Tom Fenley, our PlayON Pro and last year’s official Fantasy Premier League winner, takes you through the Premier League fixtures for Gameweek 30.
Sat 21 Mar 2015 – Premier League
Man City v West Brom 12:45
The mid-week loss to Barcelona has left Man City focusing all their efforts on the league, their only remaining chance of silverware. Last week’s 1-0 loss to Burnley was their third defeat in eight matches and with only three wins in nine the pressure is mounting on Manuel Pellegrini to establish some momentum for the run-in.
Sergio Aguero has only scored in two of his nine games since returning from injury and the Champions clearly struggle when the Argentinian is not on form. On a positive note, City can keep a third successive clean sheet at home for the first time this season if they keep Tony Pulis’ side out.
West Brom striker Brown Ideye scored his third goal in six matches to give the Baggies a 1-0 win over Stoke in the last round, their third consecutive home win. On the road, however, the Baggies have not won in nine matches, failing to score in five of those games. Now eight points above the relegation places and considering their recent away results, Pulis would probably be happy with a point here.
Key Players: Aguero, Berahino.
Aston Villa v Swansea 15:00
Eight goals in three matches for Villa indicates an astonishing turnaround for the previously goal-shy team. Tim Sherwood’s side have a new-found robustness in attack, with Gabriel Agbonlahor grabbing two goals in the 4-0 win over Sunderland. The striker also scored against West Brom in the previous league game. Fellow front man Christian Benteke also has three goals in two matches and the fresh confidence of that partnership should offer Swansea plenty of problems.
The Swans were unlucky not to secure at least a draw against Liverpool, after producing an impressive first-half display before succumbing to an unlucky deflection in the second half. Gary Monk’s team remain inconsistent and could do with Batefimbi Gomis finding the net more often, instead of having to rely on Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ki Sung-Yueng; the latter has three in six for the Swans.
Key Players: Agbonlahor, Ki.
Newcastle v Arsenal 15:00
Newcastle’s 3-0 loss at Everton was their third defeat in four games, John Carver’s side appear to be stuck in mid-table limbo with safety from relegation almost guaranteed, and Europe well out of reach. Another loss seems likely here, with the Magpies keeping just a single clean sheet in eight home games. They will also be missing the suspended duo of Fabricio Collocini (after he was sent off against the Toffees) and Papiss Cisse (long term ban for spitting).
Arsenal have won the last six clashes these sides have played with nineteen goals for the Gunners to Newcastle’s five indicating the gulf in class between them. The last two meetings at St James’ Park have finished 1-0 to the London team and they are set for a sixth win in a row in the league.
Key Players: Colback, Giroud.
Southampton v Burnley 15:00
The 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge is a promising sign for Ronald Koeman that the Saints have recovered some of their early season form. Saido Mane has been a huge influence of late, either scoring or creating seven of the last nine goals Southampton have scored when he’s been available. A victory here would be the first back-to-back wins at St Marys since winning five home games in a row from August to November.
After Burnley’s excellent performance against Man City earned them a crucial 3 points, Sean Dyche’s side will believe anything is possible. The Clarets have exhibited a tenacious mentality all season, and George Boyd’s winning goal, his fifth of the season, has lifted his team to within one point of safety. Burnley now have every chance of staying up, though Danny Ings not scoring in four is a concern.
Key Players: Mane, Boyd.
Stoke v Crystal Palace 15:00
Stoke suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at West Brom last gameweek, only their second loss in eight matches. The Potter’s have been impressive at home recently with four wins in six, only dropping points in the loss to City and draw with United.
Peter Crouch has scored in two of the last three at home and netted the equaliser in the 1-1 draw between these sides at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace visit the Britannia on the back of a straightforward 3-1 win over QPR with three first half goals and stand out performances from Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie. The latter created two of the goals with some pin-point crossing bringing his total assists to eight, one of those was for James McArthur’s goal in their previous clash with Stoke, the Scotsman hit his second of the season at QPR.
Key Players: Crouch, Bolasie.
Tottenham v Leicester 15:00
Spurs looked way off the pace in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester Utd and will be relieved that their next fixture is much kinder. Mauricio Pochettino’s men are unbeaten in 9 games at White Hart Lane, with six wins and eighteen goals in that run since their last loss in early November.
Harry Kane has six goals in their last seven home matches so will be looking to extend that form in what appears will be a routine win. Leicester were held to a 0-0 draw with Hull city at the weekend and will be rueing the missed opportunity to grab three points against the 10-man Tigers. Winger Riyad Mahrez is worth keeping in mind during the run in, 17 attempts on goal in his last six with 10 from inside the box suggesting the Algerian has been getting into dangerous areas recently.
Key Players: Kane, Mahrez.
West Ham v Sunderland 17:30
West Ham had not conceded three goals in an away match this season before losing 3-0 at the Emirates last Saturday. Sam Allardyce’s side are in desperate need of a performance here after losing their last three games and being without a win in seven matches. Diafra Sakho has had 17 goal attempts in four matches and is likely to be the main threat here.
The Hammers defense is also worth considering with Sunderland scoring just one goal in five games. The 4-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light to Aston Villa was the final nail in the coffin for Gus Poyet. New manager Dick Advocaat has taken over but it’s probably wise to avoid selecting the Black Cats players until the Dutchman’s preferred line-up becomes clear.
Key Players: Sakho, Pantillimon
Sun 22 Mar 2015 – Premier League
Liverpool v Man Utd 13:30
The biggest match of the weekend sees these two rivals heading into this crucial game both in prosperous form. Liverpool’s resilient first half and hard-fought second half performance at Swansea resulted in an eighth win in nine games, while United’s imposing 3-0 win over Spurs was their third consecutive victory.
It’s always difficult to call matches between these sides and even harder when both teams are grinding out results. With so much at stake there are bound to be some hard-working performances. Daniel Sturridge has lacked sharpness since returning from the long lay-off with injury so will be eager to score whilst Wayne Rooney is enjoying one of his occasional purple patches though including any players in your PlayON squad from such high-pressure games is always a risk.
Key Players: Sturridge, Rooney.
Hull v Chelsea 16:00
Hull managed to escape from the King Power stadium with a point despite losing Tom Huddlestone to a red-card offense in the 72nd minute. At home Steve Bruce’s side have managed 10 points in five games, though a 1-1 draw with Sunderland in their last match at the KC stadium will not instill too much confidence ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the KC stadium.
Chelsea have won their last three encounters with Hull 2-0 and are likely to be too much for them here with a fourth successive away win on the cards for Jose Mourinho. Diego Costa scored his eighteenth league goal in the 1-1 draw with Southampton, the Spaniard’s first goal in six appearances for the Blues. Eden Hazard has scored in four of their last five away trips in the league.
Key Players: N’Doye, Costa.
QPR v Everton 16:00
Everton’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle at Goodison was their first league win in six games. However, the Toffees away form has been dire, eight defeats in nine matches and only four goals scored in that unfortunate run. Roberto Martinez’s team won the reverse fixture 3-1, Ross Barkley scored in that match and also netted against the Magpies at the weekend, and are facing a QPR side that have lost their last four home games.
QPR are now four points from safety and have won just once in twelve, with two draws the only other source of points in that disastrous period. The emergence of Matt Phillips, who scored a sensational consolation goal in the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace and has four assists in five offers hope that Rangers can at least show a fighting spirit in the relegation scrap.
Key Players: Barkley, Phillips.
Enter the new 12.45 Saturday Game this weekend on PlayON.co