Friday, April 3, 2015

EPL 2014/15 - Week 31

With the international matches over, it's the final push to the line. Man City are the ones under the gun as their title aspirations are all but gone, and they are fighting for second place with the likes of neighbours Man Utd and Arsenal hot under their heels. Liverpool can still aspire for a 4th place spot even after their home defeat last week-end but they have seemed to be running out of steam of late.

Arsenal v/s Liverpool. As I've mentioned above, I think Liverpool have peaked and can no longer sustain the good run of form prior to their defeat to Man Utd last week-end. Their dynamic trio of Lallana, Sterling and Coutinho have been devoid of ideas in their last matches, so other players will have to step up. The return from injury of Sturridge is a plus as he is always a goal scoring threat. The Gunners usually finish the season strong and they are in good form going into this match. Striker Giroud has been banging all types of goals lately and Ramsey's forward forrays give their attack much impetus. This is a 6-pointer match for a  UCL spot and I give the edge to the home team. Home win.

Chelsea v/s Stoke. The Blues might miss Costa for this match but I don't think it will matter. Stoke are always a dangerous side to play against but unless any mishap, this should be 3 more points for Mourinho's men. Home win.

Everton v/s Southampton. Pelle finally scored a goal and that was against England in mid-week. This should give him some confidence heading in this match against the Toffees. Southampton are a genuine top 6 team and they will have opportunities to score with the likes of likes of Tadic, Elia and Mane. Everton are solid at home and their main challenge is to climb up to a more respectable position up the table. These are 2 even teams and a draw is a probable outcome. Draw.

Leicester v/s West Ham. I see the Hammers finally getting an overdue win here. Leicester haven't impressed me in their last couple of matches, which makes me think that they are going down unless they pick up on their form. West Ham are not at their strong early-season level but they have been getting better after a rough stretch of matches. They are the away pick of the week-end. Away win.

Man Utd v/s Aston Villa. The home team will be buoyed by their win at Anfield last week-end. The LVG system seems to be finally going and heading to full steam. They need to beat Villa convincingly to silence the remaining critics. Villa are not out of the woods yet and Tim Sherwood has yet to prove that he will get them out of their rut. This is going to be a difficult match for them and I see a home win here. Home win.

Swansea v/s Hull. This should be a home win as there is a different class between these 2 teams. The only worry about the home team is how match-fit is striker Gomis but Gary Monk has creatively redeployed his resources when in need. Home win.

West Brom v/s QPR. Another home win here. WBA are almost a fortress at home against the small guns and QPR are the worst team on the road. To have any chance of staying up, Rangers will have to pile the points at Loftus Road. Home win.

Burnley v/s Tottenham. Spurs will be missing keeper Lloris for this match but the ever-dangerous Harry Kane will be spearing the attack again. Burnley cannot be dismissed and I think they will have at least a point out of this. They burned City last time out at home and they will feel they can undo Spurs as well. A high-scoring draw could be the likely outcome. Draw.

Sunderland v/s Newcastle. Dick Advocaat was rather unfortunate to lose his first match in charge of Rangers as they were un-done in the dying minutes of that match against West Ham. Jermaine Defoe is misfiring at the moment and it may be that he does not have the young legs for the EPL anymore. His strike partner Steven Fletcher comes off a fresh hat-trick for Scotland in mid-week, which could provide him the confidence to start banging the goals for the club. Newcastle will again be without Cisse and that's a big handicap going into this North derby encounter. I think the most they can expect is a draw but I think that Sunderland will get the much-needed 3 points. Home win.

Crystal Palace v/s Man City. Since this is a Monday game, the Citizens will know where they stand in the league as they take on the Eagles. The latter are currently playing with confidence under Pardew and will certainly pose problems to the City defence. This match could end up in any result and while it is hard to fathom another loss for City, I think that if they win, it will be by a minimal margin. Still, a draw might settle this. Draw.

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