This weekend’s Premier League will see the season continuing to take shape as, with just a few games to go, there is still a wide open title race and only one relegation spot left to fill. Liverpool leapfrogged Man City back into top spot last weekend, but the Citizens have a game in hand – just how much of a say will Chelsea and Crystal Palace have on Sunday against the top two? Palace host City while Chelsea travel to Liverpool and so there could well be more twists and turns in this title race yet. Towards the bottom of the table, already-relegated Huddersfield and Fulham both have tricky fixtures, with the Terriers at Tottenham while Fulham host Everton. Let’s take on a 4-3-3 here and see which players will fancy their chances.
Liverpool have just 6 games left to play in the Premier League and Manchester City have 7 games as the league nears the end. Who will win it out of these two? Liverpool have the advantage of a two point lead but of course City have that extra game which is in theory away to bitter rivals Manchester United, so not an easy one. We look below to see who could end up winning the league.
Cardiff- The first team Manchester City will play on their quest for back to back titles is Cardiff. City are at home where they have lost just once this season and will be massive favourites to beat 18th placed Cardiff. At the same time Cardiff are fighting for survival, but City will have too much quality for them and should win 3pts.
Crystal Palace- After the Cardiff game City will be involved in the FA Cup and Champions League before facing Palace in mid April. This could be a tricky tie as we all remember Palace beating City at the Etihad 3-2 in a stunning result. Whilst there will be scares along the way City should be able to squeeze past Palace in a very nervous game. 3pts.
Tottenham Hotspur- This match is bizarre scheduling given that just 3 days earlier the two teams would have clashed in the 2nd leg of the Champions League. By this point depending if City have beaten Tottenham in that competition we think City could be physically drained and we will back the draw for this match. 1pt.
Manchester United- Two very difficult games against top 4 sides and that could be the key to whether City win the league or not. They will be away to their biggest rival. At the same time let it be known that United will not be partial to help Liverpool win the league. City will save themselves over the Tottenham game for this one, and we have seen cracks in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, so we will go with the away win. 3pts.
Burnley- The way Cardiff are playing it could make survival easier for Burnley by this point and the players could be switched off against a very motivated City side. Not only do we expect a win but there could be quite a few goals too. 3pts.
Leicester- Leicester have been confident under new coach Brendan Rodgers but what are they really fighting for 7th place? The truth is that this is another home game for City who should be able to outclass Leicester. Rodgers is ex Liverpool so will tell his players to give everything for this game but expect City to just pip them. 3pts
Brighton- Brighton will be more than safe by this point and that is why we should see a calm game where City ease to a professional victory, we can’t see City losing any more games this season and this should be another win. 3pts.
Southampton- No one is saying it but the game against Southampton will be key to Liverpool’s title chances. The Saints are in great form and can give Liverpool a tough game. We think they can beat them, as Liverpool tend to underrate them. 0pts.
Chelsea- Chelsea look very weak defensively against the better teams and given this match is an Anfield we expect Liverpool to win. But it is also a game where Chelsea can be dangerous and do have the quality. But Liverpool should have enough. 3pts.
Cardiff- It looks like Cardiff will be going down, could they be down or be on the edge by this match? If so Liverpool can come here and score quite a few goals. We think either way they will win fairly easily. 3pts.
Huddersfield- No disrespect to Huddersfield but this game at Anfield has the potential to be a cricket score. They are already down and Liverpool should still be in the hunt for the league title. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Liverpool hit six goals in this match. 3pts.
Newcastle United: Another sure fire 3pts. Rafa Benitez will ensure that Newcastle don’t exactly have their gear sticks on 6, as he will want his former club to win the league. Plus Newcastle are very safe and can’t really significantly move up the table. 3pts.
Wolves: Wolves have been fantastic this season but have still struggled on the road and we expect Anfield to be a show of emotion whether Liverpool still have a chance of the league or not, and this will be a battering ram of a performance by them. 3pts
After totalling up the points we have the final league looking like this:
1st Manchester City 96pts
2nd Liverpool 94pts
At this late-ish stage of the season, Premier League clubs do of course start gaining games in hand over some of their rivals. At the time of writing, for example, league leaders Liverpool have played 32 games, while second-placed Man City have featured in 31 and Arsenal (in fifth) are on 30. Of course, Monday evening games play a part, but so too does the progress of different teams in different competitions. Liverpool now have a two point lead at the top of the table, though City have of course played that one game less. It is now time to look at which players performed the best for their clubs in this past weekend’s round of games, adopting a 4-4-2 formation here. For simplicity, we are calling this week 32 but that may not apply to all teams of course.
Like any good story, there are sure to be plenty more twists in the tale of the title race over the next seven weeks.
It’s looking very likely that the matter may only be decided on Sunday, May 12th, the final matchday of the Premier League season.
As we approach the end of the last international break during this league campaign, the players and managers at Liverpool and Manchester City will be gearing up for that final sprint.
They will know all too well that whoever can hit the ground running in the best possible manner this weekend will carry an advantage that may be hard for their opponents to overcome between now and May.
Pep Guardiola’s quadruple hopes are well and truly alive, just, after Manchester City fought back from two goals down against Swansea City in the FA Cup. Sergio Aguero clinched City’s place in the semi-final – of which they’ll play Brighton and Hove Albion – with a goal two minutes from time to complete a comeback against a fighting Swansea. Continue reading
Life at the top is certainly tough! The old adage that it is harder to defend a title than to win it has certainly seemed apt in recent Premier League seasons, with champions often finding themselves struggling to put up a serious defence the year after lifting the trophy. That has not been the case this year, however, with Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions Manchester City sitting on top of the league table with just a handful of games remaining. Liverpool seem to be the only genuine contenders to City’s crown, with the Reds sitting just one point behind the Citizens at the time of writing.It is imperative, therefore, that City’s players continue their excellent run of form as the season begins to wind down.
Last Saturday evening, Manchester City went in at half-time with the score still 0-0 against Watford. Liverpool’s staff, players and fans worldwide will have watched on with the hope that Javi Gracia’s Hornets were going to do the unthinkable and prevent City from taking all three points.
A second-half hat-trick from the brilliant Raheem Sterling changed all of that. Yet, it could all have been so different.
Ben Foster and the Watford back four had frustrated City in the first period. If they had held out for even ten minutes after the interval, who knows what may have transpired?
The first goal should not have stood. Sterling was offside from Sergio Aguero‘s knock on. As soon as City’s number seven moves for the ball he is interfering with play. The whistle should have been gone before the Watford defender got a foot on it.
This weekend we have another full schedule of ten EPL matches to look forward to. Here are the predicted lineups for every EPL game.
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Dann, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha
Brighton XI: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Knockaert, Andone, Jahanbakhsh
Out: Speroni, Sakho, Souare (Crystal Palace); Balogun, Gross (Brighton)
This weekend’s Premier League action has one or two tasty fixtures coming at a great time, with arguably the match of the round closing out the weekend’s proceedings when Arsenal take on Manchester United at the Emirates in Sunday’s 4.30pm kickoff. Conversely, getting things underway with the Saturday lunchtime kickoff will be Crystal Palace hosting rivals Brighton at Selhurst Park. With the exception of Man City taking on Watford on Saturday and Chelsea hosting Wolves on Sunday, just about every other game sees a top-half side taking on a bottom-half side, and so there could be one or two surprises in store for fans attending a game in England’s top-flight this weekend.
The difference in class between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea was clear on Sunday afternoon. Irresistible in the first half, City’s five shots at Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal resulted in four of them hitting the back of the net after just 25 minutes.
Raheem Sterling had the hosts a goal up inside after just three minutes with an emphatic finish at the far post and while Sarri called for concentration after conceding so early, it should have been two just seconds later, only for Sergio Aguero to miss seconds later from a yard. Continue reading