Premier League Match Previews: Match Week 30

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Updated: March 11, 2014
Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Manchester City v Chelsea - Etihad Stadium

Hull City vs. Manchester City

Match Date: 15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: The Kingston Communications Stadium

(Featured image: Manchester City | Source: mcfc.co.uk)

 

Hull City are stuck in the mid-table after they incurred serious form injury from Newcastle United 1-4. The triumph in the FA Cup may be a good compensation for the Premier League loss, but it does not affect them on any way as to what trend they are going to follow in the coming weeks. The Tigers must minimize frequenting in dangerous areas and must learn to be more solid in converting chances, particularly long shots.

 

In spite of Manchester City’s slide from the top spot down to the fourth, Chelsea manager José Mourinho still predicts The Citizens to be the eventual champions. For a well-established boss and a tight rival for that matter, that should mean something. He cites City’s massive goal difference and potential recovery in their next battles as measures to their leadership chase. “If Manchester City win the 12 matches they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands and we don’t have ours. I would prefer to have my destiny in my hands. It doesn’t depend on us. It depends on them,” said Mourinho. The side were recently defeated by Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup but earned a clean sheet against Stoke City in the Premier League just before that.

 

Football betting tip: Manchester City will bag all three points.

 

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Everton vs. Cardiff City

Match Date: 15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Goodison Park

 

Everton’s last five matches were neither good nor bad. While they may have managed to win over Aston Villa and West Ham, they were left without any choice but to concede goals to Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea. The injury problem in the squad is not also looking agreeable, with manager Roberto Martinez particularly concerned about Ivory Coast international Lacina Traore who suffered two hamstring injuries in just three months. Apart from Traore, three more players—Kone, Ginson, and Oviedo—are sidelined due to health issues.

 

Cardiff City remain at high risk of leaving the English top-tier league; this is despite winning all three points from Fulham on weekend. There is no problem when it comes to attacking set pieces but there are definitely a lot of things that need to be done in their defense. The Bluebirds have the second worst goal difference among all clubs, conceding 50 goals and scoring only 22.

 

Sports betting tip: Everton will carry the day.

 

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A2 

Fulham vs. Newcastle United

Match Date:  15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Craven Cottage

(Featured image: Fulham | Source: partyearth.com)

 

Fulham’s bid to secure safety in the English top-flight tournament is getting blurrier and blurrier every passing week. Their tourney against fellow strugglers Cardiff City recorded their 20th defeat this season and their eighth straight non-victory result in all competitions. As is usually the case, The Cottagers failed to effectively defend set pieces.

 

At eighth place, many top-flight clubs would want to be in Newcastle United’s position. However, the seemingly strong players are far from being consistent. Their two most recent battles deservedly awarded them with all the necessary points but three matches backwards and they have incurred arguably their most heartbreaking results this season—all rendered them goalless. Nevertheless, The Magpies are a very resilient pack of players. Their recent victories should give them enough confidence to continue improving their streak.

 

Online betting tip: Newcastle United will earn their fourth away clean sheet from this brawl.

 

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Southampton vs. Norwich City

Match Date:  15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: The Friends Provident St Mary’s Stadium

 

While still a comparatively weak contender for the top six, Southampton have already proven so much to convince spectators that they truly deserve a top-tier recognition. The former relegation candidates are now 17 points clear of the drop zone and sit securely in the table’s top half (ninth). From there, the achievement gets better: the Saints are 11 points stronger than the team trailing immediately behind them. A victory over Crystal Palace on weekend seals the good news.

 

Norwich City suffer from an acute form of inconsistency, as apparently seen in their last five matches (W1-D2-L2). Fluctuating results, although less traumatizing than a streak of pure losses, could be fatal to any club’s standing in the league table. That said, The Canaries must be more clinical on their moves—particularly in finishing scoring chances and defending set pieces—to veer away from a nosedive.

 

Football betting tip: Southampton will dominate this fixture.

 

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 A3

Stoke City vs. West Ham United

Match Date:  15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Britannia Stadium

(Featured image: Stoke City | Source: thecrew.com)

 

Stoke City need more wins, not necessarily because they are near the drop zone, but because they have to improve their form. Majority of the Potters’ fixtures have boiled down to either defeat or draw. Of the 29 top-flight matches they engaged in this term, only seven went absolutely successful; 10 were deadlocks and a dozen were upsets. West Ham United share similar dilemma, except that they have a much better goal difference even if the visited the losers’ zone more frequently than did the first-mentioned team. The Hammers have recently put a break in their five-week unbeaten streak following a defeat from Everton 1-0.

 

Sports betting tip: Expect the sides to have level scoring.

 

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Sunderland vs. Crystal Palace

Match Date:  15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Stadium of Light

 

Having incurred three landslide defeats from three different competitions, Sunderland must have lost a good amount of confidence which they essentially need to fish themselves out of the relegation bottom. Manager Gus Poyet must have already conditioned his team quite well especially that they had two-fixture rest following postponements with Manchester City and Hull City. Laser focus on their defense will surely yield them good outcomes, but a substantial attention on their attack is just as crucial.

 

Tony Pulis’ capabilities to spearhead Crystal Palace were warmly welcomed after he delivered a long-awaited victory for the side a few months ago.  Since he became the head honcho of the squad, seven victories have been scored. This positively contrasts The Eagles’ form during the earlier stages of the Premier League. However, the side are still faced with a serious problem on inconsistency. From this year (2014) alone, Palace already had a record of W3-D2-L4.

 

Online betting tip: Sunderland and Crystal Palace could pull off a thrilling draw.

 

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 A4

Swansea City vs. West Bromwich Albion

Match Date:  15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Liberty Stadium

(Featured image: Swansea City | Source: eurosport.yahoo.com)

 

Strugglers Swansea and West Bromwich are apparently in dire need of victories as they do not have complete immunization from falling into the relegation battle. Ranked 14th and 17th respectively, the sides have negative goal differences that they must turn around. Their inconsistency issues are also in perilous levels, though their resilience is a dependable guarantor of safety. While Swansea have recorded more triumphs than West Brom, they have also incurred more defeats than their visitors.

 

The troupes’ past five matches generally indicate a more successful Swansea City, and current injury lists also support a dominant Garry Monk side. However, their pitch skills are not necessarily light-years apart. This match will definitely be a saga of scoring chances and equalizers, though one team will ultimately emerge as winners.

 

Football betting tip: Expect Swansea to seize a very narrow lead over West Bromwich.

 

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Aston Villa vs. Chelsea

Match Date:  15 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Villa Park

 

Fending off Aston Villa’s three-match goalless streak was a massive 4-1 victory over Norwich City. Christian Benteke again came out as the squad’s hero after delivering two goals—an equalizer to Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan’s opener and a 27th minute strike. The earlier pace of the match seemed to offend the home side but after Benteke stole the lead and Leandro Bacuna scored a third, coach Paul Lambert was already relieved. The final score came from an own goal by Sebastien Bassong. The Villans are now positioned at number 11 with total earnings of 31 points.

 

Chelsea’s ascent to the top was definitely not easy, but it was nonetheless a well-deserved success. José Mourinho’s men have been undefeated for 14 straight weeks and half of which were coated with staggering clean sheets. However, the Portuguese coach does believe that the top position may only be temporary. Manchester City, which slid to fourth place, could robustly retaliate anytime (especially that they had two fixtures postponed). In terms of points, The Blues are nine points clear of City; but when it comes to goal difference, the latter are ahead of the former by eight goals.

 

Sports betting tip: Chelsea could nail another victory from this brawl, but Aston Villa will not go home goalless.

 

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 Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Manchester United vs. Liverpool

Match Date:  16 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: Old Trafford

(Featured image: Manchester United | Source: metro.co.uk)

 

The 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos had put Manchester United fans into deep heartbreak, but on weekend morale was boosted at The Hawthorns following an encouraging display that saw David Moyes’ men stroll to an easy 3-0 victory against West Bromwich. Phil Jones opened the scoring before Wayne Rooney struck his 13th goal of the season in the 65th minute. The Red Devil barely looked in trouble and substitute Danny Welbeck sealed the win which moved the Moyes side into the sixth spot of the league table.

 

Liverpool rank second both to Chelsea by overall points and to Manchester City in terms of goal difference. But when it comes to controversies, they might be on top, particularly on anything that concerns Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan forward is heavily criticized for his “acrobatic swimming pool jumps” and has been called by Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho as the ‘King of Penalties.’ Regardless, there is no denying that The Reds are a powerhouse troupe, able to produce a stunning display of passing, creativity, invention, and finishing.

 

Online betting tip: A definite thriller, this tourney will conclude in an engrossing stalemate.

 

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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal

Match Date:  16 March 2014 (local)

Match Venue: White Hart Lane

 

Tottenham Hotspur feel ill with five men unable to play: Danny Rose, Étienne Capoue, Christian Eriksen, Vlad Chiricheș, and Erik Lamela. This might exacerbate the dilemma on a dull recent form, which saw Tim Sherwood’s players suffer from three upsets in their past five matches (in all competitions) alone. At the Premier League, a massive 4-0 downfall was obtained under the hands of table leaders Chelsea. The recent set of assaults is totally not helping Spurs in boosting their confidence. They are ranked fifth in the table—strong enough—but they have to play harder for them to defend or improve their standing.

 

Arsenal’s last five league fixtures might suggest inconsistency (W2-D1-L2) but The Gunners are quite far from that—although their recent upset from Stoke City was a complete shame. Currently at number three (and previously the overall champs), Arsène Wenger’s men remain as title favorites. There are clearly serious talents in the attack especially when paired with maneuvers on through balls, long shots, and conversion. However, the side must make more time and room on turning their defensive vulnerability around.

 

Football betting tip: Based on their last five face-offs, Arsenal are the clear favorites to win over Spurs. The scenario might carry over on this brawl, but The Gunners’ victory would be narrower this time.