Premier League Sunday, Gameweek 30: Open Thread

Four matches are on deck today in the Premier League — two of them are London derbies, and the other two are relegation battles.

The early kick-off today is Sunderland against Norwich City. The Mackems sit just six points above the relegation danger zone, so a defeat today for Sunderland will keep them nervously close to the drop. Norwich City aren’t safe either — just nine points above Wigan Athletic. A win for either club is vital today. A draw won’t help either of them.

Sunderland starting XI: Mignolet, Gardner, Rose, O’Shea (c), Cuellar, Vaughan, Larsson, Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher, Graham.

Norwich City starting XI: Bunn, R Martin (c), Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Johnson, Howson, E Bennett, Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Kamara.

Following Sunderland and Norwich, Tottenham Hotspur play Fulham at White Hart Lane. After Tottenham’s colossal defeat on Thursday in the Europa League that ended up as an aggregate victory based on the away goal rule, Andre Villas-Boas’s side has to pick themselves back up again today. The big difference for Spurs is that Gareth Bale is back after his suspension. For Fulham, it’s a return to their old stomping grounds for Martin Jol and Dimitar Berbatov.

The third match of the day is Chelsea against West Ham United. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce believes that the Chelsea boo-boys will help give West Ham United the edge in this match. But a win for the Blues today, depending on what Tottenham does, could push Chelsea back into third place, so Rafa Benitez’s side will be desperate for a good victory.

Last but not least could end up being the most entertaining game of the day when Wigan Athletic plays Newcastle United. After Aston Villa’s 3-2 win against QPR yesterday, Wigan faces a massive test today. There’s already a six point gap between third-from-bottom Wigan and fourth-from-bottom Aston Villa, so it’s imperative that Wigan narrows the gap to three points. Otherwise, Wigan could be facing relegation.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

54 thoughts on “Premier League Sunday, Gameweek 30: Open Thread”

  1. That’s weird! The userID to my FoxSoccer2Go employee account has been revoked and the help desk isn’t returning my calls. Is anyone else having problems?

  2. Sunderland is looking good so far this morning. They look much better with Fletcher and Graham up top instead of just Fletcher.

    The Gaffer

    1. Just as I write that, excellent header by Kei Kamara — again — to get an assist on Norwich’s goal.

      Sunderland is under pressure right now to bounce back. Otherwise they’ll get pulled into the battle to avoid relegation.

      The Gaffer

  3. Glad we got a goal from Norwich. Not a good game so far but maybe now with Sunderland chasing the game it might get better.

  4. That was a controversial red card for the Norwich goalkeeper. Not sure if he handled the ball. Looked like it hit him under his arms. If Sunderland don’t go on to win this now then O’Neill’s job might not be safe.

  5. Good grief – Norwich is getting boned here.

    This was a surprisingly entertaining match before the two dreadful calls.

    1. The same assistant referee made both calls. Both very harsh decisions and I was more surprised by the penalty decision.

  6. Spurs and Chelsea- 2 teams chasing Champions’ League football next season. I somehow expect both to win, especially Spurs.

    Once again, there is every chance that Wigan could stay up yet again this season with another late season run. Which means that they may follow up their resounding win last weekend in the FA Cup with another win against Newcastle. Let’s hope it’s another 4-0 scoreline or even higher (not to be mean to Newcastle).

    Meanwhile, glad to hear that Norwich are up against Sunderland. Hope they can hold on.

  7. Well, looks like it’s not to be for Norwich, as Sunderland have equalised through a controversial penalty while Norwich themselves have got their goalkeeper sent off, also controversially. Don’t mean to judge or jump into conclusions, but looking at how one-sided the decisions have been, is there a possibility of this assistant ref being biased? Or were they genuine mistakes that should not be blamed?

    1. Watching the replays I think he got both calls right. For one thing, if anyone is coming out with his hands up there’s going to be a chance of the ball hitting the hand as well as the chance of a call made. I think it did hit his hand and is a justifiable red card.

      On the second call it looks like Bassong played the ball off his chest first then off of his arm. Perhaps a bit soft, but still a penalty.

      1. Pretty much agree. I feel a bit bad for the Canaries as both calls were really close. The second one especially because he did chest it first.

        1. Absolutely. The first time I watched I thought there was no way, but watching it again I could see why it was given.

          I will say that the assistant did not help himself by waiting several seconds to wave the flag, during which Sunderland players were all shouting for it.

          Oof. Now he just missed giving a handball penalty for Norwich. Now that was a bad call.

      2. Okay, but for the first one, even if he shouldn’t have put his hands out like that, why is it a red card? I mean, it wasn’t a blatant handball or something of that sort, so it that serious to warrant a straight red? Couldn’t he have just been given a yellow or a foul against him?

  8. Sunderland should win now that they are tied at the half and have a man advantage. Very bad officiating and Norwich should feel victimized.

    Both Chelsea and Spurs have London derbies so it might not be as easy for them to win today. Also both have played on Thursday so West ham and Fulham will be fresher. These are the kind of games both Chelsea and Spurs need to win to assure a top 4 spot.

    Let’s see which Wigan team shows up today. This is the time of year they make a run to avoid relegation. Will they be distracted by the FA Cup where they are favored to make it to the final and that means they will play in the Europa League next season. I hope they don’t end up like Birmingham who got relegated but also played in the Europa League because they made the league cup final.

  9. Spurs playing a 3-5-2 today I think.

    Here’s our line-up and what I think the formation will be

    —————-Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen;
    Naughton————–, Parker—————— Assou-Ekotto ——————Dembele———- Sigurdsson,——-

    COYS that looks to be dripping goals, great tactical switch IMO if its is the 352, super solid and attacking…brings back memories of Anderton, Gazza lineker under Venebles !

  10. Sorry didnt hit return should look like this!

    —————-Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen;
    Naughton————–, Parker—————— Assou-Ekotto
    ——————Dembele———- Sigurdsson,——-

  11. Same assistant referee didn’t give Norwich a penalty when clearly it was in the area. I don’t think this assistant will be officiating next week.

  12. Sunderland deserve zero points from this match. In fact, they deserve less than that but it’s not possible. They’re just awful.

  13. Sunderland are probably more boring than Stoke if thats even possible…thank God ESPN Deportes was showing an entertaining match (Ajax vs. Alkmaar)

    1. Still a lot of decent football left at the top of the table — Manchester United is not going to put a “rest” team out against either City or Chelsea, there’s RVP’s return to Arsenal, etc.

  14. Spurs look tired after their midweek extra time game in Milan. Bale also seems to have picked up an injury so we’ll see how he does in the second half. Fulham could steal this one if Berba would show up. He hasn’t been particularly good in the first half.

  15. Dust
    your boys are giving up the plot.back to back poor performances go from fighting for 2nd to fighting for 4th.ten minutes to turn it around.

    1. And Hangelaand too. I’ll throw the rest of the FFC back line some props as well while I am at it. Very good defending today.

      Tough result for Spurs, but hard to play all those minutes mid-week and be particularly sharp.

  16. Berbatov moving closer to a 100 goal mark in the Premier League. I think he is at 86 or 87 at this point. Pure quality!

  17. Poor performance… If a goal keeper was lost in the amazon Defoe would find them with his shot.. Should have scored twice.

    Carroll looked very good

    Dempsey poor again sulking around the field fouling.. So frustrating

    Naughton poor positioning and not getting inside berba for the goal, he caught up to him but ran to the outside instead,even tho Lloris should have done better.

    First time I will be happy for the international break…

    Oh to be a tottenham fan!

    Still not concerned, just disappointed with not capitalizing on first half possession and momentum.

    Onwards and upwards

    1. Hang in there Dust. You’ve got City and Chavski fixtures coming up in April. Win both of those and UCL is pretty well guaranteed.

      I am certain you will win one of them and it is not of Chavski that I speak (being in a particularly angry and bitter frame of mind ATM.)

      1. It might help its at the lane against city, but, if we do want to get ucl we have to win those games, a draw at chelsea is more likely.

        I dont think city will capitulate enough to worry you lot not getting ucl but there does seem to be some strange goings on, the talent you have, strange result yesterday

        1. Lack of giving a $#%^ overcomes talent every day. Having a manager who deliberately creates problems for you also happens to have this effect.

          Can’t quite join the “Mancini Out!” brigade yet. But yesterday’s disaster makes them seem a little little less unhinged to me than they had previously.

          Ah well, Txiki will get things sorted. In him I have confidence.

          1. Marc L
            i think if we put the thumb screws on. you would join the out the Bob Mankini club.not sure he has used his talent in the best of ways.don’t forget go with your gut feeling.who would be your choice of new Gaffer?

    1. He is staying.. he isn’t going anywhere, in fact I would put money on him signing another contract in the summer he already has 4 years left on his current one, he will sign again with a huge pay raise.

      these last two games were horrific, but I am still not concerned about where we will finish.

  18. Whatever Bale twinged took away that burst where he can always create himself a yard. He still got a good shot but Schwarzer was there to preserve the W

  19. Looks like Wigan’s great escape is on for another season. Good win for them against a Newcastle side not playing their best at the moment and maybe their midweek Europa League game took something out of them.

    1. Collum McManaman had a great escape today too, though I’m guessing it won’t last very long. If he doesn’t get a three match ban I’ll eat my hat.

  20. In the immortal words of the great philosopher Meatloaf, “Two outta’ three ain’t bad.” Quite happy with the results this weekend… maybe the race for 4th isn’t decided already as I suspected? Still suspect we’re seeing the top four now as we will in a couple weeks.

  21. So spambot, what is your take on this mess I’ve just read in the Mirror about how Txiki is performing some sort of Catalan sorceristic ritual to reanimate the body of Billy Meredith to come in and bolster City’s width for the UCL stretch run?

    Though the Welsh Wizard has been dead since 1958, my thought is that he would have performed better yesterday than what we’ve gotten from Samir Nasri this year. Your thoughts?

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