Premier League Saturday, Gameweek 23: Open Thread

If you think today is not a day for watching the Premier League, think again. I’ll give you three reasons:

1) Despite tomorrow being penned “Epic Sunday” by FOX Soccer, today has plenty of great matchups. Harry Redknapp returns to Upton Park to pit his QPR side against his old team, West Ham United. FIFA 12-loving Loic Remy may make his start for the R’s. Plus, there are always good, scrappy relegation battles — this time between Wigan and Sunderland, and Newcastle versus Reading.

Manchester City has a chance to move within four points of the top of the table if they can beat Fulham today at the Etihad Stadium. Meanwhile, Norwich has a chance to beat Liverpool at Anfield like they did last season, or will Luis Suarez shrug off the criticism by his gaffer and score another hat trick against the Canaries?

And then there’s Swansea-Stoke, which — if my predictions are correct — Michael Laudrup will field a very weakened team to rest several stars in preparation for next week’s League Cup semi-final match against Chelsea. Even as a loud and proud Swansea fan, I’ll be shocked if the Swans even get a draw today.

2) Weather conditions. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love watching soccer matches that are played in the snow. While the groundsmen up and down the country have done a tremendous job keeping the snow off the pitch, there’s a good chance that there may be some heavy downfalls during some of the matches today. If that happens, the matches often become far more unpredictable (and thus more enjoyable to watch).

3) Last but not least, the final match of the day is the Midlands derby between West Brom and Aston Villa. While this wasn’t in the same Midlands derby, crazy things can happen when Midlands clubs face each other. The Baggies should win this one, but Aston Villa desperately needs to win, or at least get a draw today otherwise the vitriol that Paul Lambert will face from Villa supporters will be deafening.

Before, during or after today’s Premier League matches, join the conversation with football supporters around the world in the comments section below.

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