BPL This Weekend: Can Moyes Turn Heat Down With A Win? Spurs Look To End Stamford Curse, More

IMAGE, MANUTD.COM

BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

Throughout Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Manchester United, the Red Devils almost always found a way to get the result they needed, even late in games — better known as “Fergie Time.” Current United manager David Moyes has not had such luck, and may be on borrowed time for it.

With the club languishing outside the Champion’s League places and after a poor performance in the competition against Olympiakos, the temperature is turned up a few degrees in the manager’s seat. With 10 games remaining in the league, Moyes needs a run of strong results to salvage this season, and quite possibly his job.

Manchester United got an extended rest not playing in the Premier League last weekend. However, several players did turn out for their countries in the midweek friendlies. That being said, there should still be no excuse for United to not start this game with high intensity and pressure against the Baggies.

West Brom have already recorded a historic win, beating United 2-1 at Old Trafford when the teams faced off in September. Although the continue hovering near the relegation zone, the Baggies been a pest to bigger clubs at The Hawthorns. The club has secured 1-1 draws against Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea this season.

Possible unrest at United has already started with Robin van Perise criticizing his teammates after the loss to Olympiakos. The Red Devils will need a big performance from him and Wayne Rooney to find goals to lift the club.

It doesn’t end there. Against Olympiakos, Rio Ferdinand, who was the main culprit, led a disturbing trend amongst Red Devil defenders who were too slow closing out their markers. Time and time again, it allowed the Greek champions to take shots from distance, ultimately rewarded with Joel Campbell’s goal.

A more assured performance from the backline and more attacking impetus should see the Red Devils take three points. However, from the most recent result between the clubs, the Baggies will be no pushovers.

What Else To Look For

1.  Can Spurs Finally Storm The Bridge?– Although losing to Norwich recently away from home, Tottenham has still been the best club on their travels this season. The Norwich loss was the first time Spurs didn’t take points outside of White Hart Lane for six games.

Heading into Stamford Bridge, taking points off of Chelsea will be no easy task — both presently and historically. Spurs haven’t won away to Chelsea since 1990.  However, in order to push on into the Champion’s League, Tottenham will need a huge performance.

One player Tottenham needs to show up is Emmanuel Adebayor. The Togolese striker has scored or assisted in 11 of his 12 appearances in the league this season. His renaissance under Tim Sherwood has been incredible and Spurs need another quality performance from him.

The Blues are on a run of 13 unbeaten games and have yet to lose in 2014. The Premier League table-toppers continue to show their championship credentials. With Manchester City not playing due to the FA Cup this weekend, Chelsea can extend their lead to nine points. Although City will have three games in hand, a victory over Tottenham would really ramp up the pressure on the Manchester club.

2. Relegation Six-Pointer– Both Fulham and Cardiff are dangerously toeing the line of relegation. Separated by one point and one place in the table, both clubs need three points to begin their ascension out of the Premier League cellar. In order to do just that, getting a victory against clubs in the surrounding table could be just the tonic.

Both clubs have had similar arcs this season. After replacing their managers, both clubs have only seen results trend downwards. Whichever manager can figure things out quicker between Felix Magath and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should see their club regain some hope in moving up the table.

Although both clubs seem locks for relegation, with 10 games remaining, there is still time to right the ship. Winning this weekend and pushing the other club further into the depths of relegation would be the perfect start.

3.  Defending The Palace– After Tony Pulis’ arrival, Crystal Palace has been doing just enough to stave off relegation. The Eagles have won three of their last four league games at home and will need another strong performance at Selhurst Park to continue their survival chances.

Southampton are comfortably mid-table, with possible designs to push further up the Premier League. The Saints were unlucky against Liverpool last weekend. Southampton played a decent game, but the score line didn’t flatter the Saints at all. If the club can finish off some of the good chances they created last week, they should be able to take something from this game.

4. Charlie Adam Punished– The English Football Association punished the Stoke midfielder for violent conduct retroactively after it was ruled he stamped on Olivier Giroud’s ankle last weekend.

This isn’t the first time Adam has been involved in incidents such as this. However, for Stoke, he will be a big loss. Adam has been a main catalyst in the midfield for the Potters and his combative midfield style will be missed. He serves the first of his three match ban against Norwich this weekend.

Both clubs will look for three points to distance themselves further from a relegation tussle.


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