By Niall Clarke
- Five burning questions for match-week 31 of the Premier League season
- Predictions for all the games
There is a full host of mid-week fixtures to look forward to in the Premier League as we reach match-week 31 of the season. Here are five burning questions for the mid-week’s action.
How will Chelsea respond to defeat?
The biggest story from match-week 30 was Chelsea’s shock 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Blues are still seven points clear at the top, but there will be alarms ringing if they do not respond positively against Manchester City.
A loss would really open up the door for Tottenham and City to possibly catch them with only eight games remaining. Spurs are picking up form and have an easier game against Swansea that very day.
Whilst Chelsea have responded well to defeat already in the season, this is the first upset loss they have had. They struggled to break down a resolute Crystal Palace defence and looked susceptible to the counter attack.
Many rivals will look at what Palace did and may think that they can pull it off themselves. This is a crucial game in the title picture as a win for Chelsea will not only boost their confidence, but also signal the end of City’s challenge.
Will Tottenham and Man City keep up the pressure?
If any side is to catch Chelsea, you would bet on it being Tottenham. Maurico Pochettino’s side have coped just fine without Harry Kane and eased past Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor. It was an impressive result against one of the best home sides in the league, a potential banana skin avoided.
Spurs will be full of belief that they can do this, especially after seeing Chelsea lose at home to Crystal Palace. Tottenham will be hoping to avoid that fate themselves when they travel to Swansea on Wednesday.
Manchester City missed the chance to close the gap themselves after drawing 2-2 with Arsenal, but all hope is not lost if they can beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. This is a must win for Pep Guardiola as anything less will surely put them out of contention.
In order for the gap to be closed, Chelsea will have to drop points against the Citizens on Wednesday. Will Spurs take advantage should that happen?
Who can move closer to Premier League survival?
Sunderland look destined for relegation at this point, but there are still faint hopes of a big turnaround. They will be hoping to get a result at the King Power Stadium against a rejuvenated Leicester side on Tuesday. The Foxes have won their last four games and could move into the mid-table positions with a win.
There is a real relegation six pointer taking place at the KCOM Stadium as Hull host Middlesbrough. With Boro struggling for goals, they have gradually moved further and further down the table. Hull will be favourites here, and a win could be huge for the Tigers’ survival hopes.
Crystal Palace will look to make it five wins in a row when they travel to Southampton. The Eagles’ recent form has led people to believe that they may be safe from relegation, but there is still a lot of work left to be done.
Swansea are just one point clear of the relegation zone after a poor spell. The Welsh side could be in for more misery when they host Spurs on Wednesday.
Every match-day and every point is crucial when trying to survive in the Premier League. Which teams will be able move clearer of the relegation zone?
Who will move closer to a top four finish?
The Red Devils will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing draw against West Brom when they face fellow top four hopefuls Everton at Old Trafford. United would comfortably be in the top four if they had converted their control of matches into wins, but they have often drawn those very matches they should have won. Everton will be tough customers, will they be able to get a vital win this time around?
After a tough start to 2017, Liverpool have picked up form, winning three of their last four games. It has put Jurgen Klopp’s side in pole position to finish inside the top four heading towards the back stretch of the season. Liverpool will be expected to beat Bournemouth at Anfield on Wednesday, but they can often drop points in these matches. Will Liverpool be able to pick up the vital three points they need against the Cherries?
Arsenal look like they may finish outside of the top four for the first time under Arsene Wenger, but it is too late to make that a statement of fact. It only takes a run of hot form for things to turn around for the Gunners. They have a very winnable game against an out of form West Ham in mid-week, a team they have traditionally always done well against.
What else is happening?
Burnley will look to keep up their good home record and move away from the relegation battle when they host Stoke City on Tuesday. The Clarets sit just five points clear of the drop zone after a 2-0 loss against Spurs at the weekend.
Watford will welcome West Brom to Vicarage Road in a mid-table match that will likely not mean much in the context of the season. It will still be a very interesting match though as the more attacking minded Watford face the more defensive minded West Brom.
Burnley 2-0 Stoke City
Leicester 3-0 Sunderland
Watford 0-0 West Brom
Man United 1-0 Everton
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham
Hull 1-0 Middlesbrough
Southampton 1-1 Crystal palace
Swansea 1-2 Tottenham
Chelsea 2-1 Man City
Liverpool 3-1 Bournemouth
The Premier League returns on Tuesday 4th of April
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