English Premier League: Latest Rumors, Preview and Predictions for Week 37
It's all about Chelsea and Tottenham this week.
Embroiled in a top-four battle with Arsenal, both teams will play two matches this week, including a key Wednesday showdown that will have major implications in Champions League qualification. With Arsenal not playing until next Tuesday, the Gunners and their fans will be left watching the Blues and Spurs this week.
And don't forget, the relegation battle rages on as Wigan looks to battle out of 18th place and as many as seven teams look to remain out of that position on the table. There are just two weeks left to go, folks—every game is crucial now.
Let's break down this week's action and hottest rumors.
Monday, May 6, 2013
3 p.m. ET: Sunderland vs. Stoke City
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
2:45 p.m. ET: Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion
2:45 p.m. ET: Wigan Athletic vs. Swansea City
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
2:45 p.m. ET: Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, May 11, 2013
7:45 a.m. ET Aston Villa vs. Chelsea
Sunday, May 12, 2013
8:30 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. West Ham United
10 a.m. ET: Fulham vs. Liverpool
10 a.m. ET: Norwich City vs. West Bromwich Albion
10 a.m. ET: Queens Park Rangers vs. Newcastle United
10 a.m. ET: Sunderland vs. Southampton
11 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Swansea City
Let's start with Chelsea facing Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
If Chelsea wins or the game ends in a draw, the Blues will remain in third place while Arsenal will remain in fourth place. If Tottenham wins, the Blues will remain in third on goal differential while Spurs will move into fourth place with each team having two games to play.
In other words, Arsenal fans will be Chelsea fans on Wednesday.
It would probably be unwise to assume a win for Chelsea and Tottenham this weekend, however. While Spurs should be able to handle Stoke City, the Blues have a tough matchup against an Aston Villa team that is fighting to avoid relegation, has won its last two games and lost just twice in the last eight games.
Plus, the game is at Villa Park. Chelsea will be tested on Saturday.
The relegation battle will begin on Monday, as 17th-place Sunderland takes on 11th-place Stoke City. With just 40 points on the season, however, Stoke isn't in the clear in terms of relegation just yet. On Tuesday, 18th-place Wigan will look to battle its way up the table at home in a winnable game against Swansea City.
Sunday will feature a pair of key relegation contests, as 16th-place Newcastle will travel to Loftus Road to face cellar-dwellers Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland will face 14th-place Southampton.
Rumors: Edinson Cavani to Napoli in Edin Dzeko Swap?
After failing to defend their Premier League title and watching Manchester United clinch it with games to spare, Manchester City is sure to have some turnover this season. It would be pretty shocking if the team failed to make a big splash.
One such player the team will be pursuing is Napoli's world-class striker Edinson Cavani, according to Neil McLeman of the Mirror:
Napoli are ready to take Edin Dzeko from Manchester City as part of a deal to sell them Edinson Cavani.
City and Real Madrid are competing for the signature of the Uruguay striker who has a 63 million Euro (£53 million) buyout clause in his contract.
The cash price for Serie A’s top scorer could be reduced to around £35 million if the Bosnian striker, who was bought for £27 million in January 2011, is included.
Adding Cavani would make City a scary squad and arguably the favorites to win the Premier League title next season.
Rumors: Fernandinho Pushing for a Move to Manchester City
City could be very busy this summer.
According to The Sun, Shakhtar Donetsk's Fernandinho is very interested in making a move to Manchester this summer:
Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian star Fernandinho has issued a 'come and get me' plea to Manchester City.
Blues boss Roberto Mancini has openly expressed his interest in taking the midfielder.
But Fernandinho, 28, has a £42.5 million release clause in his contract, although he hopes the Ukrainian giants will take nearer £20 million.
He said: "I believe my chances of making the World Cup squad will improve if I join City."
If City were to bring on Cavani and Fernandinho—and at this point, bringing in both seems like a longshot at best—surely a key player or two would be departing the Ethiad. Then again, after a largely disappointing season, a bit of turnover wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Rumors: Junior Hoilett Sure to Be a Hot Target over the Summer
Junior Hoilett had a disappointing season for QPR, scoring just two goals and adding an assists in 26 appearances this season. Then again, pretty much everyone on QPR was a disappointment.
But Hoilett is young and talented, and with QPR already relegated he is sure to garner interest from around the Premier League.
Everton and Stoke will rival Swansea for QPR winger Junior Hoilett.
The 22-year-old has been among several big-money signings to disappoint at Loftus Road this season and almost left in January as part of the controversial deal involving West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie.
I would be shocked if Hoilett wasn't sold over the summer.
Rumors: Liverpool Chasing Douglas?
Brendan Rodgers may not have a ton of money to turn Liverpool into a Champions League qualifier, but with a solid foundation already in place he might not need one if he makes savvy signings over the summer.
One of his first targets may be FC Twente defender Douglas, according to Lee Bryan of the Daily Mail:
Liverpool are looking to sign Brazilian defender Douglas on a free transfer.
The 25-year-old has been a long-term target for Newcastle who failed with a £4 million offer last summer while Inter Milan have also shown interest.
However, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has expressed interest after realizing Douglas is out of contract. Rodgers is unlikely to have more than £25 million to spend this summer, unless Luis Suarez is sold, and wants at least four players.
According to the report, Rodgers is set to focus on his back line with Jamie Carragher retiring and Martin Skrtel's future up in the air. Bringing Douglas in without having to pay a transfer fee would free up the manager to spend more money on other positions.
I just can't see Chelsea losing to Tottenham at home in such a crucial game. Much to the delight of Arsenal's fans, I believe the game will end in a 1-1 draw, though both teams will win their weekend matches and put pressure on the Gunners when they next play on Tuesday.
Per the relegation battle, I see Sunderland and Stoke drawing on Monday, while Wigan will continue its late-season surge with a win at home against Swansea, 1-0. On Sunday, I like Newcastle to beat QPR, while Sunderland will earn a crucial win at home against Southampton.
Other winners this week will include Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United, while West Brom and Norwich City will draw on Sunday.