Saturday, February 23, 2013


After an exciting and exhilarating round of FA Cup matches, the Barclays Premier Leagie resumes at its peak once again as we gear up for another enterprising week 27 round of matches.

Peak of the bunch as got to be the match at the Etihad Stadium where holders Manchester City host European Champions Chelsea FC in a fierce battle between the 2nd and 3rd place teams. At Loftus Road, relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers play host to run-away leaders Manchester United in a match that could make or mar QPR's chances of survival.

This week, we'll treat you viewers an extensive previews and the likely premonition into what to expect in all 10 stadium across England.

>>Fulham vs Stoke:

The last four Barclays Premier League clashes between these sides have all ended in home wins with Stoke having won just once away from home this season, a joint-low for the Premier League this season.

The Potters though have scored just three goals in their last eight away matches in the league.

Five of Stoke last seven goals against Fulham in all competitions have been scored in the final 15 minutes of their matches and with seven draws and eight loses, Fulham have won only three of their last 18 in the Premier League, only one of their last five with 2 draws and 2 loses.

No side has been involved in more draws this season than Stoke City with 12 drawn games. Stoke City on the other hand are the only team that Northern Ireland international Chris Baird has scored against more than once in the Premier League, two strikes.

Stoke have gone eight Premier League matches without keeping a clean sheet. Only Aston Villa (10) are currently on a longer such run.

Only Aston Villa (2) have clawed back fewer points from losing positions than Fulham (4) this season.

>>Arsenal vs Aston Villa:

After being unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by lower league opposition and then receiving a painful lesson in Champions League football, Arsenal will be desperate to end a rotten week with a win when Aston Villa come to visit on Saturday afternoon. 

The doom and gloom that descended on the Emirates in the wake of those results is slightly unfortunate, as he Gunners were starting to put together a tidy run of results in the Premier League.

Four games without defeat, including solid 1-0 wins against tough Stoke and Sunderland sides, have kept Arsene Wenger’s men in the mix for a top four spot, and his team are clear favourites to return to winning ways on Saturday.

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is no stranger to being under pressure himself this season, but after encouraging performances in the draw at Everton and win over West Ham, he may be slightly more confident of causing the hosts yet more misery by springing a surprise win, after playing out a respectable 0-0 stalemate against this opposition at Villa Park back in November, and would be delighted if they could secure their fourth consecutive Premier League draw in this game.

Wenger will be hoping for a reaction from his players in this match, while a convincing victory would go some way to appeasing the home fans, who have already seen their team rack up 6-1, 5-2, 7-3 and 5-1 wins in the league this season and a similar score-line is certainly not out of the question against the Villans, who have conceded a record 31 goals away from home in 13 league games already this campaign.

Two players to watch out for are Christian Benteke who has now scored in five successive appearances for Aston Villa in all competitions with six goals and Theo Walcott who has equaled his highest tally of assists in a single Premier League season with 8, the same as the 2011-12 season.

>>Norwich City vs Everton:

The last three Barclays Premier League meetings between Norwich and Everton have ended level. The only team Norwich have scored 5 goals against in the Premier League are Everton with a 5-1 back in September 1993.

No side has conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes of their matches in the Premier League (10) this season than Everton same as West Ham. This is 31% of their total goals conceded.

Having scored in 18 consecutive games, Everton have now failed to score in three of their last five league games. No side has drawn more Premier League games 0-0 this season than Norwich City (5).

Everton have hit 216 shots away from home this season, only one team in the top five European leagues has hit more, Manchester City with 219. Everton have not missed a Premier League penalty since April 2011 scoring eight in a row since then.

>>QPR vs Manchester United:

It's a battle between top against bottom as the Red Devils look to extend their 12-point lead at the summit. The league leaders will hope to stretch their 14 game unbeaten run against a Rangers side who have not beaten them since 1992 and are still reeling from their 4-1 defeat to Swansea.

Bobby Zamora could start for the host, having come off the bench in QPR's last two matches, while Esteban Granero, Andros Townsend and Jermaine Jenas will present Redknapp with a selection dilemma in midfield.

The visitors, meanwhile, will be without Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones with knee, illness and ankle problems respectively. However, Sir Alex Ferguson boasts an otherwise fully fit squad and has the rare luxury of not having a midweek game the following week. Nani and Chicharito may be in contention for starting roles after their goalscoring exploits against Reading, while Rio Ferdinand could also feature in defense.

Bottom-placed QPR are currently 48 points behind league-leaders Manchester United and have not beaten the Red Devils since New Year's Day in 1992.

Since the turn of the year, Harry Redknapp's side have won once and drawn four times in the Premier League, though they slumped to a 4-1 defeat in their last game at Swansea.

The Rs have also won just twice in the league this term against Chelsea and Fulham, though that is already one more than the record for the fewest wins in a season held by Derby County for their 2007/08 campaign.
Manchester United though are unbeaten in 14 league matches and 16 games in all competitions. Their last domestic defeat came in mid-November at Norwich City.

The Red Devils are comfortably clear at the top of table with a 12 point lead, a gap bigger than at any point last season.

United's three top scorers this term, Robin van Persie, Chicharito and Wayne Rooney have scored 51 goals in all competitions between them so far.

>>Reading vs Wigan:

These sides have played each other in all four divisions of the English league system. Both goalkeepers made an error leading directly to a goal in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Wigan's Ali Al-Habsi has made more errors leading directly to a goal than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this season (6). Only Arsenal (13) have made more errors leading to goal than Wigan (12) this season.

Wigan have conceded the first goal of the game on more matches than every other PL side this term (17). Reading have conceded more shots on target than any other top-flight side this season (151).

70% of Wigan's goals have come after the break, only Tottenham have a higher proportion this season. Adam Le Fondre needs one more goal as a substitute to set a Premier League record for a single season, he currently has six.

Previously Tore Andre Flo (1997-98) and Jermain Defoe (2001-02) had also scored six from the bench in a single season. A massive 42% of Reading's goals have come in the closing 15 minutes this season, by some distance the biggest proportion in the Premier League.

>>West Bromich Albion vs Sunderland:

West Brom have scored four goals in each of their last two Barclays Premier League encounters with Sunderland. Each of the last four top-flight between WBA and Sunderland have gone over 3.5 goals. 

Only one of the last seven games between the Baggies and the Black Cats has gone under 2.5 goals. Sunderland have only hit the woodwork three times this season, fewer than any other side.

Sunderland's last four Premier League penalties have been awarded in away games. The Black Cats have conceded fewer goals from corners than any other top-flight side this season (1).

WBA have not kept successive clean sheets in the Premier League since April 2012 but the last time they did so came after an away win at Anfield.

Sunderland have won none of their last 11 league games against teams from the West Midlands drawing 4 losing 7.

Seven of Sunderland's last eight Premier League away games have gone over 2.5 goals. Sunderland have lost two games in a row for the fourth time in the league this season but are yet to lose three on the spin.

>>Newcastle United vs Southampton:

The away side are still basking in the warmth of that rare 3-1 home victory over defending champions Manchester City going to St James Park. Newcastle though are also upbeat going into this encounter after their progression to the round of 16 in the Europa League with a 1-0 aggregate victory over Metalist Kharkiv.

Newcastle United have confirmed that goalkeeper Tim Krul will see a specialist on Monday after injuring his ankle, and could face up to five weeks on the sidelines. 

The Netherlands international picked up the ankle injury in Thursday’s Europa League last-32 second-leg victory over Metalist Kharkiv, but was able to complete 90 minutes with Rob Elliot expected to deputise in his absence.

Newcastle have scored at least once in 11 of their 12 Premier League home games against Southampton. 
The Magpies have won seven and lost none of their last eight Premier League home games against the Saints. 

The Saints though have the lowest shooting accuracy in the Premier League (40%).

David Obasogie is a vibrant, young and great football pundit, sport/analyst on NOUN Radio 105.9fm. Listen to him on Sport Digest on Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays every morning and get thrilled

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