Premier League preview


Matchweek 15 highlights key moments being in the games West Ham v Chelsea, Norwich v Sunderland, Fulham v Tottenham and QPR v Aston Villa.

The pressure will be on Rafa Benitez to return to West London with all three points. Chelsea has looked much tighter under his headship, but has lacked a spark going forward and still has yet recorded a goal. Coincidentally, the opposite problem was had under Di Matteo.

Chelsea fans have shown a relentless distrust to Benitez so far and this will be heightened further if a strong performance is not displayed against their London rivals today.

West Ham has been strong defensively this season and will be well up for today’s lunch time kick-off. At the other end of the pitch, Andy Carroll will cause problems to the Chelsea defence and would have received a boost in confidence after his goal against Tottenham last weekend.

Martin O’Neill will also be feeling the strain but for different reasons. Sunderland has experience a dip in form of late and fans are beginning to show their frustrations. A tricky encounter away to Norwich presents very little room for O’Neill to generate momentum.

Chris Hughton has done well to revive the defensive problems from the start of the season to record 5 clean sheets – the second highest tally in the league. Norwich are playing with a lot of organisation and cohesion, and Sunderland, who are finding it difficult to produce any kind of spark, will find it difficult to break down their opposition today.

The lead up to the Fulham v Tottenham clash will be most notable for the return of Moussa Dembele to Craven Cottage. The Belgium was a talisman during his time at Fulham and The Cottagers will be sad to see him in a Spurs shirt this afternoon – although expect a good reception from the home fans.

Dembele has already made a strong impact for Tottenham this season with Spurs winning all 5 games he has started in. After missing a few games through injury, he made a return to the starting line-up mid-week against Liverpool and was excellent. With Brede Hangeland suspended, expect Dembele to make a number of strong runs through the centre of the Fulham defence.

Harry Redknapp will relish being back in the spotlight today and has a great opportunity to make an instant impact with a home match against Aston Villa. Expect Redknapp’s influence to bring more poise and purpose to a QPR side which possess a number of talented individuals but were unable to make things work under Mark Hughes.

Paul Lambert will have his young side pumped up today after an important victory on Tuesday. They will look to rattle QPR early on and use their pace to create uncertainty within the QPR defence. Nonetheless, Redknapp has a record of instrumenting an immediate positive influence over his sides and expect much of the same today.