By Ronan Flanagan
It’s Gameweek 30 in the Premier League, it looks to be a good one as the race for the top four continues as does the battle to avoid the drop. These are my predictions for the weekend’s fixtures:
Manchester United vs Liverpool- 12.30
A key fixture in the race for the top four. Both sides will have aspirations to finish as close to runaway leaders Man City come the end of the season.
It will be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho sets up, as The Red Devils host Sevilla in another key encounter in the Champions League during the week.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are safely through to the Quarter Final stage of Europe’s premier club competition and being in flying form, will relish this one.
Everton vs Brighton & Hove Albion- 3.00
Chris Houghton’s side amazingly are ahead of’ ‘The Toffees’ in the table, albeit on goal difference.
After taking the lead at Turf Moor last weekend, Sam Allarydce’s side fell apart in the second period.
‘The Seagulls’ defeated Arsenal last weekend and will look once again to take a major scalp in their first top flight season. A tough one to call this.
Huddersfield Town vs Swansea City- 3.00
A relegation six pointer in West Yorkshire. Swansea are riding a wave under new manager Carlos Carvalhal and will fancy their chances.
They now seem to be getting further forward and always look likely to score. Huddersfield will need a win just to avoid looking over their shoulder.
Newcastle United vs Southampton- 3.00
Another key clash at the bottom of the table.
A key battle will be to see where the goals will come from on both sides. Both defences have been leaky, however, its fair to say that Newcastle’s is slightly better.
The added plus of that 50,000 plus crowd at St. James’ Park is sure to help Rafa Benitez’s side.
West Bromwich Albion vs Leicester City- 3:00
Time is running out for West Brom. Eight points from safety and a ‘easy’ fixture list ahead.
A win here would be key in order to kickstart survival hopes for Alan Pardew’s side.
Leicester got out of jail vs Bournemouth last time and will look for a strong finish to the season in order for renewed optimisim ahead of next season.
West Ham United vs Burnley- 3:00
Burnley have reached the “magical” forty point mark and will look to finish the season strongly.
West Ham, once again are another team that are looking over their shoulder and a win is a must. Two 4-1 losses in a row, will have confidence low at The London Stadium.
It will be important for the crowd to get behind them, but for that to happen, David Moyes’ side must score the first goal.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace- 5.30
An interesting one this, Chelsea will start this game in fifth and with a massive trip to Barcelona ahead, one wonders how Antonio Conte sets up.
Crystal Palace were desperately unlucky not to get something from Monday night’s clash vs Manchester United.
A tough ask for Roy Hodgson’s men, but if they can give Man United a game, surely they can give The Champions a game.
Arsenal vs Watford- 1:30
Watford will be hoping to complete a double over The Gunners for the first time in their history.
A league win is much needed for the Gunners following three losses in a row.
Watford will fancy their chances because of that, and even came away with the spoils at The Emirates last season.
AFC Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur- 4:00
The midweek Champions League loss will have hurt Tottenham and they know now that the FA Cup is their only hope for silverware.
They will have one eye on Saturday’s early kick off as they too will hope to finish as high as they can.
Bournemouth were very unlucky last weekend, sharing the spoils in injury time at The King Power Stadium.
Eddie Howe’s side will hope to gain three more wins to ensure survival with games vs West Brom and Crystal Palace to come. I think, however that this game may be a step too far.
Stoke City vs Manchester City- 8:00
Can Manchester City win on a coldy windy night in Stoke? They certainly have enough too.
Stoke will know how enormous the task will be after drawing three in a row, another point could be key to survival hopes. However, Pep’s boys will surely be too strong for The Potters.