Tag Archives: Relegation

Premier League, Week 38 Game of the Week

18 May

Recap: Newcastle’s horrible slide continues, as they lost 1-2 at Loftus Road to lowly, and newly relegated Queens Park Rangers. Fear not though you Magpies. A draw or loss by Hull City, regardless of your own outcome against West Ham United, will ensure your safety in the Premier League next season.

This Week:

Hull City Tigers vs Manchester United

Hull City Tigers vs Manchester United

Sunday, May 24th, 9am CDT, KC Stadium

Why This Game Is Intriguing: With the Premier League title already decided (Chelsea), and 2 of the 3 relegation spots secured (Burnley and QPR), all eyes will be on the Hull City Tigers, who literally are in a must-win situation. A loss or a draw to Manchester United (a likely scenario), will ensure the Tigers of relegation back to the Championship. Hull is led by Nikica Jelavic with 8 goals, and midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady with 5 assists, but overall lack the quality to really compete in the Premiership.

Other Reasons to Watch this Match: Mission accomplished for Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United Red Devils. After a disastrous season last year under David Moyes where the club finished 7th and out of European competition, Manchester United, after a bit of a rough start to the season, have managed a guaranteed top 4 finish and Champions League bid. They have taken down their rivals in Liverpool and in Manchester City en route to 69 points through 37 games played. Despite abysmal performances and injury concerns to strikers Robin van Persie and Radamal Falcao, van Gaal has been part of  and responsible for a resurgence of players such as Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, and Chris Smalling. Going forward, this club has a nice mix of youth and experience, and knowing how Manchester United spends, adding Memphis Depay among what are sure to be other key transfers, will see this club competing for the Premier League title next season.

Soccahaus Prediction: Bye Bye Tigers. Manchester United 2, Hull City 1

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Premier League Week 37 Game of the Week

12 May

Recap: I predicted correctly; a low scoring, 1-1 draw in which Chelsea celebrated its league victory in front of their home fans. Eden Hazard scored in the first half, but it was none other than Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard who scored the tying goal off of a set piece in the second half.

This Week: 

Queens Park Rangers vs Newcastle United

Queens Park Rangers vs Newcastle United

Saturday, May 19th, 9am CDT Loftus Road

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because if you are a QPR fan, this is your last home game of the season, and your last home game in the Premier League, that is, until you are likely promoted once again next season. QPR has been officially and mathematically relegated (along with Burnley), though QPR has a long history of promotion and relegation into and out of the Premier League. QPR’s hopes were slim last weekend: they desperately needed a David vs Goliath result against defending champions Manchester City on the road to have any chance of remaining in the Premier League. They were crushed in convincing fashion, 0-6 at the Etihad. QPR’s best player, Charlie Austin, had an incredible season carrying this club with 17 goals- and you can be assured that he will be swapping his horizontal blue and white stripes for another kit in England’s top flight: he is simply too good to be playing the Championship next season.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Newcastle cannot afford a loss, or really even a draw here against an inferior opponent in QPR, if they wish to remain in Premier League. Newcastle finds itself just 1 place above the relegation zone, and just 2 points ahead of Hull City for that final relegation spot. A Newcastle loss to QPR combined with a Hull City win over Tottenham would force Newcastle to be in a must win situation in the season’s final week against a challenging West Ham United. The Magpies have not won a match since February 28th against Aston Villa, losing their following 8 straight matches in a row before drawing West Brom this past weekend. Newcastle is a big club with an enormous fan base, huge stadium, and mega brand. They have a whole lot to lose in this game against QPR if the club isn’t focused on earning all 3 points.

Soccahaus Prediction: For all of Newcastle’s problems and bad run of form, they are simply better than QPR. Newcastle win 3-1.

English Premier League, Week 5 Game of the Week

22 Sep

Recap: Down a man, Frank Lampard scored in the final minutes against his old club for Manchester City. The 1-1 draw was an outstanding result for the Citizens as home, because it was Chelsea who dominated much of the game, and are currently the league leaders. This is a game City can look to build upon.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FC

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FC

Saturday, September 27th, 9am (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: 2 games, 2 draws for Chelsea. First against against Schalke at home in what was frantic, come from behind effort on the part of the Germans in the Champions League, and second at the Etihad in a hard fought, emotional game against Manchester City. Chelsea will look to bounce back from those results, and that shouldn’t be too hard considering they have the top goal scorer in the Premier League in Diego Costa (7), and the top assist man in Cesc Fabregas (6). As is typical with Jose Mourinho managed teams, this Chelsea squad is compact defensively, dangerous and attacking on the wings when on the counter, but not as poised or intelligent when it comes to possession. Against Schalke, unless Chelsea were on the counter, they seemed lost just passing the ball around, without much flair going towards the net.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Aston Villa is currently in 3rd place, having won 3 games, drawn once, and lost once. The lone loss was a blowout at home to Arsenal, the lone draw was at home to winless Newcastle, and the 3 victories came at Liverpool, at Stoke, and at home to Hull City. Gabriel Agbonglahor is a real threat going forward, as is Austrian Andreas Weiman. Fabian Delph is an incredibly athletic and intelligent midfielder, who recently made his first international appearance with the English National team. Anchoring the defense is Aly Cissokho, formerly of Liverpool, Valencia, and Lyon. American Brad Guzan is one of the best goal keepers in the Premier League, and has played sensationally thus far in the early season. Aston Villa was in real danger of being relegated last season, but already this season the club looks to be much improved.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 4, Aston Villa 1

Championship Sunday, Game(s) of the Week

9 May

Recap: Manchester City continued their march towards winning the league with a sensational 4-0 performance over Aston Villa at the Etihad. It might have taken awhile for City to get going, with their first goal coming from Edin Dzeko in the ’64, but the goals thereafter just kept coming. City has shown great resilience all season, and this match was no different.

Game 1: 

Manchester City FC vs West Ham United

Manchester City FC vs West Ham United

Championship Sunday, May 11th, 9am (CDT), Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: It’s very simple for Manchester City. Beat 12th place West Ham, and the Citizens will win their 2nd Premier League title in club history, and the club’s second in just 3 seasons. Tie West Ham, then all Liverpool has to do is beat Newcastle United with a goal differential of 7- which, barring a miracle, is impossible. Should City lose to West Ham, and Liverpool beat Newcastle, then the title will belong to the Reds. Manchester City has just this 1 game to win, and win at home, and they’ll be celebrating with their fans in the Etihad and onto the streets of Manchester.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: The last time these 2 clubs met was on October 19th, and Sergio Aguero led City with 2 goals as they beat the Hammers 3-1 in London. Aguero has been on and off injured much of the season, and did not feature in the 4-0 romp over Aston Villa. Even though Aguero’s goal against QPR just 2 years ago was the most significant City goal in Premier League history, City has proven that with the likes of Edin Dzeko- City has more than enough to get by without their best player. With an in-form Yaya Toure, City frankly has little to worry about as they face a team they likely would beat 9 times out of 10. But, Championship Sunday is known to produce some last minute drama….

 

Game 2:

Liverpool FC vs Newcastle United

Liverpool FC vs Newcastle United

Championship Sunday, May 11th, 9am (CDT), Anfield

Why This game is Intriguing: Because Liverpool can still win the title. As mentioned above, should City lose to West Ham, and Liverpool beat Newcastle, Liverpool will win the Premier League title this season, the season that celebrated the lives of the 96 lost in the Hillsborough Disaster 25 years ago. A draw or loss to Newcastle would eliminate any chance of winning the title, while a win against Newcastle combined with a City draw to West Ham would only benefit Liverpool if it were to defeat Newcastle by 7+ goals. The chances are extremely unlikely that Liverpool will win the title, but as long as there’s still a chance worth fighting for, you can bet the Reds will not give in.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Liverpool have only scored 6 goals or more just once this season, so Liverpool really really really (did I say really?) need West Ham to beat Manchester City to give the Reds any chance at all to win this title. Even if Liverpool finish 2nd, they still have plenty to be proud of. They were the beast team in the league for much of the season, while earning a bid to be back in the Champions League is definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating. They have some of the best players in the league (Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard, Mignolet), one of the best managers in the league in Brendan Rodgers, and a tradition and winning history that is almost sure to lure some quality players to Anfield in the future.

Soccahaus PredictionS: Manchester City 3, West Ham 1. Liverpool 4, Newcastle 1. Manchester City wins the Premier League title.

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Fulham vs Crystal Palace, Cardiff vs Chelsea, Norwich vs Arsenal. Because this is the last time you’ll see Fulham, Cardiff, and the Canaries in the Premier League for at least a year, and probably longer.

La Liga, Week 31 Game of the Week

15 Apr

Recap of Last Week: Real Sociedad took advantage of Malaga’s Champion’s League schedule by beating the Andalusian side 4-2. Malaga’s players were exhausted and some of its key players Isco, Juaquin, and Jeremy Toulalan all rested for the match. Sociedad holds a slim 2 point lead over surging Valencia, so the Basque club cannot afford to take any team lightly as it heads into its final stretch of the season.

This Week:

Celta de Vigo vs Mallorca

Celta de Vigo vs RCD Mallorca

Monday, April 15 2pm (CST) Iberostar Estadio

Why This Match is Intriguing: There are 8 games remaining on the La Liga schedule for each of these teams, and considering both Celta de Vigo and RCD Mallorca are at the very bottom of the league table, this game is a must win. Mallorca has lost their last 3 games in a row by a combined score of 13-4, including a 2-3 loss to lowly Deportivo la Coruna. Victor Casadesus and Israeli striker Tomer Hemed lead the club with 8 goals a piece, and Mexican Giovani Dos Santos leads the club with 6 assists. As much as Mallorca is struggling this season, the club has some talented pieces who are likely to go elsewhere should Mallorca be relegated.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: The last time Celta de Vigo won a game was back on February 23rd, and that was to Real Zaragoza, a club struggling as well to remain in Spain’s top flight division. Celta de Vigo, one of the three teams along with Valladolid and Deportivo la Coruna to be promoted from the Segunda division last season, is struggling to stay afloat in La Liga. Galician forward Iago Aspas leads Celta in goals and assists, and his talent is unquestioned. Should Celta be relegated at the end of the season, it will be interesting to see what happens with Iago Aspas- the player has been with Celta including the B team for his entire life- but it is clear his talent may allow him the opportunity to continue playing in La Liga.

Soccahaus Prediction: Mallorca 2, Celta 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Real Madrid vs Real Betis, FC Barcelona vs Levante, Osasuna vs Real Sociedad, Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid

English Premier League, Week 30 Game of the Week

1 Apr

Recap of last week: Tottenham scored two goals within the first 25 minutes of play as they held off Swansea City, in Wales to beat the Swans by a score of 2-1. Goals by Jan Vertonghen 7′ and Gareth Bale 21′ were enough to overcome Swansea, even though Spanish stud Michu notched a goal himself in the 71′. With that win and with Chelsea’s surprising loss to the Saints of Southampton, Tottenham remains in 3rd place in the table, ahead of Chelsea by just 2 points heading into next weekend.

This Week: 

Manchester United vs Manchester City

Manchester United vs Manchester City

Monday, April 8th 2pm (CST) Old Trafford

Why This Game is Intriguing: With only eight games left including this one for each of these two teams, 1st place Manchester United’s 15 point lead over 2nd place Manchester City will most certainly not be overcome. That’s not to say this game isn’t going to be important: any derby between these two clubs is incredibly important not only for soccer fans in Manchester, but for Premier League fans across the globe. Manchester City is coming off one of their most dominant wins of the season, clobbering Newcastle 4-0 easily at the Etihad. While City has maintained a healthy rotation amongst strikers Aguero, Tevez, and Dzeko- the two most consistent and most talented players on the roster are David Silva and Yaya Toure. Both of those players will need to lead the way if City wants win their 2nd game in a row at Old Trafford. Manchester United meanwhile has not looked as dominant in their wins since losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League. United last two games were both 1-0 results over two teams in the relegation conversation in Sunderland and Reading.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Despite United’s huge lead over City, the Red Devils will have a mental edge in this game as memories of the last match between these two clubs at Old Trafford didn’t exactly go to plan for the home side. The last time City came to Old Trafford, the home side was demolished 1-6 en route to the Citizens’ first Premier League title. Manchester United will be looking for a statement win to not only embellish what will be the club’s record 20th league title, but to officially stamp out City as potential contenders. Also, the last match between these two clubs occurred December 9th- a match which was was won by United’s Van Persie in extra time by a score of 3-2. That match provided for plenty of drama on the pitch, as City fans pelted debris onto the field- some of which hit Man United defender Rio Ferdinand in the nose, and in another incident during that match, a City fan ran onto the field. Manchester United and its fans will be looking to restore some honor to the rivalry, hopefully without incident.

Soccahaus Prediction: Manchester City 2, Manchester United 1

Other Game This Week Worth Watching: West Brom vs Arsenal, Liverpool vs West Ham, Tottenham vs Everton, Chelsea vs Sunderland, QPR vs Wigan

 

La Liga, Week 24 Game of the Week

11 Feb

Recap: Given Real Madrid’s lack of consistency with regards to playing up (or down) to their La Liga competition, I expected Real Madrid to struggle en route to a close victory against Sevilla. In a match played just days before Real Madrid’s Champions League round of 16 tango with Manchester United, Real Madrid opted to rest stars Mesut Ozil and Xabi Alonso, while playing winger Cristiano Ronaldo. Los Blancos cruised to a 4-1 home victory, led by 3 goals and 1 assist by Ronaldo.

This Week: 

Malaga CF vs Athletic Club Bilbao

Malaga CF vs Athletic Club Bilbao

Saturday, February 16th, 11AM (CST) La Rosaleda 

Why This Game is Intriguing: Athletic Club Bilbao is in danger of being relegated from La Liga, something that has never happened since the Spanish Primera division was formed in 1929. Last Sunday Athletic Club suffered a humiliating home defeat to Barcelona’s other club, RCD Espanyol- a far cry from the fact that just two weeks prior, Athletic Club demolished 2nd place Atletico Madrid by a score of 3-0. Athletic Bilbao sits in 16th place in the La Liga table, while they are only 6 points ahead of being in relegation zone. Bilbao will be playing all bottom 3 teams: Celta Vigo, Mallorca, and Deportivo la Coruna before the season ends. Considering Bilbao is just 1 year removed from finishing 2nd in the Europa League, the Basque club is in a situation where they cannot string together consecutive losses, particularly against the teams that are below them in the La Liga. Also keep an eye on Aritz Aduriz. The striker from San Sebastian is a prolific goal scorer, and if anyone from Bilbao gets on the board in this game, it will be him.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Malaga is going through an incredibly important stretch here in this soccer season. Not only is Malaga making preparations for next week’s opening Champions League leg at FC Porto, but the Andalusian side must also continue to succeed in La Liga in order to qualify for the tournament again next year. Currently in 4th place, Malaga is only 2 points ahead of surging Valencia and surprising Rayo Vallecano. Malaga, a club that has been in financial disarray for several years now, recently sold starting left back and Spanish National team member Nacho Monreal to Arsenal FC- another club preparing for the Champions League round of 16. Malaga’s center attacking midfielder Isco has continued to impress the soccer world, and his efforts were rewarded as Vicente del Bosque called him up and played him significant minutes during Spain’s international friendly against Uruguay a couple of weeks ago in Qatar.

Soccahaus Prediction: Malaga 2, Athletic Bilbao 0

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Real Betis vs Valladolid, Sevilla vs Deportivo, Grenada vs FC Barcelona, Real Sociedad vs Levante, Valencia vs Mallorca, Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano