Friday, April 16, 2021

Matchweek 32 Preview: Spurs visit Goodison in Key Top Six Match; Hammers Go To Newcastle; Liverpool Begins Stretch Run at Leeds; Gunners Take Aim at Fulham

Tottenham Hotspur travels to Goodison Park Friday to face Everton in a key top six battle. Spurs trail sixth place Liverpool by three points and sit one point above their Friday opponents. Everton will again be without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin as they try to avoid an eighth home loss of the season which would equal the club record. Only Fulham and Liverpool have accumulated fewer than the Toffees’ five points earned at home this season. Spurs’ Harry Kane has 10 goals in his last 11 matches against Everton in all competitions.  

West Ham will try to extend its top four stay when the Hammers travel to Newcastle. Newcastle is breathing just a bit easier of late, having now put six points between themselves and the relegation zone after losing just once in their last six matches.  West Ham has not lost to a bottom half side in the 22 matches since David Moyes returned to the club as manager.


Fulham have never beaten Arsenal in any competition but will try again at the Emirates this weekend. The Cottagers’ hopes for survival are all but extinguished after the club has lost its last four matches. Alexander Lacazette, scorer of a brace in league competition last week and in Arsenal’s Europa league match Thursday, has scored in each of his last three matches against Fulham. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, meanwhile, has not scored in any of his 16 London derbies, the longest such stretch for a Premier League player.  

Wolves face Sheffield United with little for either team to play for. Wolves are safe from relegation but hold no hopes for a European place and are likely to not even finish in the top half of the table after a disappointing season. Adama Traore, though, appears to be enjoying a late season awakening for Wolves. The winger has either scored or assisted in each of the last two matches after recording no goals or assists in his previous 35 league matches. Sheffield United could be mathematically relegated as early as this weekend.

Manchester United would prefer to be playing in the FA Cup semi-final after a disappointing quarterfinal exit, but instead will host Burnley this weekend in a league match at Old Trafford. Burnley is surprisingly undefeated in its last four visits to play the Red Devils. Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood has scored in each of the last two league matches after the youngster scored just once in his first 23 league appearances this season. 

Liverpool, now eliminated by Real Madrid from this year’s Champion’s League competition, can put its sole focus over the coming weeks on qualifying for next year’s tournament. The Reds begin their stretch run with a visit to Leeds. Leeds delivered a determined and gritty performance last week in defeating Manchester City despite being down to ten men for the entire second half. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is seeking a 20th goal for his third time in the Premier League.

Chelsea, following their FA Cup semifinal this weekend, will return to league action Tuesday when the Blues host Brighton at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have lost but once in the league since the first week of January.  Brighton, meanwhile, has been doing just enough to stay clear of the relegation battle as Graham Potter’s men play some attractive football but suffer difficulty in finishing their chances. 

Manchester City versus Aston Villa, Leicester versus West Brom, and Tottenham v Southampton will be played Wednesday.

FA Cup Semi-Final

The FA Cup semi-final matches will take place this weekend at Wembley Stadium in London. Chelsea face Manchester City on Saturday as the Blues attempt to reach the final for the fourth time in five years. Chelsea lost to Arsenal in last year’s final. Manchester City has, somewhat surprisingly, only reached the Cup final once in the last eight seasons. The powerful Citizens remain contenders for four different crowns this season and, like Chelsea, advanced to the Champions League semi-finals this week. The other semi-final will match Leicester and Southampton on Sunday. Leicester will see a chance at Wembley to get back on track after two consecutive  losses in the Premier League. James Maddison, Ayoze Perez and Hamza Choudhury will be available for the Foxes as they return from suspension for their violation of COVID 19 protocols. Southampton is the surprise contestant of the four FA Cup semifinalists as the Saints have experienced little success in the Premier League this season, winning just three of their last 19 matches. The FA Cup final will be May 15th.

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