Manchester City took their Premier League winning streak to an unprecedented 15 matches in midweek with a comprehensive 4-0 battering of Swansea away from home, but the potentially decisive Premier League result came last weekend as they deservedly beat arch-rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Cityzens are now a huge 11 points clear at the top of the table and have dropped a grand total of two points this season. They are looking absolutely unstoppable at the moment and could well be on their way to a record points tally.
Tottenham have come fairly close to their first ever Premier League title in the last couple of seasons, but at the moment they sit down in 4th position in the Premier League and have a 17 point deficit on the leaders. It looks like North London will have to wait a bit longer for a league trophy to arrive.
Spurs beat Brighton 2-0 at Wembley to make it three wins on the bounce in all competitions, but their league form recently has been anything but consistent. They have won two, drawn two, and lost two of their last six matches, and their record against the big teams this season is far from promising. They have lost away to Arsenal and Manchester United already and were beaten at home by Chelsea earlier in the campaign
The last time a team beat each of Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in a top-flight league season before the New Year was 1953-54, with Wolves and West Brom doing so – Manchester City could replicate this with a victory in this game.
This Manchester City winning run (15 in a row) is still four wins away from Pep Guardiola’s best-ever winning run as a manager in league competition. He won 19 in a row between October 2013 and March 2014 as Bayern Munich boss in the German Bundesliga.
Chelsea vs Southampton
Chelsea managed to bounce back from their shock defeat at West Ham in midweek with a comfortable 3-1 win away to Huddersfield, but the fear is that their numerous slip-ups this season have already all but ended their hopes of retaining the Premier League trophy.
The Blues now sit 14 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City and given their title contenders form, their chances of bridging that gap look very slim indeed. Still, they are only four points inside the top four, so it’s important that they continue to pick up the points.
Southampton shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to the hosts either. The Saints are in very poor form at the moment, and they were humiliated at home against Leicester in midweek as they sank to a 4-1 defeat.
They have now won one, drawn three, and lost four of their last eight outings, dropping them into the bottom half of the table and just four points above the relegation zone. Away from home, they have won just one league game this season as well, although they do seem to have overcome their problems in front of goal.
Chelsea has won three, drawn two, and lost one of their last six meetings with Southampton, with five of these games seeing both teams get on the scoresheet.
The West London club has won each of their last three Premier League games against Southampton since losing 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in October 2015 under Jose Mourinho.
Southampton has kept one clean sheet in their last 24 Premier League games against Chelsea, a goalless draw on Boxing Day 2002 with Antti Niemi in goal.
After losing consecutive matches against Man City and Crystal Palace, Chelsea have since won seven of their last nine in the Premier League (D1 L1), including each of the last four at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction: Over 1.5
Arsenal vs Newcastle
Arsenal’s disappointing performances away from home continued to haunt them in midweek as they made the trip to London to face the relegation-threatened West Ham. They couldn’t even manage to get a goal against the second-worst defence in the Premier League, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw to follow on from their equally dismal display at Southampton last weekend.
This puts The Gunners in an uncharacteristically low 7th position in the Premier League, and whilst they are only a point off the top four, they need to find a way to solve these away day problems soon or they risk being left behind.
The Magpies earlier performances this season are keeping them out of the drop zone at the moment, but they are only a point above the bottom three and could well find themselves sinking lower if they don’t sort their form out soon.
Away from home Newcastle are winless since September, and that 1-0 win over Swansea is their only victory of the season. Since then they have lost four and drawn two, and defensively there is a real worry after shipping 13 goals in these six games.
Arsenal has won their last nine meetings with Newcastle and hasn’t lost to them since 2010.
Arsenal has won each of their last nine Premier League games against Newcastle, scoring 22 goals and conceding just six.
Arsenal has only had a longer Premier League winning run against Manchester City (11 between August 1994 and September 2004) than their current run of nine against Newcastle.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, have only lost more consecutive Premier League games against Manchester City (12 between January 2009 and October 2015).
Prediction: Arsenal wins & Over 1.5
Rangers vs St Johnstone
Murty’s side host St Johnstone on Saturday, and they’ll be looking to continue a four-game winning streak when the Saints get to Ibrox. That run has seen them twice beat McInnes and Aberdeen, while it has shot the Gers into second place in the table and potentially towards a title race.
Can Rangers continue to chase down leaders Celtic in the Scottish Premiership this weekend? Despite having no permanent manager in place, the Gers are just five points shy of the champions, and they could move within two points on Saturday with Celtic playing a day later.
A solid run of results has made the Gers heavy favorites for this game, but we think you can find some value on them by backing a high scoring match this weekend.
The visitors have been in poor form for quite a while, and that has included some heavy defeats of late. They lost 3-0 at home to Aberdeen in midweek, while Celtic beat them 4-0 last month. That could open up a chance for the Gers to rack up some goals, especially as they won 3-0 at St Johnstone earlier this season.
Rangers have won their last three meetings with St Johnstone ahead of this clash.
Rangers have been leading at the end of each half in each of their last three clashes with the Saints. St Johnstone have seen exactly three goals scored in 41% of their league matches so far
Prediction: Rangers Win
Atletico vs Alaves
While a Champions League group stage exit has come as a bitter blow to Atleti, in recent weeks they’ve quietly been dragging themselves back into title contention in La Liga. With Diego Costa and Vitolo to become available in January and with more home games still to play than any other side in the division, their current six-point deficit to Barcelona is by no means impossible to claw back and there’s little danger of it growing anymore here.
Alaves do come into this game in good form though. Abelardo, their third managerial appointment of the season has already had more success than the previous two, winning his opening two league matches against Girona and Las Palmas to put some much-needed points on the board in what was already shaping up to be a very long season.
Up against a side of Atleti’s class though, it’s hard to see them not falling short. Alaves have lost 71% of their away games this term in La Liga and a lack of goals remains a concern. They’ve scored only 0.8 goals per game on average and only two sides in the Spanish top flight have netted fewer.
Both meetings last term were drawn. The sides hadn’t met in a decade prior to that but Atleti has won just 1 of the 7 meetings this century.
Atlético has gone 19 La Liga games without a defeat in La Liga (W12 D7), their best ever unbeaten run.
Alavés are the side who have been trailing the most minutes in La Liga this season (635), while only Real Madrid (62) and Valencia (32) have trailed for fewer than Atlético (97).
Prediction: Atletico Wins
Eibar vs Valencia
Valencia picked up a 2-1 win at home to Celta last weekend. While it may sound a routine enough victory, it was important that they bounced back from their first defeat of the season well and they certainly did that, although they were reliant on a bit of help from the referee. They head to the Basque Country as favorites but there’s strong reason to expect goals at both ends.
At the other end though Valencia continues to impress. They average 2.33 goals per game this term. To put things in some perspective, they’ve scored 5 more goals than Real Madrid and are only narrowly 2nd to Barcelona in the Spanish top flight’s goalscoring charts. Rodrigo has been a revelation up top this term and will test Eibar’s defence to the maximum here.
Eibar can at least take encouragement from some improved recent displays, particularly at home. They’ve fired in 10 goals in their last 3 home league games but their other 12 league games this term have seen them net just 6 times. They have a few ways in which they could get at Valencia with top scorer Charles available again and capable of providing a significant aerial threat in this match for them.
Eibar has collected 18 points after the first 15 matchdays in La Liga this term; their fewest at this stage of a top-flight campaign.
Valencia has lost only one of their 15 La Liga games this season (W10 D4), while this is their best ever points return at this stage of a campaign in the competition.
Marcelino is unbeaten in his four La Liga games as a coach against Eibar (W2 D2). Mendilíbar, meanwhile, has only won four of his 14 games as a coach versus Valencia in the top flight (D2 8L).
Prediction: Valencia Wins
Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich
Bayern visits Stuttgart in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash. Having seen their side lose the last 15 against the visitors, home punters will hardly be relishing having the Bavarians in town.
None more so than because they’ve seen their side suffer a dip in form. Die Roten had made a decent start to the campaign following promotion from the second tier, but three consecutive defeats has seen them slide down the table, with their 17 point haul seeing them just 2 points above the relegation playoff spot, in 14th.
What’s been most concerning about the miserable run has certainly been attacking performance. Hannes Wolf’s troops haven’t scored in any of the fixtures and only managed to fire in a paltry average of 4 shots on target in the process, helping to cement their position as the league’s third bluntest side, having only scored on 13 occasions thus far. Nonetheless, the 2-0 defeat to Leverkusen last time out at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena was the first home loss of the campaign and the side will be hoping to use home advantage to cause an upset.
It has to be said that,that doesn’t look all that likely, with it being business as usual for Bayern as far as the league is concerned. Jupp Heynckes’ men have won three consecutive Bundesliga matches, opening a 9 point gap at the top, with 12 wins from 16 outings seeing them dominate the division once again.
Bayern have won the last 15 meetings between the two, keeping clean sheets in 7.
Stuttgart have failed to score in their last 3 matches, notching an average of just 4 shots on target across said fixtures.
The hosts are the league’s third bluntest side, scoring just 13 times from their 16 fixtures.
Bayern have conceded an average of just 0.68 goals a game in Bundesliga action this season.
Prediction: Bayern Wins & Over 1.5
More To Follow
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.