Leicester piles more misery on Chelsea to go top of EPL


Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said it was “still too early” to talk about his team as a title contender.

“We’re at the top of the league because we work hard, we’re not there by fluke,” said James Maddison, who scored Leicester’s second goal. “We’ll do our business in the background, let them talk about Liverpool, Man United and Spurs, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.”

Wilfred Ndidi and Maddison scored in the first half as Leicester extended their unbeaten run in the league to six games, the last three all being wins.

Chelsea were carved open time and again at the King Power Stadium and fell to a fifth loss in their last eight games in the league, a run of results that leaves Lampard’s position precarious after the club’s spending spree ahead of this season.

“It intensified for me a while ago,” Lampard said. “Because the expectations at this club, whether they are right or wrong, are always high.

Under pressure: Frank Lampard.Credit:Getty Images

“It’s not my decision [about whether he’ll stay as manager]. That’s something that will always be there.”

Lampard’s side dropped to eighth place, nine points behind Leicester, who are a point ahead of United.

“Yeah, I’m worried,” Lampard said. “From the form we were in to get so quickly into the form that we are now in … we should be better than that.

“It takes character to turn from that.”

IN-FORM ANTONIO

As it stands, West Ham are heading into the second half of their Premier League campaign with just one senior striker.

Fortunately for manager David Moyes, that striker is in-form Michail Antonio.

Antonio scored a match-winning goal for the second time in four days, his 66th-minute volley earning West Ham a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

His winner against Burnley on the weekend came on his first league start since recovering from a hamstring problem, the latest fitness issue to affect an injury-prone player who was one of the league’s best players after lockdown last summer.

If Moyes can keep Antonio fit – and that’s always a big if – it isn’t too fanciful to see West Ham remaining in the vicinity of their current position of seventh.

“There was a period after lockdown when he was very fit and look at the goals he scored then,” Moyes said. “We are looking to get him back to his level of fitness but he is certainly back to his level of goals.”

West Ham sold their other senior striker, Sebastien Haller, to Ajax this month.

West Brom stayed in next-to-last place, five points from safety.

SOUTHAMPTON THROUGH

Southampton set up a fourth-round match at home to Arsenal in the FA Cup after beating third-tier Shrewsbury 2-0.

Goals by Dan N’Lundulu, one of the many fringe players who started for Southampton, and James Ward-Prowse guided the Saints to victory at its St. Mary’s Stadium.

The third-round game was rearranged from the start of this month following a coronavirus outbreak in the Shrewsbury squad. Their manager, Steve Cotterill, watched the game from the hospital as he recovers from COVID-19.

GOALKEEPER SCORES

With a fair wind behind him, a goalkeeper scored direct from a goal kick in a fourth-tier match.

Newport County keeper Tom King booted the ball into Cheltenham’s half, then saw it take a huge bounce and loop over the head of his scrambling Cheltenham counterpart Josh Griffiths and into the net.

Newport’s social media team was caught out by the feat of King, who was making just his third appearance in the league.

“GOALKEEPER TOM KING HAS JUST SCORED FROM HIS OWN AREA… We don’t even have a GIF for him!” the team tweeted.

AP

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EPL season 2021, FA Cup, Liverpool vs Aston Villa result, COVID cases, fixture change, Steve Bruce


Newcastle boss Steve Bruce questioned the morality of playing football during the worsening coronavirus pandemic as Aston Villa fielded a second-string team against Liverpool in the FA Cup.

There are growing concerns over whether the Premier League season can be completed on time as a new variant of COVID-19 sweeps across Britain.

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A record-high 40 positive tests were detected among top-flight players and staff in the week between December 28 and January 3 and four Premier League games have already been postponed.

The English Football League, which oversees the three divisions below the Premier League, reported 112 positive tests on Friday.

The resurgent virus has wreaked havoc with scheduling at all levels of the English game but Premier League bosses have remained adamant that the season will proceed.

Newcastle were the first Premier League team this season forced to postpone a match this season, when they asked for their match against Aston Villa on December 4 to be deferred.

Bruce questioned the morality of playing on as the pandemic tightens its grip. “The speed which it hit our club within a week, and ripped through, is something which all clubs will be looking at now,” he said.

“It’s difficult to contain and it leaves people sick. Financially it’s right to play on but morally, for me, it’s probably wrong.”

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa agreed there was a moral argument for suspending elite-level football.

But Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said football should continue despite the “frightening” situation.

“Of course what’s happening outside and at different clubs and in the society is frightening and we have a responsibility and a duty to try to do our best to stay clear and keep within the bubbles and the guidelines,” he said.

“I hope that we can continue playing because I think it’s a positive impact for everyone in the lockdown now to watch.”

Liverpool survived a scare from coronavirus-ravaged Aston Villa to reach the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-1 win against opponents missing their entire first-team squad as the pandemic wreaks havoc on English football.

Villa fielded a raw side comprised entirely of youth academy players and were without boss Dean Smith after being hit hard by a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this week.

In all, 14 unnamed Villa employees — nine players and five staff — have tested positive, forcing the Premier League club to close their training base on Thursday because of the outbreak.

There are serious questions over Villa’s ability to fulfil the Premier League fixture against Tottenham next Wednesday and the following weekend’s game against Everton.

Spurs already face a punishing schedule due to European and other commitments plus the postponement of their recent match against Fulham, who suffered their own Covid outbreak.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho said it would be “completely impossible” for any more of his side’s Premier League matches to be postponed.

Top-flight clubs were emailed details of tightened protocols on Thursday. These include allowing Covid compliance officers access to dressing rooms and making it mandatory for substitutes to wear face coverings when sitting n the stands.

League bosses know they are walking a tightrope in terms of the fixture list, with the rescheduled Euro 2020 due to start in June.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche believes footballers should be vaccinated to prevent the season being halted.

“The amount of money being spent on testing in the Premier League, if that money was channelled back into the NHS and the vaccinations system, surely that’s a better place to be than it is just continuing testing a load of footballers two, three, four times a week,” he said.

Southampton’s FA Cup match against Shrewsbury is off after a COVID-19 outbreak at the League One club.

Brentford will host fellow Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup without manager Thomas Frank in the dugout after he tested positive for Covid, while Middlesbrough’s preparations were disrupted by a series of positive tests.

Wayne Rooney’s Derby will field a youth team in their cup tie against Chorley.

– AFP



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EPL Manchester United Edinson Cavani ban, reaction, Piers Morgan, John Barnes, soccer


English football greats, commentators and current players have contributed to furious backlash against a decision to punish Edinson Cavani for using a racist term.

The Manchester United forward was banned for three matches and fined $180,000 by the Football Association announced on Friday in a decision that’s shocked the game.

The 33-year-old summer signing had produced a matchwinning display at Southampton on November 29, providing an assist for Bruno Fernandes before netting two goals in a 3-2 comeback win.

Cavani posted a social media message on Instagram shortly after the match, replying to a message of congratulations using the Spanish term “negrito” (small black person).

The Uruguayan swiftly deleted the post and issued an apology after being made aware of the connotations, but the FA felt compelled to take it further.

“A comment posted on the Manchester United FC striker’s Instagram page was insulting, abusive, improper and brought the game into disrepute,” the FA said in a statement.

“The post also constitutes an ‘aggravated breach’ … as it included reference, whether express or implied, to colour and/or race and/or ethnic origin,” the statement added.

But many in the game have described the ban as a massive over-reaction.

Ex-Liverpool player John Barnes, a Jamaican-born English international, was vocal on Twitter.

“The exchange between Cavani and his friend is one of mutual love and respect and can’t be interpreted or misinterpreted in any other way,” he wrote. “This does nothing to either promote or solve the issue of racial equality.”

Media heavyweight Piers Morgan also spoke out. “Ridiculous that Cavani has been banned for using a term to a friend that’s considered inoffensive in his own country,” Morgan tweeted. “No racist intent, no offence felt by recipient. Dumb over-reaction by the FA. A quiet word about language sensitivities would have sufficed.”

Ander Herrera, a former teammate of Cavani, leapt to the defence of his friend on Instagram.

The Spaniard, 31, blasted: “If they ban you for that. The world is going to s***. Big hugs and stay strong Edi.”

Uruguay’s Spanish language academy even weighed in, saying the words “negro” or its diminutive “negrito” — similar to “gordo” (fatso) or “gordito” and “flaco” (skinny one) — are commonly used as terms of endearment.

“In the Spanish of Uruguay, for example, in couples or among friends, between parents and children, one often hears and reads expressions such as… gordito, negri, negrito…” the Academia Nacional de Letras said in a statement.

“In fact, a person so addressed is not necessarily overweight or dark-skinned.” The academy issued its “strongest rejection” of the sanctioning of Cavani, and said the federation’s “questionable resolution” was the result of “poverty of cultural and linguistic knowledge.”

The statement concluded the FA had “committed a serious injustice to a Uruguayan athlete of the highest international level and has exposed ignorance… regarding the use of language and in particular Spanish, without taking note of all its complexities and contexts.”

Cavani responded to his suspension with class. “Hello everyone, I do not want to extend much in this uncomfortable moment for me,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I want to share with you that I accept the disciplinary sanction knowing that I am foreign to English language customs, but I do not share the point of view.

“I apologise if I offended someone with an expression of affection towards a friend, nothing further was my intention.

‘Those who know me know that my effort is to always seek the simplest joy and friendship!

“I appreciate the countless expressions of support and affection.

“My heart is at peace because I know that I always expressed myself with affection according to my culture and way of life. I send you a sincere hug.”

Fellow United star Marcos Rojo offered words of support, writing: “Those who know you know the kind of person you are!”

Manchester United issued a statement saying Cavani was not aware his words could have been misconstrued and “sincerely apologised” for the post and to anyone who was offended.

“Despite his honest belief that he was simply sending an affectionate thank you in response to a congratulatory message from a close friend, he chose not to contest the charge out of respect for, and solidarity with, the FA and the fight against racism in football,” the club said.

United said they hoped the independent regulatory commission appointed to decide the sanction would make it clear in its written reasons that the former Paris Saint-Germain player “is not a racist, nor was there any racist intent in relation to his post”.

– with AFP



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Virus postpones Everton-Man City EPL clash


An outbreak of further COVID-19 cases at Manchester City has forced their Premier League trip to Everton to be postponed just four hours before kick-off.

Three days after Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus tested positive, the club announced another round of testing had “returned a number of positive cases”.

City lodged a request to postpone the match on Monday morning and confirmation came around 4pm after a hastily-arranged Premier League board meeting.

“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond,” City said in a statement.

“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, has decided to postpone the fixture.”

The Premier League, in agreeing to the postponement, insisted the health of players and staff was paramount.

“The board agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution, and further testing will now take place tomorrow,” the league said in a statement.

“The decision has been taken with the health of players and staff the priority.”

Second-placed Everton, who could have gone level on points with Liverpool at the top of the table with a victory, had no say in the decision to postpone the match.

Having to call off the game at such a late stage was also a huge disappointment to 2000 supporters as Goodison Park is one of only two Premier League grounds allowed to admit fans.

The fixture is only the second Premier League game to be called off due to positive tests for coronavirus.

The match between Aston Villa and Newcastle, due to be played on December 4, was postponed because of cases within the Newcastle camp.

A day after Walker and Jesus’ positive tests were announced, City played Newcastle at home on Boxing Day, winning 2-0.

The Premier League said it continued to have full confidence in its protocols and the way clubs are implementing them.

“The League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Everton in due course,” it said.



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EPL, Tottenham vs West Ham, comeback, Premier League, world reacts, ‘unbelievable’


Gareth Bale’s second Tottenham debut was ruined by a stunning West Ham fightback from 3-0 down in the final eight minutes to draw 3-3 this morning.

Manuel Lanzini’s sensational long-range strike into the top corner capped the comeback after Fabian Balbuena’s header and Davinson Sanchez’s own goal resurrected David Moyes’s men.

Spurs raced to a 3-0 lead within 18 minutes as the free-scoring combination of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min looked to have Jose Mourinho’s side cruising towards a win that would have put them second on the Premier League table.

The opener came inside the opening minute as Kane’s sumptuous long pass in behind the West Ham defence picked out Son and the South Korean cut inside to curl into the far corner.

The roles were reversed for Kane’s first goal as the England captain produced a stunning piece of skill with a nutmeg on his marker before firing low into the bottom corner.

Sergio Reguilon also made the move from Real Madrid to Tottenham last month and his rampaging runs from left-back are reminiscent of Bale’s early days at Spurs before the Welshman pushed further up the field.

The Spaniard set up Kane’s second with a pinpoint cross for the striker to head home at the far post.

Only a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski prevented Son also registering a double in a blistering opening quarter from Spurs.

Mourinho lauded Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as a “genius” for the deals he made in the transfer market to give his manager a depth of squad capable of challenging for trophies.

That was shown as Bale was then introduced as a substitute and showed no lack of confidence by striking a free-kick with his first touch but the ball flew straight into Fabianski’s grasp.

Kane came within inches of sealing his hat-trick with a shot from outside the box that hit the post, but Tottenham’s defensive deficiencies saw a comfortable afternoon completely unravel.

Balbuena’s header from Aaron Creswell’s free-kick started the collapse before Sanchez turned a dangerous ball across the box into his own net.

Bale should have sealed the three points and a dream debut but he flashed a shot wide with just Fabianski to beat as the game entered stoppage time.

And that would come back to haunt Mourinho’s men when a Cresswell free-kick was only cleared to the edge of the box and Lanzini arrowed an unstoppable shot high past Hugo Lloris.

West Ham are the first team in Premier League history to avoid defeat in a game having trailed by three or more goals as late as the 81st minute.

“The game was under control. We had Harry Kane to score the fourth when he hit the post, then Gareth Bale to kill the game. This is a game that was in the pocket and we lost two points,” Mourinho said.

“We should be stronger. They were lucky but maybe they deserved that luck. We were unlucky but maybe we deserved that.”

Former Socceroo Ned Zelic was rubbing his eyes in disbelief.

“What a goal,” he tweeted after Lanzini’s miracle strike. “Pure drama! Unbelievable comeback. Incredible.

“Still can’t believe what just happened. That was outrageous. Football is nuts!”

American football writer Joe Prince-Wright tweeted: “No way has this just happened. No way. This is absolutely bonkers. This season is just nuts.

“This game. My goodness.”

Journalist Rob Blanchette added: “That was extraordinary. Football, bloody hell.”

AFP



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Nicklas Bendtner, Arsenal, EPL, gambling problem, betting, bender, drunk, casino


Danish football star Nicklas Bendtner revealed he once gambled away $720,000 (AUD) in 90 minutes at a London casino despite being on the brink of bankruptcy.

The incident, which took place in 2011, saw the then-Arsenal striker head into his favourite casino drunk at around 3am, The Sun reports.

But within an hour-and-a-half, he had burned almost $720,000 as his financial woes threatened to collapse into further turmoil.

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Bendtner told The Guardian: “I’m way too drunk to sit at a table. That much I get. But roulette is a different matter. Red, black, red, black. How hard can it be?

“After 90 minutes I’ve lost $720,000. Money I don’t have. My bank account is overdrawn and I’m bankrupt if my luck doesn’t turn.

“I stagger into the loos and splash water on my face. Then I find a cashier and get another $90,000 of chips.”

Bendtner managed to win back a staggering $685,000 of the money lost by dawn but the experience woke him up to the reality of his struggles.

“When you’re more or less broke it makes you think, ‘It’s got to stop’. I was down $720,000 but ended up winning some of it back, actually,” he said.

“It was too risky — even for me. It was the wake-up call that helped break that spell.

“I’ve never been a guy who cares about money as a way of showing off. At first it was more about the fun and being with people you like.

“When I was injured, and couldn’t get the excitement from that absolute living-on-the-edge feeling on the pitch, gambling gave me adrenaline.

“Obviously the higher the risk, the higher the adrenaline. So you go for high stakes.”

RELATED: A-League exodus continues as star striker leaves

Bendtner dreamt of being included in Denmark’s World Cup squad for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

But the country’s record goalscorer was omitted due to injury and “sat on the s****er blubbering” at the pain of missing out.

“I became too fond of the lifestyle that came with the money. I want to go back in time and hit that young lad on the head with a hammer,” he said.

“Make him understand what a chance it is. That he has something special — something he has to look after.”

The striker joined Arsenal aged 16 and scored 45 goals in 171 first-team appearances — before joining German side Wolfsburg in 2014.

He has since played for Nottingham Forest, Rosenborg and Copenhagen.

This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission



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Perfect finish needed to win EPL: Manchester City


Nigel de Jong says Manchester City must win their remaining 11 games if they want to win the English Premier League.

City manager Roberto Mancini expects neighbours Manchester United to be successful in all their matches between now and the end of the season.

And De Jong believes leaders City, who boast a slender two-point lead over their nearest rivals, cannot afford to drop another point as they look to secure a first top-flight title since 1967-68.

“From this stage every game is like a final,” said the Netherlands midfielder ahead of City’s tricky away game at Swansea on Sunday.

“That means we have to win every game. If United win every game, we can’t drop any points. It’s a challenge but without a challenge you’ll never win anything.”

City are looking to bounce back from Thursday’s round of 16 first leg 1-0 Europa League defeat to Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.

Although Swansea start the weekend 14th in the table, the Welsh club have won an army of new admirers since clinching promotion last May with their free-flowing passing game.

Mancini expects his team’s title credentials to be severely tested by Swansea, who have recorded some impressive results, including a 3-2 home win over Arsenal in January and a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

“They are playing very well, they play good football,” said City’s Italian manager.

“They started the season very well and they have continued to play good football. I think it will be a tough game.”

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers was recently mentioned as a potential Chelsea manager, and Mancini believes he has the ability to go far in the game.

“I think that he is a good manager,” added Mancini.

“It is clear it is totally different, playing for the title compared to avoiding relegation, but I think he has the capacity.”

City will definitely be without captain Vincent Kompany, who pulled up with a calf injury during the defeat in Portugal.

In addition, Pablo Zabaleta is also nursing a thigh problem while Mancini has doubts over defenders Joleon Lescott (groin) and Micah Richards (thigh).

Striker Carlos Tevez is still building up his match fitness.

Swansea’s Spanish right-back Angel Rangel has warned City that Swansea have come a long way since losing 4-0 to Mancini’s expensively-assembled side at the start of the season.

“We didn’t create too much that day, but we are more confident in our attacking play now,” said Rangel.

“Sunday will be interesting because we have been very strong at home and it’s a chance for us to show them how much we have matured in this league.”





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City, United look to bounce back in EPL


Outplayed and outfought in the Europa League, the two Manchester clubs must ensure there is no hangover when they resume their battle for the Premier League title with testing fixtures on Sunday.

Second-place United found itself in the unusual position of being utterly dominated at Old Trafford in a humbling 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the last-16 first leg on Thursday.

And while West Bromwich Albion may not provide quite the same challenge as Marcelo Bielsa’s slick team, the Midlanders are in good form having won their last three matches, most recently a 1-0 victory over Chelsea that ultimately cost Andre Villas-Boas his job.

West Brom was also the only team in the Premier League to avoid defeat at Old Trafford last season.

“We’ll be ready for Sunday,” United midfielder Michael Carrick said. “There’ll be no carry-over from (Bilbao). We’ll regroup, gather ourselves again and we’ll go again. It’s a disappointment, but we’ll move on.”

Holding a two-point lead over United, Manchester City look to rebound from a 1-0 loss at Sporting Lisbon when they visit Swansea, who have lost only two of their 13 home matches this season since being promoted.

City have won their last four league games but will be without one of their outstanding performers this season after centre back Vincent Kompany injured his calf in Portugal.

Like Carrick, City manager Roberto Mancini doesn’t believe there will be any lasting impact of the loss in Europe.

“I am not worried,” the Italian coach said. “We will go through in the Europa League and Sunday will be a different game.”

It appears to be a two-horse race for the title after United beat Tottenham 3-1 last weekend to open up an 11-point advantage over Harry Redknapp’s third-place team.

After back-to-back defeats to Arsenal and then United, Spurs now face a trip to improving Everton on Saturday with just four points separating the team from fourth-place Arsenal.

Redknapp will have to cope without England internationals Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson, who were injured in the midweek win over third-tier Stevenage in an FA Cup replay.

“Don’t get me wrong; we had some difficult moments in the last two games but every team in the league will have those moments,” Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor said.

“We have to believe in ourselves, to keep going. We will win points, lose points, so will Arsenal, Chelsea, City and United.

“We have a big chance to finish in the top three and we have to keep going until the end of the season.”

Spurs will be looking over their shoulder at Arsenal, who have closed the gap with wins over their north London rival and Liverpool.

Tuesday’s 3-0 win over AC Milan didn’t manage to secure Arsene Wenger’s team a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals but lifted morale even further.

“People don’t realise that we basically had half a squad at one stage and the team was just down to its bare bones,” Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs said.

“Everybody has come together now and we have overcome a difficult period. We need to be consistent like this now for the rest of the season.”

Arsenal host Newcastle on Monday, with fifth-place Chelsea at home to Stoke in Roberto Di Matteo’s first league game in charge since replacing Villas-Boas as manager on an interim basis.

Chelsea has won just one of their last six league games, allowing Arsenal to climb above them in the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Sixth-place Newcastle, who are five points behind Arsenal, may still have designs on fourth but Liverpool’s hopes look doomed after defeat by Arsenal left them five points further back.

Liverpool could welcome back Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson from injury for the trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

The rest of the weekend’s games centre on the relegation fight, where five teams are separated by two points.

Bottom team Wigan visit Norwich on Sunday, while second-last Bolton hosts Queens Park Rangers and third-bottom Wolverhampton Wanderers is at home to Blackburn on Saturday. Fulham make the trip to Aston Villa in the other game.





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Premier League table: Latest 2019/20 EPL standings, fixtures and results tonight in gameweek 34



Chelsea moved up to third on Tuesday with a narrow win over Crystal Palace before Leicester City had to settle for a point at Arsenal.

A thrilling London derby at Selhurst Park was eventually decided by Christian Pulisic’s bullet finish before Jamie Vardy earned a draw for the Foxes after Eddie Nketiah was sent off at the Emirates Stadium.

There are four more fixtures on Wednesday, with Manchester City thrashing Newcastle and West Ham falling to a home loss to Burnley. Liverpool beat a spirited Brighton side in the late game.


Tottenham’s 1-0 win on Monday evening sent them into eighth in the table to close the gap on fifth-placed Manchester United to seven points. Those two teams are back in action on Thursday evening, against Bournemouth and Aston Villa respectively.

Premier League table as it stands

Gameweek 34 fixtures and results

Tuesday, July 7Kick-offOur coverageTV/highlights
Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea6pmLiveSky Sports
Watford 2-1 Norwich6pmLive Sky Sports
Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City8:15pmLiveSky Sports
Wednesday, July 8   
Man City 5-0 Newcastle6pmLiveBT Sport
Sheffield Utd 1-0 Wolves6pm
Sky Sports
West Ham 0-1 Burnley6pmLive BT Sport
Brighton 1-3 Liverpool8:15pmLiveSky Sports
Thursday, July 9   
Bournemouth vs Tottenham6pmLiveSky Sports
Everton vs Southampton6pm Amazon Prime
Aston Villa vs Man Utd8:15pmLiveSky Sports

Gameweek 33 fixtures and results

Saturday, July 4Kick-offOur coverageTV/highlights
Norwich 0-1 Brighton12.30pm BT Sport
Leicester 3-0 Crystal Palace3pmLive Sky Sports
Man United 5-2 Bournemouth3pmLiveBT Sport
Wolves 0-2 Arsenal5.30pmLiveSky Sports
Chelsea 3-0 Watford8pmLiveSky Sports
Sunday, July 5 
 
Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United12pm
Sky Sports
Newcastle 2-2 West Ham2.15pmLiveSky Sports
Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa4.30pmLiveSky Sports
Southampton 1-0 Man City7pmLiveBBC
Monday, July 6   
Tottenham 1-0 Everton8pmLiveSky Sports

Follow all the action LIVE with Standard Sport.



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Meanwhile at Anfield … incredible reaction as Liverpool wins EPL title


Long-serving and long-suffering Liverpool great Steven Gerrard declared “let the party begin” — and begin it has.

The Reds are champions of England for the first time in three decades and players and supporters are letting loose.

Liverpool was in an impregnable position when COVID-19 forced the season to be suspended but were never in doubt once the EPL was back up and running.

A win on Thursday against Crystal Palace — their 28th from 31 games — created a 23-point advantage over Manchester City with seven games remaining.

City needed a win on Friday morning to extend the race to next Friday’s clash between the two top teams, but fell 2-1 to Chelsea to hand over the crown.

Liverpool’s players and staff are being housed in a bubble as the league attempts to finish amid coronavirus restrictions but watched the City-Chelsea game together in jubilation.

“I have no words,” manager Jurgen Klopp told Sky Sports. “It is unbelievable, much more than I thought was possible. Becoming champions with this club is absolutely incredible.

“The Manchester City game was really tense, I didn’t want to be involved. It was intense but it is incredible from my players. What they have done over the last few years is exceptional and it’s a pure joy for me to coach them.”

An emotional Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson added: “Amazing. I didn’t want to talk about it until this moment so it’s amazing to finally get over the line. I’m so happy for all the boys, the fans, the whole club, the city. I’m a little bit overwhelmed right now, it’s an amazing feeling and I’m just so proud of what we’ve achieved.”

A group of supporters gathered outside the club’s stadium at Anfield.

Henderson was ecstatic and credited Klopp for transforming the club. “To be honest, I’m lost for words at the minute. It hasn’t really sunk in. You never really think of this end moment, you’re just always concentrating on each game and then when this moment comes, I can’t really describe it,” Henderson told Sky Sports.

“I said after the Champions League final that it wouldn’t be possible to do it without the manager and it’s the same with this title. Everything from when he came in, and that’s no disrespect to the managers before him or who I’ve worked with before, because we have come close but I felt from day one, he came in the door and he just changed everything.

“Everybody followed him and we all did what he said, followed him and believed him and so far, it’s been pretty special. It’s been an amazing journey and I hope we can just continue in this, stay hungry, keep wanting more and just keep following him.”

Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports it was just the start. “This Liverpool team now will want to emulate what Manchester City have done and retain the title for sure,” he said. “I don’t think one title will be enough for Jurgen Klopp and this team with the energy they have.

“Ninety-seven points last season and winning the Champions League, you wondered how hard it would be winning the title this season, but they have absolute ran away with it. It’s great to get Liverpool back on their perch.”

Sir Kenny Dalglish, who guided Liverpool to their previous title triumph in 1990, also hailed Klopp’s impact since arriving at Anfield.

“I think back then if you’d have said it would take 30 years you’d have been arrested and sectioned, but sometimes things happen,” he said.

“The last two years since Jurgen came in, it has been very, very positive all the way. He’s been fantastic and he epitomises everything that Liverpool stands for. He respects everyone at the club.

“It’s not just a one-off as last year they came within a point of it and won the European Cup and a World Club Cup too, so onwards and upwards and I think there will be plenty more days to look forward to as long as Jurgen is there.

“It takes a fantastic dressing room to win things. You don’t win anything with division, it takes solidarity, and Liverpool from top to bottom have been together.”



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