Premier League Week 30 Picks: Predictions for Upcoming EPL Fixtures

Dan Brett@@DanBrett90Contributor IIIMarch 10, 2014

Lukaku will be looking to see his side in Europe next season.
Lukaku will be looking to see his side in Europe next season.Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

Yet more important matches at both ends of the Premier League table present themselves in Week 30, with all sides in action after last round's cup postponements.

Title-chasing Chelsea travel to Aston Villa in their clash which puts them against Paul Lambert's side, who will be looking for victory to steer themselves away from danger.

Meanwhile, Everton must win against Cardiff to overtake Manchester United in the sixth-place spotwhich now means European football at the end of the seasonwhile also hoping rivals Liverpool defeat the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

Sunderland take on Crystal Palace in a battle of the bottom five, while the small matter of the North London derby gets underway as title-chasing Arsenal travel to Tottenham, who still hold hopes of overtaking the Gunners' Champions League place.

EPL Week 30: Dates, Times, Fixtures and Predictions
March 1512.45 p.m. GMT, 8.45 a.m. ETHull v Manchester City1-4
March 153 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ETEverton v Cardiff3-0
March 153 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ETFulham v Newcastle1-3
March 153 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ETSouthampton v Norwich2-0
March 153 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ETStoke v West Ham1-1
March 153 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ETSunderland v Crystal Palace0-0
March 153 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ETSwansea v West Brom2-1
March 155.30 p.m. GMT, 1.30 p.m. ETAston Villa v Chelsea2-1
March 161.30 p.m. GMT, 9.30 a.m. ETManchester United v Liverpool1-4
March 164 p.m. GMT, 12 p.m. ETTottenham v Arsenal1-2
BBC Sport


Everton vs. Cardiff

Everton battled to victory last time out.
Everton battled to victory last time out.Jon Super/Associated Press

After Cardiff's 3-1 win over Fulham lifted the side into 18th place and level on points with 17th-placed West Brom, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men travel to Goodison Park knowing that a win could see them leapfrog both the Baggies and Crystal Palace.

Steven Caulker's double gave the Bluebirds victory last time out, with Fulham's Sascha Riether making things all the more comfortable with a late own goal.

This win provided a necessary boost to Cardiff, who have had to deal with a number of on-field problems and off-field dramas since Vincent Tan's sacking of Malky Mackay.

Steven Caulker helped seal three points against Fulham.
Steven Caulker helped seal three points against Fulham.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

However, the side now look to use their home victory as a springboard to survival as they travel to Europa League-chasing Everton, who need a win to leapfrog David Moyes' United.

According to Squawka, Cardiff were also the side to create the most chances across Saturday's matches, which will come as a welcome boost ahead of the match against the Toffees:

Everton, though, know that only a win will do if Roberto Martinez is to guide the side back into Europe at the first time of asking.

Romelu Lukaku will once again provide plenty of optimism for goals as the Bluebirds flock to Merseyside, with the side's 3-1 defeat at Arsenal ending FA Cup dreams and keeping focus firmly on the Premier League.

Lukaku bagged the winner in the side's last home fixture, coming off the bench to score late on in a tough fixture against a well-drilled West Ham side.

They'll get a similarly tough ride of it against Cardiff, who will be setting their stalls out to hit Everton on the counter-attack and hoping to profit from any sticky moments that the Toffees present.

However, with Cardiff's severe lack of forward power in recent months, you've got to fancy Everton to continue their march back to European ways.

Prediction: Everton 3-0 Cardiff


Manchester United vs. Liverpool

Danny Sturridge has grown as a player since his permanent move.
Danny Sturridge has grown as a player since his permanent move.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Almost five years ago to the day, Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford and turned out a 4-1 victory which moved them just four points behind the league leaders.

That feat could once again present itself, as the side take on Moyes' men knowing that a win will put them four points behind league leaders Chelsea.

Danny Sturridge and Luis Suarez's excellent partnership has seen at least one of the pair score in the Reds' last nine Premier League fixtures. They'll be looking to keep their league dreams alive when they take on United, who currently occupy the last European place.

United's biggest problem this season has been the defence, which has come under scrutiny after failing to shut out games in traditional Red Devils style.

Writing for the Telegraph, Liverpool legend Alan Hansen stated that Moyes must bring in a brand-new back four:

Nemanja Vidic’s decision to leave Old Trafford is a crushing blow for David Moyes and with Rio Ferdinand also expected to retire,Manchester United are going to need a whole new back four next season.

Vidic is going to be incredibly difficult to replace and alongside Ferdinand they have been undoubtedly one of the greatest centre-back partnerships in the Premier League. A future without them both is a grim prospect for United.

Is Smalling a right-back or a centre-half? I don’t think he’s great in either position. Jones plays in midfield and defence and is yet to settle on one.

Jonny Evans is OK if he has got a Vidic in his prime alongside him but without that experience and assurance I am not so sure he can handle it.

You have got to have a partnership at centre-half, you have got to bed them in like Ferdinand and Vidic. When you are winning and scoring four of five goals it is so much easier to play but when you’re struggling there’s no hiding place and you get caught out.

Liverpool's best asset this season has been their attacking prowess, capped off by an excellent 42-goal haul by Suarez and Sturridge.

At Old Trafford, the pressure can be telling for a side that are transitional, but with supporters onlooking that expect and deserve better after what Sir Alex Ferguson built over his tenure.

With the firepower on offer to Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, you can't really see past another onslaught and history repeating itself in Manchester.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool

Tottenham vs. Arsenal.

Olivier Giroud celebrates with an in-form Mesut Ozil.
Olivier Giroud celebrates with an in-form Mesut Ozil.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The North London derby always throws up an interesting set of circumstances and it's no different this time.

Spurs go into the game knowing that a win would give them an excellent change—and psychological edge—over their fierce rivals, sitting just six points behind them but knowing the Gunners have a game in hand.

Arsenal, though, have a very different agenda and know that they have a real chance to narrow the gap on league leaders Chelsea with a win at White Hart Lane, sitting level on points with Liverpool and, of course, just seven points from top spot.

Tim Sherwood's men will still have their boss' post-match words ringing in their ears after the 4-0 drubbing at Chelsea. They know that they must improve if they're to break back into the Champions League.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the defeat, Sherwood spoke of a lack of character from his side:

We aren't going to finish top-four if you can't beat the top teams. It ain't going to happen, you're miles away unless you beat the top teams.

You have to pick up some points. All right, we beat [Man] United and Everton around us, but you can't rely on rolling over the smaller sides - it does not work out like that.

We did all right in patches, but there are too many blips - you are talking about fourth, people at the club, but wake up. I'm not going to forget this by the time we hit the motorway. Some might - but on to the next match. That is the nature of the game.

Sherwood will be expecting much more commitment from his side as Arsenal come to White Hart Lane, knowing that a subpar performance will be met with a cacophony of jeers from Spurs fans—especially as defeat would all but end any hopes of a return to Champions League football.

Arsenal will be relying once again on Olivier Giroud to lead the line, and with Mesut Ozil back amongst the goals, Spurs will have to be careful to track the tricky German's runs through midfield.

Spurs need to give more if they're to return to the Champions League.
Spurs need to give more if they're to return to the Champions League.Clive Rose/Getty Images

There's always a headline with these sorts of fixtures and Spurs supporters will be looking to Emmanuel Adebayor to get back on the goal trail against his former employers, who have bagged 37 goals at home this season.

However, they know a plucky Arsenal sidewho are chasing their first league title in 10 yearswill prove tough competition and  they will have to be on their guard against the Gunners' slick style of passing football.

It'll be those stinging words from Sherwood and memories of the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea that will be strongly on the minds of Tottenham players, and rightly so.

But that's exactly why the side will fail to come back as a squad that have shown a real lack of character this season while Arsenal will leave White Hart Lane with three points.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-2 Arsenal


Follow me @DanBrett90 for more insight and reaction on the beautiful game. 


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