Man City v Southampton, 12:45
It is either Southampton or Newcastle who have the least left to play for in the league at this stage of the Barclays Premier League season, while Manchester City are right in the group of teams at the top with a lot left on their plate domestically. With Chelsea dropping points at Villa recently there have been opportunities for City and Liverpool to make a push for the top of the table, and City could go to within a point of the leaders with a game still in hand if they get the win today. Paddy Power have 7/5 on Edin Dzeko in the score/win, with the Serbian looking hungry in the absence of other forwards.
Manchester City are again missing Sergio Aguero, although he has returned to training, and could feature against Liverpool next weekend. Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino could name the same team which beat Newcastle, depending on Victor Wanyama’s fitness, but Maya Yoshida, Nathaniel Clyne and Kelvin Davis are all out.
Aston Villa v Fulham, 15:00
With seven games left in the Premier League Aston Villa are eight points clear of the relegation zone and currently very pleased about how badly the sides below them are performing. Of all the teams failing to outperform Villa right now Fulham are probably the most dismal, picking up just five points off their last ten league matches, and they are definitely a side Villa will want to beat, and expect to as well. The home team are probably only six points from safety themselves, and desperately need a victory so a goal from SpreadEx’s 11/4 anytime scorer Andreas Weimann would be great news for the home fans.
Aston Villa star Christian Benteke is out for at least six months, but Nathan Baker has recovered from a foot injury and both Karim El Ahmadi and Gabby Agbonlahor could feature. Fulham forward Kostas Mitroglou remains sidelined and Darren Bent is ineligible to face his parent club, but Scott Parker could return and Fernando Amorebieta is back from suspension.
Cardiff v Crystal Palace, 15:00
It’s another massive weekend at the bottom of the Premier League table, and for clubs like these two there are not going to be many bigger games in the near future than these true six-pointers between now and the end of term. Neither Cardiff or Palace have been in this division all that long, and both have one win in their last six games to demonstrate that their form is very much in line with the league position too. A home win would put the cat amongst the pigeons a bit and liven up the league, and that would go even further if 12/1 first scorer with Betfair Wilfried Zaha can net against his former club.
Cardiff are boosted by the return of Craig Noone, but Fabio is a doubt after picking up a knock against West Brom. Crystal Palace are hopeful top scorer Marouane Chamakh will be fit as Dwight Gayle has an ankle ligament problem and is Palace’s only definite absentee.
Hull v Swansea, 15:00
Swansea and Hull are thirteenth and fourteenth respectively in the table, both on 33 points and with six games each left to play, and when the dust settles and the season is done there is a good chance they’ll look back on this match as a turning point in their campaign for survival. A win would take the victor within four points of the magical forty, a very good places to be with five games left to go as well as condemning a rival to a very difficult run-in, but nerves could play a part too. I think we’ll see a narrow home win today, maybe 1-0 at 7’s with Bet365.
Hull winger George Boyd is available to face Swansea, and Steve Harper will continue to deputise for injured goalkeeper Allan McGregor. Swansea have no fresh injury concerns.
Newcastle v Man Utd, 15:00
Only two places separate these two sides in the Premier League, and with eight points the gap this might be a chance for the home manager to fire up his inconsistent troops with a message that they can show themselves as good as the reigning champions here. United have been very strong on the road this year, ironic when you consider that Old Trafford has rarely been as noisy in the last two decades as at times this term, and this should be a very entertaining game between a couple of teams who will both want to win, for different reasons. Ladbrokes have 29/10 on United winning by a 1-goal margin, something their away form suggests they are capable of.
Newcastle’s injury woes continue, with midfielder Moussa Sissoko joining the likes of Loic Remy, Tim Krul and Mathieu Debuchy on the sidelines. Manchester United remain without Robin van Persie, while defenders Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling are doubts.
Norwich v West Brom, 15:00
Maybe it’s just the coincidental nature of the league, but it very much feels this week like we’ve written the same match report several times already. There are a fair few matches that have ‘relegation six-pointer’ written all over them in Sky Sports’ red, this being one of them, and that will make for a tense and interesting afternoon. The Baggies have a game in hand but are three points back on their hosts and had an annoying week dealing with dressing room conflict, and a 1-1 draw would be an ok, but not good result for both sides at 6’s with Victor Chandler.
Norwich defender Joseph Yobo will have a fitness check, and Michael Turner could make his first appearance since New Year’s Day. West Brom forward Saido Berahino is set to be involved, while Victor Anichebe, Claudio Yacob and Billy Jones are fit and Jonas Olsson returns after a ban.
Chelsea v Stoke, 17:30
Chelsea haven’t lost a league game at Stamford Bridge this season, winning all but two of their home matches and scoring nearly forty goals so far while Stoke have picked up just eight points on their travels and conceded at a rate of two to every one goal they score so far. Admittedly they away team have won four and lost one of their last five league matches and beat the Blues in the reverse fixture this term, so it could be closer than the league table suggests, but Jose Mourinho is supposed to be a winner, and a loss today would not be easy for the special one to blame on the players. You can get 13/8 with Stan James on both teams scoring, not bad when you consider how Chelsea defend set-pieces from time to time.
Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic returns after being ineligible for Europe and Ashley Cole is back from a knee injury, but Samuel Eto’o remains sidelined by injury and Ramires serves the final game of a suspension. Stoke’s Jonathan Walters is available, but Oussama Assaidi is not yet back in contention.