Last week was FA Cup weekend. We didn’t review it but the drama wasn’t lost on us, at least we are not about to forget Sutton FC 133 KG-sized goalkeeper eating pie on the touchline. Our last EPL Preview review was a big deal.
We got six results correctly including two perfect scorelines. We predicted Arsenal 2-0 Hull and Stoke 1-0 Crystal Palace and they came to pass. Perfect! In fact, if Watford, West Ham and Leicester had scored one goal, just one goal each, we would have gotten five perfect results! Imagine the scene!
This Sunday is EFL cup final between Manchester United and Southampton which means two premiership matches Southampton V Arsenal and Manchester City V Manchester United are postponed.
We preview the eight matches and for a bonus, the Cup Final! Let’s do this!
EPL Preview – Saturday, February 25, 2017
Chelsea V Swansea, 4.00pm
Chelsea horse stumbled last week. Of course, they are not going to win their remaining matches. This is English Premiership, not La Liga where Barcelona and Real Madrid have won the title with 100 points.
Against Swansea, Chelsea has the chance to even straighten their path. Paul Clement and Makelele have worked wonders in Wales, successfully beating the dead swans back to life and four solid points from the drop zone.
Paul Clement relishes his return to Stamford Bridge but he won’t get anything from his former employers and it is not a shame.
Final score: 2-0 #CHESWA
Crystal Palace V Middlesbrough, 4.00pm
Crystal Palace have recovered from the 4-0 bashing they suffered at home to fellow relegation strugglers Sunderland early this month. Big Sam has never been relegated before. But that will change this year. Crystal Palace will go down. Taking one step forward then two steps backward will seal their fate.
Middlesbrough are two points above the dreaded zone. A hard fought 0-0 against Everton a fortnight ago was a win. If they can get another point in this match it will do for victory. No, they cannot beat Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace have taken their two steps backward, they will take one forward on Saturday. Fancy a slim win.
Final score: 1:0 #CRYMID
In case you missed: Premiership Legend Sets for China
Everton V Sunderland, 4.00pm
Another club that is almost destined to go down is Sunderland. David Moyes cannot seem to put together a couple of good results that will generate the run essential in escaping the drop. Their 4-0 victory at Selhurst Park has since been overturned by last week’s 4-0 home loss to Southampton.
Everton’s dramatic 6-3 have been humanized by their barrel draw with Middlesbrough. Will the return to Goodison Park of their legendary coach spark anything close to the thriller with Bournemouth? No one knows.
Expect a decent match.
Final score: 2:0 #EVESUN
Hull City V Burnley, 4.00pm
Hull City should feel a sense of injustice coming into this match. They endured Sanchez’s hand of dog goal and a red card call that Clattenburg (how do you say hello in China?) responded with a yellow. But they should be proud of their performance earning four points playing Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in a row.
They welcome Burnley, the worst away team in England. Who earns one point in 12 away matches? Just one point, real poor (even if this point was earned in Old Trafford). Will they gain a second in Hull City? Doubtful. Hull City do not look to be in a sharing mood.
Final score: 2:1 #HULBUN
West Brom V Bournemouth, 4.00pm
Ravaged by injuries and a run of bad results, Eddie Howe will look to get something from West Brom in this match. One or two more bad results for Bournemouth mean they will be drawn into the quicksand of relegation battle.
Tony Pulis at eight is the highest placed British coach in the league. West Brom haven’t been too amazing but they are winning the matches they are expected to win. They should win this one. What can neutral fans get from this one? A high-scoring thriller, probably.
Final score: 3:2 #WBABOU
Watford V West Ham
Watford reality check came in Old Trafford. A 2-0 defeat in Old Trafford is routine. Normally. But Watford had an extraordinary January, remember that three points at the Emirates (sorry Arsenal fans, this is the last mention of that defeat).
West Ham defies analysis. They can ship in goals as much as they give. This match might end 7-5. Or 0-0.
Final score: 2:2 #WATWHU
EPL Preview – Sunday, February 26, 2017
Tottenham V Stoke City, 1.30pm
Tottenham Hotspurs are zero matches unbeaten. They were ten matches unbeaten until they appeared on the Sadio Mane Show on the 11th. Their pretext of fighting for the league was a flash in the pan after all. But they can still finish above Arsenal. Come on you spurs!
Will they? Every match counts. Plus, no more Europa distraction (duly got knocked out on Thursday).
Stoke City haven’t been assertive against Spurs. Their last two meetings against Tottenham ended 4-0 both of them in Stoke Bet365 home ground. ‘Come on boys, it is Stoke again,’ Pochettino might say. For this match, these words should do.
But Stoke will offer a strong resistance. They might get a goal even. But it won’t be enough. Spurs race for second is officially launched.
Final score 3:1 #TOTSTO
EPL Preview – Monday, February 27, 2017
Leicester City V Liverpool, 9.00pm
‘Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer, things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon Leicester City’.
Will Leicester City get relegated? How will they not get relegated, losing matches with such consistency? Can a new coach get their act right? Before he was fired, Ranieri had a crisis meeting with senior players Mahrez and Vardy. In response, Leicester lost their next three games in the EPL, FA Cup and Champions League.
In case you missed: Leicester City sacks Ranieri
Liverpool haven’t been convincing this year. Most especially with the bottom teams. Will they compound Leicester’s woes? It depends on the Liverpool team that turns up on Sunday. If the Liverpool who humbled Spurs turn up, Leicester will be spanked.
An average Liverpool team would do Leicester harm. Should.
Final score: 0:1 #LEILIV
Sunday, February 2016
Manchester United V Southampton, 5.30pm
Mourinho’s first trophy at Manchester United loads. What can possibly go wrong? Will Southampton pull a Birmingham at Wembley? This EFL Cup is Manchester United’s most realistic trophy.
Man United are participating in two other competitions. Their pathways to winning the FA Cup which starts at Stamford Bridge and includes the hurdles of Manchester City, Spurs and Arsenal in the later stages is limited. And the Europa is a marathon that the English calendar has usually stifled.
An EFL and a top four finish would qualify as a good season for Manchester United.
Manchester United can expect a strong opposition in Southampton. Southampton haven’t been convincing in the league but they have been the Barcelona of the league cup. The cold efficiency with which they knocked out Liverpool in the duo showdowns of the semi-final should worry, if not frighten Mourinho and his boys.
A top performance from Manchester United will be enough to see off whatever the saints might throw at them. New boy Gabbiadini and Shane Long are two players the Red Devils must keep a close eye on while hoping that Ibrahimovic gets the space he needs to wreck havoc on the opposite end.
Who will win the league cup? Manchester United. Who will lose the league cup? Manchester United. It depends on which of these questions Manchester United are willing to answer.
Final score: 2:1 #MUNSOU
NOTE: All times in the EPL Preview is in Nigerian Time which is equivalent to GMT +1