English Premier League Weekend Preview
Match Previews: Pick of the bunch
Fulham vs Wolves
It’s getting towards the end of the season, and Fulham are in desperate need of picking up wins. Wolves have had a disappointing season, while Fulham should be looking to capitalise on that.
Scott Parker’s side switched off towards the end of the game last weekend, after going 1-0 up against Aston Villa. Three late goals from Villa showed that Fulham have to be at it constantly for the entire 90 minutes, and any mistake or lack of concentration will be pounced upon in this league. Mitrovic was back in the side after a few months of sitting on the bench and he showed signs that he could be Fulham’s man to help bolster their hopes of survival. This one is a game that Fulham will likely be hungrier for and want it more, as Wolves haven’t shown much at all this season.
Just last season, Wolves made it to the latter stages of the Europa League, and they looked to be a team that was going to challenge the bigger sides coming into this season. That hasn’t been the case, and now they sit 14th in the league with nothing to play for. In fact, there’s still an outside chance they can go down, although unlikely. With the team they have, and the money they’ve invested, it has been a bitterly disappointing season. The injury to Raul Jiminez has shown how important he is to the team, as no other player has stepped up to fill in the void and they’ve suffered for it. The team has looked a shadow of its former self, and it’s hard to see what will motivate them to go and get results.
Burnley vs Newcastle
Relegation is still in sight for both teams and the run-in to the end of the season is vitally important to pick up any win you can.
Sean Dyche looks to have taken his Burnley side as far as he can. He’s been fantastic over the years at keeping the side in the league with little money invested, and even earned a European place one of the previous seasons. Burnley are a team that don’t play attractive football, but they have a certain style with the players that fit the style and it has worked. Not exciting to watch, but it does get the job done and they are likely to survive again with only a couple of wins needed to secure it.
A point against Tottenham showed that Newcastle is fighting. They showed up, and they took the game to Spurs at times. Fulham are still on their heels, but the stature of Newcastle means that they can’t afford to head down to the Championship again. With the players they’ve gone out and got this season, it hasn’t quite worked out again and it will likely come down to the wire at the end of the season to see where this team ends up. Survival is a must, no matter how ugly you pick up results, it has to be done. Each and every game should be played as though it’s a cup final.
West Ham vs Leicester
Two teams that currently occupy Champions League spots. With 8 games to go, there’s still a lot on the line for both sides.
The Hammers picked up another win last weekend and it saw them take over Chelsea into 4th. They’re no doubt the surprise team this season, but they do have the quality capable in their team with the likes of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek enjoying a wonderful campaign. Rice will miss the game due to injury, as will striker Antonio, so it will be interesting to see if West Ham still have enough to pick up all 3 points against one of the only few teams above them in the league.
Leicester know all too well about injuries, with key players all throughout their season being out. It hasn’t hurt them though, and they’ve retained their European places quite comfortably while others around have faltered. The team is good enough to play Champions League football, with a side full of quality. James Maddison will be back here, and he’s normally the danger along with the ever deadly Jamie Vardy who hasn’t missed a beat. Leicester will be strong here and look to take advantage of West Ham’s squad that is sure to miss key players.