Fixtures: Saturday March 31st
Liverpool v Crystal Palace 7:30 EST
(Selhust Park) Looking to secure their Champions League spot as soon as possible for next year, Jurgen Klopp’s boys travel to London hopeful of 3 points away at Palace. Selhurst Park has been a bit of a tricky venue for many of England’s big clubs; City drew there, United edged a 3-2 encounter having trailed by 2 goals, Arsenal also narrowly won 3-2 and Spurs came away with an 88th minute winner in a 1-0 game. Additionally, Palace sits only 2 points above the relegation zone and will surely look to add some breathing space between them and the bottom clubs. However, Liverpool’s devastating front three, who have terrorized just about every side in England this season, are all healthy and the Egyptian Mo Salah will want to add to his collection of goals. Expect a close game with Liverpool winning by one or two goals.
Brighton v Leicester City 10:00
(Amex) Considering their recent promotion, Brighton can be quite proud of their position, currently sitting in 12th place. Despite losing their last two in a row, the Seagulls have taken 9 out a possible 15 points from their previous five matches. Leicester, the darlings from two years ago, are a far cry from their recent glory days and have looked average at best thus far. Still, factor in the effective pair of Vardy (fresh off of scoring for England this past week) and Mahrez, and the Foxes should take the 3 points.
Manchester United v Swansea City 10:00
(Old Trafford) Swansea’s revival under manager Carlos Carvalhal has steered the Swans in a positive direction, climbing up to 14th, but still sitting precariously close to the relegation zone with only 3 points distance from safety. While they may not be banging goals in left and right, the exclusion of frontman Jordan Ayew (suspension) will surely hurt any chance of leaving Manchester with even a point. Additionally, United striker Romelu Lukaku, who has been under a bit of criticism lately, will have something to prove. The fact that he is only one away from 100 Premier League goals will also add to his desire to silence his doubters. United to win handily.
West Ham v Southampton 10:00
(London Stadium) Things at the London club are not pretty. Irate fans and poor results (their most recent an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Burnley) have seen the West Ham board prodded with questions as well as accusations of putting the club in their current quagmire. Fortunately for the West Ham board, players, and irate fans, the Hammers face an equally dismal Southampton. What may instill hope (albeit little) in the Saints fans is that recently-hired manager Mark Hughes should be able to inject new life into the club. Still, a draw looks to be in the cards.
Newcastle United v Huddersfield 10:00
(St James’s Park) Separated by only a point, this fixture is certainly a tough one to call. The Toon will be looking to harness their passionate support to secure all 3 points, but German-American manager of Huddersfield David Wagner has his eyes on keeping his boys in the top flight for a second consecutive season. Adding to the Magpie’s hopes is that striker Islam Slimani, the Algerian striker on loan from Leicester, will be looking to gain the admiration of the Newcastle faithful as quickly as possible. Newcastle to win by a goal.
Watford v Bournemouth 10:00
(Vicarage Road) Yet another tough fixture to call as both clubs are currently on 36 points. Both clubs also have efficient strikers in the forms of Watford’s Richarlison and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. Additionally, recent England debutant and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook will be aiming to continue his good form in an effort to make this summer’s World Cup squad for the Three Lions. These clubs will most likely cancel one another out. Draw.
West Brom v Burnley 10:00
(The Hawthorns) Credit to Sean Dyche. The Burnley manager has his boys playing some good football despite limited resources. Their recent victory away to West Ham, easily dispatching the Irons 3-0, is just a preview of what they’ll do to Alan Pardew’s players this weekend. The Baggies are in free-fall mode, having lost their last five in a row, and their players look totally bereft of anything even remotely close to resembling confidence. West Brom player Daniel Sturridge, the striker on loan from Liverpool, in what can only be considered a shocking turn of events, is out injured. Burnley to win by at least two goals.
Everton v Manchester City 12:30
(Goodison Park) Having already locked up the League (Carabao) Cup back in February, Manchester City will want to add to their collection of trophies by securing the Premier League title as soon as possible as well. Normally I would say that this result would be a forgone conclusion. However, my only hesitation to limiting this preview to 5 or fewer words is that City will also have en eye on their coming Champions League matchup with Liverpool, five days away. The Sky Blues may be looking to rest some of their key players for that fixture, which is the only thing the Toffees can hope for. Everton, despite their massive spending this past summer, have not lived up to expectations. Sam Allardyce, in typical “Big Sam” fashion, has the Mersey club playing some unattractive football and has taken only 40 points from thirty games. City win but wouldn’t be surprised if Everton nicks a point.
Easter Sunday 4/1
Arsenal v Stoke City 8:30 EST
(Emirates) Cries of “Arsene out!” will still be reverberating around the London ground regardless of result. The Arsenal “faithful” seem to have their collective mind made up and it may be of little surprise should the Frenchman leave the club in the summer, regardless of their performance in the Europa Cup. Another Frenchman, Alexandre Lacazette, may be in contention having spent the last 6 weeks out with an injury. As for Stoke, manager Paul Lambert still has plenty of work on his hands. His Potters are currently languishing in 19th place and will still be in the relegation zone even if they miraculously pick up 3 points. Arsenal to win by minimum 3 goals.
Chelsea v Tottenham 11:00
(Stamford Bridge) Game of the weekend by a country mile. Chelsea, despite an extremely disappointing season by their standards, always rise to the occasion when taking on their hated London neighbor. They will have additional incentive to take all 3 points as their Champions League hopes for next year is in a precarious spot to say the least – they currently sit in 5th place and are behind Spurs by 5 points. Tottenham are without star striker Harry Kane, out for the rest of the season with injury. However, their attacking midfielder Heung Min Son has been an absolute revelation. The South Korean has been in incredible form and has the ability to fill the void in Kane’s absence. If not a draw, Chelsea to edge it by a single goal.