English Premier League Round 29 Preview
SALT LAKE CITY – Last weekend saw a couple of excellent results for teams fighting for the title, and some that have desires of sneaking a top-four finish.
EPL Round 29
Man City embarrassed neighbors, Man United. A convincing 4-1 win that if we are honest, probably could’ve been a lot more. The lack of heart and the lack of tactical awareness from United will be frightening for the Old Trafford faithful, and while Ralf Rangnick isn’t entirely at fault, the bump they wanted after replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjær, hasn’t really paid off. United have spent money, and it’s not worked out and the alarming gap between them and their city neighbors could get bigger. Another team’s new manager bump that hasn’t materialized is Everton and Frank Lampard. The Toffees were woeful against Spurs in the 5-0 loss on Monday. They, along with a few other teams, are hovering dangerously near the drop zone, and once again the fight for survival will be an entertaining spectacle.
Brighton Vs Liverpool is the early kick on Saturday, and if you’re inclined to get up that early, I’m sure the Seagulls will once again give the Reds a hard time. Just something about Graham Potter and his style that pushes Liverpool to their limit.
Manchester United Vs Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday’s late kick at 10:30 a.m. is on Peacock. This is highly intriguing, and probably my match of the weekend. Why would a match between two underachieving and inconsistent teams be the match of the round? Exactly that. Both of these should be much better than they are, and the race for top 4 is getting exciting with these two, along with West Ham and Arsenal seemingly vying for one place.
United was humiliated last weekend, and the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to injury wouldn’t have helped the Red Devils in their preparations. The issue is, I don’t think Ronaldo would’ve made a blind bit of difference to the outcome.
Those reactions 💯⚡️
🔥 @Cristiano #MUFC pic.twitter.com/MQdljnd40B
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 11, 2022
United is a team of talented individuals. If Rangnick can somehow harness the talent at his disposal, they’d be a top 4 team comfortably. This team is athletic, strong, and powerful. But it doesn’t seem to be enough. Obviously, we’re talking fine margins and to be successful you don’t necessarily have to press your opponent. But the lack of cohesion at times when they do press tells me that it’s not worked on enough, something I’m sure their manager is working on, and then you add what seems to be the lack of intelligence from the players themselves. Throw in the individual mistakes across the backline and it’s not pretty reading. So where does it end for United? Well, that’s an entire article in itself. For now, though, it’s buying into the manager’s ideas. There are rumors of disharmony in the dressing room, between players and then players versus the manager. Whilst things might not be perfect, I doubt it’s anywhere near what the media frenzy is making out.
As for Rangnick, if the players in his squad can somehow buy into what he’s made a career of doing, energetic high pressing teams, then I think United could fare much better. Rashford, Sancho, Pogba, and Fernandes are all capable of pressing, quickly and aggressively and all of them are good enough finishers and creators to drive United forward.
🪄 Moura magic in Manchester…
⌚️ @IWC pic.twitter.com/PlZfCAimo7
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 11, 2022
As for Spurs, it’s a tale of consistency. An up and down set of results over the last month or so will have Antonio Conte pulling his hair out. The version we saw against Man City, is the one you’d think would stroll to 4th place, and with additions in the summer and the ability to keep Harry Kane, you’d think they’d go from strength to strength. A hard-working 3-4-3 formation that is organized and physical at the back but also good enough to move the ball wide, quickly. On the counter, they can use Kane in a deeper playmaking role where he can thread a ball to Son or Kulusevski. The balance of this team feels so much better than what we saw under former managers Mourinho and then Nuno Espírito Santo.
I’m interested in how United can bounce back. You feel it’ll go one of two ways. Professional pride will kick in, ego’s left at the door, and everyone gets on the same page for Manchester United. As for Spurs, they have a special manager. A serial winner, who never stays in one place for too long, so fall in line and ride the wave while you can. Spurs go to Old Trafford and pick up a point at the very least.
Crystal Palace Vs Manchester City
Monday’s game rounds out the weekend as reigning champions, City, visit Selhurst Park. As the clocks change on Sunday, it’ll be a 2:00 p.m. kick on USA.
Patrick Vieira has done a great job since taking over Palace in the summer. He’s made them a lot easier on the eye, and part of the reason I picked this game. Switching between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 formation. They’re patient in possession and explosive on the counterattack. From the wider areas, Wilfried Zaha is once again the danger man full of pace and trickery. Can either beat you in a foot race or drop his shoulder and beat you off the dribble, his 9 goals have been vital as he continues to impress at Palace. Conor Gallagher on loan from Chelsea has also been a great highlight so far this season and his 8 goals and 3 assists will continue to put him in and around the England squad, as his energetic box-to-box performances will give Chelsea a big decision to make come summertime. For me, it’s a no-brainer and I truly think he’s destined for the very top and going up against City, I expect him out of anyone to step up to the challenge.
The hard work 😤#CPFC | #CRYMCI pic.twitter.com/SBUpbdAkIr
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) March 11, 2022
City will be coming into London knowing that Palace is one of the few teams to beat them this season. In late October they lost 2-0 at the Etihad. An early Zaha goal, and late first half red card to Laporte made for an entertaining second half, with Conor Gallagher getting a late goal to seal all three points.
Spurs in our sights! 💪#ManCity pic.twitter.com/mbNOCdVSph
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 11, 2022
It’s not often that City gets beaten twice by the same team. And they are ticking along nicely. With Dias out you expect Stones and Laporte to continue to partner at the heart of the defense. Last weekend you witnessed City keep the ball for long stretches, probably more than they expected to, but one they can expertly adjust to. Kevin De Bruyne should once again figure pretty heavily, with him threading passes and dictating the tempo. City will look to move the ball relentlessly, and then the movement of players and a fluid front three is difficult to pick up, yet so easy on the eye and fun to watch.
It’s tough to see anything other than a City win. I do think Palace will put up a fight though, and they’re defensively organized to stifle the champions. I just think City and their patience will finally pay off and they will get all three points, in an entertaining end to the round of fixtures.
That’ll do it for this week, enjoy the round. And we’ll be back next week for more EPL coverage.