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EPL week 35 review: Liverpool back on top; United and Arsenal fluff lines

TAGs: Arsenal, English Premier League, liverpool, Manchester United

The second of three Wk 35 English Premier League reports see Liverpool return to the top of the league after a win in Cardiff, and Manchester United and Arsenal lose ground in the Champions League race.

As a child, growing up in Stockport, you supported one of two teams.

Manchester United or Liverpool.

EPL Wk 35 Review: Liverpool back on top; United and Arsenal fluff linesNobody supported Manchester City, and as you’ve no doubt guessed, nobody had a Stockport County poster on their bedroom wall.

This choice was more important than choosing a God, and the school playground was a battleground for rival supporters – feet cracking shins, heads cracking heads, shoulders barging shoulders.

Yet, on Wednesday night, Liverpool fans will sit down in front of the TV set desperately hoping that the team they would like to see locked in a bus with a pipe leading from the exhaust draped into a back window taped tightly with duct beats Man City.

If they don’t, I fear it’s all over.

Liverpool returned to the apex of the English Premier League (EPL) after beating Cardiff City in the Welsh capital by two goals to nil. The result was as predictable as graffiti on a railroad wagon, as are all the other victories between now and the end of the season, with one exception – the midweek clash between the two Manchester clubs.

Liverpool has a two-point lead, but Man City has a game in hand, meaning Liverpool can do nothing but hope, as City hold their destiny in their hands.

It was a game of missed opportunities.

The first major one went the way of Liverpool, with Roberto Firmino finding himself one on one with Neil Etheridge, after some neat interplay between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, but the Brazilian’s shot ended up on the moon.

Two more Liverpool chances came on the half-hour mark.

Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered from the right, and Mané got there first at the near post, but could only divert his shot into the crowd. Then three minutes later, Jordan Henderson found Salah in the penalty area, but Etheridge was quick to dive at his feet and save.

Cardiff also had a few chances in the first half, more notably Junior Hoilett reacted slowly when the ball fell to his feet six yards from goal allowing a Liverpool interception, and then Everton loanee Oumar Niasse saw his close-range volley tipped over the bar by Alisson.

The second half delivered more of the same, except this time, two chances ended up in the back of the net.

The breakthrough came on 57-minutes, and it was a beauty. Liverpool won a corner on the right, and Georginho Wijnaldum met the delivery with a right foot swing that would have made Tiger Woods proud.

Five minutes later, Liverpool could have sealed it when Mané cut the ball back to an onrushing Henderson, only for him to sky it. Cardiff should have made Liverpool pay for that miss when Alisson rose and missed the punch from a corner, and Sean Morrison dived to meet the ball four yards from goal only for the ball to hit his back, and bounce out to safety.

It was a howler.

Then with ten minutes remaining, Morrison thought it was within the rules to give Salah a bear hug in the box. The ref reminded Morrison that he was not Hulk Hogan, pointied to the spot, and James Milner did what James Milner does best.

Here are those remaining fixtures

Man City Remaining Fixtures

Man Utd (A) 24 April
Burnley (A) 28 April
Leicester (H) 4 May
Brighton (A) 12 May

Liverpool Remaining Fixtures

Huddersfield (H) 26 April
Newcastle (A) 5 May
Wolves (H) 12 May

Cardiff boss, Neil Warnock, wouldn’t have expected anything from this game. The Bluebirds’ ‘Cup Finals’ come against Fulham and Crystal Palace, while at the same time, hoping that Brighton doesn’t pull off any shocks in their final four games.

Cardiff Remaining Fixtures

Fulham (A) 27 April
Crystal Palace (H) 4 May
Man Utd (A) 12 May

Brighton Remaining Fixtures

Spurs (A) 23 April
Newcastle (H) 27 April
Arsenal (A) 5 May
Man City (H) 12 May

The Race for Champions League Places

The bookies have installed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the second-favourite (12/1) in the ‘Next EPL Manager to Leave His Post’ market after United fell to their fifth away defeat on the trot in all competitions thanks to a pounding against Everton.

It was a game that Solskjaer said United had to win after exiting from the Champions League after a dismal performance at the Nou Camp, and Everton thrashed them 4-0 with goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Luca Digne and Theo Walcott.

The reason the bookies believe the Norwegian’s job is at risk before he has installed his office furniture is the return to wicked ways for the team he inherited from Jose Mourino. Yes, they began brightly under Solskjaer, but in recent times, United have lost six of their previous eight games in all competitions and was lucky to beat both Watford and West Ham when outplayed on each occasion.

The only saving grace for United was Arsenal’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace. Mesut Özil cancelled out a Christian Benteke opener, only for Palace to take a 3-1 lead thanks to strikes from Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Sergio Agüero and Mohamed Salah at the top of the EPL scoring charts with his 19th of the season with 13-minutes remaining, but the Gunners simply ran out of firepower.

The defeat allows Chelsea to open up an invaluable three-point lead over Arsenal, to move into fourth place if they beat Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Week 35 Results

Man City 1 v 0 Spurs
Huddersfield 1 v 2 Watford
West Ham 2 v 2 Leicester
Bournemouth 0 v 1 Fulham
Wolves 0 v 0 Brighton
Newcastle 3 v 1 Southampton
Everton 4 v 0 Man Utd
Cardiff 0 v 2 Liverpool
Arsenal 2 v 3 Crystal Palace

To Be Played

Chelsea v Burnley (Mon)

EPL Standings

1. Liverpool – 88
2. Man City – 86
3. Spurs – 67
4. Arsenal – 66
5. Chelsea – 66
6. Man Utd – 64
7. Everton – 49
8. Watford – 49
9. Leicester – 48
10. Wolves – 48
11. West Ham – 43
12. Crystal Palace – 42
13. Newcastle – 41
14. Bournemouth – 41
15. Burnley – 39
16. Southampton – 36
17. Brighton – 34
18. Cardiff – 31
19. Fulham – 23 (R)
20. Huddersfield – 14 (R)

EPL Odds

To Win

Man City 4/7
Liverpool 11/8

Relegation

Cardiff 1/9
Brighton 4/1

Top Four

Spurs 1/7
Arsenal 10/11
Chelsea 10/11
Man Utd 5/1

Top Goalscorer

Mohamed Salah 7/4
Sergio Aguero 9/5
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7/2
Sadio Mane 7/1
Raheem Sterling 16/1

Current Top Scorers

1. Sergio Aguero – 19
2. Mohamed Salah – 19
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 19
4. Sadio Mané – 18
5. Harry Kane – 17
6. Raheem Sterling – 17

Next Manager to Leave

No Manager to Leave 8/11
Chris Hughton Evens
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 12/1

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