Year Archives: 2018

Liverpool on the cusp of creating history?
Club Previews

Liverpool In Premier League

Back in 1992, when the top division of English football was re-launched as Premier League, no football fan would have predicted Liverpool not winning the league for so long.

The Reds were the most significant power in English football in the ’80s, but their power waned as Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United took over in the ’90s.

Now, we are in 2019, and the Liverpool fans are still waiting for that much-coveted first Premier League title. However, this wait might not last for long, as Liverpool are strong contenders for the title this season.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have played some scintillating football this season, and they have matched current champions Manchester City every step of the season so far.

With only 12 games left to play this season, Liverpool holds a slight edge over their opponents. Expectedly, the entire fan base has been submerged in a euphoria, not seen in recent years in Merseyside.

However, with the hope, also comes the fear of disappointment. Liverpool has come close to winning the Premier League title before, most notably in 2008-09 and 2013-14 seasons.

However, they have always managed to slip up at crucial points in title races. Hence, it’s only obvious to tread with caution when it comes to Liverpool’s title bid.

Manchester City is the standing champions, and they have players with the valuable experience of winning the league title previously.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp and his players are trying to create history in English football.

For obvious reasons, the pressure is more telling on Liverpool. Also, they have shown signs of vulnerability in their recent fixtures. So far, Liverpool has blown away sides while maintaining a tight defense. However, their defense has proved to be leaky in recent fixtures.

In their next league game, the Merseysiders travel to their arch-rivals Manchester United. This game could prove to be the decisive game of their season.

A defeat could see them trail behind Manchester City on goal difference at the top end of the table. Jurgen Klopp and his players face some stringent tests in the coming weeks, and they can’t afford to slip up now.

They have been playing like champions so far, but they would need more than that if they hope to dethrone Manchester City from the summit of English football.

Take a look at some matches on the Premier League opening week.

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Top six Everton?
League Previews

Can Everton Break Into The Top Six?

There was a time when Everton consistently used to find themselves on the brink of Champions League places. However, since the time of David Moyes at Goodison Park, the landscape of English football has changed a lot.

In the last few years, the so-called big six have asserted their dominance in the Premier League. These six sides have been fighting among themselves for top-four places for quite some time, the only exception being Leicester City in their title-winning season.

Everton has spent a lot in the last few transfer windows to breach into this top-six, but they have come up short up until now. The likes of Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce have come and gone, but the Merseysiders have found it hard to take the next step.

However, it appears that they have finally cracked the code with the appointment of Marco Silva in the hot seat. Silva has had small but successful spells with Hull City and Watford in the English football.

This job is arguably the biggest of his career, and he has risen to the occasion in the first few months.

Furthermore, he has been supported by the club in the market. Everton has spent a decent amount of money on signings like Richardson, Yerri Mina, Bernard, Andre Gomes, and Lucas Digne during the last window.

The Portuguese manager has made an on-the-spot impact in Merseyside, and the Toffees look like a much-different side this season.

Now, it might not be enough to catch big boys this season, but it’s a start in the right direction. Furthermore, as things stand, Everton is just a couple of points behind Manchester United, who sit in the sixth spot.

It would be unrealistic to expect Silva’s side to compete with the likes of Manchester United this season, but they are indeed knocking on the doors of the top-six.

And if United doesn’t improve their form soon, Everton would make sure to take advantage of the situation.

Hence, the new project at Everton has made a great start, and it is headed in the right direction. There have also been talks about further foreign investment in the club, and it appears that exciting times lie ahead for Everton.

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Champions League Group Stage predictions
Predictions

Champions League Group Stage Predictions (Part 2)

How do you like our Champions League group stage predictions part 1? Here our second predictions covering Champions League group stages, we take a look at the final four groups in the tournament.

Group E

Bayern Munich seems to be struggling under the new management, and they could only manage a 1-1 home draw with the Dutch side. The German champions sit in the second spot with four points, and ideally, they shouldn’t have any problem in winning this group. However, their struggles have provided the likes of Ajax and Benfica a rare shot at knockout rounds. The Portuguese side has picked up three points in their two games.

Greek side AEK sits in the final spot with zero points, and we see no hope for them.

Predictions: Bayern Munich and Benfica to progress into the next round.

Group F

Manchester City lost at home to Lyon in their opening game, but they should still win the group. They currently sit in the second spot with three points. Lyon now tops the group with four points, and they currently have a considerable advantage over Shakhtar Donetsk and Hoffenheim in the race for the second qualifying spot.

Donetsk has managed two points from their two games, while Hoffenheim has only one. The Ukrainian side has the talent to progress, and their home game against Lyon could be the deciding fixture. Hoffenheim looks very unstable , but currently they are yet to play Lyon and Donetsk at home.

Predictions: Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk to qualify.

Group G

This group consists of two of last year’s Champions League semi-finalists in Real Madrid and AS Roma. However, none of them occupies the top spot after two rounds of the game. CSKA Moscow claimed a shocking 1-0 home win over Real last week to move to the top with four points. This result has thrown this group wide open. We expect the current champions to progress, but it would be a close fight between CSKA and Roma.

Viktoria Plzen is the minnows of the group, and they should finish in the bottom spot.

Predictions: Real Madrid and AS Roma to move to the pre-quarterfinals.

Group H

Cristiano Ronaldo led Juventus sit at the top of Group H with six points, and they should have no problem in winning their group. Manchester United sit in the second with four points. Their home draw against Valencia was a disappointing result, but they are expected to finish ahead of Valencia, who have picked up just one point from their first two games. However, there is a lot of uncertainty at Old Trafford, and it’s hard to predict which way their season would go.

Predictions: Juventus to win the group, and Manchester United to finish in the second spot.

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Champions League Group Stage predictions
Predictions

Champions League Group Stage Predictions (Part 1)

We are two games-weeks into the Champions League group stage, and some interesting permutations and combinations are shaping up.

While there are some straightforward groups, but most of the eight groups have shaped up quite interestingly after two rounds of games.

We take a look at the first four groups, from A to D, in this feature, and predict the outcomes.

Group A

This group looks quite straightforward regarding qualification to the next round. Both Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have picked up maximum points from their first two games. Club Brugge and Monaco remain pointless, and they will have to battle it out against each other for the Europa League spot.

Atletico and Dortmund face each other in back-to-back games in the tournament to decide the winner of the group.

Predictions: Atletico Madrid to win the group and the Dortmund to finish in the second spot.

Group B

Barcelona and Inter Milan have picked up maximum points in their first two games. However, Tottenham can’t be ruled out just yet. Spurs have lost to Inter and Barca, but they should pick up six points from their next two games, against PSV Eindhoven. Meanwhile, Inter and Barcelona are set to face each other, and we don’t see the Italians picking up a single point against the Catalans.

We expect a very tight finish for the second spot, and it’s very likely to come down to Inter’s visit to Wembley Stadium in the last week of November.

Predictions: Barcelona and Tottenham to qualify.

Group C

This could be called as the Group of Death in Champions League this season. Napoli, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are vying for top-two spots, and it looks quite close at the top of the table.

The Italian side currently tops the group with four points. Their 1-0 home win over the Reds was a considerable surprise and also a massive statement from the Naples sides. PSG and Liverpool are close behind with three points each.

It’s very open in Group C, but PSG and Liverpool have too much talent not to make it to the next round.

Predictions: Liverpool and PSG to qualify.

Group D

Porto and Schalke 04 share the top spot in Group D with four points. Turkish side Galatasaray is close behind them with three points. Lokomotiv Moscow sits bottom with zero points.

It would be quite tricky for the Russia side to make a comeback, but you can’t rule them out. Porto has a consistent record in qualifying, and we expect them to progress. It would be a close fight for the second spot, and we hope Schalke to finish ahead of Galatasaray.

Predictions: Porto and Schalke to make it to last-16.

Read the part 2 of the Champions League group prediction.

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Soccer News, Soccer players
Match Previews

4 Biggest Surprises From Opening Weeks of Premier League 2018/19

There is no shortage of action in the Premier League, and it has been the same in the first few weeks of the 2018/19 season.

The opening four rounds of the league have thrown a number of surprises, which could have serious repercussions for parties involved. We take a look at major surprises from the ongoing season of the Premier League.

United’s terrible start to the season

Many expected Jose Mourinho to struggle this season, but no one saw the wheels coming off this early. The Portuguese manager finds himself under tremendous pressure after his side managed only six points from the first four games. Following a win over Burnley, they have climbed up to the tenth spot, but they are already six points behind Liverpool.

Watford’s perfect start

Watford is one of three sides to pick up maximum points from the first four games. The other two sides are – Liverpool and Chelsea. Last weekend, they achieved their an incredible 2-1 home win over Tottenham. It’s a huge improvement for Watford who looked lackluster under Javi Garcia last season. The Hornets have been uncharacteristically solid at the back and have conceded only three goals thus far.

Burnley candidates for relegation

Burley was arguably the biggest surprise in the Premier League last season as they registered an unprecedented seventh spot in the season-ending league table. However, they have endured a terrible start to the 18/19 season and have managed only one point in the first four games. Burnley’s success last season was built on a solid defense, but they have conceded nine goals in four games this season.

Burnley’s struggles can be attributed to their participation in Europa League qualifiers. Now, Dyche is faced with a huge challenge in the coming weeks.

The emergence of Matteo Guendouzi at Arsenal

Most of us hadn’t heard of Matteo Guendouzi before his £7m summer move from Lorient to Arsenal. The 19-year-old made such a huge impression in pre-season, that he was granted a starting spot against Manchester City on an opening day.

He was arguably Arsenal’s best player in the 2-0 defeat. Since then, he has started Arsenal’s all three games – Chelsea, West Ham, and Cardiff City His performance against the Hammers suggested that he still needs to learn a lot. However, one thing is clear – Arsenal has found a future star for quite cheap, by current standards.

Other Premier League related article 5 expensive flops from the history of Premier League football.

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Chelsea, Soccer news
Football Coach

Is Maurizio Sarri Already Working As Manager At Chelsea?

Chelsea took a huge risk by appointing Maurizio Sarri in place of Antonio Conte in the hot-seat during the summer.

Maurizio Sarri had a reputation during his time at Napoli, but he earned a lot of plaudits for implementing his own brand of football in the Napoli side. It became famous as Sarri-ball in Italy.

Under his tutelage, Napoli was magnificent last season as they totaled 91 points during the league season. However, it was not enough to beat Juventus to the Serie A trophy, and Sarri eventually departed from Naples without a league trophy.

On the eve of the Premier League season, not many pundits predicted Sarri to make an immediate impact in West London, and some even claimed that Chelsea would struggle to make the top-four.

However, against all expectations, Chelsea has made a spectacular start to the season. The Blues are one of three teams to pick up maximum points from the first four games in the season. As things stand, they sit joint-top of the table with Liverpool and Watford.

Jorginho has been a key arrival at Stamford Bridge. The Italian mid-fielder has followed Sarri from Napoli, and he has been an integral part of the transition to the Sarri-ball.

Sarri has deployed Jorginho in the defensive midfield role, and N’Golo Kante has been transitioned into a box-to-box midfielder. From the base of the midfield, Jorginho has been able to dictate the tempo of the play, and he has picked up some amazing stats in the opening four weeks.

He set a record for Chelsea for most passes in the game with his 158 passes in the win over Newcastle United. Jorginho is very much familiar with Sarri’s style of play and that has been very evident with his performances in first four rounds.

Chelsea has also signed Mateo Kovacic on a loan deal from Real Madrid, and he could also be a key player in Sarri-ball this season.

Chelsea has looked efficient going forward, and they are scoring goals for fun. However, there are obvious problems at the back as was made evident by their performance against Arsenal.

It might take Sarri some more time to fully implement his philosophy in his squad, but early signs suggest that it would be risky to count Chelsea out of the title race.

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