There’s plenty to get excited about this weekend as the race for Europe hots up and fight to stay in the top flight gets ever more fierce. All three of the bottom clubs are in action, while Arsenal face a must win game after crashing out of the Champions League on Wednesday. Read on for this weekend’s Premier League preview:
Everton vs Man City
Man City travel to Goodison Park to face a struggling Everton side. After an emphatic loss to Wigan in the FA Cup last weekend, the Toffees will desperately be hoping to get something from this game to stop their season from unraveling before their very eyes. Man City haven’t given up hope on the league yet, and will have watched Man Utd’s stuttering form with interest.
Aston Villa vs QPR
This game has all the makings of a classic. Harry Redknapp is performing miracles at Loftus Road and following their fantastic win against Sunderland last week, Harry will be hoping for more of the same when they travel to Villa Park on Saturday. Despite their vital victory over Reading, Villa are still very much in the relegation mix and both sides will be looking for victory in this one.
Southampton vs Liverpool
Liverpool will have been buoyed by their win over Tottenham last Sunday and will be hoping that that momentum will carry them through against a spirited Southampton side. Liverpool must have their eyes on gatecrashing the top four, and with Luis Suarez in great form, you’d be a brave man to write them off. Southampton lie in 16th and will be looking for at least at point to keep them out of the drop zone.
Stoke vs West Brom
West Brom will have been disappointed to lose to Swansea last weekend and will be hoping they can get their push for Europa League football back up and running with victory at the Britannia on Saturday afternoon. Stoke are a different proposition at home though, and will make life as difficult as possible for the Baggies.
Swansea vs Arsenal
This one’s for the football purists. Both Swansea and Arsenal look to play attractive football and this encounter is likely to feature plenty of crisp passing and off the ball running. Swansea have already qualified for the Europa League having dispatched Bradford in the League Cup final, but have pride to play for when they entertain Arsenal at the Liberty. Following their exit from the Champions League, Arsenal have even more reason to worry and they will see this as a must-win game if they’re to finish in the top four.
Man Utd vs Reading
Poor old Reading. When you’re managerless and joint-bottom the last team you want to face is Manchester United. Sadly for them, that’s who they face in the evening kick off on Saturday. United’s form has been criticized of late, and they’ll be looking to show everyone why they’re twelve points clear at the top of the league. Reading are in a lose-lose situation as ideally they need three points from this fixture; but opening up and attacking against Man Utd is asking for trouble.
Sunderland vs Norwich
Sunderland’s defeat to QPR last week pushed them firmly back into the relegation dogfight and Martin O’Neill will be hoping home advantage will be enough for victory against the Canaries. Norwich will be looking for the magical forty points that all but guarantees safety in this league and may head to the Stadium of Light happy to take a draw.
Tottenham vs Fulham
Spurs welcome old boss Martin Jol back to White Hart Lane but will be hoping he’ll head back to Southwest London with no points as they strive to get back on track following their unfortunate loss at Anfield last Sunday. Fulham look to be safe this year with no realistic opportunity of European football, and will be playing for pride when they head north on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea vs West Ham
With a game in hand over Tottenham, Chelsea will be hungrily eyeing that third spot that would afford them automatic Champions League qualification for next season. They host a well-organized West Ham side who will presumable (given Sam Allardyce’s tactics) turn up looking for a point.