EPL Week 27 Predictions: Teams Who Will Score Crucial Wins This Week

Lawrence Ostlere@@LawrenceOstlereContributor IIIFebruary 19, 2014

Felix Magath will manage Fulham for the first time this weekend
Felix Magath will manage Fulham for the first time this weekendMartin Meissner/Associated Press

After the FA Cup fifth round and the Champions League round of 16, the Premiership is back this weekend. Near the top of the table Chelsea play Everton at Stamford Bridge, while at the other end bottom club Cardiff have a crucial home tie against Hull and West Brom host fellow strugglers Fulham. 

Here is the full list of match predictions (all kick-off times are in GMT):

Chelsea v Everton (Saturday, 12.45pm)

Chelsea have gone 11 games unbeaten since losing to Stoke in December and given Jose Mourinho's infallible record at Stamford Bridge and Everton's recent away wobbles at Liverpool and Tottenham, that run should be extended to 12.

But Mourinho could rotate his team with next week's Champions League tie against Galatasaray in mind and Everton took all three points in the reverse fixture back in September.

Even so, Chelsea have found a groove, particularly Eden Hazard. With John Terry expected to return from injury, this should go down as a home win.

Prediction: 1-0

Arsenal v Sunderland (Saturday, 3pm)

Much may depend on how Arsenal fair in the Champions League on Wednesday—a defeat to Bayern Munich at the Emirates would be a big blow and could either hit confidence or provoke a positive reaction against Sunderland.

Sunderland find themselves in a strange place, deep in the mire of a relegation battle, but at the same time in good form (four wins in six games), looking forward to a Capital One Cup final and with the chance to go to Wembley again in the FA Cup, should they beat Hull in their quarter-final.

Despite Sunderland's resurgence, this is a game Arsenal should win comfortably—and one of those that should they not, would be a massive dent to their title ambitions.

Prediction: 4-0

Cardiff City v Hull City (Saturday, 3pm)

In the last 20 league games that these two sides have played, they have picked up just three wins between them, a return that has seen Cardiff slide into the relegation zone and that leaves a Hull team that looked safe in December now just three points above the drop. 

It is the sort of fixture that Cardiff must get something from if they are to survive this season, and that might be incentive enough to dig out a win. Hull didn't play particularly well on Monday night against Brighton, and given their collective form it may come down to a mistake rather than a moment of individual brilliance.

Prediction: 2-1

Manchester City v Stoke City (Saturday, 3 p.m.)

City may be a little flat given the events of mid-week and yet another disappointment in Europe, but City's home record and sheer quality is such that a Stoke side without a clean sheet in 10 league games is unlikely to trouble them. 

Top scorer Sergio Aguero is expected to return to the side to add to Stoke's misery, who will be aware that they are getting sucked into the relegation scrap below them. 

Prediction: 2-0

West Brom v Fulham (Saturday, 3pm)

Anichebe celebrates scoring against Chelsea
Anichebe celebrates scoring against ChelseaRui Vieira/Associated Press

Two clubs with managers still settling in meet at the Hawthorns. Pepe Mel hadn't made a great start to his West Brom tenure until a draw with Chelsea thanks to Victor Anichebe's late header, but the club are in freefall without a win in six league matches. 

Fulham are in even worse fettle, having lost seven out of their last 10, but their new manager, described by Raphael Honigstein in The Guardian as "Felix 'medicine balls' Magath," has a reputation for being a hard task-master, which might be just what they need. A difficult one to predict, given the upheaval at both clubs. 

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham v Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)

The Hammers have recovered from their well-publicised early-season struggles with three 2-0 wins in succession, and it is surely no coincidence that their revival has come in tandem with Andy Carroll's return from injury. 

Carroll appears to have reignited Kevin Nolan, who has started scoring again and everyone is happy at Upton Park, it seems. 

Southampton have put together a run of their own, driven by the exploits of English trio Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and particularly Adam Lallana—keeping hold of him this summer is surely the club's main transfer priority. 

Mark Clattenburg will referee the match, the first time he has been in charge of a Southampton game since the club filed an official complaint for his comments to Lallana. This one has all the ingredients to be the game of the weekend, but neither club stands out as a clear favourite. 

Prediction: 2-2

Crystal Palace v Manchester United (Saturday, 5.30pm)

It is hard to know quite where Manchester United are. The league table would tell you seventh, but the return from injury of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney coupled with the signing of Juan Mata has added desperately needed impetus to the side. 

Crystal Palace know a thing or two about fresh impetus, using the arrival of manager Tony Pulis to great effect to propel themselves up the table. Palace are in the best form of any bottom-half side, bar West Ham, and will go into this one with huge confidence, but United's world-class attacking talents give them an edge, even at Selhurst Park.

Prediction: 1-2

Liverpool v Swansea City (Sunday, 1.30pm)

Liverpool are having a tremendous season and although the talk of a title challenge seems a little premature given the quality of the sides above them, Brendan Rodgers deserves huge credit for the team he is building. 

His ability to shift his tactics and formations to fit his players' strengths has been a hallmark of their success and no doubt he has a plan in place to deal with his old club, Swansea City. 

Garry Monk has made a reasonable start to his temporary role in charge of the south Wales club, but despite being 10th, the club are only four points above the relegation zone. A trip to Merseyside might be a step too far.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle United v Aston Villa (Sunday, 1.30pm)

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Yohan Cabaye scored a wonderfully struck goal for Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, showing just what Newcastle have missed since his departure. No wins – or goals – since the Frenchman's sale have left the club searching for a spark in attack.

Aston Villa will go to St. James' Park to frustrate and to counter-attack, but a three-game winless run means they go north lacking any form of their own, and a dour draw could be on the cards. 

Prediction: 0-0

Norwich v Tottenham (Sunday, 4pm)

It is hard to make a case for Norwich here. They come into the game without a win in four whilst Spurs have just beaten top-four chasing Everton and thumped Newcastle 4-0. 

Tottenham also have Emmanuel Adebayor in fine form and are surely too good to lose this one. In the corresponding fixture last season, Gareth Bale dribbled 50 yards to score one of his best-ever Premiership goals. A lot has changed at the club since then, but they remain about where they were and have been for a couple of seasons now—with Champions League qualification in their sights. 

Prediction: 0-2


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