So this week
Cardiff 1-1 Watford
I admire what Cardiff have done on the pitch so far but I am offended by their actions off it, and I’m shocked more media coverage hasn’t been given to their list of questions sent to Nantes. Essentially the Welsh club are trying to find a way out of paying for Sala. Would they have been concerned over 3rd party ownership if the striker was now playing for them? I just think all parties should wait before rowing about money with bigger issues going on. In terms of this game, Watford have shown during their FA Cup run, that they can match the home sides physical approach.
West Ham 1-1 Fulham
I never fancy West Ham in situations where they are favourites. However, Fulham are so defensively poor and yet to win away from home. It’s hard to make a case for the visitors. I go as far to say, in recent performances Fulham are playing like they don’t believe survival is a possibility and they lack the leaders to change that.
Burnley 1-2 Spurs
Sean Dyche has Burnley playing like last season, evidenced by the fact that they haven’t lost since xmas. Any other year I fancy the home side to get a result but as much as it pains me to say, Spurs have found the habit of winning when not playing well.
Cherries 2-2 Wolves
The home side are still without Brooks and Wilson, but Eddie Howe will still send out his men to attack. Wolves have raised expectations to such a point they will also be expected to have a go. With the home side in midtable and the visitors 7th, no reason this won’t be an open game.
Newcastle 1-0 Huddersfield
Against the basement boys it should be an ideal chance to move away from the bottom 3 for the Toon. However, Newcastle are a functional side and might not enjoy the pressure of having to take the initiative. The visitors are bottom due a lack of quality not work rate so the home fans might have to be patient.
Leicester 1-1 Palace
Leicester made enough chances to get a result at Wembley. While the fans are never going to pick Puel over the men who won the title, I admire any manager who is willing to die on his sword. In other words, he’s not going to sacrifice his principles just to stay in a job. Time to see more from Zaha, than him just crying about being kicked.
Arsenal 1-0 Southampton
I made a big argument to start Ozil on Thursday, but I was most happy to see Emery scrap playing 5 at the back. It’s not in our DNA to sacrifice an offensive player for a defensive one. The doubts I have in us going on a run to make the top 4 or win the Europa League is our ability to keep clean sheets and our habit of simply not turning up. I’m worried Southampton is another fixture where we will show up and be complacent. We are not a good enough team to take anything for granted, especially against opposition who have had a 2-week rest.
Man United 2-1 Liverpool
The way Ole speaks about the pride of playing for Man United and what the badge represents, you know as an ex player, he will demand his side be the ones to put a dent in Liverpool’s title bid. The irony being that Jose lost his job based on his tactics at Anfield, now I can see the same team motivated by wanting to hurt their rivals. United’s interim boss has done more then put his arms round people, he generally has tactically out-thought his fellow managers. Liverpool have shown pressure affecting them and having to win at Old Trafford is asking too much.
League Cup Final
Man City 2- 1 Chelsea (after extra time)
Two weeks ago City put 6 past Chelsea, making many believe this final will be one sided. We all love the game because it’s never that simple. Man City have been guilty of complacency this season and Pep’s biggest obstacle might be getting his men to ignore how easy this game was at the Etihad. Chelsea have individuals where they are dangerous to face when the pressure and expectation is all on you. Despite his own fans not being fond of ‘Sarri ball’ the Italian is 90 minutes away from his first ever trophy. The fascinating plot is does he have a plan up his sleeve for the Champions, or does he stubbornly persist with tactics that clearly have not been working?