Yayyyy, it’s the EPL Preview again! The Premiership is in the home stretch. Our EPL preview last week got six results correct (not the perfect scoreline: who could have foreseen the 6-3 thriller at Goodison Park?). With premiership fixtures, the only assurance is drama. From lunchtime on Saturday to St Valentine’s eve, millions of people worldwide are signed for steamy entertainment. At BuzzNigeria, we can only show you which way the ball will fall; it might levitate.
Welcome to the Week 25 EPL Preview.
EPL Preview – Saturday, February 11, 2017
Arsenal V Hull City, 1.30pm
The Gunners have lived up to expectation. It is February and they are out of the race for the title. Three of every four pundits now think Arsenal won’t make top four. The fight for top four is something Arsene Wenger has mastered. It is not granted but they will do it and they must approach matches like this one against Hull with little room for errors.
Morale is low at the Emirates and with Wenger still suspended, coming against The Tigers who defeated Liverpool 2-0 last weekend, this match would provide a lot to talk about.
Hull City recent fixture list included Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. They should be getting zero point; they got four, so far. Four is good enough. Arsenal will take care of them. Should.
Final score: 2-0 #ARSHUL
Middlesbrough V Everton, 4.00pm
Everton scored six last week in a nine-goal thriller. Lukaku bagging four goals. Hello Valdez, Everton led by Admiral Lukaku, are coming to the Riverside Stadium, are you ready? Middlesbrough haven’t won a match since their 3-0 victory over Swansea in mid-December. They haven’t scored more than a goal per match since then.
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A loss for the North East club will put them in the murkiness of relegation. Everton should expect a fight. It’s hard to see Middlesbrough scoring more than once. Fortunately, they usually don’t concede more than once per match. A low score draw is a fat possibility.
Final Score: 1-1 #MIDEVE
Stoke City V Crystal Palace, 4.00pm
Crystal Palace amazing 2-0 victory at Bournemouth a fortnight ago was sharply contrasted with a shocking 4-0 home loss to Sunderland! A victory against Sunderland could have taken them from 19th to 15th on the table. A ruined opportunity.
On Saturday, Sam Alladyce will take his battered squadron to Stoke City. Stoke have only lost thrice at home, the same amount of time Crystal Palace have won away. Can Palace make it 4/4? Recent form favours Stoke. The Black Cats lost 1-0 last week in West Brom, they should make up with this match.
Final Score: 1-0 #STOCRY
Manchester United V Watford, 4.00pm
For how long will Man United remain in sixth? They have been in sixth since the time of Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Liverpool plays a day later which means Manchester can be fifth (wow) for at least 24 hours (it is Christmas in February!) if they win this. Watford won the reverse fixture 3-1. Considering the circumstance, Mourinho will approach this with a sense of injustice.
The Hornets have earned 7 points in the last three matches, including that win at the Emirates (no, Arsenal fans, we won’t stop talking about this one). Can Watford get anything from this one? David only killed Goliath once, in September. Expect Man United to win this.
It won’t be as ‘easy’ as the Leicester win.
Final Score: 2-1 MNUWAT
Sunderland V Southampton, 4.00pm
Southampton last eight matches read L-L-L-L-L-W-L-L. The only win coming against whipping boys Leicester City even makes this form more depressing. Although Sunderland running riot at Selhurst Park last week will have little consequence in this fixture.
In fact, Southampton can take the visit to the Stadium of Light as a great chance to put a wedge to their tumbling fortunes. They are 13th, three or four more bad results and relegation talk that sounded like a taboo in December will rear its grotesque head.
The battle can go either way.
Final Score: 2-2 #SUNSOU
West Ham V West Brom, 4.00pm
West Ham took three points home from St Mary’s Stadium last week. But their last home match ended in an embarrassing 0-4 loss against Manchester City. Despite the departure of Payet, Bilic seems to have stamped the brake on their misfortune. They are 9th. Three months ago, relegation was a close possibility. Now they can dream Europe.
West Brom too dream Europe.
Final Score: 3-2 #WHUWBA
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Liverpool V Tottenham, 6.30pm
Liverpool’s 2-0 loss to Hull City has punctured a myth that Liverpool were in the Nations Cup with Sadio Mane. Mane is back but Liverpool’s form is still cooling off in Siberia. They have not won a league match in 2017. But Liverpool can derive energy from the fact that they know how to play the big boys.
Tottenham are the only team in pretext of chasing Chelsea. In reality, getting champions league spot and finishing above Arsenal is all they want. This is the match of the week. But it won’t necessarily be the most exciting.
Both teams will be wary of going too forward. The demerit of conceding first would slow the desire to score first. This is a match built for a draw. Liverpool may nick it but don’t bet on it.
Final Score: 1-1 #LIVTOT
EPL Preview – Sunday, February 12, 2017
Burnley V Chelsea, 2.30pm
Chelsea have established a standard this season. They don’t grabble with the smaller teams, they blow them off. If the league only contains teams outside of the top six, Chelsea’s form would look like this: Play 18, Win 17, Draw 1 (Swansea), Lose 0! It is no longer genius to predict who would win the league.
If there is any team that should dent Chelsea’s form from the bottom teams, it is Burnley. They have the best home record besides Chelsea and Tottenham. Sean Dyche has managed to turn Turf Moor to a small fortress. But Chelsea is like a horse that has smelt the stable of glory. Chelsea would gallop past Burnley.
Final Score: 1-3 #BURCHE
Swansea City V Leicester City, 5.00pm
Leicester have not scored a league goal this year. They are one point above the drop zone and have earned less than one point per match. It can’t be worse than this. Or it could when they get relegated in May. Premiership story of the century is turning to an earth quaking farce.
Only Manchester City in 1938 got relegated as champions. It was so shocking World War II started the following year. Should we prepare for World War III? Swansea wouldn’t mind. They are in a survival battle. Leicester have lost that fighter spirit we saw last term. The Welsh club appears to need this more; they will take it. Book your nuclear shelter.
Final Score: 2-1 #SWALEI
Monday, February 13, 2017
Bournemouth V Manchester City, 9.00pm
Manchester’s unsteady season has gotten the answer of Jesus. Jesus of Brazil. He singularly won Manchester City three points against Swansea. He would be unleashed against Bournemouth who are conceding goals with what looks like relish. A win for Bournemouth and the talk of relegation will die.
But Manchester City is in pursuit of top four, Pep Guardiola’s minimum expectation. Man City will still visit the Emirates and Stamford Bridge and welcome bitter local rivals Manchester United and Liverpool. This matches will surely cost them points. They cannot afford to lose grounds to a club in 14th place.
Another high scoring match is possible.
Final Score: 2-3 #BOUMCI
Note: All times in this EPL Preview is in Nigerian Time (GMT+)