By Jake Davies
- Manchester United face off with Spurs in the match of the weeekend
- Two form teams clash in Saturday’s early kick off: West Ham vs Arsenal
- Sunderland challenge Leicester in their latest bid for survival
An action packed weekend of Premier League football awaits us, with West Ham United vs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United being the pick of the games.
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These two games should provide a greater insight into just where and who the Champions League places will fall to before the culmination of the season in May.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United
In the pick of the games on Premier League weekend, Spurs go to war with Manchester United at White Hart Lane and both sides have a reason to be happy, Spurs continue to be part of a title challenge, which they’d have been more than content with at the beginning of the season, wManchester United are still very much in contention for a Champions League spot, which ultimately would have been one of Louis Van Gaal’s primary objectives at the beginning of the 2015/16 season.
Anthony Martial’s sole strike in the win over Everton last weekend earmarked a swift change of fortunes in Louis Van Gaal’s camp, as they look to end their season on a positive note. Manchester United sit with just the one point behind their bitter rivals Manchester City, recognize that anything less than Champions League football could cost Van Gaal his job and perhaps see the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer.
Spurs are seven points behind Leicester City at the top of the table and require no slip ups in the remaining seven league games if they are to upset the odds and win the first Premier League title of the club’s history. Historically speaking, Manchester United go into this match as the favourites, having not lost any of the last 14 encounters with Spurs at White Hart Lane. Many have those have been draws though, as nothing could separate the sides in six of the last eight matches.
We’ll get goals in Tottenham vs Manchester United, but I don’t think we’ll get a winner. Both teams are the two best defensive outfits in the Premier League and are the only teams that have yet to concede 30 or more goals.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United
West Ham United vs Arsenal
On opening day weekend, it was a considerable shock when West Ham United managed to get the better of Arsenal quite comprehensively under new manager Slaven Bilic. But it can be argued that West Ham have backed that result up significantly over the duration of this Premier League season. They are currently positioned three points from Manchester City in 4th and have successfully embedded some quality signings into the West Ham set up. The ability of some of these players like wonder signing Dimitri Payet can’t be overlooked, as he amongst many others has applied himself meticulously into one of the hardest domestic leagues in World Football.
Also the accomplishments of Slaven Bilic shouldn’t be understated, as he’s successfully transformed from a well-known international manager at Croatia, to a formiddable Premier League manager that is challenging for trophies. West Ham are still contesting for the FA Cup as they play Manchester United in a Quarter Final replay and are all but guaranteed European Football of some kind if they have a consistent ending to what’s been a great season for them.
Arsene Wenger’s Men look down and out of the title race. Eleven points away from league leaders Leicester. They would need a considerable downfall in Leicester’s fortunes as well as a perfect ending to the season to stand any chance, and that wouldn’t guarantee anything with Tottenham Hotspur sitting above them in the league standings also.
One of the main criticisms of Wenger’s sides is whether they can maintain great performances and consistent results when the pressure is on towards the climax of the season. The disappearance of top stars like Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud in the turn of the New Year shows that perhaps their team still doesn’t possess the winning formula at domestic level in the league over a 38 game period.
Arsenal have a very good record at the Boleyn Ground. It’s one of the stadiums Wenger has experienced the most success at, but I do think West Ham United are hungry for the Champions League place and have more realistic goals than Arsenal do at this moment in time. It’ll be a close game, but with West Ham just about edging this one.
Prediction: West Ham United 2-1 Arsenal
Sunderland vs Leicester City
Sunderland have struggled over recent years in the Premier League and this year is no different. They are currently four points off safety with a game in hand. Their opponents Leicester know everything about the battle for survival as this time last year they were sitting rock bottom of the Premier League before a historic late escape that has defined their club history.
Since the appointment of Claudio Ranieri, they haven’t looked back and are continuing to make history by winning the Premier League for the very first time. Many of this Leicester City set up featured in the Championship for them in the 2013/14 season in which they won promotion. The long list of players that featured in the Championship for the Foxes, includes Riyad Mahrez, who has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. Ranieri has not only managed to maintain the good work that Nigel Pearson did previously before his controversial sacking, but he’s also successfully carved great performances after great performances out of these Leicester players that hadn’t been seen before. This can be only be seen as perfect man management from Claudio Ranieri.
Sunderland have a player like Jermain Defoe that can grab goals from the most unlikely of positions, but when he’s not firing it’s very difficult to see where Sunderland will get their goals from. Leicester have demonstrated already that they are facing this unfamiliar title race with great positivity and should continue that form with a win at the Stadium of Light.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Leicester City
Premier League fixtures:
|Premier League 9-10 April|
|West Ham v Arsenal – Sat 9 April 12:45|
|Aston Villa v Bournemouth – Sat 9 April 15:00|
|Crystal Palace v Norwich – Sat 9 April 15:00|
|Southampton v Newcastle – Sat 9 April 15:00|
|Swansea v Chelsea – Sat 9 April 15:00|
|Watford v Everton – Sat 9 April 15:00|
|Man City v West Brom – Sat 9 April 15:00|
|Sunderland v Leicester – Sun 10 April 13:30|
|Liverpool v Stoke – Sun 10 April 16:00|
|Tottenham v Man Utd – Sun 10 April 16:00|
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