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Premier League preview.

Saturday fixtures:

West Ham United V Sunderland, 12:45, Upton Park.

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The Hammers host The Black Cats in the first encounter of the weekend, fresh from an FA cup weekend. West Ham will be looking to move up to 5th with a win here, providing results go their way. They’ve been solid in the Prem this year and are on route to having a fantastic season.

Sunderland have recently found some good form, picking up four points from their games against Manchester United and Liverpool. They’ve started to play like a team who are fighting to stay in the league, it’s clear if they keep up these impressive performances then they should stay in the league. They’ve only lost once in their last four league fixtures, (W1 D2) and currently sit 19th in the league, a win here would move them out of the drop zone, despite it possibly only being momentarily.

Both teams will be up for this one, the visitors had a week off due to being knocked out of the FA cup so they’ll be eager to get out on the pitch and get going. However, The Hammers were impressive last week when they were at Blackburn and will be looking to continue that form with another good win here.

Leicester City V Norwich City, 15:00, The King Power Stadium.

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Leicester will be looking to keep their status as league leaders when they host the Canaries Saturday afternoon. After losing in the last minute of their match against Arsenal two weeks ago, it is vital that the Foxes bounce back with a win here. Norwich will feel they lost two points two weeks ago when they let West Ham back into the game despite being two goals to the good, they too desperately need a big performance.

The Foxes currently sit two points ahead of Tottenham and Arsenal, who are in second and third respectively. They’ve picked up some big results, beating Liverpool and Manchester United, but it will be these games that determine if they are to become champions. Norwich are playing for their survival in the league and will be a handful to deal with, they’ll need to keep discipline, something they lacked when Danny Simpson was sent off at the Emirates.

Norwich know that they should have picked up three points against the Hammers and be two points clear of the drop. The lack of focus they showed to allow West Ham back into the game was worrying for Alex Neil to witness. They’re currently level on points with Newcastle United, and are outside of the drop zone due to goal difference.

Both teams need wins for their season at either end of the table. Although on paper Leicester should blow Norwich away, it’s crazy how teams perform when they are near the relegation zone at the business end of the season. This one could honestly go either way and it should be an entertaining encounter.

Southampton V Chelsea, 15:00, St. Mary’s Stadium.

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These two always produce a tight encounter. This is another fixture that can go either way, one that traditionally does not leak goals either. Southampton triumphed in their last league outing, beating Swansea away from home 0-1. Another good result and they’ll be looking to capitalize on that when they host the Champions. Chelsea’s last outing ended in a 5-1 win over Manchester City in the FA cup. Despite their visitors fielding a weaker team, the Blues looked like the team of last season and will be targeting maximum points here.

The hosts sit in 6th and will be looking to leapfrog The Red Devils who currently sit one place above them. They’re seven points adrift from Champions League places but if they can produce a string of wins they could contend to be in Europe’s elite competition next year. The Saints are unbeaten in their last six outings, (W4 D2) and are proving to be a tough opponent for any team within the league.

Chelsea sit in 12th and are slowly looking to be on the mend. However, being in 12th position is just not acceptable for the current Champions and they need to win every game remaining in their season to finish in a relatively respectable position. They’ve tasted defeat only once in their last six encounters, (W3 D2) and will be looking to find some form to take into their Champions League tie when they host PSG.

A tight encounter expected to be played, with a single goal winning the game perhaps. Both teams are in good form and will feel confident of picking up maximum points. However, the way Southampton have set up of late and how clinical they’ve been in front of goal, they have to be slight favourites going into the match.

Stoke City V Aston Villa, 15:00, Britannia Stadium.

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Stoke have been out of form a little lately, but they should feel confident winning this one. Villa have been astonishingly bad. Teams fighting for survival tend to play their hearts out week in week out. However Villa have not been producing these performances, in fact they genuinely look like they’re not bothered about winning.

Stoke sit in 10th place, a win here with results going their way could see them move to 8th. They started the season well and picked up some good results against the big boys of the league. Of late they’ve not been as good and will be looking to kick start their season again. Having only won once of their last five, (L4) they’ll be hoping for a good performance.

Villa’s relegation is looming after a string of embarrassing performances. They currently sit bottom of the table, and eight points away from safety. Although eight points is realistic, they seriously do not look like a team who are willing to give everything they have and more to stay in the league. A lot of people feel sorry for Remi Garde currently, and you can’t blame them. They’ve won once in their last four, (D1 L2) and Norwich will be questioning themselves how they managed to lose to such a poor team.

On paper this is an easy home win. However this is the Premier league, debatably the best footballing division in the world, and it just wouldn’t be unseen to see Villa turn up on the day and get a good result and pick up all three points. They’ll need to raise their game massively though, as they’ve recently been referred to as the worst team to ever compete in the Premier League.

Watford V Bournemouth, 15:00, Vicarage Road.

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This should be a great match, you could argue that Watford have already guaranteed their position in next year’s league but they cannot afford to be complacent now. The Cherries give everything each time they walk out onto a pitch and can guarantee this occasion will be no different. The Hornets picked up a good win away to Palace last time in the league and will be looking to keep up their momentum. Their visitors lost 0-2 to Everton and will be needing a string of good results to stay out of the drop zone.

Watford sit 9th in the league, and could move above Liverpool with a win here. They’ve lost once in their last six fixtures, (W4 D1) and are having an incredible season thus far, who would have believed that more than midway through the season that Watford would be above Chelsea in the league.

Bournemouth are currently in 15th and are four points clear from the relegation zone. They’ve also been emphatic this season and everyone seems to have adopted them as their second team. Eddie Howe is doing wonders with the club, and if they are to stay in the league it would be thoroughly deserved. They’ve lost their last three matches and will be desperate for a good result Saturday.

If Watford can turn up with their recent form they should just pip the Cherries, if both teams take their chances then this could be one with a big score line, both teams have performed so well since gaining promotion from the Championship and gave done their fans extremely proud.

West Brom V Crystal Palace, 17:30, The Hawthorns.

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Both teams have been out of form of late, if you exclude the good result that the Baggies picked up when they travelled to Everton, despite being dominated throughout, they managed to pick up a narrow one goal win. Palace were beat at home by Watford two weeks ago and will hope that their impressive win at White Hart Lane to dump Spurs out of the cup can be the turning point in their season.

West Brom sit 14th in the table, exactly level on points with Crystal Palace. A win here could see them potentially move to 12th and rising above last year’s champions, Chelsea. Their form has been unpredictable, having beat Everton they’ve also drawn to Swansea and lost to Newcastle in the league.

Palace sit in 13th and will feel disappointed with their current league position. They should be higher in the table with the team they have, since the turn of the year they’ve not managed to produce any good results. They’ve only one once in their last four league matches, (L2 D1) and need to start picking up victories if they are to salvage their season.

Both teams who are currently out of form and the result could go either way. Despite the Eagles having the better team on paper, The Baggies defend well and since having Ben Foster back their defence has been much more disciplined. A tight game expected with both teams desperately needing a win.

Sunday fixtures:

Manchester United V Arsenal, 14:05, Old Trafford.

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The eagerly awaited encounter of the weekend takes us to Old Trafford to see two giants compete. Both teams need wins for two different reason. The Red Devils need a win here to apply pressure to their noisy neighbours who currently sit in 4th; Arsenal will be looking to pick up maximum points to apply pressure to the league leaders who are currently two points above them.

The hosts form has been inconsistent. When they travelled to Stamford Bridge they deserved victory and performed at a top level. But when they played Sunderland they were beaten 2-1 and could have no complaints about the result. Last night’s victory sees them progress to the last 16 of the UEFA cup and should boost confidence around Old Trafford.

Arsenal played some good football to beat Leicester to cut the gap two weeks ago and they’ll acknowledge that this is the best chance they’ve had for years to lift the title. Despite their disappointing result against Barcelona, it’ll be important that they block that out and perform on the day, a loss here and a win for Leicester would undo all that hard work they produced to cut the gap.

Arsenal were comfortable winners at the Emirates last year and blew United away. It’s hard to predict who’s going to come out victorious, it could come down to whoever wants it more. As this is Arsenal’s best chance to pick up the league they’ll be up for the game, and it should be an entertaining classic as usual when these two teams collide.

Tottenham Hotspur V Swansea City, 14:05, White Hart Lane.

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Spurs host Swansea in what will be a crucial game for both teams. Tottenham currently sit 2nd in the league and are two points behind current league leaders, Leicester. They’ve been incredible this season and have risen to promising position to win the Premier League for the first time in club history. Swansea are still lurking near the bottom three and will know a win here would ease some pressure.

Tottenham have won their last three league encounters and have looked impressive in all of them. They’ll be hoping to add a fourth consecutive victory Sunday. They’ll take a lot of confidence into the game after last night’s impressive win against Fiorentina.

Swansea sit 16th in the league, three points clear of safety. Due to their superior goal difference between them and the teams below them, it’s highly probable that they’ll remain outside the relegation zone after the weekend. Nevertheless, a win here is what they need and they’ll be targeting nothing less.

It’s all down to Spurs now to establish themselves as real contenders, if they can continue to play the way that they have been playing then there is no reason why they should not pick up another important win Sunday. For Swansea, they’ll have to be patient and soak up all the pressure and wait for their chance to hit Spurs on the break.


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