Premier League Weekend Preview: Game-by-Game Guide
The Premier League is in its 35th week, and there are some important fixtures which could decide the title and survival race.
Relegation-threatened Cardiff City, Fulham and Sunderland are all in action on Saturday and in desperate need of three points as the campaign closes in.
Chelsea can go top of the table if they see past a Sunderland outfit coming off the back of an impressive point away to Manchester City. Manchester United manager David Moyes returns to his old stomping ground when his side travel to Goodison Park to face his former club, Everton.
Sunday’s games featuring Everton against Man Utd and Arsenal against Hull City could give a further indication of who is in the driving seat to finish in the coveted last Champions League place this season and who may have to settle for Europa League qualification.
So let’s review all the games happening in the Premier League this weekend.
Statistics taken from Statto
Tottenham vs. Fulham
Tottenham Hotspur will play the first of this weekend’s games in the early kick-off against resurgent London rivals Fulham, 12:45 BST at White Hart Lane. Spurs are coming off the back of four defeats from their last eight games while having recently played out a 3-3 draw against West Brom at the Hawthorns last week.
Tim Sherwood’s men have won their last two games at home, however, and will be desperate to get all three points to ensure they remain in the hunt for a Europa League place.
Fulham have recently enjoyed back-to-back victories against Aston Villa and Norwich City while also having won three times from their last five games. Felix Magath’s side are now just two points adrift of safety but still face the danger of the gap potentially opening up to five if they lose on Saturday.
Aston Villa vs. Southampton
Aston Villa have been going through turmoil in the last couple of days with an under-fire manager, woeful league form and supporters starting to turn. They did beat Southampton, 3-2, in their earlier meeting this season, but Saturday’s 3 p.m BST clash at Villa Park could be a different story.
Southampton face a side coming off the back of four straight league defeats, in which time they’ve also conceded 11 goals. But Mauricio Pochettino won’t want to take them for granted, considering his own side have lost five games from their last eight.
Cardiff City vs. Stoke City
Cardiff City will be buoyed by their recent 1-0 away win against Southampton, but the Bluebirds still have a difficult task to confirm their Premier League status for next season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side three points adrift from safety.
They played out a 0-0 draw with Stoke City when the two sides met in December, but Cardiff can’t afford any more dropped points with games running out to save their season.
Stoke are in fantastic form of late, too, with five wins from their last seven games. Losing just twice in 11 games, manager Mark Hughes finally has the side performing to the level he promised upon his summer arrival. Despite their league status being secure, the Potters are chasing a top-half finish and won’t take Cardiff lightly by any means.
Newcastle United vs. Swansea City
Newcastle United cannot buy a win of late. The Magpies recently went down to their fourth straight defeat in the league with no reply. Goals have well and truly dried up for Alan Pardew’s side in 2014, with his side having failed to score in 12 of their last 16 games.
Swansea City are faring little better. Garry Monk’s men have lost five of their last eight while picking up just one victory from nine games. City beat Newcastle, 3-0, when the two sides met in December, but it will likely be much more of a closer affair at St James’ Park on Saturday.
West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace
West Ham are in a slump again. Five defeats from seven games have seen their hopes of finishing in the top half take somewhat of a setback. It doesn’t get any easier considering they’re coming up against a side having won their last two away games, scoring six goals in the process.
Crystal Palace are one of the most in-form sides in the Premier League. They have won their last four in the division, with their most recent 3-2 away win against Everton putting them within touching distance of a top-10 finish. It’s worth noting Tony Pulis’ side haven’t lost to a bottom-half outfit since November while West Ham are without a clean sheet since February.
Chelsea vs. Sunderland
With Manchester City recently dropping points at home to Sunderland, Chelsea know it won’t be easy to get all three points against the league strugglers. Jose Mourinho knows his side will go top of the Premier League with a win against the Black Cats with just three games to play.
The Blues have won back-to-back league matches since their two away defeats to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. Chelsea are currently two points off first-placed Liverpool and know a win will see the pair swap places, with the Reds playing a day later.
Bottom-of-the-table Sunderland picked up their first point in six games against Man City on Wednesday night and will be hoping their confidence boils over into the Chelsea clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the evening kick-off.
Norwich City vs. Liverpool
Norwich City’s hellish run-in begins with title-chasing Liverpool at Carrow Road in the early Sunday fixture.
The Canaries recently lost to fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion to see themselves dragged back into the relegation dogfight, with the Norfolk outfit just two points clear of the drop zone.
Liverpool are coming off the back of a 3-2 win against Manchester City to ensure this season's Premier League title remains in their hands with just four games to go.
Both Liverpool and Norwich need a win on Sunday for completely opposing reasons, but it’s worth noting the Reds have won their last four meetings in the Premier League against City, scoring three or more goals in each of them.
Hull City vs. Arsenal
On Sunday at 2 p.m. BST, there will be a dress rehearsal of this season’s FA Cup final, as Hull host Arsenal at the KC Stadium. Managed by Steve Bruce, Hull have only beaten two top-half entities this entire league campaign while the Gunners haven’t lost to a bottom-half side away from home this season.
Arsenal won, 2-0, when the two sides met in December, but Hull’s home stadium has been a fortress for many teams this campaign, with Liverpool the most notable side to have come unstuck at the KC Stadium.
Everton vs. Manchester United
Everton host Manchester United on Sunday afternoon with the chance of doing an unprecedented double over the Premier League holders.
It will see Manchester United boss David Moyes travel to Goodison Park for the first time since his summer departure from Everton after 11 years as manager.
His United side are in decent form of late, too, winning five of their last seven Premier League games. However, it‘s worth noting they haven’t beaten a top-five outfit in the league since November.