Preview From the English Premier League (Week 25)

All eyes are on the Vardy Party after his 18 goals thus far

All eyes are on the Vardy Party after his 18 goals thus far this season

Manchester City (2nd) Vs Leicester City (1st): Our view is: Welcome to the biggest game of the season, 1st Vs 2nd mono e mono!!! This week Leicester City will come up against a team of “magicians” when they visit Manchester City in their top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, according to manager Claudio Ranieri. Against all odds this season the Italian has guided Leicester to the Barclays Premier League summit where they perch three points clear of their hosts heading into the weekend. Ranieri has urged caution ahead of what promises to be one of the Foxes’ toughest fixtures of the season, but encouraged fans to keep believing his team can defy all expectations and clinch the title. City on the other hand are now the hunters and they have the Foxes in their sights. Only 3 points separates the 2 and this game has the potions to be one of the years best. We say Draw 3-3 (vardy and kun to score)

Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Mangala, Otamendi, Sagna, Zabaleta, Delph, Fernandinho, Fernando, Navas, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Iheanacho, Sterling.

Leicester City (from): Schmeichel, Schwarzer, Fuchs, Huth, Moore, Morgan, Simpson, Wasilewski, Albrighton, Amartey, Drinkwater, Dyer, Gray, Inler, James, Kante, King, Mahrez, Schlupp, Dodoo, Okazaki, Ulloa, Vardy.

Match Appointments
Referee:
Anthony Taylor Assistants: J Collin, S Long Fourth Official: J Moss

Match Facts
On the day of this match, Leicester City will have spent 47 days on top of the Barclays Premier League in 2015/16 – only opponents Manchester City have spent longer in first place this season (100 days).
Man City have won the most points at home this season in the Barclays Premier League (28), while Leicester have won the most away from home (25).
The Citizens have won 16 of the last 19 Barclays Premier League matches at Etihad Stadium (W16 D1 L2).
Leicester have lost only one of their last 15 Barclays Premier League away encounters (W9 D5 L1).

Aston Villa (20th) Vs Norwich (17th): Our view is: Remi Garde and Alex Neil have issued simple messages to their players ahead of Saturday’s meeting between Aston Villa and Norwich City. Lose and we will get relegated!!! Villa lost 2-0 at West Ham on Tuesday to remain six points behind Sunderland in 19th and 10 adrift of Norwich, who are two points outside the bottom three in 17th. Norwich also suffered defeat in midweek, beaten 3-0 at home by Tottenham Hotspur, and have lost their last five matches in all competitions, conceding 17 goals and scoring five. Neil offered a similarly stark piece of advice to his Norwich squad, who were no match for Spurs at Carrow Road on Tuesday. “There is no sugar-coating it, we need to start winning games,” the Norwich manager said. “If we are going to have any ambitions of competing and staying in this league we are going to have to stop playing like shit. It is simple as that.” Well said Alex. We say Norwich end Villa for good 2-1.

Aston Villa (from): Bunn, Guzan, Bacuna, Clark, Hutton, Lescott, Okore, Richards, Richardson, Gil, Gueye, Grealish, N’Zogbia, Sanchez, Sinclair, Veretout, Westwood, Agbonlahor, Ayew, Gestede, Kozak.

Norwich City (from): Kean, Rudd, Ruddy, Bassong, Bennett, Klose, Martin, Olsson, Pinto, Toffolo, Whittaker, Wisdom, Andreu, Brady, Dorrans, Hoolahan, Howson, Jarvis, Mulumbu, O’Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe, Redmond, Bamford, Jerome, Lafferty, Mbokani, Naismith.

Match Appointments
Referee:
Martin Atkinson Assistants: M Mullarkey, S Child Fourth Official: C Pawson

Match Facts
Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last six competitive home fixtures against Norwich City (W3 D3) and defeated them 4-1 at Villa Park in their last meeting there.
Norwich will be looking to win both home and away in a single Barclays Premier League season against Aston Villa for the first time since 1992/93.
Remi Garde’s side have claimed just seven points at home this season, at least five fewer than any other side in the Barclays Premier League.
The Canaries have won only one of their last 11 Barclays Premier League away matches (W1 D2 L8).

Liverpool (8th) Vs Sunderland (19th): Our view is: Jurgen Klopp has challenged Liverpool to be smarter in the final third as his side prepare to take on Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday. Liverpool suffered a 2-0 defeat at league leaders Leicester City this week and have failed to score in their last three matches in all competitions since the dramatic 5-4 win away to Norwich City. Klopp, however, insists the goals will come for his side if they sharpen their decision-making in the final third. “Our problem was not to run more or to run more intensively, our problem was when we had the ball in the right position we made the wrong decision; that’s all,” he said. “We had the ball in their box, we didn’t shoot and one second later, [Jamie] Vardy shot from 35 yards and the ball was in. That says most about the game.”

Daniel Sturridge’s return to training this week serves as a timely boost for the club, even though he remains short of match fitness. Philippe Coutinho (hamstring), Divock Origi (knee) and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) were all due to resume training this week and have a slight chance of making returns to Klopp’s side as they aim for their sixth win in seven league meetings with Sunderland. Sam Allardyce, the Sunderland manager, was active in the January transfer window, bringing in Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone, Dame N’Doye, Jan Kirchhoff and Steve Harper, while allowing a number of departures. All except Harper featured in Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday, as Allardyce’s men turned in an impressive display against the title-chasers. We say it’s now or never for Liverpool so they will win 3-1.

Liverpool (from): Bogdan, Mignolet, Caulker, Clyne, Jose Enrique, Flanagan, Ilori, Lovren, Moreno, Sakho, Skrtel, Toure, Allen, Can, Coutinho, Henderson, Ibe, Lallana, Lucas, Milner, Rossiter, Teixeira, Benteke, Firmino, Origi, Sturridge.

Sunderland (from): Harper, Mannone, Pickford, Stryjek, Brown, Jones, Kaboul, Kirchhoff, Kone, Matthews, O’Shea, Van Aanholt, Yedlin, Cattermole, Gomez, Johnson, Khazri, M’Vila, Rodwell, Borini, Defoe, Lens, N’Doye, Toivonen, Watmore.

Match Appointments
Referee:
Robert Madley Assistants: S Ledger, D Cann Fourth Official: C Sarginson

Match Facts
Liverpool have won five of their last six Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland, drawing the other in this run.
James Milner has scored five Barclays Premier League goals against Sunderland, more than versus any other opponent in the competition.
Sam Allardyce’s men have scored in each of their last seven Barclays Premier League away matches; their best run in the competition since April 2013.
Sunderland have the worst points per match average of any current Barclays Premier League side in the month of February (0.63).

Newcastle (18th) Vs West Brom (14th): Our view is: Newcastle and Steve McClaren has demanded a reaction from their players when they host West Bromwich Albion in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday. Despite spending big in the transfer window, bringing in Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend, Henri Saivet and Seydou Doumbia, Newcastle suffered a 3-0 defeat at Everton on Wednesday. Shelvey, Townsend and Saivet were all among the starters at Goodison Park, but were unable to haul their new club out of the relegation zone, where they lie two points adrift of safety. This is Danger time for both teams and wins are needed and needed soon!! Should West Brom turn to Berihino?

West Brom – eight points clear of Newcastle in 14th – come into the fixture on the back of clinching a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Swansea City in midweek, but are without a win in their last six away fixtures in the top flight. Striker Victor Anichebe has scored more goals against Newcastle (five) than any other side and, given the opportunity, he will fancy his chances of improving on that record, with McClaren’s men having gone nine league matches without keeping a clean sheet. Tony Pulis faces his own defensive headache after Jonny Evans picked up a hamstring injury in the draw with Swansea, with Sebastien Pocognoli among the contenders to step in. We say a good game added to the prospect of a DRAW 1-1

Newcastle United (from): Darlow, Elliot, Coloccini, Dummett, Janmaat, Mbemba, Taylor, Aarons, Colback, De Jong, Gouffran, Marveaux, Saivet, Shelvey, Sissoko, Tiote, Townsend, Wijnaldum, Doumbia, Mitrovic, Perez, Riviere.

West Bromwich Albion (from): Foster, Myhill, Rose, Chester, Dawson, Evans, Gamboa, McAuley, O’Neil, Olsson, Pocognoli, Brunt, Fletcher, Gardner, McClean, Pritchard, Sandro, Sessegnon, Yacob, Anichebe, Berahino, Lambert, Rondon.

Match Appointments
Referee:
Lee Mason Assistants: A Halliday, H Lennard Fourth Official: P Tierney

Match Facts
Newcastle United have gone nine Barclays Premier League encounters without a clean sheet (9), only North East rivals Sunderland are on a longer wait for a shutout than them in the top-flight (10 matches).
Georginio Wijnaldum has scored nine goals and assisted one more in 12 Barclays Premier League appearances at St James’ Park.
West Bromwich Albion have had more possession than their opponent in just three of their 24 Barclays Premier League fixtures so far this season, but one of these was against Newcastle.
Victor Anichebe has netted five Barclays Premier League goals against Newcastle, more than against any other team in the competition.

Stoke City (10th) Vs Everton (11th): Our view is: Stoke City could hand a debut to record signing Giannelli Imbula in a bid to turn around a poor run of form when they host Everton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday. Stoke have not won for five matches in all competitions, losing away to Leicester City and Manchester United in the league, bowing out of the League Cup semi-finals with a penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool and exiting the FA Cup in the fourth round at Crystal Palace.Prior to that sequence, though, they claimed a credible 0-0 draw at home to title contenders Arsenal. Manager Mark Hughes will be hoping a return to the familiar surrounds of the Britannia Stadium after four unhappy matches on the road can elicit a positive response from his team. “we have been pretty shit as of late, so it’s time to get cracking”

The attacking trio of Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic and Bojan Krkic have snatched all the headlines for the Potters so far this term, while the capture of midfielder Imbula from Porto for a fee of £18.3 million in the January transfer window will make rival teams sit up and take further notice of the Potters’ intent. On the other hand the Everton team, buoyed by a 3-0 victory at home to Newcastle on Wednesday, with Ross Barkley having lit up Goodison Park with an accomplished performance in attacking midfield with two late goals from the penalty spot.

Aaron Lennon opened the scoring and the inform winger is hopeful the result will prove to be a watershed momentum for the inconsistent Merseyside club, who go into the match one point below 10th-placed Stoke. So in saying that the form says Everton, so we say Stoke 2-1 Winners

Match Appointments
Referee:
Andre Marriner Assistants: M Perry, A Garratt Fourth Official: N Miller

Match Facts
The last goal of the match in three of the last four Barclays Premier League meetings between Stoke City and Everton has been a penalty and on all three occasions changed the result.
Peter Crouch could make his 400th Premier League appearance in this match and will become the 25th different Englishman to reach this landmark.
Stoke have won five and lost just two of their last nine Barclays Premier League fixtures at home (W5 D2 L2).
Everton have lost only one of their last 12 BArclays Premier League away matches, but seven of these have ended in a draw (W4 D7 L1).

Tottenham (3rd) Vs Watford (9th): Our view is: Spurs sit third, five points behind leaders Leicester City, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men well placed to challenge for a first league title since 1961. Spurs beat Norwich City 3-0 away on Tuesday but are likely to encounter a tougher test from Watford, who earned a gritty 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Vicarage Road on Wednesday. Pochettino’s men are getting used to life without Jan Vertonghen, a key part of their strong form this season, but suffered a medial knee ligament strain late last month that will keep him out for up to eight weeks.

Dele Alli has been having tests to determine the cause of recent dizziness, which forced him to be withdrawn after the first half at Carrow Road, but Pochettino hopes the 19-year-old will feature this weekend. Watford are ninth, 12 points clear of the relegation zone, but Sebastian Prodl wants his team-mates to ensure they do not find themselves in unexpected difficulty during the final months of the campaign. With the magical 40 points so close, these games are huge for Watford, win and survival is only 4 points away. We say Spurs too good 2-0 Winners

Tottenham Hotspur (from): Lloris, McGee, Vorm, Alderweireld, Davies, Dier, Rose, Trippier, Walker, Wimmer, Alli, Bentaleb, Carroll, Chadli, Dembele, Eriksen, Lamela, Mason, Onomah, Son, Winks, Kane.

Watford (from): Gilmartin (lacking match fitness), Gomes, Pantilimon, Ake, Belkalem, Britos, Cathcart, Ekstrand (lacking match fitness), Hoban, Holebas, Nyom, Paredes, Prodl, Abdi, Amrabat, Anya, Behrami, Capoue, Dyer, Guedioura, Jurado, Watson, Berghuis, Deeney, Ibarbo, Ighalo, Oulare.

Match Appointments

Referee: Roger East Assistants: D Eaton, M Scholes Fourth Official: J Linington

Match Facts
Tottenham Hotspur have lost just four of their last 25 Barclays Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W14 D7 L4), but two of these have come since the start of December.
Spurs have recovered more points than any other team in the Barclays Premier League from losing positions this season (14).
Watford have recovered just two points from losing positions this season, which is fewer than any other side.
The Hornets have not won any of their last eight meetings with Spurs in all competitions (W0 D2 L6).

Southampton (7th) Vs West Ham (6th): Our view is: Slaven Bilic says Southampton will present his West Ham United side with a tough test when the two teams meet at St Mary’s in Saturday’s late match in the Barclays Premier League. With 10 points from their last four outings, Southampton’s poor end to 2015 seems a distant memory and has put Bilic, the Wrest Ham manager, on his guard.“Yes, they have been unpredictable at times, but they are playing good, especially recently,” he told whufc.com. “They have had three wins in a row, and a good point away at Arsenal. “They are a good side, they like to play football. They have great individuals and great pace on the counter attack, so I am expecting a very, very tough game and a very good game on Saturday.”

Bilic could welcome back Andy Carroll from a hamstring injury and hand new striker Emmanuel Emenike a debut but remains without Diafra Sakho (thigh) and Manuel Lanzini (groin). Charlie Austin, the Southampton striker bought from Queens Park Rangers in January, is set to return from a minor knock after marking his Saints debut with the winner against Manchester United and Bilic rates the player. Five points separate West Ham in sixth from seventh-placed Southampton, with the former beating Aston Villa in midweek while Ronald Koeman’s men claimed a creditable draw at Arsenal. Southampton will be eager to avenge their 2-1 defeat in December. We say cracking 2-2 DRAW

Southampton (from): K Davis, Forster, Gazzaniga, Stekelenburg, Bertrand, Cedric, Fonte, Martina, McCarthy, Targett, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Clasie, S Davis, Isgrove, Mane, Reed, Romeu, Tadic, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Austin, Juanmi, Long, Pelle.

West Ham United (from): Adrian, Randolph, Spiegel, Byram, Collins, Cresswell,  Henry, Jenkinson, O’Brien, Ogbonna, Oxford, Reid, Tomkins, Antonio, Cullen, Kouyate, Moses, Noble, Obiang, Payet, Song, Carroll, Emenike, Jelavic, Lee, Valencia.

Match Appointments
Referee:
Mark Clattenburg Assistants: S Beck, R West Fourth Official: N Swarbrick

Match Facts
The last four Barclays Premier League fixtures between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary’s Stadium have ended as draws.
Southampton have won only one of the last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with West Ham (W1 D4 L3).
Fraser Forster has saved all 12 shots that he’s faced in his four Barclays Premier League appearances since his comeback from injury and is yet to concede a goal in these matches.
West Ham have not won both home and away against Southampton in the same league season since 2000/01.

 

 

 

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