EPL Predictions 26 – 28 April 2014
This time last week I honestly thought there was going to be a twist in the Premier League tale, Chelsea or City coming strong and Liverpool falling over their own shoelaces in a similar way to Luis Suarez under a challenge, but it seems like it is going to be plain sailing and the trophy will find its way to Anfield for the first ever time.
Southampton v Everton – Saturday 26 April 2014 – 1245KO
Barring an amazing swing in goal difference, a win today can guarantee The Toffees European football of some sort for next season, but they will still be going full pelt to try and pip Arsenal for 4th place. However today they face a tricky fixture away at St Mary’s.
I can see Southampton, a side which will come near matching Everton for possession and have nothing much to play for, capitalising on any nerves the visitors may show and pick up a fairly comfortable win.
Premier League Team News: The Saints will be without Arsenal transfer target Morgan Schneiderlin for this TV clash with a quadriceps injury. He is joined on the sidelines by Ramirez, Yoishida and Rodriguez. The Toffees are still without Centre-Backs Distin and Jagielka meaning Stones and Alcaraz will start. Mirallas has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season as is now a doubt for Belgium’s World Cup campaign.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Adam Lallana
Fulham v Hull City – Saturday 26 April 2014 – 1500KO
Watching the first half of Fulham’s game against Spurs last week, I thought they were playing like a side with a bit of belief that they can get out of their current predicament. In the end they didn’t get the result they wanted but a home game against a Hull side who may now coast towards the FA Cup final is perhaps an ideal fixture to get a win which could see them jump out the bottom three.
Premier League Injury News: Fulham welcome back Holtby, Richardson, Diarra and Riether who all missed the game against Spurs, however record signing Mitroglou is still unavailable despite stepping up in training. Steve Bruce has some decisions to make over his forward line with Aluko and Long both shaking of injuries.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Scott Parker
Stoke City v Tottenham– Saturday 26 April 2014 – 1500KO
Stoke at home is one of those games which fails to inspire visitors to the Britannia, and like Palace who find themselves in a similar league position, the home crowd seems to sense this and spur their side. This fixture is exactly where this fits even if Palace do seem to fancy themselves a bit.
Both sides have a bit to play for, Stoke are fighting for 9th, whilst Spurs are still hoping to beat United for 6th and the last Europa Cup spot. However after seeing how Liverpool have gone without the hassle of Thursday night football, Spurs may do better finishing 7th?
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the match could be the pre-match handshake as there is no love lost between the whole of Haringey and Charlie Adam!!
Premier League Injuries: Assaidi returned to the Stoke bench last week and is being considered for a first XI start. Spurs welcome back Michael Dawson for this match and his added presence at the back may help. Walker, Capoue and Vertonghen are all still missing and Sandro may well be overlooked altogether after seemingly falling out with Tim Sherwood.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Charlie Adam
Swansea City v Aston Villa – Saturday 26 April 2014 – 1500KO
Both managers will be pointing out to his set of players that neither of these sides are mathematically safe yet, in fact Villa may still yet need 2 more points to make sure they are playing Premier League football next season.
Swansea showed a bit of fighting spirit last week when overcoming Newcastle, something that has been lacking in their play recently and Bony has quietly gone about his first season in the league and notched up an impressive goal tally. Villa seem to be a team in turmoil both on and off the pitch with rumours Randy Lerner is looking to sell the club.
Premier League Injury News: Michu will be missing from The Swans line-up as the ankle problem that has plagued him for most of the season has reoccurred, whilst fellow Spaniard Chico is suspended. Bennett is the main doubt for Villa who already have a notable list of players out for the remainder of the season.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Wilfried Bony
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United – Saturday 26 April 2014 – 1500Ko
The Baggies will see this as their chance to reach safety today against a West Ham side who have lacked both ideas and spirit since seemingly reaching safety. The away fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with manager Sam Allardyce and with a 54,000 seater stadium to fill in only two seasons time, perhaps a managerial change is on the cards come the end of the season.
Premier League Team News: West Brom will be without Liam Ridgewell for this crunch fixture although Sinclair is available again. Demel has returned from illness and will start at right back with McCartney expected to switch to the other flank. Taylor will be missing on compassionate leave.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Stephane Sessegnon
Manchester United v Norwich City – Saturday 26 April 2014 – 1730KO
Well, the inevitable happened in midweek and United are on the search for a new manager, but until the end of the season we have club legend Ryan Giggs in charge assisted by some of The Class of 92 which will be sure to lift the Old Trafford faithful. Who, to be fair to them, supported the previous boss pretty fairly in the most part, well ish.
Although the new manager boost is somewhat of a myth, as Norwich are finding out, I just have the feeling that this change has come at the worst possible time for The Canaries and they may find themselves on the end of a backlash which wouldn’t help their goal difference.
Premier League Team News: Giggs will resist being the first manager to pick himself in the EPL since Stuart McCall did for Bradford, but he will be limited in what he can do with Van Persie and Rafael out. Yobo is missing for Norwich but do welcome back Elliot Bennett to the travelling squad after a long term injury although he is not expected to start.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Wayne Rooney
Sunderland v Cardiff City – Sunday 27 April 2014 – 1200Ko
There is a good possibility that a win for either of these sides could see them outside the bottom three come the end of Sunday. I can see it being a cagey affair until someone scores, but then the game will open up like a game of basketball. Sunderland have at long last started looking like a team who believe they can stay up and the confidence they will take into this after being the first team to ever beat Jose Mourinho at home in the league.
Premier League Injuries: Sunderland’s chances of surviving have improved as both Bardsley and Bridcutt are now available, whilst veteran striker Craig Bellamy will start for The Bluebirds despite being laid low all week with a virus.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Connor Wickham
Liverpool v Chelsea – Sunday 27 April 2014 – 1405Ko
Has fate and TV schedules played perfectly into Liverpool’s hands as they stand on the brink of an historic first Premier League title, or is there going to be a slip up?
Despite Jose Mourinho coming over very juvenile last week in his presser after the shock defeat to Sunderland, I think he played a blinder in saying he was going to play a weakened side against Liverpool ahead of the ‘more important’ Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday. The reality is he will be missing Cech, Terry and Ramires, but with Lampard and Mikel both suspended for the tie and Matic and Salah cup-tied and all presumably starting that is a very strong midfield. Much like the Sunderland/Cardiff tie I can see this being a cagey match until the first goal is scored. The longer the game remains goalless the happier Chelsea will be.
Premier League Injury News: Brendan Rodgers has a decision about how he sets his side out with Sturridge available again after injury. Does he play with 2 up top, or continue with Lucas in midfield? He may opt for the later with Henderson suspended. Predicting the Chelsea line-up could be difficult. Ivanovic is expected to start at Centre Back in place of Terry which means Cole will start at left-back. It is a shoot-out between Ba and Torres to see who starts up-top with the ex-Liverpool man expected to get the nod.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Frank Lampard
Crystal Palace v Manchester City – Sunday 27 April 2014 – 1610Ko
I’m pretty sure City would prefer to have played this fixture before Liverpool v Chelsea and try and ramp up some pressure, and if Liverpool do win, will City be able to motivate themselves ahead of a tricky trip to Selhurst Park?
Palace have now won 5 on the bounce, surely they can’t make it an improbable sixth?
Premier League Team News: Dikgacoi and Chamakh both face late fitness tests to see if they can shake off knocks to take their place in Tony Pulis’ starting XI, whilst City are without the creative forces of Navas and Silva. Toure could return though.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Sergio Aguero.
Arsenal v Newcastle United – Monday 28 April 2014 – 2000Ko
Arsenal fans will be happy to see their side playing themselves back into a little bit of form after a dreadful stutter in March, the last two performances have seen the Gunners hit 6 past West Ham and Hull to prove they have a bit of resilience, and with players returning to the fold they can push on and secure 4th place in the table ahead of an FA Cup final in May.
Alan Pardew is under real pressure now at Newcastle, and his side are in danger of throwing away a top half finish after what can only be described as relegation form since Christmas, and his antics on the sideline have hardly enlightened him to anyone. It will be a shame if he goes as I do believe if he learnt a bit of humility he could be in the words of Harry Redknapp a ‘top, top manager’!
Premier League Team News: Long term absentee Diaby returned for the reserves in midweek for Arsenal but wont be rushed back to first team action. Vermaelen is back for The Gunners though. Sissoko and Remy are expected to return to the starting line-up for Newcastle.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Aaron Ramsey