Predictions

One down, Two to go

A tense Saturday saw Sunderland confirmed as the first club heading down to the Championship.

 

Middlesbrough and Swansea could well join them so wins against Manchester City and United respectively, are vital to their survival hopes.

 

At the other end of the table, Chelsea and Tottenham face Europa League chasing opposition, keen to derail their title ambitions.

 

Manchester United vs Swansea (12:00pm)

 

Manchester United come into this game confident of a top four finish, after an entertaining 0-0 in the Manchester derby on Thursday.

 

Swansea however will be confident of coming here and getting a result, having had a week to recuperate.

 

United can set a club record 25 match unbeaten run in a single season here.

 

Injuries however could be their undoing with several players ruled out. As a result, Jose Mourinho can’t afford to throw the kitchen sink far with a congested schedule in May, which could see them play seven games in 21 days, if they reach the Europa League final.

 

Mourinho has an impressive record against the Welsh club, having recorded seven wins and a draw across Man U and Chelsea.

 

The Swans know this and are playing away at a similar time as when they went to Liverpool in January admist a packed schedule for the Reds. Could the similarity in situation provide a desperate boost for them?

 

With both sides needing the points for different reasons, we should see a proper battle.

 

The Red Devils’ injury crisis could well be the defining difference here on top of a busy May, which hands Swansea a huge win.

 

Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Swansea

Result: Manchester United 1-1 Swansea

 

Middlesbrough vs Manchester City (2:05pm)

 

Middlesbrough come into this full of confidence after clinching local bragging rights in midweek.

 

Manchester City however can’t afford defeat here in their top four battle.

 

Despite both sides’ struggles, Boro hold the upper hand on Teesside, having lost just once since 1977. Just how key could this be depending on the Swansea result?

 

City will be pleased to have Aguero available given that he has scored twice against the Teessiders this season. One downside is that the Citizens have one less clean sheet than Boro making this evenly matched.

 

A draw here won’t hinder the Sky Blues but Middlesbrough need a win fast. Here would be a great place to kick off an unlikely escape so expect them to get back to back home wins.

 

Prediction: Middlesbrough 2-1 Manchester City

Result: Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester City

 

Everton vs Chelsea (2:05pm)

 

Chelsea face a tough test of their title credentials here at Goodison Park.

 

Everton are yet to lose at home league wise in 2017 so this is a tough ask for the Blues. In the reverse fixture, the Toffees tried copying their visitors but fell to a miserable 5-0 battering.

 

This time, it should be a different story, if Ronald Koeman uses the same strategy that has got them into Europa League contention.

 

Antonio Conte will surely fear this trip because his side have lost six of their last eleven visits in all competitions.

 

Another worrying stat is that the champions in waiting have kept just three clean sheets since they beat Hull on 22nd January. The shutouts have all come in the FA Cup though.

 

Chelsea really should treat this like a FA Cup fixture, if want to end their terrible run of keeping goals out.

 

Romelu Lukaku hasn’t scored for the Toffees in five Premier League meetings with Chelsea. This match is now his chance to deliver as Conte looks to bring him back to Stamford Bridge in the Summer.

 

All in all, this is a critical match in the title race but Everton will nick something given their strong record against those above them. The only exemption is Liverpool from Mersey Monday.

 

Prediction: Everton 1-1 Chelsea

Result: Everton 0-3 Chelsea

 

Tottenham vs Arsenal

 

Victory in the final North London derby at White Hart Lane will see Tottenham finish above Arsenal. They haven’t achieved this feat since the 1994-95 season making the clash more exciting.

 

Both sides were in action during midweek with 1-0 wins over Leicester and Crystal Palace respectively.

 

Should Chelsea slip up at Everton, Spurs will be keen to capitalize on their slip up with victory and close the gap to a single point.

 

Arsenal are however back to their best after a lacklustre few months. Since switching to a 3-4-3 formation against Middlesbrough, the Gunners have been unbeaten but this will be their first proper league test under the new style.

 

This fierce clash has a lot riding on it, especially given that Arsenal will want one last victorious hurrah at their rival’s ground.

 

White Hart Lane has been something of a problem for Arsene Wenger this decade.

 

The Frenchman has seen his side pick up just three wins at the Lane this decade. Two of those victories came in cup competitions with the league victory coming just over two years ago.

 

Arsenal’s away form has been poor with the win at Middlesbrough a fortnight ago, being their only away league win since mid January at Swansea.

 

Its easy to just predict a draw here but Spurs are unbeaten in their last eight league games and are yet to lose at home this season.

 

The  home fans will want to leave White Hart Lane with one final moment of glory against their bitter rivals. This could spur the Lilywhites on and they will come out with the three points.

 

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal

Result: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Arsenal

 

 

 

 

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