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Premier League Predictions

DYNAMIC DUO: Liverpool's Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling (right) face champions Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday

THE CAPITAL One Cup final between Chelsea and Tottenham at Wembley means that Premier League fixtures are truncated this weekend. The action should still be red hot with Sunday's clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield as the standout fixture.

Both sides were beaten midweek in the Europa and Champions League respectively, and need to bounce back quickly. City are five points behind league leaders Chelsea and know a win at the home of their near neighbours gets them within touching distance of the Blues.

As for Liverpool, they have been in great domestic form and have got themselves back in Champions League contention. Key for the Reds will be the trio of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Jordon Ibe. City captain and centre-back Vincent Kompany could be in for a busy afternoon!

All matches at 15.00 unless otherwise stated

Saturday, February 28

West Ham – Crystal Palace 12.45
The Voice of Sport will be at Upton Park for what could be capital punishment for someone! The hosts were 2-0 up against Spurs last week, only to concede late goals and end up with a solitary point. The Hammers are not the same team that were firing on all cylinders not too long ago. Key performers such as Alex Song, Stewart Downing and Enner Valencia have gone off the boil and it has cost the East Enders; the verve and energy that had them talking of Champions League football a few months back has gone. Palace were outplayed by Arsenal last time out but rallied late on to almost salvage a point. Alan Pardew’s men are just five points above the drop zone and can’t afford too many slip-ups. The form of Yannick Bolasie is a plus for the Eagles but they need to gather points in order to avoid their perennial relegation dog-fight. Palace swoop to take all the points.

Burnley – Swansea
18th-placed Burnley will face a buoyant Swansea on Saturday afternoon. The South Wales side put Manchester United to the sword on Saturday to complete a season double against the Louis van Gaal’s men. The Welsh side have done well after the January loss of star striker and talisman Wilfried Bony. Garry Monk’s team have absorbed the African’s departure collectively, and are reaping the rewards and are comfortably placed ninth in the table. Burnley are in a relegation battle and they look odds on for the drop. No wonder star man Danny Ings is linked to a move to Anfield or Spain when his club’s fate has been determined. Draw.

Man United – Sunderland
David Moyes must have a chuckle to himself every now and again, as his former employers struggle to re-establish their status as one of the country’s leading clubs. Unlucky Moyes was sacked by United before he’d got his feet properly under the table at Old Trafford. But are they any better off under a Dutchman who seems very easy to wind up bearing in mind his status and experience? Louis van Gaal has put aside his philosophies, and would finally appear to understand that the Premier League is a unique place which takes no prisoners no matter their standing within the game. Swansea took all three points off United on February 21, and a loss to the Black Cats will have the OT faithful baying for blood. Just as well for the home side that Gus Poyet’s lacklustre troops are devoid of any form or confidence. Red Devils’ fans enjoy a pleasant Saturday night!

Newcastle – Aston Villa
Ten points separate United and Villa but that gap will not be evident in this match. The hosts cannot find any consistent form and will come up against a side battling for their lives. John Carver has been given the manager’s job at Newcastle until the end of the season but results do not suggest that he will be leading the team come next August. As for Villa, they know that if they can get Christian Benteke to wake up, he could be the man to score the goals they so desperately need. One man in form for the Midlands side is Scott Sinclair who joined Villa from Manchester City. He has notched two goals in two matches, proof that sitting on City’s bench for an awfully long time frustrated the life out of him. Villa shock the Toon Army.

Stoke – Hull
All credit to Stoke manager Mark Hughes. He has given his side a makeover and they are now much easier on the eye and are 10th in the PL standings. The long ball game is still used by the side from the Britannia Stadium but they mix up their game a lot more. Hull eked out a massive win against QPR last week to give themselves some breathing space at the foot of the table. Hull striker Dame N'Doye, 30, has already justified his move to the club with vital goals. The Senegal-born N’Doye is using all of his savvy to keep his side in the division. Apart from playing in his native country, the forward has also plied his trade in Greece, Portugal, Russia, Qatar and Denmark. Stoke edge a war of attrition.

West Brom – Southampton
This is a tricky fixture for the fading Saints. Ronald Koeman’s team are in 5th spot and will be still reeling from the 2-0 reversal against Liverpool at St. Mary’s last time out. The likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster have gone off the boil and they will need to get back to their best against the Albion. Mercurial WBA boss Tony Pulis has already put his imprint on the Baggies and they have become difficult to beat. Home win.

Sunday, March 1

Liverpool – Man City 12.00
The match of the weekend should be one for the purists. The Anfield side have found their fom at last – and so too have their opponents. The Reds are now genuine Champions League contenders having been off the pace at the start of the season. It helps that they have Daniel Sturridge back in the ranks, as he is always capable of creating or scoring a goal. The champions, who hit five goals against Newcastle last Saturday, have whittled Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table down to five points. If they are to retain their crown they need to see off Liverpool. I think they will.

Arsenal – Everton 14.05
The Voice of Sport will be at Emirates Stadium on Sunday as Everton look to shoot down the Gunners. Both sides will have had midweek action before this fixture in the Champions League and Europa League respectively. Tiredness will be a factor as will the quality of their respective squads. Arsenal have the more talented group of personnel with the refreshed Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky likely to make the starting line-up. Arsene Wenger’s men take the spoils.

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