Friday, April 21, 2023

Premier League Preview: Matchweek 32

Arsenal has the perfect opportunity Friday to correct its current wobble and regain some confidence in advance of next Wednesday’s match with Manchester City. The top of the table Gunners are home on Saturday to bottom of the table Southampton. Arsenal has scored fifty more goals this season than the Saints and are 51 points above them in the table. Look for the Gunners to get back on track against a young and inexperienced Southampton club which will be playing in the second-tier next season.

The top four race, meanwhile, will see Tottenham Hotspur away at Newcastle. A win by Spurs would place the north London side level on points with the fourth place Magpies. Newcastle, however, has lost just once this season at St. James Park while Tottenham Hotspur has lost its last six away matches across all competitions.

The top four may be out of reach for eighth place Liverpool but the Reds are still contending for a Europa League berth. Liverpool is home to Nottingham Forest this weekend for what should be an automatic three points. Anfield remains an intimidating fortress for the Reds while Forest seems ticketed for relegation after losing seven of ten matches since their last win in early February.

Aston Villa has entered the conversation for Europe by winning their last five matches. Manager Unai Emery has his club sixth in the table as the Villans head to Brentford. The Bees have drifted down to ninth in the table following three straight losses.

Crystal Place has won three consecutive matches since the appointment of Manager Roy Hodgson, scoring nine goals in the process. The Eagles are home this weekend to struggling Everton. The Toffees will be hoping for a boost from the return of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Everton’s 24 goals on the season are the joint lowest in the Premier League.

Leeds, on the other hand, have conceded the most goals in the league. The Whites visit London this weekend for a match with Fulham. The Cottagers remain without suspended striker Aleksandar Mitrovic but should be able to find some goals at home against the leaky Leeds defense.

Manager Dean Smith has a better chance this weekend to notch a first win in charge of Leicester after the Foxes were easily handled by Manchester City in Smith’s debut. This weekend the Foxes are home to Wolves. A victory at King Power could lift the Foxes to safety.

Wolverhampton, however, has kept clean sheets in back-to-back wins as Manager Julen Lopetegui’s squad continues to push clear of the relegation battle.

Bournemouth has also improved its survival chances by winning three of the Cherries’ last four matches to rise six points above the drop line. Fourteenth place Bournemouth is two points better in the table than Sunday opponent West Ham as both clubs try to pull free of the relegation fight. The schedule is limited to eight matches this weekend due to three Premier League clubs participating in the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley.

FA Cup

The FA Cup semifinals will see Manchester City face Championship squad Sheffield United Saturday with Brighton taking on Manchester United on Sunday. Sheffield United looks headed back to the Premier League as they close in on automatic promotion from the second tier.  The Blades will be forced to bench two of their better players, however, as Tommy Doyle and James McAtee are both on loan from the Citizens. Manchester City is competing to complete a treble by winning the FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League. Brighton will be trying to reach an FA Cup final for the first time in forty years when they face Manchester United on Sunday. Coincidentally, it was the Red Devils who defeated Brighton in that 1983 final. Manchester United is stumbling into this match after a poor outing in Sevilla on Thursday where the Red Devils were bounced from the Europa League.

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