Weekend Preview

Can Man. City start to gain momentum? Can Arsenal set themselves apart from the rest? Will Leicester keep up the pressure? Who will win, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool or Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United? It’s set to be an intriguing weekend of Premier League football!

Tottenham and Sunderland play in the early kick off, with Tottenham coming into the game off the back of a late defeat to Leicester. Despite that, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been in good form and sit 4th in the table. Performances from Harry Kane and Dele Alli have been important in their rise up the table, and if they can bounce back straight away with 3 points it could be very handy. But, in their way will be a Sunderland team high on confidence after their vital 2-4 win over fellow strugglers Swansea in midweek, and striker Jermain Defoe, who scored a hat-trick in that game, will be hoping to keep us his good form with a goal against his former club.

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth host Alex Neill’s Norwich, and Bournemouth, who have lost their way in recent weeks, could start Lewis Grabban, who rejoined the club he was at last season, and if he were to play, his first game for his new (old) club would be against the  club that he has just left, Norwich! Norwich’s form has been more up and down lately, with wins against Manchester United, Aston Villa and Southampton along with defeats to Manchester City, Tottenham and Stoke, but whatever happens, it is set to be a hugely important game between two of last season’s promoted sides.

One of the most interesting ties will take place at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea take on Everton. Both drew in midweek, but Everton’s draw would have been more satisfactory as they picked up a point after the 0-0 draw with Manchester City, whilst Chelsea were denied 3 points by West Brom. In form striker Romelu Lukaku will be hoping to continue his form, and Chelsea will be hoping to keep up their unbeaten run under interim manager Guus Hiddink.

Crystal Palace will hardly be going into the weekend with great confidence, as they became only the second team to lose to Aston Villa in the league this season, (the last being Bournemouth’s 0-1 defeat on the opening day,) and now they travel to Manchester City. As for City themselves, Sergio Aguero will be keen to build on goals against Watford and Norwich, and as a result keep the pressure up on Arsenal and Leicester.

Newcastle will come into their game against West Ham with a new hope, after their 3-3 draw with Manchester United in midweek, and new signings Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet could start along with Emmanuel Riviere and Rolando Aarons, who are both back from injury. Looking at West Ham, Dimitri Payet made a huge impact in his first game back from injury against Bournemouth, with a sumptuous free kick, a classy assist and an all round dazzling display helped the Hammers to a 1-3 win.

Southampton host West Brom at St Mary’s, and after their important 2-0 win against Watford on Wednesday the Saints will be hoping to build on that result with 3 more points. New Saints signing Charlie Austin will be watching on as an in form Shane Long faces his former club, whilst Rickie Lambert of the Baggies will be facing his former club also. The match finished 0-0 the last time these two sides met at the Hawthorns earlier this season.

A repeat of the 3-2 thriller at the King Power stadium earlier this season sees Aston Villa host Leicester at Villa Park. The reverse fixture saw Villa go 0-2 up through brilliant goals from Jack Grealish and Carles Gil before goals from Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy and Nathan Dyer turned the game on its head. This time Vardy will be hoping to get his first goal since the 2-1 victory against Chelsea, whilst Villa will be in a much happier mood after just their second win of the season against Crystal Palace in midweek, although there is still a lot of work to be done for the Premier League’s bottom side.

Sunday will see English football’s most famous fixture as Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield, before league leaders Arsenal travel to the Britannia to face Stoke.

The Monday night game will be huge for Swansea after their disappointing 2-4 defeat against Sunderland, and they face Watford, who also lost in midweek. Swansea sit just 1 point outside of the relegation zone and a win today would be crucial.

Who will be top of the table at the end of the week? Who will be in the relegation zone? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Race for Jurgen Klopp

With not long to go in the Premier League now as we pass mid April, the race is hotting up for the charismatic manager of Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp. As it looks certain that the likes of Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal will stay at their clubs for the 2015/16 season, there are strong chances that Manuel Pellegrini could well be sacked and there could be the slightest, slightest chance that Arsene Wenger may finally chose to retire as Arsenal boss, and after strong showings last season from their clubs, safety isn’t wrapped up for Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rogers. Therefore, all four sides will be closely keeping an eye on the German.

Klopp started out his career as a manager in 2001, taking charge of FSV Mainz 05 up until 2008. During his 7 year reign he lead them into the Bundesliga for the first time, and even guided them to qualification for the 2005-2006 UEFA Cup. Unfortunately, the following season  they were relegated from the Bundesliga, and after failing to gain promotion after that Klopp resigned as head coach.

Shortly after in May 2008 he was approached by Borussia Dortmund and signed a two year contract with a club. He got underway in style by defeating rivals Bayern Munich to clinch the Supercup, and after last seasons disappointment under Thomas Doll in which they finished 13th, Klopp improved their position by 7 places, leading them to finish 6th. There was also steady improvement the next season as they finished 5th before successive league titles transformed the club in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. In 2012-2013, Dortmund had begun well known around the world  and their fan base was increasing, and despite only managing to finish second behind Bayern Munich, a fantastic run to the Champions League final including to victories against Real Madrid saw them come agonisingly close to just their second ever European Cup title, (after their win against Juventus in 1997) as they lost 2-1 to Bayern again after Arjen Robben’s late winner. The next season was not quite as thrilling as the finished second in the Bundesliga again and despite winning the second leg 2-0, crashed out in the quarter finals of the Champions League to Real Madrid in a 2-3 aggregate defeat. This season however has been a lot, lot worse, as after 29 games, they sit just 8th and went out to  Juventus in the round of 16 of the Champions League, and after this poor year, on  the 15th April, Klopp announced that he will be leaving Dortmund at the end of this season.

After much speculation it seems as if he may be going to the Premier League and Manchester City are currently the favourites to land the crazy manager, but expect this one to go right down to the wire; and the question is, where will Jurgen Klopp be next season?