Sunday, March 18, 2018

Premier League Preview: Matchday twenty-six

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Premier League 2 Feb 2018

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Matchday twenty-six in the Premier League gets underway at Turf Moor where Burnley face champions elect Manchester City.

Despite not winning in eight league games the Clarets are currently the highest placed side in the division aside from the ‘big six’, and they can move to within four points of Arsenal if they triumph here while Pep Guardiola’s side can open up an unprecedented eighteen point lead at the top if they secure what would be a fifth straight victory in all competitions.

Second place Manchester United will hope to bounce back from their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur midweek as they host struggling Huddersfield Town, who’s winless run stretched to eight league games with defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday.


The Terriers are one of four sides who sit just a point above the bottom three while only seven points separate the whole of the bottom half.

Jurgen Klopp’s side leapfrogged champions Chelsea after getting one over his best friend and they could even rise to second if they win at Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United don’t while Chelsea also remain three points behind the Red Devils despite suffering a surprise defeat to Bournemouth last time out.

Antonio Conte’s side take on Watford on Monday evening by which time they could be out of the Champions League places – should Spurs win at Anfield.

Mind the gap

Arsenal go into the weekend a massive eight points outside the top four after being beaten by a resurgent Swansea City on Tuesday evening.

They take on Everton, who ended their seven game winless run with victory over Leicester City midweek.

The Gunners will be in sixth place whatever happens this weekend though the Toffees can close the gap between themselves and their opponents to eight points with another three in what is Saturday’s late kick-off.

Leicester take on Swansea City on Saturday afternoon, with 2016 PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez unlikely to feature following the fallout of him not being allowed to discuss a potential transfer to Manchester City.

The league leaders bid around £65m for the Algeria international on deadline day only for the Foxes for to reject it out of hand, a move that has not gone down well with the player who hasn’t trained with his side since.


Elsewhere, Bournemouth host Stoke City, Brighton and Hove Albion take on West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion play Southampton – with both sides going into the weekend in the bottom three.

The Saints have gone a massive twelve games without a win though they are unbeaten in five in all competitions having drawn a third straight league match midweek.

Finally, Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in Sunday’s early kick-off with Rafael Benitez’s side desperate for the points as they aim to avoid being dragged into the danger zone.

The North East side can currently be backed at a price of 9/4 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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