There was no Premiership action last Saturday, February 14th – the dreaded “V – Day”. We hope our readers had a terrific St. Valentine’s Day. Certainly, it’s hard to imagine Manchester City supporters were all that happy on the occasion, given how their side has completely capitulated in their title defence and now are 7 points behind Chelsea, with 13 games left.
A certain amount of interest in the EPL now centres on who gets the 3rd and 4th spots in the league standings and makes it to Europe and who among the bottom 7 sides – West Brom, Sunderland, Hull City, QPR, Aston Villa, Burnley and Leicester City – are likely to be relegated in May.
Well, clearly, the competition for the 3rd and 4th Champions League slots are hotting up – which Manchester United, Southampton, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, all in the mix and nobody giving up as yet. Liverpool are the team in form in this group, and their win last Tuesday over Tottenham was very significant in the context of the Champions League qualification, and really opens up the EPL. Chelsea, meanwhile, are in a league of their own and are expected to sleepwalk their way to the title.
Read on for the previews and predictions of all 10 matches to be played this weekend.
Aston Villa v Stoke
Paul Lambert is no longer the Aston Villa coach and has been replaced by Tim Sherwood. Aston Villa have lost 5 matches in a row and their form couldn’t have been worse. They are very much in the relegation zone and will have to battle hard to get out of it. Stoke City are having an excellent season under Mark Hughes, are currently 10th in the league and it does look like that’s where they will end up, if not slightly higher. In Bojan and Peter Crouch, Stoke have a very competent strike force. We expect Stoke to take advantage of the turmoil at Villa Park and get another 3 points.
Prediction – Aston Villa 0 – 2 Stoke
Chelsea v Burnley
We don’t have to tell you how this match will end up. Chelsea were lucky to get 3 points against Everton last week, with Willian getting a last minute winner. However, against Burnley, Cesc Fabregas and company will have it a lot easier. Burnley will park 10 men ahead of their goal, and so we are likely to see relentless attacking by Chelsea. A comfortable win for Chelsea is the easiest prediction we can make this week.
Prediction – Chelsea 2 – 0 Burnley
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Alan Pardew couldn’t get his revenge against old club Newcastle United as his club were held to a draw. He shouldn’t expect much against a menacing Arsenal side eager to get into the Champions League next season at all costs. Arsene Wenger being the specialist of ensuring his team finish in the top four. We expect this game to be an exciting one because Pardew is known to be a manager who likes his sides to attack, even against top teams. Arsenal should expect a real challenge from Palace, but with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and others, we expect them to have just enough for an away win.
Prediction – Crystal Palace 2 – 3 Arsenal
Hull v QPR
This is a clash between two relegation candidates. Both Hull City and QPR are fighting for their Premier League lives and will give it their all. Hull beat Aston Villa last week to get an important win, and they face QPR who have not won away all season. In fact, QPR have only won a single point away all season and that came last time against Sunderland. This game should go in the favour of the home side.
Prediction – Hull 2 – 0 QPR
Sunderland v West Brom
We don’t expect many goals in this clash. Both Sunderland and West Brom are fighting out of their skin to stay out of the relegation zone. Sunderland suffered the ignominy last week of becoming the first side in the Premiership this season not to win at home against QPR. Well, they will want to put up a better show against West Brom, who are clearly a better side than QPR. West Brom have been beaten just once in their last 6 matches and we don’t expect them to get beaten here either.
Prediction – Sunderland 1 – 1 West Brom
Swansea v Manchester United
On the very first day of the season, Swansea did something spectacular; which was to beat Manchester United 3-0. This was supposed to be Louis Van Gaal’s moment as his first competitive game in charge of Manchester United, but it turned out to be a nightmare. Manchester United have turned their season around since then and look set to easily qualify for the UEFA Champions League. However, it has been a complaint of Man Utd fans that their side lacks pace up front – a deficiency Van Gaal is incapable of setting right as he has no quick footed strikers to call upon this season. A win for Man United is the most likely result in this match.
Prediction – Swansea 1 – 2 Manchester United
Manchester City v Newcastle
We don’t think Newcastle have much of a chance of picking up points against Man City and will most likely go down without putting up much of a fight. Wilfried Bony is back from the AFCON Cup along with Yaya Toure. Man City’s chances of winning the English Premier League seem to have suffered a serious setback with Chelsea 7 points ahead, but against teams like Newcastle at home, they should face no problem whatsoever. Easy home win to be expected for Man City.
Prediction – Manchester City 4 – 1 Newcastle
Tottenham v West Ham
Tottenham lost at Liverpool last week, but actually played very well until a late Mario Balotelli winner shut them out. But Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino would have taken a level of encouragement from the quality of football his side has been playing for much of the last 4 months and he wouldn’t expect to have any problem against West Ham, who are sliding down after having done well in the early part of the season. For West Ham, Andy Carroll is out for the rest of the season with an injury, so this is a serious setback. We expect the highly effective duo of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen to get goals and set up an easy win for Spurs.
Prediction – Tottenham 2 – 0 West Ham
Everton v Leicester City
Well, let’s put it this way – Roberto Martinez’s chances of staying on as Everton boss at the end of the season are pretty slim. If Everton fail to pick up 3 points at home against the likes of Leicester City, we wouldn’t bet against Martinez getting the sack this February itself. Everton must win matches such as these and fans of this great club have every right to expect more from their team. Yes, we expect Everton to win, but they have disappointed us on too many occasions this season. Leicester are a very poor side which is disappointing after their superb season in The Championship last season. Unfortunately Leicester are the team that everybody wants to play at the moment, which is generally a bad sentiment.
Prediction – Everton 2 – 0 Leicester
Southampton v Liverpool
This promises to be the most entertaining game of Round 26 of the English Premier League. Both Liverpool and Southampton are quality sides and both are in excellent current form. We expect manager Brendan Rodgers to have a tough choice to make between Mario Balotelli, who netted a winner against Tottenham Hotspur last week, and the fit again Daniel Sturridge. We expect Balotelli to play, but you never know. An exciting match in prospect, any of the three results are possible, but we go for an exciting Liverpool win.
Prediction – Southampton 2 – 3 Liverpool
All the very best with your Live Betting over the weekend!