World Football

Premier League Week 31 Fixtures: Live Stream, Predictions and EPL Expert Picks

Jose Mourinho will be hoping to extend a 75-game unbeaten home record, whilst three points for Arsenal would be a fine way to celebrate Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping to extend a 75-game unbeaten home record, whilst three points for Arsenal would be a fine way to celebrate Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge.Getty Images/Getty Images
Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 22, 2014

Premier League Week 31 once again throws up some absorbing contests, not least at Stamford Bridge where leaders Chelsea take on Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger presides over his Gunners side for the 1000th time, and a win to close the gap on Jose Mourinho's side to just a point would be a very timely present indeed.

Tony Pulis' Crystal Palace side travel to Newcastle in desperate search of some points, but Palace old boy Alan Pardew won't be there to greet them.

The Newcastle manager serves the second of his seven-game ban and will watch the game from the club's training ground offices, per Louise Taylor of the Guardian.

Premier League Week 31Fixtures
FixtureDateTimeLive Stream/TV InfoPrediction
Chelsea vs. ArsenalSaturday March 2212.45 p.m. GMT/8.45 a.m. ETBT Sport 1 and BT Sports App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)2-1
Manchester City vs. FulhamSaturday March 223 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETNBC Sports Network (US)3-1
Newcastle vs. Crystal PalaceSaturday March 223 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETNBC Live Extra (US)2-1
Hull City vs. West BromSaturday March 223 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETNBC Live Extra (US)2-0
Norwich City vs. SunderlandSaturday March 223 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETNBC Live Extra (US)0-1
Everton vs. Swansea CitySaturday March 223 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETNBC Live Extra (US)3-0
Cardiff City vs. LiverpoolSaturday March 223 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETNBC Live Extra (US)1-3
West Ham v. Manchester UnitedSaturday March 225.30 p.m. GMT/1.30 p.m. ETSky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)2-2
Tottenham vs. SouthamptonSunday March 231.30 p.m. GMT/9.30 a.m. ETSky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Sports Network (US)2-1
Aston Villa vs. Stoke CitySunday March 234 p.m. GMT/12 p.m. ETSky Sports 1 and Sky Go App (UK)/NBC Live Extra (US)1-1
PremierLeague.com

 

Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace travel to Newcastle in desperate need of the three points.
Crystal Palace travel to Newcastle in desperate need of the three points.Tom Dulat/Getty Images

There's no doubt whatsoever who is in more desperate need of the points in this one, and the urgency required by Crystal Palace could well work against them.

As could a draining second long away trip to the north-east in a week.

Tony Pulis' team need to force the pace throughout, whilst Newcastle have the luxury of knowing they are a full nine points ahead of 10th-placed Aston Villa and in reality a little too far behind the teams challenging for the European places.

Sky Sports' Paul Merson identifies the fighting spirit that typifies a Pulis side, and a creditable 0-0 draw at Sunderland last time out gives an indicator of the task the Magpies face. 

Much will be expected of Thomas Ince, whose ability shines through in a side more noted for its robust nature than quality in possession of the football.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Thomas Ince of Palace looks to attack during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Southampton at Selhurst Park on March 08, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Marouane Chamakh is out for the visitors so goalscoring duties will fall to the ageing Cameron Jerome, but one goal in 21 appearances (eight as sub) per WhoScored.com, is not likely to trouble Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal.

Despite having Loic Remy, Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon out with injury, Merson still believes that Newcastle will have a little too much for the away side and plumps for a 1-0 home win.

The return of Hatem Ben Arfa could not have come at a better time for the home side, his trickery and direct running likely to cause problems for Palace throughout the afternoon.

With Palace having a far superior aerial duel success of 61 percent per WhoScored, Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran on the opposite side should therefore garner more success if they keep balls into Papiss Cisse below head height.

Cisse himself could certainly do with getting on the score sheet, his solitary goal this season not good enough at this level.

Prediction: 2-1

 

Hull City vs. West Brom

Another win for Pepe Mel will see him leapfrog Steve Bruce's Hull City side in the table.
Another win for Pepe Mel will see him leapfrog Steve Bruce's Hull City side in the table.Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Hull have lost their last three home matches in the Premier League according to WhoScored.

In danger of being dragged right into the relegation mire, manager Steve Bruce might well be pleased to be facing a West Brom side with only one win in their last 10 and with six first-teamers missing through injury.

It never rains but it pours for poor old Pepe Mel.

Mark Lawrenson of BBC Sport notes the upcoming FA Cup semi-final as the catalyst for seeing some improved form from Bruce's side.

One win out of the last four at home per WhoScored hints at a downturn in fortunes on their own patch. Certainly early-season form at the KC Stadium was good, as Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool would attest to.

Stephane Sessegnon, a player Bruce knows all about from their days at Sunderland, will need to be kept quiet. A five-man midfield with Tom Huddlestone as a defensive anchor could well be the best way of handling the pace of the Beninese.

A win over Swansea City last time out perhaps suggests that Mel could be about to oversee a resurgence from his side.

Although it was his first three points as manager, it should also be noted that both Chelsea and Liverpool were held, albeit at the Hawthorns.

Lawrenson goes with a 1-1 score draw, but a lack of regular first-team players will ensure that West Brom go home empty-handed.

Prediction: 2-0

 

Aston Villa vs. Stoke City

Two very contrasting styles of football will be on show at Villa Park.
Two very contrasting styles of football will be on show at Villa Park.Michael Regan/Getty Images

There is likely to be two very contrasting styles of football on display at Villa Park on Sunday.

Mark Hughes' Stoke City side have always been renowned for the robust manner in which they approach their games, whereas Paul Lambert's more cultured style is a good fit at Aston Villa.

Having said that, with the likes of Christian Benteke up front for the Villans, they're not frightened to mix it up when required.

Charlie Adam is a big miss in the middle of the park for the visitors. If Marko Arnautovic doesn't get at Ashley Westwood in the early stages, then expect the latter to impose himself in the central areas.

If he's allowed to spread the ball wide, it's fairly obvious that Villa's threat will come down the Stoke right side with both Gabby Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph likely to cause problems throughout. 

Stoke's biggest threat, literally, will come from Peter Crouch. It might not be pretty, but it's effective.

Both have little to play for in this one, locked together as they are on 34 points, a full nine behind Newcastle in ninth place.

Sky Sports' Tony Gale agrees that there is no splitting the two teams, in a match that already has an end-of-the-season feeling about it.

Prediction: 1-1

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