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Premiership MatchDay 36 ~ Preview

last updated Saturday 26th April 2014, 12:17 AM

Premier League MatchDay 36
Saturday 26th April 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
26:0412:45SouthamptonEvertonMichael OliverSt Mary's Stadium BT1
26:0415:00FulhamHullLee MasonCraven Cottage  
26:0415:00StokeTottenhamAndre MarrinerBritannia Stadium  
26:0415:00SwanseaAston VillaMark ClattenburgLiberty Stadium  
26:0415:00West BromWest HamMike DeanThe Hawthorns  
26:0417:30Man UtdNorwichLee ProbertOld Trafford Sky1
Sunday 27th April 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
27:0412:00SunderlandCardiffPhil Dowd Stadium of Light Sky1
27:0414:05LiverpoolChelseaMartin AtkinsonAnfieldSky1
27:0416:10C. PalaceMan CityHoward Webb Selhurst Park Sky1
Monday 28th April 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
28:0420:00ArsenalNewcastleNeil Swarbrick Emirates Stadium Sky1
Premier League MatchDay 36 serves up potentially decisive battles at the top and bottom of the Premier League.

On Saturday evening Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs' first game as a manager.

Manchester City are in action on Super Sunday against in-form Crystal Palace and will take to the pitch at Selhurst Park not long after leaders Liverpool have faced Chelsea. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has threatened to field a weakened team prior to the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with Atletico Madrid next Wednesday.

The race for fourth spot bookends the Premier League weekend as Everton get things going away to Southampton before Arsenal conclude the programme at home to Newcastle United.

Second-bottom Fulham are at home to FA Cup finalists Hull City, while Swansea City and Aston Villa meet in a game which would all-but guarantee survival for the winners.

West Bromwich Albion will want to edge closer to survival by beating West Ham United at home, and Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to take a step nearer to Europa League qualification away to Stoke City.

Premier League ~ Saturday 26th April March 2014

Premier League ~ 12:45 Southampton v Everton ~ BTSports 1  

Everton have the chance to leapfrog Arsenal into fourth spot by beating Southampton at St Mary's. Everton responded to their seven-match winning run being ended by Crystal Palace with a 2-0 victory over Man Utd last weekend, which proved to be the final match of their former manager Moyes' tenure with the outgoing champions.

Roberto Martinez has enjoyed an impressive first season at the Goodison Park helm and will be determined to crown it with Champions League qualification. Southampton can also point to a positive campaign, but an inconsistent run over the last few weeks has left Mauricio Pochettino's side in eighth.

Morgan Schneiderlin has joined Southampton's injury list. The French midfielder received a heavy knock to his quadriceps and joins Jay Rodriguez (knee) and Gaston Ramirez (ankle) on the sidelines. Maya Yoshida (knee) remains absent for Saints, as does back-up goalkeeper Kelvin Davis (back).

Defender Sylvain Distin misses out with a hamstring injury. Fellow centre-back Phil Jagielka is still a week away from returning from a similar problem so John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz are set to be central defensive partners. Forward Kevin Mirallas (groin) has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and with Darron Gibson, Arouna Kone, Bryan Oviedo, Steven Pienaar and Lacina Traore all still sidelined manager Roberto Martinez will look to his under-21s to bolster his squad.

Last season: Southampton 0 Everton 0, Everton 3 Southampton 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) 17; Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 14

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Verdict: Southampton 1 Everton 2

Premier League ~ 15:00 Fulham v Hull

Back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and Norwich City, prior to last weekend's defeat at Tottenham, have given Fulham renewed hope of climbing out of the bottom three. Felix Magath's side are two points from safety and tackle Hull City on Saturday at Craven Cottage before taking on Stoke City away and then Palace at home.

The Tigers beat Fulham 6-0 at the KC Stadium back in December and have subsequently reached the FA Cup final for the first time, with Arsenal awaiting at Wembley next month. However, Premier League survival is not yet assured and, with games against Man Utd and Everton still to come, Hull will not want to see their six-point buffer to the relegation zone eaten into.

Fulham club-record signing Kostas Mitroglou has returned to training following a knee injury, but will not be in the squad. Mahamadou Diarra (knee), Kieran Richardson (hamstring) and Sascha Riether (illness) are all available having missed the defeat at Tottenham. Midfielder Lewis Holtby can also feature having been ineligible to play against his parent club last weekend.

Hull expect to have strikers Shane Long and Sone Aluko fit. Aluko missed last week's defeat to Arsenal with a hamstring injury and Long was replaced at half-time with a calf complaint, but both are due to travel to Fulham, where Matty Fryatt, Yannick Sagbo and Nikica Jelavic are also hoping to get the nod up front. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor is running again after breaking three ribs and damaging his kidney against West Ham last month, but is not yet in full training.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Fulham L L W W L; Hull W L L W L Top scorers: Steve Sidwell (Fulham) 8; Matt Fryatt (Hull) 5

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Verdict: Fulham 3 Hull 1

Premier League ~ 15:00 Stoke v Tottenham

Stoke are aiming to finish in the Premier League's top 10 for the first time and a run of just one defeat in eight games has given Mark Hughes' side an excellent chance of fulfilling that objective. The Britannia Stadium remains one of the most formidable venues for opposition teams in the top flight and only Norwich and Liverpool have come away with three points this season.

Stoke have already beaten Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal at home this season and will fancy their chances against Tottenham. Tim Sherwood's side have not won away from White Hart Lane for two months, but are in a strong position to finish in sixth and book European football again next season.

Oussama Assaidi will hope to push for a first Stoke start in two and a half months having returned last week from knee ligament damage as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Cardiff. Defender Robert Huth (knee) and winger Matthew Etherington (back) are the Potters' only absentees.

Tottenham will be able to call upon captain Michael Dawson. The defender has not featured since March 30 due to a hamstring complaint but is back in the squad, although Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Etienne Capoue (foot) remain absent, along with Kyle Walker (pelvis) and Erik Lamela (back).

Last season: Stoke 1 Tottenham 2, Tottenham 0 Stoke 0

Last five league matches: Stoke W W L W D; Spurs W L W D W

Top scorers (all competitions): Peter Crouch (Stoke) 9; Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) 13

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

Verdict: Stoke 2 Tottenham 1

Premier League ~ 15:00 Swansea v Aston Villa

The Liberty Stadium will stage a game between another two clubs not yet certain of playing Premier League football next season. Swansea's 2-1 win at out-of-sorts Newcastle last weekend, which was secured thanks to Wilfried Bony goals at the end of each half, has moved Garry Monk's men six points clear of the drop zone.

A further three points at home to Aston Villa are likely to be enough for Swansea. Villa, meanwhile, are five points above the bottom three and conclude their season with away games at White Hart Lane and the Etihad Stadium. A four-game losing run was halted by last week's 0-0 draw at home to Southampton, but Villa have not won away from home since New Year's Day.

Spanish striker Michu has endured an injury-ravaged season due to persistent ankle trouble, and he is now suffering from ankle swelling that is requiring medical attention. Defender Chico Flores is again ruled out by suspension following his sending-off in the 1-0 defeat against Chelsea 12 days ago, with Jordi Amat set to deputise.

Defender Joe Bennett is the only fresh injury concern for Villa after suffering an ankle problem in training this week. Villa already have the likes of Christian Benteke, Libor Kozak, Charles N'Zogbia, Jores Okore and Gary Gardner out of action, while it remains to be seen whether or not striker Nicklas Helenius returns to the matchday squad after his thigh injury.

Last season: Swansea 2 Aston Villa 2, Aston Villa 2 Swansea 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Wilfried Bony (Swansea) 22; Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 11

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Verdict: Swansea 2 Aston Villa 0

Premier League ~ 15:00 West Brom v West Ham

West Brom are another side still involved in the relegation struggle and Pepe Mel has challenged his team to pick up four more points to secure safety. A home date with West Ham, who are three points shy of the fabled 40-mark, would present a seemingly favourable opportunity for West Brom.

However, West Brom have conceded late equalisers against Cardiff and Tottenham in their last two home games, having also chucked away a three-goal lead in the latter contest. West Ham are on a three-match losing run which has checked their bid to wrap up survival, and Sam Allardyce's side still have to face Tottenham and Man City.

West Brom centre-back Gareth McAuley will undergo a late fitness test. The Northern Irishman sat out the 3-1 loss at Manchester City on Monday due to a calf problem that Albion are hoping he will have recovered from in time to face the Hammers. Fellow defender Liam Ridgewell will definitely miss out because of the knee injury he sustained in the City contest, while on-loan winger Scott Sinclair is available again after being ineligible for that meeting with his parent club.

West Ham midfielder Matt Taylor has been given compassionate leave to be with his ill daughter. On-loan forward Marco Borriello (calf) is sidelined. Defender Guy Demel could return having been laid low by a virus.

Last season: West Ham 3 West Brom 1, West Brom 0 West Ham 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Saido Berahino (West Brom) 8; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 7

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Verdict: West Brom 3 West Ham 1

Premier League ~ 17:30 Man Utd v Norwich ~ SkySports 1  

Manchester United have placed record appearance holder Giggs in charge for their final four matches of the season. Giggs has described being given the chance to manage United as the 'proudest moment of my life' and the Welshman is guaranteed a rapturous reception from a group of fans who have had little to cheer at home this season. Sixth place, and a guaranteed spot in the Europa League, is not yet out of United's reach, but Giggs will likely need maximum points from his four games at the helm, three of which are at home.

Opposing Giggs will be another rookie boss, with Neil Adams having suffered defeats by Fulham and Liverpool since replacing Chris Hughton at Norwich. Adams' side are two points above the relegation zone, but also still have Chelsea and Arsenal to play, so Norwich will be hoping to take heart from Sunderland's shock win at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

Interim Manchester United manager Ryan Giggs will be without forward Robin van Persie for his first match in charge. Van Persie is still recovering from a knee injury while defender Rafael is unavailable because of a thigh problem. Midfielder Giggs could, however, name himself in the squad for the game against the Canaries.

Norwich will again be without Joseph Yobo. The on-loan Nigeria defender has a calf injury, but should return to first-team training next week. Winger Elliott Bennett is back in contention after completing his rehabilitation from his serious knee injury.

Last season: Man Utd 4 Norwich 0, Norwich 1 Man Utd 0

Last five league matches: Man Utd W L W W L; Norwich W L L L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Robin van Persie & Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) 17; Gary Hooper (Norwich) 8

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Verdict: Manchester United 2 Norwich 1

Premier League ~ Sunday 27th April March 2014

Premier League ~ 12:00 Sunderland v Cardiff ~ SkySports 1

Sunday starts with a huge game in the fight for Premier League survival and the loser will face an onerous task to subsequently climb out of the bottom three. Sunderland welcome Cardiff to the Stadium of Light on the back of picking up four points from two games away to Man City and Chelsea. However, home form will dictate whether Sunderland stay up and that will be the big worry for Gus Poyet.

Three of their remaining four fixtures are on Wearside, but Sunderland have won only three times in front of their own fans and just once since November. Cardiff, in 18th, are a point ahead of Sunderland, having played a game more than the bottom club, and head to the north east having won their previous away match at Southampton.

Midfielder Liam Bridcutt returns to the Sunderland squad having missed the last three games for personal reasons. Full-back Phil Bardsley is also available after serving a two-match ban, but defender Carlos Cuellar will not be risked as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remains on the sidelines along with keeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and striker Steven Fletcher (ankle).

Striker Craig Bellamy is set to play a part for Cardiff. The 34-year-old, who has been sidelined due to a virus, is poised for a role in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad. Winger Craig Noone (abdominal injury) is the solitary confirmed non-starter, with Solskjaer reporting no fresh injury concerns following the Stoke clash six days ago.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Sunderland L L L D W; Cardiff L D L W D

Top scorers (all competitions): Adam Johnson (Sunderland) 10; Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff) 9

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Verdict: Sunderland 1 Cardiff 1

Premier League ~ 14.05 Liverpool v Chelsea ~ SkySports 1

The stand-out fixture of the weekend undoubtedly comes at Anfield, where table-toppers Liverpool will be hoping to move one game closer to a first domestic title since 1990. Brendan Rodgers has led his team on an 11-match winning run in the Premier League which has opened up a five-point gap to visitors Chelsea and left the title in their hands with three games to play.

Liverpool's free-scoring side have netted 96 goals in the league, but will come up against the division's meanest defence in a game which Chelsea have to win to stand any realistic chance of overhauling the leaders. Jose Mourinho has hinted he will make wholesale changes to his team, with the second leg of a UEFA Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid in mind, and there will also need to be a tweak to the 'park-the-bus' tactics which earned a 0-0 draw in the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge faces a late assessment to see whether he is fit enough to return from a hamstring injury. The England international missed last week's win at Norwich but has progressed well in training, and should he be ready midfielder Lucas Leiva is likely to miss out. On-loan winger Victor Moses is ineligible against his parent club and midfielder Jordan Henderson serves the second game of a three-match ban.

Chelsea are afflicted by injuries to goalkeeper Petr Cech (shoulder), captain John Terry (ankle), playmaker Eden Hazard (calf) and Samuel Eto'o (knee), while midfielder Ramires' season is over after he received a four-match ban for striking Sebastian Larsson in the loss to Sunderland. Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are ineligible for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid so are likely to feature, while Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel are available ahead of European bans, with all four likely to be selected at Liverpool.

Last season: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2, Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1

Last five league matches: Liverpool W W W W W; Chelsea W L W W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 30; Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 17

Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

Verdict: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1

Premier League ~ 16:10 C. Palace v Man City ~ SkySports 1

About 10 minutes after the full-time whistle has blown on Merseyside, Manchester City will run out at Crystal Palace knowing if they have been thrown a lifeline in the title race. A 3-2 defeat at Anfield earlier this month was followed by a surprise 2-2 home draw with Sunderland and has left City needing Liverpool to likely lose once to give them a chance of repeating their 2012 come-from-behind title triumph.

However, it will not be easy for City away to a Palace side on a five-match winning run which was started by a 1-0 home success over Chelsea. Tony Pulis has masterminded a stunning revival at Palace which has banished any fears of relegation and left the club in a position to finish in the top 10. And, with Palace's penultimate game of the season at home to Liverpool, Pulis' side look likely to have a major say in the destination of the title.

Marouane Chamakh and Kagisho Dikgacoi are both trying to shake off knocks for Crystal Palace. Dikgacoi played the full 90 minutes of Palace's 1-0 win at West Ham last weekend but Chamakh was missing for the victory.

David Silva and winger Jesus Navas will both miss out for Manchester City with ankle injuries, but Yaya Toure should be available again to bolster the midfield. Defender Matija Nastasic remains out because of a knee injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Crystal Palace W W W W W; Man City D W L D W Top scorers: Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) 7; Sergio Aguero (Man City) 27

Referee: Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)

Verdict: Crystal Palace 2 Manchester City 1

Premier League ~ Monday 28th April March 2014

Premier League ~ 20.00 Arsenal v Newcastle ~ SkySports 1

Monday night football sees Arsenal welcome Newcastle to the Emirates Stadium, with last season's corresponding fixture finishing 7-3 to the hosts. Arsenal's 1-0 win at Newcastle on the final day of last term also clinched Champions League qualification again for Arsene Wenger's side and holding onto fourth spot remains the Gunners' priority once more.

Successive wins over West Ham and Hull have put Arsenal back in the driving seat, and they do have a seemingly easier run-in than Everton. Newcastle head to north London on a run of five consecutive defeats and have failed to build on a solid platform which had been put down in the first half of the season.

Arsenal expect to have captain Thomas Vermaelen back from a hamstring problem. Midfielder Abou Diaby will not be rushed into a return from a serious knee injury having reported a slight groin problem after playing for the under-21s in midweek. Defender Kieran Gibbs (hamstring) is still sidelined along with England midfielder Jack Wilshere (foot), Serge Gnabry and Theo Walcott (both knee).

Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko is back in training after missing the last three games with a hamstring problem and could feature. Full-back Mathieu Debuchy and striker Loic Remy could return to the starting line-up after appearing as substitutes in last weekend's 2-1 home defeat by Swansea. However, strikers Papiss Cisse (knee) and Luuk de Jong (ankle) are likely to be missing as medics continue to assess the extent of the injuries they suffered against the Swans, and midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa (dead leg) is still struggling.

Last season: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1, Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 20; Loic Remy (Newcastle) 13

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

Verdict: Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

Source Sky/ Sporting Life
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