Cleat Geeks

3 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend

The Premier League returns this weekend, here’s three things to look out for in England’s top flight:

1) Chelsea – Will the toys come out of the cot?

The Blues picked up some pretty negative headlines in midweek following their elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, despite the dismissal of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The enigmatic striker labelled Chelsea’s players ‘babies’ after they swarmed around the referee and pleaded with him to send off the Swedish international following his challenge on Oscar. Captain John Terry defended his sides behaviour, siting the infantile ‘everybody else does it’ argument. The Chelsea crèche take on Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho’s tots can stop the rot, or whether the Saints can make winning at the Bridge look as easy as taking candy from a baby.

2) Race for the top four

The chase for Champions League football next season could not be closer, and this weekend all the main protagonists face difficult challenges. Arsenal are in pole position at present, sitting third. They entertain West Ham on Saturday, just three days before they seek to overturn a 3-1 deficit to Monaco in the world’s most prestigious club competition. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gabriel, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere will all be missing; and Wenger could look to rest a few of his key players with Tuesday nigh in mind.

Manchester United were beaten by Arsenal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup on Monday and they welcome another North London team to the Theatre of Dreams this Sunday. Tottenham sit sixth in the table, just three points behind fourth placed United and have February’s Player of the Month, Harry Kane, in fine goal scoring form. So far this season Kane has netted 16 Premier League goals – that’s two more than United duo Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie put together.

Sandwiched by United and Spurs are fifth place Liverpool who take on Swansea on Monday night. Brendan Rodgers’ side have won 9 of their last 11 Premier League games, including a comprehensive 4-1 win over the Swans back in December. Depending on how the weekend matches finish, Liverpool could be under a bit of pressure to keep pace with the top four by the time they take to the field. The Merseysiders have won just 2 of 14 matches against Swansea in Wales, and Monday nights game could be a difficult one. Swansea have lost just 2 of their last 12 matches at the Liberty Stadium and have already beaten the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United there this season.

3) please

You might expect to see a few of these signs dotted about the edge of the Stadium of Light pitch on Saturday. Sunderland v Aston Villa doesn’t exactly get the pulse racing, but Tim Sherwood has reinvigourated the Villa fans with back-to-back wins over local rivals West Brom. With a trip to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final to look forward too, Sherwood’s charges will be set on securing their Premier League status for next season. The two sides are seperated by just one point and sit just outside the relegation zone, giving the match extra importance in the battle for survival. That being said, Villa have managed a measly three away wins in the league this season while the Black Cats have won just two games at home.

They have managed just 38 goals in 56 matches combined this campaign, so it is unlikely that we’ll see a game that gets us out of our seats. If we do, let’s just hope that Villa fans follow the sign’s advice this Saturday.

One Comment

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