Saturday, February 02, 2013


It's another round of exciting matches in the Barclays Premier League as run away leaders Manchester United look to extend their lead over rivals Manchester City who will be playing the biggest match of Match-day 25 against Liverpool and bottom club QPR, propping the log from beneath will hope to secure maximum point after a famous stalemate with the defending champions when they welcome Norwich at Loftus Road.

Here's a preview of all Match Day 25 Fixtures
>>Queens Park Rangers vs Norwich City:Saturday's early kick-off sees bottom team QPR welcome 14th placed Norwich at Loftus Road. After bouncing back from shock FA Cup exits to claim creditable draws against strong opposition in midweek, both QPR and Norwich will look to build on those results when they come face-to-face on Saturday.

Rangers defence has been rather solid of recent after they did well to keep dangerous attacking and free-scoring Chelsea, Tootenham and Manchester City at bay. 
They should have little trouble in quelling a Canaries attack that has scored one goal or fewer in six of their last seven Premier League fixtures.

Four of The Hoops' last six matches have ended in a draw, and there was nothing to separate these two sides when they met at Carrow Road earlier in the season.

>>Everton vs Aston Villa:
With all eyes on Everton's Marouane Fellaini and Villa's Christain Benteke, both defence should also have their focus keen on Leon Osman who has scored 5 goals against Aston Villa, more than he has managed against any other Premier League Opponent, and Gabriel Agbonlahor with 6 goals against Everton.
Fellaini and Benteke though have both scored 8 goals already this campaign with the later having played more, 21 to the former's 19.

Everton ended a run of 12 Premier League games against the midlands' side without a win with that win at Villa Park earlier this season. Aston Villa on the other hand have won just 2 of thier last 20 Premier Laegue away matches with 2 wins, 8 draws and 10 loses.

>>Arsenal vs Stoke City:
The Potters who are without a win since Boxing day will be up away at the Emirates against Arsene Wenger's side who are also with just 2 wins in 8 games in all competition since the turn of the new year.

With 50 goals already this season, the Emirates stadium has witnessed more goals than any other Premier League stadium this season.

With Stoke City having conceded 15 goals in their last 5 Premier League games and Arsenal who have made more errors leading directly to a goal than any other team in the Premier League this season, we sure envisage goals in this encounter.

Olivier Giroud has 5 goals in his last 3 games in all competition for Arsenal, so, he's a man the Stoke defence will be watching out for.

Arsenal new boy Nacho Monreal is set to go straight into the starting line-up for the clash against Stoke, with Kieran Gibbs ruled out for the next three weeks with a thigh injury. 
Replacement: Nacho Monreal (pictured) maybe Gibbs' replacement rather than just cover while the England defender is out injured
And the last two meetings between these sides have ended in draws, a stalemate at the Emirates in August 2012 and 1-1 at the Britannia Stadium towards the end of last season.

>>Newcastle vs Chelsea:
Now coined the French Division II team after a host of French acquisition in the January transfer window, Newcastle have played eight different French players in the Premier League this season more than any other side in the history of the competition.

Newcastle United are coming into the game at St' James Park on the high with a much needed victory over fellow relegation battlers Aston Villa, and will be looking to compound Chelsea's woes after they lost maximum points away at Reading in midweek in a match that Chelsea were 2 goals up in less than 5 minutes to the final whistle only to be forced to a 2 all draw at full time.

Newcastle have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games against Chelsea(W1 D4 L6), Chelsea on the other hand have won three and lost none of their last five Premier League trips to St James Park and have conceded just one goal across those five games.

>>Reading vs Sunderland:
Nothing much to expect from this encounter as both teams keeps the fight for survival intact going into the match at the Majeski Stadium.

Sunderland and Reading have met 18 times in all competitions with both sides enjoying seven wins apiece. Sunderland have won just three of their last 19 Premier League away games with 3 wins, 7 draws and 9 loses, but those three wins have come in the last six road trips W3, L3.

Adam Le Fondre who instigated Reading's famous come-back against Chelsea has scored more substitute goals than any other Premier League player this season with 6 strikes with his last three Premier League goals have been assisted by Hope Akpan.

>>West Ham vs Swansea:

We expect to see a cagey and keenly contested battle in this encounter knowing fully well that Swansea top man Michu has now gone five Premier League games without a goal.

Also West Ham's Andy Carroll has scored only one goal from 27 shots, including blocked, in the Premier League this season.

West Ham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League games at Upton Park. While Swansea have drawn five of their last seven league games, winning the other two.

Only Norwich and Villa with 2 have taken fewer points from their past six games than West Ham with 4 points.

Kevin Nolan of West Ham with 6 goals and Swansea's Jonathan De Guzmán with 5 goals are definitely the players to watch for in this encounter.

>>Wigan vs Southampton:

Interestingly, This is the first time that Wigan will be entertaining Southampton at home in any competition.

With Wigan having failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League home games and won none of the last five there with 1 Draw and 4 Loses and Southampton on the other hand have mustered 20 shots including blocked, in their match at Manchester United in midweek, the highest total by an away team there this season, we expect to see goals rain in this encounter knowing also that other than Manchester United, Wigan are the only Premier League team not to draw a game 0-0 this season.

The Saints have also lost only two of their last seven Premier League away games (W2 D3 L2), and those defeats were by a single goal at Old Trafford and Anfield.

>>Fulham vs Manchester United:
Run-away leaders Manchester United will be looking to pounce on rivals Manchester City's potential slip-up in their big game against Liverpoool later on Sunday with a win over Former player, Berbatov's team at Craven Cottage and extend their lead to 10.

Dimitar Berbatov Dimitar Berbatov of Fulham competes with Rafael of Manchester United during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on January 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.
Fulham manager Martin Jol will be without Simon Davies (knee), Kerim Frei (groin) and Mahamadou Diarra (knee) for the clash with the league leaders at Craven Cottage.

Kieran Richardson also remains a doubt with a calf injury and star man Dimitar Berbatov will miss the game against his former club after picking up a slight hamstring tear during the win against West Ham. Of course i won't be surprised to see him start this game.

The two teams met as recently as January 26, with United winning 4-1 at home in an FA Cup fourth-round clash.

Manchester United still remains the only team in the Premier League not to have a red card this season.
Goals will surely come in this match with Fulham having gone 10 games without keeping a clean sheet, while Man Utd have scored in each of their last 12 games, both the longest current runs of their kind in the Premier League.

Plus, Robin van Persie being the Premier League's top goalscorer this term with 18 goals so far. And Wayne Rooney having four goals in his last four Premier League appearances against Fulham.

>>West Brom vs Tottenham:
At the Hawthorns, West Bromich Albion welcomes Tottenham Hotspur in a battle between 9th and 4th placed teams.

With three draws and three loses, West Brom have won none of their last six Premier League games against Spurs. The Baggies have won just one of their last five Premier League games at the Hawthorns while
Tottenham have drawn their last three Premier League games in a row.

Gareth Bale has scored 10 Premier League goals in a single season for the first time for Tottenham.
Eight of Bale's 10 goals this season though have come in away games. Lewis Holtby was the 28th player Tottenham have used this season, only Newcastle have used as many players.

>>Manchester City vs Liverpool
Both teams are coming from disappointing draws against Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal respectively in mid-week. The hosts fell further behind league leaders Manchester United in midweek and face a Reds side who need a win to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification.

The reverse meeting at Anfield saw four goals scored from just six shots on target in the match.
Brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure remain on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast. Phillip Coutinho could feature for his new club from the bench on Sunday after completing his switch from Inter.

Luis Suarez is integral to Liverpool's goal output, he has 22 in all competitions, and his nearest team-mate is Steven Gerrard with just six and the only midfielder to play every minute of every Premier League games this season.

Definitely the biggest game of the Barclays Premier League Match-Day 25.

That's the previews of all the matches of round 25 in the EPL this week-end. We hope to see more goals after this round, more than the 684 goals we've seen already in 240 games so far.

David Obasogie is a soccer pundit and also a sport presenter/analyst Sport Digest on NOUN Radio 105.9fm every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

You can follow him on twitter on his handle which is @Dhaveedobas and on facebook, it is simply David Obasogie

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