Norwich City (ECI rank: 178) v Everton (ECI rank: 33)
Norwich City become the last club this season to host Merseyside opposition in the Premier League. Grant Holt’s 12 PL goals for the club this season are three times as many as Everton’s top scorers Leighton Baines and Victor Anichebe have scored.
Everton are currently ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League and have the chance of finishing above their Merseyside neighbours for only the second time in the last 24 years. Everton have conceded just 32 goals, the fewest by anyone other than the two Manchester clubs but they have scored just 32, the fewest by any club in the top half. Twelve of those goals (37.5%) have come in the final 15 minutes of matches. Joint top scorer Victor Anichebe has scored all four of his PL goals after coming on as a substitute, making him the 2011/2012 Premier League supersub as no one has more from the bench.
Euro Club Index: Win Norwich City: 26% chance, Draw: 32%, Win Everton: 42%
WBA (ECI rank: 103) v Blackburn Rovers (ECI rank: 121)
The Baggies have won four of their seven PL matches against the current bottom five this season, losing only once (2-1 at home to Wigan in December). They have an identical record to this stage last season with 36 points from 31 matches. However, only 14 of their points have come at home this season. Only Wolves (11) and Wigan (13) have taken fewer at home. Peter Odemwingie is the club top scorer in the Premier League with nine and one more goal will make him the first player to score double figures in two successive top flight seasons for the club since Garry Thompson 27 years ago.
According to the Euro Club Index, Blackburn Rovers are currently outside the three favourites for relegation despite occupying one of the bottom three positions. They are given a 29% chance of playing Championship football next season. Rovers’ manager Steve Kean returns to the venue of his first PL victory (3-1 at WBA in December 2010). Blackburn have the worst defence in the Premier League away from home having conceded 35. Blackburn’s goalkeeper Paul Robinson famously scored against WBA’s keeper Ben Foster when they were playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Watford respectively in 2007.
Euro Club Index: Win West Bromwich Albion: 49% chance, Draw: 30%, Win Blackburn Rovers: 21%
Stoke City (ECI rank: 78) v Wolverhampton Wanderers (ECI rank: 233)
Stoke City’s record of 38 points from 31 matches is identical to this stage last season but the club have failed to win any of their last four PL matches and have only two wins from their last 11. The 29 goals they have scored is the poorest in this season’s Premier League equal to Wigan Athletic. However, Stoke have performed well against West Midlands opposition at home in recent times, losing only one of their last seven PL matches against these clubs.
Wolverhampton Wanderers can prepare for life in the Championship with the Euro Club Index giving them only a 0.5% chance of survival this season. Defeat at Stoke will give Wolves a sixth successive defeat, their worst top flight losing streak for 30 years. No team had ever gone 28+ matches without a clean sheet in the Premier League until West Bromwich Albion did it a year ago but Wolves have now become the third to do so. Wolves are the only team in the Premier League yet to score in the first 15 minutes this season.
Euro Club Index: Win Stoke City: 64% chance, Draw: 24%, Win Wolverhampton Wanderers: 12%
Manchester United (ECI rank: 3) v Queens Park Rangers (ECI rank: 242)
Like bookmaker Fred Done who has paid out on Manchester United being this season’s Premier League champions, the Euro Club Index also thinks it’s more or less over giving United over 90% chance of lifting the title. Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 10 league matches against QPR, recording seven victories since Dennis Bailey became the last opposition player to score a top flight hat-trick at Old Trafford in QPR’s 4-1 win on New Year’s Day 1992. Sir Alex Ferguson takes on a former player for the 70th time having lost only five of his 69 PL matches against them. Ferguson is unbeaten in his last 29 against former players since Mark Hughes’ Blackburn beat United 4-3 just over six years ago. QPR, Norwich, Stoke and Swansea are the only current PL clubs yet to concede a Rooney goal.
Mark Hughes can become the first of Sir Alex Ferguson’s players to beat his former manager in three PL matches but to have a chance of doing so, QPR will probably have to end their PL club record streak of having conceded in 22 successive matches. This is their worst top flight run of conceding goals for 43 years. QPR will also have to avoid being reduced to 10 men, something that has already happened six times this season, the most of the 20 PL clubs. QPR have an 84% chance of going down according to the Euro Club Index.
Euro Club Index: Win Manchester United: 90% chance, Draw: 8%, Win Queens Park Rangers: 2%
Arsenal (ECI rank : 8 ) v Manchester City (ECI rank: 6)
There have been 49 goals scored in the 10 Premier League matches to date between the current top four. The Gunners have won only one of their five matches this season against these teams and have lost four. Theo Walcott has scored four times and provided four assists in his last eight PL matches and a goal against City will mark the first time he has ever scored in three successive PL matches. Robin van Persie is currently experiencing his longest spell without a goal for over a year and has scored only once in 10 PL matches against Manchester City
Manchester City are looking to complete the double over Arsenal for the first time since 1975/1976 but Arsenal are their most difficult opponents in the Premier League era as they have lost more to the Gunners (20 times) than against anyone else. City have also not won at Arsenal since 1975 and that 26 match streak is their longest ever top flight run without a victory at another club. City have won all four of their PL matches this season against other teams in the current top four and scored six and five in their two away matches against these clubs. Failure to win against Arsenal will give Manchester City their longest PL streak without a victory since November 2009.
Euro Club Index: Win Arsenal: 44% chance, Draw: 31%, Win Manchester City: 25%
The Euro Club Index ranking is updated every day at http://www.euroclubindex.com where you can also find match odds for every European top flight match and predictions for selected leagues which are updated every Monday. Infostrada Sports also has a website which we encourage people to contribute to at http://www.infostradalive.com