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Premier League MatchDay 36 Preview

last updated Saturday 04th May 2013, 11:04 AM

Premiership MatchDay 36 Fixtures
Saturday 04th May 2013
KO Home Away Ref TV
15:00 Fulham v Reading N Swarbrick  
15:00 Norwich v Aston Villa K Friend  
15:00 Swansea v Man City M Jones  
15:00 Tottenham v Southampton M. Clattenburg  
15:00 West Brom v Wigan L Probert  
15:00 West Ham v Newcastle P Dowd  
17:30 QPR v Arsenal J Moss ESPN
Sunday 05th May
13:30 Liverpool v Everton M Oliver Sky1
16:00 Man Utd v Chelsea H Webb Sky1
Monday 06th May 2013
20:00 Sunderland v Stoke L Mason Sky1
Premier League MatchDay 36 is kicked off at Fulham when Reading come visiting at Craven Cottage. Relegated Reading are likely to be focused on life in the Championship next season while The Cottagers are aiming to secure a top-half finish in the Premier League.

Norwich City face Aston Villa in a crucial clash in the fight for Premier League survival just one point better off than Villa with a tally of 38. Villa will fancy their chances of picking up three points.

League Cup winners Swansea will look to hit some form before the end of the season. Man City will also be looking to taste success at the Liberty Stadium, as last year they went down 1-0 on their first ever visit to Swansea in the Premier League era.

Tottenham welcome Southampton to White Hart Lane on Saturday knowing that nothing less than a win will do as they look to close in on a Champions League place. Southampton come into the game all but safe from relegation,

Premiership table - after 29th April 2013
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man Utd 35 15 0 2 43 17 12 4 2 36 19 43 85 (C)
2 Man City 34 13 3 1 38 12 8 5 4 23 19 30 71
3 Chelsea 34 11 4 2 37 13 8 4 5 31 22 33 65
4 Arsenal 35 10 5 3 43 22 8 5 4 23 14 30 64
5 Tottenham 34 9 5 3 27 18 9 3 5 33 25 17 62
6 Everton 35 11 6 1 31 17 4 8 5 21 21 14 59
7 Liverpool 35 8 5 4 32 16 6 7 5 35 26 25 54
8 West Brom 34 9 3 5 25 17 5 3 9 21 27 2 48
9 Swansea 34 6 7 4 28 23 4 5 8 15 21 -1 42
10 West Ham 35 8 5 4 30 20 3 4 11 11 29 -8 42
11 Fulham 35 7 3 7 25 23 3 7 8 19 30 -9 40
12 Stoke 35 7 7 4 20 20 2 6 9 11 21 -10 40
13 Southampton 35 6 6 6 25 23 3 6 8 22 34 -10 39
14 Norwich 35 7 7 3 20 18 1 7 10 13 36 -21 38
15 Sunderland 35 5 6 6 18 17 4 4 10 21 34 -12 37
16 Aston Villa 35 5 5 8 22 26 4 5 8 20 38 -22 37
17 Newcastle 35 9 1 8 24 30 1 6 10 19 36 -23 37
18 Wigan 34 4 5 8 22 34 4 3 10 17 28 -23 32
19 QPR 35 2 8 7 12 25 2 5 11 17 31 -27 25
20 Reading 35 4 8 6 23 31 1 2 14 14 34 -28 25
There can be no thoughts of the FA Cup final for Wigan as they travel to West Bromwich Albion in search of three points. West Brom could in theory still finish as high as sixth, but they are solid in eighth place which looks set to be their finish mark.

Newcastle will be hoping to end any relegation fears when they travel to West Ham this weekend. West Ham are safe in the Premier League after amassing 42 points.

Arsenal head to relegated Queens Park Rangers on Saturday looking to climb into third place in the Premier League table. The Gunners are on an impressive run, with just one defeat in their last 10 outings in the Premier League. QPR boss Redknapp can use the final three games of the season to assess his squad for the challenges that lie ahead.

Liverpool play host to Everton aiming to close the gap on their neighbours as both sides look to claim local bragging rights knowing defeat will ensure that they will be unable to finish above David Moyes' men.

Manchester United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday with United having already wrapped up the Premier League title with games to spare. Chelsea are in the box seat to join United among the continental elite next term with a further critical clash at home to Spurs on Wednesday evening.

In the last game of MatchDay 36 Sunderland welcome Stoke

Saturday 4th May 2013

15:00 - Fulham (11) v Reading (20)

Reading were unable to carry their Championship displays into the Premier League and their demotion back to the second tier was confirmed last weekend following a lifeless 0-0 draw at home to QPR. The appointment of Nigel Adkins to replace Brian McDermott has failed to stop the rot and the Royals are now on a rotten run of two points from the last 30 available. They make the trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday to face a Fulham side who are also limping to the finish line with Martin Jol's men losing four and drawing one of their last five.

Fulham forward Mladen Petric is out due to a hamstring injury. Steve Sidwell is still suspended following his red card against Arsenal, but Dimitar Berbatov is available despite going off against Everton with a calf problem. Defender Sascha Riether (ankle) is also fit for selection, but midfielders Mahamadou Diarra (knee), Ashkan Dejagah (ankle) and Simon Davies (hip) remain out.

Reading midfielder Hope Akpan could return after recovering from an ankle problem, while goalkeeper Adam Federici could return from his ankle injury. Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Jason Roberts (hip) are still missing.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Fulham L D L L L; Reading L L D L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) 13; Nick Blackman (Reading) 14

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

15:00 - Norwich (14) v Aston Villa (11)

Aston Villa are another side basking in the glory of having scored six in their last outing, with fellow strugglers Sunderland put to the sword in dramatic fashion at Villa Park on Monday night. Paul Lambert's side can draw another team deeper into the relegation mire with victory over his former club Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday. The Canaries cannot afford to relax yet as a run of just one win in eight has seen them slide to six points above the bottom three, with FA Cup finalists Wigan boasting a game in hand on all the teams above them.

Goalkeeper John Ruddy is in contention to make his return for Norwich after five months out with a thigh injury. Defender Sebastien Bassong has shaken off an ankle problem, but fellow centre-half Michael Turner (groin) is still sidelined. Forward Kei Kamara plays the last match of his loan spell from Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City, and will return to the United States unless a permanent transfer is agreed.

Aston Villa could be without defender Ciaran Clark and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi. The pair missed Monday's 6-1 win over Sunderland, with Clark struggling with a foot injury and El Ahmadi a groin strain, and will be assessed ahead of the trip to Carrow Road. Richard Dunne, Marc Albrighton, Gary Gardner and Chris Herd are all long-term injury absentees.

Last season: Norwich 2 Aston Villa 0, Aston Villa 3 Norwich 2

Last five league matches: Norwich L D L W L; Aston Villa L W D L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Luciano Becchio (Norwich) 18; Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 25

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

15:00 - Swansea (12) v Man City (2)

Manchester City have little other than pride left to play for as they prepare to travel to Swansea this weekend after their limp Premier League title defence. Michael Laudrup's side are also seemingly suffering from a silverware-induced hangover, with their form suffering badly in the wake of their Capital One Cup triumph over Bradford at Wembley earlier this year. The Swans have taken just two points from the last 18 available but remain in ninth place, such was their fine form prior to their success in late February.

Chico Flores is an injury doubt for Swansea after the Spanish defender suffered bruising to his arm in training earlier this week, but Michael Laudrup is hopeful of having his first-choice centre-half available. Winger Roland Lamah has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has been passed fit after the England international suffered a back injury in last Saturday's victory over West Ham. City otherwise have no injury or suspensions with striker Sergio Aguero and midfielders David Silva and James Milner having returned from hamstring problems against the Hammers.

Last season: Swansea 1 Man City 0, Man City 4 Swansea 0

Last five league matches: Swansea L L D D L; Man City W W W L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Michu (Swansea) 21; Carlos Tevez (Man City) 17

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

15:00 - Tottenham (5) v Southampton (13)

Tottenham remain in the hunt for a top-four finish, standing two points adrift of the Gunners with the benefit of a game in hand, a gap which could be bridged for a few hours as they welcome Southampton to White Hart Lane. Gareth Bale continues to dominate the headlines ahead of the clash with his former club after adding the Football Writers' Association honour to his Professional Footballers' Association awards double, with his future now top of the agenda. Andre Villas-Boas insists Bale will not be sold even if Spurs miss out on the top four, but a summer of speculation over the Spurs superstar beckons.

Tottenham will give a fitness test to Mousa Dembele (hamstring) before deciding whether to include the midfielder in the squad. Striker Emmanuel Adebayor (knee) and midfielder Jake Livermore (hamstring) are available after they sat out the 2-2 draw at Wigan last week. Midfielder Sandro (knee) and defensive duo Younes Kaboul (thigh) and William Gallas (calf) are unavailable.

Gaston Ramirez and Danny Fox will both miss out for Saints as they begin three-match bans following their red cards in the home defeat to West Brom. There is some good news, though, as Luke Shaw looks set to feature after an ankle injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Tottenham L W D W D; Southampton W W D D L

Top scorers (all competitions): Gareth Bale (Tottenham) 24; Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 14

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

15:00 - West Brom (8) v Wigan (18)

Wigan's bid to scramble clear of the bottom three has stalled in recent matches, with only two points gathered from their last four games. Victory away to a West Brom side who have been as inconsistent in the second half of the campaign as they were impressive in the first looks imperative if the Latics are to avoid being cast further adrift at the foot of the table. Roberto Martinez's men can take heart from the fact that they had 32 points after 34 games in 2009/10 and finished the season safely in 16th place, but their regular flirtations with the drop may soon see them take the plunge.

West Brom will be without captain Chris Brunt, striker Marc-Antoine Fortune and defender Goran Popov. Brunt missed the 3-0 win at Southampton with a knee injury and sits out again, while Popov has a calf problem. Fortune starts a three-game suspension but Youssouf Mulumbu returns from a ban of his own and Peter Odemwingie is in contention for a first appearance since March 30.

Wigan are forced into a defensive change with Maynor Figueroa ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin injury. Paraguay centre-back Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) is close to fitness but unlikely to return this weekend, meaning Ronnie Stam could come in at the back. Midfielder Ben Watson, out since last November with a broken leg but on the bench last week, could figure while defender Roman Golobart and midfielder Fraser Fyvie are in contention after knocks.

Last season: Wigan 1 West Brom 1, West Brom 1 Wigan 2

Last five league matches: West Brom D L L D W; Wigan W D L L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Romelu Lukaku (West Brom) 14; Arouna Kone (Wigan) 12

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

15:00 - West Ham (10) v Newcastle (17)

Newcastle issued a statement in midweek to dismiss reports of disharmony in the dressing room at St James' Park, but successive home defeats to Sunderland and Liverpool in which they shipped nine goals and failed to find the net themselves demonstrates all is not well for Alan Pardew's men. The Magpies travel to West Ham this weekend as Pardew comes up against one of his former clubs, with Sam Allardyce's side looking comfortable just inside the top half of the Premier League table after their first season back among the elite.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns. Defensive duo James Tomkins (calf) and George McCartney (knee) are again likely to miss out for the Hammers, who could climb to ninth in the Barclays Premier League with a win. Mark Noble and Joe Cole will be pushing for places in the starting XI after improving their match fitness from the bench in recent weeks.

Newcastle full-back Mathieu Debuchy will miss out through suspension. Left-back Massadio Haidara has also been sidelined by a hamstring injury, while goalkeeper Tim Krul (dislocated shoulder), full-back Davide Santon (hamstring) and midfielder Sylvain Marveaux (groin) are all still out, although skipper Fabricio Coloccini could return from a long-term back problem.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: West Ham D D D W L; Newcastle L W L D L

Top scorers (all competitions): Andy Carroll & Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 7; Yoan Gouffran (Newcastle) 14

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

17:30 - QPR (19) v Arsenal (4) - ESPN

Arsenal make the trip to Loftus Road to tackle relegated Queens Park Rangers on Saturday evening with the opportunity to move above Chelsea in the table. The Gunners are yet to win at the home of QPR in five Premier League attempts and will be eager to rectify that statistical anomaly this weekend. Arsene Wenger has had to beat away suggestions that he could be set to leave Emirates Stadium for PSG this summer, while counterpart Harry Redknapp has pledged his future to the Rs despite their relegation back to the Championship.

QPR will welcome Bobby Zamora back from his three-match ban but Rangers manager Harry Redknapp could still be without on-loan Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend (hamstring) and defender Christopher Samba (knee), although the latter has a late fitness test. Shaun Wright-Phillips (ankle) and Andrew Johnson (knee) will miss the remainder of the season, both having undergone surgery.

Arsenal will again be without suspended striker Olivier Giroud. Theo Walcott, who scored against Manchester United, and Lukas Podolski are both pressing for a central attacking role. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (rib) remains sidelined, while midfielder Abou Diaby (knee) is a long-term absentee.

Last season: QPR 2 Arsenal 1, Arsenal 1 QPR 0

Last five league matches: QPR L D L L D; Arsenal W W D W D

Top scorers (all competitions): Loic Remy (QPR) 8; Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 19

Referee: Jon Moss.

Sunday 5th May 2013

13:30 - Liverpool (7) v Everton (6) - Sky1

A no-holds-barred contest is guaranteed at Anfield on Sunday lunchtime when Liverpool play host to near neighbours Everton. The Reds managed to put the debate over Luis Suarez's 10-game ban behind them with a scintillating display to hammer hapless Newcastle 6-0 at St James' Park last weekend and will have high hopes of bridging the five-point gap to the side from across Stanley Park. But David Moyes' men know that victory this weekend would ensure they finish as Merseyside's top Premier League team for the second season in succession.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from for Sunday's Merseyside derby. The long-standing shoulder problem which prompted captain Steven Gerrard's substitution last weekend is not expected to prevent his participation after treatment in the week. Forward Fabio Borini is edging closer to match fitness after his appearance from the bench at Newcastle following a lengthy lay-off, and the Italian is likely to be among the substitutes again.

Everton could have Darron Gibson back available, but Toffees captain Phil Neville has been ruled out. Manager David Moyes said midfielder Gibson, who missed last Saturday's 1-0 win over Fulham through an injury picked up a week earlier against Sunderland, has a chance of featuring but Neville has a knee problem which will rule him out of his last Merseyside derby before his career as an Everton player finishes this summer.

Last season: Liverpool 3 Everton 0, Everton 0 Liverpool 2

Last five league matches: Liverpool W D D D W; Everton D W D L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 30; Marouane Fellaini (Everton) 12

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

16:00 - Man Utd (1) v Chelsea (3) - Sky1

Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez go head-to-head once again on Sunday as Manchester United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford. The former Liverpool boss and his Red Devils counterpart have rarely seen eye-to-eye, but Ferguson did grudgingly admit ahead of the game that Benitez has 'done a good job in the last few weeks'. The Scot has promised to send out a strong side despite having already secured the trophy, while the Blues' marathon season still has five games to go after they booked their place in the Europa League final, with a key meeting against Spurs looming on Wednesday.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson expects to have Paul Scholes back in his squad for the first time since January. Scholes has been missing with a knee injury and is widely expected to announce his retirement at the end of the season, so Ferguson seems to be preparing him for a farewell appearance.Danny Welbeck (knee) is out but skipper Nemanja Vidic has recovered from a calf strain.

Ashley Cole is back from his European suspension for Chelsea's trip to Old Trafford. Eden Hazard came off as a precaution in Thursday night's Europa League semi-final defeat of Basle and could drop to the bench as Rafael Benitez faces a selection balancing act once again, with Wednesday's crucial clash with Tottenham also a consideration. Only Oriol Romeu (knee) is a definite absentee, with striker Demba Ba available again after being cup-tied against the Swiss champions.

Last season: Chelsea 3 Man Utd 3, Man Utd 3 Chelsea 1

Last five league matches: Man Utd L W D W D; Chelsea L W W D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Robin van Persie (Man Utd) 29; Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 20

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Monday 6th May 2013

20:00 - Sunderland (15) v Stoke (12) - Sky1

Striker Stephane Sessegnon will miss out for Sunderland after failing in his appeal against the red card he was shown against Aston Villa on Monday. He will begin a three-match ban against the Potters. Manager Paolo Di Canio is giving little away about his fitness concerns, but striker Connor Wickham (calf) is expected to miss out once again, while leading scorer Steven Fletcher (ankle) and skipper Lee Cattermole (knee) were ruled out of the run-in several weeks ago.

Stoke have concerns over defenders Marc Wilson and Andy Wilkinson and midfielder Glenn Whelan. Wilson missed last weekend's win over Norwich with a hamstring problem and remains a major doubt, as do Wilkinson (back) and Whelan (groin), who were both forced off during the game. Winger Matthew Etherington returned from a back complaint as a substitute at the Britannia Stadium last Saturday and could start.

Last season: Stoke 0 Sunderland 1, Sunderland 4 Stoke 0

Last five league matches: Sunderland L L W W L; Stoke L L L W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) 11; Jonathan Walters (Stoke) 10

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

Source SkySports/Sporting Life
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