Premier League Match Day 31 Fixtures & Previews
Manchester United have been brought back down to earth with a bump after defeat at Arsenal. The loss will take the wind out of their sails because they played well at the Emirates but were unable to score. The fans will undoubtedly cite bad luck, and to some extent, they are right. However, the idea that your luck is somehow responsible for a missed opportunity is a fairly dangerous mindset to have.
Fulham v Liverpool – Sun 17th March Kick off @ 1415hrs
You have to have a lot of sympathy for Fulham at the moment after two tough games against Chelsea and Leicester. For the time being, Scott Parker, the caretaker manager, has managed to raise the standard of football and commitment from the players, but he hasn’t been able to prevent the goals going in. Unfortunately, it isn’t going to be any easier on Sunday against Liverpool. It may be time to consider abandoning proper football, and emulate Wolves by stifling the game with a blocked up goal.
Liverpool’s desperation to win the title was on show on Sunday last week against Burnley. The Kop were stunned into silence after conceding a goal 6 minutes into the game. Although the Reds recovered quickly, it shows how vulnerable they are to complacency. The 4-2 final result doesn’t really tell the whole story of the underlying fragility of the side. Klopp usually blasts out his smoke screen of confidence but deep down, they all know this has to be the year they win the title.
Everton v Chelsea – Sun 17th March Kick off @ 1630hrs
Marco Silva’s time is rapidly running out to prevent the axe from falling, and the capitulation at Newcastle isn’t going to help matters. To lose from a winning position is the worst thing for a team manager to watch. Meanwhile, the Toffee fans are ominously quiet at the moment, and the Everton faithful aren’t known for suffering in silence. The Blues will have the benefit of home advantage this week, and they are surely going to need it against Chelsea.
Chelsea missed a golden opportunity against Wolves last Sunday, and they won’t be in the mood for another disappointment at Everton. Sarri was outwardly disgruntled about the Nuno Espirito Santo’s tactical approach, and so were the fans. Stamford Bridge snored their way through 90 minutes and only woke up to celebrate Eden Hazard’s face-saving goal in the dying seconds of the game. Chelsea fans will be hoping that Everton come out to play because they are bereft of entertaining football.
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West Ham v Huddersfield – Sat 16th Kick Off @ 1630hrs
West Ham suffered an unexpected 2-0 loss to Cardiff, and the Hammers will feel that were mugged over, but the truth is they were outplayed by a well-drilled, spirited team. It shouldn’t have been a big surprise to the West Ham faithful as they have lost five out of the last six away games. The players looked like a team on the verge of a holiday, having a kick about. Nobody, especially Manuel Pellegrini, will be happy to see a lifeless performance repeated against Huddersfield.
Huddersfield will be hoping to unravel West Ham at the London Stadium, although that’s unlikely at best. Subconsciously, since David Wagner’s departure, the Terriers have been resigned to playing in the championship next season. It’s perfectly understandable. However, there is no sign of defeatism on the pitch. It’s all about pride now, and there is plenty to play for.
Bournemouth v Newcastle – Sat 16th Kick Off @ 1730hrs
Callum Wilson, who is back from injury, worked his magic once again to help Bournemouth to a healthy win away from home, and Ryan Fraser finished off Huddersfield in the second half with a second goal. This Saturday’s match against Newcastle will be an altogether different affair. In all probability, the majority of pundits will call a draw in this game as there is so little statistically to separate the two teams. Potentially, this game will be a footballing feast, and the outcome will just depend on who wants it more.
It’s a good week to be in Newcastle. If the Magpies win, the town buzzes with excitement and optimism. Bournemouth could throw some cold water over the party this Saturday on the south-coast. If Newcastle want to win, they will need a performance akin to the way they played against Everton. The Spanish waiter has performed a few miracles in his career, and some would argue that the revitalisation of Newcastle’s fortunes is his greatest. However, Eddie Howe’s men might have other ideas.
All of the fixtures – Kick off at 1500hrs unless stated otherwise
Saturday 16th March
- Bournemouth v Newcastle
- Burnley v Leicester
- West Ham v Huddersfield
Sunday 17th March
- Fulham v Liverpool – Kick off at 1415hrs
- Everton v Chelsea – Kick off at 1630hrs