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EPL Week 36 review: Liverpool on top; Spurs slip; Cardiff crumble

TAGs: Cardiff, English Premier League, liverpool, Spurs

Liverpool return to the summit of the English Premier League after hammering Huddersfield, Spurs lose for the first time at the new White Hart Lane, and Cardiff fails to beat Fulham.

Wind whistles through the stadia of the most beautiful league in the world, soon to be silent. Then what will we do? Delve into a deep mine seeking diamonds? Fix a fridge? Throw your wedding band into the bushes, and travel around the world unencumbered from the strains of marital misery, like Phileas Fogg?

EPL Week 36 review: Liverpool on top; Spurs slip; Cardiff crumbleLike the cooling of the drill, life without the English Premier League (EPL) can be pretty dull.

Until then.

We have an ending worthy of an Avengers movie.

Who will win the title?

Who will qualify for the Champions League?

Who will end up in the fridge of the concierge less Championship?

With two weeks to go, nobody knows.

We begin with the race for the title, and as it stands, Liverpool holds the top spot after thumping relegated Huddersfield 5-0 at Anfield in a wolfpack versus a tied and gagged mole rat lopsided affair.

Huddersfield arrived having lost 20 of their previous 22 EPL games, and without a goal at Anfield since 1962 – unwanted records that the Terriers extended on a miserable Friday night on Merseyside.

Roberto Firmino missed the game with an injury, but the Liverpool fans would have been delighted to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning to the fold for the first time in a year.

Liverpool opened the scoring within 15-seconds. Jon Stanković gave the ball to Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian fed Naby Keita, and the Guinean international scored off the post.

The second goal came on 23-minutes when Sadio Mané headed home from the centre of the goal after a sumptuous cross from Andy Robertson, and Liverpool went into the half-time break 3-0 up after Salah lobbed over the onrushing Huddersfield keeper after an assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The second half belonged to Mané and Salah as they vied for dominance in the Golden Boot standings. Mané scored his brace, and 20th EPL goal of the season, heading home a Jordan Henderson cross at the far post. Then Salah moved on top of the EPL scoring charts with his 21st goal of the season after finishing off an excellent move involving Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberston.

Salah became enshrined in Anfield folklore after becoming the first player to score 69 goals in 100 Liverpool games, and that’s including a roll call of Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.

Liverpool ended the game with 70% possession, two points clear of City (although City has a game in hand), and they are now 25-points further ahead of where they were last season. It’s an incredible race that will go to the wire.

To Win

Man City 2/7

Liverpool 11/4

Man City Remaining Fixtures

Burnley (A) 28 April

Leicester (H) 4 May

Brighton (A) 12 May

Liverpool Remaining Fixtures

Newcastle (A) 5 May

Wolves (H) 12 May

The Race for Champions league Places

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have opened the door for Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United to take a peek at what third place looks like after losing at home to West Ham.

It’s the first time Spurs have lost at their new stadium, after winning the previous four without conceding, although there can be no complaints.

West Ham was brilliant.

“We play a complete game,” Manuel Pellegrino told the press after his side’s victory.

The first half was pretty even with Son Heung-min forcing a save from Lukasz Fabiański, and Lucas Moura firing a right-footed arrow flashing past the post. At the other end of the park, Felipe Anderson was a touch greedy after trying to finish a one-two with Robert Snodgrass when the pass to Marko Arnautovic was on. Then Anderson’s long-range effort rebounded off a Spurs defender, nearly wrong-footing Hugo Lloris.

The second half belonged to the Hammers.

The goal arrived on the 67-minute mark, and it was stunning. Arnautovic picked up the ball on the right-hand side of the pitch. There was one ball on, and that was to the bounding Michail Antonio. The Austrian picked him out with a deft flick, and Antonio took the ball on his chest before slamming a half volley into the roof of the net for his seventh goal of the season.

Antonio nearly pushed that statistic to eight when he outpaced Ben Davies only for Lloris to save. Then with time expiring the imposing figure of Issa Diop strode through a threadbare Spurs midfield and backline before sending a weak shot into the grateful arms of Lloris.

Spurs nearly nicked a point in injury time when Fabian Balbuena cleared off the line from a Vincent Janssen header in stoppage time, but it wouldn’t have been a deserved one.

Spurs remain in the third spot and will stay there unless Chelsea beat Man Utd 8-0 on Sunday, but they go into their Champions League semi-final clash with Ajax on Tuesday knowing they have now lost six of their previous ten EPL matches.

West Ham moves into 11th.

It was their first away win of 2019.

Arsenal faces Leicester at the King Power on Sunday.

Top Four Odds

Spurs 1/8

Chelsea 11/8

Arsenal 5/4

Man Utd 9/2

Chelsea Remaining Fixtures

Man Utd (A) 28 April

Watford (H) 4 May

Leicester (A) 12 May

Arsenal Remaining Fixtures

Leicester (A) 29 April

Brighton (H) 4 May

Burnley (A) 12 May

Man Utd Remaining Fixtures

Chelsea (H) 28 April

Huddersfield (A) 5 May

Cardiff (H) 12 May

Spurs Remaining Fixtures

Bournemouth (A) 6 May

Everton (H) 12 May

The Race to Avoid Relegation

Mathematically, only Brighton or Cardiff will join Fulham and Huddersfield in the Championship after this weekend’s results.

Cardiff’s last two ties are against in-form Crystal Palace, and Champions League-chasing Man Utd, so you didn’t need to be a Spelling Bee champion to figure out that anything other than three points at Fulham would rank as a disaster.

They emerged with none.

Fulham collected a third successive victory thanks to a stunning strike from Liverpool reject, Ryan Babel. Cardiff wasn’t at the races at that point but will wake up this morning wondering how on earth they failed to capture a point after missing so many chances late on.

If you want to bet on a Cardiff relegation, then you have to bet £66 to win £1 after the calamity at Craven Cottage. Brighton moves out to 20/1 after a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle. Southampton EPL future is safe after a thrilling 3-3 draw against Bournemouth.

The draw for Chris Hughton’s side is only their second point from a possible 21, and Pascal Gross’s headed equaliser (after Ayoze Perez had put Newcastle in front) was their first league goal in 11 hours and 13 minutes of football.

Brighton could have secured EPL football for a third successive year had Glenn Murray not missed an open goal from four yards in injury time, and with Arsenal and Man City to come, that could prove to be a vital miss.

Cardiff’s only hope of survival is to beat both Crystal Palace and Man Utd with Brighton losing against Arsenal and Man City.

Relegation Odds

Cardiff 1/9

Brighton 4/1

Cardiff Remaining Fixtures

Crystal Palace (H) 4 May

Man Utd (A) 12 May

Brighton Remaining Fixtures

Arsenal (A) 5 May

Man City (H) 12 May

Results in Full

Liverpool 5 v 0 Huddersfield

Spurs 0 v 1 West Ham

Southampton 3 v 3 Bournemouth

Fulham 1 v 0 Cardiff

Watford 1 v 2 Wolves

Crystal Palace 0 v 0 Everton

Brighton 1 v 1 Newcastle

To Be Played (Sun)

Leicester v Arsenal

Burnley v Man City

Man Utd v Chelsea

EPL Standings

1. Liverpool – 91
2. Man City – 89
3. Spurs – 70
4. Chelsea – 67
5. Arsenal – 66
6. Man Utd – 64
7. Wolves – 54
8. Everton – 50
9. Watford – 50
10. Leicester – 48
11. West Ham – 46
12. Crystal Palace – 43
13. Newcastle – 42
14. Bournemouth – 42
15. Burnley – 40
16. Southampton – 38
17. Brighton – 35
18. Cardiff – 31
19. Fulham – 26 (R)
20. Huddersfield – 14 (R)

Top Goalscorer Odds

Mohamed Salah 11/10

Sergio Aguero 12/5

Sadio Mane 7/2

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7/1

Current Top Scorers

1. Mohamed Salah – 21
2. Sadio Mané – 20
3. Sergio Aguero – 19
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 19
5. Raheem Sterling – 17

Next Manager to Leave

No Manager to Leave 1/25

Chris Hughton 14/1

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 12/1

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