BPL Preview: Two Premier League giants collide
By Jake Davies
- Two BPL Giants face off in Saturday’s showdown
- Norwich City vs Sunderland in the bid to survive relegation
- Leicester City need 3 Premier League victories to clinch the title
Chelsea vs Manchester City
Two Premier League giants face off in a riveting encounter on Saturday afternoon. By Manchester City’s standards this has been a peculiarly inconsistent season in recent memory, while Chelsea are potentially looking at their worst finish in a Premier League season since the 1995-1996 season. A lot has changed since that phase of Premier League football, but what managers, players and owners alike will be aiming for is not only trophies but sustainability like teams like Manchester United and Arsenal have demonstrated over the years. The downward direction of Chelsea’s results in the first portion of this season earmarks that perhaps this team does need more investment to continue their cycle of sustainability and to reinforce their position as a Premier League heavyweight.
In this particular match up, Chelsea have dominated the meetings at Stamford Bridge by staying unbeaten in the five clashes and winning 3 of them. Manchester City will still be without Raheem Sterling, who hasn’t recovered in time for this match and captain Vincent Kompany is touch-and-go whether he can feature at some point at the Bridge.
Chelsea have a long list of injured personnel. Eden Hazard, who has been a shadow of the player that earned him PFA’s Player’s Player of 2015, is an injury worry for Guus Hiddink. Other players likely to miss this match includ John Terry, Willian and Kurt Zouma, who won’t be back in contention for regular football until August later this year.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City
Norwich City vs Sunderland
One of the more crucial and pivotal games that involve two struggling sides that are striving to make the most of every game they compete in in the Barclays Premier League. Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce must envision this game as a game they mustn’t lose if they realistically want to stay in the highest division of English Football for another season. A win for Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday would put them seven points clear of 18th place Sunderland, all but relegating them in the process.
Norwich City over the years have faired well against Sunderland. With Sunderland becoming way too over-reliant on Jermain Defoe’s goal productivity, there is only one winner in this one. Sunderland in recent matches have thrown away important goals in big moments vs Newcastle, Southampton and Leicester last week.
Prediction: Norwich City 2-1 Sunderland
Leicester City vs West Ham United
Leicester City are on the cusp of their first Premier League title in their club history. Claudio Ranieri and his players all know that 3 positive results and a winning scoreline vs West Ham United, Swansea City and away to Manchester United would seal the Premier League title for them. Many critics have forecasted a hiccup in Leicester City’s results as they aim to create history, but in many respects many Leicester City players haven’t experienced a title charge before, which might just work in their favour. 3 of the 6 nominees for the Player of the Season awards were Leicester City players: Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante. All 3 players have epitomized what Leicester City have been about this season- hardworking, resilient and productive in all areas of the pitch.
West Ham United have just been knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United. That would have been a bitter disappointment for the Hammers, who would have fancied themselves picking up the victory particularly in their home ground.
The Hammers are shipping in a lot of goals, a total of 10 in their last 5 games, while Leicester City haven’t conceded in their last 5 Premier League fixtures. Leicester City certainly are grinding out Premier League result after Premier League result. Sometimes they are winning ugly, but they have found the winning formula and continue to ride the wave of momentum they are on. This should be a difficult game for them, but with a hard-fought victory once again.
Prediction: Leicester City 1-0 West Ham United
Barclay’s Premier League Fixtures:
12.45: Norwich City vs Sunderland
15.00: Everton vs Southampton
15.00: Manchester United vs Aston Villa
15.00: Newcastle United vs Swansea City
15.00: West Bromwich Albion vs Watford
17.30: Chelsea vs Manchester City
13.30: Bournemouth vs Liverpool
13.30: Leicester City vs West Ham United
16.00: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
20.00: Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur
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