EPL : Weekend Preview Big game feature

EPL : Weekend Preview Big game feature

After a dramatic round of fixtures in the midweek, the Barclays Premier League returns barely 3 days from the last fixture on Saturday 5 March 2016.

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Tuesday and Wednesday matchday 28 games saw Liecester City, who drew 2-2 with West Brom, consolidate their stay at the top as close rivals Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal and Manchester City who had the chance to close the gap all connived to lose frantically.

Spurs vs Arsenal

Saturday’s lunchtime kick off sees bitter perennial rivals Tottenham Hotspurs entertain Arsenal in a North London derby at 14:45 (C.A.T). Arsenal has a chance to redeem themselves from a dip in form that has seen them lose 3 consecutive games for the first time since April 2010.

A 2-1 loss at home to Swansea on Wednesday 2 March 2016 had been preceded by a 3-2 loss to United last Sunday, having lost 2-0 at Emirates on 24 February to Barcelona in the Champions League. The Gunners will seek to avoid 4 defeats in a row, the last they suffered back in 2002.

The fixture comes in at a time Arsene Wenger’s men seemingly feel very low in morale and hunger as reiterated by Alexis Sanchez’s remarks after the Swansea game that,”I think we can win the Premier League with the players we have. That said, we lack a certain hunger. We need to step out onto the pitch as if we’re already 1-0 up”

Arsenal usually rise to the occasion in this fixture, and they would feel this is a timely particular fixture they need to show muscle. The Gunners came from behind to draw the reverse fixture 1-1, before beating their rivals 2-0 at White Hart Lane in the Carling Cup already this season.

Spurs has only beat Arsenal twice since 2012.

Arsenal has general enjoyed dominion over the fixture traditionally, however it comes when tables have turned. Spurs has been a much improved side under Mario Pochettino. This time the sides go into the fixture with Spurs above Arsenal ,and as favourites ,for the first time in a long time. Although they lost away to West Ham midweek, Spurs have a good chance to close the 3 point gap to Liecester, having made a habit of grinding out results throughout the season.

Arsenal, 6 points from Liecester, will have their job even harder due to injuries to goalkeeper Petr Cech who strained his calf in the Swansea game, adding to a list of injury absentees already including key players Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny.

With a porous central defence pairing of Per Matersacker and Gabriel, the Gunners will find it hard stopping Harry Kane, Delle Ali, Eric Lamela and company.

This is the best time for Spurs to assert dominion and embarass  their neighbours who have often made a mockery of their last earning the title back in 1968.

Elsewhere, a resurgent Chelsea under interim manager Guus Hiddink will seek to continue their rise against a Stoke that beat Newcastle 1-0 midweek.

Chelsea has not lost in the league since Jose’ Mourinho’s firing in December and have lost just once in all competitions since then. Having already climbed from 16th to 10th ,they have their sights firmly set on European football places of up to 6th  and will seek nothing short of victory at Stamford bridge.

A wounded Manchester City, fresh from a 3-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool entertains strugglers Aston Villa, who are almost certain to be relegated as they sit rock bottom. City needs a victory to fend off  inform city rivals Machester United, who are hot on their heels in contention for Champions League places. Both are on 47 points, City has a game in hand.

United travel to West Brom on Sunday 6 February 2016 in a bid to continue a good spell that has seen accumulate vital points at a crucial time.

West Ham ‘s surge for European football will be put to test when they travel to Everton, while Crystal Palace host an unpredictable Liverpool who, at their best, will blow away an side.

Sunderland’s fight for survival resumes when they go to Southampton whereas Newcastle will also seek to stay afloat when they host Bournemouth, while fellow strugglers Swansea and Norwich meet.

Log leaders Liecester have a tough encounter with Watford away, a real test to character as they seek to collect m,aximum points having missed a barrage of chances to draw with West Brom midweek.

Full Barclays Premier League fixtures for weekend

Saturday 5 March 2016

Tottenham Hotspur     v      Arsenal                   14:45

Everton                           v      West Ham             17:00

Man City                         v      Aston Villa             17:00

Newcastle                       v      Bournemouth      17:00

Chelsea                            v     Stoke                      17:00

Swansea                          v      Norwich                 17:00

Southampton                 v      Sunderland           17:00

Watford                           v     Liecester               19:30

Sunday 6 March 2016

Crystal Palace                 v     Liverpool                15:30

West Brom                     v      Man United           18:00

(NB: All times C.A.T)