After a reduced slate of Premier League games a weekend ago, fans will be excited to see a full schedule of fixtures this weekend.
There are quite a few big-time matchups, as well.
If you watch one day of soccer this week, you won't want to miss Sunday, as two major rivalries will be contested between four of the top six teams in the league this season. Let's take a look at this week's fixtures, predict each match and preview this matchday's action.
Schedule and Predictions
|When (All times ET)||Home||Prediction||Away|
|Saturday at 8:45 a.m.||Hull City||0-3||Manchester City|
|Saturday at 11 a.m.||Everton||2-0||Cardiff City|
|Saturday at 11 a.m.||Fulham||0-1||Newcastle|
|Saturday at 11 a.m.||Southampton||1-0||Norwich City|
|Saturday at 11 a.m.||Stoke City||1-1||West Ham|
|Saturday at 11 a.m.||Sunderland||1-0||Crystal Palace|
|Saturday at 11 a.m.||Swansea City||1-1||West Brom|
|Saturday at 1:30 p.m.||Aston Villa||0-2||Chelsea|
|Sunday at 9:30 a.m.||Manchester United||3-2||Liverpool|
|Sunday at noon||Tottenham||1-2||Arsenal|
Sunday is officially Rivalry Day in the Premier League, as Manchester United host Liverpool and Tottenham host Arsenal in contests with both title and Champions League implications.
The first contest pits disappointing United against flourishing Liverpool, in a match that feels as though it could save or break United's season. Beat the Reds, and United might have the confidence to go on a late run and re-emerge in the top four places. Lose this game, and United is done and David Moyes could be done eventually as well.
For Liverpool, a win at Old Trafford wouldn't just be a symbolic changing of the guard in this rivalry, as United have been the more prominent Premier League side in recent years. It would also keep the Reds firmly in the Premier League's title race, as the Reds, Gunners and Citizens (with games in hand) all chase the Blues.
Old Trafford hasn't been an impenetrable fortress this season, as United have lost four times and drawn thrice in their home digs. But Liverpool have also been more vulnerable on the road, taking 22 of 39 possible points, so a desperate United team could conceivably pull off the upset.
With their season on the line, look for them to do just that.
Meanwhile, Arsenal and Tottenham meet as both teams seem teetering on the brink. The Gunners have been devastated by injuries, were just knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich and have relinquished the top spot on the Premier League table.
Spurs are trying to recover from an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against Chelsea and maintain their outside hopes of finishing in the top four. Of course, the fact that manager Tim Sherwood not only recently ripped his team but stands by his comments, could mean trouble in paradise at White Hart Lane.
His comments, via the Press Association (and shared by The Guardian):
They know how I am and how I felt about what happened. We are moving on, you can't dwell on it. They are all men, they all appreciate that I am singing it from the heart, not from the script—I'm not an actor, I work on impulse.
I'm never going to take a step back. I'm just going to shoot from the hip. That's what I'm like. I'm a manager, not a babysitter. A lot of players here are playing for their future and I think they realise that now. I'm going to have a good look at the whole squad and see who I need to keep and who I need to bring in.
They have that chance between now and the end of the season to prove they want to play for a giant club like Tottenham. I want players here who want to play for the club and they have between now and the end of the season to show that they are playing for their club and not for themselves.
There's no need to read between the lines in those comments. But will they play well in the locker room?
Gary Lineker doesn't think so:
Fascinating, honest but ultimately, I feel, unwise public condemnation of his own players by Tim Sherwood. Private, always the best way.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 12, 2014
There is no quicker way to lose the confidence and trust of your players than to slag them off publicly.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 12, 2014
Don't be surprised if the unpredictable, often disappointing season for Spurs continues with another loss to their bitter rivals, Arsenal.
As per the other major contenders, both Chelsea and Manchester City should earn easy wins this week, while Everton shouldn't have any problems handling Cardiff City.
In the relegation battle, Sunderland should earn some much-needed ground with a home win over Crystal Palace, while Fulham and Norwich City won't do themselves any favors with losses.