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Five Reasons Why Fulham Will Stay Up

April 16th, 2014 by Michael Cox

1 – The run-in

fulham premier league run-inFulham’s primary objective is to overhaul Norwich City, the side they defeated 1-0 last weekend. There is more to it than that, of course – Cardiff are also battling to get out of the relegation zone, and others might become dragged in. But if Fulham get ahead of Norwich, they’ll probably survive.

We all know the difficulty of Norwich’s run-in, but Fulham’s looks perfect. They have a game against an increasingly apathetic Spurs side, before matches against Stoke, Crystal Palace and Hull – currently 10th, 12th and 13th in the table.

At this stage of the campaign, you don’t want to face fellow relegation battlers. You’re better off against midtable sides already thinking about their summer holidays, and in that respect it seems to be working out nicely for Fulham.

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5 Liverpool vs Man City Key Battles

April 9th, 2014 by Michael Cox

gerrard vs silvaThis Sunday’s match between Liverpool and Manchester City is the most important match of the Premier League so far, and a meeting between the division’s two top goalscorers. Here are five battles that might prove crucial in shaping the result.

Steven Gerrard v David Silva

There is a possibility Brendan Rodgers could recall Lucas Leiva against a side so comfortable in possession – but even if the Brazilian does feature, it could be on the right of a diamond, where he played the second half against West Ham last week. Either way, Steven Gerrard will be Liverpool’s deepest midfielder.

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5 Reasons Why Liverpool Can Win The Premier League

March 26th, 2014 by Michael Cox

suarez and sturridgeWith eight games remaining, Liverpool are unquestionably still in the title race. They might be third-favourites, but there are five good reasons why Brendan Rodgers’ side can triumph this season…

1 – The SAS

It’s the obvious factor, of course, but Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are currently sitting first and second in the Premier League goalscoring charts. Never before has one side boasted the two most prolific players in a Premier League season, and should Liverpool lift the title, these two will be the main reason.

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5 Ways Everton Have Improved Under Martinez

March 19th, 2014 by Michael Cox

5 Ways Everton Have Improved Under MartinezIn literal terms, Everton’s improvement this season has been slight – they’re in sixth, the same position as last year, and have won only two extra games.

Nevertheless, few doubt that Roberto Martinez has changed the club for the better, and the Toffees are in a good position to push on.

Here are five key features of Martinez’s reign…

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Top 10 North London Derbies

March 12th, 2014 by Michael Cox

top 10 north london derbiesSunday’s two big Premier League matches make for extremely exciting reading – Manchester United host Liverpool, before Arsenal make the short journey to White Hart Lane, to face Spurs.

The North London derby has provided some memorable moments in the Premier League era, particularly over the last decade. Here are ten of the best Premier League meetings between the sides…

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Premier League Key Players – Team-by-Team – Part II

February 12th, 2014 by Michael Cox

After looking at the key player for each of the Premier League’s top-half clubs last week, here’s part two…

Swansea – Leon Britton

leon brittonAs Swansea start the post-Michael Laudrup era, interim coach Garry Monk will probably make Britton the focal point of his side. Like Monk, Britton has come through the divisions with Swansea and Monk is likely to focus upon restoring the identity of the club, something chairman Huw Jenkins appears particularly keen on.

On the pitch, Britton epitomises the possession-based attacking play Swansea have played throughout the past few years. Although Laudrup wasn’t as obsessed with ball retention as Brendan Rodgers, Swansea’s average of 60% possession is the highest of any Premier League club, and Britton will be crucial in maintaining that statistic.

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Premier League Key Players – Team-by-Team – Part I

February 5th, 2014 by Michael Cox

With the January transfer window now finished, managers are unable to strengthen their side this season, and must instead concentrate upon maximising their existing resources.

Here’s the first part of a look at each Premier League club’s key player for the remaining 14 games of the campaign…

Arsenal – Olivier Giroud

olivier giroudAaron Ramsey’s return will be crucial, and Mesut Ozil needs to rediscover his early season form, but Arsenal have enough creative midfielders to compensate for their potential absence, or underperformance.

Upfront, Arsenal are obviously dependent upon one player, and while back-up Nicklas Bendtner isn’t quite the liability some would suggest, Giroud plays a crucial role for Arsenal with his link-up play, and his penalty box presence. Without Theo Walcott, Arsenal need all their players to contribute their share of goals, something they’ve done excellently over the past 18 months – but Giroud will probably need to score a goal every other game, if
Arsenal are to win the league.

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Top Ten January Deadline Day Flops

January 30th, 2014 by Michael Cox

With just two days remaining of the January transfer window, there have been extremely few permanent moves amongst the Premier League clubs – and even fewer that look good value for money.

Perhaps it’s best for clubs to keep their money in their pockets, however – here are ten January signings that proved completely unsuccessful.

10. Alan Hutton (Rangers to Tottenham, £9m, 2008)

allan hutton to spurs is no. 10 in our top 10 january transfer flopsIt seemed like a reasonable move when Juande Ramos shelled out for the Scottish right-back midway through the season. Hutton had impressed in Scotland’s impressive qualification campaign for Euro 2008, where they nearly toppled World Cup finalists France and Italy, and the move allowed Pascal Chimbonda to move across and plug the gap at left-back.

Things started well for Hutton, winning the League Cup after less than two months at Spurs, but he never truly showed his Rangers form in the Premier League. Harry Redknapp effectively made him an outcast, with Hutton complaining, “He never said anything to me when I left the club. I can’t actually tell you the last time we spoke. It was probably when I heard the words, ‘I don’t want you to train with us any more, I want you to train with the kids’. I just don’t think anyone should be treated like that. For me, Spurs was an unhappy place.”

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Premier League Relegation Battle Betting Odds

January 15th, 2014 by Michael Cox

premier league relegation betting oddsThis might be the closest title race we have seen in years – but at the other end of the table, there’s also a fascinating relegation battle taking place.

Amazingly, just six points separate 10th and 20th, and the fact five of these 11 clubs have replaced their manager this season brings further unpredictability to the scrap. Here’s a look at each relegation candidate, assessing their strengths and weaknesses.

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Top 5 Next West Brom Manager Candidates

December 18th, 2013 by Michael Cox

Gianfranco Zola – 4/1 with Stan James

gianfranco zolaThe Italian resigned as Watford manager on Monday, just two days after West Brom sacked his old Chelsea teammate Steve Clarke – leading to speculation Zola was being lined up for a return to the Premier League. Bizarrely, Clarke has been linked with the Watford job, which would highlight the craziness of the managerial merry-go-round more than ever.

It’s difficult to see why Zola deserves another crack at the Premier League, however. His spell with West Ham was difficult: although he attempted to embrace youngsters and played an open brand of football, he struggled tactically and was fortunate to avoid relegation in his second campaign. At Watford, he reached the play-off final in his first campaign but resigned with the club currently in the bottom half of the Championship.

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