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Premiership MatchDay 37 ~ Preview

last updated Friday 02nd May 2014, 9:46 PM

Premier League MatchDay 37
Saturday 3rd May 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
03-0512:45West HamTottenhamPhil DowdUpton Park BT1
03-0515:00Aston VillaHullMike DeanVilla Park  
03-0515:00Man UtdSunderlandHoward WebbOld Trafford  
03-0515:00NewcastleCardiffMartin AtkinsonSt James' Park  
03-0515:00StokeFulhamChris FoyBritannia Stadium  
03-0515:00SwanseaSouthamptonAnthony TaylorLiberty Stadium  
03-0517:30EvertonMan CityLee Probert Goodison Park Sky1
Sunday 4th May 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
04-0513:30ArsenalWest BromMike Jones Emirates Stadium Sky1
04-0516:00ChelseaNorwichNeil SwarbrickStamford Bridge Sky1
Monday 5th May 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
05-0520:00C. PalaceLiverpoolMark ClattenburgSelhurst Park Sky1
Premier League MatchDay 37 could see the lead in the title race change hands three times on the penultimate weekend, while eight sides continue to contest a relegation battle that looks set to go down to the wire.

Manchester City can take to the summit at Everton on Saturday, but could then be pegged back by Chelsea on Sunday, as they face Norwich City, and Liverpool on Monday, who travel to Crystal Palace.

Premiership table - after 28th April
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 36 15 1 2 51 17 10 4 4 45 29 50 80
2 Chelsea 36 15 2 1 43 11 9 4 5 26 15 43 78
3 Man City 35 15 1 1 57 13 9 4 5 36 22 58 77
4 Arsenal 36 12 5 1 35 11 10 2 6 30 30 24 73
5 Everton 36 13 3 2 36 16 7 6 5 21 20 21 69
6 Tottenham 36 10 3 5 27 23 10 3 5 25 26 3 66
7 Man Utd 35 8 3 6 26 19 10 3 5 34 21 20 60
8 Southampton 36 8 5 5 31 22 6 5 7 21 23 7 52
9 Newcastle 36 7 3 8 20 28 7 1 10 19 19 -18 46
10 Stoke 36 9 6 3 23 16 2 5 11 16 34 -11 44
11 C. Palace 36 8 2 8 15 20 5 2 11 13 23 -15 43
12 Swansea 36 6 5 7 33 25 4 4 10 18 27 -1 39
13 Hull 35 7 4 7 20 19 3 3 11 16 26 -9 37
14 West Ham 36 6 3 9 23 26 4 4 10 15 23 -11 37
15 West Brom 35 4 9 5 23 25 3 6 8 19 29 -12 36
16 Aston Villa 35 5 3 10 19 28 4 5 8 17 25 -17 35
17 Sunderland 35 4 3 10 18 24 4 5 9 19 33 -20 32
18 Norwich 36 6 6 6 17 16 2 2 14 11 44 -32 32
19 Fulham 36 5 2 11 22 36 4 2 12 15 43 -42 31
20 Cardiff 36 5 5 8 19 33 2 4 12 12 36 -38 30
At the opposite end of the division, Sunderland have hauled their way out of the drop zone and will want to maintain forward momentum at Manchester United, while fellow strugglers Cardiff City will endeavour to pile pressure on out-of-sorts Newcastle United.

West Ham United, who open the weekend against Tottenham Hotspur, and West Bromwich Albion, who go to Arsenal on Sunday, are not safe yet.

Fulham know they have to take something from a trip to Stoke City if they are to get back on the right side of the line.

Aston Villa have been in freefall of late and desperately need to stop the rot at home to Hull City, who will be looking to guarantee safety, while the only game with nothing riding on it will be staged in South Wales as Swansea City host Southampton.

Premier League ~ Saturday 3rd May March 2014

Premier League ~ 12:45 West Ham v Tottenham ~ BTSports 1  

One of the sides still not mathematically safe are West Ham United, who kick-off the Premier League weekend with a derby date at Upton Park with cross-London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. It is unlikely that Sam Allardyce's side will be dragged into the bottom three from here, as they sit five points clear of the trapdoor, but they are limping towards the finishing post. The inconsistencies which have blighted West Ham's campaign have returned, with four successive defeats casting doubt over Allardyce's long-term future at the helm.

Questions are also being asked of the man who will occupy the away dugout on Saturday afternoon, with Tim Sherwood growing increasingly frustrated at reports he is to be replaced in the summer regardless of how Spurs finish. It is still possible that he could end the season inside the top five, and he would have every right to point to that as a decent return on what he was asked to do.

Marco Borriello is the only absentee for West Ham. The on-loan striker is struggling with a calf injury which has limited the 31-year-old to just two appearances for the Hammers since he joined in January. With the rest of his squad fit and in contention, manager Sam Allardyce will be tasked with picking the right team to end a run of four straight Barclays Premier League defeats.

Tottenham will be without Andros Townsend after the winger underwent ankle surgery. The 22-year-old damaged ankle ligaments at Stoke last weekend and went under the knife on Thursday, ruling him out for up to 10 weeks. England team-mate Kyle Walker (pelvis) is also sidelined, as is Erik Lamela (back). Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Etienne Capoue (foot) are back training but unlikely to be involved.

Last season: West Ham 2 Tottenham 3, Tottenham 3 West Ham 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 7; Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) 13

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Verdict: West Ham 1 Tottenham 1

Premier League ~ 15:00 Aston Villa v Hull City

much of the focus on Saturday afternoon will be aimed towards events at the foot of the division. The most intriguing tussle takes place at Villa Park as Paul Lambert attempts to halt Aston Villa's untimely slide against Hull City. A run of no win in six since stunning high-flying Chelsea has seen Villa dragged back into trouble - with five defeats suffered during a serious slump.

They can take some comfort from the fact that they have played a game less than a number of those around them, but points on the board are all that matter at this stage. Hull would appear to have accrued enough to ensure that they will consolidate in their first season back in the big time, with Steve Bruce's side looking to complement top-flight safety with FA Cup success.

Aston Villa defender Joe Bennett is still struggling with an ankle injury. The full-back missed last weekend's defeat by Swansea and remains doubtful for the Villa Park showdown. The likes of Christian Benteke, Libor Kozak, Charles N'Zogbia, Gary Gardner and Jores Okore remain out of action, though the latter has returned to training after a long-term ligament injury.

Hull have no new injury concerns. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor is in light training after breaking three ribs and damaging a kidney against West Ham in March, as is Paul McShane following a lengthy absence with ankle trouble, but neither are in contention. With safety not mathematically certain, manager Steve Bruce is expected to stick with Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic rather than explore his options for the FA Cup final - for which both are cup-tied.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) 11; Matt Fryatt (Hull) 5

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Verdict: Aston Villa 0 Hull 0

Premier League ~ 15:00 Man Utd v Sunderland

Sunderland dragged themselves out of the bottom three with a crucial victory over Cardiff last time out, with seven points now taken from their last three outings. Form has been found at just the right time and an air of optimism has swept into Wearside. Ensuring that they remain on an upward curve will be no easy task, though, as they travel to Manchester United on Saturday.

Interim boss Ryan Giggs got off to a winning start against Norwich, meaning a feel-good factor has also returned to Old Trafford towards the end of a forgettable campaign that will be most noted for the dismissal of David Moyes just 10 months into a six-year contract. United can still finish sixth and guarantee a Europa League spot, so ending with a flourish is the sole target for the dethroned Premier League champions.

Striker Wayne Rooney is a major doubt for Manchester United's match against Sunderland as he is ill and also has a tight groin. Fellow striker Robin van Persie will be assessed on Friday to see whether he has recovered from the knee injury which has sidelined him since March 19. Goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard (illness) and defender Rafael (thigh) are doubts while interim player-manager Ryan Giggs has said he is unlikely to name himself in the matchday squad.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has no fresh injury problems. Midfielder Liam Bridcutt returned to the squad for last weekend's 4-0 victory over Cardiff after being given compassionate leave following complications with the birth of his son. Poyet has reported only a series of minor knocks, leaving defender Carlos Cuellar (hamstring) and midfielder Ki Sung-yueng (knee) on the sidelines along with long-term absentees Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and striker Steven Fletcher (ankle).

Last season: Sunderland 0 Man Utd 1, Man Utd 3 Sunderland 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) 19; Adam Johnson (Sunderland) 10

Referee: Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)

Verdict: Manchester United 4 Sunderland 1

Premier League ~ 15:00 Newcastle v Cardiff

Cardiff City came unstuck at Sunderland last weekend to leave them with it all to do in the battle beat the drop. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have hit rock-bottom - literally - and know that anything less than two victories from here is unlikely to be enough.

They will feel that their cause could be aided considerably by a trip to Newcastle United, as the Magpies' wings have been seriously clipped. Six straight defeats mean the end of the season cannot come quickly enough for Alan Pardew and his side, with a beleaguered boss on Tyneside needing to get into the summer and rebuild before calls for his head, which are growing in intensity, become impossible to ignore.

Striker Luuk de Jong returns to the Newcastle squad. The on-loan Dutchman missed the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Monday with an ankle injury suffered in a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Swansea on April 19 but is available once again, although fellow frontman Papiss Cisse (knee) is out. Midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is fit, but is unlikely to be included once again with manager Alan Pardew having suggested he is not currently worth a place in the squad, while utility man Ryan Taylor is back in training after a second bout of knee ligament surgery but still some way from fitness.

Cardiff will be without suspended defender Juan Cala, who was sent off during last weekend's damaging 4-0 defeat against Sunderland that sent Cardiff bottom of the league with just two games left. Ben Turner is expected to take over from Cala as the Bluebirds target a win that would at least give them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Loic Remy (Newcastle) 13; Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff) 9

Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

Verdict: Newcastle 2 Cardiff 1

Premier League ~ 15:00 Stoke v Fulham

Fulham will be hoping that they are not left to rue the two points they dropped at home to Hull City, with a two-goal lead whittled away on home soil to leave the capital outfit second-from-bottom. Felix Magath has, however, overseen a reversal in fortune that has delivered seven points from a possible 12 to keep the Craven Cottage faithful believing.

Stoke City will be no pushovers on Saturday, though, especially in front of their own supporters. Mark Hughes' men boast the best home record outside of the top six, with the Britannia Stadium having become something of a fortress again to carry the Potters into the top half.

Stoke will be without captain Ryan Shawcross for the first time this season. Shawcross had played every minute of every Barclays Premier League game until he was sent off in last weekend's defeat by Tottenham and must serve a one-match ban. Oussama Assaidi is a doubt after taking a bang to his knee but fellow winger Matthew Etherington, who will leave the club in the summer, is in contention after a back problem.

Fulham's club-record signing Kostas Mitroglou is available having completed a full week of training. Manager Felix Magath must decide whether to include Mitroglou, who has been sidelined by a knee injury, in his squad. Midfielder Steve Sidwell is a doubt because of a knee problem.

Last season: Fulham 1 Stoke 0, Stoke 1 Fulham 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Peter Crouch (Stoke) 9; Steve Sidwell (Fulham) 8

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Verdict: Stoke 1 Fulham 0

Premier League ~ 15:00 Swansea v Southampton

The last of Saturday's fixtures takes place at the Liberty Stadium, with Swansea City entertaining Southampton. Garry Monk, another of the Premier League's managerial rookies, hit his target last weekend as the Swans ensured that they will remain among the elite with a 4-1 hammering of hapless Aston Villa.

Attention can now turn towards improvements in the summer window and kicking on in 2014/15 without the distraction of European football. Southampton will also be looking to open the next campaign in a stronger position than they finish the current one, with impressive progress being made on the South Coast. The Saints are virtually

guaranteed to finish seventh, and that represents a sizeable step in the right direction. Swansea will be without injured pair Michu and Angel Rangel. Michu continues to recover from an ankle problem, while Rangel suffered a groin strain during last weekend's 4-1 demolition of Aston Villa. On the plus side for Swans head coach Garry Monk, though, defender Chico Flores is available after serving a two-match suspension following his sending-off against Chelsea last month.

Morgan Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert are doubts for Southampton. The French midfielder is having a thigh injury assessed on Friday and England striker Lambert has a buttock injury. Jay Rodriguez (knee), Gaston Ramirez (ankle) and Maya Yoshida (knee) are absent for the trip to south Wales, as is back-up goalkeeper Kelvin Davis (back).

Last season: Swansea 0 Southampton 0, Southampton 1 Swansea 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Wilfried Bony (Swansea) 24; Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) 17

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Verdict: Swansea 1 Southampton 1

Premier League ~ 17:30 Everton v Man City ~ SkySports 1  

Last weekend could not have gone much better for Manchester City, and they now have their sights locked on top spot. Victory on Saturday evening will edge them into pole position on goal difference and allow them to put the ball firmly back in the court of their title rivals.

Everton will, of course, have something to say about that though. Defeat at Goodison Park would bring an end to their top-four bid, but success would lift them to within a point of the UEFA Champions League places and keep them very much in the mix.

Everton captain Phil Jagielka returns to the squad after a 10-week absence with a hamstring injury. Fellow centre-back Sylvain Distin is still a doubt after a similar problem forced him to miss last weekend's defeat at Southampton. On-loan Gareth Barry is unavailable against his parent club while fellow midfielder Steven Pienaar (knee) is still not available.

Manchester City playmaker David Silva has recovered from an ankle injury. Winger and fellow Spaniard Jesus Navas, who has missed the last three games, remains on the sidelines with his own ankle problem. Manager Manuel Pellegrini reports no other injuries ahead of Saturday's match but defender Matija Nastasic is not yet match-fit after three months out with a knee injury.

Last season: Everton 2 Man City 0, Man City 1 Everton 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 14; Sergio Aguero (Man City) 27

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Verdict: Everton 1 Manchester City 3

Premier League ~ Sunday 4th May 2014

Premier League ~ 13.30 Arsenal v West Brom ~ SkySports 1

The Sunday double-header starts with Arsenal's home date with West Bromwich Albion. Victory for the hosts will cement a top-four standing and ensure that their run of UEFA Champions League qualification is stretched into a 17th year.

West Brom will want to spoil the party, though, and end any lingering relegation fears. Having pulled four points clear of the drop zone, the Baggies know one more positive result is all that is required to retain their seat at English football's top table.

Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna is doubtful because of a knee problem. Fellow full-back Kieran Gibbs (hamstring) is closing in on a return to full training. Midfielder Abou Diaby (groin) is still not match-fit, while Jack Wilshere (foot), Serge Gnabry and Theo Walcott (both knee) are all out.

West Brom head coach Pepe Mel has no new injury concerns. Defender Gareth McAuley is back in training this week after a calf injury but is probably not fit enough to feature at the Emirates Stadium. Fellow defender Liam Ridgewell (knee) and midfielder Zoltan Gera (hamstring) are both still out.

Last season: West Brom 1 Arsenal 2, Arsenal 2 West Brom 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 21; Saido Berahino (West Brom) 9

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Verdict: Arsenal 2 West Brom 1

Premier League ~ 16:00 Chelsea v Norwich ~ SkySports 1

Chelsea will have the chance to move into top spot when they take on struggling Norwich City. Victory over Liverpool last weekend has fired Jose Mourinho's side back into the title picture, and domestic honours are now all they can achieve following their exit from European competition at the hands of Atletico Madrid in midweek.

Norwich's ambitions at this stage are much more conservative, with a 17th-place finish enough to keep them happy. Unfortunately for Neil Adams and his troops, they face two heavyweight tussles in their quest to snap out of a five-match losing sequence and get their head above water - with a visit from Arsenal to come on the final day.

Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are available again as Chelsea return to Premier League duty. The quartet missed the Champions League semi-final exit to Atletico Madrid - Lampard and Mikel were suspended, Matic and Salah were ineligible - while Ramires serves the second of his four-match ban. Captain John Terry (ankle), Eden Hazard (calf) and Samuel Eto'o (knee) featured against Atletico despite recent injuries, while Oscar (hip) was on the bench, with all four fitness concerns and goalkeeper Petr Cech (shoulder) out.

Norwich boss Neil Adams is hopeful of having defender Joseph Yobo fit. The on-loan Nigeria international has not played since Adams replaced Chris Hughton in March but is back in contention following a calf injury. The trip to Stamford Bridge comes too soon for winger Anthony Pilkington (hip) as Adams looks to name a side that can give the Canaries the best chance of picking up an unlikely result to keep their survival prospects alive.

Last season: Norwich 0 Chelsea 1, Chelsea 4 Norwich 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 17; Gary Hooper (Norwich) 8

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

Verdict: Chelsea 2 Norwich 0

Premier League ~ Monday 5th May 2014

Premier League ~ 20.00 Crystal Palace v Liverpool ~ SkySports 1

Monday night football will ask another serious question of Liverpool's title credentials, with Brendan Rodgers looking for a positive response to the Reds' setback at the hands of Chelsea when they go to Crystal Palace. Manchester City showed them the way last weekend, as they left Selhurst Park with a 2-0 win, and Liverpool have to follow suit if they are to keep their fans dreaming of a first title success in 24 years.

There is every chance that they will have fallen to third by the time they take to the field, so ignoring league tables and focusing on the task in hand will be the name of the game when Rodgers attempts to inflict back-to-back defeats on a Palace side that has been rejuvenated under the tutelage of Tony Pulis.

Tony Pulis is set to have a full squad available. Midfield dynamo Kagisho Dikgacoi missed last Sunday's 2-0 defeat against Manchester City but Pulis is optimistic all his players will be fit to face the Reds.

Striker Daniel Sturridge's fitness will be assessed over the weekend to see whether he is ready to start. The England international came off the bench against Chelsea last weekend after recovering from a hamstring problem. Midfielder Jordan Henderson serves the final game of his three-match suspension.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Crystal Palace W W W W L; Liverpool FC W W W W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) 7; Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC) 30

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Verdict: Crystal Palace v Liverpool FC
Source Sky/ Sporting Life
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