing to lose and should go for it. 

Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

Inter sit 2nd in Serie A as they take on Liverpool who sit 2nd in the Premier League. Inter have won eight, drawn two and lost one of their games since the group stage while Liverpool have won ten, drawn three, and lost one of their games. More or less two evenly matched teams but of course Liverpool being the Premier League team are favoured in this fixture. I don’t think it’s going to be that simple and I think Inter have a case to upset the odds in this round. Inter will have to be strong defensively and take their chances. The result can go either way and Liverpool are the favourites but I think Inter could cause a shock over two legs. 

Premier League (Game in hand)

Man United vs. Brighton

Man United play their game in hand with Brighton during the week. United sit 5th in the table and a win would take them into 4th two points above West Ham. Brighton sit 9th in the table and a win could potentially take them up to 8th and within four points of United. Both teams are unbeaten in their last five fixtures with two wins and three draws. United are for sure the team under pressure at the moment and the result can go either way. Brighton have done well against the traditional top six this season. I think Brighton can get something out of this game.

La Liga (Game in hand)

Atletico take on Levante as they play their game in hand. A win for Atletico would take them into 4th above Barcelona and a point behind 3rd placed Betis. Levante sit bottom of the table and it should be an easy win for Atletico. 

Weekend Football Review

No one wants 4th!

Premier League MW 25

Man United 1 vs. 1 Southampton

Sancho scored in the 21st minute of the game to give United the lead. In typical Unitd fashion though they conceded in the 48th minute to a Che Adams goal. Southampton were the better team in the 2nd half but could not find the winner. United move up to 5th in the table with the point while Southampton remain 10th in the table. 

Watford 0 vs. 2 Brighton

Maupay scored in the 44th minute to give Brighton the lead and Webster scored in the 83rd minute to double that lead. Watford remain 19th in the table six points from safety while Brighton remain 9th in the table. 

Brentford 0 vs. 0 Crystal Palace

Neither team could find the winner in this game as they shared the points. Brentford end a run of losses to remain 14th in the table while Palace remain 13th in the table. 

Everton 3 vs. 0 Leeds

Coleman and Keane scored in the 1st half while Gordon scored in the 78th minute to give Everton an important win against Leeds at home. Lampard’s first league win as Everton manager sees them remain 16th but five points clear of the relegation zone. Leeds remain 15th in the table with the loss. 

Norwich 0 vs. 4 Man City

Sterling scored a hattrick of goals while Foden added the 4th as City cruised to a comfortable win over Norwich. Norwich remain 18th in the table four points from safety while City maintain their nine point lead at the top of the table. 

Tottenham 0 vs. 2 Wolverhampton

Jimenez, and Dendoncker scored in the first half for Wolves and it was enough to see them get a big win against Spurs. This is the the third successive loss for Spurs and Conte was livid and it seemed in shock at full time. Spurs drop down to 8th with the loss. Wolves move into 7th with the win as they chase those European places. 

Newcastle 1 vs. 0 Aston Villa

A free kick by Trippier in the 35th minute was enough to see Newcastle get three more massive points in the race for survival. Newcastle remain 17th but now four points clear of the relegation zone while Villa drop down to 12th with the loss. 

Burnley 0 vs. 1 Liverpool

Fabinho scored the only goal of the game in the 40th minute as Liverpool got a tough win at Burnley. Liverpool remain 2nd in the table nine points behind City but now seven points clear of Chelsea. Burnley remain bottom of the table seven points from safety. 

Leicester 2 vs. 2 West Ham

Bowen scored in the 10th minute to give West Ham the lead. Tielemans equalised for Leicester via a penalty in the 45th minute. Pereira gave Leicester the lead in the 57th minute. It looked like Leicester would get a massive win but Dawson scored from a corner via his arm and VAR failed to catch that as West Ham managed to steal a point. Leicester move up one place into 11th while West Ham remain 4th in the table. 

La Liga MW 24

Sevilla beat Elche 2-0, Villarreal drew 0-0 with Real Madrid, Atletico beat Getafe 4-3 in a crazy game, Real Sociedad beat Granada 2-0, and Barcelona drew with Espanyol 2-2. Real Madrid see their lead at the top cut down to four points while Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona make up the top four. Atletico are level on points with Barcelona in 5th while Real Sociedad sit 6th and a point behind Atletico. Villarreal sit 7th. The title race and the race for top four are truly on in Spain. It is looking like a very exciting season at the moment. 

Serie MW 25

Lazio beat Bologna 3-0, Napoli drew with Inter 1-1, Milan beat Sampdoria 1-0, Roma drew with Sassuolo 2-2, and Juventus drew with Atalanta 1-1. Milan move to the top of the table a point clear of Inter. Napoli and Juventus make up the top four. Atalanta, Lazio, and Roma make up the rest of the lineup. It was a big weekend for Milan for Lazio especially as they fight for the title and top four repsectively. 

Bundesliga MW 22

Leipzig beat Koln 3-1, Bochum stunned Bayern by winning 4-2, Wolfsburg beat Frankfurt 0-2, Leverkusen beat Stuttgart 4-2, and Dortmund beat Union Berlin 0-3. Bayern see their lead at the top of the table cut down to six points. Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Leipzig make up the top four. Hoffenheim sit 5th in the table. Bayern slip up at the moment but a lot needs to happen to actually create a title race here. The good thing is that the teams behind them won. 

Ligue MW 24

PSG beat Rennes 1-0, Lille beat Montpellier 0-1, Lyon beat Nice 2-0, Monaco drew with Lorient 0-0, and Marseille beat Metz 1-2. PSG remain 13 points clear at the top of the table with Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg make up the top four. Monaco sit 6th in the table while Lyon sit 7th in the table. Lille sit 10th in the table. Ligue 1 continues to be a foregone conclusion but the top four race does seem interesting. 

Chelsea 2 vs. 1 Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Review

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!

Chelsea took on Brazilian team Palmeiras at the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. It was Chelsea’s 2nd appearance in the competition’s final after losing in 2012 while Palmeiras were making their first appearance. A win for either team would have been their first. Palmeiras had the same team as predicted with Dudu, Rony, Scarpa, and Veiga all starting up front. The majority of the fans in the stadium were Palmeiras fans mostly because Brazilian teams really cherish the Club World Cup. There was decent Chelsea support as well and the Blues knew the importance of winning this trophy because it would complete the set. Tuchel selected Mendy in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi started as the wing backs with Havertz, Mount and Lukaku playing up top. A strong lineup. 

The first half was pretty straight forward. Chelsea had two thirds of the possession but Palmeiras’s low block meant that very few chances were created. Palmeiras on the other hand had some very good chances on the counter attack. Mount had to come off in the first half after hurting his ankle and was replaced by Pulisic. Pulisic’s addition did add some flair to the forward line but there was no breakthrough. 

The first goal came in the 54th minute as Hudson-Odoi put a brilliant cross into the box and Lukaku rose highest to head the ball into the net. A goal in a big final and Lukaku earned back respect last night. Chelsea though could not find that finishing goal though and Veiga scored a penalty to equalise in the 64th minute. Thiago Silva had tried to head a ball away but it his hand and obstructed play. Neither team could find a winner in regular time as the game went to extra time.

In extra time Palmeiras just sat back and defended while Chelsea tried to throw the kitchen sink at their defence. The breakthrough came late with Azpilicueta volleying a shot towards goal and it hit defender Luan on the hand. After a short VAR check the penalty was given. Azpilicueta took the ball and cleverly took all the intimidation given to him by the Palmeiras players following which he handed the ball to Havertz to take the actual penalty. Kai Havertz stepped up and just like he did to win Chelsea the Champions League he scored the winner to win the club the World Cup. Havertz was then brought down late in the game after being through on goal and Luan was sent off with a straight red card. Full time and Chelsea were champions of the world. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Mendy returned to goal in this game. There were a few saves he had to make and the penalty is always a 50/50. Apart form that it was a good outing and he adds another trophy to his cabinet. Both Kepa and Mendy got game time and did brilliantly.

Defenders

The whole defence was very good. Azpilicueta became the first Chelsea player to win every single trophy at the club. An absolute legendary captain for the club and one of the legends of the game for sure. Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger were also solid at the back. Sarr came on in extra time when Chelsa switched to a back four. 

Midfielders

Kovacic and Kante started as the midfield two. Kovacic was very good for much of the game. Kante played the whole game but for me had a mixed performance. In patches he was great but sometimes he was caught out. Mount looked good until he had to come off and hopefully the injury isn’t serious. Saul came on late in the game to liven up the midfield. 

Forwards

Havertz was very good and played the whole game. He scored the winning penalty and exhibted great nerves in such a pressure situation. It should be the boost needed for him to kick on in the 2nd half of the season. Lukaku also made it two goals in two games and scored a powerful header. His first trophy with Chelsea and it again should help him kick on and score more goals. Hudson-Odoi played as a wing back and got an assist but overall had an ok performance. Pulisic was impactful when he came on and showed real hunger. Hopefully the American can get a run of games. Ziyech and Werner also came on and did well to create chances and stretch the Palmeiras defence. 

Manager

Tuchel finally made it for the game and was in the dugout for the final. It was great to see. I think the most clever thing Tuchel did over the two games was give most of the squad game time. He made everyone feel involved and like they contributed to the trophy. A third trophy at the club in a year and hopefully many more to come. 

Chelsea completed football last night and Abramovich was on hand to witness the missing piece of the puzzle. Again, this is the beginning of a new era and if Tuchel continues to get the backing Chelsea will only get better. Next up is a visit to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Preview

Massive final for Chelsea!

Chelsea will take on Brazilian team Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup final on Saturday. Palmeiras beat Al Ahly 2-0 in their semi-final and will have several thousands of fans in the stadium supporting them. Chelsea seem to have the rest of Brazil supporting them so I guess it’s not that bad for the Blues. This is the teams first outing in the Club World Cup and their first appearance in the final. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Al-Hilal 0-1 on Wednesday. It was a close game but Chelsea pulled through thanks to a goal from Lukaku in the 1st half. Chelsea will be playing their 2nd Club World Cup final having lost the first one to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2012. It is is the only trophy that is missing from the cabinet at Chelsea and if the Blues win it they would have completed the set of all available trophies to an English Premier League club. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have the full squad available with the only exceptions beind Reece James and Ben Chilwell. Mendy is back in training and was on the bench against Al-Hilal. Kepa has been outstanding while Mendy has been at AFCON. Some would say that the Spaniard deserves to start in the final but I would say start Mendy. Fans are fickle and if a long range effort went in that Kepa could not save then everyone would blame him. Chelsea are blessed with two goalkeepers that are high on confidence so start Mendy and bring Kepa on if the game goes to penalties which hopefully it does not.

Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger should start in defence while I would start Azpiicueta and Sarr as the wing backs. Christensen and Alonso could start but I would be worried with Alonso and his lack of pace against Brazilians. Jorginho and Kovacic should start in midfield with a front three of Havertz, Lukaku and Ziyech. I personally would start Havertz ahead of Lukaku and bring in Mount but I doubt the Belgian will get dropped. The front three did well against Al-Hilal and I think the wingers should keep their place. Again Chelsea could go with a back four as well in which case we could see Mount come in for one of the centre backs. It should be a strong lineup regardless.

Palmeiras Team Preview

Palmeiras just began their new season this year. Last season their top scorer was Veiga while Rony and Willian also finished with 10+ goals. Scarpa was their highest creator with 20 assists last season. This season having played five games Dudu is their highest goal scorer with three goals. Veiga has the most assists with three. I wouldn’t say I know much about Palmeiras but they are a strong and pacy team that love attacking. Weverton should be their goalkeeper with a back four of Rocha, Gomez, Luan, and Piquerez. Danilo and Ze Rafael should make up their midfield with Dudu, Veiga, and Scarpa starting up front behind Rony who is their striker. The front four by all means look lethal and that is where the danger lies with Palmeiras. Abel Fereira is their manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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This trophy means a lot for Chelsea fans. These players would be making history if they won it for the first time for the club. There seems to be welcome news that Thomas Tuchel might make it for the final which will be great for the whole team. Palmeiras won’t be an easy team by any means and their fans will be as vocal as ever, but Chelsea know what they need to do. The most important thing is to be clinical in front of goal. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

The games keep rolling on!

Premier League MW 25

Man United vs. Southampton

6th placed United have one game in hand and sit a point from top four. United are unbeaten in their last four but have only won two of those games. Southampton sit 10th in the table with one game in hand and have only lost one of their last five games. This should be an interesting early kick off and Southampton are coming off of an impressive win at Spurs. The result could go either way but there is pressure on United. The reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw. 

Watford vs. Brighton

19th placed Watford have two games in hand and sit three points from safety as they take on Brighton who sit 9th in the table and have two games in hand as well. Watford are winless in recent games while Brighton have drawn four of their last five games. More pressure on Watford in this game but Brighton fans will want to win as well. Brighton beat Watford 2-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Brentford vs. Crystal Palace

Another London Derby as Brentford take on Palace. Brentford sit 14th in the table and have lost their last six in a row. Palace sit 13th in the table and have only one win in their last five games. Palace have one game in hand. If Palace win then Brentford will find themselves right in the middle of a relegation race. We could see the debut of Christian Eriksen as well for Brentford. A high stakes game for the home team. The reverse fixture was a 0-0 draw. 

Everton vs. Leeds

16th placed Everton have three games in hand as they take on Leeds who sit 15th in the table with two games in hand and four points above Everton. Everton have lost their last four while Leeds have two wins in their last five games. The pressure is already on Lampard after that loss to Newcastle and this would be a massive three points in their race for survival. A big game for the home team. The reverse fixture was a 2-2 draw.

Norwich vs. Man City

Norwich sit 18th in the table with one game in hand and a point from safety. They take on City who sit 9 points clear at the top of the table. City should win this game comfortably even though Norwich are unbeaten in their last three. City won 5-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Tottenham vs. Wolverhampton

7th placed Spurs sit 6 points from 4th as and have three games in hand as they take on Wolves who sit 8th two points behind Spurs with two games in hand. Spurs have lost their last two while Wolves lost to Arsenal. A big game for both teams in terms of the race for top four. Spurs won the reverse fixture 0-1.

Newcastle vs. Aston Villa

Newcastle sit 17th in the table and are unbeaten in their last four with two games in hand as they take on Villa who sit 11th and are unbeaten in their last three wth two games in hand as well. Newcastle got a big win against Everton and will face a similar if not tougher task against Villa. Another big game for the home team. Villa won the reverse fixture 2-0. 

Burnley vs. Liverpool

Bottom of the table Burnley have drawn their last three games and have four games in hand as they take on Liverpool who sit 2nd with a game in hand. Liverpool should win this game comfortably. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 2-0. 

Leicester vs. West Ham

Leicester sit 12th and have three games in hand having won only one of their last five games. Their is plenty of pressure on Rodgers at the moment to start winning games. West Ham sit 4th and have won three of their last five games. It’s a big game for both teams. West Ham won the reverse fixture 4-1. 

La Liga MW 24

Sevilla take on Elche, Villarreal welcome Real Madrid, Atletico take on Getafe, Real Sociedad take on Granada, and Barcelona travel to Espanyol. Real Madrid sit six points clear at the top of the table while Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona make up the top four. Atletico sit 5th in the table, Villarreal sit 6th and Real Sociedad sit 7th in the table. Real Madrid are leading the race in Spain at the moment but the teams around them are doing well to keep up. 

Serie MW 25

Lazio take on Bologna, Napoli take on Inter, Milan take on Sampdoria, Roma travel to Sassuolo, and Juventus travel to Atalanta. Inter sit a point clear of Napoli and Milan while Juventus sit 4th. Atalanta, Lazio, and Roma all follow the rest. The closest race in Europe at the moment and an entertaining one. Another big game with Napoli taking on Inter and maybe Milan can take advantage. A very interesting weekend.

Bundesliga MW 22

Leipzig take on Koln, Bayern travel to Bochum, Frankfurt take on Wolfsburg, Leverkusen take on Stuttgart, and Dortmund travel to Union Berlin. Bayern sit 9 points clear at the top of the table with Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Union Berlin making up the top four. Leipzig sit 7th in the table. Bayern are running away with the title once again and no one looks likely of catching them.

Ligue MW 24

PSG take on Rennes, Lille travel to Montpellier, Lyon welcome Nice, Monaco take on Lorient, and Marseille travel to Metz. PSG sit 13 points clear at the top of the table and are heading towards regaining their title. Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg make up the top four. Monaco sit 6th in the table. The top four race is interesting but the rest is a foregone conclusion.