One of the many reasons why I love the Premier League is that practically every match during the course of a 38-week season is meaningful. There’s always so much on the line. That’s true, of course, with today’s fixtures which include:
- The London derby between Chelsea and Spurs (early kick-off; beginning at 8:45am ET). Not only is bragging rights on the line, but both clubs are battling to finish in fourth position (or above) to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Needless to say, a lot is on the line.
- In the six games scheduled to kick off at 11am ET, Bolton against Blackburn is the big one. Not only is it Bolton’s first match since the emotional game against Spurs where Fabrice Muamba collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch, but this match is a relegation dogfight.
- In two games featuring teams fighting for a respectable mid-table or upper-table finish against teams who are struggling to get out of the relegation danger zone, you have Sunderland versus QPR and Norwich against Wolves. Terry Connor’s side desperately needs a draw or a win at Carrow Road after the batterings his team has received against Fulham and Manchester United. Mark Hughes will be hoping, meanwhile, that his QPR team can show the character that they embodied in the mid-week comeback victory against Liverpool.
- Speaking of Liverpool, the Reds are home against Wigan Athletic today. After their demoralizing loss mid-week, Liverpool must win at home today especially against the weakest team in the league. Anything less will not be tolerated. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, is running out of excuses. His team needs to score more goals, but they’ll be without Hugo Rodallega today.
- Fighting for a Champions League spot is Arsenal, who plays Aston Villa today. Alex McLeish’s side will want to get three points or a draw to avoid slipping down further in the table. Arsenal will want a win to try to distance the gap between them and fourth place rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
- In the last 11am ET game of the day, Swansea plays Everton at the Liberty Stadium in South Wales. The Swans will want to get revenge on Everton after the Welsh side lost to the Toffees 1-0 in a disappointing match for the Welsh team in December. All eyes will be on hot-to-trot midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson for Swansea, who is on brilliant form after scoring and creating plenty of goals since his January loan deal happened. Everton, meanwhile, will want to bounce back after their disappointing string of results (losing to Arsenal, drawing Sunderland in the FA Cup, and losing the Merseyside derby).
Last but not least, the final game of the day is at 1:30pm ET when Stoke City plays Manchester City. If any club knows how to spoil a party, it’s Stoke City who could do Manchester United a massive favor by beating the blue half of Manchester at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke has been playing better of late, while City have been stumbling. This promises to be a must-see game. It’ll give us, no doubt, an excellent indication of whether Manchester City are worthy Premier League title contenders or not.
You know the drill. Before, during or after any of the Premier League matches today, post your rants, raves, questions and observations in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your comments.
Enjoy your Saturday!