Swansea To Maintain Form vs Norwich | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Swansea To Maintain Form vs Norwich

Posted: Mar 6, 2016 at 5:28 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Swansea City will attempt to build on their impressive 2-1 win at Arsenal when they welcome an out-of-form Norwich City side to the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
Victory at the Emirates on Wednesday moved Swansea six points clear of the relegation zone, but Norwich lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea on Tuesday to keep the Canaries inside the bottom three.
Swansea remain in trouble in the table – just two places outside of the relegation zone, but they are now six points clear of 18th-place Norwich and there is no denying the importance of this weekend’s match in Wales. It has been a difficult campaign for the Swans, but they are actually only six points from 13th spot and much could change in the final months
5. Palace Host West Brom To End Winless Run
Crystal Palace look to end a miserable nine-match winless run when they travel to face West Brom at the Hawthorns this weekend.
Palace are yet to register a Premier League win this calendar year, but will be hoping to use last weekend’s FA Cup win over Tottenham as the catalyst to kick-start a revival.
The Eagles have free-fallen to 13th in the table, locked level on 32 points with West Brom, and with neither side completely free from the threat of being dragged into a relegation battle.
Goals, or a distinct lack of, have come as a major cause for concern for the Londoners, having found the net just four times in the league since Boxing Day.
West Brom, meanwhile, were dumped out of the FA Cup at the hands of Reading last weekend, a defeat shrouded in controversy after midfielder Chris Brunt was struck by a coin thrown by a Baggies supporter.
The Baggies will be keen to put that unsavoury episode behind them by returning to winning ways in the league and picking up from where they left off in a gutsy 1-0 win at Everton last time out.
EPL Fixtures
Tottenham vs Arsenal 12:45
Chelsea vs Stoke 15:00
Everton vs West Ham 15:00
Man City vs Aston Villa 15:00
Newcastle vs Bournemouth 15:00
Southampton vs Sunderland 15:00
Swansea vs Norwich 15:00
Watford vs Leicester 17:30
EPL Table
Pos         Team     P             W            D             L              GS          GA          GF          Pts
1              Leicester 28        16           9             3               51          31           +20         57
2              Totten    28          15           9             4              49           22           +27         54
3              Arsenal 28           15          6              7              44           28           +16         51
4              M’City   27           14           5              8              48           31           +17         47
5              M’United 28       13           8             7              37           26           +11         47
6              West Ham 28     12          10           6             42           31           +11         46
7              Stoke    28           12           6              10           30           33           -3            42
8              Liverpool 27        11          8              8             41           36           +5           41
9              Southon 28        11           7             10           35           28          +7           40
10           Chelsea    28       10           9             9             42           38          +4          39
11           Everton 27          9              11           7               49          36           +13        38
12           Watford 28         10           7              11          29           29           +0           37
13           West Brom 28    9              9              10            29          36          -7           36
14           Palace    28          9              6              13           31           37           -6            33
15           Bmouth    28       8              8              12          32           44          -12         32
16           Swansea   28      7              9              12           27           37          -10          30
17           Sunderland28    6              6              16           34           53           -19          24
18           Norwich 28         6              6             16           31           53          -22         24
19           Newcastle 27    6              6              15           27           50           -23          24
20           Aston Villa 28     3              7             18           22           51           -29         16
2nd page
1 .Barcelona Surpass Real Madrid To Set New Unbeaten Record
Luis Enrique’s men have now gone 35 matches without defeat across all competitions, bettering the streak los Blancos managed under Leo Beenhakker in the 1988-89 seasons.
Barcelona have now gone 35 matches unbeaten in all competitions after claiming victory over Rayo Vallecano on Thursday evening, setting a new Spanish record in the process.
The Catalan giants, who top the Liga table, tied Real Madrid’s long-standing record on Sunday courtesy of a 2-1 win over Sevilla at Camp Nou, but have now gone one better by extending their streak even further.
Los Blancos had held the record since the 1988-89 season, when Leo Beenhakker’s Madrid side – which featured the likes of Hugo Sanchez and Emilio Butragueno – notched 25 wins and nine draws, but Barcelona have improved on those figures with 29 victories and six draws.
Rayo were unlikely to cause Barca many problems in their pursuit of the record, having not beaten them in 14 years, and so it proved to be as Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick in a comfortable 5-1 win.
Barcelona’s current run has already seen them surpass the 29-match streak set by Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering squad in 2011, with the current side not losing since Sevilla secured a 2-1 win all the way back in October.
Manager Luis Enrique, though, is paying no attention to his side’s latest milestone, explaining before the match: “The record doesn’t mean anything to me right now. It will only mean something if this streak helps us win titles at the end of the season.”
The result leaves Barca eight points clear at the top of the table as they close in on a second successive La Liga title, while they already have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after beating Arsenal at the Emirates.
2 .Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo: Wass To Heap More Misery On Zidane
Denmark international Daniel Wass believes it is “difficult” for Real Madrid to win La  Liga this season and intends to make it nigh-on impossible for Zinedine Zidane’s men by leading Celta Vigo to victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Madrid fell 12 points behind Barca last weekend following a 1-0 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid and, although they returned to winning ways at Levante on Wednesday, that deficit was restored when the Catalans beat Rayo Vallecano on Thursday.
It is arguably a good time to face Madrid with striker Karim Benzema out injured and fellow first-team regulars Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric having just returned to training.
And Wass is hoping to capitalise by strengthening Celta’s bid for a Europa League place.
He told a news conference: “We are going to play as we know, be faithful to our gameplan and to take the three points.
“All games in Spain are special but when you face one of the great teams it is even more so. I’m looking forward to playing at the Bernabeu.
“There are still many games to go but Barcelona are at the top and have an important advantage over Real Madrid. This is football and anything can happen, but now I see it as difficult [for Madrid to win the league].”
Celta played out a goalless draw at home to fourth-placed Villarreal on Wednesday, with the visitors intent on securing the point that preserves their advantage over the chasing pack.
Wass added: “I was surprised that they were so defensive. It was a difficult game against a good team and we played well. We tried to get the three points, but the draw is positive.”
Celta are a point ahead of seventh-placed Athletic Bilbao and Wass admits their chances of qualifying for Europe appear to be on track.
“So far, it looks good,” he said, “but we have to win more games to remain ahead of the challengers. We must get the maximum number possible.”
Borja Mayoral is set to keep his place in the Madrid side having made his full debut in the win at Levante.
The 18-year-old impressed at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia with his shot hitting the post before going in off goalkeeper Diego Marino for Madrid’s second goal.
Zidane said: “We know what Borja can provide us with. He is the second number nine in the squad, no doubt about that. There is just Benzema and him.
“There are many players but he’s doing well and he is also committed to the team. He works well in training and he’s very young.
3 .Zidane Wants Me To Improve My Attacking Play – Varane
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane says that new coach Zinedine Zidane wants him to improve the attacking aspects of his game.
The Frenchman took over from Rafael Benitez in the Bernabeu dugout in January and has tried to implement a more offensive style of football, and the centre-back has said it has encouraged him to think about what he is doing in possession.
“He’s explained that a defensive player must play in an attack way, too, to push the team forward,” the 22-year-old told L’Equipe Mag. “The intention has to be there from the beginning. He has made me realise that passing the opposing strikers is a move that helps defensively. You defend by removing the danger in a constructive manner. Therefore, it’s a defensive act for possession to be in the opposing half.
“Zidane has tried to get me to improve. Anticipating, reading the play, putting myself in the defensive balance, I know how to do all this. So he expects the same finesse in an attacking sense.
4 .Hitzfeld: Bayern In A Different Dimension To Dortmund
Ottmar Hitzfeld says Borussia Dortmund will remain second best in the Bundesliga for years to come, regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s Klassiker with Bayern Munich.
Bayern’s quest for a fourth successive league title was dented after their surprise 2-1 defeat against Mainz at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
The Bavarians’ loss left the door open for Dortmund to pounce and Thomas Tuchel’s men obliged, beating Darmstadt 2-0 to close the gap at the top to just five points.
Dortmund are the only side to have broken Bayern’s dominance in the last six seasons, winning back-to-back titles under Jurgen Klopp in 2011 and 2012.
Victory for Tuchel’s side at Signal Iduna Park this weekend could set up a thrilling final few weeks of the campaign but Hitzfeld, who won league titles with both clubs, believes Bayern will remain a class above for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t know what position Borussia Dortmund would finish in England, Italy or Spain. But here in Germany you have one of the best clubs in the world – Bayern Munich,” he told  Omnisport  .
“They are on the same level as Real Madrid or Barcelona. There is a clear hierarchy in the Bundesliga. That won’t change in the next few years.
“At this time you can’t see Wolfsburg or Gladbach or Leverkusen or Schalke taking Dortmund’s place. There is no need to talk about Bayern, they are in a different dimension.
“Dortmund are the second force in Germany and have been over the past years. And I am sure that they will stay in this position for the next years.”
Tuchel has enjoyed an impressive start to life at Dortmund, with the club’s struggles under Klopp last season now a distant memory.
With Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Europa League titles still to play for, Hitzfeld has lauded the brand of football Tuchel has embedded at BVB this term.
“Thomas Tuchel is a coach who can work in the long-term,” added Hitzfeld.
“He has integrated himself perfectly. He came to Dortmund with a clear concept and was well prepared. The team is a lot more flexible. They can play with a lot of possession, not just with a full attack and speed.
5 .Drogba Will Not Play On Artificial MLS Surfaces-Director
Due to ongoing knee problems, Montreal Impact will not risk Didier Drogba playing on artificial surfaces at the start of the MLS season, club technical director Adam Braz told reporters at Olympic Stadium on Thursday.
“Didier won’t be available for the beginning of the season while we’re training or playing on [artificial] turf,” Braz said. “It’s too big of a risk for us to take with him with his knee. As we saw last year when we played [on artificial turf] in New England, his knee really swelled up and he really had a tough time recovering afterwards for the playoffs.”
Not playing on artificial surfaces would mean the 38-year-old will miss four of the Impact’s first five games of the season: the season opener in Vancouver on Sunday, the home opener against the New York Red Bulls on March 12, an away fixture at the Seattle Sounders on March 26, and a rematch of last season’s conference semifinals against the Columbus Crew at Olympic Stadium on April 9.
Drogba could make his debut at FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on March 19, in a match that will be played on grass. With the Impact also training on turf indoors at Olympic Stadium until the second week of April, Braz revealed that the club is looking for a place where Drogba could train on grass in the meantime.
Spanish La Liga Fixtures
Saturday 5th March 2016
Real Madrid  Vs Celta de Vigo  15:00
Villarreal  Vs  Las Palmas  17:15
Getafe  Vs Sevilla  19:30
Deportivo La Coruña  Vs Málaga  21:05
Sunday 6th March 2016
Real Betis Vs Granada CF 11:00
Eibar Vs Barcelona 15:00
Real Sociedad Vs Levante 17:15
Sporting de Gijón Vs Ath Bilbao 17:15
Valencia Vs Atl Madrid 19:30