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Premier League preview

Chelsea's Saturday Night Football meeting with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge is the stand-out fixture on a truncated weekend of Premier League action.

Last Updated: 08/03/14 at 19:19 Post Comment

Chelsea take on Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening

Chelsea take on Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening

Jose Mourinho's leaders have the chance to open up a seven-point cushion on the chasing pack when they tackle their London rivals, live on Sky Sports 1HD, with the FA Cup quarter-finals halving the top-flight fixture schedule.

Manchester United return to the scene of Sir Alex Ferguson's final match in charge a shadow of the side who wrapped up their title-winning campaign last May with a 5-5 draw against West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Relegation-threatened Cardiff and Fulham go head-to-head in south Wales, while fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and Norwich have testing home encounters against Southampton and Stoke City, respectively.

Mourinho continues to trot out the mantra that his Chelsea team are not favourites for the Premier League title, but even the most naïve supporter will not be drawn into that attempt at mind games as they prepare to face Tottenham. The Blues are the form side in the top-flight at present, having dropped just four points from the last 30 on offer and currently hold a four-point advantage over Arsenal and Liverpool, with Manchester City - who will have three games in hand by Saturday evening - a further two adrift. Chelsea also boast an impressive home record against Spurs, having lost none of their last 26 games in all competitions, with Gary Lineker the last player to score a winning goal for Tottenham in west London back in February 1990.

The last time Manchester United visited the Hawthorns in May 2013 they were Premier League champions. This weekend sees a side which has fallen spectacularly from grace under David Moyes now scrapping for the consolation prize of a place in the Europa League as they trail leaders Chelsea by 18 points and fourth-placed Manchester City by 12. West Brom, meanwhile, have managerial issues of their own as new boss Pepe Mel is yet to guide his new side to victory, with the club forced to release a statement to refute reports of dressing room unrest. The Baggies are just one point above the bottom three, and have already played a game more than Sunderland who currently sit in 18th and are not in action this weekend.

Cardiff and Fulham have both changed their managers this season - twice in the case of the Cottagers - but the duo currently prop up the Premier League table heading into Saturday's critical relegation clash at the Cardiff City Stadium. Replacing Martin Jol with Rene Meulensteen did not bring about the desired results for Fulham, with Felix Magath parachuted in in a desperate attempt to stave off the drop. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment in place of Malky Mackay arguably had more to do with the latter's clash of personalities with controversial owner Vincent Tan, with the Manchester United legend having presided over six defeats and just one win from his eight games. Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's match, neither side can escape the bottom three this weekend.

Crystal Palace can point to an upturn in fortunes after Tony Pulis stepped into the breach following Ian Holloway's exit from Selhurst Park earlier this season, yet last season's play-off winners are still just three points above the bottom three going into their home test against Southampton. Palace had won three home matches on the spin prior to their defeat at the hands of Manchester United, while Southampton go into the game on the back of consecutive defeats at the hands of West Ham and Liverpool. Mauricio Pochettino felt his side deserved more from both encounters and will look to his growing England contingent for inspiration against the Eagles, with the Saints secure in the top half of the table, but now well adrift of contesting a Europa League berth.

Norwich City have marginally more breathing space over the bottom three, with a four-point cushion going into their home meeting with Stoke, but Chris Hughton's side have played a game more than Palace and West Brom, and two more than Sunderland. The Canaries suffered a 4-1 drubbing away to Aston Villa last time out, a defeat made more galling by the fact it was against a relegation rival now managed by their former boss Paul Lambert. Stoke should head for Carrow Road in good spirits, having defeated Arsenal 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium last time out courtesy of Jon Walters' second-half penalty. But Mark Hughes' men have been dismal on their travels this term, with just one point gained from their last six matches away from home.

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E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

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