Friday, April 24, 2015

EPL 2014/15 - Week 34

Chelsea can put all title talk to rest this week-end when they visit Arsenal. Mourinho's never lost in 12 confrontations with Wenger and he only adds to this tally to dispatch any intent of the Gunners to make it an exciting title race. It would not be a stretch to think that fireworks could be off field rather than on it, the animosity between the 2 club managers being as fierce as any. At the bottom half, Leicester has made huge strides of late and there are 6 teams very much in the fray for the drop. The only excitement of the EPL sadly lies there.

Southampton v/s Tottenham. Both teams won't make the UCL, that's a guarantee. The hosts have to contend with some absentees with the likes of Wanyama and Rodriguez, not to mention keeper Forster who's out for the season. Spurs will also likely miss their No 1 Lloris. Home advantage should count here and I think Soton will just edge this by the odd goal. Home win.

Burnley v/s Leicester. An absolute 6-pointer here. Leicester are in flying form while Burnley are mostly going down a steep. They need Ings to get back firing here as they have only scored 1 goal in their last 7 matches. They should be able to take advantage of the Foxes' dubious defence. As for the visitors, striker Nugent might be missing but they have other dependable strikers to count on. I think it's home advantage Burnley but by no means certain. Home win.

Crystal Palace v/s Hull. Palace were unexpectedly rocked last week at home to WBA. Overconfidence after a series of good results, maybe? Hull are right in the danger zone and seem to have grind hard to get results. Palace forwards could have a field day here. Home win.

Newcastle v/s Swansea. The Magpies have been on a rotten run since Cisse's suspension and it does not look to be any better with the coming of Swansea. The visitors relish this kind of away encounter. where they keep the match relatively close and rely on late spurts of attack to try to make the breakthrough. They are a tough side to break down on their best day and are visiting Newcastle at the right time. Away win.

QPR v/s West Ham. Rangers will be looking for full points against a team that has won only once in their last 12 matches. The Hammers cannot be taken lightly though as they tend to keep matches close for a while. A draw looks the likeliest possibility here, which won't really arrange the hosts. Draw.

Stoke v/s Sunderland. Not sure what to make of Sunderland under Advocaat yet. Stoke are very good at home on their best day and that's the only form on offer here. Home win.

WBA v/s Liverpool. The Kops were surprisingly knocked out of the FA Cup by Villa last Sunday. They are badly missing Sturridge up front as Balotellit clearly does not fit in Rodger's system. West Brom managed to win last week after some tough losses at home. Difficult on form to see how this will go but Liverpool have the 4th UCL spot to desperately fight for, I think they will just edge this match. Away win.

Man City v/s Aston Villa. Villa will go to Manchester in high spirits after booking their trip to Wembley for the FA final. They still are in a precarious position in the league though and have points to make. City are done for the title and are striving for a UCL spot. They will have Silva available after his scare in their last match. Aguero and Benteke will light the fireworks upfront here and City go with the favors in order to stop their season from unraveling. Home win.

Everton v/s Man Utd. This is a tough one for the Mancunians as the Toffees are on a decent run. A trip to Goodison Park is never easy but if Man Utd go there in the same spirit and demeanor as at Anfield, they can dominate proceedings. This should be a close match and a draw could very well be on the cards. Draw.

Arsenal v/s Chelsea. How will Wenger be able to beat Mourinho? Clearly the Portuguese has made a career getting results against clubs playing attacking football. Arsenal are best at playing their flowing football but that is often a suicidal approach against Mourinho's teams. That's a major dilemma for Wenger. Chelsea will play this match in order not to lose. They will park the bus or do whatever it takes not to give Arsenal the full points. I think it's either going to be a draw or an away win although for sporting reasons, it would be great if Wenger finally got one over his nemesis manager. Draw.

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