Premier League Preview (March 22nd and 23rd)

Published: Mar 21, 2014 14:41pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 21, 2014 @ 02:41pm EDT

 

As I keep saying every week the Premier League is tight at the bottom and top of the League meaning that every week there are a few really big and important game. Chelsea are still top of the League currently despite losing away to Aston Villa last weekend. This week they progressed in the Champions League but will welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge in the early game Saturday.

With eight or nine games left a slump now could be dangerous for the teams like Chelsea, vying for the Premiership title. Finding form now though could also lift those relegation bound up and out of danger and so its all still to pay for.

 

SATURDAY (Kick Off 3pm GMT/11am ET unless stated):

 

 

Chelsea v Arsenal (12:45 GMT/8:45 ET):

The early game on Saturday is a big one. Usually Chelsea and Arsenal is a massive game anyway but this year you have an added spice with Mourinho. The Chelsea boss has never really had much time for Arsene Wenger and in his previous time at Chelsea called the Frenchman a voyeur, because in a couple of his press conferences he mentioned the Chelsea transfer policy. This season he has kept stoking the flames with comments that Arsene only knows failure. Mourinho’s comments at press conferences but his comments about Manchester City, referees, Arsenal and others now make him look more like ‘Marvin’, the robot in ‘Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy’.

Currently only four points behind Chelsea with a game in hand I think a win for either is that much more important. For Arsene this game represents his 1,000th game in charge for the Gunners (see article) and a win would be a nice way to celebrate. Certainly the Gunners will need to be better than they were last week against Tottenham, but at least they got the win. Chelsea fell to a struggling Aston Villa, had two players sent off along with their manager Marvin!

Jose Mourinho has not lost a League game at home all season and I am not sure that will change against Arsenal, especially now they face a tough Champions League Quarter Final against PSG. With Wenger maybe having one eye on the FA Cup his side could potentially lift I think he will settle for a tied game, and players getting out with no major injuries.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

 

Cardiff v Liverpool:

The ex Manchester United legend and manager of Cardiff, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, takes on Liverpool and ex Swansea City Manager, Brendan Rodgers in what should be three more points for the visitors.

The home side has slipped down further since the sacking of Malky Mackay and that decision by owner Vincent Tan, along with the cash injection for players, could be pivotal in the future of Cardiff City football club. We have seen the over extension of sides before with Portsmouth and Leeds United still reeling from the over extension of finances. OGS had a lot of work to do when he came to Cardiff the side were outside the relegation zone and had 18 points from 20 games. Now they are three points from safety having only securing seven points from ten games. Liverpool, on the other hand, have managed twenty three in one game less.

I do not see any scenario in which Cardiff will win this one with the form Liverpool are in and a tied game, although at home and usually a good result, may not be enough for the red bluebirds.

Prediction: 0-3.

 

 

Everton v Swansea:

With Tottenham not playing until the Sunday a win for Everton against Swansea will leapfrog them back into fifth place, at least for twenty four hours. Roberto Martinez started off great as Everton manager, and if the season were to end now it would have to be considered a decent first season, but they have slipped off the pace in recent weeks.

Swansea, like Cardiff, fired their successful manager and installed an inexperienced replacement. Although they are out of the relegation zone currently they are not safe and wrong results over the weekend could pile the pressure back on the Welsh side.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

 

Hull v West Brom:

Two teams in danger of relegation fight it out but the Hull City fans are much happier than the West Brom faithful. I think Hull City will be safe at the end of the season and just need to pick up a few more points to make the rest of the season more relaxing. That way they can enjoy an FA Cup semi final, and potential first ever FA Cup Final, when it comes. Off the field it looks as if their name will stay as it is, and that is good news.

For West Brom there is not much light in their tunnel with the side struggling for goals, and firing Nicolas Anelka recently hasn’t helped. Yes he was suspended for numerous games but it would have been good to at least look ahead to the later games knowing he would be coming back, potentially with something to prove.

It will be a tough last two months for West Brom fans and for Pepe Mel. Personally I think Fulham and Cardiff are certainties for going down at the seasons end. West Broms job now is to get and stay above at least one other.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

 

Man City v Fulham:

The Premier League is Manchester City’s priority now after being eliminated from the FA Cup and Champions League in recent weeks. This has to be bad for Fulham who may have looked at this fixture a few weeks ago hoping City may be focused in other directions. Vincent Kompany will miss the game after his sending off last weekend and the fact that Lescott and the error prone Demichelis could be in line at the back which could possibly give the visitors a glimmer of hope going into the game.

Fulham are on their third manager for the season and I would suggest the Fulham owner go check out the Manchester City museum at some point on Saturday. Back in the 1996/97 season, City had five different guys in charge during the season. Although only one was fired, they had one quit after four weeks and two caretaker managers between the two before settling on Frank Clark. They had been relegated the previous season, which is why the sacking took place but two seasons after this managerial roundabout they found themselves in the third tier of English football and on the brink of financial ruin. With Fulham currently at the bottom of the league and looking to be relegated my suggestion would be for no more knee jerk reactions.

Prediction: 4-0.

 

 

Newcastle v Crystal P:

Look for Alan Pardew during this game, you won’t see him. Serving a stadium ban for a head butt on an opposing player the Newcastle manager will be at home, looking at the table. A win for the home side would see them overtake Southampton for 24 hours but the truth is Pardew may actually enjoy being away from this club. Undermined by Joe Kinnear and owner Mike Ashley all season he has seen his side slip down the table from what was a promising position only a few months ago.

Crystal Palace had their manager resign early on in the season but were careful in selecting the replacement. Tony Pulis came in and instantly put some stability in at the back but now find themselves only a win above the relegation zone. The job so far has been a decent one from Pulis, but its not over yet.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

 

Norwich v Sunderland:

Want to watch a tense game, give this one a look. Norwich City are four points above the relegation zone but the visitors have three games in hand. The last four games for Norwich see them face four of the biggest teams in England and so you would have thought that maybe if they were to be safe then it needs to be sooner rather than later.

In the other dugout Sunderland boss Gus Poyet must now put the euphoria of the Capital One Cup Final day out behind them and focus on getting the points needed, starting today.

These two sides took part in that same Cup Final in 1985 and although Norwich won, both ended up getting relegated at the seasons end. Also due to the European ban for English clubs after the Heysel Stadium disaster Norwich didn’t even have the consolation of competing in Europe. From then on every time the sides meet they contest the ‘Friendship Trophy’ but I wold suggest that on the field at least for 90 minutes, friendships will be put on hold.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

 

West Ham v Man Utd (Kick Off 5:30 GMT/1:30 ET):

Now the story of West Ham this season is a template for how Fulham, Swansea, Cardiff and others should probably have proceeded with their business. Over the Christmas period some West Ham fans and analysts were adamant that the side should replace their manager and get in another guy. West Ham were bottom and struggling in the Premier League, in fact some said it was a certainty the Hammers would go down. The board stood behind their manager allowing the manager to remain focused on the team and matters on the pitch. Fast forward a few games and the side are now twelfth and two wins above the relegation zone.

Fans are funny creatures and although no where near relegation the Manchester United fans, or a section of them, have been criticizing their boss David Moyes but a recent win in the Champions League certainly have now silenced some of those voices, for now.

A win for the home side in this game could see them move into the top ten which would be fantastic considering their earlier position while a win for the away side will continue the good feeling from the midweek Champions League victory.

Prediction: 1-3.

 

 

SUNDAY:

 

 

Tottenham v Southampton (1:30pm GMT/ 9:30 ET):

What would both sides do to get their ex player, Gareth Bale, back right now? For the home side their elimination from the Europa League during the week was expected after losing the first leg at home. The extra games this season have taken their toll though and Spurs are riddled with injured players.

For Spurs fans I am sure they cannot wait for the season to be over, futures of players sorted out along with the manager. Spending all their money from the Bale sale on far too many players they need to figure out exactly who they want and need and who are just slowing the club down.

For Southampton it is a similar story with the chairman leaving and the whole uncertainty over the direction of the club now. The good thing for Southampton is that they have good players, know their best eleven, have a good manager and will most likely not finish lower than their current position. This means from now until the end of the season the only potential surprise will be a good one. The close season, with their stars on show potentially at the World Cup and the managers future, could bring a new set of challenges but for right now I think things are not bad.

Prediction: 0-2.

 

 

Aston Villa v Stoke (4pm GMT/ 12pm ET):

The weekend started with a very interesting game with Chelsea hosting Arsenal. It will end, however, with possibly one of the most boring games you might see. Averaging only a goal a game, and only seventeen combined league wins in the fifty nine games played, I think this could really be your standard bore draw.

Both are safe and although Aston Villa did beat Chelsea last weekend I think it would be madness to expect back to back wins! I am using the safe logic for Stoke City who won last weekend to West Ham.

Prediction: 0-0 (1-1 if things get crazy!)


 

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Jason Bardwell
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