World Football

EPL Week 32 Fixtures: Players Set to Decide Vital Clashes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Romelu Lukaku of Everton gestures to the crowd after the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and West Ham at Goodison Park on March 1, 2014 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images
Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2014

Not long to go now...

The Premier League is fast approaching its final knockings, as a plethora of different sides have plenty to battle it out for. And looking at the fixtures that are set to take place in Week 32, there are some vital clashes that could go a long way to determining who ends up with what come the final day in May.

Excited? No surprise! But before we dive deeper into some of the key contests that are set to unfold in Week 32, here’s a full rundown of the fixtures:

Premier League Fixtures—Week 32
Saturday 29 MarchKick-Off Time (GMT)
Manchester United vs. Aston Villa12:45 p.m.
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea3 p.m.
Southampton vs. Newcastle United3 p.m.
Stoke City vs. Hull City3 p.m.
Swansea City vs. Norwich City3 p.m.
West Brom vs. Cardiff City3 p.m.
Arsenal vs. Manchester City5:30 p.m.
Sunday 30 MarchKick-Off Time (BST)
Fulham vs. Everton1:30 p.m.
Liverpool vs. Tottenham4 p.m.
Monday 31 MarchKick-Off Time (BST)
Sunderland vs. West Ham United8 p.m.
BBC Sport

At this point in the campaign, things are often so tight that it takes a solitary moment of magic from a gifted player to decide a game—a magnificent save, a crucial challenge, a sumptuous pass or a clinical finish.

After their 6-3 win over Cardiff City in Week 31, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who has guided his team to within touching distance of the Premier League summit, insisted how crucial it is to have those types of players in his team, per ESPN:

That's what we've got in the team - footballers and technicians that can open up the game for us, we can control the ball. We had large spells of possession which frustrated Cardiff.

Look at our imagination and creativity today; you sensed the crowd felt that every time we were in their half, we could score.

Here, we’ll be looking at three talents in that mould who can swing the game their team’s way as the end of the campaign approaches.

 

David Silva

Jon Super/Associated Press

A huge game at the top of the table sees Arsenal host Manchester City at the Emirates. The away side must win if they are to keep pace with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, and the man the City fans call “Merlin” will be critical to a City victory.

That man is David Silva, and he’ll be looking to contribute in a big week for City; the Manchester derby precedes their clash with Arsenal. Silva is relishing being part of this thrilling City side and these titanic contests, per Sky Sports:

I think this is the most exciting City team I have played in. That attacking style helps, not just for me, but for all the players to go forward and score more goals.

I ask myself in every game to be the one to take responsibility. I enjoy creating goals more than scoring them.

Perhaps more so against the Gunners than the Red Devils, Silva will have a big influence. With injuries to key men like Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, the Gunners look a little light in midfield areas.

Chelsea’s attacking midfield trio of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle ran riot between the lines in their 6-0 mauling of the Gunners in Week 31, and it’s that sort of space in which Silva thrives.

Expect the former Valencia man to have plenty of joy picking the ball up on the half-turn and driving at the Arsenal back four. If Arsenal can't pin the mercurial Spaniard down, then this will be a big win for City as they continue to push for the title.

 

Romelu Lukaku

Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

Since Lukaku’s return from injury, Everton have looked a side transformed. 

Good performances at White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge last month counted for nothing as the Toffees were unable to stick the ball in the back of the net. But with the on-loan Chelsea man back in the fold, Roberto Martinez’s team are rolling once again.

They take on Fulham in Week 32 and will have fourth-placed Arsenal in their sights.

The Gunners are currently eight points ahead of the Toffees, but with a game in hand and a clash between the two sides at Goodison still to come, Everton will fancy their chances of catching Arsene Wenger’s side. The Daily Mail’s Ell Bretland certainly thinks it’s possible:

To do that, the Toffees need to beat teams like Fulham; the Cottagers are currently rooted to the bottom of the table having recently shipped five at Manchester City. Everton and Lukaku must heap more misery on them if Martinez’s side are to continue dreaming of the Champions League.

 

Luis Suarez

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 22:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates after scoring hihs third and his team's sixth goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool at Cardiff City Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Cardiff
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Earlier in the season, Liverpool ran riot at White Hart Lane. It was a 5-0 win that looked like something of a fluke result at the time, but since then the Reds have walloped a host of the Premier League’s top sides to thrust themselves into the reckoning for the Premier League title.

The man who inspired that 5-0 win over Spurs and a host of subsequent hammerings since is Luis Suarez. He scored his third hat-trick of the campaign against Cardiff City in Week 31, and when you look at his statistics it’s easy to see why the Reds are faring so well:

Luis Suarez Statistics—Premier League 2013/14
Appearances25
Goals28
Assists11
Average Shots Per Game5.6
Average Key Passes Per Game2.8
Average Successful Dribbles Per Game2.8
WhoScored.com

Tottenham are going to have to find a way of halting the Uruguayan goal machine, not to mention his strike partner Daniel Sturridge, who has also been in sensational form.

But there aren’t many teams who have shackled the former Ajax man. He’s been on fire this season, and against a Spurs side still finding their feet under Tim Sherwood, he looks set to be the match winner at Anfield once again on Sunday.

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