Everton vs Liverpool
Everton have 6 points from their last three games signaling some sort of revival. They will surely escape the drop zone, but for lofty post-season expectations, it is a stark unpleasant carrot. Despite the history between both clubs, the Meyserside derby has lost it’s shine. Liverpool have the welcome distraction of the Champions League now. Beating Everton isn’t much of a bragging rights these days. They still have to win to consolidate their position in the top four and possibly pip United to second place.
With Salah’s injury prognosis still unclear, Liverpool need the rest of the squad to put in a shift in the absence of their talisman. I think they will make light work of an Everton team going through the motions.
Stoke City vs Tottenham
Three points from safety, Stoke City are in a dire situation. Paul Lambert, the new fire fighter, has spoken about the unfortunate dichotomy between performances and results but they are in the stage of the season where the latter is a more welcoming commodity. Standing in their way of three points are Tottenham. Spurs are not fighting for the premier league title (City could win it at Old Trafford) but they still have to put more distance between them and Chelsea. And there’s this thing called “pride”.
Stoke City will struggle, Spurs will win. For the potters’ sake, hopefully, my prediction fall flat on it’s face.
Watford vs Burnley
Burnley’s last loss in the premier league came against Swansea on the 10th of Febuary. Since then, they haven’t lost a game, they have won three out of their last four games. They are still only five points behind Arsenal, so there’s still a lot to play for. A chance at European competition should spur them to a fine finish this season.
Watford’s last win was at the start of last month, they have to make sense of a premier league season that promised so much but is ending with little fan fare. They are just three points way from the magic number – 40. They will be safe.
Brighton vs Huddersfield
The three promoted teams from the Championship are in between 12th and 16th on the premier league table. Brighton and Huddersfield face off with Brighton three points healthier. Both Chris Hutton and David Wagner have done well to steer clear from the relegation spot this season. There is still danger of loosing points and getting i the relegation quagmire. It is a six pointer of significance.
West Brom vs Swansea
What a sorry season for the Baggies this season. They are ten points from the relegation – and barring a Jesus-turning-water-into-wine miracle – they are surely doomed. They have stuttered and flustered through a morale-sapping campaign, which has seen two managers sacked with no desired result.
Swansea, despite their league position and revival under Carvahal, are still not safe. They need a win against a team resigned to their fate.
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace are nearly back to where they once were in the EPL table. A solitary win in 9 games has clipped the Eagles wings and they are only two points off the drop zone.
It hasn’t helped that Benteke is as prolific as a hunter firing blanks. It is a nervous state they have found themselves. I like Crystal Palace – and Zaha – a lot. They are one ff the teams outside of the top six, playing football that isn’t coma-inducing.
But like i mentioned earlier, results over performances. Crystal Palace need to find a way to win – ugly or no.
Leicester City vs Newcastle
Newcastle are 12th and are looking like Premier League survivors. This campaign has been nerve-wrecking at times. Rafa Benitez has, on occasions, fingered the hierarchy in their complicity in Newcastle’s woes. The takeover that was supposed to happen didn’t. The subplots threatened to derail their entire season. However, they have come through it with some positives.
Jonjo Shelvey have looked imperious in recent games. The 26 year old is now a vital cog in the team after earning the trust of his manager. Kennedy – the loanee from Chelsea – has impressed on the south coast. Whether Newcastle will pursue his permanent stay in the club remains to be seen.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Manchester City will be feeling blue after Liverpool inflicted maximum damage in their Champions League tie on Wednesday. While many use that result to shortchange Pep’s work in Manchester, it is expedient to recognise the stellar work he has propounded in City. Manchester City are on course to win the premier league with smashed records in their wake. Winning it at the Etihad against Manchester United will be one hell of a consolation.
They fully deserve their title and are one of the most watchable teams in the premier league history. Manchester United will seek to stifle, rather than initiate. This is hardly news as everyone knows Mourinho’s default setting in big games. The onus is left for City to break down an unwilling opponent after the sore defeat in mid-week.
Arsenal vs Southampton
Southampton are in real danger of slipping into the Championship without any fight. It is a shame because, there are fine players in that squad. The goals have been scant commodity and so they pay the price of their lacklustre displays the entire season. They are not yet in a hopeless situation. They are two points off safety and a win against Arsenal can be a trigger for a positive sequence of results.
Chelsea vs West Ham
The Champions are anything but. They could surrender the title to a more befitting candidate in Manchester City. The season has ended on a sour note for everyone associated with Chelsea. The race for the Champions league has run, if we’re being honest. Chelsea had a glorious chance to shorten the gap to the top four but spectacularly let it slip. The game against Tottenham was the final straw in a season of uncertainty.
If Antonio Conte is nurturing plans of remaining at the helm after this season (doubtful), there has to be a flourish to the end of the season. Against a yo-yo team like West Ham, you can’t be too sure what the outcome would be.