CHELSEA VSSUNDERLANDChelsea’s season in the Barclays Premier League goes from bad to worse. On Monday night they lost again, at league leaders Leicester City, leaving them just one point off the relegation zone following their ninth defeat of the season and fifth in seven games. Sunderland won at Stamford Bridge two seasons ago, but that is one of only three wins there in 14 Barclays Premier League visits. None have been drawn with Chelsea winning all the other 11 meetings.NEWCASTLE VS ASTON VILLAHaving beaten Liverpool 2-0 in their previous game, Newcastle have won back-to-back Barclays Premier League games for the first time in over a year, when they won five in a row, in October and November 2014. Villa lost 2-0 at home to Arsenal at home last Sunday and they are now without a win in 15 league games, the joint-longest current run in English football (along with League 2 side York City).STOKE CITY VSCRYSTAL PALACEStoke are 11th in the Barclays Premier League while Crystal Palace moved into sixth place in the Premier League thanks to their first ever top-flight win over Southampton in 14 attempts last Saturday. The Eagles have lost just one of their past six Premier League matches, winning three and losing just one, with Yohan Cabaye scoring the winner against Southampton.WEST BROM VS BOURNEMOUTHAfter winning at Chelsea and at home to Manchester United, AFC Bournemouth should be confident of boosting further their hopes of avoiding relegation. That extended their unbeaten run to four games (following two draws), after six league games without a win. They go to The Hawthorns where West Bromwich Albion have lost four of their eight games while winning just two. Only Aston Villa (six) have lost more PL games at home.WATFORD VSLIVERPOOLOdion Ighalo got Watford’s winner at Sunderland last weekend and has now the most goals by a Watford player in Premier League history (10). Liverpool, meanwhile, came back from behind to steal a point at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday, but they are two places and a point behind Watford.SWANSEA CITY VSWEST HAMSwansea City have lost their last three and five of six Barclays Premier League games and are now just one place off the relegation zone, only on goal difference, after winning just three games all season, two of which have come at the Liberty Stadium. And they have scored just eight league goals in Wales. West Ham have won four away from home but they have gone six league games without a win, drawing four including last weekend’s 0-0 stalemate at home to Stoke City.
…even as quibble over ‘observance date’ persistsGuyana today joins scores of countries across the world to observe Deepavali or Diwali – a time when citizens across social, economic and the political strata join observance of the religious festival of ‘light over darkness.’Guyana’s two largest mass based political parties – on the occasion – were in sync with their messages, one articulating the belief “our diversity has worked and will continue to work to the country’s advantage”, while the other proclaiming occasions like Diwali continue to present the opportunity for all of our people to display to the world, as one nation, the beauty and uniqueness of our cultural, ethnic and religious diversity and tolerance.Diwali LampsThe People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in its message to Guyanese for Diwali 2017 said “it is from this perspective that we continue to note the division which has recently erupted in respect of the date when we are to celebrate this great festival.”According to the Opposition People’s Progressive Party, “As we celebrate this most auspicious occasion of the Hindu calendar, we call on all Guyanese, in particular our Hindu brothers and sisters, to reflect upon the significance of this great festival and to inculcate its message into our daily lives, as we strive together, to remove the darkness of hate, discrimination and racism and replace them with the illumination of love, unity and brotherhood. “The party nonetheless is hopeful that in the near future, “these differences will be reconciled so that this pious occasion can continue to be observed in an atmosphere and environment which is devoid of any controversy and overwhelmed with divinity and mutual respect.”The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) in its Diwali 2017 used the occasion to remind that it has always been and will always remain respectful of Guyana’s cultural and religious diversity.According to the Party – constituting the largest faction of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity -“Our diversity is an asset not a liability… As we celebrate Diwali, the PNCR remains committed to ensuring unity in diversity so that our beloved country can experience real development and progress. Diwali is universally recognised as the Festival of Light, the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and the substitution of all that is negative with that which is positive.”Meanwhile, the Indian Action Committee (IAC) is also calling upon the various Hindu organisations to agree upon one date for Diwali in 2018.The IAC, in its message, calls upon all Guyanese to respect the sanctity of Diwali and engage in appropriate and fitting observances and activities.The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union in its Diwali message, also alluded to being aware of the current differences surrounding the actual dates for this year’s Diwali celebration, but do earnestly hope that this would not detract from full participation in the festivity nor will it serve in any way to obscure its enduring significance.