English Premier League: Latest Rumors, Previews and Predictions for Week 35

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2013

English Premier League: Latest Rumors, Previews and Predictions for Week 35

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    With the title already clinched by Manchester United and two relegation spots earned by Reading and Queens Park Rangers this weekend, all of the attention in the league turns to the race for the top four and race to avoid 18th place.

    In that regard, this week is rife with intriguing matchups.

    But as always, business is always open in the Premier League, and with the summer window now not that far away, the rumors are plentiful. It's time to take a closer look at the Premier League this week.

Schedule

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    Saturday, May 4

    10 a.m. ET: Fulham vs. Reading

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

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

    10 a.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton 

    10 a.m. ET: West Bromwich Albion vs. Wigan Athletic 

    10 a.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Newcastle United 

    12:30 p.m. ET: Queens Park Rangers vs. Arsenal

     

    Sunday, May 5

    8:30 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. Everton 

    11 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Chelsea 

Preview

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    Aston Villa's win over Sunderland on Monday will have huge implications for the race to avoid relegation as the team has moved five points clear of 18th-placed Wigan (though Wigan does have a game in hand). 

    Wigan will face a difficult match of its own on the road against eighth-placed West Brom, while Newcastle will try to remain out of the relegation zone with a winnable game against West Ham.

    In the race for the Champions League, the key match will be Chelsea facing Manchester United at Old Trafford. United wasn't at its best over the weekend in a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, getting bossed in the midfield and allowing the Gunners to remain the aggressor, but the Red Devils proved they wouldn't rest on their laurels down the stretch despite clinching the title.

    Speaking of Arsenal, the team has a very winnable game at Loftus Road against QPR. The Gunners will probably need nine points from their last three games with both Chelsea and Tottenham holding a game in hand.

    Spurs also have a winnable contest, hosting Southampton. Don't be surprised if Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are all separated by just two points after the weekend.

Rumors: Manchester City to Win Bidding War for Napoli's Edinson Cavani?

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    Will Manchester City end up with one of the most sought-after strikers in the world, Edinson Cavani?

    The club believes so, according to Simon Mullock of the Mirror:

    Manchester City believe they are winning the battle to sign Edinson Cavani.

    The Blues will trigger the £52 million get-out clause in the Napoli striker’s contract to ensure they beat Real ­Madrid and Paris St.Germain to his signature this ­summer.

    Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentis has said that he will only sell his 23-goal striker to the highest bidder.

    And City have moved into pole position after making it clear they will meet the Italian club’s asking price and offer the 26-year-old £250,000-a-week wages.

    Cavani is the real deal with 32 goals in 38 total appearances for Napoli. It's his third straight season with 30 or more goals for the club. He would be one heck of an addition for Manchester City.

    And one heck of an expensive buy as well. 

Rumors: Loic Remy to Lead QPR Fire Sale?

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    With QPR now officially relegated after a pitiful scoreless draw against Reading over the weekend, it's expected the team will sell off much of its top talent as it prepares for a season in the Championship. 

    Striker Loic Remy was always going to be a target for more successful clubs, but now it's simply inevitable that he'll be sold.

    From Darren Lewis of the Mirror:

    Striker Loic Remy, defender Chris Samba and keeper Julio Cesar will all be offered to clubs to get them off the Rangers wage bill. Liverpool have now joined the hunt for £8 million-rated Remy, who is also attracting strong interest from Arsenal, Everton, Spurs and Inter Milan.

    The 26-year-old Frenchman has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for the amount that Rangers paid for him back in January in the event of relegation.

    With five goals in 11 games since coming to QPR in January, he's more than proven he can handle Premier League competition. He'll be moved.

Rumors: Robert Lewandowski Likely to Spurn Manchester Clubs This Summer?

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    It's no secret that Robert Lewandowski is one Europe's most sought-after players. It's also no secret that both Manchester clubs would love to add him or at least have been rumored to have interest for months now.

    But if you believe his agent, he won't be going anywhere this summer. From Jamie Jackson of The Guardian:

    Manchester City have also been linked with a move for the in-demand forward, with a cash-plus-player exchange transfer which would see Edin Dzeko go in the opposite direction having been mooted.

    Lewandowski has a year remaining on his contract at Dortmund, with Ferguson admitting he is an admirer and would like to add him to his Manchester United squad.

    Yet asked if the 24-year-old would like to play in the Premier League, Maik Barthel said: "I can tell you only one thing—Robert is interested in the future coming to the Premier League. The Premier League is very interesting for Robert. How long is the future, I cannot say to you. I think this summer is not the future."

    It's possible that his agent is just posturing to get his client a more lucrative contract and Borussia Dortmund a more appealing transfer fee. But for now, it appears Dortmund will at least hold on to Lewandowski.

Rumors: Arsenal to Target Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kondogbia?

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    The Gunners really need to add a true holding midfielder to the ranks this summer, a need perhaps even larger than the team's rumored interest in some of the top strikers in Europe. 

    So Arsene Wenger's interest in Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kondogbia, via Charlie Wyett of The Sun, makes a whole lot of sense:

    Arsene Wenger has confirmed he wants Sevilla's Geoffrey Kondogbia.

    The £17million-rated France Under-20 midfielder is also on Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid's radar.

    Kondogbia, 20, only arrived in Spanish football from Lens last summer.

    While Mikel Arteta has played admirably in the role this year, the team needs a true box-to-box midfielder who can offer a physical presence while supporting the back four but also help drive forward the team's attack. Kondogbia is a logical target. 

Predictions

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    The most exciting match of the week won't be the contest between Chelsea and Manchester United; it will be the match that precedes it on Sunday between Liverpool and Everton. While the Toffees are still fighting for a fifth-place spot, Liverpool proved it can still score without Luis Suarez in a 6-0 win over Newcastle.

    Look for this absolute cracker of a match to end in a 2-2 draw.

    Speaking of the Red Devils facing the Blues, Manchester United owes Chelsea a defeat after the latter won the FA Cup tilt between the two. At Old Trafford, with revenge on the mind, I expect the Red Devils to deal Chelsea a major blow, winning 2-1 and keeping the race for the Champions League truly intriguing.

    Especially after both Arsenal and Tottenham win. 

    Other winners will include Fulham over Reading, Manchester City over Swansea, West Brom over Wigan and West Ham over Newcastle while Norwich City and Aston Villa will draw in their match.