EPL Predictions Week 34: Premier League Picks, Key Players and Fixture Info

Jason PettigroveContributor IApril 7, 2014

Fulham's Brede Hangeland was man-of-the-match against Aston Villa.
Fulham's Brede Hangeland was man-of-the-match against Aston Villa.Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Premier League Week 34 throws up some very intriguing games that will affect things at both ends of the table.

The relegation scrap is in full swing and Norwich City's trip to Fulham is crucial for both sides. A win for the visitors could leave them as much as eight points above the bottom three, whilst giving the Cottagers a mountain to climb in their race for survival.

West Ham travel across London looking to dent Arsenal's hopes of a Champions League place, with Andy Carroll looking to continue his impressive form.

Below is a full table of fixtures together with a more detailed look at some of the games.

Premier League Week 34 Fixtures
Stoke City vs. NewcastleSaturday April 123:07 p.m. BST/10:07 a.m. ET2-1
Crystal Palace vs. Aston VillaSaturday April 123:07 p.m. BST/10:07 a.m. ET2-1
Southampton vs. Cardiff CitySaturday April 123:07 p.m. BST/10:07 a.m. ET3-0
Sunderland vs. EvertonSaturday April 123:07 p.m. BST/10:07 a.m. ET1-3
Fulham vs. Norwich CItySaturday April 123:07 p.m. BST/10:07 a.m. ET1-0
West Brom vs. TottenhamSaturday April 123:07 p.m. BST/10:07 a.m. ET1-1
Liverpool vs. Manchester CitySunday April 131:37 p.m. BST/8:37 a.m. ET3-2
Swansea City vs. ChelseaSunday April 134:07 p.m. BST/ 11:07 a.m. ET0-2
Arsenal vs. West HamTuesday April 157:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET2-1


Swansea City vs. Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Oscar of Chelsea and Jose Alberto Canas of Swansea City  battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on December 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by W
Warren Little/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side travel to Swansea knowing a win keeps them in the title hunt, regardless of the Portuguese's mind games. Per Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror, he said:

Our position is not correct because Manchester City have two games in hand and we are not in control of our destiny.

We also still have three points to discuss with Liverpool. It is going to be difficult.

Whilst he is correct in his outlook, a draw between Liverpool and Manchester City opens the door for the Blues, and a win at Anfield in Week 36 potentially takes Chelsea back to the summit with two games to play.

Swansea will be desperate for the three points themselves, having won only one game in their last 11, per WhoScored.com.

Their hopes of securing an upset rest on frontman Wilfried Bony's shoulders. His 11 goals in 29 appearances (seven as sub), per WhoScored, is a decent return for his first season in the Premier League, and he does have form against the big sides.

Who can forget this last-minute winner to knock Manchester United out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford?

He was also amongst the goals in a pulsating 4-3 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield and scored one in each game away at Everton and Arsenal, both ending in 2-2 draws.

Swansea can play good football and are still scoring goals, but results have let them down.

Mourinho is the master of the defensive performance, and Bony will have to be at his very best to breach the excellent defensive partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill.

Prediction: 0-2


Southampton vs. Cardiff City

CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 26:  Goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga of Southampton makes a save during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Southampton at Cardiff City Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Richard Heathcot
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his Cardiff City side to the south coast in the hope of snatching an unlikely victory to give the Bluebirds some final impetus to get over the line and out of the bottom three.

Things don't look good for the ex-Manchester United striker and his charges at the moment. Already six points adrift, per PremierLeague.com, a loss to Southampton may be the death knell for Cardiff's hopes of staying in the division.

Although Mauricio Pochettino suffered a blow when he lost Jay Rodriguez to a nasty knee injury at Manchester City, his team have more than enough about them to keep Cardiff at bay.

Southampton lost Jay Rodriguez to a nasty injury against Manchester City.
Southampton lost Jay Rodriguez to a nasty injury against Manchester City.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In Luke Shaw, Southampton have an English defender with all the qualities of a continental wing-back. For an 18-year-old, his form this season has been exceptional and has improved in all areas, per WhoScored.

It was therefore no surprise to see Roy Hodgson giving Shaw his first England call-up earlier this season.

With Cardiff's Kenwyne Jones likely to go for the the knockdowns to Frazier Campbell in the middle of the park, Shaw should be tasked with keeping Wilfried Zaha quiet down his side of the pitch, keeping any crosses into Jones to a minimum.

Prediction: 3-0


Fulham vs. Norwich City

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14:  Luciano Becchio of Norwich City battles with Pajtim Kasami of Fulham during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third round replay match between Fulham and Norwich City at Craven Cottage on January 14, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Sacking your manager with five games to go in the Premier League season wasn't the best idea, but that's exactly what the board of Norwich City has done, dispensing with the services of Chris Hughton after a poor run.

Just one win in their last six—against bottom-placed Sunderland—per WhoScored, has left the Canaries hanging perilously close to the bottom three. So much so that a win for Fulham in this one will bring them to within two points of their visitors.

As so often happens when a manager is sacked, a team develops a new lease of life, and perhaps this is the only reason that Hughton was sacked now, in the hope of a late-season recovery and safety for another season.

The problem for Norwich is they don't score too many: 11 in all competitions since the turn of the year, per WhoScored, is absolutely dire.

And in Brede Hangeland, Norwich come up against a central defender in fine form and ready to repel anything that is thrown his way.

Against Aston Villa last time out, Hangeland was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch in a man-of-the-match display.

His averages across the season, per WhoScored, are worth noting: 7.8 clearances per match, only 0.5 fouls and a passing accuracy of 82.5 percent from an average of 35.9 passes per game deserves better than the lowly position that the Cottagers find themselves in.  

If he can keep Norwich at bay, and Lewis Holtby and Co. can do the business at the right end, Fulham could yet find a route to safety.

Prediction 1-0