Friday, April 5, 2024

Premier League Preview: Match Week 32

Manchester United will try to shake off its shocking loss at Chelsea on Thursday and do its best to ruin Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour when the Red Devils host Liverpool Sunday at Old Trafford. New ownership forces at Manchester United cannot be happy at the way Eric ten Hag’s club has crumbled in the closing seconds of its last two matches. A win over rival Liverpool could help assuage some of the frustration. Liverpool maintains a two-point lead over Arsenal in the title race with Manchester City just a point behind the Gunners. Manchester United is probably looking best case at Europa League qualification at this point though the club advanced to the FA cup semifinal with a victory over Sunday’s opponent on St. Patrick’s Day.

Arsenal, meanwhile, will visit a Brighton side which has struggled for goals of late. The Seagulls have scored three goals in their  last five matches, winning just once in that span. Arsenal is on a ten-match winning run, winning nine of those 10 contests as the Gunners try to edge Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title. Arsenal will hope to have Bukayo Saka back in the lineup after the English international missed the midweek win over Luton Town.

Manchester City will be at Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace. The Eagles have given the Citizens some problems in recent times. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw in December and high scoring Manchester City has suffered two clean sheets in its last five matches against the Eagles.

Aston Villa, 4-1 losers at Manchester City during the week, will be back at Villa Park to face Brentford. Manager Unai Emery will hope to have striker Ollie Watkins back to face the Bees. Watkins’ absence with a hamstring problem versus Manchester City probably factored little in the outcome against the Citizens where Phil Foden caught fire for three goals. Watkins, however, could be a difference maker against the Bees on Saturday.

Tottenham Hotspur is just two points behind Aston Villa and a place in the top four as Spurs prepares to face Nottingham Forest. The Tricky Trees could prove to be dangerous as they are in a desperate struggle to kick clear of the relegation zone. The Trees are one of the more talented clubs battling at the bottom of the table and might have been all but safe if not tagged by the Premier League with a four-point deduction for financial infractions. Nottingham Forest Manager Nuno Espirito Santo managed Tottenham Hotspur for four months before being dismissed during the 2021/22 season.

One of Santo’s other former clubs, Wolverhampton, will host West Ham on Saturday in a match which could have European implications. Wolves are currently 11th in the table but only three points removed from seventh place West Ham.

Chelsea put its supporters through the full gamut of emotions before dramatically disposing of Manchester United on Thursday. That victory moved the Blues into the top half of the table in 10th position and rekindled faint hopes of European qualification. Chelsea can make up more ground when the Blues visit bottom of the table Sheffield United on Sunday. The Blades have looked sharper in recent matches and it is a credit to Manager Chris Wilder that his charges have refused to quit despite their pending relegation.

Burnley, similarly, has been picking up points here and there in recent weeks in another case of too little, too late. The Clarets remain six points from safety as they travel to Everton on Saturday. The Toffees are in the midst of the longest winless run in the club’s history with their last Premier League victory coming on December 16th.

Luton Town is the only promoted side with a realistic chance of surviving for a second Premier League season. Despite some recent disappointing results, the Hatters are three points behind Nottingham Forest, four points below Everton. The Toffees could be hit with a potential second points penalty by the Premier League which could vastly improve the Hatters chances. Luton Town can help itself if the Hatters can beat Bournemouth at Kenilworth Park on Saturday. The last time these two sides met, Bournemouth overcame a three-goal deficit to win 4-3 in a devastating blow to the Hatter’s survival chances. The Cherries are hot right now, having won four times and drawn once in their last five league matches. That run has put Bournemouth within three points of eighth place Newcastle. The Magpies conceded late to drop points at home to Everton during the week and could sorely use a three-point result at Fulham this weekend to boost their quest for a European berth. 

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