Manchester City and Arsenal are both coming off the back of embarrassing European exits, but City’s will hurt more as they were ahead against Monaco. Pep Guardiola has to rouse the troops against Liverpool, who tend to disappoint against smaller clubs but should be perfectly comfortable against the Catalan and his style of play.
Arsene Wenger is under major pressure, so has to get the fans back on his side with a big win over West Brom, while Manchester United’s Europa League exploits might see them tired against a team who just sacked their manager, Middlesbrough.
Champions-elect Chelsea, meanwhile, can show they can do it on a wet, windy day in Stoke. Predict all the weekend scores below.
MAN CITY: City haul their Champions League hangover back to Manchester with one of their historically most difficult opponents waiting for them at the weekend. Can they maintain their encouraging domestic form — unbeaten in league and cup games since Jan. 15 — or will the most recent setback weigh heavily on the mind?
Prediction: Manchester City 3-2 Liverpool — Simon Curtis
LIVERPOOL: With both sides struggling to stay solid defensively, it’s assumed there will be plenty of goals. Liverpool’s excellent record against the better sides will be tested against a team humbled in Europe and looking for revenge. This challenge may just be a step too far for the visitors.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-2 Liverpool — Steven Kelly
WEST BROM: West Brom will be looking to get their season back on track after two consecutive losses but face a tricky fixture against Arsenal at The Hawthorns. James Morrison and Chris Brunt should return to the starting lineup and add quality in the final third that was lacking against Everton.
Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Arsenal — Matthew Evans
ARSENAL: It’s been over a month since Arsenal last won a league game but the 5-0 FA Cup win over Lincoln restored some balance; expect a good showing against an impressive West Brom side. Mesut Ozil could start and is overdue a big game.
Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Arsenal — Tom Adams
STOKE: Having played so well for a much-deserved point against Manchester City in their last match, Stoke go into their home game with Chelsea in high spirits. A returning Marko Arnautovic offers his side their best chance of getting a goal, but the Blues are unlikely to slip up and will continue their march to the title with a comfortable, if not narrow, victory.
Prediction: Stoke 0-2 Chelsea — James Whittaker
CHELSEA: Flying high, there seems to be little to stop the Chelsea train at the moment. Victor Moses is a major doubt to face his former club but the Blues should still have enough firepower to battle through. It may be tough going, but that’s exactly where the likes of Diego Costa thrive.
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 Chelsea — Phil Lythell
TOTTENHAM: Southampton may have been the last visitors to win at White Hart Lane, but that was 10 months ago and Tottenham have won their past 12 home games in all competitions, scoring 39 goals in the process while only conceding eight. Harry Kane may be absent but Spurs can get the job done without him.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Southampton — John Crace
SOUTHAMPTON: Saints have been superb in each of their last three games and manager Claude Puel finally seems to have found a settled team and system. The absence of Tottenham scorer Harry Kane gives the visitors a great chance to extend their unbeaten Premier League run.
Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Southampton — Alex Crook
MIDDLESBROUGH: It’s been six weeks since Middlesbrough last scored a Premier League goal and many wonder if they will hit the back of the net again this season. If United suffer fatigue from three games in a week, the result may be slightly kinder on the Teessiders who sacked manager Aitor Karanka.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 0-3 Manchester United— Catherine Wilson
MAN UNITED: Tiredness could be a factor here as United have come off a Europa League fixture, but they should still have enough for lowly Boro. Without Zlatan, and with striking woes up front, goals will likely have to come from midfield — however, Jose Mourinho will show no mercy to the team that dispensed with his friend and former assistant Karanka.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 0-3 Manchester United –– Scott Patterson
WEST HAM: A month ago, West Ham would have been facing relegation candidates here. Now, they are facing Champions League quarterfinalists. The Foxes have been rejuvenated, while the Hammers are limping towards the season’s end. Another home defeat wouldn’t be a major surprise, but the home crowd might just inspire a draw.
Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Leicester — Peter Thorne
LEICESTER: The Champions League is where it’s at, but the Premier League still needs attention too. Under Craig Shakespeare, things have turned around and the Foxes look something like the team of last season. An away trip won’t be easy after their midweek exploits, but things seem to be going the way of the defending champions.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Leicester — Ben Jacobs
EVERTON: A seemingly routine home game against Hull has been livened up by a week of speculation and furore regarding Romelu Lukaku. Any upturn or drawbacks from his comments will be keenly observed on Saturday. A sixth successive home win would lift Everton into sixth (at least until Manchester United play on Sunday).
Prediction: Everton 3-0 Hull — Luke O’Farrell
HULL CITY: The recent Lukaku situation could give Hull a glimmer of hope, but realistically the Tigers are coming up against a team in good form and would be perfectly happy to take another 2-2 draw like the one from December. Travelling to Goodison Park will be a major test and if they can avoid defeat in any way, and continue to boost their chances of escaping relegation, then it will be a success.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Hull — Phil Buckingham
SUNDERLAND: Unless Sunderland can beat Burnley at the Stadium of Light, relegation — while mathematically far from sealed — will appear the inevitable outcome of a miserable season. In three previous encounters in cup and league play, Sunderland have lost two and drawn one against the Clarets this season. If a home win seems implausible, it is indispensable.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-0 Burnley — Colin Randall
BURNLEY: The Clarets are still awaiting their first away win of the season and they will not get a better chance than this weekend’s game against the worst team in the Premier League. Burnley have already beaten Sunderland in league and cup matches this season and the long-awaited victory on the road will surely come here.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Burnley — Jamie Smith
BOURNEMOUTH: The Cherries demolished Swansea on the road last time the two sides met on Dec. 31 and with home advantage in Eddie Howe’s favour here, there surely can only be one outcome: another Bournemouth win. Josh King is on fire and it’s highly likely we’ll see his name on the score sheet again.
Prediction: Bournemouth 3-1 Swansea — Will Kent
SWANSEA: Swansea let themselves slip last Saturday in a miserable 2-1 loss to Hull. The last time the side put in a sub-par performance under Paul Clement, losing 3-1 to Chelsea, they came back stronger than ever, hammering Burnley 3-2 in a game that was far more one-sided than the scoreline suggests. Clement’s motivational skills should be enough to provide at least a point this Saturday.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Swansea — Max Hicks
CRYSTAL PALACE: Crystal Palace’s revised tactics won the Eagles an unlikely three points at West Brom, and a continuation of that performance should see Palace get the three more points they desperately need.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 3-1 Watford — Rob Sutherland
WATFORD: This is a pivotal game. A loss will see Watford sucked into the relegation mix, while a win should see safety all but secured for another season. With Roberto Pereyra and Mauro Zarate sidelined for the season and Nordin Amrabat still doubtful, creativity is where the Hornets are falling short, but a patched up back four has also failed to cope in recent weeks. A resurgent Palace are likely to cause problems and a draw would represent a decent result.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-2 Watford — Mike Parkin
While Chelsea look to be running away with things at the top, there’s still plenty to play for down below. Bournemouth and Swansea will face a massive game to determine who gets dragged into the relegation battle, while struggling Sunderland may feel they can kick off a revival against Burnley. There’s all to play for.
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