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Premier League CatchUp Games ~ Preview

last updated Tuesday 25th March 2014, 1:34 PM

Premier League catch up games are taking place over Tuesday and Wednesday

On Tuesday Manchester City have an opportunity to showcase their title credentials and close the gap on leaders Chelsea with a second derby victory of the season on Tuesday night. Manchester United were beaten 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium in September as David Moyes endured a difficult start to his reign, and the pressure has continued to be
Premier League
Tuesday 25th March 2014
DateK.O.HomeTeamHomeTeamRefereeVenue TV
25:03 19:45ArsenalSwanseaLee ProbertOld Trafford 
25:03 19:45Man UtdMan CityMichael OliverEmirates StadiumSky1
25:03 19:45NewcastleEvertonMike JonesSt James' Park
Premier League
Wednesday 26th March 2014
DateK.O.HomeTeamHomeTeamRefereeVenue TV
26:03 19:45West HamHull CityMike DeanUpton Park
26:03 20:03LiverpoolSunderlandKevin FriendAnfieldSky1
relentless for the past six months. At no stage have United looked like defending their Premier League crown and, with eight games of the season still to play, even a top-four finish looks out of reach.

Arsenal will be looking to recover from their weekend hammering by Chelsea when they host Swansea City.  The Gunners suffered a 6-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in what was manager Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge of the London outfit. That result saw Arsenal slip to fourth in the league table, seven points off the pace but with a game in hand. Wenger, who has since refused to speak to the media, will be hoping his players can bounce back quickly at the Emirates Stadium and put their title ambitions back on track.

Newcastle themselves have enjoyed some good form of late with three wins from their last four which includes back-to-back home successes. Manager Alan Pardew will again be missing from the stadium as he continues his recent ban, and he is set to watch once again from the club's training ground. Everton will climb into fifth place in the Premier League with victory at Newcastle United. The Toffees are in good form with three wins in a row under their belts and three points on Tyneside would see them go above Tottenham, whilst also maintaining their slim top-four hopes.

Premier League ~ 19:45 Arsenal v Swansea

Arsenal against Swansea is all about how Arsenal react to Saturday's 6-0 thumping at Chelsea.

Much has been made of the fact that they've suffered heavy away defeats to all three sides currently above them in the table and it's worth noting that following each of the previous hammerings has come a goalless draw at the Emirates. Admittedly those draws were against Chelsea and Manchester United, both better opponents than Swansea, but also the level of disappointment in the Arsenal ranks is now deeper - it's hard to see them recovering to challenge for the title this time with so few matches remaining.

Manager Arsene Wenger seemed very dejected after Saturday's loss in what was a huge game - it should be remembered that had the Gunners won they would have been right in the title hunt - so I'm not hugely convinced that this will be a camp massively motivated to put things right. Arsenal's season now rests on the FA Cup, for which they are odds-on favourites and it would be no surprise if minds are already beginning to turn to next month's semi-final.

So are Swansea in a position to capitalise? The worry is their poor form - they have now won just two of their last 16 league games, although they did show plenty of fight at Everton on Saturday where they only went down 3-2. A more positive outlook would suggest they've enjoyed some good moments on the road this season, winning 3-0 in Valencia, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup and only losing a ding-dong battle at Anfield by four goals to three, giving Liverpool a tougher game than most this season on their own patch.

Michu, a player who scored three times against Arsenal last season including twice in the 2-0 win in this very fixture, could well start again here which would be a major boost and I feel they might just be worth siding with given the doubts over the home side's mindset. They'll be prepared to take Arsenal on at their own game and success against them in the past should give their confidence something of a boost.

Premier League ~ 19:45 Manchester United v Manchester City ~ SkySport 1

Man City's title challenge will likely succeed or fail on how they perform during a tough run of away games which starts at Man Utd on Tuesday.

They then head to Arsenal at the weekend before a potentially-decisive showdown with Liverpool at Anfield next month. It's a daunting run but it should also be remembered that visiting Old Trafford is not what it used to be and City look favourite to win. They are simply the better team right now, as a gulf of 12 points (which could become 18 due to games in hand) proves.

Captain Vincent Kompany is back for this one after his ban and he will doubtless relish his battle with Wayne Rooney, who seems to be firing on all cylinders again. However, Robin van Persie is a big miss for United in big games like this, while they still look vulnerable defensively where the lack of a regular partnership continues to be a problem.

Nemanja Vidic remains suspended and if Michael Carrick has to play centre-half again, as seems possible due to injuries, he'll find dealing with City's fluid attack somewhat tougher than West Ham's more predictable one. City have won three of the last four meetings between these sides, including the reverse fixture which they dominated and won 4-1, not to mention the last two at Old Trafford.

If you take the pre-season Community Shield out of the equation, their record extends to five wins from the last seven meetings. All things considered, City should be taken to prevail and keep their title bid - which remains in their own hands - on track.

Premier League ~ 19:45 Newcastle v Everton

Roberto Martinez spoke last week of how it was still possible for his side to finish in the top four. The idea was given short shrift by most but is it really stretching things to suggest Everton's hopes are alive again following Arsenal's weekend hammering?

It remains unlikely. The Toffees are eight points behind the Gunners but have a game in hand, not to mention a looming home match against them. Martinez's side have been grinding out the wins at home but this trip will be a key test of their lofty ambitions.

Like Arsenal, they've struggled against the cream of the crop on the road, losing a series of big games which have left them off the top-four pace. Indeed their last away win was before Christmas. The question to ask here is has that been due to a tough fixture list or simply losing the knack of claiming those important away wins?

Newcastle, torn apart by Everton in the first half of the reverse fixture back in the autumn, have been goal shy of late and with Loic Remy again an injury doubt, this remains a major problem for them. To be fair, they've won their last two home games, both 1-0 thanks to injury-time goals, after a run of five straight defeats at St James' Park. However, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace were the opponents for those wins; Everton will prove a tougher nut to crack.

Source Sky/ Sporting Life
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