Saturday, March 30, 2013
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE WEEK 31 PREVIEW by David Obasogie.
The Premier League is back this weekend after a 10-day break with International friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers taking center stage.
The week 31 set of EPL matches promises alot as battle against relegation reaches top gear, not forgetting Europa qualification and Champions league places up for grasp.
Join me as i zero in on all ten fixtures to look forward to in previews.
SATURDAY, 12:45PM KickOff
>>SUNDERLAND VS MANCHESTER UNITED:
The first of Saturday's games comes from the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland host run-away league leaders Manchester United in what seems like a mis-match looking at the fact that Sunderland have won just one of their previous 23 Premier League games against Manchester United, losing 17. But, with Sunderland haven beaten Manchester City both this season and last at the Stadium of Light but have not toppled United on home turf in the top flight since 1997, you probably wanna have a rethink.
Sunderland's gaffer Martin O'Neill, who has not tasted victory since January, was dealt another blow this week as Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole were ruled out for the rest of the season. Fletcher is the Black Cats' top scorer with 11 league goals this season but the attacking burden will now fall upon January signing Danny Graham.
Stephane Sessegnon is also expected to return from a groin injury and is likely to support Graham in a likely 4-4-1-1 formation.
Manchester United have not picked up a single card in any of their last four Premier League games. They've never gone five successive PL games without being given a card. On average, Manchester United score their first goal of the game after 26 minutes, earlier than any other side in the Premier League this season. Sunderland though have won only two points drawing twice and losing 7 from a possible 27 in their last nine Premier League home games against the Red Devils.
MY PREDICTION: SUNDERLAND 1-1 MAN UNITED
>>ARSENAL VS READING:
The Royals are seven points adrift of safety as the former Southampton boss, Nijel Adkins takes charge of his first game after being appointed on Tuesday and seeks success in his first game in charge against a Arsenal team that were dealt a fresh injury blow on Thursday after midfielder Abou Diaby was ruled out for around nine months with a knee ligament problem. Theo Walcott is out with a groin injury, while Jack Wilshere is still sidelined with an ankle problem. Kieran Gibbs is also doubtful due to illness.
The Gunners have won all 11 of their previous meetings with Reading including two wins already this season. The two meetings between Arsenal and Reading in 2012-13 already have seen 19goals scored, with Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla each scoring hat-tricks for Arsenal over these meetings.
Reading though have lost nine of their last 10 away matches in the Premier League. Reading have also lost their last five games, just two away from the worst run in the Premier League this season by any team, which the Royals also set. Reading have conceded more Premier League goals against Arsenal than any other opponent in the top-flight.
PREDICTION; ARSENAL 2-1 READING
>>MANCHESTER CITY VS NEWCASTLE UNITED:
With both sides coming from defeats in the last round of matches, a 2-0 away loss to Everton and a 2-1 loss to Wigan, both teams would looking forward to improving thier status on the log. And Man City would be hoping for a slip up at the Stadium of Light and a win here at the Etihad will cut the gap at the summit to 12/13 provided the nature of the other result.
Manchester City have won 10 and drawn two of their last 12 Premier League matches against the Magpies and will be looking for their seventh successive PL victory over them in this game.
Only against Aston Villa (18) have Manchester City won more Premier League games than versus Newcastle (14).
Yaya Touré has scored three of City's last five Premier League goals against Newcastle, against no other side has the Ivorian netted as many goals (3) in the competition. Carlos Tevez has scored four goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Newcastle United.
Newcastle United have already used 31 players in the Premier League this season, more than any other side..
PREDICTION: MAN CITY 3-1 NEWCASTLE
>>SOUTHAMPTON VS CHELSEA:
Rafael Benitez's men take on the Premier League strugglers in their first of four games in a week, with the Spaniard looking to rotate ahead of facing Manchester United on Monday. The Saints have already beaten some big names at the 'Saint Mary's this season, notably a famous 3-1 victory over Man City, and they will be looking for that kind of form when Chelsea come calling. But with Southampton haven not beaten Chelsea in over 10 years in which they last won on New Years' Day 2002, beating the Blues 4-2 thanks to a double from James Beattie and goals from Marian Pahars and Chris Marsden, a win for the Saints do not seem feasible.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games against Southampton with 4 wins and 3 draws. Frank Lampard has scored four goals in his last four Premier League appearances against Southampton. After netting his 200th Chelsea goal in his last match for the Blues, Lampard is only two away from Bobby Tambling's all-timeChelsea goal record (202).
Striker Demba Ba though has scored three goals from four shots on target for Chelsea against Southampton in all competitions this season. Juan Mata is the only Premier League player to have reach double figures for goals (10) and assists (10) this season.
Despite his continued omission from the England national team, Rickie Lambert is the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season, having netted 13 times, the next closest (joint with Wayne Rooney) is on the opposing team: Frank Lampard with 12 goals.
PREDICTION: SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 CHELSEA
>>SWANSEA VS TOTTENHAM:
Teh visitors are aiming to maintain top four pursuit and extend 22-year unbeaten run over the Swans and Michael Laudrup's side will be looking to extend the visitors recent run of poor form in the league which has seen them lose back-to-back matches against both Liverpool and Fulham.
Tottenham have won three and drawn one of their last four competitive meetings with Swansea. The last time that Swansea defeated Spurs was back in September 1991 in the League Cup. Swansea failed to attempt a single shot on target in their last game versus Arsenal, only the third time that they have not managed one in a Premier League match. No player has scored more goals from outside the area in the top five European Leagues this season than Gareth Bale ( six, level with Lionel Messi).
The Swans have not won any of the 16 Premier League games that they have fallen behind in this season (D6 L10). No player has scored more Premier League goals in home games this season than Michu (10), although he has netted just twice in his last five games at the Liberty Stadium.
Only Manchester United (32) have won more points away from home in the Premier League this season than Tottenham Hotspur (26). Spurs have also netted 69% of their goals in the second half of Premier League matches this season; a league-high proportion.
Swansea City have scored just four goals from set-piece situations in the Premier League this season; a league-low. The Swans have, however, conceded the highest number of goals from set-piece situations this season (18).
Tottenham have conceded more goals in the 90th minute or later than any other Premier League side this season (6).
PREDICTION: SWANSEA 2-4 TOTTENHAM
>>West Ham vs West Bromich Albion:
The last four Premier League meetings between these two sides have ended in a draw. West Bromwich Albion have won only four of their 38 Premier League trips to London (D9 L25), with only one of these victories coming in the last 13 (D5 L7).
The Hammers have suffered five defeats in their last seven Premier League games (W2). Should West Brom win this match, they'll equal their best-ever points tally in the Premier League (47 points; set in 2010-11 and 2011-12). Romelu Lukaku has scored seven and assisted one of West Brom's last 12 Premier League goals.
West Ham's last 15 Premier League goals have been scored by 11 different players (including own goals). Andy Carroll has scored just nine goals in 60 Premier League appearances since leaving Newcastle United in January 2011. He had netted more for Newcastle (11) in his 19 appearances for them in the first half of the 2010-11 season. Jussi Jääskeläinen has been forced in to making 121 saves in the Premier League this season; more than any other goalkeeper.
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster has a save percentage of 74.8% in the Premier League this season; higher than any other English goalkeeper, including Joe Hart (64.4%). West Ham have scored in 13 of their last 14 Premier League games at Upton Park.
PREDICTION: WEST HAM 1-3 WEST BROM
>>WIGAN VS NORWICH CITY:
Norwich City are one of only three clubs (alongside Watford and Swansea) that Wigan have never defeated in the Premier League.
Both sides have scored in each of the previous three meetings between Norwich City and Wigan Athletic. Wes Hoolahan has scored in all three of Norwich City's Premier League games against Wigan Athletic. These three goals have earned Norwich City four points in these matches.
No side has drawn more games 0-0 in the Premier League in 2012-13 than Norwich City (6).
No player has committed more fouls in the Premier League this season than Grant Holt (67), this after he committed the most in the league last season (89). Wigan have conceded the first goal of the game on 18 occasions this season (a joint league-high) and have won just one of these matches (D2 L15). No side has won fewer points at home in the Premier League this season than Wigan Athletic (13). Norwich City have won just one of their last 17 Premier League away games (W1 D8 L8). The Canaries have scored just one goal in their last four Premier League away games; Wes Hoolahan's goal at Sunderland in their last match. Wigan's nine Premier League games in 2013 have seen 34 goals scored (3.8 a game on average).
PREDICTION: WIGAN 1-1 NORWICH
>>EVERTON VS STOKE CITY:
Everton have won just one (D4 L2) of their last seven Premier League games against Stoke City, with the Toffees netting just four goals in these matches. Everton (12) and Stoke City (13) have drawn 25 Premier League games between them this season.
On the day of this game, Everton will have suffered only one Premier League home defeat in the last year (W12 D6 L1).
Stoke City (5) have picked up fewer pointsin 2013 so far than any other team in the Premier League. The Potters have failed to score in more Premier League games than any other side this season (13).
Everton have used fewer players than any other Premier League team this season (23). Everton have scored the highest proportion of goals in the first half of matches in the Premier League this season (57%). Stoke City have scored the most goals (3) and mustered the most goalscoring chances (17) following throw-ins in the Premier League this season. Tony Pulis' side have scored just one goal from outside the box this season in the Premier League; fewer than any other side.
Stoke City have won only one of their last 24 Premier League games away from home (W1 D9 L14) and have lost their last five successive away trips in the competition.
PREDICTION: EVERTON 2-0 STOKE CITY
SUNDAY 14:30 KickOff
>>ASTON VILLA VS LIVERPOOL:
Aston Villa have lost just one of their last four Premier League games against Liverpool and won 3-1 away at Anfield earlier this season. Paul Lambert has won all three of his Premier League games against Brendan Rodgers; against no other manager has he secured as many wins. Steven Gerrard has scored 10 Premier League goals against Aston Villa; more than against any other opponent.
Gerrard has played every single minute (2700) of Liverpool's Premier League season so far; Matt Lowton (Aston Villa) and Leighton Baines (Everton) are the only other outfield players to have achieved this in 2012-13. Christian Benteke has scored eight goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances, and he netted twice against Liverpool earlier this season. Benteke has scored 11 and assisted three of Aston Villa's last 21 Premier League goals.
Luis Suárez has scored 11 goals in his last11 Premier League appearances. Andreas Weimann has scored two and assisted two in his last four Premier League appearances.
Aston Villa have not won three successive Premier League matches since April 2010. Aston Villa have seen their opposition hit the woodwork on five occasions in total in their last four Premier League games. Luis Suárez has embarked on 249 dribbles in the Premier League this season, 105 more than any other player.
PREDICTION: ASTON VILLA 2-3 LIVERPOOL
MONDAY 21:00 KickOff
>>FULHAM VS QUEENS PARK RANGERS:
Monday night football sees relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers travel to Craven Cottage to play Fulham as they look for more point to boaster their chances of survival.
QPR have won just one of their last seven competitive meetings with Fulham (L5 D1), but this victory came earlier this season (2-1) at Loftus Road. Fulham defeated Queens Park Rangers 6-0 at Craven Cottage in their last meeting there, both QPR's record defeat and Fulham's joint-record win in the Premier League.
Adel Taraabt scored both of QPR's goals in the 2-1 win over Fulham earlier this season; the only side that the Moroccan has scored more than once against in the Premier League. Queens Park Rangers have converted just 9.2% of their shots into goals this season; the lowest proportion in the Premier League. The Whites have come from behind to win only four points in the Premier League this season; fewer than any otherside. Dimitar Berbatov has scored in three successive Premier League appearances for the first time since December 2011. He has never netted in four successive PL apps.
Jermaine Jenas has scored in two successive appearances in the Premier League. On the last occasion that he did this (February 2007), he went on to net in three successive games. Fulham have won fewer points (8) than any other side in Premier League London derbies this season, but defeated Spurs in their last match.
There have been just 13 goals scored in QPR's eight Premier League London derbies this season; an average of 1.63 per game. QPR have lost just three of their eight Premier League away games under Harry Redknapp (W2 D3).
PREDICTION: FULHAM 3-4 QPR
That’s it for this weekend’s round of Premier League matches. What’s your opinion on my Analysis especially and if you have any reservations regarding my Predictions, do let us know by making use of the comments box below and if you enjoyed the piece, you can kindly make use of the share buttons below or kindly follow me on twitter @dhaveedobas for any addition/@correction and conversation. You could also check back on Monday night to see how I fared with my predictions. Thanks and enjoy every bit of the games!
Every week, David Obasogie, with his crystal ball, previews the English Premier league and zero in on what to expect from the games. He is a sport pundit and presenter who, though young, is vibrant and has come to stay in the business. Check him out on NOUN FM and also on this medium every week
We apologise for the late post of this EPL preview. Some of the games are on already and the essense of the preview is to tell our readers what to expect before the games. This is not the fault of the writer. We couldn't post this write up on time due to some circumstances beyond our control. We assure you that this will not repeat itself again.Thanks for the understanding