EPL Round Up Week 4 (9/9/2017)

Manchester City vs Liverpool (Watched by NAFB)

Manchester City 5 – 0 Liverpool

City started the game with both Aguero and Jesus up front while Liverpool brought back Mingolet for Karius.

The game started off asa back and forth, exciting game. A fantastic through ball from Kevin De Bruyne led to an opener for Sergio Aguero. After an exciting start, the game was effectively killed as a contest when Sadio Mane was sent off in the 37th minute for a scary tackle on Ederson, the City goalkeeper. To be fair to Mane, if Ederson tagged Mane first, he would have been the player getting sent off. A 9 and a half minute long stoppage due to the injury, saw Ederson get stretchered off. Jesus got his first off the night shortly after the injury stoppage. In the second half Klopp brought off Salah for the Ox. Goals from Jesus and 2 from substitute Sane rounded off a 5-0 win for City. The scoreline was not reflective of the first 37 minutes as that was a much more enjoyable (for the neutral) game to watch.

City also had 2 goals denied for offside.

The game had potential to be a cracker but it ended up being a complete bore due to the red card to Mane.

Man of the Match

Kevin De Bruyne was absolute class and deserves the man of the match.

Next Up

Liverpool and City both have Champions League matches coming up, Liverpool host Sevilla while City travel to Feyenord. Next in the EPL, they Liverpool face Burnley at home while City travel to Watford.


Arsenal vs Bournemouth (Watched by NAFB)

Arsenal 3 – 0 Bournemouth

Wenger goes into this game knowing his head is on the chopping block with just 3 points from 3 games. Lacazette came back into the line up for Alexis while Kolasinac and Mustafi also got a start.

Arsenal started the game really well with a goal for Danny Welbeck with an assist for Kolasinac. That tends to happen when players actually play in their real position. Surely game over now with Lacazette getting a goal as well, Danny Welbeck with the assist. Awful defending from Bournemouth, could have been 3-0 to Arsenal if not for Begovic, who ends up blocking a Lacazette attempt, in the process the ball actually deflates.

Second Half, Aaron Ramsey fakes a shot, plays it to Danny Welbeck who puts it in far post, 3-0. Welbeck has 2 goals and an assist.

Arsenal will be happy with this performance but can they sustain it over the season?


Man of the Match

Danny Welbeck was the difference, involved in the first three goals and looked good.

Next Up

Arsenal have a Europa League fixture versus Koln at home and then they face Chelsea away next weekend. Burnley face Liverpool away.


Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur

Everton 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

The drunk driver, Wayne Rooney and the flipper of the bird Dele Alli both started for the respective clubs, Harry Kane hopes to score his first goal of the season.

There we go, Harry Kane has his first EPL goal of the season, a fantastic fluke, it is his 100th goal for Spurs. Eriksen nets the second of the game, turning out to be a lot easier than expected for Spurs. Kane gets another in the second half, 0 goals in August, 2 goals in less than 60 minutes in September. Surely game over. Everton are in trouble because they now have Manchester United next and they look awful.


Man of the Match

Harry Kane came alive today, well deserved.

Next Up

Spurs have a Champions League fixture versus Dortmund at home, Everton travel to Italy to face Atlanta in the Europa League. Next up in the league, Spurs host Swansea while Everton have the massive task of facing Manchester United at Old Trafford.


Leicester City vs Chelsea

Leicester City 1 – 2 Chelsea

Chelsea welcome Eden Hazard back but he only makes the bench, new signing Danny Drinkwater is on the bench for Chelsea against his former club.

Slimani came dangerously close to scoring, only to be denied by Courtouis. Morata gets the opener through a lovely header, great ball by Azpilicueta.

Kante has a pop from around 35 or so yards, ball essentially rolls into the back of the net. Horrific goalkeeping from Kasper Schmeichel. The former Leicester City man gets his first league goal since scoring against Man Utd last season. Chelsea look good for their first September win in almost 4 years. Oh interesting, Courtouis concedes a penalty to Vardy who safely tucks it away. Good game for Chelsea, Leicster tried to get back into the game unsuccessfully.

Man of the Match

Morata scored yet another and got the Blues going. Diego Costa who?

Next Up

Chelsea face Qarabag in the Champions League and Arsenal next week in the league, while Leicester play Huddersfield away.


Stoke City vs Manchester United (Watched by NAFB)

Stoke City 2 – 2 Manchester United

Couple of changes for the Red Devils, Darmian and Herrera come in for Blind and Mata, looks like Pogba will be playing a more attacking role today. United haven’t won a match at Stoke since Sir Alex took charge and they would like to end that run today.

United haven’t been pressed by Stoke over the last few minutes, they’ve had most of the ball so far. United have almost 75% of the ball in the first 15 minutes. Stoke have spent the majority of the first have clearing the ball and sitting back as Manchester United have had almost all of the ball, Valencia has been fantastic for United today. What has been interesting to note, considering the physical size of Manchester United, they have yet to play a corner directly into the box, they’ve all been played short so far. Very curious tactic. Stoke have their goal! It is the first time United have conceded this season, great finish by Choupo-Moting. That dance right after was better than that finish. Jose has his wish, his side are now behind. Lets see how they do now. There it is, United play a corner into the box for the first time tonight and Pogba puts it in, instant response by United. Looks like Matic got a glancing flick near post. Oh wait it bounced of Rashfor on it’s way in, goal for Rashford then haha. Both teams go into the break having scored goals less than 3 minutes apart. 1-1 at the half.

And we are back to the short corners. This one gets floated in but nothing comes of it. Darmian at left back for United has been better than Blind, he’s had his moments, like the one that led to the Stoke opener but he’s been a lot better. Lukaku’s lucky to get away without a yellow card after a foul on Joe Allen. Stoke have been more attacking in this second half. Interesting fact, United spent a grand total of 11 days at the top of the table since Sir Alex retired, this season they’ve already spent 27 days at the top, if the result holds, they stay top on goal difference with Manchester City. Unless Huddersfield win by more than 7. Lukaku, he shoots, rebounds of Butland, Lukaku picks it up and puts it in the back of the net. at just 24 years of age he has 150 goals in the EPL. Darmian made a fantastic run to set up that goal. He’s been quality today. United scored an immediate equalizer in the first half and Stoke have done the same in the second, Choupo-Moting has his second. Jose’s getting his test that he wanted for his team.  Unfortunate for De Gea who made a fantastic save just seconds earlier. Will Jose get some magic off the bench again today? His subs have scored in 3 consecutive games this season. Martial and Mata look like they are getting ready to come on. After the second Stoke game went in, the game has really opened up. Herrera and Rashford coming off for Mata and Martial, looks like Pogba is gonna sit further back now, Mata going out wide. Berahino coming on for Jese for Stoke City. Lingard comes on for Mkhitaryan. The game ends at 2-2, United bottled it, should have won that. No team in the EPL is perfect now.

Man of the Match

Choupo-Moting had 6 shots, 2 goals and put in a solid shift defensively. great performance.

Next Up

Manchester United host FC Basel in the Champions League and then Everton in the league while Stoke face Newcastle away in a match that should be a cracker.




Premier League Preview (4th EPL Game week top 7 teams)

Manchester City vs Liverpool (9/9/2017)

The must watch game of the weekend is thankfully the first game of the weekend. Finally we have EPL action after the international break. Both teams will look to begin what is going to be a hectic September in a successful manner. Firmino and Coutinho need to be assessed by Liverpool after the later played his first game of the season while on international duty. City will look to continue their great run of just 1 loss in 8 at home versus Liverpool. City have 13 wins, 9 draws and just 1 loss in their last 23 games at home in the EPL, however, the Liverpool faithful will be licking their lips as City only have 6 clean sheets in those games. Should be a mouthwatering fixture with a bunch of goals, I predict a goal draw.


Arsenal vs Bournemouth (9/9/2017)

Oh Arsenal, whatever is going to happen with the gunners? They haven’t lost 3 games in the EPL in a row since January 2012 and it will be interesting to see if that happens here. They have beaten Bournemouth in all 3 games they have played at the Emirates. It will be curious to see how Arsenal line up, will Alexis start with Lacazette for the first time? Will they have actual center backs playing in position? Who will replace the Ox in the lineup? Bournemouth have yet to get a win this season, while Arsenal just have the 3 points from the 1st week of the season. A juicy relegation battle? (that’s a joke). I predict a draw, I honestly don’t know how Arsenal will perform.

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspurs (9/9/2017)

“Woo-hoo August is over,” sings Harry Kane, want to bet that he will get a goal this weekend? Everton have the second-best home record for all EPL teams in 2017, second only to Spurs. While Spurs roll into town on a 3-away game win streak. After having dropped crucial points at home two weeks in a row, and woeful home form at Wembley, Spurs need a win at Everton. Everton on the other hand, would love a win against Tottenham, a team from the top 6 from last season, something they would like to break into. Both teams sit on 4 points currently, 5 points away from table toppers Manchester United. Should be a cracking game, I expect a goal at the least from Harry Kane, should see a goal for both sides and I think Spurs will get the win here.


Leicester City vs Chelsea (9/9/2017)

Leicester have kept just 1 clean sheet versus Chelsea in 11 games, Vardy is in fine form under Craig Shakespeare and we could see a goal or 2 from him. Chelsea haven’t won a game on the road in the month of September in 4 long seasons. Chelsea have corrected their poor performance from the 1st week and have come back with 2 wins. Chelsea have 2 new signings in their squad, including former Leicester player Danny Drinkwater. I expect a decent outing for both sides, Chelsea know they are off the pace, 3 points behind Manchester United who are currently leading the pack and don’t have a tricky fixture just yet. I think Chelsea will get a win here but just barely as they have to rotate due to the upcoming Champions League fixture.



Stoke City vs Manchester United (9/9/2017)

Table toppers Man Utd visit Stoke in the late fixture on Saturday, they have yet to concede a goal and have scored a league high 10 goals. Henrik Mkhitaryan has 5 assists so far and is their most lethal weapon. HOWEVER, Stoke have not lost in 4 home games against United, their last loss coming back in 2013. United go into this game as firm favorites and are one of the best teams in England right now. Expect them to rotate as they have European football to look forward to this week. A simple outing, win for Manchester United.


Premier League Weekend 3 Preview (Top 7 Teams Only)

Bournemouth vs Manchester City 26th August

City roll into their game versus Bournemouth as the firm favorites. City will probably use their new signing Mendy for the first time as Kyle Walker is suspended, City will also be without Gundogan who is out injured. Bournemouth is without Francis, Stanislas and Callum Wilson. This should be a simple outing for the Blue half of Manchester and expect them to walk away with 3 points.

Manchester United vs Leicester City 26th August

United will look to carry their blinding form into their third game of the season versus Leicester. Although this game could be a lot harder than previous ties versus West Ham and Swansea City. Expect goals in this game. We could see United concede their first goal of the season and I honestly think it could happen. United are still without Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo. New (?) signing Zlatan Ibrahimović is still out inured and will not be back for at least 2 more months. Robert Huth and Iborra look like they will miss out for Leicester City. Should be a win for Manchester United but not as simple as previous weeks.

Chelsea vs Everton 27th August

Chelsea face an Everton side that have looked good so far this season, Wayne Rooney looks reborn and will look to score in his 3rd consecutive game. Chelsea have just Eden Hazard out injured while Everton have Gueye, Klassen and Ramirez out injured. Ross Barkley isn’t fit yet either. Chelsea head into this game having got an impressive record after home defeats, they last lost two back to back home games in November 2011. They have yet to win a home game this season but expect them to open that account this weekend. Gary Cahill is still suspended for the Blues while Fabregas could make his return after suspension. Everton have lost just 1 game out of 11 EPL games (W6 D4) against the team that won the league in the previous season.

Liverpool vs Arsenal 27th August

Liverpool host Arsenal on Super Sunday in a crucial tie for both teams. Liverpool have Can and Alexander-Arnold back from injury while want away Coutinho is still out injured. Arsenal have Alexis back but does he want to still play for the gunners? Koscienly is back from suspension and that will help a shaky Arsenal defense. Liverpool haven’t won 3 EPL games against Arsenal since May 1998 and will be looking to get a 3rd straight win. Historically this tie has produced the most goals past the 90th minute in EPL history with 17. Liverpool will also want to keep a clean sheet as they haven’t had 4 straight at home since September 2013. Should be a high scoring affair as that seems to be the Liverpool mentality at the moment, both teams are struggling with defensive issues and I think it could be a goal draw.

Tottenham vs Burnley 27th August

Spurs are still without Danny Rose and Erik Lamela while Burnley will be without striker Jon Walters. Spurs go into this fixture on the back of a tough UCL draw where they were placed into the group of death. They know that they need to do well in the league and they will be looking to win a game at the New Wembley. Last time Burnley visited London they got 3 points off defending champions Chelsea and they would like to get another point or even 3 on their visit to the biggest stadium in England. I honestly think that Spurs might get away with this one and get a win.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage predictions

UCL Groups 2017 2018.PNG

Group A

Group A sees Benfica, Manchester United, Basel and CSKA Moskova drawn together, this is a fairly straightforward group that should see Manchester United and Benfica progress with Basel taking home 3rd place. There should be a few interesting encounters in Moscow with the Russian capital being a hard place to play at.

Group B

Heavy hitters Bayern and cash bags PSG come together for 2 glorious games for all neutrals. Both teams will be dissapointed to get drawn against each other but the mouth watering ties will be amazing. Celtic and Anderlecht round off the group. We should see PSG and Bayern progress with Celtic heading to the Europa League

Group C

Ahh the 1st of 2 groups that can be classified as the Group of Death. Chelsea, Atleti and Roma are the heavy hitters while newcomers Qarabag from Azerbaijan will probably concede over 15 goals through the group stages. I think this is a group that could go anywhere due to following reasons, Chelsea’s early form has been shaky, Atleti will be at a new stadium and Roma is a wildcard. Nobody knows how they will fare. My top 3 will be Atleti, Roma and then Chelsea (Off to the Europa).

Group D

We see Juventus and Barcelona in a rematch from last season’s quarter finals. Juventus are 100% the stronger team at the moment with Barcelona struggling to replace the role of Neymar now that he’s playing for PSG. Sporting and Olympiacos round off the group and expect Olympiacos to finish in the Europa League spot.

Group E

Spartak Moskova, Sevilla, Liverpool and Maribor represent Group E, an easy group for Sevilla and Liverpool to navigate. Interesting to see the Europa League finalists from 2016 in the same group. Moskova will prove tricky to visit and are most likely going to snag 3rd place.

Group F

Shaktar, Manchester City, Napoli and Feyenoord round a very tricky group. It’s easy to say that City have too much class to not make it out of this group but any of these teams could qualify. All these stadiums will be tricky to play at and they all have quality players in their teams. Expect to see a close group that comes down to Matchday 6 when City and Shaktar face off in Ukraine and Feyenoord and Napoli face off in the Netherlands. I think City and Napoli will progress with Shaktar heading to the Europa League.

Group G

Group G welcomes newcomers RB Leipzig to the Champions League. Considering they were in Pot 4 they could not have asked for a better group. Expect them to progress with ease through a group that also has Besiktas, Monaco and Porto. Monaco’s ability to cope with the loss of quality players from their squad should be interesting. Expect RBL and Monaco to progress with Porto going to the Europa League

Group H

The real group of death. Yes. Pun inteded. Group H sees Real Madrid face Dortmund, Tottenham and APOEL. Anything can happen, espically when Madrid face Dortmund. The top three for this group should easily be Madrid, Spurs and Dortmund.


Weekend Recap 19th August 2017

Swansea City vs Manchester United (Game watched by NAFB)

Swansea 0 – 4 Manchester United

united swansea 4 0.jpeg

Swansea started with 5 at the back while the Red Devils named an unchanged starting 11. The only notable change for United was the presence of Victor Lindelöf on the bench. The game started with United dominating the game, however the Red Devils broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime. Pogba had a header from the corner which bounced back off the crossbar, Eric Baily was there to mop up and score his first goal as a Manchester United player. Midway through the second half, Swansea took of a defender and tried to go for it, while Jose sent on Martial and Fellaini. Game Changer. This substitution lead to 3 Manchester United goals in the space of less than 4 minutes. Lukaku, Pogba and Martial all got on the score sheet for a second consecutive week. Another 2 assists for Mkhitaryan. Wow. United hit that gear I talked about in my last few posts that concerned them. Those 4 minutes of football were deadly, they punished Swansea and there was nothing they could do to change it.

Fun Fact

Manchester United have scored 4 goals or more in their first two games of the season for the first time since 1907/08

Man of the Match

Like last week, I am going to give this to Mkhitaryan again. Fantastic outing for the little Armenian and his two assists were solid.


Next Up

Manchester United host Leicester City (26th August) who have looked good this season, at the time of writing they are leading 1-0 against Brighton and Hove Albion. Swansea will face a trip to Crystal Palace (26th August) who are currently tied at 0-0 at Anfield, although that result will probably not stay the same.


Southampton vs West Ham

Southampton 3 – 2 West Ham

I wasn’t going to talk about this game, I was going to stick to just the teams I predicted in the top 7 but certain events prompted me to talk about the fixture.

Southampton opened the scoring through Gabbiadini in just the 11th minute of the game (it took them 30 shots on goal through the season to finally open the scoring). The incident in question then came in during the 33rd minute where Marko Arnautovic had a moment of madness. He seemingly threw his elbow at the head of the Southampton player and got himself a red card. This is unacceptable and The FA needs to hand down more than the standard 3 game ban that is handed out for these direct red cards. A few minutes later, Dusan Tadic scored from the penalty spot and doubled their lead, the goal was followed by a goal for The Hammers who finally opened their account with a typical poacher’s goal from the little pea, yes, Javier Hernandez has a Premier League goal after spells away in Germany. Unbelievable scenes, Javier Hernandez has his second of the game and now it is 2-2, down 2-0, 10 men and now they have pulled level. Liverpool most certainly did a much better job after the introduction of Salah in the 61st minute, he is a gamechanger. Really unfortunate for the Hammers as they conceded a late penalty and allowed Southampton to get the win with a late penalty, converted by Charlie Austin. Zabaleta, a veteran in the EPL should know better than give away a late penalty like that. Joe Hart has now conceded 7 goals in 2 games at West Ham.


Man of the Match

2 goals for Javier Hernandez means he gets the man of the match, unfortunate to end up on the losing side.

Next Up

Southampton are away to Huddersfield while the Hammers visit Newcastle United.


Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (Game watched by NAFB)

Liverpool 1 – 0 Crystal Palace

Liverpool made 5 changes from the side that beat Hoffenheim in midweek for this clash versus Crystal Palace who were looking to extend their win streak at Anfield. The game in the first half was a back and forth affair with nothing significant happening. They are missing players of quality such as Salah and it shows in the performance. Liverpool really should be cruising if they have their starting 11 out, but it looks like getting into the champions league is currently priority number 1. 72 minutes into the game, Mane got the opening goal after a bad bit of defending by Crystal Palace. Game ended at 1-0 with nothing notable happening again.


Man of the Match

Mane did a good job, he is one of the most important players for Liverpool and it showed.

Next Up

Liverpool host Arsenal next time out (27th August), while concerns about players on both sides and their transfers remain. Coutinho’s transfer could hinge on Liverpool’s midweek clash and their progression in the Champions League. While Alexis still wants a transfer out of North London.

While Palace are home to a Swansea team that has yet to score a goal this season and they have allowed 44 shots at their goal in 2 games.


Stoke City vs Arsenal (Watched by NAFB)

Stoke City 1 – 0 Arsenal

Stoke gave a debut to Jese Rodriguez up top while Ozil, Welbeck and Lacazette lead the line for the Gunners. The hybrid 5 at the back for Arsenal features 3 full backs, a winger and Mustafi, the only recognized center back in the line-up. Interesting to note that Hector Bellerin has started at left wing back while the Ox at right wing back.

Stoke have looked strong, most of their bite coming from new signing Jese who has been fantastic. His fellow Champions League winner, Shaqiri, limps off with an injury. In the second half Jese scored his first goal in the Premier League. He was fantastic all night. Stoke 1, Arsenal 0. Déjà vu. Late on, the Potters had some good build up play and Pieters had a run-on goal from the left flank. Thankfully for Arsenal, he made a crunching tackle on the Stoke wing back who was hit hard on the follow through, this was a very 50-50 tackle and I personally think that a different referee would have taken very different action based on that tackle. He could have seen at least a yellow card for the tackle. Arsenal went into the 5 minutes of stoppage time a goal down. The home crowd is now singing their version of when the ‘saints go marching in’. Stoke really are Wenger’s kryptonite. Another loss at Stoke, they only have 1 win in their last 8 games at Stoke. Cue Arsenal Fan TV. Cue Wenger out. Cue more rumors regarding Alexis leaving.

Man of the Match

Jese had a fantastic first game in the EPL, remember the name.


Next up

Arsenal visit Liverpool next time out (27th August), while concerns about players on both sides and their transfers remain. Coutinho’s transfer could hinge on Liverpool’s midweek clash and their progression in the Champions League. While Alexis still wants a transfer out of North London. While Stoke visit West Brom (27th August).


The Drama

The day saw 2 direct red cards issued (before STK v ARS), one to Marko Arnautovic and one to Hal Robinson-Kanu. Both instances involved the striker throwing his elbow into a defensive player’s face. While the EPL does not have as many protocols as the leagues across the pond in North America do, The FA needs to review these incidents and hand out longer suspensions as targeting the head should not be allowed and examples need to be made.