As there is so much football on at the moment this weeks preview is going to be brief…a bit like this introduction!
Saturday 29th April 2017
Southampton Vs Hull City
Southampton go into this one having lost their previous two games, however they were not probably games that the club had expected to win. They go into the Hull game knowing that a win would help strengthen their position as a top half side. Having won 4 and lost 5 of their last 10 games the Saints will be hoping to pick up 3 points against Hull. Hull have been improving though of late and have started to look like they could escape the drop. However, their away form has been a cause for concern and is one of the reasons why they are still hovering above the relegation zone. Hull have only won once away from home and have picked up a total of 5 points on their travels yet will know that a defeat this weekend a win for Swansea will see them swap places and find themselves in the relegation zone again. I feel Southampton will want to get a result from this after their defeat to Chelsea during the week, so I am going to say they will win 3-1.
Stoke City Vs West Ham United
Stoke will be hoping to add an 8th home win of the season as they take on West Ham on Saturday, but it wont be easy against a mid-table rival who are sat just 1 point behind them. Stoke go into this one having lost 4 of their last 5 league games and will know a defeat could hamper their chances of finishing in the top half this season. West Ham United will be wanting the focus to return to football this week after an investigation into player payments saw their stadium raided by Revenue & Customs officials. West Ham go into this game with only one victory in their last 5 games, but will know victory will see them leap over their opponents. I get the feeling that Stoke may hold the advantage for this game, but I do feel, and I am not sure why, that this one will end as a draw, probably 1-1.
Sunderland Vs Bournemouth
Sunderland can still survive in the Premier League… I know it is a very very very long shot, but if Hull and Swansea lose all of their games and Sunderland win all of theirs then they will stay up! A loss against Bournemouth though could spell the end of the Back Cats time in the Premier League, especially if Hull win.
Bournemouth go into this one as one of the 8 clubs who are battling for the final 2 top half spots, and will be hoping to follow up on their 4-0 victory of Middlesbrough with a win against Sunderland. However, Bournemouth have only won twice away from home, so their form on the road does not mean that this game will be walkover for them. I really can only see Bournemouth winning this game, yes they haven’t been great on their travels, but I think they will have too much for a Sunderland. The Black Cats will have to attack if they want to get anything from this, which will leave gaps in what has already been a fragile defence. Therefore I am going to say this will end 1-3.
West Brom Vs Leicester City
West Brom have come off of the boil since reaching 40 points, picking up just 4 in their last 5 games. However, the Baggies do seem to do okay against the sides you would expect them to struggle against; yet they struggle against sides who they should beat, so it will be interesting to see how they perform against Leicester. The Foxes have done enough to stay up and will want to focus on a top half finish.
West Brom will be hoping to continue to correct their indiffering home form where they have won 9 times and lost 6 times in 17 games. Leicester on the road have only picked up 7 points, with just one victory away from the King Power, but will be hoping to add a second against West Brom. The Baggies incidentally lost their last home game to Liverpool. Now that the Foxes don’t have to the distraction of Europe, they’ll be hoping to end the season on a high and regroup/build for next season to avoid being in a similar situation again. I like how organised West Brom are, however, they do seem to have lost a bit of their determination now they have reached 40 points so I am going to say that Leicester may win this one, 1-2.
Crystal Palace Vs Burnley
Crystal Palace will be hoping to bounce back from their mid-week defeat to Tottenham, as they take on a Burnley side who’ve the worst away record in the league. Palace have, thanks to me and possibly ‘Big Sam’, gone from relegation zone to possibly finishing in the top half of the table. Palace have though, not been great at home, picking up more wins on the road than in front of their own crowd, but they do face a Burnley side who are yet to win away from Turf Moor this season. Burnley go into this game knowing a defeat and wins for Swansea and Hull could mean they are sucked into the relegation battle, so will be hoping desperately to pick up their first 3 points on the road. Yet, the form book, isn’t on Burnley’s side with them wining just once in their last 10 games and having picked up just 7 points in that run they will need to drastically improve if they are going to get anything from this game. I get the feeling Palace will win this one, even though they haven’t been great at home. However, tiredness could come into play with Palace playing their third game in 7 days. I am going to go with a home win for this and say that it’ll be 2-0.
Sunday 30th April 2017
Manchester United Vs Swansea City
Manchester United will be relieved to have left the Etihad with a point having been the second best side, but it was a point which has meant they go into this game having not lost in 24 league games. They go into this game hoping tho get the 3 points which would, even if temporarily, move them to third place in the league. United will be hoping to ensure they follow on from their last league home game against Chelsea with a win against the Swans who are struggling for survival.
Swansea will feel a win against United could be the turning point in the race for survival, especially with their win against Stoke last time out. The Welsh side have won 3 times in their last 10 games, but will feel that they need to avoid losing games if they are going to stay up as they have lost 6 of these games.
I’m a United fan so I am hoping for 3 points to put us into the top 4 and give us some momentum in the race for the Champions League places; however, United have a record this season of drawing games which, fingers crossed, we avoid. I am going to say that United will win 3-0.
Everton Vs Chelsea
Everton host the league leaders and will be hoping to keep their slim chances of European Football alive by getting something from a game where they are the underdogs. Everton have kept themselves within touching difference of the top 6, but have recently they’ve picked up just 18 points in their last 10 games. The biggest challenge for Everton is keeping their top players at the end of the season and the only way to do that is by finishing as high up the table as possible and showing they can challenge the biggest clubs in the league.
Chelsea will be hoping to do the double and after beating Spurs in the FA Cup and they’ll be hoping to keep them behind them at the end of the season. Chelsea may have had some slightly disappointing League results recently, but they go into the weekend 4 points clear at the top and will feel that they can expand this, given Spurs play Arsenal in the North London Derby.
Chelsea will be too good for Everton this weekend and will feel that it won’t be long until they are crowned champions, so I am going to say this game will end 1-3.
Middlesbrough Vs Manchester City
Middlesbrough will feel that their win over Sunderland has meant that there chances of survival have been strengthened, but to stay up they need to make up a 6 point difference on Hull and hope Swansea drop points too. Their recent form however doesn’t imply that survival is on the cards, with the Teeside team only picking up 6 points from 30 on offer. They do however face a side who are on the hunt for Champions League football so this will not be an easy game.
City will feel that they should’ve won the Manchester derby and will go into this game wanting to ensure that there is no slip up in their fight for Champions League football. City go into this game having picked up 19 points from their last 10 games and will feel that, with Champions Football in their hands, that they should be beating Middlesbrough. I can’t see beyond City for this game, as much as Middlesbrough need to win, City will feel that they need this to keep pressure on those around them, so I can see them coming away with a 0-3 win.
Tottenham Vs Arsenal
Spurs go into the North London Derby knowing that they’ll finish above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years, if they can avoid any major issues when they host their rivals. Spurs go into this having just done enough to get past Palace during mid-week and will be hoping to keep pressure on Chelsea by picking up a win. Spurs are in great form in the league having picked up 27 points from the last 30 on offer, so will feel confident going into this game.
Arsenal have had wobbles, but have now won their last 2 league games and have secured their place in the FA Cup Final. They’ll now be hoping to kick on and try to keep the pressure on those above them just in case the likes of City, United & Liverpool all slip up which may give them a chance to finish in the top 4. Arsenal will want to win this to keep their pride, but I think that Spurs at home will have enough to win this. Hopefully it will be an open game with lots of goals, so with that in mind I’m going to go 3-2.
Monday 1st May 2017
Watford Vs Liverpool
Watford are currently sat in the top half of the Premier League and will be hoping to finish there come the end of the season. They go into this game on the back of a defeat to Hull which saw Captain Deeney go and apologise to the travelling fans for their display against a side who had, had a man sent off, so will be hoping to do better. Watford have won 4 of their last 10 games, but will be hoping to improve on this against a Liverpool side who will have watched their rivals play on Sunday for the top 4 positions.
Liverpool will be hoping to recover from their defeat at home to Crystal Palace and have been okay away from home, with 4 of their 6 defeats coming away from home. Liverpool will know that with sides still having a game in hand over them that they need to win every game if they are going to get into the Champions League next season.
As a United fan I do love seeing Liverpool lose, yet, unfortunately for me, I doubt they’ll do so on Monday, as they will be too strong for Watford and will probably win 1-3.