Premier League Sunday, Gameweek 36: Open Thread

Needless to say, today’s a massive day in the Premier League with three gigantic games — the first is a relegation battle between the bottom two clubs in the league, Sunderland and Cardiff, fighting to avoid relegation. Then there’s Liverpool vs Chelsea where the Reds could destroy Chelsea’s chances of winning the league and could gain a massive boost to move one step closer to winning the league. And then there’s Crystal Palace against Manchester City, where the Citizens will be hoping for a win to keep their title chances alive.

Here is today’s TV/Internet schedule for matches being shown in the US:

Sunderland vs Cardiff, 7am, NBCSN
Liverpool vs Chelsea, 9:05am, NBCSN
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, 11:10am, NBCSN

Starting line-ups:

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Puncheon, Chamakh, Jerome

Subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Dikgacoi, Ince, Gayle, Murray

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Milner, Garcia, Toure, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero

Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Richards, Clichy, Fernandinho, Jovetic, Negredo


Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Skrtel, Sakho, Gerrard, Allen, Lucas, Coutinho, Sterling, Suarez

Subs: Jones, Toure, Agger, Cissokho, Alberto, Aspas, Sturridge

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Kalas, Cole, Lampard, Mikel, Matic, Salah, Ba, Schurrle.

Subs: Hilario, Ake, Cahill, Van Ginkel, Baker, Willian, Torres.


Sunderland: Mannone, Vergini, Alonso, O’Shea (c), Brown, Cattermole, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, Borini, Wickham.

Subs: Bardsley, Gardner, Altidore, Giaccherini, Bridcutt, Scocco, Ustari.

Cardiff City: Marshall; KTC, Caulker (C), Cala, Fabio; Cowie, Medel, Whittingham, Dæhli; Mutch, Campbell.

Subs: Lewis; Turner, Jones, Eikrem, Zaha, Bellamy, John.


Before, during or after today’s matches, join the conversation in the comments section below with fellow soccer fans from around the world.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

204 thoughts on “Premier League Sunday, Gameweek 36: Open Thread”

  1. Early morning start for a relegation battle, and the first goal goes to Sunderland. Let’s see what Cardiff City is made of now, and let’s see if Sunderland can defend for once this season to prevent City from scoring.

    1. Spurs and Swansea would gladly take Caulker back. Marshall should have no problem finding a side in the Premier League too.

    1. Interesting, it took Chelsea their home pitch, their first team, and a goaltending error to beat Liverpool the first time.

    1. Goosebumps, for sure. That was one of the best renditions of YNWA in a long time. Great passion at Anfield.

  2. Mourinho already telling his team to stall the game in the first minute. Wonder if it will affect the Liverpool players.

  3. Mourinho looking like he just rolled out of bed. A different picture than what we saw with Ryan Giggs yesterday

    1. Football is made of defensive and offensive possession. Chelsea did great job defensive, and better one taking care of the few offensive opportunities they had. GO BLUE!!!

  4. Not sure Lucas and Allen are the answer as the 2 attacking center midfielders against this defensive Chelsea lineup

  5. The way this match is going it was wise for Rodgers to save Sturridge as an extra weapon for the 2nd half. Likewise Willian can have the same effect for Chelsea

  6. Credit to Chelsea. They’re a solid defensive team when they need to be, regardless of who is playing.
    Ba..He’s in!!!

  7. Even if Stevie G doesn’t win the League and I don’t want him to. He’s won the European Cup. That’s something most players only dream of winning and it’s the pinnacle of Club Football.
    I don’t see them scoring without conceding as Chelsea will have a field day on the counter attack. I don’t like Stevie but he deserves to win it.

  8. So do I want Liverpool to score and draw the game so I can collect 200 quid winnings on my bet or do I want them to lose the game and likely the league and collect no winnings.

      1. You have no idea Jtm. All my friends who booked flights and hotels to Liverpool for a victory parade will never live it down if the blow this.

  9. All this hype about liverpool losing could all be for naught as Javi Garcia is starting for Manchester City. And they are playing 4-4-2, straight into Palace’s hands.

    Wouldve liked to see Jovetic start instead of Aguero as Kun is way off form and it would give us more tactical flexibility.

    1. I was thinking exactly the same thing. The difference, however, was that the Devils took the puck out of the defensive end and the opposing teams could never get much going in their end.

  10. So Big Sam manages this way, and he’s a dinosaur who doesn’t know how to manage and Mou manages the same way he is a tactical genius, I don’t get it. Does that mean if Big Sam had a 300 million pound + squad he would be a tactical genius?

    1. Instead of down voting me for asking a logical question how about answering the question. Because outside of quality of sides managed I fail see to a difference. If a distinction does exist then explain it to me. I await your response, if your capable of formulating one.

      1. Ugh. I disagree. I think it was

        (A team that doesn’t know how to defend) 0 – (The only team in the League who knows how to defend) 2

        It’s sad to see educated soccer fans being brainwashed that defending is not part of the game. Shankly and Paisley agreed would’ve sided with Mourinho here because they both had the same style as this Chelsea team – A winning style

  11. Liverpool need Pulis to take his parking the bus crown back from Jose.

    And before anyone says it’s anti football, get fu@$ed you snobs. It’s easy to play football against teams that let you, if you want to be the best you also have to be able to beat the teams that will not let you play.

    1. But Chelsea were wasting time less than 30 minutes into the game. At least Pulis’s Stoke City would wait a little while into the second half.

    2. To call someone a snob for wanting to be entertained by a sport, is f**ked. Bottomline it’s antientertainment. Football is a sport, sports, from the fan perspective, is about entertainment. That display was not entertaining, ergo from a fan perspective it was antifootball.

        1. I agree completely, his premise was faulty I could have critized from any number of perspectives. As you point indicates, to play that style with that valuable of a squad is pathetic.

      1. Ask the Chelsea fans whether they were entertained. All Mourinho has to do is keep them and Roman happy.

        There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

        If Rogers team was capable of attacking AND defending he could have set up the same way and forced Chelsea to attack. His problem is his team can’t, and that’s a deficiency, not a thing to be proud of. Almost like Keegan at Newcastle, stunning to watch but equally one dimensional.

          1. So then you were a huge fan of that Ravens team which won the bowl win with Trent Dilfer at quarterback right. Look I agree sometimes you have to ugly but for fans to pretend they enjoy watching their team play like that every week, I don’t buy it. If they don’t win anything this year or next their true feelings will come out.

          2. I actually love defensive football, so yes thati was a fan of that Ravens team. The fact they beat the Giants in the Superbowl helped, too.

          3. scott, you obviously don’t watch much Chelsea because if you did you would know that they don’t always play this way but only when they have to.

        1. If Liverpool won that way, I would have been relieved that they managed three points despite less than 30 percent possession, not entertained. As a Liverpool fan, there was certainly more to be entertained by.

          Chelsea walk away with the points, fans will be happy. Chelsea performance in the offensive end will lead their fans to being a little sheepish.

        2. If winning and entertainment are synonymous then they were entertained, however I don’t believe they synonyms and don’t believe they were. I also know they will never admit how awful it is to watch Mou manage their team because then they would be disloyal to their team or maybe most of them are just glory hunting plastics. All I know is here in the States, its all about winning with style. You can win a lot of titles like the spurs but you won’t gain many fans because they don’t play with style. As for Liverpool, I have been friends since Dec. they don’t defended well enough to win the title. And there is a big difference between playing good defended, and that grab Mou’s sides to do. Ten men in the box with that squad pathetic.

        3. I also disagree. when push comes to shove Liverpool can defend. They snuffed out whatever Chelsea’s chances were today rather comfortably. Again, its mentality not ability. Most of the goals given up by Liverpool where conceded trying to kill off one-sided matches. When they don’t back off that’s when you get 4-0, 5-0 results.

      2. You’re wasting your time arguing with a stoke fan over the merits of entertainment. For ICK it’s all about the misery of following a team going nowhere grinding out just enough to stay up.

        Horses for courses, as they say.

          1. Well played Smokey. :-)

            Stoke: Higher place than last year. More points. Bigger gap above relegation. And to think some people picked us to be relegated!

      3. On the contrary, I found this game to be extremely entertaining. It even had a nail-biting finish. All the Liverpool fans here are just disappointed it’s not the finish they wanted

    3. ICK
      whatever it takes to win.Bottom line is the win and the points.Last time i checked most goals win not time of possession. Beauty in the eye of the beholder. :)

  12. Their is no sport or any League that can hold a candle to the EPL.Year in and year out it never fails to out do the previous year.

      1. It was Chelsea v Barcelona again. Defend your penalty area against a team with no plan B and finish them off on the counter attack.

    1. Painful…thankfully Everton will be in the Europa next year which means he’ll play Thursday/Sunday and won’t be on as much.

    2. At least he’s not with Arlo White. I can’t stand that blithering idiot. It sucks that NBC keeps putting him in all the big games.

          1. I’m not judging anyone….it’s an open thread…it’s something I noticed during his commentary today….had no idea about that handicap….don’t be so sensitive…

          2. Burnsey my comment was directed at you (about judging) it was directed at goatslookshifty

            I clicked on reply to goats but for some reason it put my reply under your name. Sorry.

  13. One individual mistake this whole calendar year and it may lose us the title. Reminds me of the Red Bulls year last year. Brilliant all year, winning the Supporters Shield and then 2 individual mistakes sent them home on their cup run. Houston played the same tactics as Chelsea and they benefited from it as well. One thing for sure, if it comes down to goal differential, Newcastle is going to feel like they’re playing the Seattle Seahawks that final match at Anfield

  14. Chelsea’s training schedule for next week has been leaked on the internet.

    Monday: Defending
    Tuesday: Time-wasting
    Wednesday: Simulation
    Thursday: Surrounding the referee
    Friday: Post-match interview practice

  15. I don’t see how any other teams in the Prem will be able to keep up with City or Chelsea over the next decade. It could be like having 2 United’s except with backing they have they’re permanent fixtures in the top 4. I don’t have a problem with that as it’s good to see diversity and not only the traditional clubs in the UCL but I’m just pointing it out.
    Arsenal well I don’t see them being that ambitious to go higher than 4th.
    United are in shambles and even they don’t have the money to keep up with them.
    Liverpool I fear this was our chance and we bottled it. We may have history but we can’t keep up with them financially and will we be able to score as much next season to make up for our defensive deficiencies. I hope this wasn’t a one season wonder but fair play to Chelsea. They may have parked the bus but at the end of the day they beat us and they didn’t cheat. Defending is an art the same way attacking is.

  16. Brendan Rodgers is now whining about Chelsea “parking the bus”. When titles are on the line, tactics take precedent over entertainment (for lack of a better word). A mistake by Gerrard cost them the game but that will never be admitted to by Brendan Rodgers.

    1. according to Rodgers Liverpool only do things the right way which means it ok when your players constantly dive to try and win penalties.

      Today was karma for all those attempts at conning the referee this season.

      1. I also thought Rodgers claim that Chelsea came for a draw was absurd. Chelsea NEEDED a win. Liverpool only needed a draw, but played right into Chelsea’s hands.

        1. How were they supposed to play? By not coming out of their defensive 3rd? They had a go and it didn’t work. Also I hope you all don’t mind when I say i’m sick and tired of listening to cynics talk about Liverpool’s diving. EVERY CLUB HAS DIVERS!!! EVERY PLAYER WHO MAKES HIS LIVING IN THE 18 YRD BOX HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF DIVING!!! So it’s karma for Liverpool to potentially have lost the title and Chelsea’s karma is to not be out of it already when they should have lost to West Brom? Didn’t Hazard buy a call by diving??? Did not John Terry convince the official to throw out Chico Flores @ Swansea??? Chelsea has divers (Hazard, Oscar, Torres), they CANNOT talk! Man United has divers (Rooney, Evra, VanPersie) they CANNOT talk! If you support a football club you support “simulators”. All this “what’s good for the goose is NOT good for the gander” talk is discouraging. I get enough of that from my wife!

  17. If you want to grow the game in the States, Mou’s tactics at one of the biggest clubs in the EPL is a disaster. If any newbe tunes to a big match with Chelsea in it they will see the worst stereotypes about the game on full display. Slow, boring, no action, no scoring. So say what you want about Mou, his style of play is poisonous for the growth of the game in the States.

    1. I agree with you. That was the opinion of myself. I would only watch during the World Cup. 0-0 knock the ball back and forth and play for ties was not appealing. If there are people sitting on the fence about what to get into next, either Football or NASCAR, NASCAR wins.

      1. Who could possibly argue that Chelsea game was a good advertisement for the game? P.S. goisles I’m talking to whoever down voted you.

        1. So your argument in favor of the match is a down vote. Not quite a convincing argument, but in fairness any mind which could see that Chelsea match as positive advert for soccer, probably isn’t capable of producing a coherent sentence.

        2. I think that was the first match that Liverpool played this year where it can be said that “wasn’t a good advertisement for the Premier League”. Themselves and Everton cornered the market on exciting competitive matches this year.

    2. My response would be to go and watch the precession that is the Bundesleague or La Liga. Pick one of 3 teams and watch how they use their financial clout to steamroll all before them with little or no opposition and lots of fancy flicks and tricks, where 90% of matches may as well be training for the Champions League. Monotonous certainly is the best way to describe it I guess. The problem today is Liverpool fans had probably started to feel like that.

      1. To be fair, La Liga has 3 teams in the title race this year, and none can take a game off because their rivals are winning almost every game. And i myself love watching the skill on display at Real and Barca.

        And Atletico are the title favourites playing physical, hard-working football. Fascinating stuff this year.

        Boring if youre a fan of a team outside the top 3, but great for neutrals.

      2. No fan could happen upon a German or Spanish league match, those levies are shown on channels most people don’t have access to. I am just making the point, if a causul sports fan came across a Mou Chelsea match, they may never watch another match, because every negative stereotype they have heard about soccer would be on full display with Mou’s tactics.

  18. I remember 4 years ago in a crucial match between Liverpool and Chelsea in Anfield. If Liverpool won then United would almost win the league, but Gerrard literally passed the ball to Drogba to score and Chelsea ended the match winning 2-0.

    I was hoping Gerrard would mess something up. Wohoo!!

    1. Stop it, you sound like a snivelling, middle class, Jack Wills wearing Arsenal fan – you should be a skin head, jellied eels, moody Stone Island wearing Meeewaaallll fan!

      1. Love it! Very funny ICK. Not one for the jellied eels myself. More a 2 pie 2 mash man. And you can’t beat Stone Island, some top clobber that!


          You’ll love this place then. I’ve been meaning to put something together about fashion being more important to some football fans than the actual result of the games. It’s a culture I think is unusual to football, and possibly only in the UK.

    2. At least pragmatism rules the day as I watch Villareal do the same thing to Barcelona. Barca controls the match and Villareal frustrates them by putting 10 men in the box. Barca has made more defensive mistakes than Liverpool already. Barca can find no space for their runs

  19. Three teams in the title race?! If Fergie was still in charge of United he wouldn’t allow that, United would’ve been 10 points clear on top.

  20. At the beginning of the day the title was Liverpool’s to lose. Now it’s City’s to lose. What a difference a few hours make.

    Another master-class from Mourinho. Liverpool were out of ideas in breaking down Chelsea. If you cannot score in your own backyard in one of the biggest games of the season then you cannot complain if you don’t win the title.

    Chelsea’s 20 year old Kalas was one of the standout performers and kept Suarez and company very quiet. Very impressive. It shows that a dogged defense is still better than a potent offense. Mourinho clearly won the managerial battle today and made Rodgers look very average as Rodgers had no answer to Chelsea’s game plan.

    There still may be twists and turns left in the season but right now it looks like it’s advantage Manchester City. I wouldn’t count Chelsea out of it entirely as they have two very winnable games, Norwich at home and the hapless Cardiff away.

      1. I saw nothing wrong with Big Sam’s tactics. There’s more than one way to play football. As long as it’s within the rules no one can complain. It may not be pretty but if it is effective then teams will use it.

        Mourinho knew that he could not afford to allow Liverpool to open them up so he put 9-10 men behind the ball and invited Liverpool to break them down. Liverpool couldn’t.

        1. Nobody could. Liverpool was the only one who tried. Actually,come to think of it,how would those tactics look if Schwarzer didn’t get his hands on some of those shots in the 2nd half. The keeper was actually the unsung hero of the match

          1. Kalas had a great game for first start.Schwarzer did make some good saves in second half.not sure about Sturridge if still injured or pouting because not in starting XI.

  21. Marc L
    if your out there you must have a smile on your face your boys are back in the cat bird seat. Hope all is well and hang on for four more huge matches.

  22. Alright, it’s been several hours later and I had time to mull the result over and …i’m depressed. Yes, of course, i’m still depressed and the anti-depressants are not helping. But I will not bemoan tactics and congratulate Chelsea on winning fair and square. I really underestimated Chelsea, not on the strategy used, everybody knew what they were going to do, but on the discipline shown by the players to carry out the plan flawlessly. That is the underlying theme here, Mourinho’s preparation of his squad. Case in point, Chelsea neutralized Liverpool’s counter attack by NOT attacking for how can you counter an attack that doesn’t happen? Secondly, Chelsea did a real good job with their backs positionally, especially around the 18 yard box. I cant remember a Chelsea player having to leave his feet around the box neutralizing Liverpool’s set piece proficiency and their ability to draw penalties. Well played by Chelsea all the way around from line to line. A professional and Championship type performance. Now excuse me while I go back to bury my head in my hands. :(

  23. To go to City and Liverpool and produce two clean sheets is outstanding.

    Chelsea have undermined their own fall from winning the league outright but however the league season ends, Chelsea know that head to head, no team in the top four was better than they were.

    On to Wednesday, where a birth in the European Cup Final is, hopefully, 90 minutes away.

  24. I wonder what would happen if a team refused to play football to Mou’s antifootball. But instead played antifootball instead. In norther words, what if Liverpool had just parked 10 men in and around the box too. Would the strikers just chase the ball around the midfield and it would end a draw or would Mou’s team be forced to play football?

    1. I said the same thing to my friend (except with less harsh views toward defensive football) to my friend. Couldve led to a hilarious standoff.

    2. There was one point in the second half when Chelsea had the ball and were moving forward towards Liverpool’s half of the pitch, but Mourinho told the players to hold on to the ball, and I think it was a combination of Demba Ba and Willian who then stopped moving forward and turned around to drift near the halfway line — essentially going backwards instead of attacking Liverpool’s goal.

      A moment later, Chelsea lost the ball and Liverpool countered, but it didn’t result in anything. But Scott’s point is valid. What if Liverpool had played with the same tactics? We would have ended up with a West Germany against Austria 1982 World Cup game where both teams effectively stopped playing.

      1. No point in over committing players forward when you’re already winning 1-0 and need all three points from the game. If may not be pretty but it’s effective if done properly.

        1. Yes, Chelsea needed all three points. For me the issue is that they were not trying to score at all from the start and only scored because of a disastrous and fluky slip by Gerrard.

          If you’re playing for a 0-0 because you’d be happy with the result that’s one thing. Mourinho had his team playing for 0-0 even though that result did them no good. It’s cynical.

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