Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Premier League Preview: Match Week 29 Reschedules

The midweek schedule features six contests from Match Week 29 which needed to be rescheduled due to conflicts with the FA Cup. The congestion adds to the building frenzy around the Premier League title chase. Arsenal and Liverpool cannot afford a slipup as they play midweek just days after keeping themselves in the chase with weekend victories.

Manchester City could be four points back when they take to the pitch versus Brighton on Thursday assuming Arsenal and Liverpool win on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Arsenal faces a dangerous Chelsea at the Emirates. The Blues are unbeaten in eight consecutive league matches and still have a faint hope of playing in Europe next season. The Chelsea threat, however, could be severely diminished given the uncertain status of Cole Palmer for the match. The young star, who sits alongside Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League scoring table, is reported to be unwell and is a question for the match. Arsenal, meanwhile, will need more production during this stretch run from Bukayo Saka. The 22-year-old English international has scored but once in the Gunners’ last six Premier League matches, his lone score coming via penalty kick. Chelsea Manager Mauricio Pochettino will be looking for his first ever league win at the Emirates.

Liverpool takes to the pitch the following day against rival Everton in the latest incarnation of the Merseyside derby. The Reds have won 29 of these league derbies since the turn of the century versus only five wins for the Toffees. The match is vital to quite differing objectives for the rivals. Liverpool is chasing a second Premier League title for departing Manager Jurgen Klopp. Everton is drawing closer to ensuring their survival in the league. The Toffees are currently five points clear of the relegation line after a key win on the weekend.

Manchester City has not lost a Premier League match since December 6th as the Citizens head to Brighton on Thursday. The defending champions could again be without injured striker Erling Haaland who missed the FA Cup semifinal due to injury. Others battling lesser knocks and fitness issues include John Stones, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Sunday’s match winner Bernardo Silva. Fortunately for Manager Pep Guardiola, no club is blessed with a deeper roster than Manchester City. Brighton has struggled of late, winning only one of their past seven Premier League matches. With hopes of European qualification largely gone and Manager Roberto De Zerbi rumored to be leaving after the season, motivation for the Seagulls could be a growing problem.

The remaining incentive for Wolverhampton and Bournemouth is a potential top half finish, and perhaps a personal grudge, as the two clubs prepare to meet in the Gary O’Neil derby at Molineux Stadium on Wednesday. Wolverhampton Manager Gary O’Neil was axed by Bournemouth this past offseason and has his current club 11th in the table, one point above his former employer.

Newcastle and Manchester United are deadlocked on points in their battle for Europa League qualification with the Magpies holding a favorable goal differential. Newcastle has a tricky visit to Crystal Palace on Wednesday with the Eagles flying after recent victories over Liverpool and West Ham. The Magpies are also in good form, having won three league matches in a current four match unbeaten run.

Manchester United will be at Old Trafford to host Sheffield United on Wednesday. Things could potentially get ugly in the home team’s favor as Manchester United will want to perform well in front of the home supporters after a concerning display at Wembley versus Coventry on Sunday. Alternatively, if the Red Devils struggle against the anemic attack and porous defense of the Blades, things could get even uglier for Manchester United Manager Eric ten Hag. 

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