Saturday March 30 2013

Race for fourth heats up

allan001pix

 

By Allan ssekamatte

Match Forecast
Sunderland 0 Man Utd 1
The Black Cats’ wretched form has sucked them into the relegation zone. United will be strong favourites to nick the three points and get closer to recapturing the title they lost to their noisy neighbours. The champions’ elects have won 45 out of 48 available points against teams in the bottom half.

Arsenal 3 Reading 1 `
Arsenal normally pick up form at this time of the season to shut up Arsene Wenger’s detractors. Reading are without a manager and have lost five games in a row. This is a must-win tie for the Gunners and they are sure to crank up the pressure on the top four.

Southampton 1 Chelsea 2

Chelsea need to be firing on all cylinders if they are to gather points at St Mary’s Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s side claimed a creditable 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge and will fancy their chances today. But I fancy the European champions to continue their push for automatic Champions League qualification.

Swansea 1 Spurs 1

Tottenham fans must be fearing the worst after seeing their team lose three games in a row, having previously been unbeaten in twelve. Expect a tight encounter especially since Spurs’ talisman Gareth Bale hobbled off injured while featuring for Wales.

Man City 2 Newcastle 0

Alan Pardew’s Europa League quarter-finalists like to keep it tight in away games, so they will trouble City. The champions will however be in an uncompromising mood as they aim to stave off Chelsea’s challenge for second place. Ivorian midfield star Yaya Toure’s contract impasse is an unwelcome distraction.

Fulham 1 QPR 1
Rangers have been a mixed bag in recent weeks, with brilliant results interspersed with that massive setback against Aston Villa. Fulham have meanwhile rediscovered their oomph, with Dimitar Berbatov wreaking havoc week in, week out. I can see shared spoils at Craven Cottage as Rangers continue to struggle.

Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 1
The Kop are still reeling from their 1-3 setback at the hands of Southampton. The league’s leading scorer Luis Suarez will fancy his chances of scoring against Villa’s young defenders despite air fatigue from World Cup qualifiers in South America. Cristian Benteke will be equally dangerous.

Everton 1 Stoke 0

Hosts Everton come into this fixture buoyed by their massive victory over the champions Man City. Although they retain a Jerkyll and Hyde element about them, Stoke do not offer enough of an attacking threat to deny them victory. Marouane Fellaini will be involved in a few aerial battles.
Wigan 1 Norwich 0

This is Roberto Martinez time. Wigan’s last gasp victory over Newcastle underlined their survival credentials. The Canaries should offer them a tough test as they are hard nuts to crack. Their principal undoing has however been indifference in front of goal. Norwich are draw specialists but I will go with a Wigan victory.

West Ham 1 West Brom 1

Newly promoted West Ham United have fallen on hard times in recent weeks. A solitary victory in eight outings means Sam Allardyce’s side are not yet safe from relegation. The Brummies should brush aside enfant terrible Peter Odemingwe’s shenanigans to claim a point as they continue their recovery.

Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla has come good in his first season for the Gunners, but the business end of the campaign starts today two weeks ago, ssekamatte got four right but with no perfect score