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Premier League and Championship Preview April 1st, 2017

The Premier League and Championship return on April 1 following the international break, and there is still plenty to play for at the top and bottom end of the tables as we progress into the final couple months of the season.

In the lunchtime game in the Premier League, Liverpool and Everton meet in a Merseyside derby at Anfield. This fixture has produced more red cards than any other in the Premier League, so expect it to be a heated affair on the pitch once again. Both sides will be pleased with their campaigns so far as Liverpool look on course for a top-four finish this season, which would see them return to the Champions League, while their neighbours Everton are pushing for European qualification themselves with the Europa League a realistic target.

Man City v Liverpool
Source: Liverpool FC via Facebook

Liverpool will be looking to build on their excellent return in March. Jurgen Klopp’s men had victories over Arsenal and Burnley, while they also came away from the Etihad Stadium with a valuable point against Manchester City.

Everton, meanwhile, have been able to score seven goals in their last two fixtures. They hit three past West Brom in a 3-0 win, while seven days later Hull were on the wrong side of a 4-0 scoreline. Romelu Lukaku recently announced he will not sign a new contract with the Toffees; however, that has not stopped the Everton forward from remaining in good form as he has scored 21 goals in the Premier League this season.

League leaders Chelsea have a ten-point gap now at the top of the standings and Antonio Conte’s men will be looking to extend that lead when they host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have won their last five games in all competitions, including a 2-1 victory over Stoke before the international break.

Chelsea defeated the Eagles 1-0 earlier in the season, where Diego Costa’s goal was enough to separate the two sides. Conte’s men remain on course for the double this season as they also have a semi-final tie in the FA Cup against Tottenham to look forward to at Wembley later this month.

Notts Foresy v Derby
Source: Derby County via Facebook

In the Championship, Nottingham Forest will be looking to build upon the point they picked up against Derby in Mark Warburton’s first game in charge of the club when they face Preston at Deepdale. As mentioned in the Oddschecker preview of that East Midlands derby, Forest have beaten Newcastle, Brighton, Leeds, Aston Villa and Birmingham already this season, yet still find themselves sitting narrowly above the drop zone in the table.

Forest's away form has played a large part in their current predicament; they have not won on the road since their 5-2 victory over Barnsley back on November 25. With Warbuton in charge, though, they will be hoping he can help secure their Championship future over the next eight weeks.

Preston, on the other hand, have had one of their best seasons in a long time. The Lancashire club are ninth in the league and are still chasing a place in the play-offs; they are currently five points behind sixth-placed going into their home tie with Forest.

In the bid for the Championship title this season, Newcastle have a point advantage over Brighton heading into the latest round of fixtures. The league leaders face Wigan, where they are heavy favourites to pick up all three points against a side struggling down in 23rd place.

Brighton are also at home against a side in the bottom three, as they take on Blackburn looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Leeds at Elland Road. That was their third defeat in their last five games in the Championship.

Written by Rob. First published on March 23rd, 2017.