Premier League preview - Week 27
Published: 22.02.13 / Written by: David Gold
Key battles, players to watch and talking points, check out our preview of the Premier League action this week!
Fulham v Stoke
Key Battle: Bryan Ruiz has been the best player in a Fulham shirt for most of the season and if he can free himself from the attentions of Steve NíZonzi he can dictate play.
Player to Watch: Dimitar Berbatovís creativity and ability to make something out of nothing could be vital.
Talking Point: Both sides have had a fortnight since their last competitive games, so should be fresh and raring to go.
Arsenal v Aston Villa
Key Battle: Thomas Vermaelenís error strewn season will get even worse if Christian Benteke gets the better of him this weekend.
Player to Watch: Jack Wilshere has been Arsenalís best player in recent weeks and he can drive them forward on Saturday.
Talking Point: It has been a traumatic week for Arsenal but they should be too good for Villa
Norwich v Everton
Key Battle: Leighton Baines is the most dangerous full back in the league, but the player who will line up opposite him, Russell Martin, has been causing havoc for Norwich of late.
Player to Watch: Marouane Fellainiís strength and guile could help unlock a mean Norwich City back line.
Talking Point: Norwich are doing well to keep themselves clear of the relegation zone but this Everton team are still in the hunt for Champions League qualification and will be a stern test.
QPR v Manchester United
Key Battle: Robin van Persie will look to give Christopher Samba the runaround on Saturday and can pile on the misery for the home team.
Player to Watch: Wayne Rooney has been dangerous in recent weeks and the home team must be wary of him.
Talking Point: QPR have picked up points against the top teams in the league of late, but can they really keep out this Manchester United side?
Reading v Wigan
Key Battle: The battle of the creative players in these teams, Hope Akpan and James McCarthy, could be a fascinating duel to watch.
Player to Watch: Shaun Maloney has been in goalscoring form for Wigan and his ability to find the net from any angle will be a constant threat.
Talking Point: This is the kind of game Reading must win, and have been winning, of late, and they will come into it full of confidence after a good run of form.
West Brom v Sunderland
Key Battle: Yousef Mulumbuís return has galvanised West Brom, whilst their opponents Sunderland have Lee Cattermole back, although his impetuous tackling could cost them again.
Player to Watch: Romelu Lukaku has been a revelation for the Baggies and Sunderland must keep a close eye on him.
Talking Point: Two teams with relatively little to play for and strong defences could make for a dull mid table battle.
Manchester City v Chelsea
Key Battle: John Mikel Obi, fresh from African Cup of Nations glory, must keep a close watch on David Silva if Chelsea arenít to be steamrollered.
Player to Watch: Sergio Aguero has looked to be approaching his best form again for City and can cause problems for a leaky Chelsea defence
Talking Point: Both sides need the points for different reasons, but with Cityís title defence practically over, Chelsea can actually move to within a point of them with a win here.
Newcastle v Southampton
Key Battle: Rickie Lambert has been in sensational form of late for Southampton, and he could cause havoc for Fabricio Coloccini.
Player to Watch: Moussa Sissoko has made a great start to life in the Premier League and Southampton must keep him quiet on the counter attack.
Talking Point: Southampton have been brilliant of late, but then Newcastle look revitalised too.
West Ham v Tottenham
Key Battle: Gareth Bale is the obvious danger and West Ham and Winston Reid in particular must find a way to curb his attacking threat.
Player to Watch: Marouane Chamakh will look to win over the Arsenal fans here by helping the Hammers to three points against their big rivals.
Talking Point: West Hamís style can be difficult to play against and should cause Tottenham problems, but the brilliance of Bale could just see them through.