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Premier League Preview – Feb. 20-21

shots Premier League Preview   Feb. 20 21

Until the Premier League institutes a playoff for the fourth Champions League, we’ll have to settle for matches like Sunday’s clash between Liverpool and Manchester City to decide the fate of the league’s final golden ticket into Europe’s glamour competition.

City is a point ahead of the Reds with a game in hand – and it’s playing at home – so if this is truly to be the year that someone cracks the big four, this match is an opportunity to strike a blow.

The match is yours on Sunday at 10 a.m. EST on Fox Soccer Channel, and here’s the complete TV schedule.

Table watch: Manchester City is in fourth place with 45 points while Liverpool is one spot back with 44 points.

A four-horse race: There are four teams – the two playing, plus Spurs and Aston Villa – within three points of the coveted fourth spot. Think of it as a quasi-playoff.

Mind games: City defender Joleon Lescott is trying to switch the pressure over to the Reds, telling the Mirror, “At the start of the season we wanted to get into the Champions League and we still believe we can do that. But personally I believe all the pressure will be on Liverpool.

“We’re a point ahead with a game in hand and we play Liverpool on Sunday. If we can win that game then it really will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season. Liverpool are hitting a bit of form at just the right time for them, but we’re confident because we’re at home and because it’s in our own hands now, so we have to push on. We don’t want to let them back in.”

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Nine other games dot the schedule. Let’s hit them, too.

Everton vs. Manchester United

United will look to keep the pressure on Chelsea as it visits Goodison Park for the first match of the weekend.

Table watch: Everton is in ninth place on 35 points while Manchester United is holding down second with 57 points.

Missing in the middle: Everton will be without Marouane Fellani and may also have to do without Tim Cahill. Of course, unless the Red Devil midfield picks up its form from the showing it had in the Champions League match with AC Milan, it may not matter.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Arsenal vs. Sunderland

After a comedy of errors in Portugal in mid-week, Arsenal hopes a home date with slumping Sunderland will direct the laughter in another direction.

Table watch: Arsenal is in third place with 52 points while the Black Cats are in 13th place on 26 points.

Irony alert: Sunderland is winless in its last 12 games – since a win over Arsenal at the Stadium of Light back in November.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

West Ham United vs. Hull City

Two teams north of the relegation scrum will be trying to stay there as the Hammers host Hull City Saturday.

Table watch: West Ham is in 15th place on 24 points, ahead of the Tigers by two spots on goal difference.

No place like home: Hull City is winless in its last 18 road games.

From the “I’ll believe it when I see it” department: Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard is working towards a return from a lengthy injury, according to multiple reports.

Yeah, sure he is.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea

A trip to Molineux awaits front-running Chelsea this week.

Table watch: Wolves are in 16th place on 24 points while the Blues show the way with 58 points.

A troubling trend: Chelsea has just one win in its last six road games – not the sort of form that dots the resume of title-winning sides.

An eye on the Golden Boot: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will be looking to add to his league-leading total of 17 goals this week. He’s found the net in eight of his last nine league matches.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Portsmouth vs. Stoke City

There is still a match on the schedule at Fratton Park this week as Stoke City heads down to the south coast.

Table watch: Pompey is in 20th place on 16 points while the Potters hold down 11th spot on 31 points.

Staying focused: England international David James is trying to fix Pompey’s on-field woes, as the financial house around the club wobbles.

“The games are in short supply now. There are 13 matches left and we need to win a lot of them,” he told the team’s Web site.

“Basically, Stoke is a must-win. Essentially, we have to look at every game as a win, regardless of who it’s against. We have Liverpool and Tottenham coming up – which are very, very difficult games – but we have to go out with the mentality we have to win.”

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Blackburn Rovers vs. Bolton Wanderers

Blackburn will try to defend its home turf against drop-zone-residing Bolton on Sunday morning.

Table watch: Blackburn is in 12th place on 31 points while Bolton is in 18th place on 23 points.

More options: Blackburn could have midfielders Vince Grella and Yildiray Basturk in the lineup this week, according to the BBC. Grella has been suffering from a thigh injury, while Basturk has yet to debut after his transfer from Stuttgart.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Aston Villa vs. Burnley

Villa will try to stay near the top four when the Clarets come calling on Sunday.

Table watch: Aston Villa is in seventh place on 42 points while Burnley is in 19th spot on 23 points.

Match facts: Courtesy of our friends from Eurosport – Burnley have the worst away record in Premier League history after 13 matches of a season, just one point and a goal difference of -30. … The only other team to pick up just one point from their first 13 away games in the Premier League was Bolton in 1995-96. They went on to win their 14th, 15th and 16th matches on the road that season. … Aston Villa have scored 11 headed goals, more than any other side in the Premier League.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Fulham vs. Birmingham

The Whites will try to keep their strong run at Craven Cottage going as Birmingham provides the opposition.

Table watch: Fulham is in 10th place on 34 points while Birmingham is in eighth place on 37 points.

Doing the laundry: Fulham has kept a clean sheet in three straight league matches.

Missing the magic: Birmingham has lost the form that saw it win five matches on the trot in November and December. The Second City side has one win in its last five matches.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

Wigan Athletic vs. Tottenham Hotspur

The Latics will try to inch away from the bottom three when hot-and-cold Tottenham come calling on Sunday.

Table watch: Wigan is in 14th spot on 25 points while Spurs are in sixth on 43 points.

Starting strong a must: Spurs haven’t won a match since August in which they’ve failed to score a first-half goal.

History lesson: Wigan has only won win in nine meetings with Spurs in all competitions.

Predict the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor

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7 Responses to Premier League Preview – Feb. 20-21

  1. Brian Chicago says:

    United in glorious HD! Can’t wait!

  2. The Three Lions says:

    I think the liverpool v Man city game could be very interesting this weekend. The 2 clubs are the ones most likely to take the fourth spot and with city 1 pt ahead with a game in hand, a win for them could really do damage to Liverpool’s chances of making the top four.
    We often refer to two sides doing battle at the bottom of the table as 6 pointers but the game this weekend could be just that, a 6 pointer for the fight for fourth.
    I’m not a fan of either team but I hope Man City win as I want to see someone else other than the usual top four make it this year.

    Will this be an interesting match? Well that depends, If both teams decide that a win here will give them a fantastic chance of fouth then yes, if both teams decide that they can’t afford to lose this game then no.
    Here’s hoping both teams go for it as it could be one hell of a match if they do.

  3. MNUfan1991 says:

    “Of course, unless the Red Devil midfield picks up its form from the showing it had in the Champions League match with AC Milan, it may not matter.”

    That’s a bit harsh, considering United emerged victorious in that game. Any game you win at San Siro is a good game, regardless of the final score.
    I will agree that 3 points at Goodison is no easy feat. Chel$ki learnt it the hard way.

  4. The_NZA says:

    i agree with MNUfan1991 completely, and i have a question for the gaffer or anyone that has editing powers over epl talk, why are you ALL so anit-ManUnited? I see a weekly fluff piece for at least 1 other “big” team.(see: 5 Reasons Why Manchester City Can Conquer America) I mean come on! I vaguely remember one of the articles on this site complaining about our 3rd kit(last years away thats why it doesn’t have the chevron). Our effing kit?!?!?!! What, you ran out of players to pick apart and Fergie rants to whine about?

    O and btw drogba isn’t the leading scorer that would be WHITE PELE but i guess he doesn’t get any credit on here due to the team he plays for.-
    “An eye on the Golden Boot: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will be looking to add to his league-leading total of 17 goals this week. He’s found the net in eight of his last nine league matches.”

    1 Wayne Rooney Manchester United 21
    2 Didier Drogba Chelsea 17
    3 Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 15
    3 Darren Bent Sunderland 15
    5 Carlos Tévez Manchester City 13

    • The Gaffer says:

      NZA, I don’t know what you’re talking about. If anything, we’re more favorable about Manchester United than most Premier League teams. But we call it as we see it. If United are playing well, we’ll praise them. If they’re underperforming, we’ll say it.

      Listen to the mid-week Champions League episode of the EPL Talk Podcast for some praise on United, where one of the guests calls the team the best in the world.

      The Gaffer

    • Jesse says:


      Got to agree with The Gaffer on this one. I do a weekly Premier League Footballer of the Week post where Wayne Rooney was recently featured and will usually do a write up or match report on most United matches each week. (There’s sure to be 2 or 3 of ‘em this Saturday for the Everton match)

      Keep reading EPL Talk though, I’m a United supporter and tend to write more articles about them and the United players since they’re the team I know the most about.

  5. Gaz says:

    Poor United – everyone is always picking on them. :)

    I know it’s always the case with my Liverpool – but this weekend’s game may be the most important yet. A draw or (obviously) a loss may just be the precious points that determine 4th place between us and Manchester City. Good job Manchester City is looking as dismal as us. Here’s hoping to a 1-0 or 2-1 squeeze by Liverpool.

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