Premier League Preview (April 26th, 27th and 28th).

Published: Apr 24, 2014 21:15pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 24, 2014 @ 09:15pm EDT

 

Well after a turbulent week at Old Trafford it is actually quite nice to start talking about the games coming up this weekend. In what has been a very exciting Premier League campaign the events at Manchester United, since the season started really, have tried to overshadow the League.

 

The title cannot be won this weekend technically even if Liverpool win and Manchester City lose this weekend. Although it would pretty much over Manchester City would still not be mathematically out of the race.

 

The same can be said at the bottom of the League with no teams to be confirmed relegated this weekend either. So, with that said, with only three weeks to go there are still half the teams with things to fight for, whether it be to avoid relegation, fighting for the title or just Champions League and Europa League for next season.

 

SATURDAY (All Kick Off Times 3pm BST/ 10am ET unless stated):

 

Southampton v Everton (12:45 BST/ 7:45 ET):

The early game on Saturday sees one of those sides with really nothing to fight for against a side who still have everything to play for. If Everton can win at St Mary’s this weekend it will leapfrog them above Arsenal for 48 hours at least.

Champions League would be fantastic for Everton and, although a win wouldn’t secure that, it will mean that European football of some description next season.

For Southampton, with one win in the last four, it will be a chance to secure their top half finish for this season. The highest they can realistically finish is where they currently are and so with the World Cup coming up you may not see some of Southampton’s International hopefuls stretching for that tackle as much as they would earlier on in the season. That’s not to say Southampton will roll over but I think the desire for points will be one side would be at a higher level in one dugout.

Prediction: 0-2.

 

Fulham v Hull:

Last season this was a 2-0 win for Fulham and with the London club fighting for their survival a similar result would be more than welcome this time around too. Two wins against sides in and around them in recent weeks have moved Felix Magath’s side from having a glimmer of hope to actually having a good shot to survive.

Steve Bruce may have his attention on the sides first FA Cup Final in a little over three weeks from now. They can technically still get relegated but in order for that to happen they would need to have teams below them go on superb runs and not pick up a single point themselves. That said, a win on Saturday means they will not have to look over their shoulder for the next few weeks and really enjoy the build up to their historic Cup Final.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

Stoke v Tottenham:

How much fight do either of these sides really have at this point in the season? Stoke City are not in danger of going down and secured their Premiership status officially a couple of weeks ago. Now they have the chance of finishing between ninth and eleventh, they are currently tenth. Certainly a top ten finish would represent a good season but the fact is the side has grown and developed over the season that I am not sure that a poor finish will tarnish that.

In the case of Tottenham things have not gone to well there since Gareth Bale left. The multi millions gained from his sale were not spent well and now things are still up in the air as to where the club goes next with a head coach. Tim Sherwood has done okay since being given the job but, as predicted, it’s looking as if his time as head coach will end when the season does. With that in mind the players may not feel they have to impress him nor will he feel the need to impress the board.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

Swansea v Aston Villa:

Both clubs are not mathematically safe but I think are enough points ahead of the others to feel comfortable in planning for next season in the Premier League.

Aston Villa have been winless in the last five games and events last weekend saw the suspension of two senior staff members for reasons, as yet, unknown. A 0-0 draw at home to Southampton last time has broken that losing streak but I am not sure either side will do much to change last seasons result in this game.

A late Danny Graham goal cancelled out a Benteke penalty to end the game in a 2-2 draw and that pretty much sums up the results with the five Premiership meetings resulting in three draws and a win a piece.

Swansea have really been the victims of their own success with the progression in the Europa League causing their domestic league form dipping.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

West Brom v West Ham:

Pepe Mel will most likely be going all out in this game against West Ham on Saturday with a win almost certainly secure their Premiership survival. Even though they have a game in hand, after this weekend, their next game is away to Arsenal, who are fighting for the top four. From there they go away to Sunderland, who are fighting against relegation which means a defeat this Saturday may mean they are still needing a result n the last day, and that is never a good situation.

For West Ham, they are pretty much safe from relegation now, and so can enjoy the rest of the season. This was not the case just a few months ago and in ten meetings West Brom have only won once. Last season these teams played out a goalless draw but I doubt this one will end with no goals, considering West Broms need of points.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

Man Utd v Norwich (5:30 BST/ 12:30 ET):

Probably the only group of people the David Moyes sacking would have upset more than the Moyes household would be the Norwich City fans. That is not to say that they would have got the win at Old Trafford under Moyes but there was a chance. Many sides have gone to Old Trafford this season, kept the side quiet for a while and then have the fans turn on the side or get nervous. From there they have gone on to get the points and that would have been Neil Adam’s hope before Mondays rumors started.

Ryan Giggs is manager though now and the boost that potentially could give the side and the home fans could make a difference. Add to that the fact that David Moyes thanked everyone except the players and no players had taken to Twitter to wish him luck which makes me think that my hunch was right and the players didn’t want him as head coach.

A shining light for Norwich though would be that their last games will be against Chelsea, who may be looking ahead to a Champions League Final, and after a big midweek game. If they are still in with a chance on the last day then a home game to an Arsenal side with an FA Cup Final less than a week away, could be just the game they need.

Prediction: 4-0.

 

SUNDAY:

 

Sunderland v Cardiff (12pm BST/ 7am ET):

Sunday sees two big games, one at the top of the league and the other at the bottom. The first one sees the battle for Premiership survival as two teams in the relegation zone go head to head. Both are in need of all three points and so one set of fans, or both if it’s a draw, will be unhappy. Sunderland do have an extra game to play but after this game they travel away to Manchester United before hosting West Brom and finishing up welcoming Swansea to the Stadium of Light.

For Cardiff a loss here could be more devastating with their next game away to Newcastle before finishing the season at home to a potentially title chasing Chelsea.

Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turn the fortunes of the club around and keep them in the Premiership? I have doubted it for a while but with three games to go they are still in with a chance and a win on Sunday will do nothing but increase their chances.

Prediction: 3-1.

 

Liverpool v Chelsea (2:05 BST/ 9:05 ET):

It is looking more and more likely that Liverpool will be lifting the trophy this season and certainly eleven wins from the last eleven games has shown their focus on the end prize. Chelsea are still in with a shout for the title but have a dilemma facing them because of the injuries picked up last week and they have a decent shout at a Champions League Final. Jose Mourinho has hinted that he may field a weakened side for this vital game in the Premiership but I would hope not.

A win for Liverpool would certainly eliminate Chelsea from the race for the title and I am not sure that Jose Mourinho would be happy with that at all. I would certainly be surprised if he put his ego to one side and pretty much hand the title to Liverpool.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

Crystal P v Man City (4:10 BST/ 11:10 ET):

Manchester City will head into this game against Crystal Palace knowing if the title race is still on. Anything but a Liverpool win will give Manuel Pellegrini and his side huge hope when taking the field.

Manchester City have faced, and beaten, Tony Pulis sides at key points in their history and have succeeded every time. Back in 1999 City beat Gillingham in the third tier playoff game and secure their financial future. Over a decade later City beat Stoke City in the FA Cup Final to get their first trophy in over three decades and kick start the subsequent trophy wins.

The last time City played Crystal Palace in the League at Selhurst park was back in 2004. That day two Nicolas Anelka goals, one a penalty was too much for Palace, who did get a consolation goal, again from the spot, through Andrew Johnson.

Prediction: 1-3.

 

MONDAY:

 

Arsenal v Newcastle (8pm BST/ 3pm ET):

Top four or trophy? Well Arsenal could end up with either, both or neither such has been the season they have had. Everton’s weekend result would be well in the minds of the Arsenal fans before this game gets started and, depending on their result, could mean Arsenal pretty much secure their top four finish on Monday.

Will this be Arsene Wengers last season as Arsenal Manager? The rumors have certainly started that it may be the right time to bow out. With that being the case this could be his last game at the Emirates under floodlights.

For Newcastle the season, like most other seasons at Newcastle, can be written off as a loss. What started out with some promise flunked after losing key players at the very end of both transfer windows and no replacements coming in. The guy responsible for that debacle has left the club but yet again the Toon Army are left to reflect on what could have been.

Prediction: 2-0.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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