With less than a month of the season to go, we’re still no closer to finding out who will emerge victorious in the races for the Premier League title, a top-four finish and survival.
Manchester City and Liverpool continue to match each other’s stride at the top but head into gameweek 35 with one eye on Champions League commitments and with tough away trips to tackle. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Tottenham face tricky tasks as their respective pushes to finish fourth continue and there are some huge games at the bottom of the table.
Here’s 90min’s predictions for what’s to come this weekend.
Klopp signed a new Liverpool contract on Thursday / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
This monster weekend of football kicks off with Liverpool’s trip to Newcastle in Saturday’s early fixture.
Jurgen Klopp and his side strenuously campaigned for the match to be pushed back in order to help the Reds have ample time to recover from Wednesday night’s win over Villarreal, but the 12:30 BST start time will not be budged.
Eddie Howe has emerged as a serious contender for the Manager of the Year award after taking the Magpies from a relegation dog-fight to top-half troublemakers since his arrival back in October.
This is certainly one of the toughest tests Liverpool will face down the stretch, but with their new-found depth, they should do the job.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool
Owing to their vastly inferior goal difference, Norwich could all but be relegated if they lose at Aston Villa and other results go against them on Saturday.
Dean Smith returns to Villa Park for the first time since he was given the boot by his boyhood club earlier in the season needing a miracle in order to navigate his Canaries to safety.
Steven Gerrard looked a solid replacement for Smith at the time and after a fast start, but the new manager bounce has long faded and Villa have dropped to 15th in the standings – they could end the weekend only five points clear of the drop zone.
However, a home tie against the worst team in the league is just the tonic that Stevie G will need to help galvanise his squad down the home straight.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich
Southampton and Crystal Palace have both bathed in the admiration of neutrals at some point this season but are now having a bit of a wobble.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints have won just one of their last nine games and Patrick Vieira’s Eagles are on a run of four games without victory.
The hosts sit two points clear of Saturday’s visitors in the league table but have played a game more and are likely to drop beneath Palace after their meeting at St Mary’s.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Burnley have taken seven points from a possible nine following an unlikely resurgence in the post-Sean Dyche era, and could move five clear of the bottom three with a win at 19th-placed Watford.
Roy Hodgson is struggling to work his magic on a Hornets side that are equally down on their luck and just plain rubbish.
Vicarage Road has been a happy hunting ground for away sides, with Watford falling to ten straight defeats on home soil after a late loss to Brentford in mid-April. Sorry Hornets fans, but that’s a run that will probably be extended to 11.
Prediction: Watford 0-1 Burnley
Two of the lowest scoring teams in the Premier League go toe-to-toe at Molineux as Wolves host Brighton.
Only relegation candidates Burnley and Norwich have scored fewer goals than Graham Potter’s men this season, while Wolves’ tally of 33 for is the lowest in the top half by a considerable distance.
If you’re looking for goals to brighten up your Saturday, don’t expect them to come in this game.
Prediction: Wolves 0-0 Brighton
Manchester City return to Premier League action with a clash at Leeds in Saturday’s late kick-off.
Pep Guardiola’s charges left it all on the pitch in their 4-3 win over Real Madrid on Tuesday, instantly proving to be a Champions League classic.
Ahead of Wednesday’s trip to the Bernabeu, they face a markedly different team in all-white as Leeds look to steer themselves away from relegation danger – again.
Though unbeaten in five, Jesse Marsch’s men are nervously looking over their shoulders and know that a loss on Saturday would open the door to 18th-placed Everton to leapfrog them with their two games in hand.
Prediction: Leeds 0-3 Man City
Listen now to 90min’s brand new podcast, Talking Transfers, with Scott Saunders & Graeme Bailey. Toby Cudworth joins the show again this week to discuss how Erik ten Hag’s appointment may affect Man Utd’s pursuit of Paul Mitchell. There is also chat on the futures of Jesse Lingard & David de Gea and a look at what Newcastle are planning this summer.
But Leeds’ concerns of dropping beneath Everton should be eased once they realise that the Toffees host third-placed Chelsea on Sunday.
Frank Lampard must be hoping that his former side will go easy on him with the threat of relegation seriously looming over Goodison Park, and his successor in the Blues dugout Thomas Tuchel will be keen to arrest their recent slump.
A disappointing draw at Manchester United on Thursday followed a late and scrappy win over West Ham and loss to Arsenal, with only the inconsistencies of the top-four challengers ensuring that Chelsea aren’t themselves in a fight just to reach next season’s Champions League.
This won’t be a pretty affair but the visitors should get the job done.
Prediction: Everton 0-1 Chelsea
Tottenham are looking to halt a run of two games without a win (or a shot on target) at home to Leicester.
After finding their groove again with one of the Premier League’s most potent attacking trios, Spurs claimed just one point from recent games against Brighton and Brentford, slipping below rivals Arsenal and into fifth place.
The Foxes, meanwhile, have been prioritising their Europa Conference League run in recent weeks and Brendan Rodgers is expected to rotate his side en masse once again, giving Antonio Conte’s side a great chance to find their scoring touch again.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Leicester
Like Leicester, it’s hardly a secret that West Ham have been focusing on their European exploits down the stretch.
The Hammers were beaten 2-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday and a huge task awaits them if they’re to reach the final in Seville.
Back in domestic action, they host an Arsenal side who have taken six points from their last two games against Chelsea and Man Utd – another three against a fellow European contender would help their top-four hopes plenty.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
Man Utd will be looking to extend their one-match unbeaten run when they face Brentford on bank holiday Monday.
Thomas Frank has doubled down on his outburst from the reverse fixture in which he claimed United were ‘unbelievably lucky’ to win 3-1.
Since then, the Bees have clawed their way to safety and could end their maiden Premier League campaign with a top half finish.
But with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to form, Brentford will have to be at their very best to walk away from Old Trafford with the points.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-1 Brentford
Source of the article