Premier League Week 31 Preview

You wait weeks for a full round of Premier League games and then two come along within 4 days of each other. There isn’t anything more fun than a mid week game, especially when the days are getting longer and you start the game in *hopefully* sunshine and end it under the floodlights. Anyways enough about Daylight Savings/British Summer Time and more about football, here is our preview of Tuesday and Wednesday’s Premier League games.

Tuesday 4th April

7:45pm Burnley Vs Stoke City

Burnley will be hoping to pick up their 10th home win of the season as they try to avoid a slide which has slowly taken them towards the relegation zone. They put up a brave fight on Saturday against Tottenham, before falling to two second half goals against the second place side. Sean Dyche’s side know that they need to win against a Stoke side, who’ve not been great away from home, if they are going to put space between them and the sides currently battling for survival.

Stoke were beaten by the resurgent Leicester on Saturday and I don’t think this would surprise many, both because Leicester have rediscovered their form and Stoke have not been great away from home. Hughes has said after the Leicester game that his Stoke side need to do better if they are going to pick up 3 points. The problem for Stoke has been conceding goals away from home, having let in the most goals in away games for any side in the top half of the league.

Vardy Vs Stoke
Vardy bagging Leicester’s second against Stoke on Saturday

7:45pm Leicester City Vs Sunderland

Leicester continued their upturn in form against Stoke on Saturday and it’s not just as a club that they have improved. Key players from last seasons unbelievable title win have found the form which made them the shock league winners, but you do wonder why they couldn’t play like this earlier in the season? Anyways, Leicester seem to have found form at the right time and have moved themselves away from the relegation race and could end up finishing in the top half of the season.

David Moyes has talked about Sunderland still being able to stay up this season and given my track record of making predictions which turn out to be wrong (Arsenal and Palace spring to mind), then I could be their saviour by saying that I cannot see them staying in the top flight. I don’t think anyone believes that Sunderland will stay up as they are currently 7 points away from survival. However, they do have to play against all of their rivals for the drop, so wins against Middlesbrough, Hull and Swansea, could be a saving grace. In order for this to be so, they need to make sure they win the games against other clubs, otherwise it will be the Championship next season for the Black Cats.

Britos Vs Sunderland
Britos scoring the winner for Watford against Sunderland

7:45pm Watford Vs West Brom

Watford go into this game having beaten Sunderland 1-o on Saturday, and after being on a 4 game winless streak. The 3 points meant they manage to put a bit of breathing space between them and the sides who are just above the drop zone. They will be looking at trying to add the additional points they need for safety as quickly as possible, in order to ensure they are safe come the end of the season. Watford will know that they will need to play well if they are to pick up three points and will be hoping to add to their previous 6 homes wins so far this season.

Tony Pulis was angry with the press before the Arsenal game where his side had been accused of giving up on the season, as they had reached the 40 point mark and were safe. The two games since then they have picked up 4 points, a win against Arsenal and a draw on Satruday at Old Trafford against United. West Brom are currently 5 points behind their Premier League points record of 49 points from 5 years ago and will be hoping to eclipse that by the end of the season. However, West Brom have only won three times away from home picking up 6 draws so far this season.

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Foster saving from close range from Mkhitaryan

8:00pm Manchester United Vs Everton

Old Trafford will be hoping to pick up their 7th home win of the season on Tuesday against Everton, after picking up their 8th home draw of the season on Saturday, against West Brom. United are currently unbeaten in their 19 league games and will be hoping to make it 20 as they take on an Everton side, who are prepared to pounce on slip ups which could see them reach European football next season. United should have Zlatan back to lead the line against Everton and they know that they need his goals if they are going to pick up 3 points. United will be hoping to take advantage of their opponents not being the strongest away from Goodison.

Everton go into this game probably feeling like they didn’t show their best against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday at Anfield. Lukaku didn’t have a shot on target for the 90 minutes, which they will be hoping will be rectified at Old Trafford as they need their, and the leagues, leading goalscorer to be firing if they are going to pick up 3 points. They know that a win would mean they could leap above United and firmly put them in the race for European football next season. The only problem has been Everton have not had the best away form this season, only picking up 16 of their 50 points on their travels.

Wednesday 5th April

7:45pm Hull City Vs Middlesbrough

Hull picked up a vital win in their fight for survival and added points to the difference between then and Middlesbrough and closed the gap on Swansea who are sat just above the drop zone. Hull have started to turn their upturn in performance into wins, at possibly the right time and they will be hoping to continue this at the KC on Wednesday against a Middlesbrough side who are four points behind Hull. Hull have picked up two wins in their last 5 games and will be hoping to add to this as they look to close the gap to Swansea who sit just above the drop zones.

Middlesbrough may feel they should have won the game against Swansea when Gestede had a late free header at the back post. Defensively Middlesbrough have been sound all season and have conceded less goals than Liverpool and Arsenal so far this season. Middlesbrough have scored 3 goals in their last 10 league games and have conceded 11 goals in these games, so it is apparent why they find themselves in difficulty. They know they need to start scoring if they are going to pick up points, however they have only won once away from home, so it’s a must for them to pick their second up against Hull if they feel like they will stay up.

Negredo Vs Swansea
Middlesbrough need Negredo to be scoring chances

7:45pm Swansea City Vs Tottenham

Swansea City will know that playing Tottenham is not going to be easy and perhaps will feel they should have been going into this game having beaten Middlesbrough on Sunday. The Swans have been doing better since Clement replaced Bradley, however they have only picked up 4 points in their last 5 games which has left them sat just above the relegation zone, and with Hull now their closest rivals when it comes to survival. Swansea will know that they need Sigurdsson to be on form against his former club if they are going to get anything from this game.

Tottenham are looking relatively safe in the top 4, they have good form having won 4 of their last 5 games, including their away win over Burnley on Saturday. They will still be without Kane and, unfortunately, picked up more injuries on Saturday with Janssen, Winks and Wanyama being succome to injury during the game. It is still to be seen who will make it into Pochettino’s squad for Wednesday night, but they will be hoping to not pick up anymore injuries, otherwise they could start to be put under pressure by the teams looking go get into the Champions League places next season. Spurs go into this game having dropped points away from home so far this season, but will be hoping to follow up their 3 points at Turf Moor at the Liberty.

7:45pm Arsenal Vs West Ham

Arsenal go into this game knowing that they are under pressure, having gone through a bad run; however, picking up a point against City by coming back from being behind twice may be a catalyst for change…or has that already been said about Wenger and Arsenal’s future. The good thing for Arsenal is they go up against a West Ham side who haven’t looked to be at their best recently and will be feeling like they should win this game. Failure to do so could mean they fall further behind in the race for the Champions League which, if Wenger’s future has not already been decided, could spell the end of his tenure as Arsenal manager.

Slaven Bilic has been backed by the West Ham board, who have uttered the words I dont think any manager wants to hear, ‘100% faith in the manager’. So often this has been the precurser to a change in leadership and West Ham will know that a tough decision may have to made by the board if West Ham continue with their poor form of 4 defeats in their last 5 games. On Saturday West Ham were beaten by a Hull side who are fighting for survival, added to defeats in their previous league games against Chelsea, Bournemouth and Leicester. West Ham currently sit 6 points above the sides in the relegation zone, but will know that if they dont pick up points then there is still time for them to slide into that battle.

7:45pm Southampton Vs Crystal Palace

Southampton go into their Wednesday evening game having only managing a draw against their South Coast neighbours from Bournemouth. However, they probably feel lucky to have got a point after Bournemouth missed a penalty in what was a very even game. Southampton are mid-table and will probably stay there for the remainder of the season, as they are not close to being able to challenge for Europe, yet are good enough to avoid every getting into a relegation struggle. They go into this game having picked up 3 wins in their last 10 games so know they need to continue to improve.

Crystal Palace beat Chelsea on Saturday in a result which apparently meant that the title race is not over yet according to Conte, but ‘Big’ Sam wont care about that. The win meant that Palace put some space between them and Swansea and have now won their last 4 league games. If they can continue their form then they should move away from the drop zone and could end up being safe with games to spare. Palace seem to have got players like Zaha into form which has been a big help in turning their season around and they will be hoping for this to continue for the forseeable.

Benteke Vs Palace

8:00pm Chelsea Vs Manchester City

Chelsea lost for only the second time at home this season in the league and will know that if they are going to try and make sure the title is theirs at the end of the season, then they cannot afford too many more. Chelsea made alot of the chances against Palace but it was too late, they got caught twice by Palace after taking the lead and then had to try and force an equaliser which they couldn’t. Chelsea had struggled slightly against Stoke yet found a late winner and this game will have given sides the belief that Chelsea aren’t going to steam roll over all those before them and they are beatable.

Man City will feel that they could have gone into this game 2 points closer to the Champions elect, had they managed to hold the lead against Arsenal on Sunday, having twice been pegged back by the Gunners. City will know that to ensure they get Champions League football next season they may need to convert some draws into wins having only picked up a point from each of their last 3 games. However these games have been against Arsenal, Liverpool and Stoke, so you can forgive them for not winning all of those games. A win against Chelsea will move City 8 points behind the Champions-Elect and could put pressure on the side who have been top since before Christmas.

8:00pm Liverpool Vs Bournemouth

Liverpool will be happy after picking up 3 points against Everton on Saturday, yet it is in games like this one where they have struggled so far this season. Liverpool are unbeaten in the big games yet they have lost to Swansea, Hull and Bournemouth already this season. Liverpool know that their place in the top 4 is only secure if they pick up points against sides below them in the table, and with clubs having games in hand over them, Liverpool know they cannot afford any slip ups.

Eddie Howe won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for March having led his Bournemouth side to 7 points in the month, this is a sharp contrast to their February where they lost all 3 of their games. Bournemouth will probably feel they could have beat Southampton on Saturday, especially given that Arter missed a penalty. Yet Bournemouth’s objective this season would have been to survive and they look likely to do that. They just need to keep on picking up points till the end of the season to ensure this happens.

Predictions

Game David Paul Mark Actual Score
Burnley Vs Stoke City 2-1  1-1
Leicester City Vs Sunderland 2-0 2-1
Watford Vs West Brom 1-1  1-0
Manchester United Vs Everton 2-1  3-1
Arsenal Vs West Ham United 2-0 2-1
Hull City Vs Middlesbrough 1-0  0-0
Southampton Vs Crystal Palace 2-2 2-1
Swansea City Vs Tottenham 1-3 0-2
Chelsea Vs Manchester City 1-2 3-1
Liverpool Vs Bournemouth 2-1 3-0

 

 

 

 

 

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