BPL Preview: Justice for the Hillsborough disaster
By Jake Davies
- Justice for the families of the 96 football fans tragically killed
- Sunderland looking for another clean sheet vs Stoke
- Leicester City are a win away from Premier League history
- Chelsea and Tottenham go head to head on Monday Night
Hillsborough inquest provides justice for the victims families
On 15 April 1989, the overcrowding of football fans on the terraces of the Hillsborough stadium saw 96 victims tragically killed. The inquests this week found that match commander Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield was responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence. The findings of this inquest has confirmed that fans after a 27 year campaign in regards to the Hillsborough disaster were completely blameless for the tragic state of events and that police errors contributed to what happened on that sad day during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
Stoke City vs Sunderland
Sam Allardyce, who has never in his managerial career managed a team that has got relegated under his tutelage, will be looking for another step in the right direction when his side Sunderland meet Stoke City at the Britannia stadium on Saturday. Sunderland earned a hard-fought point against a stumbling, but a star-studded Arsenal side last weekend, which is the third clean sheet Sunderland have achieved in four games. Incidentally, critics could argue that this Sunderland side could be even higher up the table had they not conceded late goals against Southampton and Newcastle United last month, two results that could prove pivotal in the scrap for survival in the Premier League.
Sunderland are in a better position to their fellow strugglers, Norwich and Newcastle as they are now just outside the relegation zone by goal difference. But the glimmering hope for Sunderland is that it’s in their hands and as it stands they don’t have to rely on other results going their way, which wasn’t the case a number of weeks ago. Another positive for this Sunderland team is that going forward they have Premier League proven goal scorers, whereas the same can’t be said for Newcastle United and Norwich City.
Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Sunderland
Manchester United vs Leicester City
Leicester are just one win away from winning the first top flight title in their history if they manage to win three points against Manchester United on Sunday. They’ll have to do it without star man Jamie Vardy, but as they demonstrated last weekend they have strength in numbers as Riyad Mahrez and Leonardo Ulloa bagged goals in their demolition of Swansea City.
The enormity of the title win can’t be understated with many of Leicester’s players have never played this level of football in previous years both in the Premier League and in the Championship. Many of the players featuring in the starting line up of Leicester actually were part of their success in the Championship before being promoted, which suggests that these players are playing way above their predicted levels and that comes down to the man management of Claudio Ranieri, who is also closing in on a first top division league title as a manager himself.
Manchester United still have a lot to play for in the last four games of the season. Still very much chasing Champions League football, which is in reach but the stop-start season under Louis Van Gaal may suggest that winning all their remaining games to clinch a Top 4 spot may prove a step too far for the young Red Devils. A positive factor leading into this game is that Manchester United have faired well against the bigger teams this season, but have failed to build from those wins against the teams they should really beat.
The intent, commitment and drive of the Leicester players this season has contributed to their unprecedented success this season and that should be enough for them to win the league title this Sunday against Louis Van Gaal’s Men.
Prediction: Manchester United 0-1 Leicester City
Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City could very well have already settled the destination of the league title before this match even gets started on Monday night. But both teams will be looking to continue great momentum going into the next Premier League campaign nevertheless. Preparation has already being made and organized for life with Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s new manager for the 2016/17 season. While Tottenham will look to build around a good nucleus of young talent that has seemingly directed them to their best top flight season since the 1962-63 season. A fantastic achievement under Mauricio Pochettino that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
The failure to pick up maximum points in the last Premier League outing against West Brom could deflate many of the Spurs cast, as the expectation of turning the deficit around on Leicester continues to lessen by the day. Another talking point is whether this match could prove meaningless in the grander scheme of things in the Premier League, as Spurs would virtually be playing for a second position in the league, while Chelsea already have one foot in the door for the upcoming season. Chelsea will be without John Terry and Spurs will miss Eric Dier in that holding midfield role a lot, but apart from those losses there are no real major injury concerns for both teams.
Prediction: Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
|Premier League 30 Apr-2 May|
|Everton v Bournemouth – Sat 30 Apr 15:00|
|Newcastle v Crystal Palace – Sat 30 Apr 15:00|
|Stoke v Sunderland – Sat 30 Apr 15:00|
|Watford v Aston Villa – Sat 30 Apr 15:00|
|West Brom v West Ham – Sat 30 Apr|
|Arsenal v Norwich – Sat 30 Apr 17:30|
|Swansea v Liverpool – Sun 1 May 12:00|
|Man Utd v Leicester – Sun 1 May 14:05|
|Southampton v Man City – Sun 1 May 16:30|
|Chelsea v Tottenham – Mon 2 May 20:00|