Rowan’s Premier League and Carabao Cup Final Predictions 2019/20: February 28th-March 1st

Well, that VAR was a big talking pint again last weekend. Something is not right in its implementation in the English game, as we saw it work quite well in European competition this week. A human error at Stockley Park meant that le Celso was not sent off for Spurs when he really should have been. Chelsea got the result they deserved in the end [Image above from 90Min]. There was then controversy at Turf Moor where VAR gave Burnley a penalty after Adam Smith handled it in his area but only after Harry Wilson thought he’d equalised at the other end for Bournemouth. That is bizarre. Away from that, there were some really good football matches with Arsenal playing out a cracker with Everton and Liverpool coming from 2-1 down at home to West Ham to win 3-2 as they continue to march towards the title.

The Champions League second round ties continued and for a spell, it looked like all four English sides would lose the first leg of their respective ties. Following defeats for Liverpool and Spurs last week, Chelsea were undone in the second half at Stamford Bridge by Bayern Munich and Manchester City were 1-0 down against real Madrid. A quick double from Gabriel Jesus and a Kevin De Bruyne penalty gave them a famous win at the Bernabeau. In the Europa League, Manchester United swept past Club Brugge 5-0, Wolves fell to a 3-2 defeat in Spain to Espanyol but progress nonetheless but Arsenal, oh my. Having beaten Olympiacos in Greece, they lost 1-0 in 90 minutes forcing extra time and lost it in the final moments. read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: February 22nd-24th

The second part of the winter break was eventful and controversial, to say the least as VAR took centre stage again. It ruled out a potential winner for Wolves against Leicester rightly but its use was questionable as it did not feel Harry Maguire should have been sent off for kicking out at Michy Batshuayi in his sides win over Chelsea. That said, watching it the first time I did not notice it but having seen the replays which the VAR official at Stockley Park did have access to. Liverpool kept their march towards the title going with a narrow win over Norwich and Spurs beat Aston Villa in a topsy turvy game thanks to a brace from Son Heung Ming [featured image above; image from The Evening Standard].

My last predictions post was published just before Manchester Cty’s UEFA ban broke. They have been banned from European competitions for the next two seasons for financial fair play reasons. The fans made their feelings known when they faced West ham in midweek; their postponed game thanks to Strom Ciara; or rather the fans that did turn up did. The Etihad was embarrassingly full of empty seats. read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: February 14th-17th, Winter Break Part Two

A winter break with a week’s worth of fixtures split between two weekends; who’s idea was that? Oh right, it was the Premier League’s and it meant last weekend was a bit lacking of top-flight action. Storm Ciara had its impact too as we saw Manchester City vs West Ham called off but the games we did get saw a big win for Sheffield United as they went 5th [pictured above; image from Sky Sports], another win for Everton under Carlo Ancelotti and a draw between Brighton and Watford in the big game at the bottom.

This weekend, it is part two with six games being staggered over the weekend; all televised on Sky or BT. Hopefully, Strom Dennis does not interfere. There are certainly some interesting games with teams meeting on matching points as Burnley travel to Southampton on Saturday and Newcastle to Arsenal on Sunday and there’s a Monday Night Football to look forward to as Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Will Liverpool continue their relentless march to the title at Norwich? read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: February 8th-9th, Winter Break Part One

It’s that technology, VAR that had a big part of another explosive weekend of Premier League football to kick off February. It was used quite rightly at Selhurst Park as Andy Madley used the pitchside monitor to downgrade the initial red card he gave to Danny Ward to a yellow. But there were questionable decisions such as Brighton’s equaliser at West Ham and the delay in awarding the penalty to Manchester City. They didn’t take that penalty and ultimately lost to Spurs thanks to a wonderful debut goal from Steven Bergwijn [pictured above; image from FourFourTwo.com]. There was also big wins for Bournemouth over Aston Villa in the battle at the bottom as well as a stunning comeback win for Everton at Watford.

This weekend, we have only four games. That is because of the Premier League deciding to give teams a winter break for the first time in the competition’s history. It is for two weeks but of course, it isn’t that straightforward. It sees the games staggered over two weekends to give them all 13 days off between league games but this has been done with the TV companies in mind too as they are televising all 10 games over this period. read more