English Premier League
Fulham vs Leeds
Friday night football has Fulham host Leeds at Craven Cottage. Struggling Fulham find themselves in the relegation zone, but a win here will lift them out of it for at least a day. Leeds are in a spot of bother themselves, having only picked up 1 win in their last 6 EPL games.
Fulham have improved tremendously throughout the season, and they are now a team that is hard to beat. At the beginning of the campaign, it looked as though they’d be this season’s whipping boys, but Scott Parker has done a fantastic job in turning things around. Yes, they are still fighting to stay in the league, and that will continue on until the end of the season, but they look as though they are a team capable of doing so now. They will fancy their chances here against a Leeds side struggling for form.
Leeds play a certain style of football that they refuse to change from, and while they’ve been extremely entertaining this season to watch, things aren’t going well for them at the minute. 1 win in their last 6 isn’t good enough, and having not hit the back of the net in their last 3, it is a worrying time for the team. There could be a number of factors as to why Leeds aren’t playing well at the moment, with things like fatigue or teams learning how to play against them, but they must get back to winning ways if they want to be safe in this league.
Brighton vs Newcastle
Another bottom of the table clash takes place on Saturday night at the Amex as struggling teams Brighton and Newcastle square off in what is a massive game for both sides.
Brighton can count themselves unlucky in a few recent fixtures, but they are slowly being sucked into a relegation fight. Three points clear of the relegation zone, this talented Brighton side are no doubt underperforming, and they certainly have the players to change that around. Whether they do remains to be seen, as they have let far too many games get away from them with only 1 win from their last 7. Nothing less than three points here will do, as it is a must win against fellow strugglers Newcastle who sit a point below.
Newcastle are another team that should be higher up the table than what their position shows. They brought in quality in the Summer, but it hasn’t gone to plan for Steve Bruce. Three draws from their last three EPL games is promising, but they haven’t been able to pick up wins recently, with their last win coming at the start of February. It’s a tough time for Newcastle, as teams around them look to be playing better football, and they see themselves drop further down the table. Now sitting only two points above the relegation zone, like Brighton, this one is a must win for them.
West Ham vs Arsenal
London Stadium features an all London affair on Sunday as West Ham host Arsenal. This season’s overachievers West Ham currently sit comfortably in 5th in the league, while Arsenal are in an uncomfortable 10th.
It’s been a great season so far if you’re a West Ham fan, and there could be much more enjoyment to come should they continue their fantastic form and keep a European place. Whether they can or not, their season has been a success under David Moyes, who has proven that he still has a lot to offer. West Ham will certainly fancy picking up something here against an indifferent Arsenal side.
Arsenal are a strange team this season. They show a lot of good things in their play and there’s a lot to like about Mikel Arteta, but their results throughout the season show that they still have a long way to go. Sitting a disappointing 10th, they’re set to miss out on European football which will be a real blow for the club, and their focus will likely be on winning the Europa League. They are unbeaten in their last 5 in all competitions, and showed great resilience in their last outing against rivals Spurs.
West Ham: 19/10
Aston Villa vs Tottenham
Spurs travel to Villa Park on Sunday night to end off the weekend’s EPL matches, and it’s a fixture Tottenham generally do well in, winning the last 5 games between the sides. Villa have hit a rough patch in their form recently, winning only once in their last six.
Aston Villa were enjoying a great season, and while they still sit 9th in the league, they are moving downwards instead of up. There was talk of them reaching European positions not too long ago, but that has fallen off as their form has taken a big hit. The team has a lot of promise and they have definitely improved in their play and style compared to last season’s relegation battle. They do have a couple of games in hand, which could see them challenge for the big spots in the league again should they win those.
Spurs were dealt a blow last weekend as Arsenal turned things around against them, but they have some sort of form in their recent results. They enjoy a trip to Villa Park, having had a lot of success here previously and will be hoping to mount more hurt on Aston Villa with another win here. Mourniho’s team has played negatively at times, but the talent at the top of the pitch has carried the team throughout the season. Son missing due to injury is a blow, while Harry Kane may not be fully fit himself.
Aston Villa: 21/10