JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, May 10, 2013
The Premier League season winds down as Brad Guzan and Aston Villa hope to solidify safety, while Geoff Cameron's Stoke City host Clint Dempsey and Tottenham on Sunday.
Aston Villa - Chelsea
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa look to cement their place in next season's Premier League with what would be a massive win over Chelsea on Saturday.
Guzan is expected to start for Villa, while Eric Lichaj hopes to see time for the home team as well.
Villa goes into this weekend's matchup playing strong soccer, having won two straight games and finding themselves five points above the bottom three with two games left. A win would solidify Villa's safety.
The home team thus should not be short on motivation, especially since Chelsea is the team that pummeled them 8-0 in December. The upset for Villa would go far in forgetting that demoralizing defeat.
Chelsea is looking to stave off Arsenal, who trail them by two points, and Tottenham, who trail them by three points. The Blues currently hold the last automatic spot in the Champions League, so a win on the road is crucial for them.
Matt Lowton, Marc Albrighton, Richard Dunne, Gary Gardner, and Chris Herd will all be sidelined for the Villains.
Stoke City - Tottenham Hotspur
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City host Clint Dempsey's Tottenham Hotspur in a crucial clash on Sunday.
Cameron is expected to see time for Stoke, while Brek Shea is not likely to feature for the Potters.
Dempsey played the final 20 minutes in Tottenham's draw with Chelsea in the midweek. The Texan could see time for Spurs on Sunday.
Stoke's three-game unbeaten run has pretty much sealed their spot in next season's Premier League, however a win or a tie would mathematically solidify their safety. The Potters look to notch the big win in front of their fans at the Britannia.
Spurs also have plenty to play for this weekend, as they trail Arsenal by just a point for the last Champions League spot. A win is essential for the London side to keep their hopes of playing in Europe's most prestigious club tournament.
Moussa Dembele and William Gallas are injured but considered questionable for Spurs, while Andy Wilkinson and Glenn Whelan are also questionable for the Potters.
Everton - West Ham United
Tim Howard's Everton take on West Ham United in David Moyes' last game at Goodison Park as manager of the Toffees.
Howard is expected to start for Everton, while Sebastian Lletget is not likely to feature for West Ham.
Earlier this week Everton's coach was named Alex Ferguson's successor at Manchester United, adding extra meaning to the Toffee's match on Sunday. Moyes has been in charge of Everton for 11 years.
Everton goes into the match with little chance of catching Tottenham for the Europa League spot in the standings. They trail the London side by six points in the standings with two games left. Despite the small possibilities of catching Spurs, Everton still look for the three points.
West Ham is out of the relegation zone bubble and has no shot at any European spot. However, the Hammers still look to finish the season on a high note and hope to spoil David Moyes' meaningful game on Sunday.
Phil Neville has a knee injury and will miss for the Toffees.
Zak Whitbread is not likely to feature in Leicester City's playoff matchup with Watford.