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Premier League Top 6 Predictions

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Another enthralling Premier League season is nearing its end as Manchester City and Liverpool battle it out for the crown.

Only one point separates the two most dominant teams in football today with four games left for each.

As this list by FootballToday shows, these two teams have shared the last four Premier League trophies. While Pep Guardiola’s men bid to win back-to-back Premier League titles for the second time in five seasons, the Reds are seeking their second domestic triumph in three years.

Despite lagging narrowly behind the Etihad outfit, Jurgen Klopp’s high-flyers seem to be in better shape to conquer the league and maintain their dream of a historic quadruple.

Liverpool have barely put their foot wrong in the second half of the season and have momentum firmly on their side after qualifying for their third Champions League final in five years.

Ahead of the highly anticipated Champions League final against Real Madrid, Mohamed Salah named the Reds the ‘best team in Europe,’ as relayed by the Daily Mail.

Here, we assess the runners and riders in the battle for supremacy in England’s top division.

#1 Liverpool

Source: cnn.com

 

The Merseyside heavyweights can ill-afford to drop a single point between now and the end of the season if they are to pip Man City to the title.

Klopp’s men head into the business end of the season with their confidence at a historic high following a 5-2 aggregate triumph over Villarreal in their Champions League semi-final tie.

Tottenham Hotspur’s upcoming visit to Anfield will put Liverpool’s title credentials on a stern test, but the Reds’ imperious domestic form suggests it could be a mere formality.

Since losing 1-0 at Leicester City in late December, Liverpool have gone unbeaten in their subsequent 15 Premier League matches (W13, D2), winning the last three in a row by an aggregate score of 7-0.

After meeting Spurs at the weekend, the Reds will face Aston Villa, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the remaining three league fixtures, all of which look more than winnable.

#2 Manchester City

Source: eurosport.com

Man City appeared on the verge of defending the Premier League trophy at the turn of 2021, but the title run-in has taken several major twists in the second half of the season.

An underwhelming 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham in mid-February, coupled with a pair of draws with Southampton and Crystal Palace, pulled Liverpool back into the title race.

The reigning English champions suffered a morale-crushing Champions League elimination to Real Madrid last time out, squandering a 2-0 aggregate lead in the stoppage time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rodrygo’s last-gasp brace took their blockbuster semi-final tie into extra-time, where Karim Benzema stole the show to send Guardiola’s side packing.

Newcastle United, Wolves, West Ham United and Villa are Man City’s remaining opponents in the Premier League.

Though they should be no match for the Cityzens in normal circumstances, there is no doubt that another heartbreaking Champions League exit has taken the wind out of City’s sails.

#3 Arsenal

Source: arsenal.com

Yes, Arsenal!

The Gunners have picked themselves up from a dreadful start to the season to mount the most genuine top-four bid in the post-Arsene Wenger era.

Mikel Arteta’s men have roared back to leapfrog Manchester United and Tottenham in the Premier League standings, and underperforming Chelsea could be the next to fall victim to Arsenal’s rich vein of form.

Inspired by a run of three consecutive league triumphs over Chelsea, Man United and West Ham, the Londoners now aim to beat the Blues to a third-placed finish.

Arsenal will take on bottom-half Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, looking to capture another win and potentially reduce a three-point deficit on Thomas Tuchel’s side.

With Chelsea experiencing a rotten spell of form, we back the Gunners to finish third and return to the Champions League for the first time in six years.

#4 Chelsea

Source: sportingnews.com

Off-field controversies surrounding the Stamford Bridge outfit amid Roman Abramovich’s attempts to sell Chelsea to the highest bidder have affected the club’s domestic form.

Not long ago, the Blues looked destined to join Man City and Liverpool in next season’s Champions League group stage from third, but it is now longer the case.

A return of one win from their last four Premier League outings (D1, L2) have seen Chelsea’s lead on closest followers Arsenal melt down to three points.

With fifth-placed Tottenham now five points adrift, the Pensioners’ efforts to secure a fourth successive top-four Premier League finish are now in doubt.

On the bright side, Tuchel’s men have matches against Wolves, Leeds, Leicester and Watford waiting in the wings down the final stretch, with none of their upcoming rivals enjoying the best of times.

Two victories in the four remaining rounds should do the trick and we expect Chelsea to make it happen.

#5 Tottenham Hotspur

Source: sbnation.com

Despite Antonio Conte’s utmost attempts to get Tottenham’s stuttering domestic campaign back on track, Spurs will likely fall short in this keenly-contested top-four race.

The north London powerhouse made light work of understrength Leicester last time out, running out 3-1 victors to end a run of consecutive league games without winning (D1, L1).

Spurs were seemingly on the cusp of pipping Arsenal to a fourth-placed finish following a run of four straight Premier League wins, but things have gone south since mid-April.

Conte’s team failed to land a single shot on target in back-to-back league clashes against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, causing them to lose ground on the Gunners.

Despite getting back to winning ways against Leicester last weekend, Tottenham have one hell of a schedule awaiting them in the final four rounds.

After a daunting trip to Anfield to meet Liverpool, Spurs will lock horns with Arsenal in a top-four six-pointer at home, hopeful of avenging a dismal 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Burnley’s visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the penultimate matchday could prove equally tricky, given the Clarets’ recent upturn in form.

Spurs should have no problems overcoming already doomed Norwich City on the final weekend, but it could be too little too late for them to return to the Champions League after a season-long absence.

#6 Manchester United

Source: eurosport.com

It has been another humiliating season for Man United, who will end a fifth successive season without a trophy.

The club find themselves at yet another crossroads as Ralf Rangnick’s men have to settle for an unsatisfying sixth-place finish and a berth in next season’s Europa League group phase.

The summer signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo fuelled the Red Devils’ hopes of challenging for their first Premier League title since Six Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013.

Humbled in virtually every high-profile fixture this season, including multi-goal margin defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool in April, Man United are set for another lacklustre finish.

Potential victories over Brighton and Palace on the last two matchdays will hardly settle the fans’ nerves, but it would be a good way for Rangnick to wave goodbye to the Old Trafford crowd.

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Mito Pereria’s final hole meltdown!

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Mito Pereira was one hole away from winning the PGA Championship before a final hole meltdown after his first shot ended up in the water.

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Lightning exposing Panthers’ lack of playoff experience with series sweep in sight

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It’s the National Hockey League’s regular-season champions versus the Stanley Cup champions, and it’s not even close. Playoff hockey wins every time.

After winning 58 games in the regular season, the Florida Panthers lost their third straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday and are another loss away from being swept by their less-skilled but more-capable rivals in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Even after the mystifying Panthers’ power play finally manufactured its first playoff goal in the opening period, it was the Lightning’s penalty killing, as well as Tampa’s experience, guile and intensity, that was a key factor in a 5-1 victory in Game 3.

Game 4 is Monday evening in Tampa with puck drop at 7:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet.

Through three games and an aggregate score of 11-3, the Lightning have exposed the Panthers’ playoff inexperience and inability to match Tampa’s battle level.

“They’re Stanley Cup champions and the best team in hockey probably over the last five years, so they know what they’re doing and they are willing themselves,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said of the Lightning. “They have more will and more desire than we do. It shows probably, if you watch the game, shift after shift right now. We have to find a way. We need to dial it in deeper and harder and want it more.”

Later in his media conference, Brunette added: “They’ve just got a little more will. When there’s a loose puck, they’re kind of outbattling us. They want it a little bit more. They’re small margins, but they’re still margins. And small margins over a course of 60-minute game makes a little bit of a bigger margin. We have to find a way to be above the margins, not behind.”

But it’s already too late.

Teams that have trailed 3-0 in a seven-game series are 4-197 in NHL history. The Panthers have about a one-on-50 chance of surviving the Lightning, who are handling their opponent while dressing just 11 forwards because Brayden Point, possibly Tampa’s best player, has been injured since his team eliminated another playoff lightweight in the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.

The NHL’s highest-scoring team in 26 years, the Panthers have managed just a single goal in each of this series’ first three games. The Lightning have blocked 59 shots, outscored Florida 4-1 on special teams and Tampa star Nikita Kucherov, after a four-point game on Sunday, has more points in this series (seven) than Panthers Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Claude Giroux, Sam Bennett and Aaron Ekblad combined.

The Lightning can earn some vital recovery time for Point and rest for themselves by winning Game 4 and earning a third straight trip to the Eastern Conference Final. They’re trying to become the first team since the early-1980s New York Islanders to win three straight Stanley Cups.

“We realize the challenge ahead,” Tampa captain Steven Stamkos said. “These guys are back against the wall. We’ve had this opportunity before and it’s the hardest (win) to get. So we understand that challenge, but we’ll be ready. We have an opportunity to do it in front of our home fans, feed off that. We know they’re going to give us their best effort, so we’ve got to match that and then some and just keep executing. I have confidence in this group that if we play the right way, good things are going to continue to happen.”

TURNING POINT

The Lightning were up 2-1 when Tampa’s Victor Hedman was penalized for interference at 6:37 of the second period. The Panther power play, which in the first period ended an unfathomable 0-for-25 playoff meltdown, had a chance to tie the game.

Instead, Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made four saves, his teammates blocked four other shots and, seconds after Hedman’s penalty expired, Tampa defenceman Ryan McDonagh made the play of the game by getting the shaft of his stick in front of Huberdeau’s shot when most of the net was open.

And less than two minutes later, Stamkos made it 3-1 on a one-timer off the rush at 10:23.

“Our group’s great about understanding situations within the game,” McDonagh said after a plus-four game in which he led the Lightning with 23:21 of ice time. “Big moment there, a big opportunity for them. We kill it off and. . . shortly after that we put the puck in the net. So huge swing there. I think our group on the PK as a whole wants to thrive on being difference-makers for us.”

TURNING POINT PART 2

Vasilevskiy, McDonagh and the penalty-killers got the glory, but no one should underestimate the world-class skill involved in Stamkos’ dagger to the Panther’s heart.

Hedman made a perfect stretch, bank pass to Kucherov, who took the puck effortlessly, then quickly relayed it across the Florida zone for a streaking Stamkos to one-time from his off-wing. All three elements were sublimely executed.

Stamkos said he was inspired by the penalty kill that preceded it.

“As a guy that, you know, doesn’t get out on the PK and watches those guys, I mean, it really is inspiring,” he said. “You watch those guys, they’re battling, they’re blocking shots, doing whatever it takes. Those aren’t easy minutes in a game. You see guys coming back to the bench just gassed, gasping for air, and then they’ve got to go right back out there.

“This group, it’s just. . . whatever guys are on the ice, we have full trust in that. Some of that comes with experience at this time of the year, some of that comes with going out and getting the right (guys) at the deadline and knowing the big roles that they’re going to play, and it’s just trusting in each other that you’re going to get the job done. And when you have trust in your teammates, that creates a lot of confidence and it just progresses and it snowballs and you usually get good results.”

TALKING POINT

The Lightning were lucky not to lose another forward when Brandon Hagel dangerously cross-checked Panther Eetu Luostarinen into the end boards at high speed late in the first period. Referees Dan O’Rourke and Frederick L’Ecuyer initially called a major penalty on Hagel but downgraded it to a minor upon a video review. It sure looked like a major penalty and potential game misconduct.

Despite hitting his head on the boards, Luostarinen finished the game.

LAST QUESTION

Where is Aaron Ekblad? Florida’s frozen scorers are getting much of the blame for this series, but Ekblad, who was supposed to be in the Norris Trophy discussion this season, has been almost invisible beyond his share of culpability for Florida’s power-play problems.

LAST WORD

Brunette: “We’re losing a little bit of our — which has been our strength of our team — a little bit of our resilience. Frustration has taken over passion, and we need to erase that.”

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“I did well but this is a team sport” – Manchester United superstar makes honest admission on his team’s underwhelming 2021-22 campaign

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Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has expressed his thoughts on the Red Devils’ underwhelming 2021-22 season.

The Old Trafford outfit brought an end to their 2021-22 campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Ralf Rangnick’s side failed to find a breakthrough, while Wilfried Zaha scored the winner for the hosts.

The loss, however, did not prove to be costly for Manchester United as Brighton & Hove Albion beat West Ham United 3-1 at home. The Hammers’ defeat at the Amex Stadium saw the Red Devils remain sixth in the points table.

Manchester United have thus secured UEFA Europa League football for next season. Nevertheless, it has been an underwhelming season for the English giants, who failed to impress in any of the competitions they took part in.

Reflecting on the campaign, De Gea explained that he worked hard to help the Red Devils. However, the Spain international is aware that football is a team sport and his individual performances do not matter. He told MUTV:

“I’ve been working hard, to be honest, in the summer, to get here and show my level and help the team. I think I did well but this is a team sport, so it doesn’t matter what I did.”

De Gea: “The best thing that happened today is the season has finished.” [@ShamoonHafez]

De Gea will be hopeful that Erik ten Hag’s arrival will mark the beginning of a new era for the Old Trafford outfit. The Dutch tactician will replace Rangnick ahead of the 2022-23 season.


David de Gea was a bright spot for Manchester United in 2021-22

The Red Devils will be hopeful of returning to their best under Erik ten Hag next season. Meanwhile, David de Gea’s performances are one of the few positives they can take from the 2021-22 campaign.

De Gea made 46 appearances across all competitions for Manchester United. The goalkeeper kept 10 clean sheets during the process and played a key role in the club finishing sixth in the table.

De Gea: “The best thing that happened today is the season has finished.” [@ShamoonHafez]

Having impressed in goal for the Red Devils this term, De Gea is expected to remain their first-choice goalkeeper next season. Ten Hag is likely to make major changes to the squad, but the Spaniard’s place in the team will probably remain in tact.

Backup goalkeeper Dean Henderson, though, could be on his way out of Old Trafford this season as he seeks regular action. Newcastle United are said to be on the verge of completing the 25-year-old’s signing.


Edited by Dakir Mohammed Thanveer

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