Friday, March 23, 2018

Premier League Preview: Matchday Fifteen

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Premier League 1 Dec 2017

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Matchday fifteen in the Premier League kicks off at Stamford Bridge where champions Chelsea take on Newcastle United.

With much focus on the Manchester sides, the Blues have quietly gone about their business piecing together a six game unbeaten run, with them only dropping points in their clash with fellow form side Liverpool last weekend.

Despite their good form, they remain eleven points off the base but can, if only temporarily reduce that gap with a win against a Newcastle side who haven’t won in six weeks.

They did halt their losing streak on Tuesday evening, coming from two goals down to draw with West Bromwich Albion and a return to winning ways here will see them move up to ninth place ahead of the rest of the weekends fixtures.

The day’s action concludes at the Emirates Stadium with four place Arsenal taking on second place Manchester United.

Form sides

Arsene Wenger’s side have won five of their last six league games, with their only defeat in that run coming against the leaders and another win here will take them to within a point of the Red Devils who themselves are looking for a fourth straight league victory.

Liverpool take their five-game unbeaten run to Brighton and Hove Albion and will be hoping for another positive result as they look to keep in touch of the top four while Tottenham Hotspur will aim to get back on track after taking just a point from their last two games.

Banana skin

However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side face a tough trip to Watford, who can draw level on points with the North Londoners should they secure the win.

Burnley begin the weekend in sixth place and will, at least until later in the day move on to the same points total as fourth place Arsenal if they beat a Leicester CIty side who are quietly making progress under new manager Claude Puel.

The Foxes have taken five points from the four games overseen by the former Southampton boss with, and I am sure I have said this before, their only defeat in that run coming against the leaders.

Old faces

New eras begin at both Everton and West Bromwich Albion, who host Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace respectively.

The Toffees thrashed West Ham United on Wednesday evening and despite their recent woes could end the day in the top half of the table should they win and other results in their favour while Alan Pardew will attempt to steer the Baggies to a first win since August.

Palace will lift themselves off the bottom with a positive result, potentially at the expense of Swansea City who face a trip to Stoke City.

The Potters haven’t won in four but their opponents are rock bottom of the form table, having taken just a point from their last six games.

Sunday’s action kicks off with a meeting of two south-coast sides as Bournemouth take on Southampton before Manchester City take on West Ham United.

Pep Guardiola’s side are looking for a thirteenth straight league victory while the Hammers are purely looking to stop the rot after losing three of their last four matches.

David Moyes’s men have a real chance of ending the weekend in twentieth place and can currently be backed at 10/11 to be relegated.


Deke Hardman

Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both and, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.



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