Premier League Preview (May 3rd, 4th and 5th)

Published: May 01, 2014 15:46pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated May 01, 2014 @ 03:46pm EDT

 

Emotions and nerves are set to high for fans of certain Premiership teams right now in what is set to go down as one of the best Premier League seasons so far. Sure, some teams are just going through the motions with their eyes on their summer vacations or trip to the World Cup but literally nothing has been decided in this League as we go into the weekends set of games. 

The Premier League title is between three teams, European football a possibility for seven. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, eight teams can still mathematically go down. Realistically I think it is between just the four but the way results have been going recently who would really bet on that.

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

 

West Ham v Tottenham (12:45 BST/ 7:45 ET):

West Ham are one of these teams who are mathematically not quite safe as yet, although in order for them to go down both Sunderland and Norwich will have to go on a fantastic run. West Ham do have some problems though with Big Sam being booed and heckled at Christmas due to the fact his side were in the relegation zone. Now, with the final games of the season, West Ham are pretty much safe and yet he is still getting some negative reactions from some sections of the fans. 

It will be interesting to see how people react if West Ham can get the win here against a fellow London club. Whether he will be in the Premiership next season is still up for debate, unlike his current team. 

Another manager who will probably not be there next season will be in the opposing dugout. Tim Sherwood has done a reasonable job since taking over from Andre Villas Boas but it seems that his name isn’t big enough for Daniel Levy. While there is no chance of a top four finish Sherwood could secure a European place before departing White Hart Lane.
Prediction: 2-2. 

 

Aston Villa v Hull City:

I think you would have to expect an Aston Villa win in this game because Hull City are relatively safe and may be starting to focus on their FA Cup Final. Will Steve Bruce start to wrap his key players in cotton wool before that big game against Arsenal or go out to secure their Premiership survival as soon as they can? 

Last weekend I thought it was the former, going 2-0 down to Fulham but the fact they fought to bring it back to a draw made me reconsider. After this they have to travel to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday while Villa travel up to Manchester the following day to face City. 
Hull City will no doubt be happy with another tied game and Villa, without Benteke, have not looked very good at all.
Prediction: 1-1.  

 

Man Utd v Sunderland:

This will be Ryan Giggs second game in charge of Manchester United and the mood of fans has done a 180 after that 4-0 win against Norwich last weekend. The fact is though, it was Norwich, and for the first half, up until a soft penalty, United looked lethargic. Whether it was just blowing off the cobwebs we will know more in this game but remember David Moyes got a 4-0 victory over Norwich earlier on in the season in the Capital One Cup. 

The test will be Sunderland, who beat them on this pitch only a few weeks ago in that same competition. 

For Sunderland, they have clawed their way out of the relegation zone in recent weeks. Two wins in the last two games has seen the Black Cats do the impossible and currently, their Premiership survival is in their own hands. At this point in the season, in the wrong half of the table, that’s all you can really ask for. That said I think the euphoria around Giggs will be too much and I fully expect United to get the three points.
Prediction: 3-1.

 

Newcastle v Cardiff:

Newcastle are in danger of ending up in the bottom half of the table at this rate. They have been in free fall in recent weeks and I have spoken much over the season about the behind the scenes distractions why. Now they have a chance, at home, to put a smile back on the Geordie faces and try to salvage some respect for the season.

For Cardiff this will have to be considered one of two Cup Finals for them. A defeat here, combined with any points for Sunderland, will seal the Bluebirds fate. Once again, with Cardiff, I have spoken a lot about the behind the scenes sabotage of this clubs Premiership season by the owner. I have nothing against the fans of this side, and in fact I think they have shown a great deal of class throughout this, but I cannot wait until I don’t have to write about them and Vincent Tan anymore.
Prediction: 2-1.  

 

Stoke v Fulham:

This one is a similar situation to the Newcastle v Cardiff game with the away side needing points to have any chance to stay in the Premiership. The difference is Stoke, who unlike Newcastle, have built themselves up to a top ten position, rather than falling down to it. 

Stoke are safe in the Premiership and so that may play a part in the mood of the squad, although they may want to thank their home fans with a good result. 

Fulham will need to be on top of their game and not let leads slip, as they did last weekend. A defeat would not see them relegated on Saturday but once the weekend concludes they could be hearing the fat lady warming up in the wings.
Prediction: 1-2.

 

Swansea v Southampton:

Both sides are safe from relegation and neither can really improve their fortunes a whole great deal. Southampton are six points ahead of Newcastle and eight points behind Manchester United and so, no matter the results, they will finish eighth. 

Roy Hodgson, the England manager, has said that the form of players in the final weeks will not have a baring on his selection and so I would certainly expect the England hopefuls on both sides, and Southampton especially, to save themselves and not risk an injury.
Swansea can potentially end anywhere in the bottom half with the exception of the bottom three and so that must be considered job done for boss Garry Monk. Last season, just over exactly a year ago, this exact fixture was a goal less draw. I wouldn’t bet against a similar result here.
Prediction: 0-0.
Everton v Manchester City (5:30 BST/ 12:30 ET):
Four goals last Sunday kicked open the Premiership race once more. Liverpool lost 2-0 to Chelsea in a game where a win would have all but won the title for them. With that result in the books Manchester City set the cat amongst the Eagles and beat Crystal Palace by the same score. 
That result means that Manchester City will now win the title if they win all their remaining three games and could return to the Premiership summit with a defeat at Everton. 
Everton have had a great first season under Roberto Martinez and were in contention for a top four finish up until last weeks results. Manchester City fans will probably be hoping for a West Ham win earlier on in the day which will all but confirm Evertons Europa League participation next season. 
Last season, under David Moyes, Everton recorded a 2-0 win and certainly Chelsea and Liverpool fans in particular will be hoping for similar this time around. Manchester City fans though will remember the reverse fixture at the Etihad early in October when City won 3-1. 
Prediction: 1-1. 
SUNDAY:
Arsenal v West Brom (1:30pm BST/ 8:30am ET):
They have an FA Cup Final to look forward to and, if Manchester City did the job on Saturday, they would have also secured their top four position. Ironically if City do win that will also mean Arsenal will not finish in the top two. 
Depending on Saturdays results, West Brom could also be very close to safety from relegation. Both sides won last weekend and you would certainly not find many people betting against an Arsenal win I think this would be a chance for West Brom to cause an upset. 
Prediction: 1-2.  
Chelsea v Norwich (4pm BST/ 11am ET):
I am not sure if Norwich fans would have been happy, sad or indifferent about their opponents Champions League exit this past week. Had they stayed in it may have distracted their focus on the League knowing they would be heading to Lisbon in a few weeks time. Now they only have the Premiership available will they be up for that challenge or will the disappointment of elimination still be the mood of the players? 
Either way, Norwich need to find some fight and determination in their group as games are running out and they are one of the three currently in the bottom three. Last season Norwich did take the lead before losing 4-1 and in the Premiership era have only gone to Stamford Bridge once and got the win. 
They do have Neil Adams in charge though and it was his youth side who beat the Chelsea youth side last season to lift the FA Youth Trophy. If he can get points here it will certainly set up a nervous finish next Saturday at Carrow Road against Arsenal.
Prediction: 2-0.
MONDAY:
Crystal Palace v Liverpool (8pm BST/ 3pm ET):
Crystal Palace have had a fantastic end to their season with Tony Pulis one of the managers I think should be up for Manager of the Year. Last weekend they fell to Manchester City 2-0 and this weekend they will play their last home game of the season. How good would it be to get a result for the set of fans, it must be said, who have been noisy the whole season. 
Depending on results of the weekend Liverpool could potentially see themselves in third position going into this game where only a few weeks ago it looked as if it would be their year. The last time they were in that sort of position this season was over the Christmas period. The question is was last weeks slip, just a wobble or has their minds now gone?
If they were frustrated by Chelsea’s defensive tactics then wait til they get a load of Palace.
Prediction: 1-1. 


 

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Jason Bardwell
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