Premier League preview time and now that we’re at the business end of the season the games keep coming at a frantic pace.
Friday 12th May 2017
Everton Vs Watford (7:45pm)
It wasn’t too long ago that Everton had a chance of finishing in the top 4, but unfortunately their season has come off of the boil slightly. Having won 2 of their last 5 games and going into this game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to relegation battlers Swansea City, Everton will feel they need a win. The win would be more for pride than anything else, as they look comfortable to finish in 7th and possibly playing in the Europa League next season. Will this be enough to keep key players and their manager, who knows, but I’m sure there will be lots of activity down at Goodison this summer.
Watford hit the magic 40 point mark a couple of weeks ago and since then have appeared to go on their summer holidays early. They have, since reaching 40 points, lost their three games to Hull, Liverpool & Leicester. They may feel that they are safe but they need to try and pick up at least a point to ensure that, mathematically speaking, if a miracle does happen in Hull and Swansea, then Watford are still safe.
West Brom Vs Chelsea (8pm)
West Brom’s run of 5 games without a goal ended last week when they managed to score twice against Burnley, the only problem was that Burnley also scored twice, which meant that West Brom’s streak without a win has now been extended to 6 games. Tony Pulis would like to try to pick up points against Chelsea, especially given his success recently against Arsenal and United, where he picked up 4 points from 6. The biggest difference though is that Arsenal and United have not been as good as in previous seasons whereas Chelsea, well, just look at their league position.
Chelsea could be champions before they play again on Monday! To get there, they will be looking to continue their form of three straight wins against West Brom. Chelsea have scored 10 goals in those 3 wins and will be looking to add more against a West Brom side who don’t tend to concede too many. Chelsea go in to this knowing that if they win and then they are champions and will feel they could have it all sewn up before their final game next weekend as they play again on Monday.
Did you know? Both of these sides have occupied their current league position since December.
Saturday 13th May
Manchester City Vs Leicester City (12:30pm)
Manchester City go in to the lunch time game against Leicester on Saturday hoping to put behind them the inconsistent form which has plagued them recently. With just 4 wins in their last 10 league games, they know that if they want to keep their place in the Champions League places then they need to ensure they win their games. Leicester will be happy if they manage to finish in the top half of the league, given their poor run over the Christmas period.
Craig Shakespeare will probably feel he has done enough to secure himself a role at the club next season given that they have won 7 of the 10 league games he has been in charge of. City haven’t been great at home, drawing 7 times so far this season, so Leicester will feel they could get something at the Etihad.
Bournemouth Vs Burnley (3pm)
Bournemouth will be hoping to secure their place in the top half with a win over mid-table rivals Burnley. Bournemouth have been steady of late and will be glad to know that their Premier League status is secure and they can start to build for next season. They’ve been relatively solid at home, picking up 28 of their 42 points in front of their own support. Burnley on the other hand will be going into this game hoping to pick up their second away win of the season, following their victory over Crystal Palace. Burnley have reached 40 points with the point they gained in their last game against West Brom last weekend. I think Burnley know that they will be playing in the Premier League next season; however, they’ll want to try and get points and try to finish as high up the table as they can for next season.
Middlesbrough Vs Southampton (3pm)
Middlesbrough have been relegated, which I’m sure will not come as a surpise to most, due to them looking all but down for the past few months. Their form of one win in their last 10 games and picking up just 6 points from the last 30 on offer, has meant that they join their neighbours, Sunderland, in the Championship next season. They now only have pride to play for as they look to try and rebuild for next season.
Southampton will hope that this season is a bit of a blip, given that they usually perform much better than they have this season. They’ll hope to cement their place in the top half and try to end the season on the high. Their recent form has shown why they find themselves in mid-table having won 3, drawn 3 and lost 4 of their last 10 games. I think Middlesbrough’s heads will have dropped for this one and Southampton will pick up the 3 points.
Sunderland Vs Swansea City (3pm)
A couple of weeks ago I am sure Sunderland would have been looking ahead to this fixture thinking if we can be within touching distance of Swansea then this game will be key to our survival. However they will now be looking at this game thinking this game will be key to them trying to give the fans something to be proud of, especially as there will probably be an exodus of players during the summer. Sunderland’s win last time out was their first win since the 4th February and they will be hoping to add a seventh league win against fellow strugglers Swansea City.
Sunderlands win last time out seemed to give the Swans a belief which they then carried out on to the pitch when they faced Everton, resulting in their second win within 3 games. Swansea have picked up 7 points from the last 9 on offer and have moved themselves out of the relegation places and in to the driving seat for securing their survival in the Premier League. Swansea know that if they win and Hull lose then they are safe.
Stoke City Vs Arsenal (5:30pm)
Stoke City will probably have wished to play Arsenal about 8 weeks ago as they normally like getting a result against the Gunners in a tie which went through a phase of being very tetchy due to some tough tackling a few years ago. Stoke have changed since then and have become a side who now look just as at ease as playing football as they did at taking long throw-ins a few years back. Stoke, may have better style under Hughes however, they have been largely inconsistent this season and have only picked up 2 wins in their last 10 games.
Arsenal go into this knowing that, somehow, they may end up finishing fourth, yes they are relying on City or Liverpool dropping points, but it could happen. Arsenal go into this with the anti-Wenger noise a lot quieter than it was 6 weeks ago, especially as they will contest the FA Cup final in a couple of weeks time. Arsenal will be buoyed by their win over United last weekend and have been in much improved form having picked up 4 wins from their last 5 games.
Sunday 14th May
Crystal Palace Vs Hull City (12pm)
Crystal Palace technically aren’t safe from the drop yet, though you’d think it unlikely they’ll go down with just two games to go. Big Sam looks to have worked his genius again. Better still for Palace, they could relegate Hull when the two sides meet in the early kick off on the Sunday. The Eagles lost 5-0 away to Manchester City last week and they didn’t offer much, but Big Sam won’t be too bothered by that, he’s clearly picking his battles. This game won’t be a pretty on, it’ll be a proper scrap; the stakes are high and both sides will need to dig deep. The home crowd will be up for this and you’d expect nothing less.
For Hull this really is a cup final. With Swansea playing Sunderland the day before, the Tigers will feel even more pressure to get a result against a resilient Palace side. Marco Silva has improved Hull, but it looks like too, little too late. If the Northeast side do get relegated, as is the case with Sunderland, you can clearly put the blame down to the atrociously poor management of the football club as a whole. The past 3 years or so have been a series of fiasco’s for Hull and you can only blame the owner.
West Ham Vs Liverpool (2:15pm)
Slaven Bilic will be looking end what has been a disappointing season on a
high, but Liverpool are pushing for a top four finish. This will be a tough
test for a Hammers side, not just because they’re at home (where they’ve
struggled this season), but also because they’re missing Andy Carroll and
Mark Noble through injury. However, the Irons have won their last two home
Premier League meetings with Liverpool, which is actually their best run
since winning three in a row between 1997 and 1999.
Jurgen Klopp knows his side need to win their remaining games if they’re to
ensure Champions League football for next season. The reds are sweating on
the fitness of Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva, who’ve missed training
recently due to muscle problems. Liverpool will take confidence from the
fact that they’ve won three of their last four London-based Premier League
games this season. Additionally, if they can win at the London Stadiun, it
will be the 52nd different venue at which they’ve won a Premier League game
and that is more than any other side (Arsenal & Manchester United are in
joint-second on 50, for those of you that are interested).
Tottenham Vs Manchester United (4:30pm)
The headline act of Sunday’s games is the last league game at White Hart Lane and one that Spurs will want to ensure they win. If Spurs avoid defeat in this game, it’ll be the first time they’ve gone unbeaten in a league season at home, since 1964/65! Makes you think moving grounds might be tempting fate a little. A win for Spurs would also equal their club record run of 14 straight home wins in a season, which was originally set in 1987. Harry Kane hasn’t scored against United in six appearances, despite having scored against 23 of the 25 teams he’s faced in the Premier League. Spurs fans will be hoping he can change those stats on Sunday.
It’s difficult to guess what Jose Mourinho will be looking to acheive with this game; will he rest players seen as he’s obviously eyeing a Europa League win. Will he do what he’s done against the likes of Manchester City & Liverpool and park the bus? The ‘Special One’ isn’t so special around Tottenham though, he’s failed to win his last four visits to White Hart Lane (two draws and two defeats to be exact). In fact he’s not won away to Spurs since August 2005. Worryingly, United have failed to score an away goal against a top six side all season. All signs point to this being a draw.