Wenger to be 13th time lucky against Mour

Mauricio Pochettino is adamant Tottenham Hotspur should not play in Europa League again next season. The Argentine reasons that hopes of claiming a place in next Champions League was damaged because of their involvement in Europe’s second tier club competition.
No love lost as Wenger hosts Mourinho in a clash of two managers. (Net)
No love lost as Wenger hosts Mourinho in a clash of two managers. (Net)

Saturday

Saints 2-1 Spurs           2pm

Mauricio Pochettino is adamant Tottenham Hotspur should not play in Europa League again next season. The Argentine reasons that hopes of claiming a place in next Champions League was damaged because of their involvement in Europe’s second tier club competition.

Pochettino’s side currently lie sixth in the Premier League and travel to face his former club Southampton, positioned a point and q place below them. From his comments, he will be happy to see the Saints win the game and leap frog Spurs into sixth. The kind of tactic Manchester United played last season to avoid playing Thursday night football.

With just five games remaining and a seven-point gap separating them from the top four, Pochettino knows a Champions League spot is now beyond the north London club so my guess is that he will not give a hoot whether they lose or not.

Burnley   0-2  L’ster  4PM

Burnley have not scored a goal in their last four game and looking at how they turned up against Everton last week, one can as well conclude that they have given up hope of survival. If they haven’t, today’s game could write that hopelessness in their face when Leicester City come knocking. The Foxes have had a scintillating run, winning their last three games to move out of the bottom of the table. They have a game in hand over their relegation rivals too. What more, David Nugent, who missed the 2-0 win over Swansea, is back in training and could offer the side a much needed attack boost. If Leicester can keep their momentum and forget the result of the reverse fixture, they will be travelling back safe from the drop. They will want to settle this out so that they can afford to lose at home to Chelsea on Wednesday.

City      2-2           Villa    7pm

People were all over themselves with how good Manchester City could finally play after terrible games against rivals Manchester United and others. What the soccer fans forgot is that it could as well have been West Ham playing so badly. City won the game 2-0 but now a bigger test await.

Aston Villa have showed they are truly a changed side since the arrival of Tim Sherwood. Villa showed some mettle in seeing off a lethargic Liverpool side in the FA Cup semifinal last weekend and will be relishing yet another go a City side that is looking like they are not sure of themselves at the moment. Christian Benteke has been scoring with the free will of Messi and Ronaldo combined and unless City plug their defensive frailties, they risk being hit hard. Manuel Pellegrini is fighting to finish fourth but he will have to do that against playmaker David Silva, who took a nasty elbowing last week.

With Villa, they have scored 12 times in their last four home games, conceding none. Without him, it remains to be seen. It will not be an upset if Villa leave Etihad with all three points. A draw is a fair result for City. That is how the times have changed.

SUNDAY

Everton 2-2   Man utd    3pm

Manchester United did the same thing Liverpool did against Chelsea this time last season. The result was the same, albeit without someone slipping. Of course, Chelsea were the ones laughing all the way to their dressing room as Manchester trudged off wondering how they could dominate possession like Barca but fail to break down the parked bus. Now they must try and pour their anger on Everton. The Toffees have had a fine run of form lately, and will try to make it six out of six with a win over the Red Devils. Louis van Gaal could recall Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie to his starting lineup today, meaning a completely changed side compared to the one that has seen gangly forward Marouane Fellani torment defenders up front. However, the Belgian is guaranteed to start against his old club, although Colombian forward Radamel Falcao might pay for his acerbic display against Chelsea with a place on the bench. This might be that kind of late drama draw games.

Arsenal    3-1  Chelsea  5pm

Barring a referee’s drama, this is the kind of game that bores more than watching grass grow. Yes, Arsenal must score first to make Chelsea come at them, but how with the bus at hand? Didier Drogba, who has been playing up front for injured Diego Costa, is a major doubt, so one wonders who will play in the role without him. But that will not trouble Mourinho, a man who has never lost to Arsene Wenger in 12 games. The ‘specialist in failure’ is hoping it will be 13th time lucky for him against Mourinho so that he can temporarily postpone the Blues’ champagne moment. Arsenal can win if they turn up without pressing too hard’; if they avoid the same mistake Liverpool and Manchester United ran around with. 

OTHER FIXTURES

west brom   0-2              liverpool

stoke            3-0   Sunderland

QPR       2-1         West Ham

palace          4-1      hull

n’castle        3-1       swansea

hull                 0-1     liverpool

espanyol      0-4        barcelona

gladbach     2-2        Wolfsburg

celta vigo    2-2       madrid

*SEAMAN IS A lIVERPOOL FAN

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