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Premier League Weekend Preview: Game-by-Game Guide

Crippy CookeContributor IApril 30, 2014

Premier League Weekend Preview: Game-by-Game Guide

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    The Premier League will be heating up this weekend at the top and the bottom of the table. The title race could potentially be decided, while clubs fighting relegation could have their fates sealed after the next round of games.

    Everton could hand Liverpool a lifeline in their title aspirations if they beat Man City Saturday evening, while Chelsea could keep Norwich in the relegation zone going into the last game if they get all three points against the Canaries on Sunday.

    It’s still all to play for at the business end of the season, so let’s review the Premier League games to come this weekend and what they mean for each team involved.

    Stats taken from Statto.

West Ham vs. Tottenham

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Stadium: Upton Park

    Kick-off: Saturday 12:45 p.m. GMT

    Out-of-form West Ham United kick off the Premier League weekend at home against a Tottenham side looking to get revenge on their London rivals for having embarrassed them 3-0 at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. The early kick-off promises to see a different outcome, as the Hammers are having a torrid time in the league of late.

    They come into the London derby off the back of four consecutive league defeats and in 14th place, while Tottenham have won three from their previous four and are eight places higher in the table in sixth.

    Despite the difference in form, the two clubs do share one similarity: Both managers have been rumoured to be nearing a summer exit, according to BBC Sport's gossip column. While Hammers boss Sam Allardyce wants to stay at Upton Park, as reported by Neil Moxley in The Sunday People, via the Mirror, and Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood is defiant to remain for at least another term, defeat won’t do them any good.

Aston Villa vs. Hull

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    Tony Marshall/Getty Images

    Stadium: Villa Park

    Kick-off: Saturday 3 p.m. GMT

    Ahead of the Aston Villa‘s must-win game against Hull City, manager Paul Lambert labelled his side’s clash as a "cup final," per BBC Sport. He’s not wrong. This is make or break for the Villains, as trips to Tottenham and Manchester City await them in the following weeks.

    The Midlands outfit, currently 16th, are in awful league form too, losing five of their last six games. Hull have been patchy in recent months, losing six of their last 10.

    The two sides played out a dour 0-0 draw when they met earlier in the season, but Aston Villa can’t afford any more dropped points, as they are just three points above the drop zone.

    Hull, 13th, are five clear of relegation and know a draw will be enough to mathematically confirm their survival. However, they’ve lost 11 away games this season, which may give Villa hope.

Man Utd vs. Sunderland

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Stadium: Old Trafford

    Kick-off: Saturday 3 p.m. GMT

    Manchester United have little to play for against Sunderland as they near the end of the season, but interim manager Ryan Giggs is desperate to impress and put his name in the hat to get the job on a full-time basis.

    They recently thrashed Norwich 4-0 at Old Trafford and have another home game against a relegation-threatened side this weekend in Sunderland. United have won six of their last nine in the league and have lost just three times in 11.

    Sunderland are currently 17th in the table and took seven points from games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Cardiff City recently. They lost 2-1 when they played United earlier this season, but they are desperate to get a result and will be buoyed by their recent form.

    It’s worth noting that Sunderland have taken points off five of the top nine teams this season.

Newcastle vs. Cardiff

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    Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

    Stadium: St James' Park

    Kick-off: Saturday 3 p.m. GMT

    Newcastle could potentially seal Cardiff City’s fate in their weekend clash at St James’ Park. City, managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, are bottom of the table, with 30 points from 36 games. They are two points adrift of safety with just two games to go and could run the risk of being mathematically relegated if they fail to win on Saturday.

    As for Newcastle, they have lost their last six on the bounce. Manager Alan Pardew has faced intense criticism from supporters demanding his immediate sacking. The Magpies have spent the majority of the season in the top half but could fall out if they drop points this weekend. United beat Cardiff 2-1 when the two sides met in October.

Stoke vs. Fulham

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Stadium: Britannia Stadium

    Kick-off: Saturday 3 p.m. GMT

    Stoke City have the chance to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time in their history, as a win against Fulham this weekend could put them in 10th place with just one game to go depending on other results. The Potters are in fine form too, winning five of their last nine.

    Fulham remain in danger of relegation despite an upturn in form under manager Felix Magath. The Cottagers are 18th in the league table but have won three and drawn one of their last seven games to give them a chance of staying up with two matches still to play.

    The Cottagers actually beat Stoke 1-0 when the two sides locked horns earlier this season, and they’d certainly love to repeat the feat this weekend.

Swansea vs. Southampton

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Stadium: Liberty Stadium

    Kick-off: Saturday 3 p.m. GMT

    Swansea City are safe from relegation this season but will still want to end the campaign on a high note. The 2013 Capital One Cup winners have spent the majority of the season in the bottom half of the table and will face a difficult task trying to beat Southampton.

    Saints beat Swansea 2-0 in October and have been in better league form of late, taking four points from Aston Villa and Everton without conceding.

    It could be argued that neither side has much to play for other than pride this weekend, but Swansea will certainly be more keen to repay the fans’ patience after a testing season.

Everton vs. Man City

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Stadium: Goodison Park

    Kick-off: Saturday 5:30 p.m. GMT

    As far as the Premier League title race is concerned, the biggest game of the weekend sees Everton having the chance to ruin Manchester City's hopes of winning the league if they can beat the Citizens at Goodison Park.

    Everton have remained solid at home, losing just twice at Goodison all season, but they face an in-form Man City side desperate for three points. Everton will be fragile after losing twice in their last three games to all but throw away a top-four finish.

    City beat Everton 3-1 earlier this campaign and will be hoping to repeat the feat to ensure the Premier League title remains in their hands. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have taken seven points from the last three and have lost just two games in the league since November.

Arsenal vs. West Brom

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Stadium: Emirates Stadium

    Kick-off: Sunday 1:30 p.m. GMT

    Sunday’s early kick-off between Arsenal and West Brom will be very competitive for reasons at both ends of the table. Arsenal need to win to secure their Champions League place, while West Brom can still mathematically get relegated if they lose.

    Arsenal drew 1-1 to West Brom earlier this season but are in much better form of late. The London outfit have won their last three in the league, scoring three goals in each game.

    West Brom have won three and drawn two from their previous seven games, but they haven't beaten a top-four side all season. The Baggies have been draw specialists all through the campaign, with 15 for the season.

Chelsea vs. Norwich

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Stadium: Stamford Bridge

    Kick-off: Sunday 4 p.m. GMT

    Only a win will do for Chelsea against relegation-threatened Norwich this weekend. The Blues, currently second, earned a vital 2-0 victory against Liverpool last weekend to blow open the title race to three teams. While the Londoners are depending on other results in order to win the league, they can still put pressure on their fellow title challengers by beating an out-of-form Norwich side.

    Jose Mourinho’s men are just two points off top and face a struggling Norwich side 18th in the table, winless in their last five games. City have won just once since February and will face Arsenal in the league a week later.

    Chelsea’s home form is well-documented, although they did have their unbeaten run recently ended by Sunderland 2-1. Norwich have been woeful away from home. The Canaries haven’t won on their travels since December. They lost 3-1 to Chelsea the last time the two sides met.

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