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TTT: Premier League Preview 2014/15: Burnley (H)

By Gary Fulcher and Daniel Rhodes. Liverpool’s march up the table continues, with the 2-1 victory over champions Manchester City catapulting the Reds up to 5th above Southampton and moving us to within three points of third placed Arsenal. Sean Dyche’s Burnley are the next visitors to Anfield on Wednesday evening; 8pm kick off UK time. Burnley have struggled all season with just four wins – three at home – from 27 matches and will need to find some consistency if they want to avoid the same fate that befell them in 2009/10 when they finished in 18th with 30 points, five adrift from safety. The Clarets have been poor on their travels this season, with the 2-1 win at Stoke their only victory, although two of their five draws away from Turf Moor were against Manchester City (2-2) and Chelsea (1-1), which is reason enough for us not to underestimate them. Liverpool secured a 1-0 win at Turf Moor in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day thanks to a goal from Raheem Sterling. At the time it ended a three game win-less sequence following draws against Sunderland and Arsenal at Anfield, with that 0-3 reverse at Manchester Utd sandwiched in-between. Including that victory over Burnley, the Reds have won eight of the last ten matches in the Premier League – unbeaten in our last 11 – and are the in-form team of 2015. When the two sides last met at Anfield back in 2009/10, Liverpool secured a comfortable 4-0 victory. How the league table looked prior to our 1-0 win at Burnley: Table on 22.12.2014 Full Home Away P W D L F A W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts 1 Chelsea 17 13 3 1 38 13 8 0 0 20 3 5 3 1 18 10 +25 42 2 Manchester City 17 12 3 2 36 14 6 1 1 15 5 6 2 1 21 9 +22 39 3 Manchester United 17 9 5 3 30 18 7 1 1 19 6 2 4 2 11 12 +12 32 4 West Ham United 17 9 4 4 29 19 6 1 2 14 7 3 3 2 15 12 +10 31 5 Southampton 17 9 2 6 28 13 6 1 2 21 6 3 1 4 7 7 +15 29 6 Arsenal 17 7 6 4 30 21 4 3 1 16 9 3 3 3 14 12 +9 27 7 Tottenham Hotspur 17 8 3 6 22 23 4 1 4 11 10 4 2 2 11 13 -1 27 8 Swansea City 17 7 4 6 22 19 5 2 2 14 7 2 2 4 8 12 +3 25 9 Newcastle United 17 6 5 6 18 23 4 2 2 10 9 2 3 4 8 14 -5 23 10 Liverpool 17 6 4 7 21 24 3 4 2 9 8 3 0 5 12 16 -3 22 How the table looks today: Latest Table Full Home Away P W D L F A W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts 1 Chelsea 26 18 6 2 56 22 11 2 0 27 5 7 4 2 29 17 +34 60 2 Manchester City 27 16 7 4 57 27 8 3 2 26 12 8 4 2 31 15 +30 55 3 Arsenal 27 15 6 6 51 29 9 3 1 30 11 6 3 5 21 18 +22 51 4 Manchester United 27 14 8 5 46 26 11 1 2 30 10 3 7 3 16 16 +20 50 5 Liverpool 27 14 6 7 40 30 7 5 2 22 14 7 1 5 18 16 +10 48 6 Southampton 27 14 4 9 38 20 7 3 4 24 10 7 1 5 14 10 +18 46 7 Tottenham Hotspur 26 13 5 8 41 36 7 3 4 22 17 6 2 4 19 19 +5 44 8 Swansea City 27 11 7 9 31 34 7 4 3 19 15 4 3 6 12 19 -3 40 9 West Ham United 27 10 9 8 39 33 7 3 4 21 14 3 6 4 18 19 +6 39 10 Stoke City 27 11 6 10 31 34 6 2 5 17 17 5 4 5 14 17 -3 39 The rest of this article is for subscribers only. Member-only content – you need to subscribe to read it ! A subscription costs only £3.50 per month. Find out what you get with your subscription, or Subscribe now.

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GUARDIAN – European results expose the Premier League’s true level | Paul Wilson

Poor performances from Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham proved English football is perhaps not the all-conquering beast some believe it to beArsène Wenger was unusually severe in his criticism of Arsenal’s shortcomings in the wake of the 3-1 Emirates humbling by Monaco, though it was a French coach still living and working in France who provided the pithiest assessment of a bad week for Premier League teams in Europe.René Girard is coach of Lille, mid‑table in Ligue 1 and not even involved in any European action this past week, and from the sound of it he has had enough of exaggerated claims about the quality of football across La Manche. “To those who say our league is shit, it proves there’s perhaps shit elsewhere as well,” Girard said of Monaco’s result, and that was before Liverpool and Tottenham made their Europa League exits. Continue reading…

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ESPN – Diego Costa, Harry Kane prepare for Wembley battle in a tale of two strikers

Thibaut Courtois insisted they weren't solely focused on in-form Harry Kane and said “we need to see how to stop him, but of course stop all of Tottenham”. The ESPN FC panel discuss why despite Tottenham's impressive victory over Chelsea when the sides last met, Chelsea remain heavy favourites in the League Cup Final. The ESPN FC crew discuss whether or not Chelsea and Tottenham's Cup title match is more important than Liverpool and Manchester City's match. Theirs is a comparison of an expensive foreign import and a great young hope of the English game starring for the team he supported as a boy. One has inspired cynicism, the other romanticism and in their own ways, Diego Costa and Harry Kane have become the leading men of the 2014-15 English season. On Sunday, their respective performances in the 2015 Capital One Cup final could well prove crucial to the final result. Costa arrived in London in the precise mould that Jose Mourinho wants from…

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GUARDIAN – Champions League race heats up as five teams fight for two places | Dominic Fifield

Only four points separate the five protagonists for places in Europe’s elite competition for next season. Who will prevail?• Chelsea blow 2013-14 title race open after slip by Steve GerrardLate February and, while the Premier League title race has become into a straight sprint between Chelsea and Manchester City, the bottleneck at that pair’s back is tighter than ever. Not since 2009‑10 has the race been so close between so many, with four points covering five clubs and with two Champions League qualification places up for grabs. Liverpool are mounting the charge from deep as Southampton heave to maintain their early-season form. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United offer flashes of brilliance and bouts of inconsistency, while Arsenal have glided almost unnoticed through the pack and into the top three. So, as things stand, which two are likeliest to have a tilt at a place in Europe’s elite competition? Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Jacob Steinberg and Nick Miller

Sherwood might be the man for a quick fix, Swansea need to retrieve their mojo and a win over Arsenal would give substance to the Pardew revolutionThe cross came over. It seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. There, a chance, a brilliant opportunity to break a goalless cycle that had become crippling. The FA Cup was both an opportunity for Aston Villa to inject some life into a stagnant campaign and to achieve something tangible in an increasingly open competition. With the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham already knocked out, a trophy was possible, if only they could convert this chance. And there, at the far post, rising like a salmon from a trampoline, was Tim Sherwood, powering the header home to score the winner for his new side. All hail Tim! Well done Tim!• Sport Network: how should Sherwood turn things around? • “Headmaster” Sherwood relishing survival mission• Manchester United deal “like a dream” for Belgian teen Indy Boonen• Van Gaal formally warned over referee comment • Arsenal and Manchester United fans facing FA Cup travel nightmare• Amy Lawrence: TV money should subsidise travel for inconvenienced fans• Messi hands out Barcelona warning to Manchester City• Bony finally joins Manchester City squad as Champions League awaits• Terry ready to join Eden Hazard in extending his spell at Chelsea• Courtois is in a different class, says Terry• QPR appoint Ramsey but Clement remains long-term target • Fer ends QPR’s losing streak at Sunderland • Lallana regrets “sour” Southampton exit• Southampton chairman lauds progress made under Koeman Related: Racists in Paris present depressing image of Chelsea, football and Britain | David Conn • West Ham United sign forward Nenê on contract for rest of the season• David Bentley comes out of retirement to play Gaelic football match• Poyet claims responsibilty for Sunderland form in open letter to fans• Interview: Former Sunderland director De Fanti defends transfer spree• Ivanovic in clear but Chelsea and Everton charged by FA• Nigel Pearson | The Gallery Related: Chelsea condemn fans who pushed black man off Paris Métro Continue reading…

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