Football News: Tuesday Premier League Preview

 

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Tuesday Premier League Preview
Image from: soccerblog.com

Tuesday 16th May 2017


Arsenal v Sunderland Premier League 7.45pm

Koscielny (late fitness test - calf injury)
Oxlade-Chamberlain (out - hamstring injury)
Cazorla (out - plantaris injury)
Sanchez (doubt - thigh injury)
Reine-Adelaide (out - ankle injury)

As usual, the pressure is off the Gunners so they go on a good run, winning their last three matches in a row when pretty much everyone, other than the most hopeful Gooners, had given up on top four this season. However Man City and Liverpool had good wins, which has left them needing a win today to put pressure on those pair above them. They have to go out there and make a point, by winning and winning well to put real pressure on Liverpool for the final day. However, they also know that bettering Man City's result today will leave the top four trophy within reach. Could this still end up being the usual fourth place and FA Cup season for Arsene Wenger, despite all the turmoil? If so, does that still count as a good season for Arsenal or have their ambitions finally gone beyond qualifying for the Champions League?
Most important player: Olivier Giroud. The French striker has not been as prolific as the brilliant Alexis Sanchez, but he has been a scorer of important goals. He can usually be relied upon, whether he starts or comes on from the bench, to score when the pressure is on. One of a very small number of Arsenal players that do not seem to wilt under pressure.

Anichebe (late fitness test - hamstring injury)
Denayer (late fitness test - thigh injury)
Honeyman (slight doubt - back injury)
Pienaar (slight doubt - ankle injury)
Cattermole (doubt - achilles injury)
Kirchhoff (out - knee cartilage injury)
Watmore (out - ACL injury)
McNair (out - ACL injury)

The end of the season is turning into the same as the rest of the season, disappointing (to put it nicely). David Moyes has shown absolutely no signs of being able to make any kind of improvement to this Mackems side. They do not play good football, they do not defend well, they have no creativity and the lack of real fight and effort is bizarre considering that was what his Everton side were built on. You have to wonder whether his time at Manchester United has destroyed his self-confidence, or players' belief in his methods or whether he has just had his time and football has moved on. Probably it is a mix of the three. What we do know is that his team is one of the worst to ever play in the Premier League and that is not just his fault but it is in big part down to Moyes. If Sam Allardyce was still in charge, love or hate him you have to admit that this team would have picked up much better results over the course of the season.
Most important player: Didier Ndong. The young midfielder has provided workrate and energy all season, but little in the way of quality. In a match like this, energy and workrate will be much more important than anything else for Sunderland.

Defining Battle: normally the central midfield is key to any Arsenal team, but the new formation lessens the pressure on that, as the ball tends to miss out the midfield going forward and defensively the wide players and attackers will help out. Usually. The wide areas are the key to this formation, as it is very much based around getting at the opponent down the flanks and it is up to Sunderland to stem the flow of those wide attacks. With such a makeshift and patchwork side as the Mackems have to put out, they will need to find a way to stop those wingbacks from marauding at will and overloading the defence.

Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-0
Ed003 - 5-0
Ed004 - 2-0
Ed007 - 2-0
Ed018 - 3-0
Ed025 - 3-0


Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion Premier League 8pm

Bravo (out - calf strain)
Delph (out - muscle injury)
Stones (doubt - groin strain)
Gundogan (out - ACL injury)

Pep Guardiola's first season has been a disappointment, at best. No trophies, not even a genuine title challenge, and two games left to play with Champions League qualification still not ensured. Even the way his team has performed has been, at best, inconsistent, with flashes of good mixed with some truly awful performances too. After all those years of preparing for the 'messiah' to arrive, no one was really truly expecting this amount of mediocrity, not after all those years of spending backed up by another summer of investment in the team. While Gabriel Jesus has been an unqualified success, I am not sure if anything else about the Pep reign can be considered to be successful. The Citizens still find defending impossible unless Vincent Kompany is in the team, if anything Pep's arrival seems to have made matters worse on that front. Pep's bizarre tactics, formations and team selections have managed to confuse the opposition, but they seem to have confused his own players just as much. Still another few hundred million will be sure to fix it...
Most important player: Leroy Sane. The young winger has blistering pace and can tear teams apart but lacks an end product at times, something he needs to work on, as five goals and four assists is not a great return for such a huge transfer outlay. Against a team like the Baggies, his pace is likely to cause real problems as they lack any in their side at all.

McAuley (late fitness test - thigh injury)
Robson-Kanu (late fitness test - tight hamstring)
Phillips (major doubt - hamstring injury)

This is a chance for Tony Pulis to get his best ever finish in the Premier League yet, for some reason, he is unable to motivate his players since they reached safety. It has been seven matches since they won a match, and five of those games have been defeats. With a number of fans unsettled over the style of play, the last thing Pulis needs is to finish off the season in such terrible form. Sometimes those poor finishes carry over to the next season and that would leave him in a difficult position. For a team that was in a position to challenge for European qualification as recently as March, to slip down the table now would be little short of embarrassing for the Baggies. Questions have to be asked of Pulis, whose teams always fall apart the moment safety is reached.
Most important player: Jonny Evans. Evans has become the main man at the heart of the West Brom defence since the Northern Ireland defender arrived from Man Utd. The injury problems seem to have cleared up and he has grown as a player due to being first choice for club and country.

Defining Battle: can the Baggies' lumbering defence hold off the pace and skill of Man City's attack? Will they just drop deep and narrow and look to stay solid? If so, it is likely to be a long afternoon for the team, with little hope of a positive result.

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

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