Friday, March 15, 2024

Premier League Preview Matchweek 29: Abbreviated Schedule Sees Key Relegation Match; Aston Villa Visits The Hammers; London Derby For Spurs And Cottagers; Battle Of The Bumbling B’s

Only four matches feature in an abbreviated Premier League slate this weekend as multiple Premier League clubs participate in FA Cup quarterfinal matches. Two Premier League clubs, however, will be more focused on survival than cup glory this weekend.

Luton Town, currently 18th in the table, will try to regroup after a massive collapse on Wednesday. The Hatters had a 3-0 lead over Bournemouth at halftime only to concede four second half goals in what could be a season defining 4-3 defeat. Fortunately for the Hatters, another opportunity in their survival battle presents itself this weekend when Nottingham Forest visits Kenilworth Road. A dreadful run has put the Tricky Trees within striking distance of the relegation bound Hatters. Three points separate the sides while goal differential sees the Trees only two goals better than their Saturday opponent.

Brentford is also in potential danger as the Bees are only two points above the falling Trees. Manager Thomas Frank’s side has won only two matches since November but has a golden opportunity to add to that total on Saturday. The Bees visit a bumbling Burnley side which has won only a single match at home the entire season. The dreadful Clarets have also won only twice on the road this season as they hurtle towards relegation.

Away from the relegation muck are a couple of matches which could impact European qualification for 2024/25. Aston Villa will travel to London Stadium to face West Ham. Both clubs advanced in their current European competitions this week, West Ham in the Europa League and Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League. Their league performance last week was less inspiring. The Villans are a point clear of fifth place Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table after being thumped at home by Spurs last week. The Hammers almost suffered an acute embarrassment at home against Burnley last week. David Moyes’ boys spotted two goals to the relegation headed side before coming back to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw. The London side looked much better in a 4-0 midweek win over Ajax and home supporters will be hoping for more of that in their league matchup this weekend. Aston Villa, meanwhile, will look to rebound from last week’s to a Spurs side which is now in hot pursuit of the Villans and still has a match in hand in the race for Champions League qualification.

Tottenham Hotspur are at Craven Cottage this weekend for a London derby against Fulham. While Spurs are noted for their freewheeling attack under Manager Ange Postecoglou, only the top three clubs have conceded fewer goals than his side after last week’s clean sheet at Aston Villa. Fulham are bobbing safely in the middle of the table, neither Europe nor relegation beckoning to Manager Marco Silva’s team. The Cottagers struggle mightily against their London neighbors, losing 14 of their last 16 Premier League meetings against the north London club.

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