Friday, September 24, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 6

 Chelsea v Man Ciy - H

Man Utd v Aston Villa - H

Everton v Norwich - H

Leeds v West Ham - A

Leicester v Burnley - H

Watford v Newcastle - D

Brentford v Liverpool - A

Southampton v Wolves - H

Arsenal v Tottenham - D

Crystal Palace v Brighton - A


It's still early dibs but I've mentioned this before that I don't think that Man City will retain their title this year. Winning the Champions League will be their priority but more importantly, they don't have a No 9, having missed on one of the brightest of them all in Harry Kane. Getting Grealish was an excellent piece of business but he won't give you 20 goals in one season. And I believe we can have a good glimpse of how City's season will unfold in the coming weeks as they play Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool in succession. Without a striker, they look very vulnerable indeed.

Chelsea are currently favourites to take the baton from City and they have started the season in tremendous style and in an expected fashion. A Lukaku up-front that the Blues are enjoying is what Guardiola needs for the Citizens. No more reliance on Timo Werner and his misses. Tuchel is unbeaten in 4 matches against Guardiola since arriving at Stamford Bridge and I expect the unbeaten run to continue on Saturday. How the market is equally divided among the 2 just amazes me. At home, the Blues hold no fear and I see it worth going for the outright win in their favour.

Friday, September 17, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 5

Wolves v Brentford - H

Burnley v Arsenal - H

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - H

Man City v Southampton - H

Norwich v Watford - A

Aston Villa v Everton - A

Brighton v Leicester - A

West Ham v Man Utd - D

Tottenham v Chelsea - A


Burnley have only 1 point to show for so far but their odds look prohibitively high against visiting Arsenal. I believe Dyche's men are a little unfortunate to be sitting next to the bottom of the table as they could easily have gathered a few more points from their opening matches. They are a tough team to beat on their best day and they should be hitting good form soon. Visiting Arsenal do not have much better form and I think Arteta's men are an out-of-sorts team at the moment. Forget that they are not the Arsenal team of old, they are much worse than even the worst Wenger teams. This does not look a team that is going anywhere and I wouldn't be surprised if Arteta is given the boot soon. I think it's worth siding with the home team here, either a straight win or a draw-no-bet; I just don't see Burnley losing this one.


Friday, September 10, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 4

Crystal Palace v Spurs - D

Arsenal v Norwich - H

Brentford v Brighton - D

Leicester v Man City - A

Man Utd v Newcastle - H

Southampton v West Ham - H

Watford v Wolves - A

Chelsea v Aston Villa - H

Leeds v Liverpool - A

Everton v Burnley - H


Amazing that Wolves haven't yet scored a league goal so far. They could easily have had at least 2 against Man Utd in their last match, including a miracle double-save from de Gea. The problem with the Wolves attack is that Jimenez has yet to regain his goal scoring touch before his accident, Trincao is full of trickery except scoring goals and Fabio Silva is just not good enough for this league. Adama Traore can bulldoze his way through everything but goal scoring is not yet his forte. That said, I find it hard to believe that they won't score against lowly Watford. All the ingredients are there for Wolves to get their first goal to get their season started. At current odds, I find them value to outright win this match although Watford might hold this match tight.

Ronaldo makes his first re-appearance as a Red Devil after 12 years and as mentioned before, he will improve them immensely. Once the goals start coming and the floodgates are opened, Man Utd will be a hard nut to crack. Their undoing last year was their poor form at Old Trafford but I expect them to rectify this record this season. Newcastle will be the first to feel the brunt of their new powerhouse attack on Saturday. I see this match as the first of many punts on the Red Devils this season.



Friday, August 27, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 3

Man City v Arsenal - H

Aston Villa v Brentford - H

Brighton v Everton - A

Newcastle v Southampton - D

Norwich v Leicester - A

West Ham v Crystal Palace - H

Liverpool v Chelsea - H

Burnley v Leeds - H

Tottenham v Watford - H

Wolves v Man Utd - A

My oh my! Ronaldo back home to Man Utd is just seismic news... This clearly changes the league dynamics as Man Utd have now been mightily boosted with a potential 30-goal scorer. His arrival will also boost everyone around to boost their game, Utd are definitely destined for some silverware this year. I think City have missed out big time not landing the Portuguese superstar. They need a big goal scorer and missing out on Ronaldo and Kane leaves a huge void up front. They almost need to scramble to get Haaland this year, it seems.

Man Utd should complete a fantastic week by going to beat Wolves at Molyneux. They dropped points at Southampton last week but the Saints are a difficult team to overcome for anyone. The Red Devils did well to come back after falling behind on a Fred own goal and should have won the match had Greenwood been more clinical with his header, one of the few areas he has room for considerable improvement. Pogba, Greenwood and Fernandes are firing on all cylinders at the moment and should prove too much for the hosts.

Man City totally outclassed Norwich last Sunday but Arsenal should provide a slightly more robust opposition. Guardiola's men can get away without a real number 9 against weak opponents but that won't do against the leading teams. Arsenal still need to find their feet at the moment and were comprehensively overwhelmed by Chelsea in their last match. Am pretty sure they won't concede 5 like the Canaries but I don't see them going away with a clean sheet as well. It's a good time to play the Gunners at the moment and it's a must 3-pointer for the Citizens.

Liverpool hosting Chelsea is the highlight of the week. Both teams have started well and can take the spoils. Lukaku has adjusted quickly to his new team and is only going to get better. Salah, Mane and Trent Arnold are clicking as they were a couple of years back. I have to give the advantage to the hosts here as Anfield will be jam packed. However, Chelsea are not easy to break down, so I expect this match to be decided by a goal at most. Orelse, a draw could be a likely income as well.


Friday, August 20, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 2

Liverpool v Burnley - Home

Aston Villa v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Brentford - Home

Leeds v Everton - Home

Man City v Norwich - Home

Brighton v Watford - Away

Southampton v Man Utd - Away

Wolves v Spurs - Home

Arsenal v Chelsea - Away

West Ham v Leicester - Draw


Man City missed their entrance last week-end going down at White Hart Lane. The Citizens are clearly missing a No 9 but they should have no problem overcoming minnows Norwich on Saturday. Mahrez and Sterling are expected to shine and get Guardiola's team back on track. They better do because Liverpool and Man Utd have started their season brightly.

I expect Liverpool to overcome Burnley as they look very settled with Van Dyke at the back and Salah is already hitting on all cylinders. Man Utd have a more arduous road trip at Southampton and it's a match they almost lost last year until they mounted a memorable second-half comeback thanks to the likes of Cavani and Fernandes. Any poor showing like their first half of last season might doom them this time, but with the quality they have shown last week, and with a Pogba that seems very interested, they might have too much firepower again for the hosts.

Chelsea sees the return of Lukaku and the Belgian might make the difference against the Gunners. A defeat here will certainly heap the pressure on Arteta who will be missing a few key players due to Covid. Chelsea are already rocking and Lukaku definitely improves them mightily in the striker department. The Blues should get even better with matches but they have the capacity to shell-shock the Gunners in this early-season London clash.

Friday, August 13, 2021

EPL 21/22 Predictions

Man Utd v Leeds - Home

Burnley v Brighton - Away

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Home

Everton v Southampton - Away

Leicester v Wolves - Home

Watford v Aston Villa - Draw

Norwich v Liverpool - Away

Newcastle v West Ham - Draw

Tottenham v Man City - Draw


Welcome back to a new season of EPL that promises to be even better than the last one. The big teams have loaded up, it won't be a shoe-in for Man City as last season. Here are my thoughts on the main protagonists.

Man City are favourites to retain their title and have added Grealish to their arsenal. They are still gunning for Harry Kane and whether they succeed in that endeavour will determine their chances of trophies this year. There is no doubt that the Champions League will be the main objective together with the league, having come agonizingly close to capturing Europe's biggest club prize in May. They will play a leading role in the league again but I have a feeling they will not come out on top.

Man Utd have beefed up with the arrivals of Sancho and Varane during the off-season. Sancho is an amazing addition and the England winger adds potency and verve to an already talented attack. I am not so sure about Varane; sure, the French stalwart has won a lot of silverware but the jury will be out whether he can master the physical challenges of the Premier League. If he can form a formidable partnership with McGuire at the back, Man Utd will play a major role this season. Solksjaer needs some silverware to keep his job and the Red Devils better start strong orelse he could be gone prematurely.

Chelsea have done a fantastic business grabbing Lukaku this week. He assures them at least 20 goals this season and after the debacle with Werner, makes them a complete team. If Kante stays healthy, the Blues will be feared. In fact, I can only see them doing better than last year and at the present, make them my favourites to win the title. Tuchel has proven he can handle the EPL and will get this team in even better prosition this year. Watch for the Blues.

Liverpool are contenders again this year with a fully-fit backline. Their season tapered away last year after injuries decimated Van Dyke and his fellow defenders. My concern for them is that they haven't reinforced adequately during the off-season and are bound to lose some stalwarts. Wijnaldum is already gone. The Kops should finish in the top 4 but I think they will miss out winning the title.

Leicester will start strong and fade as usual.. Arsenal and Tottenham won't make the Champions League.

Win Title: Chelsea


Friday, July 2, 2021

Coral Eclipse 2021 - UK Group 1 in sight for Mishriff

With only 4 participants, quality, rather than quantity, is the name in this year's edition of the Coral Eclipse. Let's discard El Drama right away as there is no way that he is going to cause any drama playing a major role in this race.

Mishriff is the deserved favourite and holds a great chance to land a Group 1 in UK to add to his stellar resume. This horse has gone through a path that no other has trodden before; winner of a Group 1 in France in the French Derby, winner of the world's richest race and on dirt in Saudi Arabia and winner of the Scheema Classic in Dubai. Winning a Group 1 on dirt and on turf is really unheard of and Mishriff is really peer-less in this category. He did convincingly beat some of the best the USA had to offer on the dirt surface of Riyad and in Dubai he beat one of Japan's best in Chrono Genesis. So, his form is solid. Provided the group is not worse than soft on Saturday, he will be tough to beat.

Addeybb is a top-class horse and will relish the softish conditions. If it gets near heavy, he cannot be opposed. He won the Champion Stakes last year on heavy ground (beating Mishriff in the process) but he really made a name for himself by winning some Group 1's Down Under. Let's be clear here; Australia's midde-distance locals are an average lot compared to the Europeans and winning a Group 1 over here does not have the significance it has in Europe. Addeybb might be rated 3 pounds higher than Mishriff on the official scales but to me, Gosden's horse is on a different, higher level as long as the ground is not bottomless.

St Mark's Basilica is a dual French classic winner having bagged the French Guineas and Derby. He is clearly among the creme de la creme from Ballydoyle and will sport some advantage at the weights against the elderly competitors. He won both Classics on soft ground so the going at Sandown will not be a problem. I still think he's not seasoned enough to take on the above two, particularly Mishriff, but I expect him to give a good account of himself.

I cannot go against Mishriff here. 98 days since his last race might be a concern but he runs well fresh and his class should see him through.

Win: Mishriff

Friday, June 25, 2021

Sport bonanza week-: Euros, Irish Derby, Styrian Grand Prix

Here are my selections on this fantastic week-end of sports coming up.

In Euro 2021, my main punt is Denmark against Wales. I cannot see the Welsh overcoming the Danes who are playing out of their minds at the moment. The way they dominated the powerful Belgians in the first half and their rampant victory over Russia tells me that the Danes can go very far in this tournament. They are playing with the Eriksen factor.

I can see possible upsets this week-end and while Italy should run over Austria, it would not surprise me if Portugal overcome Belgium or the Czechs beat Holland. Belgium are vulnerable at the back and no-one would bet against Ronaldo netting at least one against them. Holland might have appeared strong in the group stage but they were playing against minnows. I think it might be worth laying them; they won't go far.

The Irish Derby is the main racing story and I believe the winner will come from either High Definition, Hurricane Lane or Mac Swiney. The first-named has impressed in each of  his 3 outings and even when he was beaten in the Dante Stakes, he hit the line really well suggesting that the distance would not be a problem and he would come on enormously for the run. He skipped Epsom unlike the other 2, so should be fresh to go. Hurricane Lane ran a good third at Epsom, and like all Charlie Appleby's, needs to be respected. The Curragh track should suit him better and he looks certain to be among the finishers. Finally, Mac Swiney has that funny record where he wins every alternating race and if that pattern holds, he should win on Saturday. He won the Irish Guineas beating mighty stablemate Poetic Flare and is definitely top-class. If there is any softness in the ground, he should be bang in there.

Finally, Formula 1 is interesting these days as Verstappen is giving Hamilton all he can handle. The momentum is clearly with the Dutch and in the short term, I can see him dominating the Brit. Mercedes need to fight back and come up with a more competitive car if Hamilton is to retain his title this year. For the meantime though, Verstappen is the one to be backed.

Win: Italy, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, High Definition/Mac Swiney, Verstappen

Place: Hurricane Lane

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Prince of Wales' Stakes - Lord North looking for Love

Royal Ascot is under-way and the first day saw the 2 best European milers (excuses to St Mark Basilica!) come to the fore as Palace Pier and Poetic Flare dominated their races. The anticipation now is for those 2 to meet at some point later and if SMB can join in too, that would be a hell of a race.

The second day at Ascot sees the much-anticipated return of Love who had an utterly exciting and dominating Classic season last year. Softish ground has limited her appearances but the good to firm ground at Ascot will be to her liking. She will cut it out with colts for the first time and the outcome of the race will give us a good indication whether all the hype behind her was justified or not. 

Love is not proven on firm ground but she will definitely relish it to soft ground. Her return to the course after a 300-day absence means that she will not be at the peak of her powers. The Ballydoyle team are certainly bringing her up to bigger challenges during the course of the season. Her fans will hope that she is not under-cooked for the occasion.

The main opponent to Love will be Lord North, the winner of last year's edition. The John Gosden gelding is top-class and seems to be in top form at the age of 5. He won the Dubai Turf convincingly on his last start and the vibes are certainly positive from connections. He can be a handful in the stalls and provided he is well-behaved in that area, his chances of winning are legitimate. I think the Gosden stable have him primed for this race and deserves to be shorter odds than the current 9/4.

Armory and the other runners will be aiming for third place, nothing higher. It might be worth taking a winning punt on Lord North at current odds. I can't see him out of the first 2.  If Love can make a convincing winning return, she might be the next super filly racing is looking for and the upcoming big middle-distance races will be at her mercy.

Win/Place: Lord North

Friday, May 28, 2021

Champions League Final - History beckons for Man City

It's an all-English final in the Champions League underlying the quality of the Premier League amongst its Europrean peers. It is a final between 2 loaded (with money) teams in Man City, guided by the riches of Abu Dhabi and Chelsea, the club of Russian billionaire Ambramovich. It will be a first European Cup final for the Citizens while the Blues will be at their third final. 

If this match were played a couple of weeks ago, I would have given both teams a 50-50 chance of winning it. Chelsea were almost unbeaten under Tuchel and even went to win at the Etihaad. However, since then, the Blues have lost 3 of their last 4 matches and Tuchel's Midas touch seems to have evaporated. They needed crucial wins in the FA Cup final and in the last EPL match and lost both. So, the Blues are lacking form at the moment.

For their part, Man City have been playing on 3rd gear towards winning the league. They were not in the same mode of urgency as Chelsea. Even though they lost 2 matches against Tuchel's Blues, I don't think they necessarily go in this match with a psychological disadvantage. They might have lost the match at the Etihad but they were resting their first team for the occasion and more importantly, had Aguro converted his failed Panenka penalty, they would have won that match easily. So, I don't think there will be any mental barrier in their minds that they cannot beat Chelsea. I think Guardiola will get his tactics right and the Citizens are worthy favourites.

I mentioned the lack of form of Chelsea above and the other downside with them is the quality of their marksmen. The ability of Werner to convert his chances will certainly be a factor to consider; the German has proven to be a serial expert in missing open goals and continuing on this streak will be fatal for the Blues. There is little doubt that Tuchel will p refer to stay with his fellow German up front and not opt to start with Giroud but either way, I see the defensive pairing of Dias and Stones effectively containing either Chelsea forward.

The Man City squad is so deep that dangers for Chelsea will lurk from anywhere. However, it's a match of 90 minutes and anything can happen; the Blues could score the first or odd goal and park the bus; or the City stars could be on an off-day; or lady luck might decide to give a trophy to the Londoners. But the odds are that Guardiola will have his tactics right and have his players primed for the occasion. Foden, De Bryune, Mahrez, Dias and Gungodan have dominated all year long and shown up on big occasions. If they fail to fire, there are the likes of Aguero and Sterling on the bench who can turn a match on its head in an instant. The Citizens should not only be up for this but they have the quality to make the difference over 90 minutes, extra time or penalties. An out-of-form Chelsea do not look a formidable proposition against them.

Win: Man City

Saturday, May 22, 2021

European leagues - Curtain Call

 It's the curtain call for European leagues this week-end and today the verdict fell on La Liga where Atletico Madrid hang on to its slim lead to win the title over arch-rivals Real Madrid. There's still much at stake in the other leagues and here are some predictions.

Premier League. What is mainly of interest here is which of Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester are going to miss out on a UCL spot; only two of them will be happy fellas by the end of the day. The Kops were saved by the most improbable goal from keeper Allison in stoppage time last week to have their destiny in their own hands. They host Crystal Palace, a team that is capable of the best and worst depending on their mood. It will be Roy Hodgson's last match at the helm for the Eagles but I don't think the esx-Liverpool manager will be throwing a wrench to his old club's UCL aspirations. Liverpool should win this one although it will not surprise me if the Kops are made to sweat till the end.

I believe Leicester will overcome Spurs although this is bound to go to the wire as well. The Foxes will have to wait for Chelsea's result at Aston Villa, a rather difficult match on the cards for the Blues. Again here, old connections can play a role as Villa assistant coach John Terry might play villain against old club Chelsea. The Villains are a tough nut to crack although I feel they are more apt to get a result on the road than at home. Chelsea have enough quality to edge this match and I think they will. So, for me, Liverpool and Chelsea will bear the 2 remaining UCL spots at Leicester's expense.

In France, coronation will either go to Lille or PSG. Monaco has an outside chance but will need those 2 to falter and scoring bucketloads against Lens to win the title. It won't happen. As it stands, Lille has a slightly harder task on paper than PSG as they visit 12th place Angers while PSG go to 16th place Brest. However, the latter are fighting their lives in a relegation scrap, so PSG's might actually be having a harder match-up. Lille have a strong record on the road, so they have quality to go get a result at Angers and hence sccure the title.

In Italy, in a similar fashion to the Premier League, 3 teams namely Juventus, AC Milan and Napoli are vying for 2 UCL spots. Juventus should be able to rely on Ronaldo to get the must-win at Bologna. Napoli are also favoured at home against Verona. Milan have a very tough match as they visit Atalanta. The latter have nothing to play for, so that might ease things a bit for the Milanese; however the hosts are still a formidable team at their best and I think they will kill off Milan's UCL hopes. I see Juventus and Napoli making it to next year's UCL.

EPL UCL spots: Liverpool, Chelsea

French champions: Lille

Serie A UCL spots: Juventus, Napoli

Friday, May 14, 2021

FA Cup Final - Tough challenge for Leicester

Leicester have become a Premier League powerhouse in recent years and their history reached its apex when they won the league in shocking fashion during the 2015/16 season under Claudio Ranieri. Brendan Rogers has given the team a renewed impetus since taking the helm a couple years ago but has yet to make a major imprint by either winning a trophy or getting the team back in the Champions League. He is close to doing so this year as they are a match away from winning the FA Cup and a well-positioned third in the later stages of the EPL.

But here comes nemesis Chelsea who will battle them for the FA Cup trophy and third league spot as well. Since his arrival to replace Frank Lampard, manager Tuchel has made a major impact for the Blues. This is a team no-one will confidently play against; they have even beaten champions Man City twice in as many outings since the German took over. His team is in the FA Cup and Champions League finals and is well on the way to secure UCL qualification for next year. This has got to be considered an amazing achievement given that the results were oh-so-so under Lampard. 

The Blues are rock solid in the defensive and midfield compartments which are really their forte. Opposing teams find it hard to break them down as they are very well organized. Their Achilles tendon is up front with striker Werner being guilty of glaring misses all season long. The German forward seems to do everything right, except score. He will have to stop his profligacy in front of goal Saturday if the Blues are to have a live chance to win this.

Chelsea go into the match as deserved favourites. They have the momentum and the better team. Leicester are in no way push-overs and have a great stopper in Schmeichel. If it goes to penalties, I'd rather side with the Danish stopper in any match. The Foxes' form lately have been over-reliant on striker Iheanacho. The Nigerian is making a knack of scoring in every match and is clearly the in-form striker in England at the moment.  Him or Vardy have the quality to score against any defence, so Rudiger and Silva are warned for the Blues. The potential absence of Johnny Evans at the heart of the Leicester defence would definitely be a negative. The former Man Utd defender is a rock at the back and his absence for the past weeks has clearly been felt. Even if match fit tomorrow, he might have to battle early cobwebs to get back into match rhythm.

This will be surely a tactical battle between 2 managers known for their tactical minds. I think Chelsea are going to have the more chances to score and the question is whether they can translate them into goals. If Tuchel's men can smother what Iheanacho and Vardy can throw at them, they should have enough quality to do damage at the other end. Roger's wait for a trophy with Leicester will have to wait a bit more, I believe.

Win (trophy, 90 mins): Chelsea

Friday, May 7, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 34

Leeds v Tottenham - Home

Sheffield Utd v Crystal Palace - Away

Man City v Chelsea - Draw

Liverpool v Southampton - Home

Wolves v Brighton - Away

Aston Villa v Man Utd - Away

West Ham v Everton - Home

Arsenal v West Brom - Home

Fulham v Burnley - Draw


Man City vs Chelsea is the dress rehearsal to the upcoming Champions League final and it is almost a certainty that both teams will give a display that will bear no resemblance to what they intend to unleash in a few weeks time. For sure, both camps might insist that tomorrow's Premier League match is all-important but the European final chips are way too important for them to divulge any tactical inklings or shows of weaknesses and strengths towards the opposing team on Saturday. I expect a drab match and a goal-less draw does not look far-fetched even at the Etihaad Stadium where the Citizens usually score by the bucketload. Both teams will have the intent not to lose this match from a psychological perspective; Chelsea will be keen to show that they can go toe to toe with the champions-to-be and also prove that their win over the same opponents in the semi-final of the FA Cup was no fluke. Another defeat for Man City to Chelsea might actually seed some doubt into Guardiola's men as to whether they can really beat Tuchel's side, so the Citizens will be keen not to lose this match; in fact, they have more to lose than the visitors. All in all, I expect a match with few occasions, with Chelsea should be playing tight as usual and City playing more possession football than carving clear-cut chances.

Draw: Man City v Chelsea

Friday, April 30, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 33

Crystal Palace v Man City - Away

Brighton v Leeds - Away

Chelsea v Fulham - Home

Everton v Aston Villa - Home

Newcastle v Arsenal - Home

Man Utd v Liverpool - Home

Tottenham v Sheffield Utd - Home

WBA v Wolves - Home

Burnley v West Ham - Draw


Man Utd against Liverpool is one of the biggest matches of any season, if not the biggest. It is quite astonishing how the fortunes of those teams have been ebbing in the past seasons. Man Utd are enjoying their best spell of the post-Ferguson era and seem to have finally found a winning team under Solksjaer. Liverpool reached Nirvana last year after years of drought and while everyone was predicting years of upcoming domination for the Reds, it's more a case of everything un-ravelling and Klopp's men struggling to qualify for a UCL spot. I actually find it somewhat amazing that Liverpool is going into this match as favourites on the exchanges; they might have the greater urgency for the full points and Utd will certainly be feeling the ill-effects of their Europa League match against Roma but both teams are playing at a different tune at the moment. 

Man Utd are simply rocking currently and are able to beat any team, including Man City, over the course of 90 minutes. Solksjaer seems to have found his favoured system and starting eleven. The Red Devils won't win the league but they should be able to comfort their second league position and have an outstanding chance to lift the Europa trophy. The team looks solid all-round.

Liverpool are showing flashes of their old brilliance but not enough to annihilate a match as in previous years. Their main problem since the past months has their decimated backline as well as the profligacy of their forwards starting with Salah. I mean, he's no Tim Werner, but he still misses a lot of chances. Their fragility at the back gives the rest of the team no confidence to rock n roll their way forward. The absence of just one star player in Van Dyke has made a difference to Liverpool's fortunes. 

With their Europa final league spot almost guaranteed after the 6-2 thrashing of Roma in the first leg, the Red Devils should be fully focused on this local derby rather than being distracted by the upcoming second leg. That sets them well to unleash the likes of Cavani, Rashford and Greenwood against the Kop's depleted defence. They put 6 past Roma, they will surely put at least 1 against the visitors, who will realistically go for the jugular given that a draw does them no favours. I cannot see the home side losing this and think it will either end in a draw or home win.

Win: Man Utd

Friday, April 23, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 32 + League Cup Final

Liverpool v Newcastle - Home

West Ham v Chelsea - Away

Sheffield Utd v Brigthon - Away

Wolves v Burnley - Away

Leeds v Man Utd - Home

Aston Villa v West Brom - Home

Leicester v Crystal Palace - Home


Liverpool will have to play their skin to capture that last 4th sport synonymous with UCL football next season. They have a golden opportunity for 3 precious points against visiting Newcastle. The Magpies have been in pretty decent form of late and have picked up their game (and points) since the return of forward Saint-Maximin from injury. Without the Frenchman, it's hard to see how Steve Bruce's men would made a quite stunning recovery given their poor form prior. However, going to Liverpool should be a step too far for them as there is an urgency to win full points for Klopp's men as well. This could be a high-scoring affair with Mo Salah probably on the score-sheet, having been profligate in the recent matches.

Sunday sees the final of the League Cup between Man City and Tottenham. It's quite unfathomable to think that Spurs fired Mourinho days before a final and a possible trophy that they have been so relishing for. I suppose things must have been pretty bad in-house given the timing of the firing; or could it have been a Levy decision to deflect from Spurs' participation in the European Super League fiasco? Could be a little of both, I think. Regardless, I think that Spurs would have had a better winning chance in the final with Mourinho in charge. Although it is a Cup final, Man City have hinted that they might not field their best team with next week's UCL match against PSG very much on their minds. So you get a scenario where the weaker team will play their season on this final while the favourite will have a UCL match as distraction. Obviously, that boosts Spurs' chances but will that be enough to stop Guardiola's men? I think not. Their second team is good enough to handle Spurs' first team and you've got to question interim manager Mason's seasoning for a final after 1 week on the job. This should end up in a City win unless the trio of Bale, Son and Kane can conjur up a masterful performance at the front end.

Win: Man City/Liverpool