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Premier League Preview: Week 31 – it could be a good one.

Premier League Preview: Week 31

by Arun

Last week proved to be very good for us as Chelsea and Tottenham played out a ‘bore draw’ and we are now 3 clear of them but still we must keep our feet on ground. Man C was undone by a magnificent strike by Crouch and Man U got ‘lucky’ again and is now 3 clear of their rivals. The story doing the round these days is that Liverpool have decided to help relegation threatened teams since they can’t qualify for Champions League and already guaranteed a spot in the Europa league .

So let’s begin for this week:

1.     QPR (18) v Arsenal (3) (Saturday – 15:00)

Woo Hoo, it’s another Saturday 3pm kickoff and damn, we just love this time of the week. We are yet to drop a point from this season in this time zone of Saturday afternoon. Plus we are on a run of 7 straight victories and those 7 scalps includes the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle, and QPR might be the newest name added to that list. When the two teams last met on the last day of the last year, RVP missed out on the 36 goals in a calendar year in the league but still scored the winner which reminds me that he hasn’t scored in 2 games now and is resting his goal scoring boots but it’s only a matter of time before he picks them again. QPR are currently 18th in the table and their fixtures list is very harsh with games against Chelsea, Man U, Man C and Tottenham to follow after Arsenal.

QPR has a very bad home record with only 3 victories out of 15 but Arsenal have never won at QPR in the premier league history with 3 draws and a defeat so far in their 4 visits last of which came in March 1996 (that’s a pretty long time back even before the Wenger era began at Arsenal). QPR have won only 1 of their last 8 games (yep, the one against Liverpool) and this form justifies where they are now in the table. It’s in complete contrast to the form of Arsenal which have won 7 on the trot and Wenger should pick another manager of the month award with a perfect record in March. During this run of 7 consecutive league victories, Persie has scored only 7 of our 22 goals. Arsenal’s only visit to QPR under Wenger ended 6-0 in our favor in the FA Cup in 2001.

There’s not really much to say about this game and looks like a straight forward victory for us.

2.     Aston Villa (15) v Chelsea (5) (Saturday – 15:00)

Chelsea is having a season of ups and downs and has been revitalized by their victory over Napoli and yet another good performance at Benfica sees them coming to Stamford Bridge with a goal advantage. But the question in their mind now will be can they make it back to the Champions League with now only 8 games to go. So they find themselves in a must win game at Villa Park knowing that any slip up there may very well end their hope of CL football next year and they have to do it the hard way, by winning the champions league whereas Villa are waiting for the season to end  with nothing significant left to achieve this season.

This tie hasn’t been good for Chelsea in recent seasons with only 1 victory in last 5 PL games between the two. Their last visit at Villa ended in a 0-0 draw. Neither team has impressed in the recent run in the league with 1 and 2 victories in last 6 games for Villa and Chelsea respectively. Villa’s attack suffers without Bent and they hardly created any chance of note at Arsenal last Saturday whereas Torres has been scoring goals recently but still their main threat is still Drogba. Villa’s attack has been dire all season with only 15 goals scored in 14 home games and at this scoring rate, unsurprisingly have won only 4 at home all season but even Chelsea has failed to impress on their travels this season with a symmetrical record of 5W-5D-5L and have won only 1 of their last 8 away games and that too against Wolves.

Neither side have put up good performance in the league in recent days but Chelsea are high on confidence after victory at Benfica and look like the favourites for this fixture.

3.     Manchester City (2) v Sunderland (8) (Saturday – 15:00)

Man C doesn’t enjoy good memories of this tie as they lost to an ‘offside goal’ in stoppage time in the reverse fixture on the first day of this year. But Man C has the home advantage and marching toward a perfect home record (I don’t know if it has been done in  the PL before, maybe anyone can mention it in the comments) and they won the corresponding fixture last year 5-0. Sunderland’s only hope of silverware ended in midweek with a home defeat to Everton and they don’t have much to play for the rest of the season unlike their hosts.

Sunderland’s form away from home is poor this season with only 4 wins in 15 games scoring only 15 goals. Man C are feeling the heat now as they have seen their 2 point advantage turned into 3 point deficit in 3 weeks and must win to stay on the heels of Man U. Man C’s record at home against Sunderland is emphatic with 7 victories out of 7 in 7 home matches beginning from the 2000-01 season. Sunderland’s recent run hasn’t been good either with only 2 wins in their last 6 games and it will be hardly any surprise if 6 increase to 7 this weekend.

4.     Tottenham Hotspur (4) v Swansea City (10) (Sunday – 16:00)

Tottenham are on a bad run at the moment and Swansea looks like a complete different team away from home than its home counterpart. Stats tell you the story in this case : Swansea have lost 8 on the road while losing only 3 at the home. Tottenham badly need good results with they winning only 1 of their last 6 whereas Swansea’s hot streak of 3 victories in a row came to an abrupt end at Everton last week.

This is the first ever season of Swansea in the league and a top half spot at this time of the season in the league and Swansea deserves praise for their performances so far. Not much stats are available for this fixture but I will be looking forward to get some help from them and do us a favour by playing at least a draw at Tottenham.

5.     Blackburn Rovers (16) v Manchester United (1)(Monday – 20:00)

Another penalty denied at Old Trafford sees Man U clear at the top with a 3 point advantage and media at least mentioned that one unlike the 2 offside goals they scored against Chelsea were never reported. Man U are also on a good run in the league winning their last 6 games and Blackburn has put a decent run and has earned 10 points from the last 18 available and have been able to develop a small lead over the 5-way battle for the 2 survival spots.

Ewood Park hasn’t been a good ground for Man U in recent seasons with their last 2 visits ending in a draw. Blackburn is unbeaten in their last 4 home games winning 3 of them and they also won the reverse fixture 3-2 at OT on last day of the last year but their chances of repeating that performance look slim. Man U have won 11 on the road this season and will be definitely looking to increase it to 12 and despite recent performances, Blackburn are unlikely to get anything out of this game but a defeat here might put them very close to relegation zone and with games against Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool to follow (oops, it might prove to be a blessing in disguise) and a difficult visit to Swansea might make survival difficult for them but in these times only when the threat of relegation looms in front, teams have produced memorable performances and Blackburn might need to produce some if they are to survive.

It looks like another good weekend for us and it can get sweeter if Swansea is able to get something at Tottenham on Sunday. Enjoy the weekend as there are only 7 more to go after this.

Untold Arsenal

4 comments to Premier League Preview: Week 31 – it could be a good one.

  • ak47

    cheers, you to.

  • Mahdain

    @Arun you forgot one factor about the QPR game…Mike Dean.. I am never and i mean never assured of a victory whenever he is in charge…have that fear he is going to do something to screw us over and dont forget if he is starting to go against the script lee probert will be in his ear

  • yeah with mike dean in charge expect the unexpected but if we take our chances then the three points are ours to take.
    I will go for 4-0 only if we take our chances or else we are in for a surprise.
    Cheers gooners

  • Arun

    Why can’t we win a game under Dean ????
    I thought that we were poor and definitely not at our best and RVP missed a good chance.
    Hoping from Swans to produce a good result at totts tomorrow.