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Key games left in Premier League season

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With just seven games left for the majority of Premier League teams, crunch time has arrived in the 2018-19 season.

Clubs across the PL are readying themselves for a crucial final few weeks of the season, with so much still on the line. It is tough to know what to focus on, right?

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Of course, you’ll be soaking up every single Premier League game you can, but now seems like a good time to help you focus on the games you simply cannot miss between now and the end of the season on May 12.

Below we take a look at eight clashes which will have a huge say in deciding the title race, the top four battle and the scrap against relegation.


Brighton v. Southampton – March 30
A South Coast derby with just three points separating the two teams. Brighton and Saints have had many battles in the lower leagues in recent seasons, and there is a genuine rivalry bubbling up here. Saints are almost better away from home than they are at home under Ralph Hasenhuttl, and their fast breaks will cause Brighton problems. Expect a tight, tense game as both teams are desperate to pull further clear of Cardiff City who occupy the final relegation place.


Liverpool v. Tottenham – March 31
A few weeks ago this seemed like being a battle between two teams who were battling for the title. How quickly things change. Spurs’ dismal recent run has seen them drop out of the title race, and now they need the points to stay in the top four hunt. Liverpool need the points to keep their title bid going, and this is the toughest game remaining (on paper) for Jurgen Klopp‘s side to negotiate. The fiery 2-2 draw between these two teams last season was a classic, and Harry Kane has been in thorn in Liverpool’s side in recent seasons. Kane’s battle with Virgil Van Dijk promises to be epic, and it could have a huge say in the title race.


Burnley v. Cardiff City – April 13
Not one for the purists this, but it is likely to be an enthralling encounter between two committed teams who sit just one place from each other in the table. Cardiff are in 18th place and in the final relegation spot, but they are just two points behind Burnley who are really struggling after an upturn in results around the New Year’s period. Sean Dyche and Neil Warnock have built hard-working teams on limited resources, and Cardiff have nothing to lose in many regards as everyone expected them to be relegated this season. The new boys have a chance with eight games to go, and this is a massive chance to gain ground on a team around them.


Liverpool v. Chelsea – April 14
Memories of April 2014 will come flooding back to Liverpool fans, as Steven Gerrard‘s costly slip against Chelsea handed the Premier League title to Manchester City. Surely lightning won’t strike twice as Liverpool host Chelsea at Anfield late in the season once again… Klopp’s side must negotiate the home games against Spurs and Chelsea, but Anfield is a fortress and they haven’t lost at home all season in the Premier League. However, the only team to win at Anfield in any competition this season was Chelsea, as Eden Hazard inspired a League Cup victory way back in September. This will be Liverpool’s last major hurdle in the title race.


Man City v. Tottenham – April 20
This game will be played in the middle of three games between City and Spurs after they were drawn against one another in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. That should complicate things, as the two sets of players will be so used to the tactics of the other and it will be a lot tighter than most expect. City beat Spurs 1-0 at Wembley earlier this season, and have only lost one of their last eight home games against Tottenham. Pep Guardiola has more options than Mauricio Pochettino to rotate his team, and that could be key with three matches between these PL clubs in just 11 days.


Man United v. Man City – April 24
A Manchester Derby that will surely decide the season for both clubs. If City win, they will take a big step towards the title. If United win they will not only scupper City’s title chance but also significantly boost their top four hopes. If everything goes to plan between now and late April for both clubs, they could also be in the midst of being in the Champions League semifinals too. United will sit back and soak up pressure and then try to launch devastating counters. That worked very well against PSG, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, but City are a different beast. What an atmosphere it should be inside Old Trafford for this one.


Man United v. Chelsea – April 28
Both teams should be bang in the top four battle going into the final two weeks of the season, and this game will be massive in deciding who will qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Just one point separates the two teams right now, with United in fifth and Chelsea in sixth. United have already knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup this season and pushed them all the way in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge when Jose Mourinho was boss. The clash of styles sets up an intriguing tactical battle. United’s counter attacks and direct style is totally opposite to Sarri-ball. Both teams will have expected to be in the title battle at the start of the season, and this game may well present itself as their final chance to shore up a spot in the top four. It is unlikely both will finish in the top four this season. Something has to give.


Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace – May 4
With Palace having to play plenty of big boys in the next few weeks, it is likely their battle against relegation will go down to the wire. Cardiff will also be up against it with their schedule, so this game represents a good chance of three points for both. If Cardiff are still in with a shout of staying up, this encounter, their final home game of the season, will see an incredible atmosphere generated in the Welsh capital. Just five points separate the Eagles and Bluebirds right now, and their direct, counter-attacking styles of play should set things up very nicely for an end-to-end encounter.

Warnock: Cardiff City will “stand up and be counted” in relegation fight

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Neil Warnock and Cardiff City are not going away, even if their relegation rivals are also heating up.

[ RECAP: Cardiff 2-0 West Ham ]

The Bluebirds took care of West Ham United 2-0 on Saturday at Cardiff City Stadium. They are two points back of Burnley and Southampton in the race to avoid the final relegation place.

“We feel there’s some more results in us and there’s a few teams around us now so we have to keep getting results and keep putting pressure on them,” Warnock said.

Cardiff still faces Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion, Fulham, and Crystal Palace and needs results there and on days like Saturday, considering the club also has a quartet of Top Four candidates on their fixture list.

“We had to stand up and be counted because nobody is going to help us,” he said. “We were solid at the back and brilliant in midfield and we were a threat up front too. … It would have been nice to have a cigar out and be 3-0 or 4-0 up at the end but we can’t complain. The crowd were brilliant throughout and it made for a special afternoon.”

There is pro-Cardiff sentiment for many neutrals given the death of record signing Emiliano Sala, and the Bluebirds still have plenty of opportunities to rally toward safety.

Cardiff City keeps up safety fight with win over West Ham (video)

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  • Hoilett scores in fourth minute
  • West Ham no 1st half shots on target
  • Camarasa lively, scores in 2nd half

All of the ball, but none of the battle.

West Ham United fell 2-0 to a spirited Cardiff City on Saturday, as the Bluebirds rode goals from Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa to a home win at Cardiff City Stadium.

Cardiff is two points back of Burnley and Southampton in the race for safety, while West Ham fails to put any heat on Watford and Wolves in the race for 7th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Cardiff scored through the Premier League’s Canadian representative, as Hoilett lifted the home fans following the neat advancement of Victor Camarasa and Josh Murphy.

The Irons allowed the first six shots of the half and did not manage one on target against Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, lineups, stats ]

West Ham was still without a shot on goal when Cardiff doubled its advantage.

It was the same trio of actors from the first goal, with Hoilett cueing up Murphy via a big cross. The latter than headed back to Camarasa for the finish.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

AT HALF: Saints, Wolves, Palace lead as Cardiff in trouble

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Cardiff City is in big, big trouble as it stands.

The Bluebirds have fallen behind 2-0 to Wolves as part of a five-match Premier League mid-morning slate, while relegation rivals Southampton have a surprising lead at Manchester United.

It’s not all terrible news for Neil Warnock‘s Welshmen, with Burnley also behind and Brighton level with Huddersfield.

Manchester United 0-1 Southampton

Not only has Yan Valery scored this absolute rocket, but Saints might be up 2- or 3-0 thanks to a couple of ungiven penalties at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has some work to do.

To be fair, though, Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn has been fantastic for the visitors.

Bournemouth 0-0 Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne has left the match before halftime with a leg injury suffered while dribbling, as City has two big worries in their title fight going into halftime.

Wolves 2-0 Cardiff City

Mexico’s Raul Jimenez has a goal and assisted on Diogo Jota‘s clever goal as the Midlands bunch looks set to rebound from a dip in form.

Burnley 0-1 Crystal Palace

Phil Bardsley has conceded an own goal and Burnley is could well finish the day in 17th if Brighton can get a result versus Huddersfield Town.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Huddersfield Town

Alireza Jahanbakhsh struck the bar after a terrific individual play, but the Seagulls and Terriers are yet to see a goal at the Amex Stadium.

Warnock: Hooper “shouldn’t be refereeing” after penalty mistake

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Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock knows his team was waxed by Watford on Friday, but he’s lamenting the good start that didn’t materialize when Daryl Janmaat fouled his winger inside the box.

[ RECAP: Cardiff 1-5 Watford ]

Jacob Murphy felt he’d won a penalty, as did the Cardiff faithful, but Simon Hooper did not point to the spot.

Warnock said even the Hornets admitted the call was poor.

Troy Deeney and all their staff told us it was a stonewall penalty,” he said.

And Warnock is furious, even if Watford scored five goals to Cardiff’s one the rest of the way.

“We got mauled in the end. It looks bad in the paper. I have never seen the players like that at half-time. Everyone was talking about the penalty that hasn’t been given. Nobody can understand it. Decisions like that change the game. I can’t understand why it wasn’t given it’s a blatant penalty.

“It’s no excuse for conceding five but everyone in the game knows it changes things. The referee is in a great position so I just can’t understand it. If you can’t give decisions like that at this level you shouldn’t be refereeing.”

One might say that if the players were only talking about the play in question, that perhaps the manager might do well to do his best to turn the page on it quickly?

It was only 1-0 at that point, and Cardiff’s second half saw the Bluebirds conceded four times.

Fine’s a-coming Warnock’s way.