Premier League hits and misses: Sergio Aguero shows his class, Chelsea gear up for Real Madrid showdown

Aguero rolls again the years

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win in opposition to Crystal Palace within the Premier League

Nine years in the past, Sergio Aguero wrote his title into soccer folklore with his 93.20 aim to win Manchester City their first Premier League title and has continued to be their ‘Mr Reliable’ ever since.

On Saturday, he did it once more – albeit in far much less dramatic circumstances. Man City had laboured within the first half, struggling to search out that spark to edge them nearer to Premier League glory.

Enter Aguero.

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He had confirmed indicators of the unbelievable expertise he possess, however his management and end from Benjamin’s Mendy very good cross was world class. Aguero additionally had a job within the build-up to Ferran Torres’ aim 83 seconds later.

“There’s nothing we can compare to that moment for Manchester City in 2012,” Guardiola mentioned. “But he’s shown again what he has shown all his career, many times – what a goal, what a player, what a man.”

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Pep Guardiola is thrilled to have Sergio Aguero again within the Manchester City facet and among the many objectives of their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace

Aguero has as soon as once more helped Man City to place one hand on the trophy – they want simply two factors from 4 video games to clinch their newest Premier League crown, and may even achieve this with out kicking a ball if Manchester United lose to Liverpool on Sunday, reside on Sky Sports.

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With just some months left of his decade at Man City, Aguero might be hoping to contribute as many objectives as doable to realize success for the membership – may he carry out related heroics to 2012 in a Champions League last, maybe? It will surely be a becoming finish to a glittering Man City profession.

One factor is for positive although, whoever snaps Aguero up on a free this summer season might be getting a striker who nonetheless has baggage of ability, expertise and objectives, simply as he demonstrated on Saturday.

“He’s an absolutely top legend, extraordinary player, behaving as the most humble and nicest human being and it’s not easy to find that. That’s why I love him as a man,” Guardiola added.

“Hopefully he can go in the place he wants to be and play the last years of his career in a high level. I never will forget it, he helped me a lot and it’s a pleasure to work with him.”
Charlotte Marsh

Chelsea gear up for Madrid showdown

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win over Fulham within the Premier League.

Thomas Tuchel would have been forgiven for having a watch on Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid, however he was adamant, regardless of making 5 pre-match alterations, that Chelsea focus lied solely on Saturday’s derby with Fulham.

It was the form of assertion managers make time and once more, one they virtually need to minutes earlier than a sport, however any suggestion his feedback have been mentioned for impact have been dispelled by one other flawless Chelsea efficiency.

Yes Tuchel made 5 modifications, however Chelsea’s degree of efficiency was simply as ruthless and scientific as they’ve been because the German took the reins at Stamford Bridge.

  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

Fulham’s quick begin was extinguished by a second of magic from Mason Mount and a cool end from Kai Havertz, who killed off the sport and doubled his Premier League objectives tally with a second early after the break.

Chelsea loved a measure of management all through which allowed them to maintain Fulham at arm’s size with relative ease and, crucially, left a lot in reserve forward of the midweek showdown with the 13-time European champions.

If the victory over Fulham was symptomatic of Tuchel’s transformation of Chelsea, then Madrid’s go to to west London presents the German with the chance to safe a tangible reward for his efforts.
Jack Wilkinson

The case for the defence…

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has saved extra clear sheets (11) than some other supervisor in Premier League historical past from their first 15 video games in cost within the competitors (overtaking Mourinho and Scolari, 10 every from their first 15).

Watkins shows his class in entrance of Southgate

2:54

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win over Everton

It might have come too late for Aston Villa to generate sufficient momentum in direction of snatching a European spot, however in beating Everton 2-1, Ollie Watkins may but cap a memorable first season within the Premier League with a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer season’s European Championships.

  • Everton 1-2 Aston Villa – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

Watkins produced a vastly spectacular show at Goodison Park, bullying Mason Holgate for his fifteenth membership aim in all competitions and the striker confirmed good improvisation to very practically rating a second throughout an intriguing particular person battle with Jordan Pickford.

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes Ollie Watkins is exhibiting everybody why they paid a club-record charge to deliver him from Brentford final summer season after a person of the match show in opposition to Everton.

Indeed, the striker has scored 13 objectives within the Premier League this season – just one Englishman has scored extra for Aston Villa in a single season within the competitors (Julian Joachim, 14 in 1998/99).

Were it not for Pickford, Villa would have held a commanding lead earlier than half-time. Watkins wasn’t alone in impressing, however supervisor Dean Smith reserved particular reward for the person he additionally managed at Brentford.

“He was very good tonight and very difficult to handle. It’s what we paid a lot of money for. I knew how good he was, and I knew what he’s like as a person, wanting to grow and get better. I thought he was outstanding. He pickpocketed the defender well to score his goal and Pickford regained parity with some of the saves he made as well.”
Ben Grounds

Poor perspective undermining Everton’s season

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Carlo Ancelotti was closely important of Everton’s teamwork and spirit following their 2-1 defeat at house to Aston Villa on Saturday.

This was one other vastly irritating evening at Goodison for Everton, who should iron out the errors of their last 5 Premier League video games if they’re to retain any hope of securing a European berth. The Toffees have received simply one among their final 10 house league video games, with that victory coming in opposition to Southampton in March.

It is tough for Carlo Ancelotti to place a finger on why the performances on the street can’t be mirrored again on Merseyside.

“We weren’t good enough,” the Italian mentioned. “It was completely different from the last game we played against Arsenal with more concentration, more spirit and more attitude. The start of the game was really bad and there were a lot of poor passes.

“We had alternatives however we additionally conceded loads and in the long run we deserved to lose and so it is troublesome to say why we’ve got this type of house run. It’s a totally completely different workforce with a totally completely different perspective.”

Image:
Carlo Ancelotti points directions to his gamers in opposition to Villa

Only Sheffield United and Fulham have misplaced extra Premier League house video games than Everton (eight), whose away document is just bettered by Manchester City. Huge lapses in focus finally value them in opposition to an Aston Villa facet who seemed higher ready.

With James Rodriguez injured within the warm-up, Everton lacked stability. Andre Gomes is easing his method again to full health, however he was once more wasteful in possession because the hosts struggled to realize a foothold. Ancelotti arrived with a 60 per cent win document as a supervisor, however he’s discovering out the dimensions of his job in turning Everton right into a facet befitting of his illustrious profession.

When pressed on the affect of Rodriguez’s absence, Ancelotti added: “He had a little problem and wasn’t comfortable to play. But I think he’s going to be OK in the next game. We had some individual mistakes, but the team spirit and the team work wasn’t good enough.”
Ben Grounds

Why is not Dunk in England dialog?

2:58

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton’s win over Leeds within the Premier League

An impeccable chested go again to his goalkeeper Robert Sanchez – that drew comparisons with Paolo Maldini from some quarters – on 74 minutes triggered a thought: why is not Gareth Southgate watching Lewis Dunk?

Conor Coady appears to be the seemingly back-up for John Stones and Harry Maguire on the Euros because of his capacity to play on the coronary heart of a again three. But Dunk is equally, if no more, efficient at such function judged on his performances within the second half of this season. He is the chief in the very best defence of sides within the backside 9, conceding 39 objectives and has saved six clear sheets of their final eight house video games.

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He was completely faultless on this victory over Leeds, marking Patrick Bamford out of the sport, who didn’t have a shot at aim, and repelling every little thing Leeds mustered in his route. When you take into account the dearth of choices within the centre of England’s defence, how he solely has one cap for his nation is a thriller.

Brighton boss Graham Potter, often so reserved, was beaming in his evaluation of his skipper: “His performance was sensational,” he mentioned.

“I haven’t seen him play as well as that. He’s been so consistent at a high level. How he leads the line, he was amazing today.”
Lewis Jones

Leicester’s top-four spot nonetheless not assured

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton’s draw with Leicester within the Premier League

Stranger issues have occurred than West Ham pipping Leicester to a top-four place within the last 5 video games of the season. The hole to the Foxes may very well be decreased to 5 factors by the tip of the weekend, with a tough run-in to observe for Brendan Rodgers’ facet.

The Leicester supervisor’s sense of deja vu is not going to have been aided by the Foxes failing to reap the benefits of by far their best remaining sport at Southampton on Friday evening, particularly when mentioned opponent has received solely two out of 15 video games, and much more particularly when they’re pressured to play for greater than 80 minutes with 10 males.

Trips to Manchester United and Chelsea are nonetheless to return, plus the distraction – and fatigue – of an FA Cup last look, and it’s not too late for Leicester’s bubble to burst for the second season in a row.

“The football they have played has been so good, but after their wobble last year you are just concerned whether it could happen again,” Jamie Redknapp mentioned on Friday Night Football after their draw at St Mary’s, however added a phrase of encouragement: “I think this team is too good this year and have learned from last season’s mistakes.”

  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

Worries about fourth spot lacking out on Champions League qualification would wish Chelsea to complete outdoors the highest 4, which means West Ham would seemingly have to complete in third place for Leicester to be in bother – even in David Moyes’ wildest desires that appears a stretch.

But the Foxes can draw on one be aware of positivity. It’s troublesome to reward a facet dropping factors in opposition to essentially the most out-of-form workforce within the division however let us take a look at it from a really low bar – Leicester’s run-in final season.

It’s fairly doable that at this stage in 2019/20, when the Foxes received solely two of their last eight video games to overlook out on the Champions League, that after falling behind to James Ward-Prowse’s penalty on the hour mark, they may not have had sufficient sufficient character to dig their well past low block and dogged defending of Southampton.

It took struggle, and it took persistence. And sure, it nonetheless lacked high quality and creativity, however psychological energy is required in spades on this a part of a marketing campaign. Especially while you’ve obtained journeys to Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and Wembley nonetheless to return.
Ron Walker

Parker nonetheless believes however Fulham operating out of steam

Fulham have been brushed apart by Chelsea with the minimal of fuss within the west London derby and it leaves their Premier League standing hanging by a thread.

The 2-0 defeat leaves Scott Parker’s facet in 18th place, 9 factors adrift of Newcastle and Burnley having crucially performed a sport greater than their relegation rivals. And with simply 12 factors left to play for it is a actually tall order for Fulham.

  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

However, Parker nonetheless believes his facet may give themselves an opportunity of survival… he has to, however he additionally is aware of how troublesome it will likely be for his facet.

When requested what Fulham want from their last 4 video games to outlive, Parker mentioned: “Four wins. It can be done. We have to win four games. What I do know is that if we keep this level we have chance of beating Burnley, then beating Southampton, Man Utd and then Newcastle. Of course, it is difficult.”

London issues

Fulham stay winless of their final 24 Premier League London derbies (D5 L19), since a 2-1 victory in opposition to West Ham in January 2014 – in top-flight historical past, solely Crystal Palace have endured an extended winless run in London derbies (31 video games between August 1969 – March 1973).

It’s admirable stuff from Parker contemplating Fulham have by no means received 4 Premier League video games in a row.

“That is the challenge for us,” the Fulham boss added. “I understand it. But anyone who watched this game today will see a team who wanted to win. I know we can win four games and that is our aim. It would be some escape, but we’ve seen it before.

“People will snigger at their screens and suppose I’m residing in cuckooland. Maybe I’m. But till that curtain comes down, we are going to see.”

He will be the solely one that believes, however what is for certain is Parker will give it his all and demand the identical from his facet till relegation is confirmed.
Oliver Yew

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