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Premier League Weekend: the Preview

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By Arun

Premier League: Week 32

Last week witnessed the return of Dean to Arsenal and he was keen on making ‘amendments’ from the derby loss and didn’t he do it in style? He was at his best on screwing us and the magical explanation by the commentator was: “He isn’t giving fouls for any pushes, shoves etc. but he is doing it the same for both the teams and so no one team can complain about it.”(Setanata Sports Ireland).

It was the hypocrisy of the commentators at its best. It’s equivalent to saying that I won’t give any penalty in the match and since I will do it for both the teams, no one can complain about it.  Or indeed saying, “I won’t give any goals from free kicks and again I won’t do it for any one team, so no one can complain.”

Or even, “I won’t give any foul for handball, so I won’t call it for both the teams and so no one can complain about it….”

You get the picture.   If it’s a foul, it has to be given no matter what type, which position or which player.

But he did his job and no one said anything about it. I have seen a lot of people on the site asking why is Arsenal or Arsene not complaining against the refereeing if they know what’s happening. Well, the explanation is simple, just like us, they have no proof that can be used in the court like bank accounts or phone conversations etc and Wenger has stopped saying anything regarding this because he wants to avoid any unwanted media attention.

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The random appointment of the referees saw us facing Dean for yet another time and with  Tottenham winning again they are now level on points with us.  Chelsea also won at the weekend but Liverpool’s free fall continued and now they have lost 8 games in the League since the turn of the year.

The midweek fixtures of Champions League were highly controversial as Uefalona got a penalty when the ball wasn’t even in the play (one of the best tricks of the season) and Milan didn’t get one just at the beginning of the second half.

There were also a lot of complaints about the Chelsea tie as well but since I didn’t see that one, I am unable to comment on it – if you watched the game please fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

These results set up the matches that UEFA wanted and the possibility of the ‘dream final’ in the form of El Clásico.

Let us return to the league and see what we have got this weekend:

1.      Sunderland (9) v Tottenham Hotspur (4) (Saturday – 12:45)

Tottenham got the favour they were due from Dean and now find themselves level on points with us. But a visit away to fighting Sunderland is never going to be easy for any team.

Sunderland’s dramatic rise of form at the arrival of Martin O’Neill has dipped a bit in the recent days but they are in the top half of the table and their last 6 games share a symmetric record of 2W-2D-2L. Their home form has been very good for a mid-table team with 7 wins and 4 draws of their 15 home games so far and their most recent home defeat was against Arsenal (their only defeat in their last 8 home games). Their head to head record against Tottenham has been average at best with Tottenham winning 3 of the last 5 meetings between them but at home they have lost only 1 of last 5 winning 2 and drawing 2.

Sunderland must be on a high after ending Man C’s 20 game winning streak and their perfect home record for the season. Bendtner has been scoring goals for them and although I see him returning to Arsenal in a negative way (for me, it’s not going to happen) I would love to see him doing us a favour.

Tottenham can regain the third spot with at least a draw until Arsenal is action on Sunday and with recent refereeing performances going their way, you shouldn’t be surprised if they regain the third spot at least temporarily. But if Chelsea are to regain the vital fourth spot (considering that they have got Uefalona to beat in the CL – which isn’t going to happen) they must be hoping for a Sunderland victory. No matter what the results are, this is going to be a pretty interesting weekend in the race for the CL spots.

2.      Chelsea (5) v Wigan Athletic (19) (Saturday – 15:00)

Chelsea is on a high after winning their both legs against Benfica, however controversial the situation. But they face the tournament favourites in the next stage which may very well be the end of their run in the CL this year. So they will also be keen to grab that fourth spot which guarantees their CL status for next year.

In the race for that spot, they may very well find themselves in 6th by the time they play against Wigan since Newcastle have now beaten Swansea. Wigan have only 1 victory against Chelsea in 13 league meetings between the two since Wigan got promoted in 2005 and it is very unlikely that they will be able to get anything against a resurgent Chelsea. Chelsea won the corresponding fixture 1-0 last year. But despite above mentioned statistics favouring Chelsea, Wigan might want to get something against Chelsea as they face to prepare Man U and then Arsenal in their next 2 games.

Unless Wigan produces a fighting and highly inspired performance, it is very much likely that they will leave Stamford Bridge empty-handed.

3.      Manchester United (1) v QPR (17) (Sunday – 13:30)

The ‘Lady Luck’, as Media calls it and ‘Biased Refereeing’ as we call it on Untold has been highly favorable for them in recent games. It looks like another victory for Man U as they continue the march toward ‘Fergus XX’. I just don’t see anything to write about this game and this looks like the weekend where if Man C loses at Arsenal, it may be game over in the title race.

Just one stat for this one, QPR has never won at Man U in the Premier League losing all but one. But if they produce the performances they did against Arsenal (they must thank Dean) and Liverpool, they may get something but it looks unlikely.

4.      Arsenal (3) v Manchester City (2) (Sunday – 16:00)

Here we are, undoubtedly the biggest game of the weekend.  As Mancinici has said: “Lose here; title is over for Man C” (however, I think that it is already over).

Man C is going to be under extreme pressure if Man U win their early kickoff and you have to admit that without Aguero, their attack just doesn’t look very dangerous.  I think that Kos and Vermaelen will be able to deal with them if he doesn’t return. Man C doesn’t have a good record at the Emirates and the fact that Man C has won only 2 of its last 9 away games can give us confidence for this fixture.

We must forget the blip at QPR and restart our run. A win here might send the warning signs to Chelsea and Tottenham that Arsenal are in for the third place and we aren’t giving up on it. It is undoubtedly the toughest fixture in our remaining 7 games (except possibly Stoke who doesn’t play Football but are more interested in Rugby mixed with football) and will be a huge morale boost. Phil Dowd robbed us of 3 points in the reverse fixture and ended our 8 game unbeaten streak. This reminds me: where is Clattenburg??? He must have displeased Riley and isn’t getting top games. Still they say that the appointment of the officials is random.

Stats in this fixture favour us because of the lower league positions of Man C before they got the huge amount of money. However the last 2 meetings at the Emirates have ended in goalless draws. I just hope that we don’t have a result affected by the referees and I would just love to see the face of S**** N**** after we beat them.

Let us forget about last week and enjoy the Easter weekend and of course, the football, as I have a feeling that we are going to beat Man C.   Here’s a final fact:

Robin van Persie is due a goal and if he scores on Sunday he will become the fourth player (and the second Arsenal player) to score against 17 teams in a single season in the EPL.    The others are Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright.

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