EPL 2015-2016 | Sportzwiki

EPL 2015-2016


Unbelievable: Premier League Table Now Compared To One Year Ago

While this season’s Premier League title race is relatively open, there is still a predictable feel to it.

Where this time last year Leicester City were riding high, having just beaten then-champions Chelsea in a defeat that led to the sacking of José Mourinho, this year sees the league revert to type with the top six spots occupied by the biggest clubs in the division.

Though the order between them changes weekly, Chelsea have now opened up a six-point gap ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool and are guaranteed to be top at Christmas, an occurrence that has seen them lift the Premier League title on each of the four occasions it has happened.

This is how the Premier League table looks as of Wednesday night (matchday 16):

Contrast the fortunes of both teams mentioned above to where they were a year ago, and it makes for fascinating reading:

Compared to the first 16 games of last season, Chelsea are now, incredibly, 25 points better off than they were this time last season. Indeed, the 1-0 win against Sunderland was their 13th victory of this campaign – they only won 12 in total under Mourinho and Guus Hiddink last year.

Leicester, in contrast, have been hugely underwhelming. Whether it is down to second season syndrome or prioritising the Champions League (which they have been more than solid in), Claudio Ranieiri’s side have picked up just 16 points so far this season – 19 less than at this time last year.

Another big mover (in the right direction) has been Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp was still finding his bearings in England around this time last season, having taken over from Brendan Rodgers two months earlier, but the steep learning curve followed by his first pre-season and summer transfer window with the club have paid dividends. They now sit ten points better off than last year and are, as Rodgers might say, “in the conversation” for the title.Unbelievable: Premier League Table Now Compared To One Year Ago 1

For all of the pre-season confidence at Manchester City and mid-season confidence at Arsenal, both find themselves one point better off than last season. Both ended up falling away in the title race (though the latter did finish second), but will be confident that their summer arrivals mean that they can last the distance this time.

Tottenham are also better off than last year, to the tune of four points. They were Leicester’s most consistent challengers in the latter half of last season so while they have been going through a rough patch recently, Mauricio Pochettino and his side will be hoping for a similar level of consistency going forward this year.

The only title contenders to actually be having a statistically worse season, however, are Manchester United. Despite having the most expensive squad ever assembled (including world record signing Paul Pogba) as well as the appointment of José Mourinho in the summer, Man United are two points worse off than at matchday 16 in 2015.Unbelievable: Premier League Table Now Compared To One Year Ago 2

Of course, given the fact that they have started grinding out wins, coupled with the fact that this was around the time last year that they were enduring a run of form that nearly saw Louis van Gaal sacked, that statistic should change sooner rather than later. Still, it points to the fact that Mourinho and Man United are underachieving.

Everton and Southampton find themselves on the exact same points haul as last season (despite Ronald Koeman jumping ship from the latter to the former).

Crystal Palace and West Ham are eleven and eight points worse off respectively. Both were eyeing up Europe at that time but Alan Pardew and Slaven Bilic are now in very real danger of losing their jobs in the near future. Stoke, meanwhile, are down three points though they have done well to recover from a slow start tot he campaign.

Bournemouth and West Brom are in the top half with a points difference of five and three respectively, while Watford are slightly less off with Walter Mazzarri collecting four points less than Quique Sánchez Flores last season.The Los Angeles Clippers' Austin Rivers (25) shoots a 3-point shot past the Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon (00) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. The Clippers won, 113-108. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

Of the remaining teams who didn’t go on to be relegated last May, Sunderland and Swansea were occupying two of the bottom four places back then, as they also do now. Compared December 2015, Sunderland have point less and are one place lower, while Bob Bradley’s side have two points less and, likewise, are one place lower.

As it stands now, it is far too early to be definitively discussing where each side could end up, but the pattern so far will have each manager by now figuring out how ambitious or nervous their sides should be.



Shocking Revelation: How Arsenal helped Leicester to win the league last season?

Leicester City players were ‘unified’ in their hunt for Premier League title glory after seeing Arsenal players’ celebration pictures following Leicester’s 2-1 defeat in February.

In his new book on the story of Leicester’s triumphant 2015/16 season, ’Fearless: The Amazing Underdog Story of Leicester City, the Greatest Miracle in Sports History’, Foxes stars recounted to writer Jonathan Norcroft about the aftermath of their defeat at the Emirates.
As Norcroft writes, Arsenal players including Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil posted photos of themselves celebrating in the dressing room after clinching a last-gasp victory over their surprise title rivals thanks to an injury-time header from Danny Welbeck.
Welbeck was at the centre of the post-win celebrations as teammates danced around him, chanting his name as photos circulated on the players’ social media channels – much to the anger of Robert Huth.


A photo posted by Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) on

best. team. ??? #AFCvLCFC #Arsenal #YaGunnersYa #BeTheDifference #bigpoints

A photo posted by Mesut Özil (@m10_official) on

“For me the key point was when we lost to Arsenal,” the German is quoted as saying in the book. “Everyone was celebrating, they were doing selfies. Even though we were still top. A few of the lads stuck a few [of Arsenal’s] pictures up and it got the blood boiling. It gave us an extra yard in the next few games.”

Leicester would go on to record eight wins and three draws after facing Arsenal on February 14th, lifting the Premier League trophy at the King Power Stadium on May 7th.
The team’s long-serving captain, Wes Morgan, said: “We had 10 men for the best part of the second half and for them to only score in the last minute and then celebrate how they did… . it proved how good we are.”

Danny Simpson was sent after 54 minutes with Leicester still 1-0 ahead courtesy of a Jamie Vardy penalty before half time, but Arsenal would equalise 16 minutes after the right-back’s second yellow card.

Andy King said: “A lot of people looked at that game: ‘This is it, the bubble has burst.’ We didn’t look at it like that. It had taken them 95 minutes to score two past 10 men.”

“There were people after that game who thought they had won the World Cup. They were on their knees, pointing to the skies, doing victory laps of honour . . . We were like, ‘Hold on’.”

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was equally frustrated at what he felt were Arsenal players overreacting after the result.

“I mean, come on,” said the Danish keeper. “It was our third defeat of the season. Three defeats all season? That was amazing. I felt that we had been resilient. That it didn’t matter about the result. Eleven versus eleven — we were comfortable. They hadn’t had a shot on target at that point. Even with 10 men, we were comfortable.

“Losing the game in the way we did? Seeing Arsenal celebrate as if they had basically won the league against us: that a victory against us could mean so much to them? It really showed how far we’d come. Watching them [celebrate], for me, was actually a boost.

“Social media is dangerous. Very dangerous.”

Arsenal finished the season in second place, 10 points behind Leicester in the table, recording the club’s highest final position since the 2004/5 season.

Manchester City complete signing of IIkay Gundogan
Manchester City complete signing of IIkay Gundogan

Official: Manchester City complete signing of IIkay Gundogan

Premier League giants Manchester City have completed the signing of German midfielder IIkay Gundogan.

The confirmation came via twitter, Manchester City’s tweet read:

The initial announcement came in a weird manner when IIkay Gundogan had tweeted ‘@MCFC Announce Gundogan’ and Manchester City immediately responded.

After completion of the midfielder’s signing, the club released a statement which read: ‘City are delighted to announce the signing of Ilkay Gundogan.

German international Gundogan joins City from Borussia Dortmund on a four-year deal.

A creative, technically proficient midfielder, the 25-year old can operate anywhere in the middle of the park and will give incoming manager Pep Guardiola plenty of options.’

After joining the club Gundogan said: “I’m thrilled to have signed for Manchester City. When I learned of City’s interest my heart was set on coming here and things have moved very quickly.

“I have loved my time with Borussia Dortmund and I would like to thank the club and the supporters for the five very happy years I spent there.

“They gave me a platform to play on and I became a better player because of the belief, patience and trust they showed in me.

“Now I have a new challenge and that is to achieve great things with City. The opportunity to work with a coach like Pep Guardiola is something I am really looking forward to and I am flattered to be the first signing the Club has made this summer.

“I can promise the City fans I will give everything to help us win titles both in England and the Champions League. These are exciting times.

“I have my best years ahead of me and I think we can achieve great things together. I can’t wait to begin this new chapter in my career.”

The club’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain said: “Ilkay is an excellent addition to our team and we are delighted to have him on board.

“He is an intelligent and versatile midfielder who can operate in a number of different roles. I think our supporters will enjoy his work ethic and technical ability and I believe he will be a very important player for us in the coming years.”

Manchester United announce Jose Mourinho as their new manager
Manchester United announce Jose Mourinho as their new manager

Official: Manchester United announce Jose Mourinho as their new manager

Premier League giants Manchester United have officially announced Jose Mourinho as their next club manager.

They confirmed the news on twitter. Their tweet read:

The former Chelsea boss who was sacked from Chelsea last season midway has appointed by Manchester United. Jose Mourinho has signed a three contract with the club in effect from the 2016/17 season.

After officially announcing Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford, club’s Executive vice-Chairman, Ed Woodward said: “José is quite simply the best manager in the game today. He has won trophies and inspired players in countries across Europe and, of course, he knows the Premier League very well, having won three titles here.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome him to Manchester United. His track record of success is ideal to take the club forward.”

Mourinho was quoted saying: “To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game. It is a club known and admired throughout the world. There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match.

“I have always felt an affinity with Old Trafford; it has hosted some important memories for me in my career and I have always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans. I’m looking forward to being their manager and enjoying their magnificent support in the coming years.”

Jose Mourinho’s arrival at the club marks the beginning of a new era at Manchester United. Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, the club’s performance graph went downwards. Two managers have been sacked from the club in the last 3 seasons.

Dutch manager Louis van Gaal left the job a week back after Manchester United lifted the FA Cup title, their only silverware in the last three seasons.

Bundesliga star lands in Merseyside ahead of switch to Liverpool
Bundesliga star lands in Merseyside ahead of switch to Liverpool

Bundesliga star lands in Merseyside ahead of switch to Liverpool

After a disappointing end to the first half-season in charge of Liverpool, manager Jurgen Klopp is reportedly ready to complete deals for top transfer targets even before the start of the summer transfer window.

Looking at the performances of the season, Liverpool need a lot of reinforcements especially at the back as they have time and again shown their weaknesses giving away easy goals to the opponents.

And it is now understood that Klopp has taken the first step in strengthening his defense by making an imminent switch for star-Bundesliga goal-keeper.

Simon Mignolet, the first choice shot-stopper has been criticized even before the start of the 2015-16 season and has been horrendous at times in front of goal for the Reds.

That has seen them scout for a number of keepers in Europe and it is now reported that Klopp is ready to raid one of his former clubs and is set to sign Mainz shot-stopper Loris Karius in the upcoming days.

Sources close to the club have revealed that the 22-year old is in Liverpool ahead of a £4.7m switch this summer and that an official announcement about the move will be made in the upcoming days.

Over the season, Klopp had scouts looking closely at the player who was named the joint-third best goalkeeper in Bundesliga by the fans.

Karius, who is all by a Liverpool player now will follow Marko Grujic and Joel Matip in the Liverpool squad next season.

It was also revealed that the former German U-21 international signed a new contract with the club in January that saw a €10 million release clause inserted but with the English club in advance talks with the players, the price is said to be less than half of the clause in the contract.

Karius is already accustomed to the Premier League having spent a couple of years in Manchester City’s academy before moving to the Bundesliga.

Volker Struth, the agent of the 22-year old who has played a huge role in Karius’ move is also the agent of Liverpool’s top transfer target Mario Gotze and the Reds are hoping to persuade him to have Gotze leave the Bundesliga and join Liverpool this summer.

However, at just 22-years of age, many fans felt that he is not the right person to take over Mignolet and wanted the manager to sign a top-class shot-stopper this summer.

Here is how the Liverpool fans reacted to the news:



Some eager Red fans already changed his Wikipedia page even before the announcement


However, Klopp might be in the market anyway with Adam Bogdan set to be released by the club and Danny Ward being scouted by a number of clubs for a loan deal.

Do you think Loris Karius will bench Simon Mignolet at Liverpool?

Manchester City's Demichelis fined for betting misconduct
Manchester City's Demichelis fined for betting misconduct

Manchester City’s Demichelis fined for betting misconduct

London, May 18 (IANS) Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis has been fined 22,058 pounds ($32,200) after accepting a charge of misconduct in relation to betting, the English Football Association (FA) announced on Wednesday.

Demichelis was also warned about his future conduct after he “breached FA Rule E8 in respect of 29 bets placed on football matches between 22 January 2016 and 15 February 2016,” the FA said in a statement.

He was charged by the FA on March 30 and subsequently decided not to contest it.

The Argentina centre-back, 35, made 31 appearances for City this season. The club finished fourth in the Premier League table and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Ibrahimovic's next club not yet decided: Agent
Ibrahimovic's next club not yet decided: Agent

Ibrahimovic not offered Man U contract: Agent

Paris, May 17 (IANS) Swedish star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola on Tuesday said there is no truth behind reports that his client has been offered a Manchester United contract.

The Sweden captain announced last week that he would be moving from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, which prompted speculation about his move to the English Premier League.

“In this world, we have to accept some journalists use their imagination and make things up,” Raiola was quoted as saying by Skysports.

“The story is not factual.”

Reports have emerged in France stating that United have offered the 34-year-old a one-year deal, with an option for a second year.

Ibrahimovic played his final home game on Saturday and has scored 154 goals in 179 games since joining the club in the summer of 2012 from AC Milan.

He has helped PSSG capture the Ligue 1 title in all the four seasons. Ibrahimovic finished as top scorer in France in 2012-13, 2013-14 and the just-concluded 2015-16 season with 38 strikes.

Ibrahimovic has an impressive CV as he featured in some of the best clubs in Europe. Having started his career at Swedish club Malmo, he went on to play for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan and PSG.

He has also been a prolific scorer for his country with 62 goals in 112 matches.

Sunderland survive, Newcastle, Norwich relegated in EPL
Sunderland survive, Newcastle, Norwich relegated in EPL

Sunderland survive, Newcastle, Norwich relegated in EPL

London, May 12 (IANS) Sunderland secured their English Premier League place and relegated Norwich and Newcastle United after beating Everton 3-0 at home.

Patrick van Aanholt scored with a 25-meter free-kick and Lamine Kone added two more to give Sunderland an unsurpassable four points lead over both Newcastle and Norwich with just one game to play on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

Sunderland’s survival depended a lot on the appointment of coach Sam Allardyce after Dick Advocaat resigned last October following eight games without a win.

Allardyce, who has never seen a Premier League side relegated in 25 years, saw the Black Cats lose only twice in their past 13 games.

Their victory leaves them four points ahead of both Newcastle and Norwich with just one game to play.

Norwich were relegated to the Championship despite a 4-2 victory over Watford at Carrow Road.

Troy Deeney had given Watford the lead, but Norwich responded through Nathan Redmond’s strike, Dieumerci Mbokani’s tap-in and a Craig Cathcart own goal.

Odion Ighalo pulled a goal back, but Mbokani dinked in Norwich’s fourth.

In the day’s other match, Christian Benteke’s late header cancelled out Eden Hazard’s brilliant solo goal as Liverpool kept alive their slim hopes of a top-six league finish.

Chelsea winger Hazard fired a low shot into the corner after a dazzling run to record his fourth goal in four games.

But substitute Benteke earned Liverpool a point in added time when he pounced after an error from Asmir Begovic.

Liverpool remain eighth and are within three points of sixth-placed West Ham.


Loss to West Ham a mental blow: Man United coach van Gaal

London, May 11 (IANS) Manchester United head coach Louis van Gaal has termed as a “mental blow” their 2-3 loss to West Ham United, which forced their European Champions League football qualification out of their hands.

A brace from forward Anthony Martial put United 2-1 up until the 72nd minute on Tuesday but West Ham scored twice in the next eight minutes through Michail Antonio (76th) and Winston Reid (80th) as the hosts bade farewell to their 112-year-old home, the Boleyn Ground.

Top four EPL teams qualify for the next season’s Champions League and as things stand, champions Leicester City (80 points), second-placed Tottenham Hotspur (70 points) and third-placed Arsenal (68 points) have qualified for the continent’s premier club tournament.

With a round of games to go, fourth-placed Manchester City have 65 points and their cross-town rivals United have 63.

In their next fixture, United not only have to beat Bournemouth on Sunday but also will hope that 11th-placed Swansea City beat Manchester City.

“We have fought the whole season for a qualification position for the Champions League. And still we are fighting until the end. On the last day, we can finish fourth. It’s still possible… only now we are depending on City,” van Gaal told his club’s website, manutd.com on Tuesday.

“Before this game, we had it in our own hands, so that’s the difference. Every defeat is disappointing. Tonight is a mental blow but against Bournemouth, we have to give everything so we don’t give Manchester City a free trip into the Champions League.”

The Dutchman also regretted the fact that two of their final goals conceded came from set-pieces — which they should have avoided.

“I think the disappointment is because we were 2-1 ahead. We changed the match in our favour, in a fantastic way,” he reflected.

“Then you lose because of the set-plays. I said before the match that we would try to organise everything but still we missed by centimetres. We had a lot of set-play goals against us and that is disappointing because it had a big consequence. You lose a game you have to win.”

The coach also refused to blame the chaotic welcome to the squad’s bus as a reason for the loss. United’s team bus was pelted with bottles on their arrival at the ground.

West Ham to issue life ban for United bus attackers
West Ham to issue life ban for United bus attackers

West Ham to issue life ban for United bus attackers

London, May 11 (IANS) West Ham United are set to issue life bans to fans who are found responsible for attacking a Manchester United team bus.

West Ham defeated Manchester United 3-2 in their English Premier League (EPL) game on Tuesday, but before the contest, some of the home fans attacked the rival team bus. A window of the bus was smashed and the kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes as a result of the trouble.

“It was an extraordinary night full of extraordinary moments in front of extraordinary fans … 99 percent of whom behaved impeccably and were a credit to the club,” a statement on the West Ham website read.

“However, we are aware that there were some supporters outside the Boleyn Ground who didn’t act in an appropriate way when the Manchester United team bus was damaged. That was not acceptable and we will work with the police to identify those responsible and ban them for life,” the statement added.

The attack was not limited to the bus. Bottles were also hurled at United goalkeeper David De Gea during the game.

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