By Lewis Rollins

  • Five burning questions for Match-week 30 of the Premier League season
  • Predictions for all the weekend’s games
Premier League – Match-week 30 rolls around with a Merseyside Derby to add a little extra spice as we take a look at this week’s fixtures.

 

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How much will Lallana be missed in the Merseyside Derby?

 

The two Merseyside teams lock horns in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, Everton have not won at Anfield since 1999 but go into the game confident after back to back convincing wins over Hull and West Brom, in which they scored seven goals and kept two clean sheets.

Liverpool currently sit in 4th place in the league, the two Merseyside rivals are six points apart and both in the race for a Champions League spot. Everton boss Ronald Koeman will feel confident going into the game after the great form the Blues have been in, especially their Belgian star man Romelu Lukaku who tops the race for golden boot with 21 goals so far this season.

The last thing Liverpool needed to hear at the end of the international week was that attacking midfielder Adam Lallana has picked up an injury which could be a decisive factor in their battle for a top four spot. If he does miss the whole month as reported by Eurosport then it could be just as significant as the absence of Sadio Mané during the Africa Cup of Nations – which effectively ended their title challenge.

Everton also had a nightmare of an international break with both Seamus Coleman and Funes Mori picking up injuries. Coleman is expected to be out until next year after his horror double leg-break in Ireland’s clash with Wales.

LAST FIVE GAMES:

LIVERPOOL – DWWLW

EVERTON – WWLWD

 

Can The Eagles upset the apple cart at Chelsea?

Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side are now only seven wins away from being crowned Premier League champions, this weekend they welcome Sam Allardyce‘s Crystal Palace side to Stamford Bridge.

Ten points now separate first place Chelsea and second place London rivals Tottenham Hotspur with ten games remaining

Crystal Palace and Allardyce are busy thinking about the other end of the table as Palace fight for their top-flight survival, though the Eagles have been in fine form of late, winning three of their last three games to nil seeing them climb four points clear of the relegation zone.

Conte will have to re-shuffle his side this weekend as Eden Hazard is likely to miss the Palace game after being ruled out of action for Belgium during the international break with a calf injury.

Fellow Belgian Thibaut Courtois may also be a doubt for the game, the goalkeeper missed out on the Red Devils’ friendly against Russia on Tuesday with a hip complaint.

As well as all of that Conte faces the usual midfield dilemma over whether to start Cesc Fabregas or Nemanja Matic. The Spaniard’s creativity in the midfield could be key to unlocking Palace’s new-found defensive solidity, though Conte may favour the Serb for extra insurance against a potential upset.

LAST FIVE GAMES:

CHELSEA – WWWWW

CRYSTAL PALACE – WWWLL

 

Can Spurs get a win in a tough test at Turf Moor?

We all know how strong Burnley are at Turf Moor this season, they have only tasted defeat three times at home this season. Mauricio Pochettino will know Tottenham need a top performance on Saturday if they are to take any Premier League points away from Burnley.

Sean Dyche‘s side sit 13th in the table almost purely down to their superb home record, with the Clarets picking up 29 of their 32 points this season at Turf Moor.

As good as they are at home, Burnley are far from safe from relegation just yet with eight points separating them from the drop zone, it’s also a worry that they haven’t won in their last seven matches.

On the other hand, Spurs are on a rich fame of form with seven wins from their last ten and they will need this run to continue as they look to tighten their grip on second place and more importantly confirm a Champions League spot for next season. Burnley won’t make it easy for Spurs this weekend – especially without the injured Harry Kane.

Danny Rose, Kane and Erik Lamela will all be sidelined this weekend and striker Vincent Janssen is a doubt after illness forced him to withdraw from the Netherlands squad in midweek.

LAST FIVE GAMES:

BURNLEY – DLLDL

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – WWWWD

 

More misery for Wenger?

The Gunners have since dropped to sixth in the table following their recent defeat at West Brom and now face an uphill battle to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Manchester City, who drew with Liverpool before the international break, were leapfrogged by Spurs into second. They’ll be hoping to put Arsenal to the sword when the two Premier League giants meet at the weekend. City are all-but out the title race as they sit 12 points behind Chelsea, However they know a defeat at the weekend will see Arsenal close the gap between the two sides to just four points and heat up an already smoking race for top four.

Positives for Man City going into the game are that Silky Spaniard midfielder David Silva can’t stop scoring for both club and country, he netted in both of Spain’s international games this week. The Gunners could be without key man Alexis Sanchez. The striker played the full 90 minutes for Chile this week despite manager Arsene Wenger’s claims that his ankle was in a “terrible state”.

Sanchez will have his ankle assessed on Friday when he returns to London and a decision will then be made. Goalkeeper Petr Cech will be out of the encounter as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Kevin de Bruyne is a doubt for City with a groin strain whilst Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan are still sidelined with long-term injuries. With both teams fighting for a top four spot as well as struggling to find some consistency in form, this looks to be quite the spectacle for a Sunday afternoon.

LAST FIVE GAMES:

ARSENAL – LWLLW

MANCHESTER CITY – DLWDW

 

What else is happening?

Manchester United  host West Brom who come into the game off the back of an impressive win over Arsenal, United need these three points more than ever with both Top Four rivals, City and Arsenal facing off against each other.

Watford can almost count themselves safe from relegation with a victory over Sunderland this weekend, whereas for Sunderland a win here could see them edge closer to the great escape.

Craig Shakespeare is still yet to lose a game in charge of Champions Leicester City and they host an inconsistent Stoke City side, The Foxes can make it a very impressive five wins in a row with a win over the Potters. Hull City will fancy their chances of a crucial three points when they welcome West Ham, who haven’t won a league game since 4th February.

A very big game down at the foot of the table takes place on Sunday in Wales when Swansea will look to move six points clear of their opponents Middlesbrough as well as relegation rivals with a victory. The South Coast clash between Bournemouth and Southampton will conclude Saturday’s action as Bournemouth try not to get dragged down into a relegation scrap.

 

PREDICTIONS:

Liverpool 2-1 Everton

Manchester United 2-0 West Brom

Leicester City 2-2 Stoke City

Burnley 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace

Hull City 1-2 West Ham United

Southampton 3-1 Bournemouth

Swansea 2-0 Middleborough

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City

 

Premier League Match-week 30 kicks off at Saturday 1 April at 12:30

 

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