EPL Week 33 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 33 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

NEWS

Chelsea and Balotelli suffers most online abuse

EPL clubs and players have received more than 130,000 abusive posts on social media this season, according to a study by Kick It Out.

The study found Chelsea was the most targeted EPL club, while Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli received more abusive posts than any other player.

Balotelli ® was the player in the EPL who has received the most abuse.(Getty Images)

Balotelli ® was the player in the EPL who has received the most abuse.(Getty Images)

“The level of abuse is truly staggering,” Kick It Out director Roisin Wood said.

“We must do all we can as a collective to protect those who are on the receiving end of discriminatory abuse.”

Kick It Out wants to form a special expert group made up of representatives from soccer, social media platforms and police to tackle the problem of online trolls, whose abuse include racist, sexist and homophobic abuse.

However, the group have raised concerns about the lack of cooperation from social media platforms. Twitter claims it trying to help, but the anonymity afforded to online users makes it difficult to track down offenders.

Key Facts

How bad is the abuse

The Kick It Out study estimates there have been 134,400 abusive posts so far this season.

  • 16,800 discriminatory posts a month
  • 551 of them per day

  • 1 abusive mention every 2.6 minutes

Who posts abuse?

  • According to Kick It Out 78% of abuse comes from men, with 22% from women.

Which clubs are most abused?

More than 95,000 discriminatory posts were directed towards Premier League teams.

  • Chelsea – 20,000

  • Liverpool – 19,000

  • Arsenal – 12, 000

  • Man Utd – 11,000

  • Man City – 11,000

Which Players receive the most abuse?

The Kick It Out says approximately 39,000 discriminatory posts were directed towards EPL players between August 2014 and March 2015.

  • Mario Balotelli – 8000+ – 52% of abuse racist

  • Danny Welbeck – 1700 – 50% of abuse racist

  • Daniel Sturridge – 1600 – 62% of abuse concerning sexual orientation

Where did most abuse appear?

Twitter accounted for most of the social media abuse, making up 88% of the 134,400 discriminatory posts.

  • Facebook – 8%

  • Forums – 3%

  • Blogs – 1%

Klopp perfect for EPL

Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp would be perfect for the EPL, according to Arsenal’s German defender Per Mertesacker.

Klopp, 47, announced this week he would leave Borussia Dortmund after seven years in charge.

Mertesacker, 30, said: “His passion would fit and to see him in England would be very interesting.

“It would be nice if a German coach would take the challenge of working in the Premier League.”

There is huge speculation as to which club he will join. (Getty Images)

There is huge speculation as to which club Klopp will join. (Getty Images)

Klopp took over as manager at Dortmund in 2008 and has since led them to two German Bundesliga titles and a Champions League Final in 2013. However, they have struggled this season and currently sit 10th in the Budesliga.

Mertesacker added: “Everyone has their philosophy and Jurgen Klopp has proved he’s top level and can teach a lot.”

“It’s not so good for Dortmund that he is leaving, but hopefully one day he will manage abroad,” Mertesacker said.

“I am curious what happened to him because he was an outstanding figure in the Bundesliga in the last couple of years and always a title contender.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in the summer.”

Klopp has been linked with the Arsenal, Liverpool, and Man City jobs.

Predictions

Last Week’s Predictions

Week 32

Results

My Predictions

Neil

Luke

SATURDAY

Swansea v Everton

1-1

2-1

1-2

1-1

Southampton v Hull

2-0

2-0

2-1

2-0

Sunderland v C. Palace

1-4

1-2

1-1

0-2

Tottenham v A. Villa

0-1

3-1

3-2

2-1

West Brom v Leicester

2-3

1-1

2-0

2-0

West Ham v Stoke

1-1

1-1

1-1

2-1

Burnely v Arsenal

0-1

0-2

1-4

0-3

SUNDAY

QPR v Chelsea

0-1

1-2

1-3

2-3

Man Utd v Man City

4-2

2-1

2-2

2-1

MONDAY

Liverpool v Newcastle

1-0

2-0

2-0

5-0

TOTAL:

11-POINTS

7-POINTS

11-POINTS

Last week I got SEVEN correct results, including TWO perfect scores, to give me a total of 11-points. However, it was not enough to beat challenger Luke who also managed to earn 11-points.

THIS WEEK’S PREDICTIONS

Week 33

My Predictions

Saturday

C. Palace v West Brom

3-1

Everton v Burnley

2-0

Leicester v Swansea

2-1

Stoke v Southampton

0-0

Chelsea v Man Utd

1-1

Reading v Arsenal

(FA Cup semi-final)

1-3

Sunday

Man City v West Ham

3-0

Newcastle v Tottenham

1-2

Liverpool v Aston Villa

(FA Cup semi-final)

1-1 (Liverpool win in extra time)

Previews

SATURDAY

Chelsea v Man Utd

EPL leaders Chelsea moved a step closer to winning their fourth EPL title with a 1-0 win over QPR last weekend. The Blues were second best against their London neighbors and only registered one attempted goal, but a poor kick out by QPR keeper was pounced on by Eden Hazard who assisted Cesc Fabregas, and Chelsea now only need three more victories to win the EPL.

Ashley Young was named man of the match against  City. (Getty Images)

Ashley Young was named man of the match against City. (Getty Images)

Manchester United leapfrogged Manchester City in the EPL with a 4-2 victory over their neighbors in the Manchester Derby. The victory was United’s first in five attempts against City, and forgotten men Ashley Young and Maurone Fellaini were the standout performers – Young scored one and assisted two of United’s goals.

The Win moved the Red Devils onto 65-points, one more than they collected during the whole of last season. In fact, only Arsenal have won more league points in 2015 than the 29 by Louis van Gaal’s side.

Chelsea are hopeful forward Loic Remy will recover from a calf injury, but Diego Costa is still out.

Manchester United have defensive troubles with Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all out injured.

Jonny Evans is suspended, so Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett are likely to partner Chris Smalling at the back for United.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four league matches against Manchester United, conceding just two goals. But the Blues are not playing well, whilst the Red Devils are in their best form so far this season.

Both teams would love to win this game, but neither wants to lose and I’m sure both would be happy with a draw.

Predictions: 1-1

 

Reading v Arsenal (FA Cup)

This is the first semi-final of the 2015 FA Cup and once again see a Championship side take on Arsenal.

Reading is without a victory in six league games (D3, L3), but the Royals beat giant-killers Bradford in the quarterfinals and have conceded just two goals in their five FA Cup matches this season, so will be confident of springing an upset in the semis.

Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0 away at Old Trafford in the quarters to move into the FA Cup semi finals for the 28th time in their history and for the second successive year in a row.

Arsenal will be full of confidence after a convincing win against Man Utd in the FA Cup. (Getty Images)

Arsenal will be full of confidence after a convincing win against Man Utd in the FA Cup. (Getty Images)

The Gunners have been in fine form in 2015 and have won their last eight EPL games, which is their best run since they won nine in a row in the season they went unbeaten in 2003-04.

Reading are hopeful Pavel Pogrebnyak can overcome a calf problem, but On-loan duo Nathan Ake and Kwesi Appiah are unavailable as they are cup-tied.

Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still not fit. But Jack Wilshere could make his first appearance after recovering from an ankle problem, while Mathieu Debuchy could return to the squad for the first time since January.

Wojciech Szczesny is also set to replace David Ospina in goal.

Arsenal have won every one of their last 12 meetings with Reading – three in the FA Cup, three in the League Cup and six in the Premier League – scoring 37 goals in the process. However, the Gunners were almost embarrassed by Championship side Wigan last season, so will not be taken anything for granted.

Nevertheless, the Gunners are flying at the moment and it would take a very brave person to bet against them making it to their second successive final.

Prediction: 1-3

 

SUNDAY

Man City v West Ham

Manchester City’s hope of retaining the EPL were all but blown to smithereens last week with a loss to neighbours Manchester United.

City started the game well, scoring within the first 10-minutes. However, their superiority didn’t last long and once they collapsed once they conceded a goal, eventually losing 4-2. The loss was City’s fifth away defeat in a row and they have lost five league games in 2015 – one more than in the whole of 2014.

Manuel Pelligrini says firing him is not the solution, but he seems certain to be out the door soon and Jurgen Klopp could be his replacement.

Visitors West Ham also continue to struggle and have won just one game in their last 10. The Hammers drew 1-1 last week and Sam Allardyce also looks like he will be shown the door at the end of the season.

Yaya Toure has been a shadow of the player he was last season. (Getty Images)

Yaya Toure has been a shadow of the player he was last season. (Getty Images)

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany could miss the rest of the season with a thigh injury, and joins Wilfried Bony, Gael Clichy, James Milner and Stevan Jovetic on the injured list.

West Ham forward Diafra Sakho is out injured, meaning Carlton Cole could partnet Enner Valencia up top for the Hammers.

Man City are currently in terrible form, but they won their last six home games against West Ham in all competitions, and I think they will easily beat the struggling Hammers.

Prediction: 3-0

Aston Villa v Liverpool (FA Cup)

Aston Villa beat local rivals West Brom in the quarters 2-0 to move the FA Cup semi-finals for the 20th time in their history – Villa have won 10 and lost 10. However, they have lost seven of the last nine times they have reached this stage.

The Villans beat Spurs 1-0 away last week, with Christian Benteke once again on the score sheet – The belgian forward has scored eight goals in the EPL since new boss Since Tim Sherwood took over.

Raheem Sterling will be hoping he can impress on this big occasion.(Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling will be hoping he can impress on this big occasion.(Getty Images)

Liverpool beat Blackburn 1-0 in their FA quarterfinal replay to book their place in the FA semifinal for the 24th time. The Reds were the best team in the EPL until a few weeks ago, but they have slowed down in recent weeks after losing at home to Manchester United.

Aston Villa Gabriel Agbonlahor is a doubt with a thigh injury, Ciaran Clark and the suspended Carlos Sanchez are definitely out but Scott Sinclair and Ashley Westwood are fit.

Liverpool winger Jordan Ibe is cup-tied, Mamadou Sakho is out with a hamstring, while Daniel Sturridge is a doubt with a hip problem.

However, Martin Skrtel and club captain Steve Gerrard are available after suspension.

Liverpool and Villa have met each other in three FA Cup semifinals, with the Villans winning in 1897 and Liverpool progressing in 1914 and 1996. Villa went on to win the trophy, while Liverpool were beaten in the final on both occasions.

Steven Gerrard had one of his greatest games in a Liverpool shirt in an FA Cup final against West Ham, and would love to end his career with a game in the final at Wembley.But the Red’s legend will have to help his side bypass Villa in the semis first.

I think Villa will push Liverpool all the way, but I think Liverpool will just edge this one and give Steven Gerrard a chance to finish off his Liverpool career in style.

Prediction: 1-1 (Liverpool win in extra-time)

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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