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English Premier League: Latest Rumors, Preview and Predictions for Week 32

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

English Premier League: Latest Rumors, Preview and Predictions for Week 32

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    With the Premier League season winding to a close, every single game now holds huge implications as the race to qualify for the Champions League or avoid relegation heats up.

    Manchester United probably is a lock to win the title at this point, 15 points clear of second-place Manchester City. However, even that could come into question if City is able to win the Manchester derby on Monday.

    With so much on the line, let's break down a vital week of action for teams all across the Premier League. 

Fixtures

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    SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2013

    7:45 a.m. ET: Reading vs. Southampton 

    10 a.m. ET: Norwich City vs. Swansea City 

    10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Aston Villa

    10 a.m. ET: West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal 

     

    SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2013

    8:30 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Ham 

    9:05 a.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton 

    10 a.m. ET: Chelsea vs. Sunderland 

    10 a.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Fulham

    11:10 a.m. ET: Queens Park Rangers vs. Wigan Athletic 

     

    MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013

    3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Manchester City

Preview

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    The game that may stand out to you on the schedule is probably Manchester United taking on Manchester City, but the game with the most implications on the table is Tottenham facing Everton.

    With both Chelsea and Arsenal facing opponents they will be expected to beat—Sunderland and West Brom, respectively—Spurs could lose serious ground on the table with a loss or tie to Everton.

    Remember, Tottenham is currently in third place but just two points ahead of Chelsea and four points ahead of Arsenal, and both teams have a game in hand on Spurs. So does Everton, which trails Tottenham by six points and could cut that deficit in half with a win.

    The game will have huge implications in the race to finish as a top-four team and qualify for Champions League play.

    Beyond that, the United vs. City clash is the premier matchup. Still, trailing United by 15 points with just eight games remaining, it's nearly inconceivable that City could catch the Red Devils and win the title.

    Even if City won its last eight games—a tall if not impossible order—United would either need to win just three games in its last seven to earn the title, win two and draw three or win one and draw six. Don't hold your breath, City fans.

    In the relegation battle, QPR and Reading seem like sure bets to drop down a division with just 23 points on the season. Still, QPR could make up some much-needed ground facing Wigan (17th on the table, 30 points), Reading could do the same against Southampton (34 points) and Aston Villa (30 points) will try to earn three points against Stoke City (34 points).

    The title looks all decided at this point, but places in the Champions League and Europa League and the relegation battle look as though they will be intriguing until the end.

Rumors

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    Here's your round-up of the latest rumors from around the Premier League:

    New Reading manager Nigel Adkins wants to make Southampton striker Billy Sharp his first signing of the summer, according to the Mirror.

    According to Alan Nixon of the Mirror, Newcastle is interested in adding Celtic defender Kelvin Wilson over the summer, fearing that Fabricio ­Coloccini could return to Argentina after the season.

    Don't expect Javier Hernandez to go anywhere this summer—Sir Alex Ferguson told Jason Burt of The Telegraph that Chicharito is staying put.

    This Sunday rumor from Steve Stammers of the Mirror is a doozy, though it's pretty hard to believe—Arsenal is ready to splash out as much as £70 million to land Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze from Borussia Dortmund and Lars Bender of Bayer Leverkusen.

    Arsenal fans will believe it when they see it.

    Finally, Liverpool expects to be busy over the summer, with Jason Burt of The Telegraph reporting the team could chase up to five players, including Michael Vorm, Christian Eriksen and Hatem Ben Arfa.

Predictions

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    In the big games, I have a funny feeling Tottenham is going to stumble late in the season once more and drop all three points against Everton, losing 1-0. That will be excellent news for Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, which will all win this week.

    In the premier showdown, Manchester City will storm out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, leading supporters to believe a late-season push for the title may just be realistic after all. But United will scoff at such hopes, storming back to tie the game at two apiece, with the equalizer coming in stoppage time.

    It will be the ultimate blow to the heart for City fans, and totally in line with how United has played on its march to the title this season.

    Other winners will include Swansea and Fulham, while Reading versus Southampton, Stoke City versus Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers versus Wigan Athletic will finish as draws.

     

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