Premier League preview – week 36
Published: 03.05.13 / 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 Reading
Key Battle: Reading are down already so there is little to play for. Alex McCarthy will look to cement his growing reputation against Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov.
Player to Watch: This is the type of game Bryan Ruiz may revel in and dominate for the home side.
Talking Point: With relatively little to play for, Fulham will hope to finish the season on a high with an emphatic win.
Norwich v Aston Villa
Key Battle: Christian Benteke was in fantastic form for Villa against Sunderland last time out but Sebastien Bassong should provide a fascinating physical duel.
Player to Watch: Andreas Weimann has been key for Villa in their good form and his direct running and technique can be key.
Talking Point: Norwich need the points to avoid being sucked into the relegation dogfight, whilst Villa are far from clear of the relegation zone.
Swansea v Man City
Key Battle: The battle of the Spaniards may dominate in this game – David Silva for the visitors, and Michu for Swansea, who has not scored for a while.
Player to Watch: Samir Nasri has rediscovered his form of late and will look to cement his improvement in this game.
Talking Point: Two teams with little left to play for could make for an open and attractive game. Expect a Swansea revival.
Tottenham v Southampton
Key Battle: Player of the year Gareth Bale comes up against his former team Southampton and their latest prodigy at left back, Luke Shaw.
Player to Watch: Rickie Lambert has punctured many of the top team’s hopes this season and he can be a real threat for Spurs.
Talking Point: Southampton are in danger of being dragged back into the relegation dogfight and will need to improve on their result against West Brom last time out.
West Brom v Wigan
Key Battle: Rickie Lambert is in superb form and has been all season, whilst Michu has been just as prolific for the Swans.
Player to Watch: Nathan Dyer comes face to face with his old employers, who may regret letting him go.
Talking Point: This is a must win for Wigan. Anything else and the relegation battle may come to a premature end.
West Ham v Newcastle
Key Battle: Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew are taking on their former sides with a point to prove. Intriguingly, it is Newcastle who are in more danger of relegation – a scenario none would have forecast at the start of the season.
Player to Watch: Papiss Cisse has been in decent form in the second half of the season and Newcastle will need him to get his best form back for this one.
Talking Point: This has suddenly become massive for Newcastle after their crushing defeat by Liverpool last week. A win is vital.
QPR v Arsenal
Key Battle: Julio Cesar looks the best bet in goal to keep out the Gunners, who will look to Theo Walcott to break the deadlock and fire them to victory.
Player to Watch: Tomas Rosicky has been in impressive form of late for Arsenal and can shine here for the Gunners up against QPR.
Talking Point: If Arsenal cannot beat this QPR team, already relegated, they really do not deserve to be in the Champions League next season.
Liverpool v Everton
Key Battle: Daniel Sturridge was in fine form last week for Liverpool and up against Sylvain Distin could really stretch the Toffees.
Player to Watch: Coutinho was fantastic last week against Newcastle and can cause all kinds of problems for Everton.
Talking Point: Everton have been drawing big away games recently and they will be fired up for this as they look to finish ahead of their Merseyside rivals.
Man Utd v Chelsea
Key Battle: Robin van Persie can cause all kinds of problems for Chelsea and Branislav Ivanovic in this clash.
Player to Watch: Demba Ba struck the winner last time these sides met in the FA Cup and he will hope to repeat that trick.
Talking Point: Chelsea are in search of crucial points but Manchester United’s performance against Arsenal last week suggests they have not psychologically switched off yet.
Sunderland v Stoke
Key Battle: Adam Johnson becomes more important for Sunderland here, and he will look to puncture a Stoke team who will look to Ryan Shawcross to stifle the home side.
Player to Watch: David Vaughan has relished playing under Paolo di Canio and he may be able to add to his goal against Newcastle here.
Talking Point: Both sides are still in the relegation fight and need points to avoid being caught up.
Man City v West Brom
Key Battle: David Silva will take on West Brom’s Claudio Yacob, one of the best players in the league this season and a superb signing for West Brom.
Player to Watch: Can Sergio Aguero get his name on the scoresheet for City? He has been their best forward for most of the season but has underwhelmed compared to last year.
Talking Point: City may be looking to avoid injuries ahead of the cup final, whilst West Brom will be fired up for this game.
Wigan v Swansea
Key Battle: James McCarthy is up against Leon Britton, a battle of the underrated midfield metronomes who keep the ball moving and the passing ticking over.
Player to Watch: Arouna Kone can make a difference when he is at his best and will hope to puncture the Swansea back line.
Talking Point: Two of the league’s most ‘Spanish’ sides, who love to pass and move, this could be a great game, but one Wigan must win.
Chelsea v Tottenham
Key Battle: For Chelsea Juan Mata is the key, for Tottenham it is Gareth Bale. Whichever influences this game more could be pivotal.
Player to Watch: Jermain Defoe’s poacher instincts could be vital for Tottenham here as they go in search of crucial points.
Talking Point: This is a massive game in the battle for the top four between two finely balanced teams. Tottenham haven’t won at Chelsea for quite some time though, and Andre Villas Boas is returning…