Premier League hits and misses: Naby Keita shines for Liverpool as Norwich relegation confirmed and Man Metropolis present their some ways to win


Keita displaying his worth to Liverpool

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win in opposition to Newcastle

Naby Keita had not scored for Liverpool since October however he selected an excellent second to pop up with a objective and it was superbly taken too, the 27-year-old dribbling inside from the correct then retaining his cool to beat Martin Dubravka and discover the web.

It proved a decisive contribution as Liverpool secured a 1-Zero win over Newcastle at St James’ Park but it surely was not all he provided.

Keita’s eye-catching all-round show made him the sport’s stand-out performer. In addition to scoring the winner and taking part in a component in a lot of Liverpool’s greatest attacking moments, he gained possession extra instances (9) than anybody else.

Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates his opener
Picture:
Liverpool’s Naby Keita celebrates his opener

His off-the-ball business on the correct of Liverpool’s midfield ensured Joe Gomez was hardly ever uncovered behind him and he additionally performed a key position of their urgent recreation, snapping on the heels of Newcastle gamers on the uncommon events they tried to assemble assaults.

Keita’s time at Anfield has been up and down, the Guinea worldwide at instances struggling to carry down a spot within the aspect following his arrival from RB Leipzig in 2018.

However this was simply the most recent in a run of spectacular shows.

Within the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester Metropolis, he was arguably the very best participant on the pitch. It was an analogous story within the Champions League quarter-final first leg in opposition to Benfica.

His power and depth is proving invaluable for Liverpool as a gruelling season enters a crunch interval. He’ll turn out to be much more essential if he can produce one other objective or two between now and the tip of the marketing campaign.
Nick Wright

Huff and puff to no avail

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Aston Villa’s win in opposition to Norwich within the Premier League

Norwich have been lastly consigned to the Championship as outcomes conspired in opposition to them to stop one other week’s delay.

Dean Smith appeared to set off a short-lived bounce impact upon taking cost at Carrow Highway in mid-November with a 2-1 win in opposition to Southampton, adopted by back-to-back attracts with Wolves and Newcastle – however six consecutive defeats adopted.

Norwich mustered one other flurry of hope in January, beating Everton and fellow relegation battlers Watford, earlier than a 1-1 stalemate with Crystal Palace – however one other six defeats on the bounce just about sealed the membership’s destiny.

The Canaries solely escaped the drop zone for one matchday all through the season, following the 3-Zero win at Watford in January – a place which was skewed by the very fact Smith’s aspect had performed two video games greater than their relegation rivals.

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The membership’s speedy return to England’s second tier seems unsurprising, rating backside within the division throughout a raft of stats this time period, together with objectives, photographs on track, final-third passes accomplished, possession gained within the center third and objectives conceded.

Nevertheless, Norwich averaged the fifth-youngest beginning XI within the Premier League this season, which suggests Smith’s aspect has room to develop and enhance forward of the problem for a right away return to the highest flight subsequent season.
Adam Smith

The various hats of Man Metropolis recommend the title is on its means

Manchester Metropolis have been including one other string to their bow over the previous few seasons. As they racked up some 98 factors to pip Liverpool to the title by a solitary level, solely six of their 95 objectives got here from corners and 11 from set-pieces – half that of Jurgen Klopp’s aspect that season.

Over the three years since issues have been step by step altering. Pushed in his pursuit of perfection, Pep Guardiola noticed a weak point in his aspect’s recreation and has set about guaranteeing that even when pissed off in open play, Metropolis can nonetheless harm you.

The league leaders now additionally high the charts for objectives from set-pieces too, and wanted them to shake off a terrier of a Leeds aspect who knocked them out of their rhythm for lengthy intervals at Elland Highway.

That appears an odd declare following a 4-Zero win however with out Metropolis’s opening two objectives from set-pieces, each created by well-worked Phil Foden deliveries, Leeds wouldn’t have opened up seeking a comeback as they did for the ultimate half hour.

The cushion they supplied additionally helped the Champions League semi-finalists address an exhausting week. The emotionally charged 4-Three win over Actual Madrid on Tuesday will need to have taken loads out of Guardiola’s males, and with the ability to win with out actually getting out of third gear is one other signal of an excellent crew.

Actually, all of this factors to at least one factor. Metropolis will take some stopping within the ultimate 4 video games to keep away from the Premier League trophy remaining on the Etihad.
Ron Walker

Burnley present their character to edge nearer in direction of security

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Burnley’s win in opposition to Watford within the Premier League

Most of the Burnley supporters have been nonetheless inside Vicarage Highway singing Mike Jackson’s title greater than 20 minutes after the full-time whistle.

They knew simply how essential the turnaround victory at Watford may be of their survival bid, and the worth of the job caretaker boss Jackson is doing.

It was their third win in his 4 video games in cost that means Burnley have amassed 10 factors throughout his interim tenure – greater than any of the three Watford managers have achieved of their particular person spells this season. Extra importantly, it is moved them 5 factors above the relegation zone.

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Mike Jackson was delighted with Burnley’s response after conceding an early objective to Watford and praised his gamers for digging in and scoring two late objectives to get an important 2-1 win at Vicarage Highway

We’ll by no means know whether or not they would have nonetheless achieved these outcomes below Sean Dyche though, not for the primary time this season in an essential relegation conflict, the grit and character put in by their earlier boss was plain to see.

They began poorly however slowly labored their means into the sport, regrouped at half-time earlier than dominating the second half. Then, when Jack Cork headed within the equaliser, they went for the win – and received it.

It’s arduous to consider Jackson when he says he does not take a look at the league desk. Maybe he has seen sufficient on the pitch to know that Burnley, at this second, don’t appear to be a aspect that can go down.
David Richardson

Watford troubles begin on the high

Watford can be relegated not simply because of their dismal dwelling file, however as a result of firing a number of managers in a season will hardly ever obtain Premier League survival.

The final time they dropped out of the top-flight in 2020 got here after they’d axed bosses Javi Gracia, Quique Sánchez Flores and Nigel Pearson. Now, after firing Xisco Munoz and Claudio Ranieri they’re on the point of heading straight again down.

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Ray Lewington reacted to Watford’s 2-1 defeat to Burnley and stated they might really feel the concern issue amongst each the gamers and followers at Vicarage Highway. The outcome leaves the Hornets on the point of relegation from the Premier League

Watford turned the primary aspect in top-flight historical past to lose 11 consecutive dwelling league video games as they imploded in opposition to Burnley by conceding twice within the ultimate 10 minutes.

“You noticed the concern issue that exists at this place,” stated assistant supervisor Ray Lewington within the aftermath of the defeat which leaves them 12 factors adrift of security with 4 video games remaining.

“Confidence was low after we received right here,” he added after Ranieri gained simply two video games from 14 makes an attempt. Supervisor Roy Hodgson and Lewington, regardless of their huge expertise, have been unable to make any kind of affect.

Hodgson remained seated all through the Burnley match as a consequence of sickness, however even when his aspect went 2-1 down with 4 minutes remaining, plus added time, he didn’t make a substitute.

“We simply did not really feel the change would make any distinction, we stored it because it was within the hope that we may create one thing going ahead,” stated Lewington, a damning verdict on the Watford squad. Maybe extra may very well be invested into signing gamers in the event that they stopped hiring and firing.
David Richardson

Brighton good, Wolves woeful

Bruno Lage did not maintain again along with his post-match feedback after an abject show in opposition to Brighton that noticed Wolves droop to their third straight loss with out scoring.

The Wolves boss slammed his aspect for displaying no need in what he described as their worst efficiency since his arrival as Nuno Espirito Santo’s substitute final 12 months.

“We simply got here to look at Brighton play,” concluded the supervisor.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton’s win in opposition to Wolves within the Premier League

The house crowd clearly agreed as they booed the crew off at half-time, with the few that remaining inside Molineux by the point the ultimate whistle sounded, booing the crew again into the dressing-room.

Brighton dominated the conflict from the outset, with Wolves taking part in extra like a bunch of gamers thrown collectively on the morning of the sport, relatively than a crew.

Wolves had much less possession than the guests and will solely handle a single shot on track within the 90 minutes, with their greatest likelihood falling to Pedro Neto who hit the put up with what ended up being the final kick of the sport.

The outcome and the efficiency will give Lage loads of meals for thought heading into what guarantees to be a far much less pleasurable summer time than the one Brighton boss Graham Potter can stay up for.

Brighton have been strong as a rock on the again, with Marc Cucurella, Yves Bissouma and Enock Mwepu all placing in eye-catching performances.

The win at Molineux was Brighton’s 10th of the season, transferring them into the highest half of the desk and into ninth on 44 factors, to file their highest ever Premier League complete with three video games nonetheless to play.

If they will cling onto their greatest gamers and recruit nicely over the summer time, Brighton may simply be a crew to be careful for subsequent season within the race for European soccer.
Dev Trehan

Palace dreaming of top-10 end

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Crystal Palace’s win over Southampton within the Premier League

After Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win over Southampton, Crystal Palace have their sights firmly set on a top-half end within the Premier League for the primary time for the reason that 2014/15 season. With 4 fixtures remaining, the Eagles are two factors behind 10th-placed Newcastle with a recreation in hand.

It has been a superb begin to life at Selhurst Park for Patrick Vieira. Following a run of 1 level from three league video games, both aspect of an FA Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea, Palace’s marketing campaign had threatened to fizzle out, however Wilfried Zaha’s late winner at St Mary’s summed up the feel-good issue below the previous Arsenal captain.

Wilfried Zaha celebrates his winner
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Wilfried Zaha scored a late winner for Crystal Palace at St Mary’s

Palace ended the 2020/21 season fielding the oldest common line-up of any Premier League membership, however the likes of Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Marc Guehi, and the spectacular Conor Gallagher – on mortgage from Chelsea – have introduced some youthful exuberance to south London.

Each younger aspect must be balanced with expertise although and Zaha, if he stays, confirmed he may simply be able to main this group of gamers into the following stage of Vieira’s long-term venture.

Palace are removed from good, however they’re now taking part in a sexy model of soccer and the joy on the membership is constructing. These supporters who travelled all the way down to the south coast on Saturday by no means stopped singing and by no means stopped believing. They’ve liked each minute of this entertaining season.
Dan Sansom



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