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EPL Matchday 16: What we learned
After a great weekend of EPL action, let's step back and see what this week taught us. Watford may be here to stay A team that most expected to go right back down to the Championship at the end of this season, Watford have surprised many and have somehow climbed up to 7th in the table with a win over Sunderland. Sure, beating Sunderland is nothing overly impressive, but their 7 wins from 16 matches is a good haul and it looks like they could establish themselves in this division. Liverpool continue their inconsistent form In a wild match, Liverpool clawed back with a late, late goal to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with West Brom. Keeper Simon Mignolet will take a lot of the blame as he allowed as soft a goal as you'll see. But a deflected long-rage effort from Divock Origi gave Liverpool the point and Klopp will be happy to take something. Liverpool sit in 9th and need to put together a good run in the Christmas season. Palace are legit European contenders Form, and Palace have plenty of it. They climb to 6 with a win over Southampton and are flying high. Their defense is amongst the best in the league as they've allowed just 15 goals in 16 matches. Alan Pardew has the Eagles playing a great brand of football and they deserve their place in the business end of the table. United in crisis Uh oh. A 2-1 loss to Bournemouth has United officially in crisis following their Champions League exit. While they still sit in 4th, they have been unconvincing all season and something is going to have to start changing. Manager Louis van Gaal will begin taking some real fire unless the results change. At the moment, this is not a good football team, plain and simple. Did you watch any of the matches this week? What do you think? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda
[Discussion] EPL's most UNDERrated player?
So after we talked about the most overrated players yesterday, it only makes sense to do the opposite today! Who are the most underrated players in the EPL? Riyad Mahrez - Leicester City While teammate Jamie Vardy gets lots of the headlines for his goal scoring, Mahrez has been an absolute standout for Leicester this season. He's turned in great performance after great performance and has even added to his game with some goals. He definitely deserves more credit. Yannick Bolasie - Crystal Palace You knew I had to include a Palace player on the list! At his best, Bolasie is an absolute terror down the wing or through the middle. He has pace and strength like any player in the league and just needs to round out his goalscoring form to make his game complete. He nearly made a big money move to Spurs over the summer but Palace held onto him, and with his form this season they'll be happy they did. Jack Butland - Stoke City While Butland is beginning to accumulate some accolades for his play this season in net for Stoke, it's time we start considering him one of the league's best keepers. He's got a little while to go before he unseats Joe Hart as England's #1, but it looks like the future of English goalkeeping is in safe hands with Butland's talent. Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool Sure, everyone knows that Coutinho is a great player, but I don't think he gets nearly enough credit for what he does for Liverpool. His work rate is off the charts and he has come up with some truly ridiculous goals to go along with amazing assists over the past few seasons. For my money, he's as good as attacking midfielders come in the Premiership. Romelu Lukaku - Everton Lukaku is a player whose stock has gone from way up to way down and now he's flying high again. After being a highly touted Chelsea youth product, Mourinho sold him away to Everton. He struggled for the Toffees at first but has come up with the best form of his career this season. At just 22 years old, the Belgian has a huge future ahead of him. I'm going with Coutinho as my choice. The man simply cannot be stopped and does not get enough credit! Who do you think? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda
Palace sign Adebayor!
I never thought I'd really get excited about Emmanuel Adebayor in any way, shape, or form, but I'm desperate. Crystal Palace and the ancient Togolese striker agreed to terms today after long negotiations, and the striker will join the team until the end of the season. Adebayor is actually just 31 years old, but it feels like he has been around for decades. He has been without a club since Spurs released him at the end of last season, but Adebayor has a long history in the EPL, and has played for many of the top clubs. He's got a very impressive resume, even if he is the butt end of many jokes in the EPL for being somewhat underwhelming and always a second-best option. He played for Arsenal for 3 years, Manchester City for 3 years, went on loan at Real Madrid for a season, and then played at Spurs for some four years as well. That's quite a list of top teams. At this stage in his career, Adebayor is nothing to really get terribly excited about. He is slow, but strong as an ox and has always had a really particular nose for goal. And that hunger and desire to score is exactly what Palace need. After they started the season so strongly, Palace have really struggled since the Christmas period. They have picked up just 2 points total in their past 6 league matches and in that period they have scored a grand total of 1 goal. This is a team desperate for a striker, and Ade fills that role. Connor Wickham was brought into get goals, and he has worked hard, but does not seem to be developing into the goal-getter that everyone hoped. Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle and Frazier Campbell have not been even close to good enough and enough is enough. With great service coming from the wings by emerging stars Wilf Zaha and Yannick Bolasie, not to mention a real strength through the middle with Yohan Cabaye and a very solid defense led by Scott Dann and Damien Delaney, Palace have it in them to be a really good side. We saw how well they can play when they racked up points in the first half of the season, and I see no reason they can't recapture that form. They have suffered lots of injuries, but many of their players are back or nearing their return. This could be the cusp of a change in form for the Eagles. I'm thrilled about the Adebayor signing. He can immediately help a side that needs a jolt of energy and experience. What do you think? Is the big man too old to make an impact in the Prem, or can he really be of service to Palace? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda @Bobs
[Discussion] Pick a player for your EPL team
With the January transfer window open, it's time for EPL fans to start dreaming of how their teams can improve as they embark on the 2nd half of the season. And what are sports for if not an outlet for our imaginations? I love crazy transfer scenarios and I think it's well within our rights as fans to dream up something far-fetched. Crystal Palace need help, there's no question about it. While they have had an amazing season to this point, they could be doing even better if they had a real striker to get them some goals. Connor Wickham was their signing at the summer, but he has been injured. When he's been healthy, he has worked hard and played well but hasn't been good at getting on the scoresheet. A hard worker, but not a goal scorer. The other strikers on the squad have similar problems. Dwight Gayle comes up with the very occasional super-sub appearance, but cannot be relied on. Marouane Chamakh is not someone to get excited about, and nor is Frazier Campbell. Simply put, Palace need a striker. What about QPR's Charlie Austin? Austin had a monstruous season last year, single-handedly making QPR a team worth watching. While he couldn't do quite enough to keep Rangers up in the EPL - the team got relegated - his season made him a favorite for many. I was shocked to see him stay at QPR once they got relegated, as I am sure that he has the quality to be a good EPL striker. He could be tempted by a team that is doing extremely well - punching above their weight, maybe - and in desperate need for a player just like him. Austin isn't the most creative player, but Palace have plenty of creativity in Yannick Bolasie, Wilf Zaha and Yohan Cabaye. What they need is an out-and-out striker, a target man, and Charlie Austin is just that. I think it's the perfect match. A player too good for the second division meets a team in the first division desperate for someone with his attributes. This could be the move that spurs Palace to that top-6 finish that they are dreaming of. What do you think? Who would you like to see your team sign in the transfer window? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda
EPL Match of the Week: Everton vs. Crystal Palace
It's a slightly quiet week in the EPL, as there are no matches between teams in the top 6. We have to dig a little deeper this week to find our Match of the Week, and it goes to Everton hosting Crystal Palace. Palace and Everton are both in good form and their recent run has seen them both enter the top 10. Palace especially are turning some heads and making some noise as they sit in 7th in the table, riding high after their 5-1 drubbing of Newcastle last week. Everton Striker Romelu Lukaku is playing some amazing football, and his performances this season have been more impressive than ever before. He currently sits second in the league's scoring tables with 10 goals, behind the untouchable Jamie Vardy. Midfielder Ross Barkley has recovered his form, too, after a tough campaign last year. The team are playing admirably and are one of the more fun teams to watch in the division as they score loads of goals. They're coming off a wild draw with Bournemouth where they will feel like they dropped points, as they let the bottom-dwellers come back and earn a 3-3 draw at the death. Crystal Palace Winger Yannick Bolasie was named ESPN's Player of the Week last week after his performance putting in 2 goals against Newcastle, and he isn't the only one playing great. James McArthur had a wonderful match, too, and finally seems to be getting the credit he deserves for doing the dirty work in Palace's midfield alongside Yohan Cabaye. Wilfried Zaha and Connor Wickham are both playing extremely well, too, with the latter just coming back from injury and doing his finest to solidify his place in the first XI for manager Alan Pardew. Prediction It's a game with goals in it, that much I know. Palace don't give up very many, but Everton's defense has been suspect recently. I'm not sure they'll be able to hold off Palace's attack long enough to sustain this one despite having a home crowd behind them. I'll say 2-1, Palace. Cabaye and Wickham on the scoresheet. What do you think? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda
EPL Matchweek 13: Five takeaways
It's 13 weeks in the books in the EPL and suffice to say that this week brought some major surprises. Let's take a look at the 5 biggest storylines from the week's matches! 5. Spurs continue their climb Harry Kane and Tottenham kept up their great form as they beat West Ham 4-1 to move to 5th in the table. Kane scored twice and has now put together a great run of matches, recovering his incredible form from last season. Could this be the year that Spurs really make a challenge for the top 4? 4. Sunderland grab a win Sunderland got just their second win of the season yesterday as they beat Crystal Palace in London. It was a pretty disappointing match across the board as neither team looked like scoring, but it all went wrong for Palace as Scott Dann and keeper Wayne Hennessey got into a mixup at the back as Jermain Defoe pounced to score the only goal. Some big dropped points for Palace, who could've moved sixth but instead fall to 10th. Sunderland move up to 18th, just one point away from safety. 3. Arsenal fall to West Ham The Gunners missed a gild-edged chance to go top of the table as they fell to lowly West Brom on Saturday, 2-1. West Brom played a great match and took the lead on a Mikel Arteta own goal after getting it started through James Morrison. Terrible result for Arsenal who may come to rue this slip in concentration in a match they surely should've won. 2. Liverpool crush City Liverpool smashed Manchester City 4-1 in a pretty surprising result over the weekend. City could've gained a lead atop the table given Arsenal's slip but failed to take advantage as Jurgen Klopp's men played with confidence and skill to gain a huge 3 points. Great win for Liverpool, bad match for City. 1. Leicester go top Surely the biggest storyline of the week is Leicester, who continued their shocking season and ended the week at the top of the table, ahead of 2nd place United by one point. James Vardy set a Premiership record by scoring in his 10th consecutive match and Leicester seem to be the real deal, much to everyone's surprise. They're a fun story and are playing some great football these days.
Palace defeat Liverpool 2-1
What a great match! In a hotly contested affair, Crystal Palace traveled north to Anfield and defeated Liverpool 2-1. I have to say, I'm surprised. I believe in my team Palace, but their form has been rocky of late and I thought that Liverpool, who have been energized by the arrival of new manager Jurgen Klopp, would have done their job at home against the Londoners. But Palace proved too much to handle, as they have done for many of the big clubs so far this season. There is more quality in this side than people are ready to admit - they aren't one of the big names, but like Leicester City, they are punching way above their weight. It would be one thing if it were still in the early early stages of the season, but when they have been doing it for a few months now, it becomes more legitimate. Yannick Bolasie got the first goal of the match, taking advantage of some really poor defending by the Turk Emre Can. He has to do better, if you ask me - he's been unreliable for a long time now and I don't really think he is offering the quality that Liverpool demand. But Philippe Coutinho answered the call for Liverpool, scoring a fine goal of his own. I absolutely love Coutinho. He comes up with some huge goals and works as hard as anyone in the league at times. He has so much quality and has saved Liverpool's blushes more than a few times this season already. Just when it seemed like it was heading for a draw, Palace defender Scott Dann hit a header in for a goal in the 84th minute. It came off a corner - Dann was the first one there, struck a header well only to have it saved, and then made no mistake about the rebound. Dann is rock solid at the back and is one of the most consistently underrated defenders in the Prem. He's a huge asset for Palace. Manager Alan Pardew has Palace humming at his point in the season as they rise to 8th in the table, just two points behind Spurs for 5th place and 5 points behind United for the coveted top 4 spot. Liverpool, on the other hand, sink to 10th, with 17 points from 12 matches. It's below par for them and they will work to turn it around before it becomes too late. Anyone see the match? It was exciting from end to end and provided a great reward at the end for those who stuck through! @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzattoni
Glory to the Underdog: Don't root for a top EPL side
I know, I know - the teams challenging for the title - the Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds and Arsenals of the league - are better. They play more crisp, more fluid football. It's true - I won't lie to you. And if you're a total geek of the game, that's really attractive. But you shouldn't root for them each week. You're better off picking a lower team - maybe a relegation-threatened side - and backing them all year long. Let me explain. I've been following the Prem closely for some four seasons now. Originally, I liked Manchester City - they were up and coming, cash-rich, and had some of my favorite players in the world (Tevez, Agüero, and others). But then I got bored. They win more often than not, but anything other than a title win is going to let you down. And what's the fun in that? So, last season, I latched on to Hull City. They were a decent side, one who I figured would have to work hard to not get relegated, but would probably be safe when it was all said and done. I was wrong - Hull were relegated - but that's not the point. The relegation battle is more intriguing than the title race. Why? It features teams getting absolutely DESPERATE come the end of the season to steal even a single point. Come the end of the season, when things get really tight at the bottom end of the table, clubs begin to realize what relegation means. Getting relegated a massive blow to a club's finances - the Premier League is the richest league in the world, and being a part of it means reaping the benefits of playing in huge stadiums like Old Trafford and the Emirates, and it means having teams like Arsenal and Manchester United play in your stadium. The TV deals are huge, too. Often, relegation ruins a club for years and years. Only a few years ago, Blackpool and Wigan Athletic were playing in the Premiership. They got relegated; now, both of these clubs find themselves in League 1, the third division of English football. When you get relegated, most of your players - the good ones, at least - leave the club to stay in the Prem. And who could blame them? When it gets really tight in March and April, this becomes clear to players and their managers, and teams begin to stretch themselves extra thin to beat the drop. Sometimes, the fact that the players are slightly less great makes it more fun. Why? Because you get to see players playing absolutely OUT OF THEIR MIND, way above their ability, out of love for the team and the cause. It happened last season with Hull with Stephen Quinn and Paul McShane, good-hearted Irishmen who put their hearts on the line for the club. Their efforts were eventually futile, but it was amazing to watch two players with minimally impressive careers go up against the biggest clubs in the sport and out-hustle and out-play them. The sweet moments are that much sweeter I remember Hull's late-season win against Liverpool, which I thought would be enough to keep them in the Prem. Michael Dawson's header was one of the most exciting moments of the season for me, because even though it was just one goal, it was one goal that almost changed the entire outcome of the season. The margins are SO small in the relegation battle. One point could do it - and that means playing for a draw, or scoring a late equalizer could make all the difference. The EPL has more parity than any league in the world, meaning any team can beat any team at any time. Any given weekend, anything and everything is within the realm of possibility. So you're going to have some good moments, even if relegation is your eventual fate. Sometimes, heartbreak is OK Excuse the over-used metaphor, but sports are like life. It's the truth. You're not always going to win. Granted, this is coming from a life-long Mets and Jets fan, so maybe I just can't help myself but to pick a tragic story. It's fun to root for the underdog. This season, I'm gunning for Crystal Palace I'm not happy about having to change my allegiance, but Hull's relegation really gives me no chance. I'll be rooting for Hull to return to the Prem next season, and will support for them again if they make it back up, but in the meantime I need a rooting interest. I've selected Palace because they're an up-and-coming side. They're exciting, have made really good signings (Yohan Cabaye, Patrick Bamford, Connor Wickham), and they are good enough to challenge anyone. Best case scenario? Palace somehow manage to sneak their way into the top 10. Worst case? I'd rather not say.
EPL Matchday 14 Review
There's a reason it's the best league in the world -- each week in the EPL brings something new! Match Day 14 was another great one - here's how it all went down. The top half of the table didn't see much shakeup this week. Leicester and United drew 1-1 as Jamie Vardy recorded a goal for a record 11th consecutive match, but the draw allowed Manchester City, who beat Southampton 3-1, to leapfrog both of them and take first in the table, ahead of Leicester on goal differential. Arsenal faltered, drawing 1-1 to lowly Norwich. Spurs played Chelsea well in a match that looked like a draw right from the start, and indeed it ended 0-0. It was a terribly boring match between two teams that really offered little going forward. The highlight of the week -- for me, at least -- was Crystal Palace, as they hammered Newcastle 5-1. They fell behind 1-0 in the 9th minute but came storming back, with two goals each from Yannick Bolasie and James McArthur. Wilfried Zaha also got on the scoresheet in a return to the old club of Alan Pardew and Yohan Cabaye. Palace are really putting it together and their place in the table is representative of just how well they've played. It seems they're ready to challenge for a European spot -- just like Leicester, they have the advantage of not worrying about playing European football during the week and can focus all of their energies on the EPL. They get my vote for team of the week! In the bottom half of the table, some surprising names continue to struggle. Of course, Chelsea stands out, as they sit in 14th, with just 15 points from their 14 matches. It's really shocking to see them continue to put it together week after week given the squad they've got. Watford are climbing up the table nicely, as they beat Villa 3-2 in a wild match. I've been impressed with them this season, as they're scoring a lot of goals thanks to striker Odion Ighalo and doing just enough defensively to make it seem like they're ready to avoid the drop. After Chelsea, the most surprising name to me here is to see Swansea City languishing in 15th. After such a successful season last year and given the fact that they made improvements to the squad over the summer, I thought they were ready to make a challenge for Europe. Instead, they've played some terrible football and the pressure is really mounting on manager Gary Monk after they fell 1-0 to Liverpool at the weekend. Bottom three Villa, Newcastle and Bournemouth are all going to have a really hard time staying up unless something changes dramatically. They just don't seem to have the talent, organization or desire necessary to compete in a league as challenging as the EPL, if you ask me. Worst team of the week goes to Swansea as their tumble down the table continues. Did you watch any of the matches this weekend? Who impressed you? Who failed to impress? Let's hear it! @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana