Bits & Pieces: What Can Happen In This Weekend’s Premier League Games? + First Trophy For Pep Guardiola?

Posted: February 25, 2018 in Arsenal, Carabao Cup, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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The Premier League doesn’t really get underway for the top six until Sunday this weekend and even then Manchester City and Arsenal will be missing from the fixture list.

Saturday’s sole representatives of England’s elite were Liverpool who played West Ham United at Anfield.

It turned out to be a fairly routine outing for Jürgen Klopp’s men. West Ham United didn’t even bother to flatter, they just deceived.

A first half goal from Emre Can was followed, in the second half, by further goals from Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané and that, essentially, was that.

West Ham did manage to grab a consolation goal when 3-1 down through Mikail Antonio but the damage, by this time, had already been done.

The 4-1 win moves Liverpool above Manchester United in the table, at least until after their game with Chelsea, which United must now win to retake second.

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Emre Can – Celebrates scoring Liverpool’s first against West Ham

Sunday will see the rest of the top six spring into action although with Arsenal and City it is to contest the Carabao Cup final rather than the Premier League, (their league game takes place at The Emirates on Thursday, March 1st).

This all gives Tottenham Hotspur the chance to go above Chelsea and move within one point of Manchester United for a couple of hours at least. All they need do is beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park!

That, however, is easier said than done as Palace have a decent home record under Roy Hodgson and the last time they lost a game at Selhurst Park was in December when they were narrowly beaten by Arsenal 2-3.

This game is one of those whereby the result, whatever it may be, will not necessarily be a surprise. Tottenham could win, no surprise in that. Palace could win, also no real surprise in that. The most likely result is probably a draw in which there would certainly be no surprise.

So we await the outcome of this one with interest and no real clue of what it will be.

The match following the Palace/Spurs game is the long awaited rematch between José Mourinho and Antonio Conte which we expect to be more of a no-contest than a rematch. They both appear to have come to their senses over the comments Mourinho made which so infuriated the Italian.

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Mourinho and Conte – No fireworks expected at Old Trafford

Obviously somebody has explained to Conte that he totally misunderstood the remarks when assuming they were directed at him and Mourinho also now seems to realise that the Chelsea manager was the victim of the press deliberately failing to correct his misunderstanding because it made for a much better story.

The game itself is one that neither club can really afford to lose, particularly with Liverpool winning and Tottenham Hotspur also looking good so the pressure is on both teams.

The problem, of course, when a big game involving two top six teams who cannot afford to lose is being played, is that the result is usually a low scoring draw, either 0-0 or 1-1.

Our impression is that both managers would probably take that scoreline now although the onus is more on José Mourinho and Manchester United, as the home team, to try and win the game.

We still think a draw is probable.

And finally…..

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Two managers with a love of attacking football meet at Wembley

The Carabao Cup final also takes place at White Hart Wembley and will see Stubborn Old Man try and outwit Pep Guardiola. He must have a chance because Paul Cook, manager of first division side Wigan, managed it only a few days ago.

Wenger’s problem is that City will be doubly determined to collect this trophy now that their quadruple dream is over and even the treble, which is still a possibility, has been devalued by the absence of the FA Cup.

This game will see a return to form, a return to winning ways and a return to Manchester for the trophy.

 

 

 

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