Premier League Week 36 Preview
Here’s Part 2 of the Premier League Preview. In this edition we’ll be looking at the fixtures for Sunday 7th may to Wednesday 10th May 2017.
Sunday 7th May 2017
Liverpool Vs Southampton
Jurgen Klopp will be expecting a huge performance from his Liverpool side when they face Southampton. They need to win all of their remaining games if they’re to have Champions League football next season. However, the German has never beaten Southampton in Premier League in three attempts during his time as manager; having drawn two and lost the other. Philippe Countinho could be back, despite suffering a thigh problem at Watford, but Jordan Henderson is still out.
Southampton have only won one of their last five Premier League visits to Anfield and that was back in September 2013, courtesy of a goal from the now Liverpool player, Dejan Lovren. Despite their recent run, Saints can take some confidence from the fact that they were able to knock Liverpool out of the EFL League Cup, and they’ve managed to keep clean sheets in all three of their games against the Reds this season. Seven of the Saints’ eleven Premier League wins this season have come on a Sunday. Southampton have no fresh injury concerns. Matt Targett and Charlie Austin are doubts for this game, but could feature next week.
Prediction: 2-1 – I think Liverpool have some exceptional players, but there’s more pressure on them to win this game than there is for Southampton. Sure the Reds will be looking to win and be bouyed on by the home crowd, but Southampton are a tricky side so this could be closer than you might think.
Sunday 7th May 2017
Arsenal Vs Manchester United
The headline act of the weekend; Wenger vs Mourinho. This feels like just another fixture where more is said about Mourinho’s press room and sideline antics than is actually said about what happens on the field. Arsenal need a win. Arsene Wenger needs a win. This could be the year where Arsenal finish outside the top four and I don’t think even an FA Cup win would be enough to please the Arsenal fans at the moment. The Gunners are likely to be without Granit Xhaka due to a calf issue, but Shkodran Mustafi has returned to training his week.
Manchester United are without Fellaini due to suspension and Ashley Young has a hamstring issue. Marcus Rashford limped off the field in the Europa League semi-final and he’ll likely be rested for this fixture. It will be interesting to see what team Jose puts out following the trip to Celta Vigo on Thursday night and the return leg that’s coming up. Mourinho had joked about playing the Under-23s in this game, but as much as that was a joke, we should still expect significant changes to the starting line up.
Mourinho hasn’t lost in the Premier League to Arsenal in twelve games, having won five and drawn seven. He’ll want to protect his record, even if it’s just so he can continue to label Wenger “a specialist in failure”.
Prediction: 1-1. I don’t think there’ll be much in it. In fact I expect this to be quite an anticlimax with both teams being too afraid of losing.
Monday 8th May 2017
Chelsea Vs Middlesbrough
Chelsea go into this game knowing that they’re just two wins away from being crowned Champions, as Spurs lost at West Ham in the Friday night game. There are concerns over the fitness of N’Golo Kanté and David Luiz, but Chelsea’s squad depth should mean this isn’t too much of an issue for this game at least. The Blues have won each of their last six meetings against Middlesbrough, without conceding a goal. In fact Boro haven’t scored at Stamford Bridge in their last seven visits. If Chelsea win on Monday, it will be their 300th win in the Premier League at home; only Arsenal (305, might be 306 if they win on Sunday) and Manchester United (347) have more.
Boro have a number of injury concerns ahead of this game with Valdes, Gaston Ramirez and Daniel Ayala being major doubts. Grant Leadbitter and Adiene Guedioura have returned to training, but it’s not clear if they’ll be ready for the trip to Stamford Bridge. If Hull win on Saturday against Sunderland and a defeat to Chelsea would mean Boro are relegated on Monday night. Performances this season haven’t been up to scratch and I personally think the dismissal of Aitor Karanka was just plain dumb. It’ll be interesting to see how much fight the Boro team have left in them. If Hull fail to beat Sunderland on the Saturday, it might take a bit of pressure off the Middlesbrough players and this could be an interesting game.
Prediction: 2-0 Chelsea just seem too strong for Boro.
Wednesday 10th May 2017
Southampton Vs Arsenal
Well it’s too early to tell with this game really. I think this fixture will just depend on how the two sides get on at the weekend. Southampton fans will be expecting a solid home performance as the season draws to a close. The Saints certainly have the capacity to frustrate and even beat Arsenal, and there’s every reason to believe this game will have a few goals in it.
The sides have met three times in all competitions this season. Arsenal have won two of the meetings; 2-1 at the Emirates in the Premier League and 5-0 at St Mary’s in the FA Cup. However, Southampton won the other meeting 2-0 at the Emirates. This should be quite an open game.
Prediction: 2-3 it’s too early to say, but history says this should have more than just one or two goals. Arsenal’s pace and the attacking quality, when they’re on song, is sublime and I think that’ll be the difference.