The Treble: Chelsea silverware, West Ham and Liverpool resurgence

Chelsea versus Leicester is this weekend’s … The post The Treble: Chelsea silverware, West Ham and Liverpool resurgence appeared first on Football365.

The Treble: Chelsea silverware, West Ham and Liverpool resurgence

Every week we preview three fascinating things to look out for in the big Premier League games – and in this case, the FA Cup – with further analysis from

Betfair Betting Podcast · Football…Only Bettor | Episode 74 | The magic of the Cup and a holy treble

 

Tuchel can ruin Leicester’s season in the space of four days
It would be the cruellest of blows for Leicester City but all the signs point towards them missing out on the top four on the final day for the second consecutive season. The likelihood of that happening will be gnawing away at these players as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup final against opponents hoping to destroy Leicester’s domestic campaign in the space of four days.

That ominous possibility could get in the Leicester players’ heads ahead of a cup final that will feel more tense and pressurised for Brendan Rodgers’ side than it will for Thomas Tuchel’s, who have not only been here before but have bigger fish to fry with a Champions League final on the horizon and a Premier League title battle coming in 2021/22. That is the double injustice of the wealth divide in modern football: the odds are already stacked against the inexperienced outsider and yet they are the ones with the jangling nerves.

It really does look like an uneven game, despite the fact Leicester City won at Old Trafford in midweek while Chelsea lost at home to Arsenal. Those two games have little bearing on a Wembley cup final, especially with Chelsea rotating players back into the starting line-up as Leicester ask their exhausted stars to go again.

Fitness is just one area in which Chelsea hold the advantage. Leicester will need to return to a back three to mirror Chelsea’s formation, and yet the last time they did that without Jonny Evans they collapsed to defeat against Newcastle United. Timo Werner will probably get in behind pretty easily. Elsewhere, the fatigue in Leicester’s two-man midfield – Youri Tielemans has only missed 64 minutes of Premier League action this season – should allow N’Golo Kante to swarm and dominate as part of a box-shape Chelsea midfield that outnumbers Leicester’s.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Chelsea’s suffocating possession will force Leicester into a counter-attacking game that suits how Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy play on the shoulder, and certainly neutrals would love to see one last hurrah from the rapidly slowing down latter.

But it is hard to imagine this calm and measured Chelsea team getting distracted. Tuchel has created something special in just a few short months; the FA Cup is the easy part of a double that looks well within Chelsea’s grasp.

From Betfair’s Football…Only Bettor podcast: “Chelsea are an attractive price. Leicester have injury problems, with Jonny Evans a doubt. It’s just two clean sheet in the 13 matches for the Foxes. Jamie Vardy isn’t scoring and Youri Tielemans hasn’t been his usual self recently. Chelsea are stronger in every area.”

 

West Ham worryingly close to losing out on Europe
Graham Potter’s side remain a strange and infuriating Premier League team, virtually impossible to predict and endlessly on the verge of a breakthrough. It typified Brighton’s season to follow up an impressive 2-0 win over Leeds United with two red cards and a calamitous defeat at Wolves. The first player dismissed, Lewis Dunk, is a big miss for Saturday. The second, Neal Maupay, might be a blessing in disguise given his huge contribution to Brighton so badly underperforming their xG.

West Ham are in poor form themselves, losing three of their last four league games, and are suddenly in danger of missing out on European football altogether. David Moyes’ side are only three points above Arsenal in ninth, but fortunately can be hopeful of an upturn in form this weekend; Brighton’s expansive football plays into the hands of counter-attacking West Ham. The visitors can surely poke holes in a Dunk-less defence and secure the three points.

From Betfair’s Football…Only Bettor podcast: “There’s plenty riding on this for West Ham and a top four finish is still a possibility for them. I think we’ll get goals here. Brighton are safe and could play with more freedom this weekend. The reverse game was 2-2 and I’m looking forward to this match.”

Back West Ham to win at 29/20

 

Klopp can rally the troops for season-saving final week
A at Manchester United on Thursday night has put Liverpool in prime position to snatch the fourth Champions League spot and save their season. There was always the lingering sense that it wouldn’t take much for things to click back into place for them, such was the alarming speed – and fine margins – of their collapse in the first place, and indeed over the last week Jurgen Klopp’s side have looked back to their best.

The victory at Old Trafford means more, but the 2-0 win over Southampton was the bigger performance; Liverpool didn’t look nervy and didn’t give anything away, instead recording a routine win of the sort we haven’t seen since they lifted the Premier League title. That match will have helped the Liverpool players believe once again in their own powers, restoring a swagger that has been absent for a very long time.

It can also, along with the 4-2 win at United, give Liverpool the impetus to comfortably win their final league games against West Brom, Burnley, and Crystal Palace. Doing so will see them finish above Leicester City – unless Rodgers’ side can win an improbable four points from Chelsea and Tottenham.

The first of those scalps should be easy enough. West Brom’s relegation was confirmed last weekend but frankly they have been down ever since Sam Allardyce clocked out a few weeks ago. His touchline demeanour – sitting back, arms folded, softly shaking his head – suggests he regrets his decision to join West Brom and wants to wash his hands of their relegation.

That is no way to manage a football club and should ensure the Baggies do not enjoy a post-pressure results boost as newly relegated clubs sometimes do. Liverpool will surely win at a canter on Sunday.

 

 

Odds correct at the time of publication. 18+ Please Gamble Responsibly. Visit begambleaware.org

 

Betfair Betting Podcast · Football…Only Bettor | Episode 74 | The magic of the Cup and a holy treble

 

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Gerrard’s Rangers complete Invincible season with Aberdeen win

Rangers secured their status as Invincibles … The post Gerrard’s Rangers complete Invincible season with Aberdeen win appeared first on Football365.

Gerrard’s Rangers complete Invincible season with Aberdeen win

Steven Gerrard’s Invincibles smashed through the 100-point barrier for the first time in Rangers’ history as the champions kicked off their trophy-day celebrations in style.

A 4-0 win over Aberdeen – earned thanks to a Kemar Roofe double in between Joe Lewis’s early own goal and Jermain Defoe’s late fourth – ensured an undefeated campaign.

But the match was merely a distraction ahead of the main event.


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Thousands of fans locked outside Ibrox were really waiting for the moment when skipper James Tavernier finally lifted the trophy the club have waited a decade to recapture.

It was met by a barrage of fireworks as the Light Blues faithful lit Glasgow up in red, white and blue.

It has been a momentous, record-breaking season for and his team, who have finished a monstrous 25 points clear of .

Victory over the Dons not only wrapped up a perfect 100 percent home record in the league, but also saw them write a number of new entries in the history books.

They have now set a new Scottish clean-sheet record with their 26th shut out, and the 13 league goals they have conceded this term is also a record low – beating the previous benchmark of 15 set by Jose Mourinho’s 2005 Chelsea side.

The throngs outside Ibrox ignored warnings from the club, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to stay away from the stadium.

The temptation to join the party was just too much for them to resist and their team ensured the atmosphere was not soured by completing their historic march to a blemish-free campaign.

The champions needed only five minutes to take the lead. Ianis Hagi clipped a tidy ball out to Tavernier on the right-hand side.

The skipper’s cross took a big deflection off Dons youngster Jack MacKenzie before Lewis’s attempted punch to clear went all wrong, with the ball flying backwards off his fist and into his own net.

Connor Goldson almost marked racking up 5,000 consecutive minutes of action this term with a goal, heading wide from a corner.

Aberdeen are still getting the hang of Stephen Glass’s new methods. It is taking a bigger adjustment for some more than others, as demonstrated when Lewis knocked a goal-kick straight out for a corner as one attempt to build from the back bombed.

But they were unlucky not to level when a slick counter-attack saw Florian Kamberi release Jonny Hayes down the left, with the Irishman’s cross just out of Callum Hendry’s reach.

The Dons have been toothless in 2021, netting just nine times since the turn of the year.

Rangers have managed more than that in the last month and extended their lead after 34 minutes.

Ryan Kent got a lucky break as he went up against Connor MacLennan but from then on there was no catching the winger as he darted towards the byline, cutting back for Roofe to slot home past Lewis.

Aberdeen introduced Fraser Hornby at the break but his first involvement was to waste another big chance from a Ryan Hedges cross. Unselfishly he then teed-up Lewis Ferguson to tap into an empty net but the midfielder somehow smashed the ball against the crossbar from six yards.

While the visitors continued to fire blanks, Rangers’ finishing was laser-guided. Tommie Hoban’s loose pass was pounced on by Hagi as he fed Roofe, who swept home his second with an expert low finish on the hour.

Rangers were being careless, however, and newly-crowned SPFL Player of the Year Allan McGregor had to underline his award-winning credentials with a fine block after Hedges was allowed to surge through on goal.

There was still time for Rangers to put gloss on a historic day as Greg Stewart slid in Defoe to score as Rangers ensured the party started with a bang.

The post Gerrard’s Rangers complete Invincible season with Aberdeen win appeared first on Football365.

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