EPL Week 31 Predictions: Key Stats, Projection for Chelsea vs. Arsenal and More

Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 17, 2014

Can Arsenal end Jose Mourinho's unbeaten home record?
Can Arsenal end Jose Mourinho's unbeaten home record?Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Week 31 of the English Premier League throws up some interesting fixtures as always.

Top-of-the-table Chelsea entertain London rivals Arsenal in the first game of the weekend, whilst David Moyes' Manchester United side are at Upton Park hoping for a much needed boost against West Ham in the Saturday evening kick-off.

Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side travel to Wales for a reunion with old boy Craig Bellamy at Cardiff, and Manchester City host rock-bottom Fulham in two fixtures that have huge implications at both ends of the table.

A full list of fixtures and predictions is below, along with some key stats and analysis on the games that matter most.

Premier League Week 31 Fixtures
Chelsea vs. ArsenalSaturday March 2212.45 p.m. GMT/ 8.45 a.m. ET2-1
Manchester CIty vs. FulhamSaturday March 223 p.m GMT/ 11 a.m. ET3-1
Newcastle vs. Crystal PalaceSaturday March 223 p.m GMT/ 11 a.m. ET2-1
Hull City vs. West BromSaturday March 223 p.m GMT/ 11 a.m. ET2-0
Norwich City vs. SunderlandSaturday March 223 p.m GMT/ 11 a.m. ET0-1
Everton vs. Swansea CitySaturday March 223 p.m GMT/ 11 a.m. ET3-0
Cardiff City vs. LiverpoolSaturday March 223 p.m GMT/ 11 a.m. ET1-3
West Ham vs. Manchester UnitedSaturday March 225.30 p.m. GMT/ 1.30 p.m ET2-2
Tottenham vs. SouthamptonSunday March 231.30 p.m. GMT/ 9.30 a.m. ET2-1
Aston Villa vs. Stoke CitySunday March 234 p.m. GMT/ 12 p.m. ET1-1

Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Chelsea have only failed to score four times in a decade at home to Arsenal.
Chelsea have only failed to score four times in a decade at home to Arsenal.Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Chelsea have only failed to score against the Gunners on four occasions in the last decade, a time period which has seen just three goalless draws, per stats.football.co.uk.

Although the home side fare slightly better at Stamford Bridge (29 wins to Arsenal's 27 with 26 draws), the visitors have actually scored more than their hosts have when in West London (109 goals to Chelsea's 104).

After the unexpected loss against Aston Villa, Blues manager Jose Mourinho will certainly be hoping that his front-runners can cement their place at the summit of the Premier League.

The Portuguese has still yet to taste defeat on home soil in the league. Chelsea News noted the astonishing 75-game record via their Twitter account:

It will be a huge ask for the away side, but a second London derby away win in a week for Arsene Wenger's side will bring them right back into title contention, just a point behind the Blues and with a game in hand.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal


Cardiff City vs. Liverpool

Wll Ole Gunnar Solksjaer still be smiling after the visit of Liverpool?
Wll Ole Gunnar Solksjaer still be smiling after the visit of Liverpool?Jon Super/Associated Press

Brendan Rodgers' side have won many plaudits over the course of this Premier League season through their blend of attacking, expansive football.

Apart from Manchester City with 71, the Reds have scored at least 20 goals more than every other club in the league, and with 76 goals are only bettered by Real Madrid (77) and Barcelona (81) in Europe's top leagues.

It's form they must take to Cardiff City at the weekend, where their record is poor. Per LFC Online, the Reds have only ever won twice in Wales, the home side with nine wins and two draws.

The twin threat of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge is an obvious one. Their 43 goals, per WhoScored.com, are 20 goals better than the entire Cardiff team.

Just a point above Fulham and with only a solitary win in their last eight games, per WhoScored.com, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his work cut out to see his side get anything at all from this game.

Prediction: Cardiff City 1-3 Liverpool


Manchester City vs. Fulham

Both Manchester City and Fulham are in desperate need of the points.
Both Manchester City and Fulham are in desperate need of the points.Clive Rose/Getty Images

Despite being knocked out of the Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini's side remain primed for an assault on the Premier League title.

If City can win all their games in hand, they will be outright leaders in the league going into the final fixtures, and their recent form has been good with just a single defeat in the last six.

Take supposedly inferior teams lightly, however, and Wigan Athletic showed just what can happen in the last game at the Etihad Stadium.

Fulham come to Manchester in desperate need of the points and have a reasonable record at the ground per PremierLeague.com.

Despite losing on their last visit, Fulham had the lion's share of possession, and after three games without scoring, Felix Magath's men have found the net in all of their last six games, per WhoScored.com.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Fulham