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Every EPL Club's Most Important Remaining Match

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IFebruary 10, 2012

Every EPL Club's Most Important Remaining Match

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    The English Premier League is one of the most exciting football leagues in the world and is very popular all around the world. There are many quality teams in the league and most games are played at high pace and intensity which is very entertaining for football followers. There is immense pressure on all clubs and all the clubs try to produce their best performances in each game in the Premiership. Every game does have a significant impact at the end of the season which is why all points, however earned, makes a huge difference to the side.

    There are some games which are more important than others such as derby games, which are contested fiercely by the clubs, or games which could have potential consequences beyond the three points involved such as relegation. This article is on the most important remaining club for every Premier League club in this season.

Arsenal

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    Most Important Game: Tottenham (Feb. 26)

    Arsenal do have a difficult task ahead of them in order to finish in the Champions League places at the end of the season and they would have to balance this along with the FA Cup and the Champions League.

    The Gunners have finished above Spurs regularly but this season, it could be different with Spurs currently 10 points ahead of their rivals. The derby game against Tottenham could be very important for the Gunners as it could close the gap on their rivals and also, it could provide them a huge boost in their aspirations to finish in the top four places.

Aston Villa

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    Most Important Game: West Bromwich Albion (April 28)

    Aston Villa were one of the challengers for the Champions League places under Martin O'Neill but in the last two seasons, they have not performed to their potential and have also sold some of their important players like Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.

    They will essentially be looking to finish in the top half of the table at the end of the season. Their most important game would be the derby against West Brom which they lost at home thanks to some controversial refereeing decisions and will look to put things right at the Hawthorns. Also, if they are slightly close to the relegation zone at this time of the season, then this could be an excellent opportunity for them to gain three points to ensure their top-flight status.

Blackburn

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    Most Important Game: Wigan (May 5)

    Blackburn have struggled throughout this season, which is why they are currently fighting to be out of the relegation zone at the end of the season. Their supporters have been frustrated and there could still be the sacking of manager Steve Kean before the end of the season.

    However, the most important thing for them is to avoid the drop and because of that, the game against Wigan in the penultimate game of the season assumes prime importance for both sides. Both sides are likely to be hovering around the relegation zone when they meet at that time and a win could be the key to either side.

Bolton

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    Most Important Game: Stoke City (May 13)

    Bolton have also struggled for most of this season and though they have had some good performances like against Stoke City and Liverpool, they have been very inconsistent. They have been hit hard by injuries as well with key players like Stuart Holden and Lee Chung-Yong missing most of the season due to long-term injuries.

    As a result, Coyle has signed the exciting Ryo Miyaichi on loan and could utilize the services of the youngster to help them avoid the drop. Their most important game of this season would be the game against Stoke City in the last game which could determine if they do stay in the top flight for another season or not.

Chelsea

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    Most Important Game: Arsenal (April 21)

    Chelsea and Arsenal were involved in one of the games of the season where they were beaten 5-3 by the Gunners at Stamford Bridge. Since then, both teams have displayed plenty of inconsistency which is why they are both competing for the Champions League places only.

    With them playing so late in the season, it could be a fantastic contest especially if both are separated by a very small margin before the game. With the stakes high, it could bring out the best from both teams and should be one of the most important games of the season.

Everton

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    Most Important Game: Liverpool 

    Everton have done brilliantly on a shoe-string budget under David Moyes and the manager has made several intelligent signings over the years which have helped them greatly. With Everton not likely to be involved in a relegation battle as well as them not competing for a Champions League place, the highest they could aim for is to acquire a place in the Europa league via the league position or by reaching the finals of the FA Cup.

    The game against Liverpool, however, is more than just the three points because of the rivalry between the sides. Also, with them feeling let down by Rodwell's red card when the two teams met last time, Everton will look to show that they can still match up to the Reds.

Fulham

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    Most Important Game: Chelsea (April 9)

    Martin Jol was appointed as the manager of Fulham in the summer and though he has had difficulties in managing the players, he has been decent so far and is continuing to rebuild. He has encouraged a more attacking style of play in which Clint Dempsey in particular has flourished.

    The London derby between Chelsea and Fulham will be interesting to watch because the Blues will look to win all games to ensure their Champions League place while Fulham will look to take points off the established teams as well. There is plenty of history regarding the rivalry between Chelsea and Fulham and it will be quite difficult for Jol to take points off Andre-Villas Boas' team.

Liverpool

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    Most Important Game: Chelsea (May 5)

    Liverpool have had a number of difficult moments in the last few seasons but since the appointment of Kenny Dalglish as the manager, there has been more optimism at Anfield regarding the future of the club. The Reds have a quality squad but have been inconsistent this season.

    However, if they do remain consistent from this point of the season, they do have a good chance of finishing in the top four places this season. For that, they need to win against the big teams as well as remain consistent against teams of lesser quality. The penultimate game of their season against Chelsea could be a huge factor in deciding who will qualify for the Champions League.

Manchester City

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    Most Important Game: Arsenal (April 7)

    Manchester City have a number of important games still to come in this season including many games against good sides like Chelsea and Manchester United which could play a huge role in deciding this title race.

    The game against Arsenal at the Emirates could arguably be their most important game because it comes at a time when United are having a relatively easy fixture list and could close the gap on City if they do not get the three points. It will not be easy to beat the Gunners, especially at the Emirates but City will have to play to their potential and will look to take all three points in this crucial fixture.

Manchester United

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    Most Important Game: Manchester City (April 28)

    Manchester United were humiliated by Manchester City who won, 6-1, at Old Trafford this season and will look to set things right the next time they meet. The Premiership is the main ambition of both the clubs having been knocked out of the Champions League and the Manchester derby holds more significance this season.

    United will be keen to show that they have recovered from the defeat against City and will look to gain all three points against their fierce rivals. Victory against City at the Etihad stadium will help them get closer to winning the league title. They have a relatively easy fixture list preceding the fixture and if they can be consistent, then the Red Devils have an excellent chance of winning the title.

Newcastle United

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    Most Important Game: Chelsea (April 14)

    Newcastle have been excellent this season under Alan Pardew and they have made several excellent signings like Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba who have greatly strengthened the team. They are currently fifth in the league though both Liverpool and Arsenal are not too far behind the Magpies. The game against Chelsea on April 14 could be a very important game for them because it could outline the aspirations for them at the end of the season.

    By this game, they would have also played Liverpool and if they lose against the Reds, then they cannot afford to drop points against the Blues if they are to compete for a Champions League place this season. It is also a very important game for Chelsea who have come under a lot of pressure this season and both teams will want to gain all three points in this exciting future.

Norwich City

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    Most Important Game: Blackburn (April 21)

    The most important game for Norwich City is the game against Blackburn in April because they could possibly ensure that they stay in the top flight by that game. The last three games are against Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa and could prove to be tricky for the Canaries, who could struggle to get points against them, especially against Liverpool and the Gunners. So, they need to gain all the three points against Blackburn, who will fight hard to avoid relegation.

    Blackburn have struggled throughout the season and it will be very difficult for them to avoid relegation. However, they are likely to give their best in the final few games of the season which is why it will not be  easy for Norwich, who have been impressive since being promoted to the Premiership. Under the astute management of Paul Lambert, they have made excellent progress and should they continue in the same direction, they could even stay in the top half of the table at the end of the season.

Queens Park Rangers

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    Most Important Game: Stoke City (May 5)

    Queens Park Rangers have appointed former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes and the Welsh manager has brought plenty of new signings to the club including the likes of Bobby Zamora and Taye Taiwo.

    Their main aim this season is to avoid relegation which is why the game against Stoke City on May 5 could prove to be very important. They have Chelsea, Tottenham, Stoke and Manchester City as their opponents in the last four games of the season which is why it is important that they secure three points from this game to secure top-flight status because the other three games will be very hard for the London side.

Stoke City

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    Most Important Game: Bolton (May 13) / Valencia (Feb. 16)

    Stoke City have done remarkably well in recent seasons under manager Tony Pulis and they have made consistent progress regarding the quality of the team. They have managed to add several important players in the last couple of seasons and it looks like they will ensure that they stay in the top flight very easily. However, should they have a prolonged slump from now till the end of the season, then the game against Bolton could prove to be very important.

    It is likely that they will finish comfortably outside the drop zone which is why the Europa League tie against Valencia could be even more important. It would give them the confidence and momentum if they can stop the Spanish side from progressing to the next round and it could be an exciting contest between those two sides.

Sunderland

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    Most Important Game: Arsenal (Feb. 18)

    Sunderland have made fantastic progress under the new manager Martin O'Neill and are currently in the top half of the table, which seemed inconceivable when they were perilously close to relegation under Steve Bruce. They are almost certain to stay in the top flight this season but will find it difficult to achieve a European place, which is why the FA Cup is very important for them.

    They will have hoped for a good draw in the FA Cup but will have to meet Arsenal in the next round which will be difficult. However, it is possible to beat the Gunners and it will give them immense belief for the rest of the season if they can beat the Gunners and progress to the next stage.

Swansea City

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    Most Important Game: Wolves (April 28)

    Swansea have been one of the most refreshing teams this season and many have been impressed by their impressive passing game. A lot of credit has to go to the manager who has instilled belief in his team and they have employed an effective possession game which has meant that they have been excellent even against the best clubs in the league.

    The game against Wolves on April 28 could be the most important because the last two games of the season for them are against Liverpool and Manchester United. For this reason, they must secure their top-flight status before the last two games which means the game against Wolves will be very important and they will look to gain all three points from that fixture.


Tottenham

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    Most Important Game: Manchester United (March 4)

    Tottenham have performed superbly this season and have played some brilliant football which is why they are currently in third place only behind the Manchester clubs. Tottenham have aspirations of winning the title this season which is why the game against Manchester United will be very important for Spurs.

    A win against Red Devils would not only give them a huge boost but also close the gap between the Manchester clubs and Tottenham. However, a loss will present the opportunity to Arsenal and Chelsea to catch up with Spurs as they compete to finish in the Champions League places and this is the reason why this game is very important for the Spurs.

West Bromwich Albion

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    Most Important Game: Aston Villa (April 28)

    Roy Hodgson has done a fantastic job since being appointed as the manager of West Bromwich Albion and he has brought a lot of stability to the club. They have played some good football as well and are looking like they will not be involved in a relegation battle in this season.

    The derby match against Aston Villa is very important for the club's supporters and also, a good result could ensure that they do not need to worry about relegation. Also, securing the maximum points against their rivals could help them seal a place in the top half of the table at the end of the season.

Wigan Athletic

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    Most Important Game: Blackburn (May 5)

    Wigan were involved in a very tough fight against relegation last season as well and escaped due to good results in the final games of the campaign. They could once again be involved in a fight against relegation till the last minute of the season and their last two games are against Blackburn and Wolves, who are also likely to struggle to avoid relegation.

    It does give a chance but they will need to be more consistent and efficient if they are to remain in the Premiership again. The game against Blackburn could be crucial in providing them the momentum they need in order to avoid relegation.

Wolves

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    Most Important Game: Wigan (May 13)

    It has been a very difficult season for Wolves as they have struggled to be consistent which is why they are hovering around the relegation zone. They have produced some very good performances but have been inconsistent dropping many points due to lack of solidity in defense.

    However, they do have every chance of avoiding relegation and, in Mick McCarthy, they have a manager who has experienced this situation in the past and they will believe that they can get the required points. Their last game of this season is against Wigan and three points in that game could prove to be massive for either side.

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