Premier League fixtures preview: Matchday 31
After the international break Premier League returns with a host of interesting matches. Although there is apparent lack of high-profile clashes, with just 8 games remaining until the end of the season the football enthusiasts will find a lot of intriguing moments to pay attention to.
Manchester United are several steps away from being crowned Premier League champions for the twentieth time in their history. However the battle for the Champions League spots as tense as ever: Tottenham entered their traditional end-of-the-season slump, Arsenal and Chelsea are determined to fight for the top four spots to the bitter end, while in-form Everton and unpredictable Liverpool trying to edge closer to the desirable qualification for Europe. Meanwhile at least six sides (QPR, Reading, Wigan, Villa, Saints, and Black Cats) facing a tough fight against the relegation, with Norwich, West Ham and Newcastle also far from being in safety. We offer you four key intrigues of Matchday 31:
Will Tottenham avoid the third consecutive defeat?
After losing two back-to-back Premier League games Villas-Boas’ side finds itself just a point above the fifth-placed Arsenal. With Swansea City being far from their best (they probably lost motivation after FA Cup title win) and Gareth Bale returning into the first XI, probably the Spurs will return to winning ways. However it is to be recalled that they have suffered an eyebrow-raising 1-0 home defeat to Fulham, which could indicate the beginning of the typical for them end-of-the-season wobble.
Who Sir Alex Ferguson will pick for the clash against Sunderland?
This game is far from having a “must-win” status for Manchester United. They have almost guaranteed themselves Premier League title this season, outstripping their closest opponents by 15 points with 8 games to go. However everyone remembers that is at the Stadium of Light where Manchester United players saw the Premier League title slipping from their hands despite a 1-0 win over the home side, as cross-town rivals Manchester City secured a much-needed 3-2 victory over QPR to win the title for the first time in 44 years. Sunderland players were mocking Ferdinand and Rooney, struck with grief as they discovered that the Citizens beat their opponents by courtesy of Aguero goal. Revenge is a dish best served cold and Sir Alex may be eager to hit back at the Black Cats by sending them into relegation battle. Meanwhile Sunderland seem to enter the streak of bad luck, as they have lost two key players Cattermole and Flecher until the rest of the season due to injuries.
Will Nigel Adkins mark his debut game in charge of Reading with a win?
Reading have surprisingly decided to replace Brian McDermott with Nigel Adkins near the end of the Premier League campaign. And the newly appointed manager has no choice but hit the ground running, as Reading are currently lying in the last but one place in Premier League table. Should they lose to Arsenal on Saturday, they could fall behind the 17th place by 10 points with seven games to go. It should be noted that the Saints were demolished 6-1 by Arsenal with Adkins in charge.
Chelsea set to play three games in six days
Although Chelsea do have enough depth in squad to compete in several tournaments, three games in six days is too much even for them. Chelsea are set to visit Southampton in a Premier league clash on the 30th of March, then they play against Manchester United on the 1st of April, finally, the Blues face Rubin on the fourth of April. While Chelsea have not guaranteed themselves Champions League qualification this season, they cannot field the reserves against Rubin. Rafa Benitez faces arguably the biggest challenge in his current job.
Games played on Saturday, March 30:
Sunderland vs Manchester United
Wigan Athletic vs Norwich City
West Ham United vs West Bromwich Albion
Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal vs Reading
Manchester City vs Newcastle United
Southampton vs Chelsea
Everton vs Stoke City
Game played on Sunday, March 31:
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
More information about Premier League you can find on Free Fantasy Football League
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