Premier League Preview (March 1st and 2nd)

Published: Feb 28, 2014 12:29pm EST
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 28, 2014 @ 12:29pm EST

 

Yesterday I took the time to look at the Capital One Cup Final taking place this Sunday. Today it is back to the Premier League and a look at the fixtures along with my own prediction on the scores, which is always so accurate and you can take that to the bank!

Manchester City and Sunderland will not take place as their game on Sunday means they are otherwise occupied. Also you will notice neither Manchester United nor West Brom have a game this weekend either as United were due to take on rivals City. West Brom were due to travel to Sunderland on Saturday for their Premier League match, but everyone will be heading down to London.

 

SATURDAY (All Kick Off times 3pm GMT/10am ET unless stated):

Everton v West Ham

Roberto Martinez will be looking at this game, along with Manchester United having the weekend off, to try to regain the position lost last weekend. Despite their recent poor form they still have a 100% record at Goodison Park beating other relegation candidates Aston Villa and Norwich.

West Ham will not roll over easy though as they might have done two months ago. Now on a four game winning streak Big Sam Allardyce has his Hammers side smashing their way up the table and away from relegation danger. Their 19th century football from the end of January gave them an important point against the mighty Chelsea before going on this great run. Now they find themselves two points more away from the top eight than they are from the 18th position side.

I think Everton will be too much for the visitors this time around but really the focus for points are more important for the rest of March when they face relegation rivals Stoke, Hull and Sunderland.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

Fulham v Chelsea:

Bottom side Fulham have made a real mess of things so far this season. They fired Martin Jol toward the end of last year and replaced him with rene Meulensteen. The Fulham board then backed him in the transfer market before sacking him. Now Felix Magath has been installed as manager with a massive task and only eleven games in which to do it, the first of which is against Chelsea. Newcastle, Manchester City and Everton await them also in March so life will not get any easier. Currently their only saving grace is the fact that so many clubs above them are within six or so points of them, although they still have to get those six points!

Chelsea can increase their lead at the top of the table with a win and will move six points ahead of Cup Finalists Manchester City. Undefeated in February they will look to continue that in March, which is fantastic considering they have an aging Samuel Eto'o and no strike options!

Prediction: 0-2.

 

Hull v Newcastle:

The Tigers ripped poor Cardiff to pieces last weekend coming away with a 4-0 win. This weekend they face Newcastle United who are treading water around the mid table area. Currently Steve Bruce's side are only six points ahead of the relegation zone and so are not completely safe but I would be confident in putting money on them being in the Premier League next season.

Newcastle really had the potential for a good season in their hands and due to their transfer policy they now find themselves just going through the motions until the end of the season. Ten points away from 5th place and out of all cup competitions they are certainly in no danger of relegation or really finishing out of the top eleven.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

Stoke v Arsenal:

Mark Hughes side find themselves only three points above the relegation zone. They have recently beaten Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium and so will not fear the visit of Arsenal. That said, any points gained here would be considered a bonus. The following games against Norwich, West Ham, Villa and Hull are all matches of more importance to the Potters fans.

Arsene Wenger will be looking to keep pace with Chelsea, or even retake top spot if their London rivals slip up at Fulham. Questions have been asked all season about whether Arsenal can keep up the pace and many people, including me, have felt they would fall away from the pace after Christmas. As we head into March, though, they are right in the mix although they have not been consistent in the league in recent weeks.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

Southampton v Liverpool (5:30pm GMT/12:30 ET):

Expectation at St Mary's at the beginning of the season was high and for most part of the season those expectations were met, and exceeded. The injury to number one goalkeeper at the end of last year saw the Saints drop down in the standings and when the Chairman stood down, the fans got nervous. Recently things got back on track with an undefeated run until last week when Mauricio Pochettino's men fell to West Ham.

Liverpool will be in their way in the late game Saturday with their own fan expectations for the season reaching the stars. With Manchester City not playing in the League a win for the Merseyside team will see them leapfrog City and potentially Arsenal too depending on results. At the start of the weekend Brendan Rodgers side are only four points behind top spot team Chelsea.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

SUNDAY (4:30 GMT/11:30 ET):

 

Aston Villa v Norwich:

There was always going to be bad blood in this game. Norwich City fans have not forgiven Paul Lambert for leaving them a couple of seasons ago and always gets a 'warm' reception when he visits Carrow Road. Add to that the man they are missing this season, Grant Holt, joining up with Lambert and the fact both sides are level on points and in relegation trouble and you may not want to take your eyes off this one.

Villa lost their last game against Newcastle with a late goal from Loic Remy only managed a goal less draw away to Cardiff. In fact they last scored a goal in the League back exactly a month prior to this game.

Norwich will be in good spirits though after their well deserved win against Tottenham last weekend. The question will be if Chris Hughton can raise his players for a basement scrap. I expect some tasty tackles, many cards but not many goals.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

Swansea v Crystal Palace:

I was surprised that Swansea made the decision to replace their successful manager, Michael Laudrup, with the unproven Garry Monk. Early on he got fans onside with a 3-0 win against Cardiff but since then the results have dried up. The Europa League has been a distraction for the Swans without a doubt but their participation in the competition has now ended with defeat to Napoli. Only four points ahead of the relegation zone they really need to get maximum points from these home games against teams in and around them.

Crystal Palace are two points behind their hosts at kick off and certainly will be confident of getting at least a point from their trip. Since coming to the club Tony Pulis has made great strides towards securing Premiership status. Recently they have done very well in getting points against the relegation rivals, getting full points against West Brom, Hull and Stoke.

Prediction: 1-3.

 

Tottenham v Cardiff:

Spurs slipped off the pace with a surprise defeat against Norwich City last weekend. Since then they have said goodbye to Jermain Defoe, who is heading to Toronto FC. With that defeat Tim Sherwood now finds himself six points behind the coveted fourth position. I really do not see anything other than a win for the London side against the Welsh strugglers but, there again, I said the same last weekend about their game in Norfolk.

Cardiff City I think translates in Welsh to 'laughing stock'. Off the pitch and in the boardroom is where the calamity has been with the much publicized feud between then manager Malky Makay and owner Vincent Tan. Tan had said Malky wasted his money on players that were not good enough for this level. He fired Malky and hired Solskjaer who along with no manager experience at this level signed a bunch of players not good enough for this level! They haven't scored, nor won, in the League since February 1st. After this they play Fulham in a game that will no doubt be a must win for both sides.

Prediction: 5-0.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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