Predicting the Biggest EPL, Liga, Serie A Matches: EPL Relegation Battle Hots Up
There are some huge games coming up in the Premier League this weekend that could shape the future of a number of relegation-threatened clubs. Cardiff City, coming off the back of their last-gasp equaliser against West Brom, now face a Crystal Palace side also fighting for survival.
Norwich and West Brom will lock horns this weekend, with both clubs desperate to get three points that should all but secure their Premier League status for another season.
The race for a Champions League place could potentially be somewhat decided when fifth-placed Everton face fourth-placed Arsenal at Goodison Park on Sunday.
In Spain, there’s a relegation six-pointer with two sides in the bottom four of La Liga will come up against each other with league survival at stake. In Italy’s Serie A, Parma have a difficult home tie against Napoli to further boost their chances of a top-four finish.
English Premier League
Everton vs. Arsenal
The race for fourth place could really take a turn on Sunday, as the in-form Everton come up against an Arsenal side who are enduring a poor run of late. A win for the Toffees would put them just one point adrift of Arsenal with a game in hand.
Everton, in Roberto Martinez’s first season as manager, have won their last five consecutive Premier League games. They’ve lost just once at home all season— boasting a better home record than their weekend opponents.
Arsenal are vulnerable of late. Injuries to key personnel has played havoc with their form in 2014, and Wenger’s side have won just three games from their last 10 in the Premier League. Their away form has been horrendous— with one win, one draw and three defeats from their last five on their travels. Everton will certainly fancy their chances this weekend.
Match Prediction: Everton 2-1 Arsenal
Cardiff vs. Crystal Palace
The race for Premier League survival really hots up as Cardiff host a Crystal Palace side daring to dream after their miraculous 1-0 win at home to Chelsea.
Cardiff, currently 19th, are in trouble this season. They may have gotten a last-minute equaliser to fellow strugglers West Brom, but they are three points adrift of the aforementioned Midlands side, who also have a game in hand on them.
Palace, now 16th, ended their run of poor form with the 1-0 win over Chelsea and now look destined for survival— five points clear of the drop zone. Their away form remains a worry, however, with no away victory in 2014.
Match prediction: Cardiff 0-0 Crystal Palace
Norwich vs. West Brom
Another relegation six-pointer as both managers are fighting to not only save their respective clubs’ Premier League status, but their own jobs as well. ‘El Sackico’ is the name jokingly coined for Premier League matches between two under-pressure bosses— adapted from Barcelona vs. Real Madrid’s ‘El Clasico’.
Norwich are solid at home but woeful away. West Brom are simply drawing too many games. The 3-3 against Cardiff last weekend was their 14th of the season. Victory for either side will see their survival hopes given a huge boost, while defeat would put them right back into the relegation dogfight.
Match prediction: Norwich 1-1 West Brom
Spanish La Liga
Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid
The unpredictable Real Sociedad could end Real Madrid title hopes this weekend should they maintain their impressive home form this weekend. Only two sides have won at Sociedad’s Aneota Stadium all campaign, and Real Madrid’s away form has been somewhat questionable of late—with just seven points amassed from five away games.
With Carlo Ancelotti’s men three points off top, defeat in this weekend’s clash could see them six points adrift with just six games to go. They did beat Sociedad 5-1 when the two sides met at the Bernabeu earlier this season, however.
Match prediction: Real Sociedad 0-3 Real Madrid
Almeria vs. Osasuna
Another relegation faceoff, this time in Spain’s La Liga, sees Almeria and Osasuna slug it out for a vital three points in their fight for survival on Friday evening. Both sides are locked on points (30), separated by just one goal.
Osasuna are in horrendous league form of late. The side have lost five from their last six, while a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad ended the run of consecutive defeats. Scoring goals has been a real problem too, netting just two from their previous six.
Almeria have taken four points from their last three and will fancy their chances based on recent form of the pair. They beat Osasuna 1-0 when the sides met earlier on in the season.
Match prediction: Almeria 1-0 Osasuna
Italian Serie A
Parma vs. Napoli
Parma have a very tough task of staying in contention of a top-four spot considering the in-form Napoli are their next opponents Sunday evening. The hosts have lost back-to-back league games to Juventus and Lazio, while Rafael Benitez’s men have lost just once in their last nine.
Prior to the two defeats, Roberto Donadoni’s men were in fine form— taking 35 points from 17 games— but they can ill afford to let it slip now, with fourth-placed Fiorentina five points ahead of Parma. With a game extra to play than Fiorentina, the Crusaders know their Napoli clash is a must-win despite the odds being against them.
Napoli are currently third and have little to play for as they’re 17 points off top and 15 points clear of fifth place. But Benitez won’t want his side to take the foot off the gas.
Match prediction: Parma 1-2 Napoli