Premier League Preview (March 29th, 30th and 31st).

Published: Mar 27, 2014 15:48pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 27, 2014 @ 03:48pm EDT

 

Last weekend, along with the midweek fixtures in the Premier League, have done little to answer any of the big questions in regard the final standings. Possibly the one thing you might be able to say is that Arsenal may not be in the Premiership title race anymore as their heavy defeat last weekend followed by a victory thrown away against Swansea late on Tuesday.

 

 

SATURDAY (All Kick Offs 3pm BST/11am ET unless stated):

 

 

Man Utd v Aston Villa (12:45 BST/ 8:45 ET):

I have said it pretty much all season and I will say it again, United playing at Old Trafford is where they have slipped up. Is it because the fans are not backing the Manager? Is it because there are clearly many empty seats with twenty minutes or so left of the game? I am not sure but the fact is that thirty of their fifty one points have come away from Manchester.

Yes the pressure on David Moyes is immense after the home defeat against Liverpool was quickly followed by another home League defeat against their noisy neighbors. The noise level of protest will surely raise a few decibels if the Red Devils do not put the visiting Villains to the sword in the early game on Saturday.

For Villa, they are in that zone in the league where they are probably theoretically safe if not actually safe mathematically. The heavy defeat to Stoke, in what I predicted would be the most boring game, last weekend certainly hasn’t eased any nerves. A tied game would be a great result for Villa boss Paul Lambert but I think the home side will get a victory and add to the six home wins so far this season.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

 

Crystal P v Chelsea:

Palace and Tony Pulis will certainly not be afraid of this fixture as they may have been maybe a few weeks ago. Yes Chelsea are currently top of the League and some peoples favorites to lift the trophy at seasons end. However, Chelsea have only managed four points from the available nine in away League games with their last one being a defeat to Aston Villa.

The last time these two met at Selhurst Park was almost a decade ago and Chelsea took all three points with a 2-0 victory.

Relegation is still a big possibility for Palace and they will start the game only three points above the danger zone. If there is one thing Tony Pulis is good at and that is being tough for these flair teams to break down. If Mourinho were to drop points in this game then they leave the window open for Manchester City to close the gap later that day or even for Liverpool to overtake the top spot when they play on Sunday.

Prediction: 1-3.

 

 

Southampton v Newcastle:

This game represents the battle for eighth and ninth position. Both sides are only one point away from each other at the start of the game and eight away from the team below them and ten away from Spurs, currently in sixth.

Alan Pardew will be back in the stadium, although not in the dugout, as he moves into the second phase of his ban. Last season this game resulted in a 2-0 win for the home team and I am sure if the Saints can find form again they just might repeat that.

Prediction: 1-1.

 

 

Stoke v Hull City:

Two ex Manchester United players face off in the dugout as Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce try to enjoy the end of the season. Stoke go into the game in the most comfortable position being twelve points above the relegation zone. Hull City are also not in danger, unless they go on a nose dive and the bottom sides find great form. The FA Cup Semi Final could certainly be taking the eye off the League right now for Bruce but bad news in the last nights game saw the removal of their number one goalkeeper. He would have been missing today anyway after receiving a red card against West Ham but also suffered a kidney injury in the collision which saw him sent from the field. In backup keeper Alan Harper they do have a competent replacement but so far no third choice keeper to back him up. Their original third choice is currently away on loan and so maybe an emergency loan can be arranged if they are not able to recall their own keeper.

Prediction: 2-1.

 

 

Swansea v Norwich:

Both of these two clubs could so easily be drawn into the relegation zone and find themselves in trouble. Both sides got good results last time out though with Swansea’s midweek point away to Arsenal while last weekend Norwich defeated Sunderland 2-0 in another relegation game.

Last season this game had multiple goals with Norwich actually winning by the odd goal in seven. This season is different though with neither side looking like the side they were last season. Swansea are struggling after their Europa exploits and Norwich are struggling to score despite heavy investment in their attacking line.

Prediction: 2-2.

 

 

West Brom v Cardiff:

Both sides have changed their manager this season and neither have reaped the rewards of the fresh ideas and initial lift a new manager brings. Out of the two I think more neutral fans are sympathetic to West Broms plight more than that of Cardiff but essentially it is the same situation.

Vincent Tan took removed a manager who wasn’t doing too bad because he spent over the budget and wasn’t playing some of the players he bought. Fine, fair enough it is your money and your decision. However you then bring in a guy with no Premiership management experience, give him a load of money and have defeats followed by defeats. Yes they beat Fulham at home a few weeks ago but the only team easier than them right now is United at Old Trafford!

West Brom will win this and I have no doubts Cardiff will not be in the Premiership next season. I feel sorry for the fans who are loyal and should be enjoying this season but I have seen nothing from the side to show me they have fight, or even a plan.

Prediction: 2-0.

 

 

Arsenal v Man City (5:30 BST/ 1:30 ET):

Well the thousandth game wasn’t good for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger and neither was the one thousand and first. They need a win here in Saturdays late game or rather than looking up and thinking about a possibly title the fans may start looking down and watching Everton and Spurs, fearing for fourth.

That for me would be a good thing to see. For years Arsenal fans have complained that fourth is no trophy and much has been made that Wenger has gone multiple years without a trophy. If they were to finish outside the top four but win the FA Cup, what would the reaction be?

Wenger has been offered a two year extension to his contract but is stalling, most likely to see fans reactions at the seasons end. If he could lift the FA Cup, no matter the League position, I think he might just walk away.

So far as Manchester City goes the title is very much in their sights. Only three points behind leaders Chelsea before the weekend games and two games in hand mean that they could technically afford to drop points here and it not really crush their chances. Of course keeping up the habit of winning is a good thing to continue and this is the second of three big away tests for City. The first was past with flying colors on Tuesday with the 3-0 win over United. The next is just over two weeks away when they travel to Anfield. It will be a battle between two title contenders but more than that, it will take place two days before the twenty fifth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Prediction: 2-2.

 

 

SUNDAY:

 

 

Fulham v Everton (1:30 BST/ 8:30 ET):

Every week for Fulham I think if they are to get out of the relegation zone then this needs to be a win. At home, last time, they beat Newcastle United and while that was good it didn’t actually make all that much difference in their position. They are still rock bottom.

If they can show some fight here then they could certainly get the victory and end Everton’s four game winning streak. Roberto Martinez is a good manager though and I doubt he will be underestimating the opposition in this game and can see him pushing Arsenal for that top four spot. Certainly if Wenger was to leave Arsenal I think the Gunners could do worse than installing this guy. I know he only just took over Everton but the job he has done is phenomenal, his talent for motivating players, developing and giving chances to the youngsters and his tactical skills puts him right in the 1996 Arsene Wenger mold.

Prediction: 1-3.

 

 

Liverpool v Tottenham (4pm BST/ 11am ET):

Can anyone stop Liverpool right now? Six wins in the last six scoring 21 goals in the process. The only complaint I think you can have is the fact that although their attack is potent, their defense is equally porous. Nine goals conceded over the same period is the Merseysiders Achilles heel.

It is not so much a concern for them in this game though the visitors have gone off the boil recently failing to score in three of their last five games. Being a Manchester City fan I really do not have much love for Tottenham with memories of the 1981 FA Cup Final defeat still fresh but would love them to win this one and help us out a little.

I do not see that happening though and a tied game would be great I think another home win will be the result as Rodgers continue to get his side run on all cylinders.

Prediction: 3-1.

 

 

MONDAY:

 

 

Sunderland v West Ham (8pm BST/ 3pm ET):

One of these Managers was booed at their last game and the other has full fan support. One is in the relegation zone while the other is nine points clear and it may surprise you as to which manager was the subject of the negativity.

Sunderland are winless in their last five games and, although they have games in hand, you still have to win them. That is just something they haven’t been able to do recently and history is not on their side. They were in the League Cup Final this season and lost to a team called City and it was a similar scenario almost 30 years ago when the, then Milk Cup, was lost to Norwich City and the season saw Sunderland relegated.

For West Ham, although they have won three from their last six, they have all been at home in London. January last year West Ham visited the Stadium of Light and came away having been spanked 3-0. If a similar result happens Monday night then I expect the last two months of the season to be tough for Big Sam and it might just give Gus Poyet’s side the kick start they need.

Prediction: 2-0.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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