Winners and Losers from English football – February 22-24
With Chelsea and Manchester City involved in the Carabao Cup, plus a host of thrilling matches in the Premier League, there were plenty of talking points this weekend. Here are the Winners and Losers in English football. You can bet on the Premier League here.
Man City’s quadruple bid
Manchester City successfully defended their Carabao Cup title after beating Chelsea 4-3 on penalties on Sunday. With their Premier League quest back on track, the win kept their bid for the first ever quadruple in English football. City also have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals and are already in the last eight of the FA Cup. Pep Guardiola has scoffed at talks of a quadruple recently and City will face bigger tests ahead. However their pursuit of the quadruple is well on course. One down, three to go.
Since losing 5-1 at home to Everton on Boxing Day, Burnley have won five Premier League games and drawn three to revive their season. The club was in the relegation scrape for most parts of the season but at the moment, they look unstoppable. That incredible run includes a point at Old Trafford, a win over West Ham and on Saturday, they defeated title hopefuls Spurs to move into 14th position in the league with 30 points. Although survival is not yet guaranteed, the Clarets are looking like the team that finished seventh in the previous season.
Watford inflicted a heavy 5-1 defeat on relegation candidates Cardiff City away from home on Friday night. The win reinstated their claims for a spot in European football next season. Manager Javi Gracia was appointed in January last year and led the Hornets to a 14th place finish. This season, they sit seventh on 40 points which almost guarantees safety from relegation. Gracia has also led his team to a place in the FA Cup quarter-final and an opportunity to compete for silverware has presented itself for the Spaniard.
Spurs and Liverpool
Title contenders Spurs and Liverpool failed to solidify their hunt for the Premier League crown after dropping points in their weekend matches. Spurs lost away to Burnley while Liverpool failed to take advantage of an injury-ravaged Manchester United as they drew 0-0 with their arch-rivals. Moreover, Spurs next two games are away to Chelsea and a North London Derby at home. However, they will feel confident with the return of top scorer Harry Kane. Liverpool are at home to Watford in the midweek game followed by a Merseyside Derby showdown at Goodison Park against Everton.
Sarri and Kepa row
Maurizio Sarri’s few turbulent weeks at Chelsea came to a crescendo on Sunday during the Carabao Cup final defeat when goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to come off for Willy Caballero. The 24-year old Spanish goalkeeper’s refusal to be substituted doesn’t bode well for under-fire Sarri, whose reign at Chelsea will come under more spotlight. Many have suggested that Sarri has lost control of the dressing room. However, the Blues face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday and whether Kepa starts or gets punished will be up to Sarri.
Over 2.5 Goals
Of the eight matches played over the weekend, three or more goals were scored in only three of them. Manchester United against Liverpool underwhelmed with both teams failing to find the net given four goals were scored when these sides met.