Tony Hibbert

Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Everton

Leave a comment
  • Swansea has never beat Everton in the league
  • Gomis has 3 goals in last 2 PL matches
  • Everton has 5 shutout in their last 10 games

Swansea City host Everton on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) with the Swans aiming for a third-straight win and the Toffees searching for a fourth-successive victory.

Garry Monk’s Swansea side need one more win to reach their best ever points tally in Premier League history as they push on towards the top seven, while Everton are sitting pretty in midtable after an up and down season saw them crash out of the Europa League at the last 16 stage after their league form was impacted. Everton boss Roberto Martinez used to play with Monk at Swansea and then made Monk his captain when he managed Swansea, so both these managers know each other well and their sides play similar brands of attractive soccer.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

Swansea will be without Kyle Naughton but winger Jefferson Montero could make a comeback. Everton will likely be missing Romelu Lukaku once again, while Tony Hibbert, Brian Oviedo, Darron Gibson and Aiden McGeady are all out.

What they’re saying

Monk on Swansea getting a record points tally: “A lot of people have questioned in recent weeks what we have to play for. It (points total) was one of the targets we set at the start of the season and we have a great chance to do that. We have seven games to go, we are one point behind it and hopefully we’ll surpass that and push on from there.”

Tim Howard on stopping Gomis: “Gomis is a top striker. He seems to be doing well of late and we will have our work cut for us. But we are playing resiliently at the moment and hopefully that will continue. We are going down there wanting to make it four straight wins. We feel good and one of the positives about playing well and getting results is you gain that air of confidence back. You go into each game high on life and looking to hopefully get another result.”

Prediction

Both teams are flying high and on the surface don’t have much to play for… But with players clamoring for starting spots and both sides eager to finish the season strongly, expect an entertaining game at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea will do a lot of the pressing but Everton’s defense has improved drastically in recent weeks. I am going for the Toffees to nick this one, 2-1.

Watch Live: QPR vs Everton (Lineups and Live Stream)

Leave a comment

The in-form Romelu Lukaku looks to head the attack for Everton against QPR at Loftus Road, kicking off at 12:00 ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Everton can climb as high as 13th with what would be the club’s second back-to-back wins of the season. The Toffees start American Tim Howard in goal, but are missing a host of other players as European play has sapped them of a healthy roster.

WATCH LIVE: QPR vs Everton live on NBC Sports Live Extra

Gareth Barry is still suspended from his sending off a few weeks ago, while Bryan Oviedo, Tony Hibbert, and Steven Pienaar all miss out with injury for Roberto Martinez.

Meanwhile, Bobby Zamora returns to the starting lineup up front after sitting out last week, while captain Joey Barton also comes back into the starting XI from suspension.

LINEUPS

QPR: Green; Isla, Onhoua Caulker, Suk-Young; Phillips, Barton, Sandro, Hoillet; Austin, Zamora.
Subs: McCarthy, Ferdinand, Hill, Kranjcar, Henry, Vargas, Taarabt.

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; Gibson, McCarthy, Osman; Lennon, Kone, Lukaku.
Subs: Robles, Naismith, Besic, Barkley, Browning, Garbutt, Alcaraz.

Premier League Sunday Preview: Heat’s on Arsenal; Liverpool at Upton Park

Leave a comment

Sunday’s the day Arsenal affirms it hold on fourth or squanders it, an outcome that was unfathomable of a month ago. It’s also the day the dreamer meats the cynic in East London, with Brendan Rodgers’ looking to reclaim first in the Premier League.

It’s all part of a Sunday doubleheader that begins at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, with fifth place Everton hosting Arsenal before West Ham United welcomes Liverpool. Both games will be broadcast on NBCSN and streamed via NBC Sport Live Extra.

After Saturday’s action, Liverpool finds itself in second place, with Chelsea’s win over Stoke temporarily allowing the Blues to reclaim first. Only one point back and holding the goal difference advantage, Liverpool will go top with a draw at Upton Park, maintaining a key points edge it has on third place Manchester City ahead of the Citizens visit to Anfield next weekend.

Before that, Arsenal looks to reestablish some distance between itself and Everton. With a game-in-hand, the Toffees are within four points of fourth. Should they win at at Goodison Park, Roberto Martínez’s team will be within one, have the goal difference advantage, and maintain a match in hand.

Here’s a closer look at Sunday’s action:

Everton vs. Arsenal, 8:00 a.m. Eastern, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra

  • Toffees tied for the fewest losses in the league: Five.
  • Arsenal with one win in its last five league games.
  • Gunners won teams’ last meeting, 4-1 on Mar. 8 (FA Cup).

The last time Everton beat Arsenal, Thierry Henry was still leading the Gunners, James Beattie scored the match’s only goal, and teams were only allowed to name five players to their benches. It was Jan. 21, 2006, the only time in the last 11 years the Toffees have taken pull points from the Gunners.

It puts Sunday’s game in perspective. Everton may have an opportunity to take control of the race for fourth, but to do so it would have to do something that’s so rare that only Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert were around the last time it happened. Throughout David Moyes’ entire tenure at Goodison, the Toffees only beat Arsenal once, yet in Roberto Martinez’s first year in charge, form suggests Everton could match that mark. As Martínez’s side has surged toward the top four, Arsenal has dropped away from the title race.

History, however, can be a daunting thing, particularly in light of the teams’ last meeting. If things were really so different around Goodison — if the problems the club has had with Arsenal left with its former boss — March’s game would have been more competitive. Instead, the result serves as a reminder: Everton may need more than an early spring surge to close the gap with Arsenal.

West Ham United vs. Liverpool, 11:00 a.m. Eastern, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra

  • Liverpool one point back of Chelsea for first place.
  • Two wins in a row have West Ham in 11th place.
  • Reds won season’s first meeting, 4-1 at Anfield.

There’s a surprising amount of skepticism as to whether Liverpool can handle West Ham, with some seeing the combination of a trip to Upton Park plus Sam Allardyce’s tactics as a threat for the Reds’ eight-match winning streak. Yet the last time the teams met, Liverpool routed the Hammers at Anfield, with Luis Suárez scoring twice in the Reds’ three-goal win.

At that time. however, West Ham was in a mild free fall, with Allardyce’s job in danger as the Irons descended toward the bottom three. Since then, however, the Hammers have recovered. While fan discontent continues to grow toward the team’s uninspiring play, the club’s spot in next year’s Premier League is almost assured. After wins against Sunderland and Hull, West Ham’s 10 points clear of the drop.

It’s a status that speaks to West Ham’s improvement, though Liverpool has also improved dramatically since December. Back then, qualifying for Champions League was Liverpool’s only, and then still precarious, goal. Now, Rodgers’ team is in title contention, and while many continue to look for signs the team will slip recent, lopsided wins over Tottenham, Cardiff City, Manchester United, and Southampton (all by at least three goals; all since March 1) suggest the Reds may be beyond being bothered by the likes of West Ham.

Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Liverpool seek revenge on Arsenal

3 Comments

Picking Premier League matches is hard work and frankly, I’m crap at it.

But I love the banter and figure at the very least I can provide you with some fodder to tear me up with in the comments.

So let’s get it on.

UPSET CITY

Liverpool v. Arsenal (Sat 7:45 ET on USA; Anfield)

When these two sides met last fall many a pundit had Liverpool pegged as the club to take down high-flying Arsenal. Didn’t happen. In fact, they were given a comprehensive whooping.

But that was at the Emirates. Now the Reds get a second crack at the Gunner apple on their home turf in front of the Kop. Will it make a difference?

Does Brendan Rodgers show up on game days looking like Lucifer lost his Blistex?!?

You’re darn right he does.

Liverpool 2 Arsenal 1

Aston Villa v. West Ham United (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Villa Park)

Everything was going so well for West Ham against Swansea last weekend. They were up 2-0 and cruising before the donkey side of Andy Carroll decided to show up and give Chico Flores a no-look flailing elbow. The Spaniard’s dramatic fall to the ground had Howard Webb fooled and the ref promptly sent the donkey to his stable.

With no donkey and no Mo Diame, West Ham’s attack is hugely weakened side and I’m not sure I see Adrian providing super-human saves for a second straight week.

You picking up what I’m putting down? I like me some Villa.

Aston Villa 1 West Ham 0

SQUEAKY BUM TIME

Crystal Palace v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Selhurst Park)

I want to take Selhurst Park, cut it into pieces, insert processed chicken bones, lightly fry it, toss it with a nice buffalo sauce and eat myself the best tasting wings in the world.

That’s right, I just compared soccer stadium to my love for buffalo wings. Best compliment I could pay a club.

Crystal Palace 2 West Brom 1

Southampton v. Stoke City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; St Mary’s Stadium)

Southampton brought out the magic stick in last week’s 3-0 destruction of Fulham. It was a performance of pure class but one that will be very difficult to duplicate against a Stoke side capable of beating anyone, as they proved last week against Manchester United.

This one will be close but ultimately the Saints should see it out.

Southampton 3 Stoke City 2

Sunderland v. Hull City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Stadium of Light)

I’m saying it, Sunderland is pretty good. Especially on the garbage-strewn turf at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland 1 Hull City 0

Swansea City v. Cardiff City (Sat 12:30 ET on NBCSN; Liberty Stadium)

Appointing Gary Monk in the place of Michael Laudrup is – assuming something happened to Roberto Martinez – basically the equivalent of Everton hiring Tony Hibbert.

Sesame Street characters are the best.

Swansea City 1 Cardiff City 0

Tottenham Hotspur v. Everton (Sun 8:30 ET on USA; White Hart Lane)

With a win, Spurs can leapfrog Everton and could go even on points with Liverpool. If the Toffees take all three points, they could leapfrog Liverpool into the Top 4. It’s all to play for so naturally we’re headed for a draw.

Tottenham 1 Everton 1

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

Chelsea v. Newcastle United (Sat 10:00 ET on USA; Stamford Bridge)

Normally I’d be hyping Chelsea/Newcastle as one of the matches of the week but after watching the Magpies pathetic display last weekend I just don’t see this one being the least bit a contest.

When Newcastle sold Yohan Cabaye they sold their soul. There is zero creativity in the center of the park and making matters worse, injuries are piling up with Tiote, Gouffran, Coloccini and Cisse all out.

If Chelsea messes this up I’ll be shocked.

Chelsea 4 Newcastle 1

Norwich City v. Manchester City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Carrow Road)

Tons of pity for Norwich City. There will be blood.

Norwich City 0 Manchester City 4

Manchester United v. Fulham (Sun 11:00 ET on USA; Old Trafford)

Finally, a home fixture United can definitely win. Right? Right… I think.

Manchester United 2 Fulham 0