There is plenty of Premier League action this weekend, with important matches at both ends of the table. Here are five predictions about what will happen.
There Premier League is in its final stretch and the league is hotting up at both ends of the table. This weekend, there are some key fixtures which could have a big impact on the top four and the relegation battle. Here are five predictions for the weekend’s games.
1. Jose Mourinho beats Chelsea at the third time of asking
The most exciting fixture of the weekend comes on Sunday, when Manchester United face off against Chelsea at Old Trafford. Although only four league places separate the sides, Chelsea are 18 points ahead of the Red Devils and will fancy their chances of winning having already beaten United twice this season.
Jose Mourinho will not have appreciated losing to his former club twice this season, especially in the FA Cup match last month, when Ander Herrera’s red card ruined the game early on. The Portuguese manager would also love to dent Chelsea’s bid for the Premier League title, so expect a resilient, winning performance from the Red Devils on Sunday.
2. Liverpool struggle to break down West Brom without Sadio Mane
Liverpool’s season has been full of excitement and if the Reds finish in the top four, then Jurgen Klopp should be satisfied, as it will provide him a solid base on which to mount a title challenge next season. Klopp’s side won away at Stoke last weekend, despite going a goal down. That they did it without the talismanic Sadio Mane, who’s out for the rest of the season after having knee surgery, made a nervy win a little more encouraging.
This weekend Liverpool head to The Hawthorns to face West Brom, which is probably an even tougher away fixture than their last one. Without Mane in the team, the Reds could struggle to break down Tony Pulis’ Baggies side, who had an impressive season themselves. The Senegalese international has an extra gear which even the best defenses can’t handle. Fortunately for Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho is on fire right now after netting in his last three matches. If the little Brazilian replicates that kind of form on Sunday, then it might just be enough to give the Reds all three points.
3. Sunderland keep Premier League survival hopes alive with win over West Ham
Sunderland’s season has been nothing short of miserable. The Black Cats have endured a terrible time under the guidance of David Moyes. A silver lining for Sunderland fans is that they were actually playing well against Manchester United last weekend until Sebastian Larsson was harshly sent off.
If they can bring that kind of play to their matchup with West Ham on Saturday, they stand a good chance of winning. The Hammers have also had a poor season, but there was some reprieve for them last weekend as they beat Swansea 1-0. It will be a tight match but ultimately Sunderland have more to play for. They could start their great escape this weekend with a win over the Hammers.
4. Andros Townsend carries on good form to help Crystal Palace past Leicester
It took a while, but Sam Allardyce finally turned Crystal Palace’s fortunes around. The Eagles have won five of their last six Premier League matches to climb away from the relegation zone. They’re nowhere near safe but a win over Leicester at the weekend could actually take them as high as 10th place in the league.
It would also see them leapfrog the Foxes, who are only two points ahead of Palace. Andros Townsend was instrumental in Crystal Palace’s win over Arsenal on Monday and if he continues that kind of form on Saturday, he’ll cause Leicester problems. Allardyce’s side will also benefit from their opponents’ mid-week exertions against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
5. Swansea get important win away at Watford
Swansea didn’t perform against West Ham last weekend and that will have disappointed Paul Clement, especially given how the Hammers have struggled at home this season. A visit to Vicarage Road could provide the Swans with another opportunity to take points on the road, though.
Watford have been quite strong at home this season but at times they’ve struggled to keep visiting teams out. Swansea also struggle at the back but with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Luciano Narsingh in their team, they’ll always pose an attacking threat. In 10th place, Watford don’t have much to play for apart from a higher Premier League finish. This means that it could come down to who wants (needs) it more. In that case, Swansea will take all three points.