Hallelujah! The Premier League is back this weekend after a week off for international football. So I have done a quick preview on each game and for those of you who have been missing them, our predictions are back, they can be found at the bottom of this post. Anyways, if you have read our post about international football you will understand why I am so looking forward to the competitive, interesting and enjoyable football being back….
Saturday 1st April
12:30pm Liverpool Vs Everton
…..and what a place to start, the Merseyside Derby! There are only 6 points separating the red and blue halves of the city and Everton know that if they want to finish above Liverpool then a win is a must.
Liverpool go into this game having had a bad run of form which has seen them win 3 times in their last 10 league games. However, two of those wins have come against Spurs and Arsenal. They have also picked up draws against Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in that run as Klopp’s side appear to pick up points in the big games. They will be hoping that Mané is on form, having reinvigorated the side after their lull whilst he was away at the African Cup of Nations.
Everton on the other hand have been consistant and have picked up 23 points from a possible 30. Their continued performance has to be attributed to the form of Lukaku, who is leading the race for the league’s golden boot with 21 goals so far this season. Everton have scored 26 goals in their last 10 games and have only conceded 7 and its this goal scoring form, which has seen them in a position to pounce on any slip ups from the teams above them, to try and secure European football next season.
3:00pm Burnley Vs Tottenham
A few weeks ago I mentioned how Burnley will be hoping to get back to Turf Moor, having had a run of away games and most importantly, given that they have not won away from home. This has not changed, they have still not picked up an away win. However, they will be probably not be looking forward to welcoming Tottenham to Turf Moor. Burnley have not won since the end of January and will be hoping that they can pick up some points on Saturday to ensure they don’t get dragged closer to the relegation battle.
Tottenham go into this game without their leading goal scorer, as Harry Kane is out injured for the forseeable future. Spurs will be heading into this game having only lost once in their last 10 games and will be hoping to get their fourth win on the bounce. They know that a shock defeat against Burnley will give City the chance to move up to second and will be hoping to ensure they keep a good gap to the chasing pack in the race to secure one of the three remaining Champions Legue places which are up for grabs.
3:00pm Chelsea Vs Crystal Palace
I could probably just copy and paste what I have wrote previously about the champions elect, Chelsea, who are almost certainly going to be crowned champions in May. Having been on top since around Christmas, they are currently 10 points clear of second place and any chance of them relinquishing their lead is as likely as me getting a 10 game accumulator to pay out. Their current form see’s them go into this game having only dropped 2 points in the last 5 games and have only been beaten once at Stamford Bridge this season.
In the first one of these previews I wrote, I may have made a comment about ‘Big’ Sam losing his ability to save a side from the drop, since then Palace have won 3 games in a run. If they stay up this season I am claiming that my words inspired them to turn their season around. They go into this game 4 points above the relegation zone and will be hoping that the sides around them don’t pick up any points, as it will be a big shock if they win at Chelsea and Sam knows that staying up is equally about the results of the sides around as it is about your own.
3:00pm Hull City Vs West Ham United
Hull are a strange one, their performances since Phelan left and Silva arrived have been much better, however they are not winning enough games. They have won 3 of their last 10 games, which is much better than the two sides below them, but the 3 sides above them have been picking up more points over the past couple of months. Hull know their survival will only come if they can find some consistent form having almost developed a pattern of win, lose, draw…which means this game will probably end as a draw.
West Ham United are mid-table and will probably end the season mid-table. They are 9 points above the relegation zone and have enough sides between them and the drop to almost feel that they will probably be safe, however their current form of 2 points from the last 15 available will be making some around the club nervous. Having already gone through a very bad run of form during the first half of the season, and having looked like they had found a style and way of playing, Bilic will be hoping that this is a blip that doesn’t last long.
3:00pm Leicester City Vs Stoke City
Leicester City seem to have found the form which saw them shock the world and win the league last year. Three wins on the bounce in the league, a quarter final to look forward to in the Champions League and Vardy, Mahrez & Schmeichel in good form, suggests you could be forgiven for thinking that there was never a crisis at the King Power. To continue their revival, Leicester know that they will need to continue to score goals; having scored 9 goals in their last 3 games! They know that if they keep up their form they should move away from the drop zone.
Stoke City are pretty much the most average side in the league and even their last 10 results show this with them picking up 15 points from a possible 30. The biggest problem for Stoke is that they have not had a consistent goal scorer this season. Last time out they came very close to picking up a point against Chelsea, if it had not been for a late winner from Cahill. Stoke will be hoping to go into this game better than the last and pick up some points in order to secure a top half finish.
3:00pm Manchester United Vs West Brom
As a United fan I can’t but help feel that this game is going to go like so many of our home games which we should win. United will keep the ball, create chances yet won’t capitalise on this and will probably only pick up a single point. United are on an amazing unbeaten league run stretching back to October, however they have drawn too many games and that is why they are currently sat in 5th place rather than challenging for the league. The reason for this has been goal scoring, with United scoring the least amount of goals in the top 7.
West Brom are currently 8th in the league and having beat Arsenal before the international break, they will be hoping to copy their performance against United as they try to ensure they finish as high up the table as possible. Having lost 2 games in a row before the Arsenal victory people had claimed that, having reached 40 points, West Brom had began their summer holiday early and Pulis will know that he has to ensure his side continue to pick up points other wise this claim will return.
3:00pm Watford Vs Sunderland
Watford are a side who have been on a gradual decline towards the relegation zone since December and on current form, could see sides such as Swansea and Palace jump above them in the coming weeks, if they do not turn their slump around. They know that their home form has been better than the sides mentioned above so far this season and as they’re playing against a Sunderland side who are in dire need of a win, Watford will be hoping that this form will see them take a step closer to the magic 40 point mark to ensure they remain in the top flight next season.
Sunderland fans had a chance to smile during the international break as Defoe returned to England with a goal, the problem is that this reminder that he can still score at the highest level may mean they lose him in the summer. They go into this game knowing that they need a win desperately if they are going to keep their place in the Premier League, however on current form you struggle to see how they will do this, having only won once in their last 10 games and picking up 6 points in that run.
5:30pm Southampton Vs Bournemouth
Southampton sit one place above their opponents in the league and will be hoping that they can secure the bragging rights between the two south coast rivals in Saturdays late kick off. Having scored 4 goals in 2 of their last 3 league games the Saints have not struggled to find the back of the net, especially after Gabbiadini signing for the club, however they will be without him this weekend. Even with this goal scoring form they failed to win in their last game and will be hoping to bounce back with a victory as they look to secure a top half finish.
Bournemouth are a side who went through a fairly rough bit of form, however they have won their last two league games and will be wanting to ensure they continue this form to leave as a bigger gap between them and those struggling for survival. I don’t think anyone will have any qualms with the Cherries staying up this season, but if they want to push on next season they know they will need to improve their away form, as they have only picked up 28% of their points away from the Vitality Stadium.
Sunday 2nd April
1:30pm Swansea Vs Middlesbrough
Swansea had a massive transformation since replacing Bradley with Clement, and were beginning to look like a side who will stay in the Premier League. They know that they need to keep on picking up points at home to ensure they survive. In fact, they had picked up 15 points in their last 10 games and had started to score goals. However two league defeats in recent weeks have meant they are sitting just above the drop zone and know that they need to beat those around them in order to maintain their survival.
Middlesbrough have changed their manager, been left with a coach running the club for the foreseeable future and are hoping that this will be the catalyst for their survival, however I believe they may have left it too late for this change. Middlesbrough need a win! They have not won in their last 10 games and have only picked up 4 points from the last 30. If they’re going to survive then they need to pick up their second away win of the season against a side who are currently only 5 points above them.
4:00pm Arsenal Vs Manchester City
I am going to admit that I was wrong with something I wrote in my post before the last weekend of Premier League football. I apologise to all Arsenal fans who may have read my post saying that now they are out of Europe they will have an upturn of form and the Wenger Out banners will be packed away for 12 months…how wrong was I?!? Arsenal need a win if they are going to make the top 4 this season, as currently they are in a form which is more recognisible in the sides in the lower half of the table than a top 6 side. They have only one win in their last 5 games and know that a defeat against City could leave them in seventh place, if Everton were to win the Merseyside Derby.
Last time out Manchester City drew against top four rivals Liverpool and will be hoping to go one better this time out against another rival for Champions League football by beating Arsenal. City had gone through a rough patch a few weeks back, yet appear to have found form again having picked up 11 points from their last 15. However they have drawn their last two games which has caused them to be in third and 2 points behind second place Tottehnham. City have won more games away from home than at the Etihad so far this season and will be hoping that their away form continues this weekend as they look to add 3 points to the 7 point gap that they have built up over Arsenal.
|Liverpool Vs Everton||2-2||3-1||3-1|
|Burnley Vs Tottenham||0-2||0-4||0-2|
|Chelsea Vs Crystal Palace||3-1||2-0||1-2|
|Hull City Vs West Ham United||1-2||1-2||2-1|
|Leicester City Vs Stoke City||2-1||2-2||2-0|
|Manchester United Vs West Brom||2-0||3-0||0-0|
|Watford Vs Sunderland||2-0||2-1||1-0|
|Southampton Vs Bournemouth||2-1||1-1||0-0|
|Swansea Vs Middlesbrough||2-0||1-2||0-0|
|Arsenal Vs Manchester City||1-2||2-2||2-2|