FA to examine Fellaini spit footage
The Football Association is to investigate footage of Tuesday night’s Manchester Derby to establish claims that Marouane Fellaini spat at Pablo Zabaleta.
Footage has spread across the Internet that appears to show Fellaini standing over Zabaleta and spitting at him.
The FA feels the Internet video evidence on its own is insufficient to warrant bringing a charge and is trying to find out if there are any clearer images.
If such images do appear then the FA will need to decide whether to charge the Manchester United midfielder.
Just prior to the alleged spit, Fellaini caught Zabaleta in the face with his forearm. The Belgian was booked for the clash, though the incident could easily have been a red card.
Fellaini’s joined United for $41.5m from Everton at the beginning of the season, but has been a major disappointment making only 13 appearances and scoring zero goals.
Wenger hits back at Scholes claims
Arsene Wenger has rejected former Manchester United player Paul Scholes’ claim that Arsenal are a “million miles away’ from winning the EPL.
The north London side gave a away a last minute goal at home to Swansea to draw 2-2 and fall six-points behind leaders Chelsea on Tuesday. This lead to Paul Scholes, who was in a rare punditry role for Sky Sports, criticizing the Gunners.
“I feel for the Arsenal fans. They get a little hint of the title for a few weeks and go to Chelsea, to Liverpool, to City and they just do nothing,” said Scholes.
“Fans expect Arsenal to go for the league and I know they are third or fourth but they are a million miles away in my eyes.
However, Wenger brushed aside the former England international’s criticism saying: “People who have managed zero games have opinions. We have to accept that,”
“If six points is a ‘million miles away’, I don’t know what the translation of a mile into a point is.”
Wenger also dismissed Scholes’ comment that Jack Wilshere, 22, has “not improved since he was 17”.
“Jack has been handicapped by many injuries, but once he is back and playing consistently he will show everybody that [Scholes] is wrong about that,” said the Frenchman.
“He is an exceptional player – and Scholes knows that.”
|Arsenal v Swansea||2-2||2-1|
|Man Utd v Man City||0-3||1-2|
|Newcastle v Everton||0-3||1-1|
|West Ham v Hull||2-1||0-1|
|Liverpool v Sunderland||2-1||3-1|
A correct result (i.e picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. A correct score earns THREE points.
Midweek I got TWO correct results with ZERO perfect scores to give me a combined total of TWO-points.
|Man Utd v Aston Villa||2-1|
|Crystal Palace v Chelsea||0-1|
|Southampton v Newcastle||2-0|
|Stoke v Hull||2-1|
|Swansea v Norwich||2-1|
|West Brom v Cardiff||1-2|
|Arsenal v Man City||1-2|
|Fulham v Everton||2-2|
|Liverpool v Tottenham||3-1|
|Sunderland v West Ham||2-1|
Man Utd v Aston Villa
The fans finally turned on David Moyes on Tuesday after Manchester United were once again humbled by one of their rivals in the EPL this season.
The Red Devils easily went down 3-0 against a Manchester City side who barely broke sweat all night. That limp display led to many of the Old Trafford faithfuls, who have been patient in their backing of the club this season, to voice their frustrations and call for Moyes to be sacked.
The defeat was United sixth at home this season, which is more than their last three campaign’s combined, and piles the pressure on Moyes to get a good home performance before next week’s Champions League game with Bayern Munich.
Aston Villa had been playing well recently, but were well beaten at home last week by Stoke 1-4. The Villains actually took the lead within five minutes with Christian Benteke once again on the score sheet—the Belgium international has now score six goals in his last 10 EPL games—but capitulated after Stoke took the lead. Villa’s inconsistency remains a concern for manager Paul Lambert, but they are still a match for anyone on their day and will give United a good game.
Nemanja Vidic is available after suspension for Manchester United, but fellow defenders Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are doubtful with respective hamstring and calf problems.
Aston Villa’s Karim El Ahmadi and Andreas Weimann are doubtful with slight knocks, but could still both feature.
United have a fantastic record against Villa and have earned a record 100-points against the Villains in the EPL—The Red Devils have lost just one of their last 36 EPL meetings with Villa home and away since 1995 (W26, D9, L1). But Manchester United are vulnerable this season and could be there for the picking if Villa start well.
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Crystal palace lost 1-0 away to Newcastle to slip closer to the relegation zone. The Eagles’ form has slipped recently and they are now without a win in their last five EPL games.
Chelsea bounced back from their defeat to Aston Villa by crushing Arsenal 6-0 at home. The Blues burst out of the blocks and could have beaten their rivals by more in the end.
Crystal Palace forwards Dwight Gayle and Maraoune Chamakh remain absent for the visit of Chelsea with respective ankle and hamstring injuries, though midfielder Barry Bannan could return after recovering from illness.
Chelsea will be without striker Samuel Eto’o and defender Ashley Cole who are both injured, while Ramires misses out through suspension but Willian is back after a one-match suspension.
Chelsea have won the last five meetings as part of a 12-match unbeaten streak against Palace in the league (W8, D4), so this should be straight forward. Palace lack guile and craft in attack, but make up for it with an incredible work ethic and I expect them to give Chelsea a tough game. However, I think Chelsea have that extra bit of magic in their team that will see them just edge this one.
Arsenal v Man City
Arsenal have endured a disappointing last seven days: First they were thumped 6-0 by Chelsea on Saturday and then were pegged back by Swansea in the last minute on Tuesday to fall further off leaders Chelsea.
The Gunners are not quite out of the title race and could still easily win the EPL with Chelsea and Man City still both to visit Liverpool. But, realistically they have to beat Manchester City on Saturday if they wish to harbor any ambitions of winning the EPL.
Manchester City continued their good form with a good display against neighbors Manchester United. The Sky Blues were just too good for their rivals and dominated the game without breaking sweat. They only lie three points off of leaders Chelsea and will move three points clear if they win their two games in hand.
Arsenal have been ravaged with injuries recently with Laurent Koscielny the latest player to join Monreal, Walcott, Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey on the treatment table.
Manchester City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero is expected to be out for another week with a hamstring injury, but David Silva is fit after recovering from an ankle knock sustained in the 3-0 victory over Manchester United.
Arsenal have struggled in the big matches against their rivals in the EPL this season, they lost 5-1 away to Liverpool, 6-3 away to City and 6-0 away to Chelsea, conceding eight of those goals in the first 20 minutes. However, all those games were away from home and the Gunners are a different animal on their home turf—Arsenal are unbeaten in their 14 Premier League home games since the opening-day defeat against Aston Villa (W10, D4).
However, Arsenal have only won two of their last nine Premier League matches with Manchester City, and with injuries stripping their squad to its barebones I think they will struggle against this inform City side.
Liverpool v Tottenham
Liverpool continued their pursuit of the Chelsea at the top of the EPL with a 2-1 win over Sunderland on Wednesday. The Reds started well, but tightened up after they went 2-0 up and endured a nervy end to the game when Ki scored for Sunderland with 15-minutes left to play. But Liverpool saw the game out and now know they have to keep the pressure up on both Chelsea and Man City who visit Anfield in April.
Tottenham came from two goals down to win 3-2 in a exhilarating game at White Hart Lane last Sunday. Spurs started the game well, but gifted the Saints the lead with a defensive error, while the second goal they conceded should have been flagged for offside. But they managed to gather themselves and get back into the game with Christian Erikson at the heart of everything—The Danish international scored two goals and set up the winner.
Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns and could field the same side that beat Sunderland midweek.
Tottenham’s top scorer Emmanuel Adebayor is set to return to the line-up after missing last week’s win over Southampton with a cut heel, but fullback Kyle Walker remains sidelined with a groin problem.
Tottenham have only won six of their 70 league games at Anfield (D20, L44), and their task does not look any easier with Liverpool having lost at home once this season in all competitions (W14, L1, D1). In fact, Liverpool are in red hot form at the moment and have won their last seven EPL games.
Much of that good form has been due to the goal scoring exploits of their striking duo of Suarez and Sturridge, who have scored eight more goals (48) than Tottenham (40) in the Premier League this season.
However, Tottenham have been terrific on their travels this season—Only Manchester United (30) have won more points on their travels than Tottenham (29) this season—though they have lost their last two away games without scoring.
I expect Spurs to go to Anfield and try to play tight and hit Liverpool on the counter, and they may get joy against the Red’s leaky defense. However, I think Liverpool have too much firepower upfront and will just edge this game.