Premier League Review Show: Match Week 3

Our host Harry is joined by Football Journalist Dale O’Donnell (@ODonnellDale) and Memz (@FT_Reaction) from the FT Reaction. We discussed at length the problems around Arsenal Football Club, Manchester Uniteds title credentials and the futures of De Boer and Bilic.

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Premier League Review Show: Match Week 3

Antonio signs new West Ham Utd deal

Michael Antonio has given West Ham United and Slaven Bilic a welcome boost for next season by penning a new deal at the club.

The 27 year old winger who had been tentatively linked with other clubs in the media early in the season after another good campaign with the hammers, has laid any speculation to rest with a new 4 year deal.

Antonio was called up to Sam Allardyce’s first England squad and had enjoyed another fine goalscoring season, and tops the clubs scoring charts with 9 league goals, despite being out injured since the beginning of April.

The new deal will be welcome news to the West Ham supporters who have seen their club endure a difficult first season at the London Stadium.

 

EPL Round up – Week 13

Burnley 1-2 Man City

Another exciting weekend of EPL action kicked off with Burnley hosting title chasers Manchester City at Turf Moor.  Sean Dyche’s side took an early lead through the former Spurs midfielder Dean Marney, a lead the home side fully deserved having made an impressive start to the game.  It wasn’t long before the EPL’s hottest striker Sergio Aguero arrived at the party and with goals on 37 & 60 minutes his brace proved to be the difference.

Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland 

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool faced a stubborn Sunderland side at Anfield this weekend and 75 minutes passed before they finally broke the deadlock.  Belgian striker and substitute Divock Origi broke the Sunderland resistance with around about 15 minutes to go and a late penalty sealed the victory as James Milner calmly dispatched.

Chelsea 2-1 Spurs

In the days late kick off, in-form Chelsea entertained a Spurs side fresh off the back of their Champions League exit midweek.  Many predicted Chelsea to cruise through this one but that certainly wasn’t the case.  An impressive first half performance from Spurs capped by a fine strike from Christian Eriksen had Antonio Conte’s men with their backs to the wall.  Pedro’s curling effort leveled it on the stroke of half time and from then on Chelsea’s superiority was clear for all to see.  Victor Moses’ goal just after the break proved to be the winner and propelled the West Londoners back to the top of the pile.  With Spurs having suffered defeat there are no longer any unbeaten teams in the division.

Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth

The Gunners ended their run of three straight draws with a far from convincing win at the Emirates.  Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side will feel hard done by and probably deserved at least a point from the game.  Some contentious refereeing decisions left the cherries feeling aggrieved, Alexis Sanchez’s brace and Theo Walcott’s header were enough to seal the points for the Gunners and ensure they kept in touch with the leaders.  This Bournemouth performance was further evidence that Eddie Howe is a fine manager and has a bright future in the game.

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Man Utd 1-1 West Ham

Jose Mourinho stole the headlines once again when he appeared to lose it on the touchline and was subsequently sent to the stands for the second time this season.  Man Utd got off to the worst possible start when Diafra Sakho gave the hammers the lead just 2 minutes in.  Summer signings Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic combined to draw the home side level around about 20 minutes later but neither side were able to take all three points.  Yet another frustrating result for Jose’s side who now find themselves 8 points behind the current top 4.

Game of the Week:

Swansea 5-4 Crystal Palace

Bob Bradley celebrated his first win as Swansea manager but oh boy did they leave it late!  Two goals in stoppage time from Spanish striker Fernando Llorente turned the game on its head and ultimately decided this 9 goal thriller.  It looked as though Palace were going to return to South London with all 3 points when Benteke netted on 84 minutes but sadly for Alan Pardew it just wasn’t to be.  Having invested heavily in the squad over the summer there is no doubt Alan Pardew will now be under immense pressure.  Both sides find themselves in the midst of a relegation dogfight and it’s no surprise with that sort of defending!

Elsewhere…

Watford suffered a home defeat at the hands of Stoke.  A Gomes own goal and Mazzari’s refusal to shake Mark Hughes hand post game were the major talking points.  Ronald Koeman’s return to St Mary’s was an unhappy one as his Everton side suffered a 1-0 defeat.  Debutant Josh Sims impressed for the Saints and he may be a player to keep your eye on for the future.  Hull City managed to salvage a draw versus an in-form West Brom side leaving both slightly frustrated.  Champions Leicester City  needed a couple of penalties to deny Middlesbrough a win at the King Power.  Leicester’s form may have completely changed this season but the dodgy penalty awards they were getting certainly haven’t, check that out on MOTD.

Click on the image below to listen to the latest episode of the sofasportsnews.com official podcast.

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Harry

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Harry Winks – A full debut goal, and always confident & in control in possession.

Tottenham 3-2 West Ham

West Ham snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in yesterday’s evening kick off, leaving Slaven Bilic stunned and the travelling support silenced as Tottenham striker Harry Kane completed a late brace to turn the result on its head.

Just twenty minutes earlier the away end was bouncing to a chorus of ‘it’s happening again’. A reference to the 13/14 where West Ham recorded 3 wins against the team they love to hate, that has been sung whenever they have taken the lead since. In terms of league wins at White Hart Lane, prior to that 13/14 season you’d have to go back to last century for the most recent hammers away victory in this fixture. A strange song in the circumstances.

What was also strange was to see a change of goalkeeper in the West Ham line up for this, and it was he who would ultimately cost West Ham all the points. Despite making an outstanding save from Dier in the second half, should have done better for the first two of Tottenham goals, both of which were big momentum shifters.

Without them it was hard to see Tottenham scoring again, likewise West Ham were gifted their two goals through sloppy defending, both from corner. It was a day for errors more so than any real quality. Payet quiet, Eriksen careless and ineffective, Kane anonymous, Sakho and Ayew invisible. West Ham every bit as bad as Tottenham, but at least showing some solid defensive organisation which has much improved from their poor start to the season.

Having regained the lead given to them by Antonio, through Lanzini’s cooly taken penalty, the atmosphere had flattened and West Ham were looking nailed on to leave White Hart Lane for the last time with 3 precious points.

Then came the late show. Between the impressive Winks equalising and West Ham regaining the lead, the atmosphere was back up and Spurs were finally in the ascendancy. The second equaliser picked the crowd up again from the floor to drive forward a final push from the home side, and Son who changed the game somewhat with his directness was tripped in the box to give Spurs a late late penalty for the win.

If the equaliser got Spurs out of Jail, then the winner should have thrown them back in it for robbery. It was not a performance in anyway worthy of 3 points.

Kane delivered, and joined Paul Stalteri, Eric Dier, Gareth Bale, and himself as scorers of 4 90+ minute goals to beat or deny West Ham in the last decade.

Something had happened again, and it was not a West Ham victory, and how they were reminded of it as they drifted away from the famous old ground for the last time scratching their heads and empty handed.

MOM – Harry Winks

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Dan De Luca

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Brand New: The latest edition of the sofasportsnews.com podcast!

The latest edition of the SSN official podcast. Harry & Alavi are joined by the last editions popular guest Andrew to discuss the latest footballing topics. As well as answering YOUR questions they discuss Spurs v WHU, Man Utd v Arsenal, The Milan derby, The Madrid Derby and the latest refereeing howlers. Sponsored by TagPay! www.sofasportsnews.com

EFL Cup – Betting Tips! (Wednesday)

Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle, Hull and Leeds all secured their places in the last 8 of this season’s EFL cup.  There are three more places up for grabs and tonight see’s arguably the clash of the round with Pep’s Man City travelling just down the road to neighbors Man Utd.

A Manchester derby on a Wednesday night is always a treat no matter what the competition and with both managers being questioned at the moment it promises to be a fine encounter.  Elsewhere we have the small matter of a London derby with West Ham taking on Chelsea at the London stadium and Southampton entertain Sunderland at St Mary’s.

Betting: EFL Cup

Manchester United:  31/20   Draw:  5/2   Manchester City: 19/10

West Ham:   15/4    Draw:  16/5   Chelsea: 3/4

Southampton:  2/5   Draw: 19/5   Sunderland: 17/2

Odd’s from Bet365 online…(subject to change)

De Luca’s Tip: “Southampton will win most likely but with the value being so tight I’d back them at -1.

Man City at 19/10 is the best value, especially if both managers go with weakened sides.”

Alavi’s Tip: “For me, backing Chelsea at almost even’s is the one!”

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Sofa Sports News

Official Podcast – Premier League Matchday 6 Review!

On this edition of the Podcast we discuss Sam Allardyce’s slip of the tongue, Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea, the demise of West Ham, Man City’s impressive form and Danny Simpsons comments around shirt-pulling and holding in the penalty area.

As well as our usual La Liga and Serie A round ups!

Also available for download on iTunes, please don’t forget to rate and share our podcast!

Sofa Sports News Podcast – Premier League Round up!

This week Premier League fans were in for a treat, the new ‘Friday Night Football’ featured the weeks stand-out fixture – I think we could get used to this!

Game of the Week: Chelsea (Costa ’61) 12 Liverpool (Lovren ’17, Henderson ’36) 

Liverpool registered their 3rd league win of the season with an impressive victory at Stamford Bridge.  Antonio Conte’s side went into the fixture unbeaten and not many would have backed Jurgen Klopp’s men to take all three points back to Merseyside.  Liverpool have beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea away from home in the early weeks and comprehensively beat last seasons champions Leicester City at Anfield.

Talk of Liverpool for the title has begun surfacing and I for one think its premature.  I can’t help but feel they will fall short defensively and over the years they have been known for pushing the self-destruct button come the business end of the season.  For more on Liverpool click here!  As for Chelsea, Antonio Conte suffered his first defeat of the season and after last weeks draw at Swansea he may have to rethink his approach.  As a talented manager/tactician I’m certain the Italian will scrutinize their recent performances and it won’t be long before they are back to winning ways.

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Performance of the Week: Watford F.C.

This was a tough decision to make, I have to say I considered giving the Sofa Sports News Performance of the Week to Tony Pulis’ West Brom.  Based purely on the quality of the opponent I decided to give it to Watford.  Walter Mazzari’s Hornet’s piled more misery onto the ‘Special One’ – Who’s special? Don’t make me laugh!

An organised, physical and hungry Watford side registered their second win of the season after their impressive come back at the Olympic Stadium just a week earlier.  Odion Ighalo missed a sitter early on when the returning Chris Smalling and David De Gea made a meal of an aerial ball.  Thankfully for the Hornets Etienne Capoue continued his impressive goal scoring form and late goals from Zuniga and Deeney completed the victory.

Jose was quick to shift the blame from himself and criticized the officials post-match.  I guess he just does that wherever he goes, if you refer to an old article I submitted you will see what I mean…click here!  If I was a United fan I’d have questioned his team selection once again, but who am I to judge! 🙂

That leads me onto the next section nicely…

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Worst Performance of the Week: West Ham Utd

Has Slaven Bilic completely lost it at West Ham?  A discussion I never thought I would have so early on in the season – it’s clear that the fans remain behind their manager but whats gone wrong in the past few weeks?

Having surrendered a two goal lead at home last week I was tempted to label that as a one off.  Saturday’s defeat at WBA  has done nothing to ease the pressure on the Croatian and to concede four goals in two games running vs the kind of opposition they should be turning over has set the alarm bells ringing.

It’s far too early to panic but having moved into the Olympic stadium and having crashed out of the Europa League in the qualifying round the Irons will no doubt be aiming to secure the European football that stadium deserves.

For the rest of this weeks Premier League Results click here!

Harry

Sofa Sports News

West Ham United: A New Era

Sofa Sports News caught up with West Ham fan Krush ahead of the new season.

Krush’s thoughts:  “I’m really excited for the coming season.  The club has moved on once again and I can see us further building on last seasons heroics.

Looking at our transfer business I’m particularly excited by the signing of Jonathan Calleri, his tireless work rate reminds me of the hammers idol Carlos Tevez.

With Both having played alongside each other at Boca Juniors I expect to see some similarities in their games.

He may not be a first team regular straight away as their is talk of another big signing, but he is definitely someone to watch.

Thinking about were we will finish this season, it’s very interesting to see how we will adapt to the increase in fixtures and the new stadium.

Im just going to stick my neck out on the line and say we will better the 7th place finish of the last campaign. “

At least one hammer who should be on his way to the Euro’s with England – Dan De Luca

Roy Hodgson is announcing his provisional 23-man Euro 2016 squad later, and given West Hams fantastic season the lobby for the inclusion of some of their players in the England squad this season has been growing and growing.

There was a lot of disgruntlement at the announcement of the last England Squad in particular, in East London when no West Ham players were included again.

Whilst the majority of noise has be building in support of Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell, even Michael Antonio, there is one more familiar face who has received far fewer mentions but should be firmly in Roy Hodgson’s thoughts. Andy Carroll.

Kane, Vardy & Rooney’s seats on the plane are obviously tied up, and Daniel Sturridge’s latest injury break hasn’t stopped him firing in goals for Liverpool. However, with Welbeck unfortunately ruled out through injury, there may well be one additional space for a forward in Roy’s squad.

He could be happy with 4 and use the likes of Sterling as a forward if required, or if Theo Walcott is picked, and who knows where he sits in Hodgson’s thoughts right now, he could double up as an emergency forward, and of course there is a significant shift towards Jermaine Defoe’s chances thanks to his goal tally in Sunderland’s successful survival bid.

For me though Andy Carroll is the sensible solution for England.
Roy will already already know his starting XI for the opening game, he will also have had I’m sure 9 of the other 12 picks nailed down for months, but the other 3 should really be wild cards and utility players to support the squad and give it completeness.

I wouldn’t put Andy Carroll in the great category by any means and he huge limitations as a footballer, but we all know about his aerial strengths and from set plays and his ability to be a nightmare for centre halves.
His hat-trick against Arsenal was reminder of what the forgotten man is capable of, and whilst his miss when through on goal against Manchester United last week will provide the counter argument we need to remember why he’d be in France in the first place.

We’re talking about a 5th striker here, a guy who’s only going to see the pitch for maybe 25 minutes if England are on their way out and need a goal. Ask yourself this, Would Jermaine Defoe at this point be more likely to score than any of the others? Would you trust Walcott with that one chance any more than you would Jamie Vardy? Why would you take players that are like for like but worse options than the players who are already there.
Andy Carroll is a different option, an unattractive option, maybe, but in an era when managers are criticised for having no plan B, leaving plan B at home is not the way England should go. It’s an opportunity to change the style if the game is slipping away and give a the opposition something else to think about. If Andy Carroll is picked his involvement in the tournament will be limited, maybe to just a handful of minutes, but what will be needed from him is just 1 goal. 1 goal from a set piece or a towering header from a cross or a knock down for someone else to smash in from four yards after he’s caused havoc in the opposition box. I wouldn’t back against him being more likely to provide that than any other option being discussed.

I think it’s time England put some serious thought into the wild card pick, and make sure they have a forward line equipped for every eventuality, that’s why it’s called a squad. Not taking Carroll would mean one less style England could turn to in favour another benchwarmer with similar attributes to the rest.
What would be the gain in that?

I suspect it may be Walcott’s name you hear later when the squad is revealed, and not Jermaine Defoe’s, but in my mind the choice is obvious. It’s a squad game and a 7 game tournament where at some point desperate measures will be needed.

It has to be Andy Carroll.

@ddeluca7

Spurs go marching on! – De Luca reflects on the win over West Ham

Sunday 22nd November 2009, Spurs crushed Wigan Athletic 9-1 at White Hart Lane. 6 years later & the score line could have quite easily been repeated.

The similarities between the line up that day and today were nil in terms of personnel. All 18 players in the squad that day have moved on in the 6 years between that afternoon and now, Aaron Lennon the last to depart this summer meaning every member of the squad who made the Champions League at the end of that season was no more. A team, piece by piece, dismantled.

The comparison between that team and today is a lot more telling, no world superstars like Bale, Van der Vaart & Modric (Modric was injured that day, Bale still to discover form and seemingly heading for a January exit), and no over-reliance on one player like interim seasons at the Lane. Just XI players, with a distinct style imposed by Redknapp playing for each other with supreme confidence.

That’s where Tottenham are now in 2015. Who do you mark? Where do you focus your attention? How do you stem the constant waves of energetic attacks? The answer is you can’t. It’s how some of Europe’s top teams who execute this style of play win match after match, title after title, playing this way. Those sides have better players, like Messi Muller and Iniesta. Tottenham don’t need those sort of players for where they need to be though, we’re not talking about title challenging for Tottenham but instead getting to a position that can be used as platform. There’s nothing wrong with looking up every now and then to distract you from looking down at who is coming up the rails. Chelsea winning again and visiting the lane next week in a massive game, and Liverpool registering their second successive away mauling of a pre-season title contender. Klopp’s Liverpool executed a very similar style to Tottenham in both those games at Chelsea and The Etihad. When teams play well in this way they are near impossible to beat, the opponent needs to play exceptionally well. Teams can’t beat Tottenham at the moment, not since the opening day have they been defeated in the league. How Pochettino must regret a few of the draws that should/could have been wins when looking at the table tonight. Stoke, Liverpool & Everton at home the big examples of two points dropped in dominating displays. That’s where the Muller’s, Iniestas and Messi’s come in handy.

There are no outstanding world class individuals in this Spurs team as I’ve already pointed out, but there is still quality oozing throughout the squad. Just like all good strikers endure goal droughts, they enjoy rich veins of form. 7 goals in the last 4 for Harry Kane in the league, not bad for a one season wonder. The centre half pairing is as good as any in England, Dier Alli and Dembele continue to dominate midfields, and I wouldn’t normally mention it as I don’t personally believe a corner and a five yard sideways pass should fall into the special mention category, but since assists seem to be fashionable these days Christian Eriksen chipped in with two as part of this rout.

As the first ten minutes of this game ticked by I was intrigued at how it was going to play out. Two sides who prefer to counter attack both sitting back waiting for the other to dare to push forward. As the home side the onus is on Spurs to find a way through and West Ham looked well organised with the added option of the aerial threat they posed. Ironic then that Spurs’s second came from a set piece header whilst West Ham had earlier failed to make the most of a couple of opportunities from corner kicks, Alderweireld powered a header home following a dart to the near post on 33 minutes. Spurs had taken the lead 10 minutes earlier when a lucky ricochet gave Kane the chance to roll his marker and smash a finish high into the net. Between the two goals West Ham struck the bar when Kouyate was somehow ruled onside.
Already 2-0 up, Dele Alli then hit the bar at the end of a Spurs move created brilliantly by Christian Eriksen. Harry Kane then missed comically when through on goal, it wasn’t even half time.
It didn’t take long in the second half though for him to make amends, smashing one under the keeper after West Ham were sloppy playing out from the back.

By the time Lanzini scored a late consolation, a lovely goal by the only man in claret and blue who had tried all afternoon to make things happen, Spurs had already gone 4 up.
Walker finished beautifully with the outside of his boot after a 1-2 with Son who was really lively in the second half. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether Lanzini or Walker should take the goal of the day spoils, that’s down to personal preference.
There were missed chances too, two double saves from Adrian, and Mason striking a post amongst others I’ve probably forgotten amongst the constant bombardment of Tottenham attacks.

It finished 4-1, it really could have been 9 again, an absolute onslaught of a display by Tottenham and this time with the goals and the points to prove it.

Pochettino utilised the ‘one game at a time’ cliche when an interviewer suggested he might look up the table instead of behind. I didn’t believe him. I can’t accept that Thursday’s trip to Azerbaijan will be ahead of Chelsea next Sunday in his thoughts.
A midday kick off after a trip to Asia is not ideal and the absence of Dele Alli through suspension will be a miss too, the only blot on a superb day for Tottenham. If Spurs can get home from Qarabag with their first team unscathed it’s a huge opportunity to open up a healthy gap over the defending league champions.

I’ll leave you with the starting line up from that afternoon six years ago against Wigan:
Gomes; Corluka Dawson Woodgate Assou-Ekotto, Lennon Huddlestone Palacios Krancjar, Crouch Defoe.

If that team can finish 4th then there really is only one direction Pochettino should be looking. Good teams beat good players. Bring on Chelsea