Now, I can’t promise you the goals or the shocks we had last week, but we do have some crucial games at both ends of the table. The title race now seems to be a three horse affair, with Arsenal continuing their miserable month and crashing out after not turning up for their game at Stamford Bridge, matched with a poor home display against Swansea. The Gunners are even now under pressure for 4th place from Everton, and the two sides meet next week.

Premier League Predictions & Team News 26-28 March 2014

At the bottom of the table, it now really looks like 3 from the bottom 5 going down as they start to get cut adfrift, but string a couple of wins together on the bounce, and who knows!

Manchester United v Aston Villa – Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1245Ko

It’s the last Saturday in March and this is a mid-table battle. Last Saturday things were looking slightly better for United and they had just put in one of their better performances with a comfortable win over West Ham. Roll on a few days and a very frail performance that has plighted their season against noisy neighbours City at Old Trafford in midweek, the defence was in pieces and Felliani and Cleverly were both exposed in midfield.

A lot of talk this week has been about the future of David Moyes and unless they put in a convincing performance here, that will intensify.

This sort of fixture will suit Villa, United will be under pressure to come at them and they will try and soak it up and hit them on the counter.

Premier League Inuries: United welcome back departing skipper Vidic after suspension, and he will pair up with Jones at the back as Evans and Smalling are both big injury doubts. RvP is out with a knee injury.  Weimann should be fit for Villa despite coming off injured last week.  El Ahmadi will miss out though.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Wayne Rooney

Crystal Palace v Chelsea – Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1500KO

Palace are now 5 games without a league win and their new manager form has well and truly deserted them, so facing a Chelsea side that put 6 past Arsenal last week is a frightening prospect. I think they will make it very difficult for Chelsea, defending deep and then maybe trying to exploit Chelsea’s slight weakness at defending set-pieces.

The Blues themselves must have hated last weekend, they finally manage to make a dent in both City and Liverpool’s goal advantage and then they both went goal crazy themselves.

Premier League Team News: With only one goal in 5 games, scoring is certainly a problem for Palace at present and this cause isn’t helped with Chamakh and Gayle missing. Etoo is missing for The Blues with a hamstring problem whilst Ramires is suspended.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Fernando Torres

Southampton v Newcastle – Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1500KO

The Saints managed to blow a 2 goal lead against Tottenham last Sunday and have the unenviable record of losing the most amount of points from winning positions in the Premier League this season. Let’s hope that makes for a decent game between two sides who are pretty well matched as the table shows.

Newcastle still need to find some fluency going forward but will be happy to have scraped a win last weekend.

Premier League Team News: The Saints ongoing injury problems continue and they are missing Rodriguez, Schneiderlen, Davis, Wanyama and Clyne.  Whilst Newcastle are missing influential keeper Tim Krul.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Luke Shaw

Stoke v Hull City – Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1500KO

Congratulations to Stoke who have secured Premier League status barring a miracle, a good achievement for a side who had to undergo large changes after parting company with a long serving manager at the end of last season. Mark Hughes got through a sticky patch mid-season and a run of 10 points from the last 4 games is a great effort for a side who were a little under pressure at the start of the month.

Hull were poor last weekend but managed a scrappy win against West Brom, then went on to lose Tuesday to West Ham despite being the better team for most of the game with 10 men.

Premier League Injury News: Erik Pieters returns for Stoke who are still without Huth and Assiadi.  Walters is also suspended.  Steve Harper will replace Allan McGregor in goal after he collided with Mo Diame when conceding a penalty and suffered kidney damage.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Peter Crouch

Swansea v Norwich – Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1500KO

It seems to be a constant stream of teams who can all but secure league status for another year with a win, and this is no different.

Swansea, although 5 points clear of the drop zone, but will be looking over their shoulder as their form is pitiful at present. Since dispensing with the services of Michael Laudrup they have won only 1 of 7 games, but a morale boosting draw at Arsenal in midweek should boost confidence levels.

I was impressed with Norwich last time out, a must win fixture against Sunderland and they did comfortably. Their clean sheet record is the thing that has kept them out of real trouble this season and Chris Hughton will take a bit of satisfaction out of this, as like many other managers this season he has suffered a bit of the verbals from home fans.

Premier League Team News: The Swans have no injury concerns and will again be able to partner Michu and Bony together.  Fer is The Canaries only absentee.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Michu

West Bromwich Albion v Cardiff City – Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1500Ko

Possibly the game with the most pressure on both sides this weekend. The Baggies are at home and will be expected to win, but they have only picked up a maximum 3 points once since the start of January.

Cardiff managed to take the lead twice against Liverpool last week and going forward looked good, but the class of Suarez and co really showed and they ended up shipping 6 goals. I can’t see West Brom causing them that much trouble and pick this as my surprise result of the weekend.

Premier League Injuries: MacAulay is fit, Amalfitano, Anichebe and Lugano could be close whilst Jones is definitely out for The Baggies whilst The Bluebirds will keep faith with the side that last 3-6 to Liverpool last week.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Frazier Campbell

Arsenal v Manchester City –Saturday 29 March 2014 – 1730KO

I don’t really want to dwell too much on Arsenal’s performances of the last week, it’s been done to death everywhere you look, but the one thing I will say is they need to approach the early moments of this game differently to when they’ve played top sides before. Instead of trying to hit the opposition early, they need to stop the full-backs bombing on early on. Flamini could be key for The Gunners.

City have had a wonderful week, after securing an easy win against Fulham which was like watching a testimonial game, they turned the pressure up on David Moyes with another comfortable win at Old Trafford. The goal difference advantage they’ve accrued this week could be crucial come the end of the season.

Premier League Team News: Koscielny is out again for Arsenal which is a big blow, but left back Monreal could return to the squad. They are still without Ozil, Wilshere, Diaby, Walcott and Ramsey. Silva should shrug off an injury he picked up on Tuesday night for the visitors but star turn Aguero is still ruled out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Mathieu Flamini

Fulham v Everton – Sunday 30 March 2014 – 1330Ko

Hmmm, the question is when do we stop calling Fulham a Premier League side, they were embarrassing last time out against Manchester City, I know a lot of sides have suffered heavy defeats against City this season, but to do it at a time you are desperate for points is almost unforgivable. I can’t see them getting the 10 points they need to give themselves a fighting chance of survival, but if they are to start the great escape, winning their home games will be key.

I’ve really underestimated the teams of Merseyside this season, I thought around November it would be Liverpool fighting for 4th place with perhaps Manchester United, instead it is The Toffees with Arsenal. They’ve won all four games in March so far, so could they complete the perfect month?

Premier League Team News: Dejagah is moving freely again after a muscle injury and returns to a squad that is still light of Parker and Mitroglou. Pienaar is still out with a cartridge problem for The Toffees but skipper Jagielka is named in the squad for the first time in 5 games.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ross Barkley

Liverpool v Tottenham – Sunday 30 March 2014 – 1600Ko

I’m pretty sure we all remember the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season. Tottenham collapsed against Liverpool’s attacking movement as they conceded 5 goals at home.

The Reds are on a terrific run at the moment, scoring for fun, but against Sunderland in midweek they did seem to suffer with a little bit of fluidity, could this be the first signs that this run is coming to an end?

Spurs, showed a bit of guts when coming from behind against Southampton last Sunday, if they can cut out the individual errors that have plagued them for most of this season I can see them coming away with at least a point from Anfield.  The Liverpool defence doesn’t feel you with confidence, defending set-pieces and with one Christian Eriksen in the Spurs side, they certainly have someone who can deliver a fine final ball.

Premier League Team News: Liverpool came through Wednesday night unscathed and could name the same starting XI. Adebayor is complaining about a gash but should start whilst Walker, Capoue and Chiriches are all still out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Christian Eriksen

Sunderland v West Ham United – Monday 31 March 2014 – 2000Ko

Who keeps choosing these games for TV? It must have been chosen when both were in deep trouble.

Sunderland showed glimpses of their pre-League Cup final form against Liverpool after a disappointing performance against Norwich, and will cause a West Ham side that is slow and static problems.  They were booed off by a small section of their fans on Wednesday after beating Hull, but Big Sams response to them may not have been the wisest. They are fans who hold a grudge!

Premier League Team News: Borini will return to the starting XI after missing out against parent club Liverpool in midweek with Connor Wickham making way. Collins is ruled out with an injury and will be replaced by Winston Reid in the heart of The Hammers defence.

Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Fabio Borini

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