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Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 30: Open Thread

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!

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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27 Responses to Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 30: Open Thread

  1. Clay Olson says:

    QPR have an absolute must win situation today in what I believe to be the most important game of the day.

  2. NotTheNoob says:

    Come On You Spurs!

  3. Guy says:

    Hey, Gaffer, that fraternizing in the tunnel didn’t grate on you, did it? ;-)

  4. IanCransonsKnees says:

    Stunning weather over here today for the time of year. Off for a few in the local to get nicely oiled before taking on Man City tonight, nice stroll down to the ground in the sun. Bunch of Belgian Stoke fans have turned up in the pub around the corner from me, they started on it around 11.30 so should be fairly lairy by 5.30 tonight.

  5. Ivan says:

    Spurs/Chelsea is unwatchable…gave it half an hour, had to turn it off…hopefully the 11am games will be better…

    • Ryan says:

      Second half was better, but it was still a pretty dull game, especially for neutrals. Chelsea was content to lob the ball over the top to Drogba and with Spurs content to play for a draw they didn’t really press until the last 15 min.

  6. Ivan says:

    Watching Liverpool/Wigan on FS Plus…don’t care how it ends…this is the worst Liverpool side I’ve ever seen…a few years back we had Alonso and Mascherano in midfield; now, those two play in Real Madrid and Barcelona (although Mascherano is not a regular).

    This is a not a case in which thise side can get better in time…there’s a complete lack of talent here: Downing, Henderson, Carroll, Adam, Spearing…how can you improve w/ players like that? They belong to Mansfield, Brighton & Hove Albion, Harchester United, but NOT to Liverpool FC.

    The level of horticulturalism and lumberjackery in the side is so very high!

    Kenny has taken the club back to the early middle ages, nevermind taking the club in the XXI century…kick and run, going all out v. other top sides, not knowing what to do v. other similarly mediocre teams…the table doesn’t lie.

    With Gerrard getting old, Suarez is the only bright light in this awful awful side…don’t care if they win the FA Cup, the Elvis Presley Cup, or any other cup for that matter. This Liverpool side has never been further away from winning the title in a league which currently has only one (1) team left in the 1/4 finals in Europe…

    The solution? Not sure, but the team desperately needs creativity, imagination and some goal scoring talents…

    • Paul says:

      I’ve this second just got back home after being at Anfield for the match today. It was an absolute joke. I go to pretty much every home game and I’ve never heard them being booed at the end… until today… and they deserved it as well. Kenny has had his odds slashed from 6/1 to 4/1 to be the next manager sacked and at this moment I can’t say I disagree – I’m that annoyed with what I’ve just witnessed since 3pm this afternoon.

  7. dano328 says:

    Walcott has demonstrated over the past few weeks that those who say he is rubbish don’t know what the eff their talking about.

  8. dano328 says:

    Arseholic (@Arseholic)
    3/24/12 10:37 AM
    If I’m not mistaken, Arsenal now has 17 different goal scorers this season. The highest rate in the Premier League. One man team.

  9. brn442 says:

    Suarez, up to his old goal tendng tricks again – thank god for an eagle eyed referee.

  10. brn442 says:

    And it will probably take these two “brilliant”comentators 15 mins to figure that out.

  11. Malcolm says:

    Liverpool drop points at home to another relegation-battling team. What else is new. Wigan deserved their win and I hope they stay up. Maybe now Liverpool fans will realise how poor Daglish is with recognising talent and tactics. Since the new year Liverpool are second bottom with points won. Says it all. If it was anyone else Liverpool fans would be calling for his head. Bring back Hodgson! :-)

  12. jtm371 says:

    Lpool that is a week to forget 2/3 to QPR and 1/2 at home to Wigan just think what they would be saying if Roy was the manager.

  13. tim says:

    My Goodness, Chelsea-Tottenham was the most BORING GAME I’VE EVER SEEN. boring, boring, boring. The first half was awful with both teams playing like a bunch of cowards afraid of going forward and attacking their opponent’s goal for fear of conceding. This reminded me of Liverpool-United last October, also shown on ESPN2, where the excitement and buildup was let down by the actual match. I felt really sry for the two commentators Ian Darke and Steve McManaman, who had to watch this unbearable game, and even they were exasperated by the quality on display today. At least the supporters of both teams at the ground and those of us watching the game on our TV could afford to dose off, but these two had to provide commentary on a match where absolutely nothing was happening for large parts of the game. You’ve would’ve thought that a match involving talents like Lampard, Drogba, Bale, Modric , and Van Der Waart would produce a fabulous display of football. And I was watching a replay of Spurs-Stoke the other day and I’ve noticed that Louis Saha has been useless ever since scoring a brace against Newcastle. He gave away the ball so many times against Stoke. Better defending from Younes Kaboul and Ledley King today. But I’m glad because this is good news for Arsenal.

    • Todd says:

      I only caught the 2nd half, and while that was lackluster at times, there were a handful of really exciting moments towards the end. It should have ended with someone at least finding net. Chelsea still unnecessarily gamble with that high line, that one where Ade went clear with the keeper screams poor defense!

    • The Gaffer says:

      I agree Tim. That was one of the worst soccer games I’ve seen all season. I know Spurs didn’t want to lose this one, but that was awfully boring.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  14. jtm371 says:

    Stoke2/City1

  15. jtm371 says:

    WOW what a finish by Crouch!

  16. dano328 says:

    That might be the goal of the year by Crouch. John Cross tweeted Hart could have stopped it. Looked unstoppable to me.

  17. dano328 says:

    YaYa responds with brilliant goal of his own

  18. timothy says:

    we have 2 options to have faith in dauglish or root him off the hotseat and bring back benitez.

    • LFC says:

      I’m sorry to say… He has to go if this carries on. Losing to QPR and then Wigan is embarrassing for a club of Liverpool’s stature. The Wigan fans were chanting ‘you’re not famous anymore’ and that is so true. There is only so much further Liverpool can go on with their proud history… That history needs something adding to it now to take it on even further. There was a time when clubs were genuinely afraid of playing at Anfield but these days it’s lacking any such thing with the vast majority of teams.
      If it wasn’t Kenny in at the moment and was instead Roy, I think we can all say that we’d be calling for his head by now. We cannot let the fact it’s Kenny cloud our judgement. He will forever be King of the Kop and none of us will forget what he’s done for our club but he’s just not the right man for getting us to the top of the league in 2012 and beyond. Hitting the top 4 under Kenny will be a struggle if he stays on board. Let’s freshen it up over the summer and not live in the past hoping for a fairy tale ending.

  19. IanCransonsKnees says:

    Just got back, stunning goal by Crouch, must have been replayed 7 times from umpteen angles on the big screen. Yaya Toure seems to be our nemesis he must love playing against Stoke. I guess nobody picked up on Barrys leg breaker on Whelan?

    Atmosphere was awesome, am sat here with a very gravelly voice after all the singing and shouting. Howard Webb seems to be hedging his bets over who he’ll be playing for next season City or United.

    Songs of the match:

    He’ll drive how he wants, Tony Pulis he’ll drive how he wants (he’s just escaped a ban for speeding).

    He’ll play when he wants, Carlos Tevez he’ll play when he wants.

    He’d rather play golf, Carlos Tevez he’d rather play golf.

    We only score from a throw in.

    Special note for Andy Wilkinson our right back, his Mrs gave birth this afternoon and he dashed from the hospital to play 90 minutes for us. Willy Wilkinson will look like a mini version of him.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Brilliant goal by Crouch, and a wonderful atmosphere at the Britannia which came through loud and clear on the TV set. Nice to see the Stoke fans having a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun with the Poznan too.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • jtm371 says:

      nice on the spot report must have been fun to be their today.the announcers did think Barry stomp should have been a penalty.

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