EPL Week 31 – The Race Begins
EPL Week 31 – The Race Begins avatar

NEWS

Mourinho to contest FA charge

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed his intention to contest a charge of improper conduct by the FA.

Mourinho was charged by the FA after he was sent to the stands during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa.

Jose Mourinho's just can't stop making the headlines. (Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho’s just can’t stop making the headlines. (Getty Images)

Mourinho was apparently sent off for walking onto the pitch to speak to referee Chris Foy after Chelsea midfielder Ramires was dismissed.

“I have decided how I will respond and I don’t accept the charges,” said Mourinho.

Another Blues player, Willian, was sent off earlier in the match.

Mourinho has until 18:00 GMT on Monday to officially respond to the FA charge

 

Aguero out of Manchester Derby

Manchester City forward Serio Aguero is out for Tuesday’s upcoming Manchester derby with a hamstring injury.

The Argentinean international injured his hamstring during City’s 2-1 defeat away to Barcelona in the Champions League over a week ago and now has “no chance” of making Tuesday’s game according to City manager Pellegrini.

Aguero's absence will be a huge loss for City. (Getty Images)

Aguero’s absence will be a huge loss for City. (Getty Images)

“Maybe next week he will start working with the squad,” said Pellegrini, 60. “Maybe the end of the week.”

City face Fulham on Saturday and title rivals Arsenal four days after United.

Despite missing two spells with calf and hamstring problems Aguero is still City’s top scorer this season with 26 goals.

Pellegrini also responded to reports linking Aguero with a move to Barcelona by insisting the player “is very happy” at City and that the club “is also very happy with him”.

 Week 30

Prediction

Score

SATURDAY    
Hull v Man City 1-2 0-2
Everton v Cardiff 3-1 2-1
Fulham v Newcastle 1-0 1-0
Southampton v Norwich 2-0 4-2
Stoke v West Ham 0-0 3-1
Sunderland v Crystal Palace 1-1 0-0
Swansea v West Brom 2-0 1-2
Aston Villa v Chelsea 1-2 1-0
SUNDAY    
Man Utd v Liverpool 2-3 0-3
Tottenham v Arsenal 1-1 0-1

A correct result (ie picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. A correct score earns THREE points.

Last week I got SIX correct results, including ONE perfect score to give me a total of EIGHT-points.

Week 31

Predictions

SATURDAY  
Chelsea v Arsenal 2-1
Cardiff v Liverpool 1-3
Everton v Swansea 2-1
Hull v West Brom 2-0
Man City v Fulham 2-0
Newcastle v Crystal Palace 1-1
Norwich v Sunderland 1-0
West Ham v Man Utd 1-2
SUNDAY  
Tottenham v Southampton 1-0
Aston Villa v Stoke 2-1

SATURDAY

Chelsea vs Arsenal

Week 31 kicks-off with a potentially title deciding game as top of the EPL Chelsea  meet third place Arsenal.

Chelsea lost 1-0 away to Aston Villa last week and will be hoping to bounce back with a good result against Arsenal at home. The Blues have not been at their best recently, but have still managed to win most of their games. However, last week’s slip up means that Manchester City can go three-points clear in the EPL if they win their games in hand, while Liverpool and Arsenal could move within one point of Chelsea.

Ozil may return to the Arsenal line-up.(Getty Images)

Ozil may return to the Arsenal line-up.(Getty Images)

Arsenal managed to bounce back for their defeat away to Stoke with a good 1-0 win against neigbours Tottenham. The Gunners took an early lead through a fantastic Rosicky strike, but then spent most of the game defending and will be pleased with the mental strength and character they showed in the game.

Mourinho's Chelsea has a good record against Arsenal. (Getty Images)

Mourinho’s Chelsea has a good record against Arsenal. (Getty Images)

Chelsea are without Ashley Cole, who is out with a knee injury, while Ramires and Willian are suspended as a result of their dismissals at Aston Villa last weekend.

Arsenal have only one fresh injury concern, with Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky to face a fitness test—The Gunners have long-term absentees in Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby.

Arsenal have a good record at Stamford Bridge, winning almost a third of their 76 league visits (W25, D25, L26). However, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against the Gunners (W2, D2), while their boss Jose Mourinho has never lost a game against Arsenal in all competitions (W5, D5).

Prediction: 2-1

 

Cardiff v Liverpool

Cardiff suffered heartbreak last week conceding a last minute goal against Everton to lose 2-1. The Bluebirds had played well and looked to have earned a well-deserved draw, but their luck evaded them right at the end and their fight to avoid relegation looks near impossible now.

Steven Gerrard scored 2 of his 3 penalties against Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard scored 2 of his 3 penalties against Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Liverpool produced a terrific display against Manchester United winning 3-0 away at Old Trafford. The Reds currently look like the best side in the EPL and a win against Cardiff could see them move within a point of the summit.

Cardiff remain without injured defenders Mark Hudson, Ben Turner and Andy Taylor.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have no new injury concerns and could field the same side that beat Manchester United last week.

Cardiff badly need a win to keep their hopes of staying in the EPL alive and may be boosted by the fact that Liverpool have not won at Cardiff City since a 2-1 victory on 1 April 1929. However, the Reds are in scintillating form at the moment and I expect them to win this one comfortably.

Prediction: 1-3

 

Man City v Fulham

Manchester City bounced back from the disappointment of crashing out of the FA Cup and the Champions League by producing a good win last week to move within six-points of Chelsea. The Sky Blues had captain Vincent Kompany sent-off early on, but showed their class by still winning 2-0 away to a tough Hull side.

Kompany (R) did not react well to the sending off and could have faced a harsher punishment with his follow up behavior. (Getty Images)

Kompany (R) did not react well to the sending off and could have faced a harsher punishment with his follow up behavior. (Getty Images)

City know they will go top if they win their games in hand, and are probably still slight favorites to win the EPL, but with Liverpool and Arsenal also close by they know they cannot afford any slip ups.

Fulham got a terrific 1-0 win over Newcastle to keep their hopes of staying up alive. The Cottagers started defended well and looked decent going forward, however, they still need to win another four games to have a chance of staying up, which surely is too much to ask for.

Manchester City will be without captain Vincent Kompany who serves a one-match ban following his red card at Hull last weekend.

Fulham winger Ashkan Dejagah has been ruled out of the game because of a muscle problem, while Kostas Mitroglou is missing with a knee problem sustained last week, and Scott Parker remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Fulham have a good away record against City in the Premier League, winning three matches and drawing four on their last 10 visits. But City have won all but one of their home games this season and I cannot see them slipping up against Fulham.

Prediction: 2-0

 

West Ham v Man Utd

West Ham went the whole of February unbeaten to drag themselves away from the relegation battle, but two consecutive losses in March mean the Hammers are still not sure of their EPL status.

van Persie (L) scored a hattrick in the Champions League. (Getty Images)

van Persie (L) scored a hattrick in the Champions League. (Getty Images)

Manchester United’s poor home form continued as they lost 0-3 at Old Trafford to Liverpool. But it was more United’s performance rather than the result that disappointed the Old Trafford faithfuls, with the Red Devils only registering one shot on target.

However, they produced a big result midweek in the Champions League winning 3-0 to overturn a 2-0 deficit and progress to the quarterfinals. That result could be the catalyst for a good end of season run, but for that to happen they have to win against West Ham.

West Ham pair Joey O’Brien and Marco Boriello remain unavailable for the visit of Manchester United.

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic serves the first of a two-game ban after he was sent off in the defeat by Liverpool last weekend.

Robin van Persie is ruled out after he suffered a knee injury in midweek Champions League duty.

Manchester United have struggled against West Ham down the years, but are currently unbeaten in their last 10 games against the Hammers home and away (W9, D1), and I expect them to continue that run.

Prediction: 1-2

 

SUNDAY

Tottenham vs Southampton

Tottenham lost 1-0 against neighbors Arsenal last week to all but end their hopes of achieving a place in next season’s Champions League. The loss was their third consecutive loss in all competitions and increases the pressure on coach Tim Sherwood. But to be fair, Spurs did dominate the game against Arsenal and on another day could easily have won the game.

Adam Lallana has been outstanding for Southampton and looks likely to makes England's squad for Brazil.. (Getty Images)

Adam Lallana has been outstanding for Southampton and looks likely to makes England’s squad for Brazil.. (Getty Images)

Southampton produced a magnificent display at home last week cruising past Norwich 4-2. The Saints are currently in purple patch of form and have lost only two of their last 10 league matches (W5, D3, L2).

Tottenham have no fresh injury worries and should recall Emmanuel Adebayor, Mousa Dembele and Younes Kaboul, and Jan Vertonghen who all didn’t feature midweek against Benfica in the Europa League.

Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is doubtful due to a muscle problem around his pelvis, while Guly Do Prado and Kelvin Davis face fitness tests, but midfielders Jack Cork and Victor Wanyama are definitely out.

Tottenham are without a win in their last four games in all competitions and face a tough task against an in-form Southampton side. However, the Saints have won just two of their 14 matches at White Hart Lane in the Premier League and despite their good form I don’t think they will increase that tally.

Prediction: 2-1

 

 

About Anthony Ta

Anthony Ta is a writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, specializing in Premier League, Champions League and the Euros.
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