Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are locked in a battle to seemingly avoid the automatic Champions League spots. Both teams have stumbled recently when presented with the opportunity to make gains on the top four. Tottenham may consider themselves lucky to have got a result against Liverpool recently when a win was vital for their European aspirations. Can Arsenal make it successive seasons in failing to gain automatic qualification? Time will tell.
Mahrez goes to City!
Riyad Mahrez will more than likely travel to Manchester City this weekend. He is unlikely to be having a medical though. Mahrez has been on a self-imposed strike since his transfer to the Etihad fell through. Claude Puel may still take him on the bus though if only to let him see what he could have had.
This might have been a tough game for Manchester City with Mahrez playing, it will be easier without him. Expect the Midlanders to put up a great performance, but it is another win for the Sky Blues for me.
Palace could heap more misery on Everton at the weekend
Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side have been flying of late and they are starting to pull away from the relegation places. Everton may not have fully recovered from their 5-1 demolition at the hands of Arsenal last week and Palace could prove to be another very tough test for Toffees.
Things need to get better quickly for Benitez’ Newcastle
Newcastle are like a corpse afloat right now. Dangerously close to the relegation zone and with little hope of that changing anytime soon. United may have slipped up against Tottenham but don’t expect Newcastle to begin their revival with victory over the Reds.
Draw against Crystal Palace ends City’s winning streak but they remain well clear in the title race. Pep Guardiola maintains that Manchester City will not finish the season unbeaten. Crystal Palace certainly did their best to validate this remark with an impressive display against the league leaders. Roy Hodgson’s side are playing with a renewed vigour that defies their lowly position in the table and they came close to inflicting City’s first defeat of the season on the final day of the year.
Palace defended well, but they also took every opportunity to attack, and their strategy nearly paid off in the second minute of extra time when Wilfred Zaha was bought down in the box by Raheem Sterling. Disappointingly though, Milivojevic’s penalty was well saved by Ederson. None the less City go into the new year 14 points clear at the top and despite this minor hiccup look set to continue their form into 2018.
Mourinho needs more money!
Jose Mourinho claims that he requires more funds to be able to compete with Manchester City. This despite the fact, that Mourinho has spent only £4 million less than his counterpart this season.
United have always traditionally been a big spending club, yet during the Ferguson era this was always tempered with one of the most highly productive youth systems in Europe. The Portugese manager, feels that the reason his team has lost so much ground to City in recent weeks is due to his lack of spending power. United legend Paul Scholes, sees things differently though. Scholes, is of the opinion, that United have simply not bought wisely.
Will Mark Hughes become the first casualty of 2018?
The Christmas period has not been good to Mark Hughes. Stoke could only manage a point against Huddersfield on Boxing day. They followed this up with a 5-0 defeat to second placed Chelsea in their last game of the year and began 2018 with another loss to Newcastle. Stoke are now just two points off the drop zone. The question is who could replace Hughes? Are there enough top-quality managers around right now who could do a better job than the former United legend?
Klopp praises Liverpool ‘attitude’
A 94th winner by Ragnar Klavan saw Liverpool begin 2018 with a victory that didn’t seem likely. Liverpool are now thirteen games unbeaten and the Christmas period saw impressive wins over Swansea (5-0) and Leicester (2-1), but Sean Dyche’s Burnley are no pushovers.
It may not have been the prettiest football Liverpool have played but Klopp was full of praise for his team as they fought hard and eventually ground out a win against a difficult to beat Burnley side.
Liverpool were without key players Coutinho and Salah for this game and the manager intimated that they also may not be available for Friday’s FA cup 3rd round tie against Everton. With Liverpool now occupying fourth spot they will be hoping that both these players will be fit and available throughout January. Coutinho especially, will be key to Liverpool’s Champions League aspirations.
City have now beaten every team around them except Spurs. Will Tottenham be the team to instil some doubt into the champions elect? Pochettino’s men certainly have the pedigree and having already beaten Real Madrid this season in the Champions League they will go into the game confident in their ability. However, some poor results recently have seen Spurs drop off the pace and they remain outside the top four. This could be a season defining game for both teams. Having recently beaten second placed United, City have already put plenty of daylight between their challengers. Victory for Tottenham though could just explode City’s air of invincibility.
Arsenal can’t afford to fail again
The Gunners take on Newcastle at the Emirates in a game that they really need to win having lost recently to Man Utd and only managed a draw against Southampton at the weekend.
Newcastle have been on a terrible run with no wins in their last five games and uncertainty surrounding the club’s potential take-over. Recent results certainly can’t have helped Mike Ashley’s negotiations as Newcastle’s value must be plummeting by the week.
Could Leicester City push for Champions League spot?
Leicester’s recent form has seen them move up to 8th in the league, just seven points off a Champions League spot.
This week’s game against Crystal Palace is another great opportunity to put some pressure on the teams above them and with many of the main title challengers apparently faltering, a top four finish is not as silly as it sounds.
Check out all the weeks odds here…
And Crystal Palace Don’t Lose
What a great weekend of football we just witnessed here at EnergyWorld. England win a world cup, Crystal Palace save themselves from further embarrassment with a last gasp equaliser, and Liverpool celebrate Christmas eight weeks early.
Roy Hodgson Breathes Sigh of Relief
West Ham denied a precious victory thanks to a 96th minute equaliser by Wilfred Zaha. With both sides really needing the points this may have been a fair result, but it came about due to a rookie mistake by West Ham’s Michail Antonio. With 60 seconds on the clock and needing only to hold the ball in the opposition corner, Antonio needlessly played the ball to the Palace keeper who immediately launched it back down field leading to Zaha’s goal.
Jurgen Klopp Gets the Mince Pies In
Liverpool bounce back from humiliation at the hands of Tottenham with three goals, three points and a clean sheet against Huddersfield.
The manager said that “it feels like Christmas” following the win. He was later seen in his local Waitrose buying two packets of mince pies for the lads.
England Are Under 17 World Champions
England are the new U17 world champions following a stunning 5-2 victory over European Champions, Spain.
Goals from Rhian Brewster, Morgan Gibbs-White, Phil Foden x2 and Marc Guehi mean that England have now won two world championships in a year at youth level, a feat only previously achieved by Brazil.