Liverpool back to winning ways with 2-0 Sheffield United victory

The Reds now leapfrog rivals Everton in the race to clinch a Champions League spot as United’s return to the Championship takes another step closer.

Chris Wilder’s side showed some bright touches early on but it was keeper Aaron Ramsdale who kept them in it before the break with super stops from Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.

But despite Ramsdale forming a one man barrier before the break he was helpless to stop Curtis Jones lashing Liverpool in front after the restart.

And that breakthrough took any life out of a United comeback as Kean Bryan deflected home Firmino’s strike.

The Blades did have a few chances to snatch a consolation late on but the writing looks on the wall for Wilder and his struggling team.

Full Time from Bramall Lane it’s Sheffield United 0 Liverpool 2

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Manchester United and Chelsea battle out another 0-0 in 2020/21

United now find themselves 12 points behind Man City as Chelsea stay stuck in fifth.

Both teams created chances in an energetic start in the capital as Marcus Rashford’s free kick tested Edouard Mendy and Callum Hudson-Odoi flashed one wide.

And in a first half short on chances, it was VAR that caused the biggest talking point as Hudson-Odoi looked to get away with a handball in the United box.

And with the that slice of luck going their way before the break, Chelsea looked to up the ante after the restart, as Hakim Ziyech forced a smart stop from David De Gea.

But United were in no mood for rolling over late on Scott McTominay’s snapshot was beaten out by Mendy and Rashford was once again denied by the Senegalese star.

Both bosses made changes in the closing stages to inject some life into it but there was to be no way through at either end.

Full Time from Stamford Bridge it’s Chelsea 0 Manchester United 0

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Gareth Bale inspires Tottenham to 4-0 Burnley win

Jose Mourinho’s side have struggled for Premier League consistency in recent weeks but a brace from Gareth Bale has put them right back on track.

The Welshman has cut an isolated figure following his return to English football, but he showed a poacher’s instinct to poke Spurs ahead after just eighty seconds.

That goal set the tone for a ruthless Tottenham performance before the break as Bale’s sweeping pass freed Harry Kane to smash home before Lucas Moura buried Sergio Reguilon’s cross.

And whilst those wrapped the game up, Bale was in no mood for slowly down after the restart as he bent home another superb strike.

But with Burnley offering zero in the opposite direction, Spurs almost made it five late on, but Nick Pope did brilliantly to claw out Kane’s drive.

Full Time from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium it’s Tottenham 4 Burnley 0

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Relegation battling Fulham draw 0-0 at Crystal Palace

Scott Parker’s side continued their habit of chipping away with draws inside the drop zone but it was the Cottagers who had the better chances to win it.

Neither side created anything in a dire first 45 with Palace happy to sit in and let Fulham break them down.

Fulham did look to turn the screw after the break as Tosin Adarabioyo tested Vicente Guaita.

But it was January signing Josh Maja who carved out the best chances to win if for Parker, as he curled one just wide and brought another key stop from Guaita.

Full Time from Selhurst Park it’s Crystal Palace 0 Fulham 0

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Arsenal secure vital 3-1 Premier League win at Leicester City

Mikel Arteta’s side now move back into the top ten with the Foxes Champions League cushion cut.

Despite the final result it was the hosts that dominated early on as Belgian star Youri Tielemans calmed tucked home.

But the Foxes were unable to build on that in the first 45 as a quick fire double flipped the game on its head.

David Luiz powered home a header from Willian’s free kick before Alexandre Lacazette slotted home from the spot.

And with Leicester still reeling from that after the restart, a rampant Arsenal made three, as Nicolas Pepe lashed home a loose ball in the box.

That goal ended any chances of a Leicester comeback late as the Gunners picked up a crucial win.

Full Time from the King Power Stadium it’s Leicester City 1 Arsenal 3

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Wolves clinch 1-1 draw at Newcastle

Steve Bruce’s side have now won just once at home in 2021 and the Magpies are flying dangerously close to the relegation zone.

And it was the hosts that looked to dominate early on with Miguel Almiron curling against the post and Allan Saint-Maximin denied by an offside flag.

Wolves only real threat came from Adama Traore and the Spaniard slipped in Pedro Neto to fire wide before the break.

But Newcastle didn’t lose focus after restart as Ryan Fraser’s chipped cross was powered home by captain Jamal Lascelles.

However, despite being second best for chances created, Wolves benefitted from some slack Magpies defending with Ruben Neves squeezing home a header.

Both teams could and should have snatched it in the closing stages with Roman Saiss’ block denying Joelinton and Martin Dubravka superbly stopping Fabio Silva.

Full Time from St. James’ Park it’s Newcastle 1 Wolves 1

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Aston Villa edge out crucial 1-0 win at Leeds

Anwar El Ghazi’s early strike earned all three points for the Villa as they move to within touching distance of Everton, as Leeds slip back into the bottom half.

Both sides looked bright and breezy early on but a Leeds error gifted Villa the crucial breakthrough.

Ollie Watkins’ strike ricocheted off Liam Cooper and El Ghazi kept his head to calmly slot home.

The Dutch international continued to carry the key threat for Villa before the break as Illan Meslier produced two vital stops to keep him out.

And despite dominating possession after the break, Leeds were unable to really test Emiliano Martinez.

Brazilian star Raphinha looked the most likely to snatch an equaliser in the dying stages but Dean Smith’s battlers had enough to dig for the win.

Full Time from Elland Road it’s Leeds United 0 Aston Villa 1

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West Brom edge out a controversial 1-0 win over relegation rivals Brighton

Kyle Bartley’s goal clinched the three points for Big Sam, but it was referee Lee Mason that took centre stage in a bonkers day in the West Midlands.

Mason’s high profile afternoon started on a painful note as he collided with Conor Gallagher on halfway.

But neither of them showed too many ill effects as Gallagher’s whipped corner was confidently powered home by Bartley.

However, that very standard start didn’t last much longer as Mason and his VAR buddies awarded a penalty for handball against Okay Yokuslu.

Big Sam was incensed by the decision but Pascal Gross soon calmed him down as he thwacked his spot kick off the bar.

However, Brighton were not to be cowed by that as skipper Lewis Dunk blasted home a quick free kick just after.

But again our friends in Stockley Park were in Mason’s ear as he awarded and then bizarrely disallowed the goal.

However, all credit Brighton as they refused to buckle with Irish international Aaron Connolly testing Sam Johnstone either side of the break.

But no matter how hard Brighton pushed late on, Lady Luck had simply abandoned them against the Baggies.

A guilty Mason offered them another chance to get back into it with another VAR penalty but despite substitute Danny Welbeck wrestling duties away from Gross, the former Manchester United could only
clatter his effort off the post.

Full Time from a bonkers day at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 1 Brighton 0

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Premier League Preview: Tottenham v Burnley

Spurs have won just once in their last five Premier League matches and only once at home since the start of January.

The Portuguese coach rested a few of his big-name stars for the midweek win over Wolfsberger and he’s expected to make sweeping changes against the Clarets.

Hugo Lloris, Sergio Reguilon and Harry Kane are all set to come back and impressive display from Gareth Bale against the Austrians, means he could also keep his place.

As for Burnley, Sean Dyche is never one to tinker too much with his team and he could stick with an unchanged team.

And Dyche has confirmed that Robbie Brady, Chris Wood and Dale Stephens have all returned to first team training this week, but the trio are expected to remain on the bench against Spurs.

And it’s set for a 2.15pm kick off tomorrow afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

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Premier League: Sheffield United v Liverpool

Sunday night sees Liverpool aim to end their miserable run of late, as they travel to basement boys Sheffield United.

If someone would have told you back in November that Jurgen Klopp’s side would be entering a game against the Blades in worse form than Chris Wilder’s team, you’d have laughed them out of the room. But in each team’s last four league games, the Reds haven’t taken a single point, whereas Wilder has picked up three points in his fight against the drop.

That win came against West Brom at the start of the month, but three defeats since then have rather stunted their momentum, and they’re still 14 points adrift of safety at the bottom.

Liverpool did pick up a confidence-boosting win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League recently, but need a win in the league to avoid slipping below Everton early next week. Three points will see them keep up the pressure on fifth-placed Chelsea, who play Man United earlier on Sunday.

In order to do that, the Reds have yet another defensive crisis on their hands. Jordan Henderson, who had been filling in at centre-back for the last couple of months has just had groin surgery and is out for 4-6 weeks, meaning new signing Ben Davies could get a debut.

Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and James Milner are all out as well, while Diogo Jota is back in training after a knee injury but not fit enough to make the squad.

After his father’s tragic death on Thursday, Alisson’s participation is in doubt, although he’s not allowed to travel back to Brazil under current COVID guidelines, so may be involved if he feels in the right frame of mind.

Sheffield United are without eight first-team players as their injury worries show no sign of slowing, with John Egan, Sander Berge, Jack O’Connell, Jack Robinson, Lys Mousset, Chris Basham, Jack Rodwell and Jayden Bogle all out.

Rhian Brewster left Anfield in the summer in a £20m deal and could start against his former club, having not scored a Premier League goal since leaving the Premier League champions for Sheffield in 727 minutes of action.

If the Blades can spring a shock and pick up the points, they’ll move above West Brom into 19th, providing the Baggies lose to Brighton on Saturday afternoon.

Sheffield United take on Liverpool on Sunday, February 28th. Kick-off is at 7.15pm.

Premier League: Chelsea v Manchester United

Sunday afternoon sees arguably the pick of the Premier League fixtures this weekend, as Chelsea host Manchester United with Thomas Tuchel hoping to extend his unbeaten start to life at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have won all but one of the games since Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard, and turned over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in midweek, courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s stunning overhead kick.

Man United meanwhile laboured to a largely dull goalless draw with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford, sealing their progression to the Europa League last 16, where they’ll face Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rested a few key names for the visit of the Spaniards, with Harry Maguire and David De Gea set to return to the starting lineup when they travel to London in search of a win that will keep them second in the table.

Paul Pogba will miss out once again with a thigh injury, having only just returned to light training in the week, and both Donny Van De Beek and Edinson Cavani are serious doubts. The pair are both being given as long as possible to prove their fitness, so could be on the bench.

Scott McTominay and Daniel James are also slight doubts, so Shola Shoretire and Amad Diallo could be involved with the first team squad again, having both played cameo roles in the draw with Real Sociedad on Thursday.

As for Chelsea, Tuchel has only one player from his entire squad missing, with Thiago Silva still sidelined with a muscle injury suffered in the win over Tottenham.

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will once again contest the right wing-back role in Chelsea’s 3-5-2 system, with Mason Mount behind a front two of Timo Werner and Giroud. Ben Chilwell has barely kicked a ball under Tuchel, so Marcos Alonso is likely to continue on the other flank.

If Tuchel can record a seventh win from nine games, Chelsea will move above West Ham into fourth, unless the Hammers beat Manchester City on Saturday.

A win for United will see them keep up the pressure on neighbours Man City, although ten points seems massive with City currently dismantling everyone in their paths.

Chelsea take on Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, February 28th. Kick-off is at 4.30pm.

The Week Foot: Coffee Shirts and Insulting Phil Jones!

I must admit, I’ve been a little disappointed to see Manchester United’s slight upturn in form this week (if you can class beating Newcastle and Real Sociedad as an upturn in form). 

Not because I have the same inbuilt dislike for Manchester United that many fans who grew up in the 90s have, nor because I enjoy watching the opinion of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer yo-yo frantically between “Lucky PE Teacher” and “Football Genius” but because it means Harry Maguire hasn’t had another chance to fire up his cliché machine gun!

Following the Reds disappointing result against West Brom last week the Manchester United captain borrowed a page straight out of the Alan Pardew book of post-match interviews and delivered a bewildering and impressive string of meaningless footballing phrases:

“We have to go again and win the next one and then the next one.”

“We can do more and improve but it’s disappointing”

“Its always a tough place to come”

It was the kind of virtuoso performance that makes you appreciate why the clubs spent £80million on him in the first place.

He also went with the classic…

“You’re not going to come here and create 10 chances against West Brom”

Which maybe he was just trying to sneak under the radar? Mainly because every team who has played against the Baggies at the Hawthorns since the start of November has managed to create MORE than 10 chances against the home team! So, far from it being the insurmountable challenge that Maguire it is in fact as easy as, say, getting a quote from Paul Pogba about a transfer away from the club whilst on international duty… piece of piss mate.

Whilst still very much in the hunt for that much-coveted second place in the Premier League (!!!) it would seem that Ole and co. also have one eye on next season and summer transfer targets.

One such target is West Ham’s jewel in the pie and mash, Declan Rice, who is valued at around £100million (this sounds best if you say it in a Dr Evil style voice by the way).

Reports are that Manchester United are preparing to make what the papers have labelled as “An Insulting Offer” for the Irish/English midfielder.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what constituted “An Insulting Offer” but assumed it would be something like “Here’s £50million you c*nts, not f*ck off you fat b***ard”… pretty insulting.

It turns out it’s far worse. It included Phil Jones in part exchange. Talk about a low blow.

For West Ham, their scouting network would have been out in full force trying to spot who the next player they were going to nick from Slavia Prague was, as Leicester City faced the Czech outfit. When I say “scouting network” I obviously mean David Sullivan’s son watching the match on a dodgy stream.

Slavia won the game 2-0 but it was former player and West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek that stole the show joining his former teammates, in full kit, via FaceTime as they celebrated on the pitch!

It’s just a bit weird… it’s like calling your ex-girlfriend from the club toilets to tell her about a girl you’ve just met and how you think you might be able to take you home. Trust me, that doesn’t go down well!

It’s not just summer signings that we’re beginning to daydream about either.

With the end of the season, fast approaching football fans up and down the country are starting to get excited about the prospect of next years kit designs.

We all know that feeling of hope when a club prepares to launch is new season designs? Hope that is all too soon dashed when you realise that someone, somewhere in the marketing department has decided that pink leopard print would really help shift a few extra virtual kit packs in FIFA!

Anyway, Forest Green Rovers have decided to beat the disappointment rush by revealing their new kit that the players will be wearing as they step out against Colchester this weekend… and its made of coffee and recyclable plastic bottles!

The Gloucestershire club has a reputation for being greener than Greta Thunberg on St Patrick’s day and NOW their new shirts are partly made from waste coffee grinds (insert crap joke about grinding out results here).

It’s not as crazy idea as it sounds with Chairman Vince Dale saying:

“We think it’s lighter than the bamboo (the current shirt material), and apparently it breathes better, which is a surprise to me, but there is a performance benefit from minimising plastic because you sweat more and get hotter.”

Actually, sounds like a bloody good idea doesn’t it? In fact, such a good idea that I think Forest Green should run with the concept.

Maybe sign up Starbucks as the shirt sponsor and spell all the names wrong on the back of the shirts just like their baristas do, or maybe even go the whole hog and sign up Diego COSTA to play up front!

Yup. That’s it this week. We’re finishing on a terrible pun.