Football News: Premier League Match Preview Sunday 15th April 2018

 

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Premier League Match Preview Sunday 15th April 2018
Image from: thecoli.com

Sunday 15th April 2018



Newcastle United v Arsenal 1:30pm kick off


Gamez (ankle injury) out

Three wins in a row have seen the Toon move into almost certain safety with 6 games left to add the points to confirm it. Now it is just a case of seeing how far up the league they can get. The amazing thing is the arrival of Islam Slimani seems to be the catalyst, even before he was fit to play! It just shows the value of competition for places as his signing saw the forwards already at the club raise their game noticeably and lift the club out of danger.
Most important player: Martin Dubravka. He is the other player who has come in and lifted the club at a difficult time. Has been excellent since he got in the team.


Xhaka (illness) slight doubt
Mkhitaryan (MCL injury expected return 29th April) out
Ospina (ankle injury expected return 29th April) out
Maitland-Niles (muscular injury) doubt
Cazorla (plantaris injury) out
Ramsey (calf injury) doubt

Arsenal, like their opponents, are on a run of three wins in a row, which has put them back in touching distance of Chelsea in the 'race' for 5th place in the Premier League. With a Europa League semi-final upcoming, the players have their places to play for in that as well, to give them a bit more motivation. Historically Arsenal do tend to go on good runs at times like this, as the pressure has gone and they can play with freedom. All those things bode well for the Gunners in the final weeks of the season.
Most important player: Mesut Ozil. Ozil has shown some of the genuine quality he has in recent weeks.


Defining Battle: two teams in great form with only pride to actually play for in reality, it could turn out to be a cracking match with Newcastle at home, safe, so able to go out and play. Arsenal have the pressure off, they can just go out and take the game to Newcastle and enjoy themselves. The key is to close Ozil down and not allow him time and space, press him, physically smother him with a bit of bite in the tackle and see if he is up for it or worried about keeping himself fit for the Europa League.


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



Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion 4pm kick off


Romero (knee injury expected return 29th April) out

They have had an odd season, started off playing well and getting results, then lost their way a bit in terms of performance but mostly got results and have managed to hold onto second place all the way through, without ever looking like catching Man City. Then, on the back of four wins in a row then go to City and get over run in the first half. Obituaries were being written for Mourinho's United career and then, well then the second half took place. Now they are not only on a run of five wins, but absolutely buzzing off the back of a sensational turnaround to win the game against their local rivals. If Jose lets them stay off the leash, they can really go out and show what they truly can do.
Most important player: Alexis Sanchez. Seemed to finally figure out how to work with the United team last time out.


Chadli (fitness) late fitness test
Evans (knee injury) late fitness test
Robson-Kanu (concussion expected return 21st April) doubt
Barry (knee injury expected return 1st June) out
Sturridge (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Morrison (Achilles injury expected return 1st June) out
Field (knock) slight doubt

On the plus side, they stopped the run of defeats by getting a draw last time out. That is about all the positives I can come up with for the Baggies, who may not have lost last time but they have not won for 10 matches and are rock bottom of the table 6 points behind the rest and 12 away from safety. At least Darren Moore could not possibly make things worse and so is not risking ruining his reputation before he can get started properly in management. Anything other than defeat is a bonus for this team. I honestly cannot remember ever seeing a worse team in the Premier League.
Most important player: Salomon Rondon. He will need to hold up the ball to allow the team to get up the pitch at times.


Defining Battle: the only real hope for West Brom is that their pacey widemen can get in behind the United full backs and catch them out on the break. So long as United do not over commit, which seems unlikely with Jose Mourinho in charge, they should be able to deal with anything the Baggies have to throw at them.


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




Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed002 - 214 points
2. Ed018 - 209 points
3. Ed025 - 208 points
4. Ed007 - 207 points
5. Ed033 - 204 points
6. Ed004 - 202 points
7. Ed003 - 186 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 13th April 2018 (not including results for that day)

Written by Tris Burke



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