Historic game: Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard celebrates the second of his three goals against Everton in the Merseyside Derby on March 13. The hat-trick for Gerrard came in his 400th Premier League match. Liverpool won the match 3-0. *AFP photo
FRIDAY, MAR. 16: It’s a mixed weekend ahead with just four Premier League games as its also the FA Cup quarter-finals.
There will be seven Premier League matches played on Tuesday and Wednesday with Manchester City versus Chelsea pushed back from its original Monday date on the fixture list to Wednesday.
Fulham v Swansea
You always hear the cliché the game of football is 90 minutes. A prime example is Fulham’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend. Fulham gaffer Martin Jol was ‘sickened’ by the late meltdown by his side against Villa when sub Andreas Weimann took a spilled shot by goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and found the back of the net in injury time.
Swansea, meanwhile, are flying high after taking down former leaders Man City 1-0 at home. Midfielder Joe Allen said his side is looking like a completely different side who lost to City 4-0 earlier in the season.
BDA Sun prediction: 1-0
Wigan v West Brom
One point is better than no points as Wigan managed to draw with Norwich last week. The fact they did it away is huge. No one fancies their chances at avoiding relegation, but they managed to stay in contention.
They are still anchored at the bottom of the table, but a win on Saturday will temporarily pull them into 17th and safety.
The Baggies, with 10 matches to go, don’t have much to play for at this point in the season and this is the type of match that Wigan can steal a point from.
BDA Sun prediction: 1-1
Wolves v Man United
If you’re Wolves’ fans you can’t really relish an encounter against United at any time — but after they’ve been chasing Man City all season and finally pushed past them to the top?
The patented United desire and hunger to win will now come bursting forth as they are in charge of their destiny.
Sir Alex has gone so far as to heap praise upon United’s fighting spirit and ‘resilience’ to keep ‘banging’ away.
BDA Sun prediction: 0-3
Newcastle v Norwich
Fourth is beginning to look like an illusion to Newcastle right now and it might be time to set their sights on fifth. They are now eight points behind Arsenal and five behind Chelsea and they still have to count in Liverpool, who are two points behind them.
The 2-1 loss to Arsenal in injury time was a heartbreaker and amounted to a six point swing between the clubs.
Norwich showed why being stuck in the middle of the table at this point in the season is a bad thing. They were outplayed by Wigan and were lucky not to lose the match as the players showed no fire to go out and grab a victory.
The club has now gone four matches without a triumph and should be making it five straight on Sunday.
BDA Sun prediction: 3-1
Everton v Sunderland
Everton and Sunderland are the last two clubs to have played Liverpool with vastly different results. While Everton are still smarting from their loss in the Merseyside Derby, Everton are celebrating a 1-0 victory from last Saturday.
Sunderland does not have a sparkling record at Goodison Park, so that might temper some expectations. With just two league wins there in the past 30 years, the series has been lopsided in Everton’s favour.
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley said his side is going for the win, but barring that, they will be happy with a draw and get a replay at their home ground.
BDA Sun prediction: 2-1
Tottenham v Bolton
If you don’t want to see Harry Redknapp when he is an angry man. And Harry was vexed at losing to Tottenham last Saturday. He nearly snapped when a reporter asked if Tottenham deserved a draw against Tottenham.
His reply? “A draw? It was the most one-sided second half you’ve seen. We’ve battered them non-stop in the second half and ended up getting done.”
With three league losses in a row, Tottenham needs a pick’me up and Bolton should provide it.
BDA Sun prediction: 3-0
Chelsea v Leicester
This is the miss-match of the weekend. Chelsea should run Leicester ragged. The honeymoon period for new manager Roberto di Matteo is in full bloom, but this time next year we could be hearing about how owner Roman Abramovich is seeking to replace him.
BDA Sun prediction: 4-0
Liverpool v Stoke
What are the chances of Steven Gerrard being left out of Sunday’s side? Practically nil after his superb hat-trick against Everton. That was his first start since February 11 and his brilliant display left little doubt that he deserves a first team shirt. Lost in the hoopla over Gerrard’s performance was the fact that Luis Suarez quietly put in a solid match and stayed out of trouble.
BDA Sun prediction: 2-1