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Premier League Preview - Week 34

The Premier League continues this weekend with top-four, relegation and title aspirations all on the line. The featured games in week 34 sees Liverpool v Spurs a crucial encounter in the battle for the top-four, while Arsenal welcome a struggling Chelsea in a must win game if they are to keep their title hopes alive. Check out our preview of the action and if playing online casino is your entertainment of choice, head over to GentingCasino.com and play over 3,500 online slots and premium live tables!


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Crystal Palace v West Ham

Crystal Palace will host West Ham as Roy Hodgson’s side aim to improve upon their improved recent form. West Ham may have had a disappointing season, but they’re certainly not a side who’ll lose without a fight. 

The Hammers felt aggrieved to have not been awarded a penalty late on against Liverpool in their 2-1 loss on Wednesday night, but that pales in comparison to the anguish Michael Olise caused them in the reverse fixture with a last-minute winner.

Hodgson’s side slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Wolves in midweek, having scored goals for fun when he first arrived to now failing to score in two consecutive games. Conversely, West Ham have found their goalscoring form under David Moyes - scoring in 11 consecutive games. With big European games to come, a victory will be of paramount importance to the Scot, who knows Premier League safety is still not secured.

West Ham have a good record at Selhurst, winning 3-2 on two previous occasions, but Palace have lost just once at home in their last seven in the Premier League - a 1-0 loss to champions-incumbent Manchester City.

Palace v West Ham, Selhurst Park, 29 April, kick-off 12:30 pm GMT.

 

Brentford v Nottingham Forest

Brenford will host Nottingham Forest in one of Saturday’s 3 pm games as the Bees look to salvage their push for European football. However, Forest’s surprise victory against Brighton in midweek has given Steve Cooper’s men a fresh impetus to escape the clutches of relegation.

The Bees are one of the most formidable outfits in the Premier League however, as underlined by their dominant display at Chelsea on Wednesday. Admittedly, they had failed to win in their six previous attempts, but they have lost just once in their last 12 at home.

Ivan Toney has been one of the best strikers in the division this season, and he’ll be rubbing his hands together as he looks at a Forest side who’ve shipped plenty of goals this season. The 19-goal striker will also be coming up against a backline without Moussa Niakhate and Neco Williams, who both limped off during the win against Brighton.

The Tricky Trees have won just once away from home as well, picking up six of their seven wins at home.

Forest’s return to the Premier League has been largely disappointing, and they have the worst away record in English football - picking up just six points out of a possible 48. A win at the Gtech Community Stadium, however, could help swing the pendulum.

Brentford v Nottingham Forest, Gtech Community Stadium, 29 April, kick-off 3pm GMT.

 

Brighton v Wolves

Brighton will be hoping to finish their highly impressive season strongly, despite a wobble which has seen them lose the FA Cup semi-final on penalties to Manchester United, before a shock 3-1 loss to Nottingham Forest in midweek. Conversely, Wolves moved closer to mid-table security thanks to a comfortable win against Crystal Palace.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side sit eighth in the table and remain firmly in the hunt for European place, five points off Tottenham Hotspur after Ryan Mason’s men came back to draw with Manchester United. Three defeats in their last four sounds bad, but they still have games in hand on their European rivals and have picked up 13 out of a possible 16 at home.

It remains to be seen if Evan Ferguson’s ankle injury clears in time for him to start, with Wolves’ leaky defence away from home proving to be a problem. Although imperious at Molineux, Julen Lopetegui’s men have won just twice away from home all season.

Diego Costa will hope to amend that, with his link-up with Matheus Cunha proving a real source of optimism for the Black Country outfit.

Brighton v Wolves, Falmer Stadium, 29 April, kick-off 3 pm GMT.

 

Bournemouth v Leeds

This game would’ve been described as a relegation six-pointer not too long ago, but Bournemouth’s turnaround in recent weeks has seen the pressure ease on them - though not entirely. Both sides are out of the drop zone, but there is still the threat of relegation looming large.

The Cherries edged out Southampton 1-0 in the midweek games, while Leeds were held 1-1 by Leicester, meaning Gary O’Neil’s side sit seven points clear of the drop in 14th place. They have struggled at home however, with the chastening 4-0 defeat by West Ham on Sunday their second in a row. A third defeat at home would mark the first time they have lost a hat-trick of home games in Premier League history.

Patrick Bamford’s miss of the season contender ensured Javi Gracia’s men got just a point from the game against Leicester, with home wins needed given their dreadful away record. The Whites have lost four of their last five away from Elland Road and have one clean sheet. Games against Manchester city, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham are all still to come.

Wilfried Gnonto continues to be overlooked by Gracia, although this may change as midweek goalscorer Luis Sinisterra went down with an apparent hamstring injury. Marcus Tavernier, also a scorer in the week, may miss the game with the same issue.

Bournemouth v Leeds, Vitality Stadium, 30 April, kick-off 2 pm GMT 

 

Fulham v Man City

Fulham are now officially mathematically safe from relegation, despite losing 1-0 to Aston Villa in midweek, although there is no time to rest on their laurels as they welcome one of the fiercest teams in Europe to Craven Cottage. City, buoyed by their 4-1 demolition of title challengers Arsenal on Wednesday, will be searching for complacency on the banks of the Thames.

The Cottagers returned from the World Cup and seemed destined for Europe - six wins from nine had them dreaming of Europa League - but this has since turned to five defeats from their last seven and mid-table seems their best bet. Record-breaking Erling Haaland has now scored 33 goals in a 38-game Premier League season and scored a 95th minute penalty to secure a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture.

Fulham are still without the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic, while Harry Wilson and Willian are also both doubts. Nathan Ake is the only absentee for the visitors, who will hope to extend their current 17-game unbeaten streak before their mammoth Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.

Fulham v Man City, Craven Cittage, 30 April, 2 pm GMT.

Celtic v Rangers Preview - Scottish Cup Semi-Final

Celtic v Rangers Preview - Scottish Cup Semi-Final

Man United v Aston Villa

In a repeat of Unai Emery’s first game in charge of Villa, Manchester United are up next for the Spaniard, who knows his side must win if they are to stand any chance of securing an unlikely Champions League spot. Before that game in November, the Villans were 17th in the table.

Just as they did against Sevilla in the Europa League, United threw away a two-goal lead to Tottenham in midweek as they capitulated in the capital, but will be buoyed by their incredible 14-game unbeaten run at home in the Premier League. Villa have just lost one of their nine away games under Emery however, and did win 1-0 at Old Trafford last season thanks to a Kourtney Hause header.

Marcus Rashford can become the first Manchester United player since Robin van Persie to score 30 goals in a season, while Ollie Watkins is one of the most in-form players in the country right now - with 12 goals in 19 under Emery.

Matty Cash could return for the visitors, while Harry Maguire has now joined Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the treatment room. This could mean Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof partner each other at centre-half.

Man United v Aston Villa, Old Trafford, 30 April, kick-off 2 pm GMT

 

Newcastle v Southampton

Defeat to Bournemouth means Southampton are resigned to relegation this season as they sit six points from safety and welcome Eddie Howe’s high-flying Newcastle. The Toon are eight points clear of Tottenham in the Champions League places after another away day demolition job, with Everton the latest victims.

The 4-1 victory at Goodison Park followed a 6-1 thrashing of Tottenham, with Callum Wilson, Joeltinon and Jacob Murphy consistently getting on the scoresheets. No team has lost fewer games this season than Newcastle, with their miserly four all season thanks in part to their incredible defensive record - conceding just 26 goals - the best in the Premier League.

Southampton have failed to win in their last eight games and have lost four of their last five, although this does include a credible point away to Arsenal. Ruben Selles could also be without club captain James Ward-Prowse after he was substituted at half time in the loss to Bournemouth, while Mohamed Salisu, Romain Perraud and Juan Larios will also be unavailable.

Newcastle v Southampton, St. James' Park, 30 April, kick-off 2 pm GMT.

 

Liverpool v Tottenham

Sunday’s football concludes at Anfield as Liverpool host Tottenham.

Spurs fans enjoyed something to cheer about finally as Ryan Mason inspired his troops to a 2-2 draw to Manchester United after being two goals down, just a day after the Reds beat West Ham 2-1.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are seven points off Manchester United in the Champions League spots, but their incredible recent run (11 points from their last 15) means some form of continental football should be on offer.

They have also lost just once at Anfield in the Premier League this season, while Spurs have failed to keep a clean sheet in their past seven games. Liverpool scored at least two goals for the fourth time in a row on Wednesday.

Tottenham haven’t beaten Liverpool since October 2017, an 11-game winless run, but they did claim a 1-1 draw at Anfield last season. The Reds could recall Darwin Nunez to the starting XI for the game, while Dujan Kulusevski is in line to replace Richarlison in attack for the hosts - a £60 million summer signing without a Premier League goal.

Liverpool v Tottenham, Anfield, 30 April, kick-off 4:30  pm GMT.

 

Leicester v Everton

Monday’s football will involve a visit to the King Power Stadium as Leicester host Everton in a bottom-of-the-table clash. 

In the repeat fixture last season, Everton secured a vital 2-1 win to stave off relegation fears at the KingPower Stadium. However, that surprise result is becoming something of a necessity as they continued to slump towards relegation with the home defeat to Newcastle. Sean Dyche’s men have won just once in their last ten games and the Englishman’s debut win against Arsenal feels like a lifetime ago.

Leicester are also a side struggling at the wrong end of the table as they sit 18th and a point away from safety ahead of five massive fixtures. Jamie Vardy’s first goal since October secured a point away to fellow strugglers Leeds in the week, but you feel as though the Foxes need to start picking up wins to survive. 

The visiting Toffees have now won away from home in their last 14 games, and have also not scored in 9 of their 16 games away from Goodison Park. With just 25 goals in the league all season, Dyche will be hoping Dominic Calvert-Lewin can find some kind of form fast before the end of the season after returning from yet another injury.

Leicester v Everton, King Power Stadium, 1 May, kick-off 9 pm GMT

 

Arsenal v Chelsea

Chelsea defeated Liverpool to hand Man City the title in 2013/14, and they could repeat the favour by defeating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday 2nd May. The Gunners slipped to a humiliating 4-1 loss to title challengers Manchester City and have wobbled massively at the most crucial of moments. Three consecutive draws has narrowed their lead at the top to just two points and City have two games in hand.

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will once again be expected to lead the attacking charge for Arsenal, while the absence of William Saliba at the back has seen a marked transformation. Arsenal had a win ratio of nearly 70% with the France international in their side, but this slips down to 58% when he is absent.

Mikel Arteta defeated Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in the 2020 FA Cup Final, and the Spaniard will be hoping to repeat this feat, only for a different trophy - the Premier League title. The Blues are still waiting to appoint Mauricio Pochettino it seems, with Lampard suffering five defeats since returning on an interim basis and the loss to Brentford at Stamford Bridge feels like the lowest point.

Arsenal v Chelsea, Emirates Stadium, 2nd May, kick-off 8 pm GMT.

 

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