This weekend is a massive one for every club in their survival, Europe and title races. With things finely poised up and down the table, this weekend could well be a massive weekend as each club’s targets.
Arsenal vs Hull
Arsenal come into this fixture off the back of two embarrassing defeats but run into a Hull side, who have picked up four points from their last two outings.
With the trip to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Arsene Wenger will be keen to get a win out of his players but the Tigers will be no pushovers, after holding Manchester United at Old Trafford before seeing off Liverpool.
Hull are without Abel Hernandez but will be hoping to have Lazar Markovic and Oumar Niasse firing on all cylinders at the Emirates if they’re to pull further away from the drop. If those two are at their best then the Gunners could be staring at a third defeat and a battle to finish in the top four.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Hull
Result: Arsenal 2-0 Hull
Manchester United vs Watford
There is no doubt about who the winner will be from this match. Watford might of beaten Manchester United at Vicarage Road in September but this is a much stronger team than five months ago.
The Red Devils have found their strides in recent months and Mkhitaryan will be a problem to keep quiet along with Ibrahimovic. The Hornets however will be confident of causing an away upset after beating fellow top four contender, Arsenal in their last away game but won’t have enough this time.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Watford
Result: Manchester United 2-0 Watford
Middlesbrough vs Everton
Middlesbrough need to start scoring and fast or otherwise, they could be in the relegation zone come Sunday evening after Swansea vs Leicester. Everton on the other hand are flying and will be tough to silence.
Boro need to be at their best defensively if want to keep Everton in sight come the latter stages. Their training trip to Marbella should freshen them up but expect them to be playing on the counter against Ronald Koeman’s Toffees.
Everton’s defence is however not watertight as shown against Bournemouth last weekend. If Boro’s attacking midfield can expose their fragilities and get away swiftly at set pieces with the ball to Alvaro Negredo then anything can happen.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-2 Everton
Result: Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton
Stoke City vs Crystal Palace
Another repeat of the performance against Sunderland then Crystal Palace might as well not show up at the Bet365 Stadium.
For the Eagles, this is a redemption match but I can’t see them getting anything away at the Potters. They were unlucky to lose at West Brom last weekend but expect them to hit back on home soil as they look to replicate last season’s league performance.
Prediction: Stoke City 2-0 Crystal Palace
Result: Stoke City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Sunderland vs Southampton
This home match is a must win for Sunderland if they want to do another great escape. They face Southampton, who clearly have one eye on the upcoming EFL Cup final as far as their squad goes.
The Black Cats have however beaten the Saints only once since they returned to the top flight in the 2012-13 season. The form of both sides since the turn of this year have been different with Southampton notching up three points to Sunderland’s five.
David Moyes’ side are however showing glimpses of their potential but are too inconsistent at making those opportunities count, especially at home. This match should hopefully see them get their first home win of the year.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-0 Southampton
Result: Sunderland 0-4 Southampton
West Ham vs West Brom
West Ham need to improve their home form if want to really start clicking at the Baggies’ heels.
West Brom have punched above their weight all season long and can take advantage of the Hammers’ rocky home form, if they’re to continue their impressive season and close the gap to Everton in the race for seventh and possible European football.
Gareth Southgate will be in attendance giving both teams reasons to raise their performances. West Brom have however not lost to a team outside of the top seven since a slender defeat at Bournemouth in mid September.
Tony Pulis’ side will surely be favourites given that they have a habit of scoring early then parking the bus away from home. West Ham however will push them to their limits in an attempt to get a result but the visitors should just about have enough in defence.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 West Brom
Result: West Ham 2-2 West Brom
Liverpool vs Tottenham
Defeat here and Liverpool’s title aspirations are surely dead in the water for another season.
Both teams are in contrasting form with Liverpool only picking up one win in all competitions since their impressive victory against Manchester City on New Year Eve. Tottenham however are unbeaten in that period but are starting to show weaknesses in their performances over the past few weeks.
After surprise defeats against the likes of Hull and Swansea in recent weeks, this match will be telling in whether Jurgen Klopp’s side have already been found out. If they have then they can kiss goodbye to any Champions League hopes and focus on fending off local rivals, Manchester United and Everton for fifth place.
Spurs will be hoping to overturn their awful away record at Anfield. Last week’s scrappy win at home against Middlesbrough could of been what they needed ahead of this weekend. They should go to Anfield determined to attack and create problems for the Reds, if want to stay in the title race.
Prediction: Liverpool 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Result: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur