Premier League Week 28 Fixtures: Full Picks and Predictions for Matchday 28

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal (C) celebrates with team-mates Olivier Giroud of Arsenal (L) and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal after scoring their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on February 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Four teams are separated by four points in the Premier League title race. For the moment, it seems unlikely that any one of those teams could drop out of Champions League contention, but if they falter, Tottenham, Manchester United and Everton will be knocking on their door. 

And nine teams are within seven points of one another at the bottom of the table, as the relegation battle promises to be as close as the title race. Things are going to go down to the wire, folks.

While Matchday 28 doesn't have any must-watch matches, pretty much every game at this point has implications. Let's break down this week's slate of action.

Note: The Sunderland versus West Brom and Manchester United versus Manchester City matches have been rescheduled due to Sunday's Capital One Cup final between Sunderland and City.


Schedule and Predictions

Matchday 28 Premier League Predictions
Saturday at 10 a.m. ETEverton2-0West Ham
Saturday at 10 a.m. ETFulham0-2Chelsea
Saturday at 10 a.m. ETHull City1-1Newcastle
Saturday at 10 a.m. ETStoke City1-2Arsenal
Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ETSouthampton2-2Liverpool
Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ETAston Villa1-1Norwich City
Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ETSwansea City2-1Crystal Palace
Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ETTottenham2-0Cardiff City



LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's third goal with Luis Suarez during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on February 23, 2014 in Liverpool, England.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

With the United versus City match being rescheduled, there really aren't any marquee matchups this weekend. The most intriguing, however, is Southampton taking on Liverpool.

The Saints had been rolling through much of January and February, at one point rattling off an eight-game unbeaten streak. But that ended on February 15, as the team lost to Sunderland in the FA Cup, and continued last weekend as they lost to West Ham, 3-1.

Contrast that to Liverpool, which haven't lost in 2014 and have steadily gained ground on the Premier League leaders. Led by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool have now scored 70 goals on the season, tops in the league.

But where Liverpool play like Norse gods protecting Asgard at home, they are mere mortals on the road. Southampton are a tough, tough team and need to get back on track, so don't be surprised if they earn the draw.

That will hurt Liverpool's title chances, as both Arsenal and Chelsea should beat Stoke City and Fulham, respectively. Of course, Chelsea will be trying to overcome the fact that they "lack a scorer." Those are Jose Mourinho's words, not mine, as Mourinho was filmed saying, "The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer. I have one (Eto'o) but he's 32. Maybe 35, who knows?"

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19:  Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team's third goal and completing his hat trick during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on January 19, 2014 in Lon
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

He claimed it was a private conversation and he was only making a joke with a journalist off the record. Unfortunately, not even the Special One can make damage control sound like the truth. Will that prove a distraction for Chelsea heading into this match?

Probably not. The truth is, what Mourinho said is hard to deny, and Chelsea have been overcoming the lack of a potent striker all season. 

Both Everton and Tottenham should gain ground in the race for the top four if Liverpool draws, with winnable home matches. Of course, after Spurs lost to Norwich City, 1-0, their fans are in a state of crisis. 

From Dan Fitch of ESPN:

It's not premature to declare this season a complete write-off. It was always going to be extremely difficult to break into the top four for the simple reason that the teams ahead of Spurs are much better than them. Now it looks impossible.

Liverpool are essentially seven points ahead of Tottenham when you consider a goal-difference deficit that you would expect to find between two sides at the opposite ends of the table. It would take an implosion on Liverpool's behalf and for Spurs to be very consistent, neither of which seems likely to happen.

Under Andre Villas-Boas, the results and performances were bad enough to justify his sacking. Yet it is folly to dismiss a manager if there is no one available to take over. Daniel Levy should know this because he has made the exact same mistake before, having sacked Glenn Hoddle only to have to install David Pleat as a caretaker until the end of the season.

Yes, it's a long shot that Spurs will get into the top four. Heck, it was probably a long shot that Spurs would recover from losing Gareth Bale and gel with so many new players in one season. Always the bridesmaids, never the brides at White Hart Lane, at least for one more season.