Friday, March 13, 2015

EPL 2014/15 - Week 29

Chelsea's spectacular ouster from the UCL at the hands of PSG is a blessing in disguise for their EPL title aspirations. That will be their only focus till the end of the season. There is a doubt regarding their current fitness levels as they have seemed somewhat flat physically in their last few games but unless they find themselves dealing with major injuries, I don't think that fitness will be a factor in the run-in. Man City will in all probability exit the UCL as well next week, so the EPL will be their main priority push. Expect lots of words of war between Mourinho and Pellegrini till the end.

Crystal Palace v/s QPR. The Chris Ramsey effect seems to have petered out at QPR and I expect them to flounder again on this road travel. The dynamic Palace attack spearheaded by Jason Puncheon will certainly pose problems for the Rangers slow defensive corps. Home win.

Arsenal v/s West Ham. The Gunners have a crucial UCL match against Monaco in mid-week, so Arsene Wenger might decide to tinker with his team selection against the off-form Hammers. They need the win for the Top 4 fight, so the hosts cannot set their sights too far ahead. Their last FA Cup win away at Old Trafford will buoy the team, particularly match-winning scorer Danny Wellbeck. The Hammers are due a wake-up call soon but in the end the Gunners should have too much firepower for them in this one; it won't be easy but Arsenal should edge this. Home win.

Leicester City v/s Hull. Leicester need to translate their good displays into points, their main problem is that they are not converting their scoring chances into goals. This is a 6-pointer for both teams and I give a slight advantage to the Foxes because they will have home advantage. Home win.

Sunderland v/s Aston Villa. These are 2 teams that don't score often, so it would be of no surprise if it ended in a drab score-less draw. Draw.

WBA v/s Stoke. These 2 teams should end in the middle part of the table far from the relegation zone. Both can play compact and are difficult to break down. This encounter can go any way really. Draw.

Burnley v/s Man City. Burnley snatched an improbable draw at the Etihaad and they will hope for another strong showing to get something out of this match. Man City have to win to keep their title hopes alive, their minds also set on their upcoming and most important match so far this season when visiting Barcelona in the UCL next week. They will probably try to put this match to bed early and avoid any injuries for their trip to the Nou Camp. Burnley seem to be suffering from burn-out in their last couple of matches and they look to be up against it here. Bony could open his account for the Citizens after having endured some tough initial matches . Away win.

Chelsea v/s Southampton. I think Chelsea will come firing out of the starting blocks after their flat UCL encounter against PSG. They will look for some redemption. Diego Costa is really due a goal, not having scored in his last 7 matches. Southampton do not have their early-season form and have shown vulnerability whether at home or on the road. I cannot see them stopping the Blues' march towards EPL glory. Home win.

Everton v/s Newcastle. The hosts had a tough Europa League encounter in mid-week and Newcastle can take advantage of any lack of condition the Toffees might suffer from. The problem for the Magpies is that they will be missing Papiss Cisse for a long stretch of matches because of the spitting incident with Johnny Evans. His absence is a major setback to the potency of their strike force. Everton need a win to stave off any talk of relegation but I don't think they will get the full points here. Draw.

Man Utd v/s Tottenham. This is a huge match for both teams fighting for a Top 4 spot. I give the Red Devils home advantage but they will have to shackle Harry Kane to bolster their chances of a win. It would be no surprise if this ended in a draw but I think that the hosts will have the benefit of the home crowd to spur them and somewhat relieve them of the misery of being booted out of the FA Cup at the expense of Arsenal in their last match.  Home win.

Swansea v/s Liverpool. If the Kops are on song, they will blow away Swansea, as their form and play has been irresistible of late. If they come up with another clanger like against Blackburn in the FA Cup, then Swansea have a shout. I think this match will be high-scoring and possibly a draw might settle this. Draw.

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