English Premier League Saturday Preview




English Premier League

English Premier League

English Premier League returns this week after a topsy-turvy and exciting fortnight of Champions League and FA Cup action as battle lines are drawn afresh at both the ends of the standings. West Ham, Manchester United, Arsenal all go into Saturday with a chance to make their case even stronger as Chelsea battle Manchester City and Liverpool entertain Sunderland on Sunday.

Manchester United are facing a mini crisis off and on the field. With the potential absence of Rio Ferdinand from the rest of the season expected, Manchester United would be without almost their entire back four with Nemanja Vidic, John O’Shea and Evans sidelined. Patrice Evra would be the only regular face in the makeshift defence and with their 1-3 hammering at Anfield last match, Bolton would definitely have a go at the United defence. Chris Smalling and Wes Brown would deputise for the injured duo and the only comforting factor would be the backing of a 70000 strong crowd. With Alex Ferguson starting his five match touchline ban today, Owen Coyle’s men knows that their fortunes could not have been much rosier. Unbeaten in their last six games, Bolton can spring up a surprise against any opposition but they have to be on their toes against the inform Javier Hernandes. With Harry Redknapp publicly stating that Arsenal have a golden chance to upset Manchester United, the onus is on them to prove it wrong.

Arsenal meanwhile have a chance to gain advantage over Manchester United in the title race when they head northwards to The Hawthorns to meet West Brom who had defeated Arsenal at the Emirates earlier in the season. With the Gunners trailing by 3 points with a game in hand, they have a realistic shot at the title and the fact that this is their only competition left as compared to their rivals 3  definitelty gives them the edge in the final battle. However they need to find their scoring shoes on quickly and make a statement. The arrival of their inspirational goalkeeper Jens Lehmaan would be a big boost for them. West Brom under the guidance of Roy Hodgeson are scrapping for the relegation battle and even a draw could come in handy.

In an all London derby clash, fellow relegation strugglers West Ham travel to White Hart Lane to slug it out against Tottenham who have fallen back in the race for the Champions League spots. With a superb season at the Continental competition, Spurs would be desperate to avoid being the swansong as a one off with their fellow rivals Manchester City and Chelsea battling it out themselves. A win would surely put them on track to achieve a top four place. West Ham have an altogether different story. Lying at the 18th position they are in for a long fight for survival. But a mini resurgence at Upton Park has made them hopeful of staying in the league next season.

In other clashes, Everton host Fulham in a mid table clash with only pride and places to play for. But with the gap between relegation strugglers and the mid table being thin, a win would certainly be on their agenda. A similar match is taking place at the Britannia Stadium where Newcastle united take on FA Cup semifinalists Stoke.

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