Category Archives: Premier League

Sheffield United annihilate Chelsea as they vie for European competition

Heading into the match, Chelsea were in third place with hopes of keeping their Champions League spot. You couldn’t tell that with their lethargic performance as they got shutout by hosts Sheffield United, 3-0.

The Blues had most of the ball during the first half, with 76 percent of the possession. However, it was The Blades who were able to capitalise on their chances.

Sheffield United got on the board first courtesy of David McGoldrick’s first Premier League goal. After Oliver McBurnie’s volley was deflected by Ross Barkley and Reece James, and ultimately saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga, the 32-year-old was left wide open and found the back of the net.

 

Fifteen minutes later, in the 33rd-minute, the Blades extended their lead courtesy of McBurnie continued his excellent performance with a header after receiving a cross from Enda Stevens.

 

After very little action in the second half, Sheffield United pounced on a mistake by the Chelsea defense in the 77th-minute. Substitute Antonio Rudiger got caught up and couldn’t clear the ball, which led to McGoldrick having an easy chance for his second goal of the day.

 

Sheffield United moved into sixth place and next travel to Leicester City on Thursday. Chelsea, meanwhile, face the recently relegated Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

See the updated Premier League Table in link below:

https://247-football.com/2020/06/25/premier-league-table/

 

Should ex-pros help out VAR officiating?

VAR,  not for the first time this season, once again appeared in the spot light  following more controversy surrounding no less than three different incidents this week.

Incorrect penalty decisions were made by the video assistant referee in all three of Thursday’s Premier League games.

Tottenham should have had a penalty when Joshua King clearly shoved Harry Kane in the back, in their goalless draw with Bournemouth.

Bruno Fernandes won a spot kick, which should not have been given against Aston Villa.

James Ward-Prowse hit the bar after being awarded a disputed penalty against Everton.

With so many talking points raised about VAR, there has been a suggestion by former footballer Tim Cahill, than an ex-player should be involved to work alongside the VAR officials at Stockley Park.

Going forward, it would appear to make sense that somebody who has played the game professionally, and knows how players react in circumstances during a game, would know more than a referee, who in most cases would never have played the game before.

The only downside to this in my opinion would be would the VAR officials listen to what that person would have to say, take on board and put into practice.

Overall, on debatable decisions I am sure they would like some impact from the ex pro, but I fear that the final say on the decision would be down to the VAR official.

I am still unconvinced that they would generally be swayed by expert advice from somebody who has played and understands the game more.

It hurts me to say that I genuinely believe quite a few referees don’t know the game of football. It is not just about knowing the laws of football; it is also about knowing the game.

To simplify and eradicate even more controversy going forward, surely the on field official should be allowed to go and check the pitch side monitor, and then make his own decision.

All too often the man in the middle never goes ahead and puts this into practice. It is the VAR crew who in turn make their own decision, therefore undermining the person who is supposed to be referring the game.

My own solution to this mess would be simple really.

When an incident should be reviewed, let VAR tell the on field official how they see it.

The referee should then go straight to the pitch side monitor to make up his own mind and then decide what decision to go with.

The referee who is officiating the actual game must be the sole person in charge of events on and off the field, in my opinion.

Currently, it is a case of somebody many miles away making decisions that really should be made closer to home.

Chelsea escape Crystal Palace in five-goal thriller

As Chelsea entered the Selhurst Park Stadium, they had a chance to put pressure on teams around them in the standings with a win today. The Blues were ultimately able to squeeze by with a narrow 3-2 away victory over Crystal Palace.

In the early stages of the match, Olivier Giroud scored from the center of the box after receiving a pass from Willian. The chance occurred after Gary Cahill fell to the ground, causing the Brazilian to move freely with the ball in order to find the Frenchman.

 

Twenty-one minutes after Chelsea opened up the scoresheet, Christian Pulisic continued his hot start and found the back of the net. That was the young American’s third goal in five Premier League appearances since the restart.

 

The Eagles, however, would get a goal back in the 34th-minute after Wilfried Zaha unleashed a rocket that goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had no chance of saving.

 

Palace, subsequently started the second half strongly, until the substitutions of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham in the 65th-minute changed the complexion of the match. 

Six minutes after entering the pitch, the substitutes collaborated for Chelsea’s third goal as Loftus-Cheek passed the ball to Abraham, who was able to notch his first goal in quite some time.

 

The Blues two-goal lead was short lived after Christian Benteke was not only left unmarked but had an empty net after the defense was focusing on Patrick van Aanholt.

 

Palace had several chances in the end to get a point out of this match, including a header from Scott Dann in the fifth minute of extra time. However, luck was not on their side and the shot came off the post and was ultimately cleared.

Overall, The Blues were able to possess 58 percent of ball throughout the match, while also having 14 shots (6 on goal). On the other side, The Eagles had 13 shots in total, four of which were on goal.

Chelsea, who have now accumulated 60 points this season, will look to keep their Champions League spot this Saturday as they travel to Sheffield United. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, will visit Aston Villa on Sunday.

See the updated Premier League table below in link below:

https://247-football.com/2020/06/25/premier-league-table/

 

Martial, Rashford and Greenwood – the Premier League’s deadliest front three

Much has been made of Manchester United over the past five/six years of football, with the loss of a plethora of attacking talent the club has been criticised for its poor recruitment. Yet for all the money they have spent two of their dangerous front three are academy graduates.

Perhaps slightly under the radar is the fact they have scored more goals than Liverpool’s much-talked about front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. Granted United have played lesser opposition in Europe but it is still an impressive feat nonetheless. This article takes a look at their development as a front three.

Mason Greenwood

Possibly the most exciting out of these talents is 18-year-old Mason Greenwood. The Bradford-born striker scored two wonderful goals against Bournemouth as his side tore them apart 5-2. This took him on to a tally of 15 goals in all competitions this season.

For a young player playing his full debut season that record certainly makes for impressive reading. ESPN even tweeted out how he has scored more goals than Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria put together.

 

If Greenwood was to score another five goals during the rest of the campaign, he would help break a very impressive long-standing club record.

It will be the first time that three United players have scored 20 or more goals in the same season since 1964-65, when Denis Law (39), David Herd (28) and John Connelly (20) did the same thing.

 

Given the fact he only recently started playing consistently in the Premier League you have to be impressed with numbers he’s managed to put up.

A real earmark of his play has been the quality of his finishing, his two goals against Bournemouth showed fantastic shot power and accurate finishing, the ability to do that at this level and at only 18 years old, it shows he could be the real deal. In fact he has already outscored Marcus Rashford’s debut season. So in that sense he’s showing more promise.

In fact, only Michael Owen , Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney have scored more goals in a single Premier League campaign at the age of 18 and under. The esteem of that company alone should give you an idea of his talent.

United have been longing for their academy talents to replicate the class of 92, and while a group of that caliber is extremely rare, Greenwood certainly has the potential to be a superstar for club and country.

Marcus Rashford

A hero on and off the pitch this season. It feels as though Marcus Rashford has been around for a while and you’d be right in thinking that considering he has played 206 games for the club (according to transfermarkt). Alongside this he also had 38 caps and 10 goals for the England first team – so he has plenty of match experience for a 22-year-old.

Over his time at the club he has amassed 65 goals and 35 assists, which when looked at is a pretty impressive number. Rashford has long been criticised for his lack of goals, particularly in the Premier League.

That is within reason, before this campaign the most he’d scored was 10 goals, and he’s smashed that with 15 this time around. The England striker has improved every season – scoring 5, 5, 7, 10 and now 15 goals. A steady rise but a clear improvement in form.

He’s now hit 20 first the season in all competitions, easily performing at his best, which could be due in part to the creative talents around him like Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, etc.

Perhaps the role of a Manchester United no.9 is one that has put added pressure on his ability to perform at the highest level. The controversy surrounding his position (was he an inverted winger or a striker?) stunted his growth as he was moved around the pitch constantly.

This campaign has shown that he does have a real ability to grow and evolve into a word-class attacking player, and if this steady upwards trajectory continues who knows how many goals he could get.

His positive charity work outside the game has also earned him respect and admiration, and he has proved he has a mature head on his shoulders and at such a young age too – that can only bode well for his attitude on the pitch.

Anthony Martial

Martial has had an odd time at Manchester United. The Frenchman came in for a lot of money and has always had buckets of ability. His debut goal against Liverpool is still a thing of beauty. Despite this we have yet to really see his true potential.

Perhaps his disappointing career for France has removed him from the spotlight – scoring one goal in 18 caps. In 213 appearances for United he has 68 goals and 35 assists, only marginally better than Marcus Rashford.

Now at the age of 24, Martial would ideally need to find his form and we have seen his talents fully with this post-lockdown campaign.

He equaled Rashford’s tally of 20 goals for this season and at times has looked unplayable. His long range goal against Bournemouth tells you all you need to know about the ability of the man.

A lot has been made of his attitude and at times he hasn’t looked settled at the club but the return of this post-lockdown United has seen a complete u-turn in the player. Pogba and Martial both look happy at the club – the addition of Bruno Fernandes has apparently had a great impact on the dressing room atmosphere.

Martial seems like a player that thrives off the ability of those around him and this allows to play with a great deal of confidence. At times, he has looked lost but others he has looked like a real superstar.

His current form suggests that he is happy to stay and has found a team he can believe in and enjoy playing with. So from a United point of view, long may it continue.

What can they achieve?

The question on every United fans lips is now, can they achieve greater heights?

The beginning of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as manager was faultless but it took a real nose dive and you could forgive people for thinking the same thing could happen again.

If the form of these three players continues in the same fashion, we could see a very dangerous United side going into the next campaign. With the Europa League still to content for, there is a lot of hope surrounding the club that a season, which looked dead and buried, produce a European trophy and Champions League football.

With such a small gap between this and next season though, you have to wonder how United will compete next year. It appears, however, Solskjaer could be building a fantastic team. Defensively there is still work to be done – but the future certainly looks a lot brighter for the red side of Manchester.

The race for europe

As the Premier League Table shows the race for European Football next season has heated up, It seemed before the restart that Chelsea and Leicester City were pretty secure in the Top 4 but their form and the impressive way in which Manchester United in particular have restarted have tightened it up. United have Won all but one of their Matches , Leicester have only won one which was their last outing, leaving United only 2 points behind Chelsea and 3 Behind Leicester. Wolves suffered a damaging defeat to Arsenal on Saturday which sees them 3 points of a Champions League place.

We asses who is best placed to qualify based on the remaining fixtures and current form.

Leicester have what looks like a tricky run in starting with a trip to Arsenal, who are in the race for at least a Europa League place. Then they face a Bournemouth side with everything to play for followed by games against another two sides with european qualification hopes in Sheffield United and Totenham before finishing against Manchester United in what could be a pivotal match.

Chelsea have play Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Norwich, Liverpool and Wolves. They should be confident of picking up enough points for Champions League Next season.

Manchester United are away at relegation battlers Aston Villa, before hosting Southampton and travelling away to Crystal Palace before finishing with West Ham (H) and Leicester (A).

Wolves start their run in away at fellow european contenders Sheffield United, Then Everton at home and Burnley Away who haven’t ruled themselves out of Europa League contention. Their final two matches are at home to Crystal Palace and away Chelsea.

As it stands with a Top 5 finish enough to qualify for the Champions League I’d predict the current top 5 staying as they are with Wolves having just to much ground to make up.

We now turn our focus to Europa League qualification with Wolves almost certain to at least take one spot Arsenal, Sheffield United, Burnley, Totenham are the main contenders for the remaining two spots.

Arsenal have a key next 3 matches as they face Leicester, Totenham and Liverpool before a double header against relegation threatened Aston Villa and Watford.

Sheffield United had a poor restart until a 3-1 win against Totenham, this run has pulled them out of Champions League Contention however Europa League is still likely on their first season back in the premier league. Although their run could prove problematic as they play Wolves, Chelsea then Leicester before Everton and Southampton.

Burnley are in contention following a good restart and they face a West Ham who are improving in their battle to stay up and champions Liverpool in next 2 games. Before playing Wolves, Norwich and Brighton.

There is a key match in the race tonight as Totenham play Everton with the winner in a good position. After this match Spurs play Bournemouth, Arsenal, Newcastle, Leicester and Crystal Palace. whilst Everton play Southampton, Wolves, Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Bournemouth.