English Premier League match day 34 is here, and Manchester City will be top of the agenda for the second straight week.
City still lead the standings, 13 points above second placed United. The race at the bottow is evn tighter. West Brom’s relegation has all but been assured, while Stoke, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Huddersfield are engaged in dog fight at the bottom.
It’s no doubt that Pep Guardiola’s men have the league title secured. The urge to stem the recent spate of bad results and get back to winning ways will be itching. It however, will not be an easy turnaround as they take on Tottenham Hotspur. While a fourth consecutive defeat across two competitions might not matter as much, questions will certainly be raised on City and Pep’s capabilities.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be keen to emulate Liverpool’s pressing football against City, just as much as Harry Kane will be out to match Mohamed Salah goal-scoring exploits. Spurs lost 4-1 in the reverse leg in December, but statistically, they match the Citizens closely. There will be everything to fight for here for both sides.
United keen to build on
Across town, Manchester United will be keen to build on the derby day exploits when they host relegated West Brom. United have everything to build on, and will look to hit the 90-point mark, and set pace for next season. Should they get to that tally, then that will be one of their best finishes post-Ferguson era. Their is little to suggest that the Hawthorns can manage a fight here, and you can be certain that the Red Devils will swagger to another victory.
Salah chasing Golden Boot
Mohamed Salah took to Twitter this week, to express surprise at the Premier League Goal Appeal’s decision to award Harry Kane what looked like an Eriksen goal against Stoke last weekend. The Egyptian will be buoyed for more goals with Harry Kane breathing behind his neck. Read: Kane relishing Golden Boot battle with ‘amazing’ Salah .The Reds have had a good run in recent days and will be hoping to build on that as they take on an already safe AFC Bournemouth. The Cherries, who scored late last weekend to earn a draw against Crystal Palace, will be missing out the services of former Liverpool man Jordon Ibe, Tyrone Mings, Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith. More reason why they are likely to pick anything from this contest.
Can Magpies break Arsenal jinx?
Arsenal, fresh from a Europa League advance over CSKA Moscow, will visit St James’ Park (England) having won just three league matches on the road this season. Newcastle is already safe, but Rafa Benitez’s men will be psyched by Arsenal’s poor record away.
The Gunners come into this one on the back of consecutive away defeats to Brighton, Tottenham, Swansea and Bournemouth. The Magpies have problems of their own, and will be in search of a maiden victory, after a poor show of 10 straight losses to the Gunners.
Mark Hughes huge task
Mark Hughes employed a 5-man backline against Arsenal but was unlucky to have one of his men sent off. Their is little time to work out anything, and as Southampton faceoff with Chelsea, before facing them again in the FA Cup semis. Chelsea’ terrible season have little to salvage, but The Saints will be expected to put up a fight for their lives.
Burnley can dare to dream as they face off Leicester in race for the Europa league. Leicester too is contesting for the same spot, and either of the two has a chance to play in the Europa League, should Southampton also fail to clinch the FA. Sean Dyche’s men have been tough at the Turf Moor(England), and will certainly trouble Leicester.
Tottenham vs Manchester City
Recent form: WWWWW| WWLLL
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWW | WWWWL
Risks – Harry Winks, Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker |Fernandinho,John Stones and Benjamin Mendy
Overview – This is going to be a very tight game with everything to fight for. City will be seeking redemption, but it will not be an easy ride against a well-oiled Spurs side. A high-octane contest where we expect a flurry of goals from both ends.
Prediction – Draw
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Liverpool vs AFC Bournemouth
Liverpool [Home] vs AFC Bournemouth [Away]
Latest Odds: Liverpool to win at 1.22, Draw at 6.75, AFC Bournemouth to win at 12.50
Recent form: WLWWD| DLWDD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDW | DLWDD
Risks – Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez |Jordan Ibe,Tyrone Mings, Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith
Overview – Liverpool is looking to build on their current good form, and will look to do so against a weakened Bournemouth opposition.
Prediction – Liverpool to win 3-1
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Newcastle vs Arsenal
Risks – Jesus Games |Jack Wilshere, Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles David Ospina, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Santi Cazorla
Overview – Arsenal’s record on the road has been terrible. Newcastle are assured of survival but are yet to win in the last 10 straight matches against the Gunners. Arsenal have shown improvement in the last overall games and have a lethal forward line that is scoring at will, hence should see them through.
Prediction – Arsenal to win 3-1.
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Man United vs West Brom
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWW | WWWWD
Risks – Sergio Romero |Daniel Sturridge, Robson-Kanu, James Morrison, Gareth Barry
Overview – West Brom have all but been relegated. There is little hope for them, and with United’s current impressive run, the Red Devils will be keen to finish second and collect as much points.
Prediction – Man United to win 4-0
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Full Premier League fixtures
Southampton vs Chelsea – Saturday 2.30 PM
Burnley vs Leicester City – Saturday 5.00 PM
Swansea City vs Everton – Saturday 5.00 PM
Crystal Palace vs Brighton – Saturday 5.00 PM
Huddersfield vs Watford – Saturday 5.00 PM
Liverpool vs Bournemouth – Saturday 7.30 PM
Tottenham vs Manchester City – Saturday 9.45 PM
Newcastle vs Arsenal – Sunday 3.30 PM
Manchester United vs West Brom – Sunday 6.00 PM
West Ham vs Stoke City – Monday 10.00 PM