Premier League Week 29 Preview
Ten to go
With only ten rounds of matches left in the Barclays Premier League, everything is still to play for, perhaps barring Aston Villa’s almost certain demise. Who will hold their nerve at both ends of the table? Here are three of the weekend’s biggest games.
Tottenham Hotspur V Arsenal, Saturday 05/03/16 at 12.45 GMT
The North London derby is always a big game, especially in North London, but very rarely does it hold vaster repercussions than local bragging rights. Arsenal, of course, are Champions League regulars, whilst Tottenham have made fifth place their own in recent seasons, but in 2016, this particular game could go a long way to deciding who will be crowned Premier League champions in May. Or at least who won’t. Midweek losses have left Arsenal in particular desperate for points, whilst Tottenham will be keen to quickly banish the memory of defeat in another London derby with West Ham United. Spurs have won six of their last seven, and are three points behind leaders Leicester City, who face a tricky trip to Vicarage Road to play Watford later on Saturday. Arsenal are a further three points adrift in third, but their inferior goal difference means even victory here would fail to see the Gunners leapfrog their great local rivals. Two wins in their last eight league games won’t instil confidence in Arsenal supporters. Neither will the certain absence of Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech. Spurs, meanwhile, could welcome back Mousa Dembele after two games out, while the fitness of Dele Alli, who has a foot problem, will also be assessed.
Tottenham Hotspur 2.40, Draw 3.40, Arsenal 3.20
Swansea City V Norwich City, Saturday 05/03/16 at 15.00 GMT
Arsenal’s surprise conquerors on Wednesday night, Swansea City, will seek to further pull themselves away from trouble when struggling Norwich City visit the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Swans’ win at the Emirates was their first in five, and sees the South Wales side move six points above the drop zone, and six points ahead of their weekend visitors. Norwich are in rotten form, having not one in eight, a run which has seen them lose seven of those games, conceding 21 goals in the process. Alex Neil’s side are desperate for points, and defeat here will surely see another team remove themselves from the relegation equation, leaving two from Newcastle United, Norwich and Sunderland staring down the barrel with only 27 points left to play for. Yet an away win would put the cat amongst the pigeons, although it would need to see a serious reversal in fortunes for the Canaries. The home side have no injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game, whilst the visitors could welcome back Alex Tettey, who went off with a knock against Chelsea, as well as Sebastien Bassong and Steven Naismith.
Swansea City 2.05, Draw 3.50, Norwich City 4.00
Crystal Palace V Liverpool, Sunday 06/03/16 at 13.30 GMT
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew was talking up his side’s Champions League chances only two months ago, yet a run of ten games without a win has seen the Eagles drop down to fourteenth, now only nine points ahead of eighteenth-placed Norwich. Liverpool, meanwhile, were able to avenge their Capital One Cup loss with a comprehensive defeat of Manchester City at Anfield on Wednesday night, and suddenly a Champions League place does not seem an impossible dream for Jurgen Klopp’s team, especially with the top four all dropping points midweek. Indeed, Liverpool are now only six points behind fourth-placed City, yet still find themselves in eighth, and to win on Sunday, the Reds will need to claim victory at a stadium which has not been a happy hunting ground for them in recent seasons. Palace, in fact, have won their last three in the league against Liverpool, but this time out will be looking to stop a miserable run which has taken the gloss off of what had been an incredible season for the South London side up to Christmas. Mamadou Sakho could be fit for the visitors, while Lucas remains a doubt. For the home side, Yannick Bolasie will start his second game in succession after more than two months out, but the game will probably come too soon for injured midfielder Jason Puncheon, who has a hamstring problem.
Crystal Palace 3.80, Draw 3.50, Liverpool 2.10
Full list of Week 28 fixtures
Chelsea V Stoke City, Saturday 05/03/16 at 15.00 GMT
Everton V West Ham United, Saturday 05/03/16 at 15.00 GMT
Manchester City V Aston Villa, Saturday 05/03/16 at 15.00 GMT
Newcastle United V Bournemouth, Saturday 05/03/16 at 15.00 GMT
Southampton V Sunderland, Saturday 05/03/16 at 15.00 GMT
Watford V Leicester City, Saturday 05/03/16 at 17.30 GMT
West Bromwich Albion V Manchester United, Sunday 06/03/16 at 16.00 GMT
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 14.00 GMT on 04/03/16
By: Steve Paget