Friday, February 24, 2023

Premier League Preview: Matchweek 25

A London derby again heads the Premier League marquee this weekend as Tottenham Hotspur plays host to Chelsea. Spurs, having disposed of West Ham at home last weekend, host another London derby as Chelsea comes to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It would be the proverbial "Spursy" outcome should the inconsistent hosts fall to what has been a consistently poor Chelsea side this season. Spurs are in fourth position in the table, having supplanted Newcastle with the win over West Ham last week and Newcastle’s loss to Liverpool. Chelsea is languishing in 10th place in the table.

While top four and Champions League qualification is on the table for at least one of the combatants in the London derby, a relegation battle will be fought in Yorkshire as 19th place Leeds plays host to bottom of the table Southampton at Elland Road. Despite being above the Saints in the table, Leeds was much the poorer side last week, falling to Everton while Southampton was upsetting Chelsea. Newly appointed Leeds manager Javi Gracia received his work permit Friday and faces the task of rescuing Leeds from a nosedive which has seen it win just one of its last 10 league matches to fall into the relegation places. Saints Manager Ruben Selles, meanwhile, can bolster his stock for a permanent gig should he be able to knock off a second consecutive “six pointer” against another team enmeshed in the relegation battle royale.

West Ham will try to climb out of its own relegation zone predicament when the Hammers host Nottingham Forest Saturday. The Tricky Trees are no strangers to the drop zone, having spent considerable time there earlier this season. Forest has turned its season around, however, by losing just one of its seven league matches since the start of the new year. West Ham has trended in the opposite direction, winning just once since October.

Everton will try to preserve the safe position in the table it earned with its win last week when the Toffees welcome Aston Villa to Goodison Park. Villa has lost three consecutive matches, conceding 11 goals in the process, and now goes to an always daunting Goodison Park where the Toffees have already won twice since Sean Dyche became Everton manager.

League leading Arsenal visits Leicester Saturday with the Gunners maintaining a two-point edge over Manchester City in the table. The Gunners recaptured their top perch by coming back twice to defeat Aston Villa last week while City was stumbling at Forest. The Foxes, 14th in the table, had shown flashes during a three-match unbeaten run before being dashed by Manchester United last weekend.

Manchester City is at Bournemouth after a lackluster draw with RB Leipzig in Champions League play. The Cherries won for the first time since the November World Cup break in a win at Wolverhampton last week which moved Bournemouth above the drop line in the table.

Liverpool, licking its wounds after a humiliating Champions League loss during the week, will try to regroup versus Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The Eagles could be accommodating hosts, having not won a match this year and continuing to play without the injured Wilfried Zaha.

The Premier League weekend begins Friday when Fulham hosts Wolverhampton at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers under manager Marco Silva have earned more points since the World Cup break than all clubs but for Manchester United and Manchester City. Wolverhampton has also experienced some success since the appointment of manager Julen Lopetegui but has an often-fatal flaw in that Wolves cannot find the opponent’s net, having scored the joint lowest number of goals in the league this season.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: