Spurs v Fulham, 12:45
London derbies probably do come bigger than this if you’re an executive at Sky TV, but for the two managers and many players on show today there are few, if any bigger matches in their overall season. Spurs are on the brink of relinquishing all hope of a spot in the Champions League next year while Fulham have four games to save their status as a Premiership side, and are still two points behind Norwich in the first position of survival. If Coral’s 5/4 is right and both teams don’t score it should go in Tottenham’s favour, but I think this will be closer than some anticipate.
Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele could play, but Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson and Erik Lamela remainout. Fulham’s in-form loanee Lewis Holtby is ineligible and Kostas Mitroglou is the only other confirmed absentee.
Aston Villa v Southampton, 15:00
Watching the last four matches Villa have played would certainly not do much to convince the average viewer they are fighting for their very survival in the Barclays Premier League, and at the moment Paul Lambert is seemingly struggling to motivate his players for the final push toward knowing they’ll be here next year. Their form is more what you’d expect from a team like Southampton, who are safe but unable to make the European spots, and with Villa already having lost ten games at home this season the fans are in for a nervous day, but even a home win by 1-goal at 9/2 with Victor Chandler would help them enormously, and is possible.
Leandro Bacuna is available for Aston Villa, who have no fresh injury concerns. Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc has overcome a back injury, but Maya Yoshida and Gaston Ramirez remain sidelined.
Cardiff v Stoke, 15:00
This is another game where the home side are in a lot of trouble, and really should be looking at their guests as three points just waiting to be harvested due to the fact Stoke have nothing left to play for but league position. With safety assured you’d expect the Potters to drop off a little bit at this stage, but in fact Mark Hughes has guided his side to a run of five wins and just two losses in their last ten league games compared to Cardiff’s two wins in the same period. SpreadEx have 14/5 on Peter Odemwingie in the anytime scorer market, with the striker looking dangerous at times.
Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no new injury worries for the visit of Stoke, which is nice. Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam should be fit, and Oussama Assaidi will travel with the squad but may not play.
Newcastle v Swansea, 15:00
Neither of these teams are on any kind of impressive form at the moment, but with Newcastle already having amassed more than forty points they are less bothered about their play at the end of yet another season where they sold their best player. Swansea, on the other hand, are just a point ahead of Norwich and have won one of their last eight, and if the sides below them in the table can pick up points the South Wales club could still find themselves relegated come the end of the year. Betfred have 5/1 on Wilfried Bony in the score/win double, and if he plays well Swansea have a great chance today.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hopeful that Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy will be available, but Moussa Sissoko is likely to miss out again and Hatem Ben Arfa is doubtful. Swansea will give a fitness test to Michu, and footballing joke Chico Flores begins a two-match suspension.
West Ham v Palace, 15:00
A clash between two of the more pragmatic managers in the Premier League might not accrue a massive TV audience, but today we’ll certainly see commitment from these two sets of players, both of whom are probably safe from the spectre of relegation now. Tony Pulis has done the kind of job at Palace, on a shoestring budget too, that Sam Allardyce has spent handsomely to achieve at West Ham, and in truth the Welshman is the real deal of the two judging by this season. Victor Chandler have 31/40 on less than 2.5 goals going in here, something I think a lot of fans will expect.
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan returns to the team today, with James Collins and Joey O’Brien also fit. Crystal Palace have a number of injury concerns, with Marouane Chamakh, Joel Ward and Yannick Bolasie all doubtful .
Chelsea v Sunderland, 17:30
Most casual an expert observation of Chelsea at the moment is in agreement that their triumvirate of games against Athletico Madrid and Liverpool next week will define their season, but Sunderland have managed to throw a few wrenches in the spokes of the bigger sides even in a season that has largely been a failure, and will hope to do so again here today. If the Blues don’t win it provides a massive opportunity for Liverpool tomorrow to stretch the gap at the top of the table, a rare pressure even the special boy will feel, and at 23/20 with Betfair as an anytime scorer Fernando Torres would help his boss by stepping up this afternoon.
Jose Mourinho will be without leading goalscorer Eden Hazard, with the Belgian a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final. Sunderland could name an unchanged side from midweek with Phil Bardsley still suspended and Ki Sung-Yeung suffering from tendonitis.