Friday, April 7, 2023

Premier League Preview: Matchweek 30

Frank Lampard makes his return as Chelsea manager when the Blues visit Wolverhampton this weekend. The surprise move for Lampard as interim manager after the sacking of Graham Potter does nothing to dispel fears that Chelsea ownership may not yet have the hang of this Premier League thing. The American owners have now dismissed world class manager Thomas Tuchel to hire the unproven Potter only to now bring back a Chelsea manager who the club sacked two years ago and who was found wanting by Everton earlier this season. Maybe it will work. While the focus is on Lampard’s return, the match may be more important for Wolves who are just a point from the relegation zone after winning just one of their last seven league matches.

League leading Arsenal, meanwhile, has won seven consecutive matches to put a foot on the throat of second place Manchester City. The Gunners travel to Anfield Sunday to try to win at Liverpool for the first time in ten years. Liverpool and Manager Jurgen Klopp earned their first point in three matches in an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Chelsea under the temporary management of career assistant Bruno Saltor. Manchester City is expected to have Erling Haaland available when the Citizens take to the pitch at Southampton Saturday.

Newcastle will be in London for a second consecutive match when the Magpies visit Brentford just days after the Magpies’ dominant 5-1 win at West Ham. The Bees will be motivated to re-energize their hopes for a European place after dropping seven of their last nine available points in the league.

Aston Villa has moved past the Bees in the table by winning five of six matches capped by a 2-1 win at spiraling Leicester Tuesday. The Villans, who will host relegation battler Nottingham Forest this weekend, are in seventh position in the table which would mean a Europa Conference League berth for Manager Unai Emery and his resurgent club. Emery’s men were 2-1 winners over spiraling Leicester during the week.

Brighton remains two points above Aston Villa after a 2-0 win over Bournemouth during the week. Brighton Manager Roberto De Zerbi has been a roaring success for the Seagulls. A club which struggled to score goals under former manager Graham Potter has now notched 51 goals in the Premier League this season, just three fewer than the club’s full season record. Brighton is on the road at Tottenham Hotspur this weekend. Spurs have won just one of their last six matches across all competitions and looked particularly poor at Everton last Monday. Harry Kane, however, can make some more history. A goal on Saturday would make Kane the first Premier League player to score 100 goals both home and away.

Manchester United are back in the top four after Marcus Rashford scored his fifteenth Premier League goal of the season in a 1-0 home win over Brentford during the week. The Red Devils are again at Old Trafford where they will host Everton. The Toffees are on a four-match unbeaten run, though drawing three of those contests. Everton is on 27 points with three other clubs occupying places 15 through 18 in the table as they battle to survive.

Bournemouth is currently the odd man out in the survival scrap based on goal differential and the Cherries have a key relegation rumble at Leicester on Saturday. The Foxes are two points deeper into the drop zone, above only Southampton, and have lost seven matches and one manager in recent weeks.

West Ham, meanwhile, faces a critical London derby at Fulham. The Hammers were embarrassed in their 5-1 home defeat versus Newcastle Wednesday. Manager David Moyes’s underperforming group are outside the drop on goal differential alone after the mistake filled capitulation to the Magpies. Fulham are safe in the middle of the table despite three consecutive league defeats and an eight-match suspension levied on striker Aleksandar Mitrovic for accosting a match official.

Leeds took a big step towards survival with a 2-1 win at Elland Road over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. The victory was the second in three matches for the Whites who moved two points above the drop line. Leeds will be home again on Sunday to face Crystal Palace. The 12th place Eagles are just a point above Leeds in the table as they try to navigate their own survival battel under familiar manager Roy Hodgson. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: