The international break is over and with that comes the return of club football. The Premier League is offering up some mammoth games which could help swing the way the rest of the season plays out. Relegation spots and top four contention will all be a talking point, but could the foregone conclusion of Man City winning the the title be in doubt?
Saturday 3rd April
12:30 Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion on BT1
Relegation looms for West Brom and a victory against the undefeated Thomas Tuchel lead Chelsea at Stafford Bridge seems like a tall task. Especially since The Blues have kept seven clean sheets in a row and with The Baggies only scoring 20 goals in 29 games all season, the task seems even taller. Three of those goals came the last time they faced Chelsea back in September, where each team came away with a point. Both sides have different managers, with widely varied results, infact in the last 11 games Big Sam has only managed one victory!
15:00 Leeds United v Sheffield United on premier Sports
Sheffield United gave a spirited effort against Chelsea in their last encounter in the FA Cup, however got trounced 5-0 by Leicester in their last outing in the Premier League. Former Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom has been given the task of trying to salvage Sheffield United’s top flight status. With just 11 games left and 14 points separating them from safety it does seem like a foregone conclusion that they are going down. If that sentiment is shared by the players, Leeds will have a field day. Marco Bielsa’s men have a trifecta of tough games after this one with Man City, Liverpool and Man United staring at them after the Sheffield game. So a victory, just like their 1-0 win last time they met the Blades will do nicely.
17:30 Leicester City v Manchester City On Sky
Leicester will be hoping their fortunes are better in this game then they are in our virtual football manager world. Manager Ken McGuire can only look at Brendan Rodgers in awe, as his side are flying high in the Prem, and Ken’s Leicester are languishing in the Championship. City will be conscious going into the game that they only need 14 points to secure the league title, but the Foxes will be keen to delay their crowning, as a coveted top four spot will be invaluable to them. Despite Man City dominating, they did lose earlier in the season to their next opponents, pretty convincingly. I watch in awe as I ate my €9 euro meal and drank pints in a pub (remember them) as Rodger’s team ran out 5-2 winners. No team has managed to score 6 goals against a Pep Guardiola side in history, which adds intrigue in a match-up that may very well be the eventual FA Cup final.
20:00 Arsenal v Liverpool on Sky
Both sides have had incredibly disappointing seasons by their previously set standards. However a positive result for either club will help at-least kickstart their European ambitions. All though both still have a chance to qualify for the Champions League via European competitions, they for sure will look to still cement their place in the league. So alot is on the line, and neutral fans should enjoy as this tie has seen the most goals between two sides in Premiership history, resulting in 166 goals in total. Four goals were scored in the last game as Liverpool won 3-1 at Anfield.
Sunday 4th April
12:00 Southampton v Burnley On Sky
Southampton have incredibly lost 10 of their last 12 Premier League games, picking up fewer points then any other Premier League team since the turn of the year, just seven. Burnley meanwhile has 17 points since 2021, and are undefeated in their last three games which includes a victory against Everton and draws with Arsenal and Leicester. A single Danny Ings goal was all that could divide The Saints and Clarets last time they met in September, another tight affair is on the cards.
14:05 Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur On Sky
Both set of fans are less then impressed with their managers. Newcastle are without a win in six and Mourinho is suggestion his players dont care. This should lead to an interesting result coming out of St. James Park this Sunday. Spurs managed to defeat Aston Villa in the league which didnt seem to appease fans who were still reeling about their 3-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb. The reverse fixture seen each side walk away with a point, after Callum Wilson converted a penalty in the 97th minute.
16:30 Aston Villa v Fulham On Sky
Jack Grealish is back and that does not bode well for Fulham who are two points of Newcastle and safety. Villa have struggled without their talisman in recent times winning only once since, against Leeds, he was sidelined. Fulham missed a very real shot of finally getting their head above the water by losing to Leeds and they badly need. Villa beat Fulham 3-0 earlier in the season, with none other then Jack Grealish getting on the scoresheet within the first five minutes.
19:30 Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion
Man United have not been doing particulary well against relegation candidates recently. The shock loss to Sheffield United and draw with West Brom have been two particular pills that were hard to swallow for United fans. On the other hand they tend to do ok coming out of international breaks, with the return of Paul Pogba sure to delighted his boss. Brighton thrashed Newcastle and beat Southampton in their last two games, so have created a tad bit of breathing space for themselves. The last game ended in controversy as Manchester United were awarded a penalty AFTER the full time whistle was blown, which in turn was converted by Bruno Fernandes and allowed United to walk away with all three points.
Monday 5th April
18:00 Everton v Crystal Palace On Sky
Everton find themselves in eight place with ten games left to play. All though generally a typical season for The Toffees, Carlo Ancelotti will not be pleased. It’s getting very tight in the quest for top four, and results like the 2-1 defeat to Burnley just wont cut it. They need a win against a Crystal Palace side who have largely lost and won games you would expect them to. Despite the victory against Manchester United as first game of the season, they returned to form against Everton the very next games, where they lost 2-1.
20:15 Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United On Sky
Wolves would do well to hire Shane O’Keeffe (This writer) who is undefeated in the virtual football manager world with them! Don’t think Castlewarren Celtic would agree to let him go from his Sunday League Obligations. Wolves have really struggled without Raul Jimenez and their play in the final third has really suffered since his horrific injury. David Moyes has managed The Hammers to just one win in four, but they still sit fifth just two point behind Chelsea. West ham trounced Wolves at home 4-0 last time out and a repeat of that result does not seem too far-fetched