Tag Archives: Sunderland

Premier League Week 36 Game of the Week

4 May

Recap: Sunderland took a major step towards avoiding relegation with their 2-1 home win against the Southampton Saints. While it does look like Burnley and QPR will be dropping, with 4 matches left to play, Sunderland must fend off the likes of Hull City, Leicester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa.

This Week: 

Chelsea FC vs Liverpool FC

Chelsea FC vs Liverpool FC

Sunday, 10am CDT, Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because the Champions of the Premier League, Chelsea FC, will be deservedly honored and celebrated in this home match against Liverpool FC. Last season, these two clubs finished in the top 4, with Liverpool coming within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the league against this same Chelsea team. Now, in this match this Sunday, the Liverpool players will be standing lined up outside of the tunnel to give Chelsea a guard of honor as they come onto the pitch. Say what you want about Chelsea’s style- and I have often been critical of it many times on this site- they won the league not just fair and square, but in a prolonged, dominating fashion. 13 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester City is a sign of the clinic these Chelsea players put on all season long, from start to finish.

Other Reasons to Watch: There is still much to play for if you are a Liverpool player and/or fan. Just 4 points behind arch rival Manchester United for 4th place- Liverpool will do everything they can to get a string of wins and earn a Champions League bid. They will need some help from the Red Devils, who have 3 very tricky games remaining: at Crystal Palace, vs Arsenal, and then at relegation fighters Hull City. If Liverpool can qualify for the Champions League over Manchester United, that would be considered a huge victory, and to some extent, a successful season for Brendan Rodgers’ club. Liverpool has had an up and down season, in large part due to the departing player of the year Luis Suarez who bolted to Barcelona after the World Cup. Liverpool can salvage a lot, in particular the likelihood of retaining Brendan Rodgers, if they can finish 4th in this year’s Barclays Premier League table.

Prediction: 1-1 draw

 

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Premier League, Week 35 Game of the Week

27 Apr

Recap: I had predicted the London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal to be tight, and low scoring. My 1-1 prediction wasn’t far off, as the final score ended in a 0-0 draw. The result pretty much sealed Chelsea’s fate as this season’s Premier League champions.

This Week:

Sunderland AFC vs Southampton FC

Sunderland AFC vs Southampton FC

Saturday, May 2nd, 9am CDT, Stadium of Light

Why This Game is Intriguing: With just 6 games to go including this one, both the Black Cats of Sunderland and the Saints of Southampton desperately need this win- albeit for very different reasons. Sunderland currently finds itself in 18th place and in the relegation zone, and could jump as high as to 15th place depending on other results. Sunderland was last in the 2nd division in 2007, and they will do everything they can to avoid dropping back down. Southampton on the other hand is one of the more remarkable stories of the season. Having lost its 3 top players last season in Adam Lallana, Rickey Lambert, and DeJan Lovren (all to Liverpool), many including myself expected the Saints to be one of the worst teams in the Premier League. Southampton is currently in 7th place, and will be fighting to finish 5th or 6th so they can participate in the Europa League next season. Southampton has 57 points, while Liverpool and Tottenham, 5th and 6th respectively, each have 58 points. Those 3 clubs will be in a heated battle that will likely go down to the last day of the season to see who gets to participate in the European competition.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Both of these teams have good players worth keeping an eye on. Southampton striker Graziano Pelle’ is the Saints’ leading goal scorer with 11. Despite experiencing a dip of form in February and March, Pelle managed to score 2 goals against Tottenham last weekend. Other contributing players include defensemen Nathaniel Clyne and Jose Fonte, 2 of the better players at their respective positions in the Premier League this season. Sunderland is a squad lacking in talent, but forwards Jermain Defoe and Connor Wickham, along with holding midfielder Lee Cattermole are opportunistic difference makers who will play important roles in this game.

Prediction: Southampton 2, Sunderland 0.

Premier League, Week 34 Game of the Week

20 Apr

Recap: Chelsea beat Manchester United by a dull score of 1-0, thanks to a goal in the 1st half by Eden Hazard. Chelsea “did what it had to do to win”, playing a very defensive 2nd half and limiting the Red Devils’ attack.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, April 26th, 10am CDT, Emirates Stadium

Why this Game is Intriguing: Because these two clubs are not only the best two clubs in London, but the best two clubs in English football. Chelsea has just about sealed their fate as the winners of the Premier League, as they currently lead the 2nd place Gunners by 10 points. Even with a Chelsea loss here, it’s hard to imagine the Blues dropping points against some of the remaining opponents on their schedule, including Leicester City, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Sunderland. Coupled with the fact that Chelsea has been knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup, these remaining matches after the Arsenal game will be taken incredibly seriously by Jose Mourinho and company. Chelsea has a way of creating a wall (or as many call it, a bus) in front of their own final third, and it will be incredibly difficult for Arsenal to have its chances.

Other Reasons to Watch: Arsenal is gunning for 2nd place. While the Gunners have all but secured another top 4 finish and Champions League bid, they remain just 1 point ahead of 3rd place Manchester United, and 2 points ahead of 4th place Manchester City. Arsenal have had a fantastic season despite major, long term injuries to key players including Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, the Ox, Jack Wilshire, and more. Arsenal would hate to finish 4th, because that would mean that they would have a play-in series, and thus 2 more key games to even qualify for the Champions League group stage. While it is impossible for the Gunners to overcome Chelsea in the standings, a victory over the Blues, and a victory for Arsene Wenger over arch nemesis Jose Mourinho, would do wonders for the pride in red based in North London.

Prediction: This one remains tight, and low scoring. I’ll go with 1-1 draw.

English Premier League, Week 37 Game of the week

21 Apr

Recap: Arsenal beat West Ham United 3-1, and they also beat Hull City, their FA Cup finalist opponents, 3-0. Since Everton lost to Crystal Palace, yet beat Manchester United, the Gunners maintain just a 1 point lead over the Toffees for 4th place in the Premier League. With 3 games remaining for both clubs, this is set to go down the wire for the Gunners in order to maintain their Champions League streak.

 

This Week:

Liverpool FC vs Chelsea FC

Liverpool FC vs Chelsea FC

Sunday, April 27th, 8:05am (CST) Anfield

Why This Game is Intriguing: This matchup certainly lost much of its luster because of Chelsea’s shocking home defeat to Sunderland on Saturday- Mourinho’s first home defeat as a Premier League manager. Not to take anything away from Sunderland, but of all of the shocking results this year, particularly looking at Manchester United and who they’ve lost to at home this season, Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland is THE most unimaginable upset of the entire season. Jose Mourinho was quick to blame the refs, which is somewhat understandable considering the lone PK was relatively soft and undeserved- but Chelsea did not look aggressive at all on offense the entire game. Unless Liverpool drops points to Crystal Palace and Newcastle (Palace has not lost a match in 8 games), Liverpool will walk away with the title, in part due to Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: The stage is set for Liverpool. Their win against Norwich clinched the Reds their first Champions League bid since the ’09-10 season, with much more still to play for. While Liverpool will have an entire week to focus, prepare, and get healthy for this match, Chelsea travel to Madrid to face Atletico in the Champions League semi final, with the hopes of getting on the board before their home return leg at the Bridge next week. Liverpool’s goal differential is 2nd highest in the Premier League behind Manchester City, and of course the Reds are led by a combined 50 goals between their 2 star strikers in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. As always, captain Steven Gerrard provides consistency and poise on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field.

Soccahaus Prediction: Liverpool 3, Chelsea 2

Other Games this Week worth Watching: Southampton vs Everton, Stoke vs Tottenham, Manchester United vs Norwich, Sunderland vs Cardiff, Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, Arsenal vs Newcastle

 

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