Another week of exciting Premier League action as teams battle it out as the season reaches its climax. The week starts with a high profile London Derby between West Ham and Arsenal, culminating in a clash between Spurs and Manchester United at White Hart Lane.
West Ham v Arsenal – Sat, 9 Apr, 12.45pm
The early kick off sees West Ham hosting Arsenal at Upton Park in a massive London derby that sees sixth take on third. A disappointing 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last week saw the Hammers slip 3 points behind Manchester City in the race for a Champions League spot and Slaven Bilic’s side cannot afford to slip up any more if they are to remain in the hunt.
With nothing left to play for, Arsenal has belatedly found form with Wenger’s selection of Elmeny and Coquelin in the middle of the park possessing the right blend of finess and steel. The Gunners saw off Watford convincingly last weekend in a 4-0 demolition and have to repeat the same level of performance if they wish to retain any hope of catching Leicester City.
Both teams have it all to play for but an upcoming midweek FA Cup replay against Manchester United mean that Arsenal probably have the slight edge. A narrow win for the Gunners.
Prediction: West Ham 1- 2 Arsenal
Aston Villa v Bournemouth – Sat, 9 Apr, 3 pm
With relegation a foregone conclusion, Aston Villa have nothing but pride to play for as they welcome Bournemouth to Villa Park. Another hapless performance last weekend saw them trounced 4-0 at home against Chelsea despite a change of manager. Nothing has gone right for Villa this season as they prepare for life in the Championship.
Poor starts to games have cost Eddie Howe’s men in their last two games against Spurs and Manchester City as they often left themselves with mountains to climb. 11 points from safety, the Cherries are pretty much safe this season but motivation might be an issue with nothing left to play for.
With little separating the two sides, Villa might just find a way to give their fans something to cheer about in a season of unmitigated disaster.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1- 0 Bournemouth
Crystal Palace v Norwich City – Sat, 9 Apr, 3 pm
The Eagles take on the Canaries at Selhurt Park as Alan Pardew’s side desperately try to shed the unwanted tag of not having won a game in 2016. It has been a frankly ludicrous collapse for Palace having gone from 5th to 16th during the last few months. A mere 7 points away from Sunderland in 18th, Palace are in real danger of being sucked into a relegation scrap if their form does not improve quickly.
Consecutive wins have lifted the mood at Norwich City as a crucial 3-2 win over Newcastle United last weekend giving Alex Neil’s side a much needed shot in the arm as they approach their final 6 games. His side are finding form just at the right time and look the likely to be safe if they can win their upcoming games against Palace and Sunderland.
3 points is all that separates the two sides and with little to choose, a draw seems to be on the cards.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2- 2 Norwich City
Southampton v Newcastle United – Sat, 9 Apr, 3 pm
Southampton plays host to Newcastle United eager to bounce back after a narrow 1-0 defeat against league leaders Leicester City last weekend. The Saints displayed glimpses of their quality in that game and could count themselves somewhat unlucky not to earn a share of the points. With 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four starts, Saints striker is finding form as we enter into the business end of the season.
Having looked to have salvaged a point with a late Mitrovic penalty only to be beaten by a late winner against Norwich City last weekend, Rafa Benitez and his men know that they have a mountain to climb if they expect to remain in the Premier League next season. With Benitez’s record so far an unacceptable 1 point in 3 games, it is clear that the Mapgies’s time in the Premier League might be coming to an end soon.
Southampton have enough quality and form to put an insipid Newcastle side to the sword in what should be a routine home win.
Prediction: Southampton 2- 0 Newcastle United
Swansea City v Chelsea – Sat, 9 Apr, 3 pm
Swansea City has been in decent form of late with 3 wins in their last 5 games and have moved 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Their 2-2 draw with Stoke City last week was another good result and they welcome Chelsea to the Liberty Stadium this weekend. Another good result here and they can safely plan for next season.
A one sided 4-0 hammering of Aston Villa last weekend meant that Chelsea moved into 10th, a point behind Liverpool. Despite being unbeaten in the league under Guus Hiddink, Chelsea, they still have had a season to forget. Too many draws under the Dutchman mean that Chelsea have little to play for this season as they look to rebuild for the next with incoming manager Antonio Conte.
Without Costa, Remy and Hazard, Chelsea lack an edge to turn draws into victories. Swansea still need points to guarantee their safety and with home advantage, they will probably get a single one here.
Prediction: Swansea City 2- 2 Chelsea
Watford v Everton – Sat, 9 Apr, 3 pm
Watford was absolutely abysmal against Arsenal last weekend, barely putting up a fight as Arsenal walked all over them. Quique Sanchez’s team face a talented but inconsistent Everton team at Vicarage Road. With Deeney and Ighalo only managing a single league goal in their last 5 games, they’ve lacked the necessary firepower to win games in recent matches and will be desperate to sort themselves out.
Underachieving Everton fell 1-0 last weekend to a mediocre Manchester United side as the Toffees remained marooned in 12th place. With only the FA Cup left to play for, Roberto Martinez needs to find a way to motivate his players when it comes to the league. Everton have the players to be challenging for Europe. It is truly a travesty that they have been so far off the pace all season.
With both teams in the semi finals, this league encounter could perhaps be the dry run for FA Cup final. It should be a close game but Everton should have the players to eventually see off the Hornets.
Prediction: Watford 1- 3 Everton
Manchester City v West Brom – Sat, 9 Apr, 5.30 pm
Manchester City take on West Brom at the Eithad Stadium as the Sky Blues seek to maintain their grip on 4th spot with Manchester United and West Ham breathing down their necks. A midweek 2-2 away draw against PSG in the Champions League was a good result as they look to advance to the semi-finals for the first time ever. The timely return of Kevin De Bruyne has recharged City as they look to end the season on a high.
Tony Pulis’ Baggies had keeper Ben Foster to thank for a point as they drew 0-0 against Sunderland last time around. A Pulis side is not the most sophisticated but is always difficult to play against with a strong defence and a tireless work ethic imbued throughout the team.
With the deciding match against PSG looming on Tuesday, it is not unthinkable if Manuel Pellegrini rests some players against West Brom. A draw seems likely between the two sides.
Prediction: Manchester City 1- 1 West Brom
Sunderland v Leicester City – Sun, 10 Apr, 1.30 pm
Improved performances from the Black Cats have not meant improved results as Sam Allardyce’s men remain in the drop zone, 4 points from safety. With time running out, they face champions elect Leicester City in a massive encounter that could have huge ramifications on both ends of the table. With sharp shooting Jermain Defoe in their ranks though, you can normally count on him to find the back of the net.
7 points clear with 6 games to go, Leicester City are grinding out results on route to what should be a historic league win if the Foxes eventually lift the Premier League title come May. With the goals drying up, Claudio Ranieri’s side have had to depend on a resilient defence to secure all three points with five of their last six games resulting in a 1-0 win.
After a series of close shaves over their past few games, a slip-up is due for Leicester City as Sunderland eek out a deserved 1-0 victory.
Prediction: Sunderland 1- 0 Leicester City
Liverpool v Stoke City – Sun, 10 Apr, 4 pm
Liverpool host Stoke City at Anfield in what promises to be an exciting encounter between two attacking sides. Jurgen Klopp’s men recorded a credible 1-1 draw away at Dortmund on Thursday and will have a rematch against his former side in under a week. Philippe Coutinho has been in impressive form of late and will be integral to breaking down a solid Stoke side.
Mark Hughes men look to improve on their best ever league finish last season with an even better showing this year. Sitting in 8th, the Potters have had a remarkable season so far and remain a match for most teams. Liverpool have had Stoke City’s number in recent games but their upcoming match against Dortmund should mean a narrow win for Stoke.
Prediction: Liverpool 1- 2 Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – Sun, 10 Apr, 4 pm
With their title challenge slipping away after a 1-1 draw at Anfield last weekend, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side desperately need all 3 points to keep the pressure on leaders Leicester City. Their opponents this week are Manchester United, the team that beat them on opening day. Harry Kane is in red hot form and should relish coming up against the United defence.
Louis Van Gaal’s team remain in contention for a Champions League place but have struggled to play well this season. They scarcely deserved a 1-0 victory over Everton last weekend with the Red Devils relying on occasional moments of brilliance rather than any coherent plan.
The best defence in the league faces the second best in what could end up as a stalemate between the two teams.
Prediction: Spurs 0- 0 Manchester United