With a full list of mid-week Premier League games taking place this week, Pundit Arena columnist and Exeter City striker Graham Cummins previews the first night of action.
Aston Villa vs West Brom (Tuesday, 7.45pm)
Villa would have hoped that the appointment of Tim Sherwood would have changed the club’s fortunes but after suffering two straight defeats the former Tottenham manager is facing the reality that he may have a relegation to add to his CV.
West Brom are revitalised under Tony Pulis and find themselves eight points clear of the drop zone, one must wonder would Pulis have been a suitable candidate for the Villa job if they had relieved Paul Lambert of his role sooner.
Villa having been struggling for goals this season, with only 13 in 27 league games and although it is a midlands derby I cannot see them adding to that tally against The Baggies, a team which have kept seven clean sheets in their last ten competitive games.
Aston Villa 0-1 West Brom
Hull vs Sunderland (Tuesday, 7.45pm)
Both sides find themselves stuck in a relegation battle and three points against one of their rivals would be a welcome boost to either Hull or Sunderland.
Hull have turned a corner a home recently, recording two successive victories. Steve Bruce appeared to be under pressure at the club but the appointment of former Manchester United number two Mike Phelan has been a shrewd decision by the former Sunderland boss.
Sunderland seem to be going down the same road as last season. They have not improved and look destined for a nervous relegation scrap. They will be hoping that Jermaine Defoe can fire them to safety otherwise it may be the end of Sunderland’s tenure in the Premier League.
Hull 2-1 Sunderland
Southampton vs Crystal Palace (Tuesday, 7.45pm)
The Saints go into the game without a win in three and it looks as if a top four finish for Ronald Koeman’s side is fading away.
There’s no doubt Southampton have been the surprise package this season but perhaps tiredness is starting to affect a small squad. In their last game at Saint Mary’s against Liverpool, I thought Southampton were excellent and were unlucky not to come away from the game with a positive result.
Alan Pardew has extinguished any relegation talk at Palace and after Saturday’s 3-1 victory away at West Ham, he will be confident his side can cause another upset against Southampton. Palace are now looking like the side that played so well under Tony Pulis and with Pardew in charge they will certainly want to build a platform for next season.
Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace
Be sure to stay tuned to Pundit Arena tomorrow for Graham’s thoughts on Wednesday night’s Premier League action.
Graham Cummins, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Ian Wilson from London, England (Villa Park) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons