EPL Week 28 – Pellegrini Banned, Moyes Failings, League Cup Final and more
EPL Week 28 – Pellegrini Banned, Moyes Failings, League Cup Final and more avatar

NEWS

Pellegrini banned for two games

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has been issued with an immediate 2 game touchline ban by UEFA for criticising the referee after his side’s Champions League match against Barcelona.

Pellegrini will miss the next match against Barcelona.Getty Images)

Pellegrini will miss the next match against Barcelona.Getty Images)

Pellegrini claimed the Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson was not “impartial to both teams” following Man City’s 2-0 defeat.

He was charged with misconduct and will be the stands for in City’s second leg on 12 March, plus one more match.

A further one-game ban is suspended for two years, but Pellegrini can appeal.

“The City manager will be banned for his team’s round-of-16 second leg against Barcelona in Spain on 12 March,” Uefa said in a statement.

“This means that Pellegrini may follow the game from the stands only; he may not enter the dressing room, tunnel or technical area before or during the match; and he may not communicate directly or indirectly with his players and/or technical staff during the game.”

 

Moyes would have been sacked in Italy says Vialli

Former Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli has claimed Manchester United boss David Moyes would have been “sacked three times” if he were managing in Seria A.

David Moyes poor results have shocked many and is time running out for him. (Getty Images)

David Moyes poor results have shocked many and is time running out for him. (Getty Images)

Vialli, 49, has not managed a club since he was sacked as manager of Watford in 2002. However, the Italian said he is keen to manage again, though not in his native Italy, where he believes managers are under too much pressure.

“In Italy, managers are judged simply by results,” he told BBC Radio 4. “Italian managers don’t enjoy themselves at all.”

Eight Premier League managers have been sacked this season, compared to 10 in Serie A.

“David Moyes, in Italy, would have been sacked three times now,” said Vialli, referring to Manchester United, who have won only four of their last 12 games in all competitions and are out of the FA Cup and League Cup.

“In the Premier League you get the feeling they give you a bit longer to sort out problems.

“They are more understanding and, most importantly, owners of football clubs don’t think they know more than managers.

“They let managers run it for a while and don’t just sack you after the first two or three defeats.”

 

Prediction

Week 27

Score

My Predictions

SATURDAY
Chelsea v Everton 1-0 2-0
Arsenal v Sunderland 4-1 3-0
Cardiff v Hull 0-4 2-1
Man City v Stoke 1-0 2-0
West Brom v Fulham 1-1 2-1
West Ham v Southampton 3-1 1-2
Crystal Palace v Man Utd 0-2 0-1
SUNDAY
Liverpool v Swansea 4-3 4-0
Newcastle v Aston Villa 1-0 1-1
Norwich v Tottenham 1-0 1-2

A correct result is worth ONE point. A correct score earns THREE points.

Last week I got FIVE correct results with ZERO perfect scores to give me a combined total of FIVE-points.

Week 18

Predictions

SATURDAY
Everton v West Ham 2-1
Fulham v Chelsea 0-2
Hull v Newcastle 1-1
Stoke v Arsenal 1-2
Southampton v Liverpool 2-3
SUNDAY
Man City v Sunderland (Capital One Cup final) 2-1
Aston Villa v Norwich 1-1
Swansea v Crystal Palace 1-0
Tottenham v Cardiff 1-0

PREVIEW

 SATURDAY

Fulham v Chelsea

It’s the west London derby and this one could be a bit feisty as both teams have everything to play for.

Fulham currently sit bottom of the EPL on 21-points four points adrift of West Brom who sit just outside the relegation zone in 16th position with 25 points. The Cottagers appointed new coach Felix Magath last week and managed to earn a decent point away to West Brom. The German has  a good track record in Germany and reckons six wins from Fulham’s last 11 games will guarantee them safety, but that is a big ask from a team that has so far only won six games from their 27 games this season.

John Terry got (Getty Images)

John Terry got the injury time winner for Chelsea.(Getty Images)

Chelsea stayed at the top of the EPL last week thanks to an injury time winner by captain John Terry to give them a 1-0 victory over Everton. The Blues were outplayed at home for most of the game by Everton, but once again managed to scrape a result out and that is the sign of a championship winning side.

Fulham’s record signing Kostas Mitroglou will play no part against Chelsea, as new boss Felix Magath is not convinced he’s ready for the demands of Premier League football. However, Darren Bent is available again after missing last weeks visit to West Brom due to personal reasons.

Chelsea have no injury worries other than in defense, with David Luiz is out with a muscle injury, while Gary Cahill and John Terry reportedly have minor knocks.

Table toppers Chelsea have the equal-best Premier League record of 2014, alongside Liverpool, with 20 points from a possible 24. And I expect them to make it 23 points from a possible 27, against a Fulham side who have lost more Premier League games (18), conceded more goals (59), lost the most home games (9) and conceded the most home goals (28) in the EPL.

Prediction: 0-2

 

Stoke v Arsenal

It a clash of styles as the no nonsense long ball specialists Stoke meet the fancy Dans Arsenal, or at least that is how this game has been portrayed in recent years.

However, Stoke have changed their style since Mark Hughes has taken over, playing a more progressive and expansive style of soccer, and while it has worked wonders for their league position, it has helped them against the big teams—The Potters have beaten Chelsea and Manchester United, and also taken points off of Man City at home this season.

Ozil has looked tired and has not been as effective as earlier in the season.(Getty Images)

Ozil has looked tired and has not been as effective as earlier in the season.(Getty Images)

The visitors Arsenal have traditional struggled against Stoke and their tough style of play—the Gunners have only won once in their last seven visits to the Britannia Stadium in all competitions. That was a 3-1 victory in February 2010. But this season the north Londoners seemed to have toughened their act up and will fancy their chances of taking all three points.

Stoke forward Peter Odemwingie is a fitness doubt with a calf problem, but Jon Walters should be available despite suffering illness earlier in the week.

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has overcome injury and could deputise at left-back with both Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal struggling with injury.

Arsenal have struggled at the Britannia down the years, but I think Stoke’s new style of soccer will suit Arsenal to a tee and I expect them to get all three points.

Prediction: 1-2

 

Southampton v Liverpool

Southampton lost 3-1 away last week to West Ham, though they could easily have put the game out of sight in the half hour. The Saints have had a terrific, but have gone off the boil in the last few months—Mauricio Pochettino’s side have only won one of their previous seven home fixtures in the league (D3, L3). That was a 1-0 victory over West Brom on 11 January.

This is probably as they haven’t really got anything to play for, they too many points ahead to be relegated and too many behind to fight for a European place, which makes Pochettino’s decision to field a reserve team in the FA Cup a few weeks back all the more bewildering.

Sturridge is looking like a man with a mission. (Getty Images)

Sturridge is looking like a man with a mission. (Getty Images)

Liverpool won a thrilling game against Swansea last week to stay within four points of EPL leaders Chelsea. The Reds, who sit foruth in the league, continued their rich scoring form winning the game 4-3, and are now the EPL’s top scorers with 70 goals in 27 games.

Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama and defender Jos Hooiveld are both unlikely to feature due to injury, though they will be assessed before the game.

Liverpool pair Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva have both returned to full training following injuries, though Saturday’s game looks to have come a bit too soon for either to feature.

Southampton beat Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season, and actually have a terrific record against the Red n their home patch—The Saints have won four of their five Premier League games against Liverpool at St Mary’s, including the last three in a row. However, Liverpool are currently the form team in the EPL at the moment and with Luiz Suarez and Daniel Sturridge both creating and scoring goals I expect the Reds to buck the trend and bag a rare win at St Mary’s.

Prediction: 2-3

 

SUNDAY

Man City v Sunderland (League Cup Final)

Talk of the quadruple has all but disappeared since Man City lost 2-0 in their first leg of the Champions League, but the Sky Blues have the chance to keep the dream alive when they meet Sunderland on Sunday.

Manchester City bounced back from the Barcelona defeat with a sound 2-0 victory at home to Stoke. The Sky Blues did not look back to their best, but still easily beat the Potters and will be heavy favorites to beat Sunderland who lie 15 places and 32 points behind them in the EPL.

Aguero's absence has been a huge lose to Man City and that has shown in some of their results.(Getty Images)

Aguero’s absence has been a huge lose to Man City and that has shown in some of their results.(Getty Images)

However, City will not be taking anything for granted after they lost last year’s FA Cup final to Wigan, who were eventually relegated. City were heavy favorites that day and the pressure seemed to get to them as they put in a flat performance and deservedly lost 1-0.

Sunderland will be hoping the same thing happens again, but will be confident either way as they have already beaten City this season in the EPL with Phil Bardsley scoring the only goal at the Stadium of light. On that day they played with high intensity and didn’t let the City players settle and they will have to do the same if they are to have a chance on Sunday.

Manchester City are boosted by the return of Sergio Aguero who is fit to return to match-day squad for Sunday’s League Cup final after a five-match absence with a hamstring problem.

However, fellow striker Stevan Jovetic will miss out with a hamstring injury, while Matija Nastasic is also unavailable.

Sunderland’s only significant absentee will be midfielder Liam Bridcutt, who is cup-tied having played for Brighton in the competition earlier this season, while Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood remains sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Sunderland have done well against Manchester City on their home patch in the last few years, but have not beaten Sky Blues outside of the north-east in nine attempts since a 1-0 away victory in January 1998.  The Black Cats are not expected to do well and will enjoy the tag as underdogs.

City are the clear favorites and have been the best team in the competition this year—City have won all five of their League Cup matches this season, scoring 19 goals and conceding only once. On paper they should comfortably win this one, but I expect Sunderland to give them a good challenge and give the big spenders a run for their money. However, I think Sunderland’s lack of cutting edge limits their chances of getting any result and I expect City to just edge this one.

Prediction: 2-1

 

About Anthony Ta

Anthony Ta is a writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, specializing in Premier League, Champions League and the Euros.
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