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Football News: Premier League Match Preview Sunday 1st April 2018

Premier League Match Preview Sunday 1st April 2018
Image from: indianexpress.com

Sunday 1st April 2018

 


Arsenal v Stoke City 1:30pm kick off

 

Cazorla (plantaris injury) out
Kolasinac (knee injury) slight doubt
Lacazette (fitness) slight doubt

Up until recently Wenger has been putting out second string teams in the Europa League to save his strongest for the Premier League. With little to play for in the Prem, other than staying above Burnley, while a spot in the Champions League next season is up for grabs in the Europa League, will Arsene Wenger change tack? Either way, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be playing, as he is ineligible for Europe this season. But who will he be playing alongside? How will the Arsenal fans react if Wenger does choose to rest players in the Prem and prioritise the Europa League? Can Wenger once more win time with a trophy, if he wins it?
Most important player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Ineligible in the Europa League, so it is all about the Prem and that.... exciting.... battle for 6th place that he left Borussia Dortmund for.

 

Choupo-Moting (groin strain expected return 16th April) out
Cameron (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Grant (wrist injury) out
Ireland (calf strain) out
Adam (suspended) out

Sitting in 19th place having played a game more than most of those above them, Stoke are in real trouble, with the managerial change having shown little sign of improving matters. Paul Lambert's dour football has done little to improve fortunes in the Potteries and Stoke are on a run of 7 Prem games without a win, with little sign of a result coming any time soon. Stoke do not look like a team with the quality, nor the run of games, to survive, so this game is vital to them. They will need to take advantage of any distraction from the Gunners if they are to get anything from the match.
Most important player: Ryan Shawcross. Defensive solidity is something that has been non-existent in recent months, with Shawcross looking a shadow of his former self. It is time for the Potters' captain to step up and show some leadership.

 

Defining Battle: Aubameyang's pace up against that lumbering Stoke backline is a recipe for disaster. If Stoke can keep it tight, for once, get some protection from midfield, for one, and organise themselves defensively, for once, then they have a chance. Has Lambert finally managing to suit out their abysmal defence over the international break? If not, they have Bob Hope of staying up.

 

Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-0
Ed003 - 4-0
Ed004 - 2-0
Ed007 - 1-0
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 3-0
Ed033 - 2-0

 


Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur 4pm kick off

 

Christensen (muscle injury) late fitness test
Courtois (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Ampadu (broken ankle) out
Luiz (ankle injury expected return 21st April) out
Barkley (hamstring injury) slight doubt

It has been an odd season for Chelsea, especially following on the tails of last season's title win. The manager has been involving himself in very publicly complaining about the club and its transfer policy in the summer. At times his constant negativity has all the hallmarks of a man looking to engineer an exit, rather than that of a man who wants to move forward. If Chelsea do end up missing out on a place in next season's Champions League, it is difficult to see how anyone else can be blamed, other than Conte, as he seems to be the problem. Instead of managing he is bickering. Tactically he has been caught out and has no idea of how to change things around to revive his team.
Most important player: Willian. He has been in fantastic form of late and is vital to Chelsea's hopes of beating Spurs.

 

Winks (ankle injury) out
Kane (ankle injury) late fitness test

Spurs have been boosted by the return of Harry Kane to training, even if he is not ready to play, just having him back is a massive lift at the business end of the season. The form of South Korea's Son Heung-Min has made sure that Kane has not been missed too much but a player of that quality's absence can only be covered for so long. However the player that they really are missing badly is Toby Alderweireld, with his contract dispute with the club keeping him on the sidelines. They look genuinely vulnerable at the back without him, when they are usually so difficult to break down. That will have to be looked at for next season, if they are to have any hopes of challenging for the title in the near future.
Most important player: Davinson Sanchez. The young Colombian has struggled with his positioning and is error prone, it is up to his team-mates to ensure they cover for him so Chelsea can not take advantage if his weaknesses are shown up.

 

Defining Battle: Spurs record at Stamford Bridge is not good, but they are the team on the up, in good form and Chelsea are struggling. This match will be all about the Spurs' temperament. So often they have lost their discipline in a game like this, which is a big game as well as niggly, usually. They have a lot to prove. Have they got the right attitude to finally start taking the next step to give them a chance of trophies?

 

Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-1
Ed003 - 2-2
Ed004 - 2-2
Ed007 - 1-1
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 2-2
Ed033 - 1-1

 


Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed002 - 198 points
2. Ed025 - 193 points
3. Ed033 - 192 points
4. Ed007 - 191 points
5. Ed004 - 184 points
6. Ed018 - 182 points
7. Ed003 - 179 points

 

*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 30th March 2018 (not including results for that day)

Written by Tris Burke April 01 2018 06:05:14