Premiership week 27!
Our previews are getting closer and closer the bull’s eye. Last week, of the nine matches we predicted we got seven of them right. And two of them, we got perfectly correct—Everton 2-0 Sunderland and Crystal Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough happened the way we said they would happen. Don’t call us prophet yet.
The premiership is no mathematics. It is a weekly attempt to hit the bull in the eye. Sometimes, we’ll come close; sometimes, we’ll be a mile apart. We can only try.
EPL Preview: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Manchester United V Bournemouth, 1.30pm
2016/2017 is an astonishing season. From Brexit to Trump to Manchester United winning the league cup even though they drew the match 3-3. Referee Andre Marriner canceled Gabbiadini’s first goal but we at BuzzNigeria kept count.
We are aware of an ancient clause that says ‘In the case of a tie the league cup will go to the team with the most decorated player.’ Man Utd won on the strength of Podga’s buttered head.
It is official, Bournemouth are fighting relegation. Another loss would push them deeper into the murky waters of the drop. With Liverpool and Arsenal Playing each other few hours later if Manchester wins, they will leave the sixth position and enter top four for the first time since the Stone Age.
It will take a lot from Bournemouth to get anything from this match. It looks so much like a loss for Eddie Howe. Man United to win 2-1 but we at BuzzNigeria won’t count one goal.
Final score 1:1 #MNUBOU
Stoke City V Middlesbrough, 4.00pm
Stoke biannual 4-0 loss to Tottenham happened last week. They may now dust themselves and move on. To where? At tenth, they can neither be relegated nor earn a place in Europe. In theory.
Middlesbrough haven’t won a league match since before Christmas. They have won three matches in the FA Cup, a trophy they cannot win. Except they gain a point in this match, they will be in the bottom three at the end of this week.
Stoke would want a quick dismissal of their capitulation in North London. Only a win would serve.
Final score: 1:0 #STOMID
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Swansea V Burnley
Swansea survival battle is boosted by the return of Jefferson Montero to fitness. Since Clement became coach, this Welsh club has only lost matches they should lose, against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. Each time, except during the Alex Iwobi Show, they gave a fair account of themselves.
Burnley is a team they should beat.
Sean Dyche took his second away point last week. Another point this week is within reach. They will give Swansea a serious resistance.
Final score: 2:1 #SWABUR
Watford V Southampton, 4.00pm
Southampton are in the dock of injustice. They would cry over Gabbiadini’s disallowed goal in last Sunday final for the remainder of this century. The outcome of this match will be decided by Le Puel’s team mood. Taking the line of self-pity would drown them. And they need this match to leave the periphery of relegation for good.
Watford also need maximum points for like purpose. Either team can lose this. A draw would leave both teams disappointed with an aftertaste of relief.
Final score: 2:2 #WATSOU
West Brom V Crystal Palace, 4.00pm
Sam Allardyce won last week, it is time to take the proverbial two steps backward. With West Brom, this step backward is more than a proverb.
Final score: 1:0 #WBACRY
Leicester City V Hull City 4.00pm
Beating Liverpool is laudable but it nearly doesn’t confer serious credentials to teams. Liverpool have been charitable with struggling teams. To be taken serious, the foxes must beat Hull City. Two wins in a row will almost guarantee their premiership will to stay.
Caretaker coach Craig Shakespeare (not a relation to the bard) has scripted a menacing character in the team. Whether it is a one-act show, Hull City will tell.
Hull City should be disappointed with sharing the points with premiership worse travelers Burnley last week at the KCOM. Only a positive result at Leicester would ransom that slip. Leicester still have issues. Hull City would expose them.
Final score: 2:2 #LEIHUL
Liverpool V Arsenal, 6.30pm
Klopp and Arsene Wenger have swapped victories when Klopp managed Dortmund. The fans were the winners in their entertaining encounters. Arsenal have played twice against Klopp’s Liverpool. The two matches produced thirteen goals: Shaky defenses and flashes of genius.
On Saturday night, Liverpool’s Top4 question mark will be devalued or stamped. Arsenal are fresh having not played last week. They may turn up with a rusty team and complicate their chances.
Both teams will try to win this. Arsenal usually suffer moments of madness Liverpool can punish. On their part, Liverpool’s defense can be an expressway except Klopp decides to stay deep. A defeatist tactics at home, placed fifth. The match will take the look of a basketball. Score-me-and-watch-me-score-you.
If any match will end 7-7, it is this one.
Final score: 3:3 #LIVARS
EPL Preview: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Tottenham V Everton, 2.30pm
Everton has the second longest unbeaten streak in the league, nine matches (including that 4-0 battering of Man City, thumbs up Lookman) and counting. White Hart Lane is a decent place to lose this run without shame. Harry Kane’s third hatrick in nine games came too close for the Toffees comfort.
But Everton can count on their star man Lukaku who has the best conversation rate (64%) in the league to counter the Englishman.
It is now just above two months to the end of the league. Tottenham know there is little room for error.
Final score: 2:1 #TOTEVE
Sunderland V Manchester City, 5.00pm
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Sunderland will go down this season. No club has escaped the drop with less than 35 points. The average for escape is 38.8 points. Even if Sunderland draw their remaining matches (31 points) they would still go. They need to win matches.
They won’t win this one. There is little the Black Cats can do to hurt Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men have suddenly woken up to the title race. A late show that would only delay Chelsea’s triumph and blow clubs like Sunderland away.
Final score: 0:3 #SUNMCI
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EPL Preview: Monday, March 6, 2017
West Ham V Chelsea, 9.00pm
Analysing West Ham is like diagnosing a strange disease; you never know which team turns up. Will a thrashing bag or a bulldog turn up? With Conte, even the most special West Ham team can still get canned.
But this is a local derby, there are no formulas.
West Ham growing injury list would hamper any pursuit of shock. How long would it take before any of Hazard, Pedro and Costa hit the back of the net? If West Ham concede, they are in trouble. If they hold on, they are in trouble as Chelsea will continually hammer.
The only saving act for the host is to score first, something Chinese potential bride Carroll would fancy doing. Chelsea airless defense might suffocate his efforts.
Final score: 0:2 #WHUCHE
Note: All times in Nigerian Times (GMT+1)