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5 talking points ahead of the weekend’s Premier League action

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Brighton can make history & top-four race heats up: 5 talking points ahead of the weekend’s Premier League action

Gameweek 35 of the 2021/22 Premier League season is set to play out over the upcoming weekend.

The action kicks off on Saturday afternoon with a huge clash between Newcastle United and Liverpool.

The gameweek will then draw to a close on Monday evening when Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United face off with Brentford in the latest edition of Monday Night Football.

Ahead of the weekend’s action getting underway, 101 have therefore picked out five key talking points.

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The Klopp dynasty continues

If 2021/22 has showcased anything, it is how lucky fans are to have both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp managing in England at the same time.

The managers have put together two simply sensational sides that can go toe-to-toe with any team in Europe. The pair have also given birth to one of the most entertaining rivalries in modern football, with every match between the pair always a spectacle.

Now, we look set to see at least one of those bosses stick around a little while longer as Jurgen Klopp has signed a new deal at Liverpool until 2026. Should Pep Guardiola follow suit in Manchester, we are sure to be treated to many more classic encounters between the two powerhouses.

Top-four race heats ups

The race for 4th spot looks set to go down to the final day of the Premier League campaign.

After a recent blip from Tottenham, Arsenal now occupy 4th spot, sitting two points clear of their north London rivals.

However, the Gunners face a fairly tough trip to West Ham this weekend whilst Tottenham play host to Leicester City. Both games have the potential to cause upsets with just five games left to play in 2021/22.

Brighton can make history

Brighton are on course to make history in 2021/22. Despite Graham Potter sometimes catching the ire of the Seagulls fans, the former Swansea man is set to guide Brighton to their most successful season in Premier League history.

The south coast outfit have spent the previous four campaigns in the Premier League, with their highest points total 41.

Now though, Brighton are already on 41 points with four games to play – meaning a simple draw vs Wolves would be enough to break the record.

Liverpool’s tough test

Liverpool and Manchester City are neck and neck in the 2021/22 Premier League title race.

Just one point separates the pair with five games left to play apiece. Now though, Liverpool are set to face one of their tougher tests in recent weeks.

Newcastle causing Liverpool any sort of problem was unthinkable six months ago. However, Eddie Howe, with the help of his big-spending January, has transformed Newcastle into a side with a formidable home record. The North East outfit are unbeaten in their last seven home league ties. Will Liverpool have enough to break them down after a gruelling test vs Villarreal in midweek?

Everton in danger

The prospect of Everton being relegated from the Premier League this season is now very much turning into a reality.

The Toffees have slipped into the bottom three and, thanks to a mini Burnley resurgence, are now two points from safety.

Granted, Everton do have a game in hand on the Clarets, but Everton must face off with Chelsea this weekend, whilst Burnley have a much easier test vs a Watford side who have won just six games all season and are in possession of the second-worst defence in the Premier League.

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Vieira kicks Everton fan after being harassed during pitch invasion

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Watch: Patrick Vieira kicks Everton fan after being harassed in post-match pitch invasion

 

Footage stemming from the aftermath of Everton’s meeting with Crystal Palace on Thursday has piqued widespread attentions online.

Frank Lampard’s Toffees of course welcomed Palace to Merseyside a short time ago, aware that a three-point haul would see their place in the Premier League secured for another season.

And, when all was said and done, emerge victorious is precisely what the evening’s hosts went on to do.

After slipping into a two-goal hole inside the opening 45 minutes, Everton emerged for the 2nd-half looking altogether revitalised, culminating in Michael Keane quickly pulling one back.

Richarlison was next up, dragging Lampard and co. back on level terms 15 minutes from time, before the telling moment in not only the clash, but Everton’s season as a whole, arrived a short time later.

And it was Dominic Calvert-Lewin who proved the hero, diving to nod home a wonderful header, sparking chaotic scenes across the blue half of Merseyside:

Vieira stands his ground

Unfortunately, however, as the vast majority of those to have flooded the pitch celebrated top-flight survival alongside the Everton players and staff alike, others, and one in particular, opted for a different route.

Evidently keen to make a name for himself, one member of the Toffees faithful was caught on camera flashing a prolonged gesture in the face of Patrick Vieira, as the Crystal Palace boss attempted to depart the pitch at Goodison Park.

Understandably incensed, the Frenchman, in turn, kicked out at the individual in question, who fell backwards onto the turf.

The latter then stood back up in an attempt to push Vieira once more, before fellow fans intervened, separating the pair and ushering Palace’s manager away from the scene.

Check out footage of the incident below, which of course comes just days on from Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp being brutally assaulted by a Nottingham Forest supporter on the back of the Championship playoff semi-final clash between the clubs.

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vs : Result, Ratings and Quotes

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Player ratings, fan reaction & more: Burnley clinch a point at Aston Villa to plunge Leeds back into drop zone

Result

A key outing amid the battle for Premier League survival on Thursday ultimately culminated in Burnley doing enough to depart Villa Park with

Mike Jackson’s visitors opened the scoring in the clash late in the first-half, when Ashley Barnes stepped up to slot home from 12 yards in confident fashion:

Villa, though, on the back of more than one fine Nick Pope save, levelled things up early in the 2nd-half, when John McGinn’s fine delivery was volleyed home by the arriving Emi Buendia:

And this, in turn, was how things remained through the full-time whistle, ensuring that Burnley have climbed out of the relegation zone ahead of this coming weekend’s final round of fixtures.

Player Ratings

Emi Martinez – 6

Produced more than one fine reflex save, but looked less than comfortable under the high ball. Had little chance in keeping out Barnes’ fine spot-kick.

Matty Cash – 5

Showcased plenty of intent in steaming up and down the hosts’ right flank, only for his final ball to leave a lot to be desired time and time again. One important block prevented what could well have proven a first-half Burnley goal.

Calum Chambers – 6

A strong showing at the heart of Villa’s defence, Chambers barely put a foot wrong all night.

Tyrone Mings – 6

Given a tough time by Barnes and Cornet, but stood up to the task for the most part. One crucial late block denied what would have been a certain Weghorst winner for Burnley.

Lucas Digne – 5.5

Lively and full of intent during the early exchanges, but saw his influence wane as proceedings wore on. Solid defensively, though.

Douglas Luiz – 6.5

A fine display on both sides of the ball on the part of Aston Villa’s midfield enforcer.

John McGinn – 7.5

Would undoubtedly have bagged his first Premier League goal since late last year if not for the brilliance of Pope. The best player on the pitch, and chipped in with the assist for Buendia’s strike.

Jacob Ramsey – 6

Characteristically lively from the off, albeit before tapering off somewhat as the evening progressed. Still, another good showing from the hosts’ Player of the Year.

Carney Chukwuemeka – 5.5

Didn’t look at all out of place considering it was just the 18-year-old’s second Premier League start. Did see the game pass him by at times, but as much is to be expected at such a young age.

Emi Buendia – 6

Started the clash in altogether positive fashion, before his needless foul on Cornet allowed Burnley to open the scoring. More than made up for it courtesy of a superbly-finished volley, though.

Ollie Watkins – 5.5

Completely starved of service throughout much of the clash, but nevertheless managed to make his presence known by means of constant pressing and a couple of half-sighters at goal.

Substitutes

Bertrand Traore – 5.5

Had the desired effect in piling the pressure on Pope’s goal, but saw his final ball consistently come up short.

Philippe Coutinho – 6

Added some needed creativity to what was fast becoming a flat Aston Villa midfield.

Danny Ings – 5

Came within a whisker of finding the net with his first touch after being introduced.

Burnley

Nick Pope – 6.5

Though he will perhaps be disappointed not to have kept out Buendia’s equaliser, Pope produced a number of world-class stops, particularly late on from a Traore header, to ensure that Burnley departed Villa Park with a potentially crucial point.

Connor Roberts – 5.5

Did his part in ensuring that Digne was not allowed free rein down the hosts’ left.

Nathan Collins – 6

Continues to act as a key piece at the heart of Burnley’s backline, Collins impressed once more at Villa Park.

James Tarkowski – 6

A quiet evening for the soon-to-be free agent, albeit one which saw him do a fine job of leading and organising matters from deep.

Kevin Long – 5.5

The most troubled of Burnley’s 3-man central defensive unit, but played an important role in ensuring that the always-lively Watkins was never afforded a real sniff at goal.

Charlie Taylor – 6.5

Stood up well in his battle with Matty Cash, amid an altogether solid defensive display.

Josh Brownhill – 5.5

Like Cork alongside him, certainly played his part in the Clarets returning to Lancashire with a share of the spoils. Stung Martinez’s palms with a fine late drive from outside the area, too.

Jack Cork – 5.5

Solid if unspectacular in keeping things ticking over in the middle of the park.

Dwight McNeil – 5

A disappointing evening for Burnley’s talented winger, who just couldn’t seem to get himself into the game.

Maxwel Cornet – 6

Didn’t see a whole lot of the ball, but to his credit, used it well when he did. Also responsible for his side’s chance to break the deadlock from 12 yards courtesy of some clever footwork.

Ashley Barnes – 6

Very lucky not to be dismissed for a nasty elbow directed into the face of Tyrone Mings, but dispatched his penalty with aplomb. Typically combative

Substitutes

Wout Weghorst – 4.5

Could have proven the hero courtesy of a glorious late chance, but saw his ensuing effort wonderfully blocked by Tyrone Mings.

Aaron Lennon – N/A

Matt Lowton – 1

Lasted just five minutes before being given his marching orders for what was deemed a reckless challenge on Calum Chambers.

What the experts said

What the fans said

What you may have missed

The Premier League table as it stands

# Team MP W D L F A D P
1 Manchester City 37 28 6 3 96 24 72 90
2 Liverpool FC 37 27 8 2 91 25 66 89
3 Chelsea FC 36 20 10 6 73 31 42 70
4 Tottenham Hotspur 37 21 5 11 64 40 24 68
5 Arsenal FC 37 21 3 13 56 47 9 66
6 Manchester United 37 16 10 11 57 56 1 58
7 West Ham United 37 16 8 13 59 48 11 56
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 15 6 16 37 40 -3 51
9 Leicester City 36 13 9 14 57 57 0 48
10 Brighton & Hove Albion 37 11 15 11 39 43 -4 48
11 Brentford FC 37 13 7 17 47 54 -7 46
12 Newcastle United 37 12 10 15 42 61 -19 46
13 Crystal Palace 36 10 15 11 47 43 4 45
14 Aston Villa 36 13 5 18 49 50 -1 44
15 Southampton FC 37 9 13 15 42 63 -21 40
16 Everton FC 36 10 6 20 39 59 -20 36
17 Leeds United 37 8 11 18 40 78 -38 35
18 Burnley FC 36 7 13 16 32 50 -18 34
19 Watford FC 37 6 5 26 33 75 -42 23
20 Norwich City 37 5 7 25 23 79 -56 22

Last updated: 1 min ago


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101 Great Goals’ Premier League Team of the Season

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2021-22 Premier League Team of the Season

The 2021-22 Premier League season has reached its penultimate week that is set to culminate in a final day of action on Sunday with the immediate futures of many clubs still hanging in the balance at both ends of the table.

But despite one last opportunity for memories to be formed and heartbreak to be felt, we at 101 Great Goals have gotten together to bring you the Premier League team of the season. Some selections spoke for themselves, while others came down to nothing more than pure preference when two players could hardly be separated by evidence on the pitch.

Some of these selections may not have your seal of approval, but all of them will be hard to argue against on some level when it comes to their undeniable quality as some of the greatest players in the world. Without further delay, here is our Premier League team of the season for 2021-22.

 

GK: Alisson

One of many “preference” choices in the Premier League Team of the Season, is the debate between which Brazilian international shot-stopper is the better keeper; Alisson or Ederson. Similar to the Rodri vs Fabinho debate, this truly does come down to some sort of preference of fine percentage point that – for the individual – tips the scales. But for us, Alisson nicks it only just due to his more consistent shot-stopping ability which is enough to pull ahead of the way Ederson can play out of the back and be an attacking catalyst for City.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

2021-22 Premier League Team of the Season

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 24: Anthony Gordon of Everton is challenged by Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on April 24, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

 

Surprise surprise; Liverpool sensation Trent Alexander-Arnold has been slotted in at right-back in our Premier League team of the season (don’t worry, João Cancelo will be included), but there are few that can deny his inclusion after what has been another brilliant display from the Liverpool academy graduate. Currently second in the league in assists behind teammate Mohammed Salah, TAA continues to be a key attacking fulcrum for Jürgen Klopp despite his position in the back four. He’s one of the best in the business.

CB: Rúben Dias

One of the leading examples of what a modern center-back has morphed into in the last few seasons, Rúben Dias is part of a cadre of Portuguese representatives at Manchester City that can all stake a claim to be some of the best players in their positions anywhere in the world. But Dias has taken that to another level in recent seasons, including the current 2021-22 Premier League campaign where he has shown his capability of being an offensive catalyst from the heart of the defense in build-up play while showing continued growth in maturity.

CB: Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk and defending have become synonymous with one another ever since the Dutch international arrived in the Premier League during a highly successful stint at Southampton that netted him a move to Liverpool. Though he was already a rock at the back for Saints, VVD has evolved into more than just a brilliant defender, but one of the best examples of the complete center-back. Capable on the ball, superb in the air, with pace to recover, and a footballing brain that makes him one of the most intelligent in his role in the world. His leadership qualities only stand to add more superlatives to his profile. Brilliant.

LB: João Cancelo

As promised, Portuguese full-back João Cancelo is indeed in the Premier League team of the season and with good reason of course; and his versatility for Manchester City is in fact one of those reasons. His ability to slot in as a left-back and be just as influential as he is in his more natural position is impressive enough. Though he does not have the direct attacking influence as someone like TAA or Andrew Robertson, his overall contributions in all phases of play and quality on the ball place him right up there with anyone else.

DM: Rodri

2021-22 Premier League Team of the Season

Manchester United’s Fred (left) and Manchester City’s Rodri (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday November 6, 2021. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

This was always to be a tossup between Rodri and Fabinho; the two leading holding midfielders in the Premier League. Though other shouts the likes of N’Golo Kanté could probably be postulated, the Spanish international is very much one of the beating hearts for Manchester City, and his quality on the ball and passing range probably outs him just a fraction of a percentage point ahead of his Liverpool counterpart. Like so many selections here, this is probably down to preference but there’s nothing wrong with being spoiled for choice.

CM: Mason Mount

Despite sitting third in the Premier League at the time of writing, there is not a whole lot to love about Chelsea this season given the disappointment that has been their failure to kick on from Champions League success last season and mount a serious title challenge in 2021-22. But while there are more questions than answers at Stamford Bridge currently, one thing beyond doubt is how good Cobham academy product Mason Mount has become. The England international is now the first name on the team sheet and the undeniable face of the club.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

An absolute midfield dynamo and one of the best – if not the best – in his position in world football, Kevin De Bruyne is at it again in a Manchester City shirt this season under Pep Guardiola and has been the leading light for the holding Premier League champions which has included a fine goalscoring performance in 2021-22 to the tune of 15-goals. As ever, KDB has been the key attacking catalyst for how City does business on the pitch, and should they repeat as league champions, much will once again be owed to him.

RW: Mohammed Salah

There are few things left to say about the influence and impact that Mohammed Salah has had on both the Premier League and Liverpool since his return to England in 2017, and is widely considered to be the best forward in the country for good reason. His league-leading 22-goals this season remain impressive, and though he went through a difficult patch in his own right in front of goal, his ability to affect proceedings never waned. He truly is one of the best players in the world.

LW: Heung-min Son

2021-22 Premier League Team of the Season

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 12: Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 3-0 during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 12, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

The only Tottenham player to make the Team of the Season, Heung-min Son has, in many parts of the 2021-22 Premier League season, outshone his strike partner for Spurs and very rarely has failed to stand up and be counted when their backs were against the wall, unlike Kane. Son also became the first Asian player to ever reach the 20-goal mark in the top flight of English football during his run of form this season, and his stock continues to rise; not as Kane’s right-hand man, but as his equal.

CF: Cristiano Ronaldo

Many will argue that Harry Kane should be included here given the fact that the England star has turned on the form when it has mattered for Tottenham down the backstretch this season, putting Spurs in pole position for fourth ahead of rivals Arsenal. But Cristiano Ronaldo has, on so many occasions this season, bailed Manchester United out of utterly abysmal performances. Without the Portuguese great, United would be worse for wear.






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