4 April, 2014 - 12:55

Premier League preview: Everton vs Arsenal and other fixtures

With the season rolling up to the end, the clubs enter the crucial stage, with the six-pointers coming both in relegation zone and in the top.

Everton vs Arsenal
A crucial clash at Goodison Park that could be decisive in the battle for a Champions League spot. The Toffees lie just four points adrift of fourth-placed Gunners and have a match in hand. If they manage to exploit Arsenal’s poor spring form and take three points in Liverpool, they would close the gap to one point and will have a postponed Crystal Palace game to play.

Arsene Wenger, though, is aware of the the threat and must finish in the top four to be able to sign an extension of his contract that expired in the summer. He will still miss a number of first-string players at Goodison Park, such as Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. Aaron Ramsey seems to be fit and could take a part in the game. Roberto Martinez will be missing Lacina Traore, Steven Pienaar, Bryan Oviedo, Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson. Ross Barkley is doubtful. The teams have met twice this season, with Arsenal winning in the FA Cup 4-1 and a 1-1 draw in Premier League. Both matches were played at Emirates.

Manchester City vs Southampton
This match could have been a no-brainer, with the hosts on the way to Premier League title and The Saints far from European Cups and relegation battle, but for one nuance: at least four Southampton players work their socks off to impress Roy Hodgson two months before the World Cup. And the match against title contenders is definitely the one that counts. Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert are the ones who still have a chance to catch a plane to Brazil this summer. Matija Nastasic, Sergio Aguero and Micah Richards are sidelined for the hosts, while Maya Yoshida, Nat Clyne, Victor Wanyama, Danny Fox and Kelvin Davis are doubtful for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. The teams drew 1-1 at St.Mary’s last December.

Chelsea must stop their poor form to beat Stoke City at Stamford Bridge and get back to the title race. Manchester United travel to Newcastle after an inspiring draw against European champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. West Ham United host free-scoring Liverpool, who have won their last six Premier League games. Cardiff host Crystal Palace in what might be a last chance game for Ole Gunnar Solskajer. Norwich take on West Bromwich in another relegation battle. Aston Villa, who lost Cristian Benteke through a cruciate ligament injury for six months, play against struggling Fulham in Birmingham.

Saturday, 05/04
Manchester City vs Southampton
Aston Villa vs Fulham
Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace
Hull City vs Swansea City
Newcastle United vs Manchester United
Norwich City vs West Bromwich Albion
Chelsea vs Stoke City

Sunday, 06/04
Everton vs Arsenal
West Ham United vs Liverpool

Monday, 07/04
Tottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland

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Author: Leon Smolski

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