Just 7 or so games remaining in the EPL season that keeps on giving. Well for neutrals, Leicesters and Spurs fans anyway. The unlikeliest showdown for an EPL title continues this weekend.
An interesting point before moving on to try and put the Leicester title tilt into perspective, a club like Manchester United have attempted to claim their underwhelming season/s is due to the team being in a rebuilding phase. So with an international manager who has won titles with some of the biggest European clubs and a war chest for transfers of 100’s of millions they currently sit 6th, a net loss of 2 places from last season.
Leicester were dead last at Xmas in 2014, and with a manager a lot of experts were cynical about at best and a modest well assembled side with a great number of players from the Championship and below, they are leading the EPL and do so on merit as they have been the best side most of the year. It looks like at least one big Manchester club will miss the Top 4 this season, and with West Ham looming, it could be more than one. With a massive Olympic stadium that will go close to be filled every weekend on offer next year, West Ham might just be this season’s Leicester next year.
Some will claim Leicester will get smashed in the Champions League, but most of those picked the Foxes to come in the bottom three this year, and given the English teams performances in Europe in recent years, they can’t do a great deal worse. With a far cheaper squad.
Another team that won’t be playing Champions League next season is Chelsea who take on a team who have equally underperformed massively this season in relation to last season. Chelsea’s bad season means they won’t probably play European Football, but at least they’ll play in the EPL – Aston Villa won’t. Manager Remi Garde has been moved on, and not having an immediate replacement with 7 games to go signals that the drop is now expected. The way they are playing it may not be just the one drop.
Talking about the bottom, two of the likely teams face off as Norwich play Newcastle. A win for Norwich would make it hard for Newcastle and the other clubs to survive, a nightmare scenario for Championship clubs with clubs who welcome average crowds of 50,000, 43,000 and 34,000 potentially coming down. Thankfully Crystal Palace appear to be tired of overachieving and are trying their best to join the relegation race with no wins this calendar year in the League.
Anyway, here’s our thoughts on the potential results this weekend.
Not the 3PM MULTI
CHELSEA to beat Aston Villa
LIVERPOOL to beat Spurs
LEICESTER to beat Southampton
EVERTON to beat Manchester United
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The 3PM MULTI
ARSENAL to beat Watford
BOURNEMOUTH to beat Man City
NORWICH to beat Newcastle
STOKE to beat Swansea
SUNDERLAND to beat WBA
WEST HAM to beat Crystal Palace
$1 for $95
FOOTBALL LEAGUE TIME
Below all the excitement of the EPL is the Football League, and in the Championship there is either 8 or 9 games to go to determine the lucky three to get amongst all the money and column inches on offer. Right on queue to revive interest after the international break is a big game at the top of the Football League as 1st placed Burnley visit 2nd placed Brighton in the Championship. Depending on Middlesbrough’s result the night before Burnley could be as much as 8 points in front of the north east side in third.
At the other end, former EPL regulars Bolton and Fulham are staring down the barrel of League One for the first time in 22 years and 17 years respectively. Quite the fall from grace. They could join former EPL sides Coventry and Sheffield United who haven’t escaped the third tier form several seasons, and given their League position and form, won’t again this season. Two team that look likely to jump up to the Championship have come from vastly difference places. Where 2nd placed Wigan are fresh from the EPL and won an FA Cup and played in Sydney, 1st placed Burton have come through the non League as recently as 2009.
The first team promoted for this season could be Northampton in League Two who are so far in front there’s almost a big enough gap to fourth now, and a win and other results could see the club who were so financially strapped earlier in the season they were handing out the buckets for coins at games going up with weeks to spare.
CH – BRIGHTON v BURNLEY – 1st v 2nd
CH – CARDIFF v DERBY – Top 6 hopefuls head to head
CH – a loss for Fulham could see them in the bottom three.
L2 – EXETER v PLYMOUTH – Devon Derby.
And our finest selections that money can be wasted on.
DRAW – Brighton v Burnley
MILTON KEYNES to beat Fulham
ROTHERHAM to beat Leeds
HULL to beat Bristol City
NOTTINGHAM FOREST to beat Brentford
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BURTON to beat Bury
GILLINGHAM to beat Coventry
ROCHDALE to beat Doncaster
WIGAN to beat Shrewsbury
SWINDON to beat Fleetwood
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LEYTON ORIENT to beat York
BRISTOL ROVERS to beat Crawley
BARNET to beat Morecambe
PORTSMOUTH to beat Carlisle
WYCOMBE to beat Wimbledon
NORTHAMPTON to beat Notts County
$1 for $59