By Jake Davies
- The Toons quest for survival continues under Rafael Benitez
- Jamie Vardy misses his first match through suspension against Swansea City
- Arsenal look to continue winning ways away to Sunderland
Liverpool vs Newcastle United
Jurgen Klopp’s Men are in high spirits following the great 4-0 win against their Merseyside Rivals Everton in mid-week. Liverpool also have the prospect of potentially qualifying for the Champions League next year, through winning the Europa League. Winning Europa League ultimately will mean that what goes on in the league won’t necessarily define whether Klopp’s first season is a success or a failure, and that the semi-final against Spanish outfit Villarreal could very well decide that.
Newcastle United’s newly appointed manager Rafael Benitez has very fond memories of his time as Liverpool boss, including the ‘Miracle in Istanbul’ that enable them to win the Champions League in 2005- many Liverpool fans and players alike haven’t forgotten about that standout success with the new Newcastle boss. Liverpool are in a very different position to what they were a decade ago, as they are trying to reaffirm themselves as a Premier League powerhouse with the assistance of Klopp. He was renowned for his unprecedented success working with the players he was given at Borussia Dortmund, and the Liverpool faithful will be hoping for similar accomplishments with the additional advantages of Klopp bringing in players of great quality in the build up to his second season with the Reds.
The bad news for Newcastle United is that in recent meetings at Anfield, they’re winless. They have lost 17 of the 20 previous matches at Anfield, but Rafa Benitez is slowly but surely injecting positive feeling in the Newcastle dressing room and salvaging a point at Anfield isn’t the toughest of tasks. Liverpool are without Divock Origi and Christian Benteke through injury, but will have solace in the inclusion of Daniel Sturridge, who has a brilliant goal scoring record against Newcastle.
Prediction: Liverpool vs Newcastle United 2-2
Leicester City vs Swansea City
Jamie Vardy will miss Sunday’s match against Swansea City, as he accepts FA charge of improper conduct. But will Leicester City truly miss him when taking into account the qualities that many of the Foxes players have demonstrated in the last twelve months. The absence of Vardy will truly test the team of whether they can look to players like Leonardo Ulloa, when arguably one of their best players won’t be present to turn to.
Leicester City are currently 5 points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in 2nd. Spurs gained two points with the win against Stoke on Monday Night. Claudio Ranieri will be looking for a response after a ill-timed draw to West Ham United, and he recognises and acknowledges that positive results against Swansea City and Manchester United with two games to go could be enough in sealing a special Premier League title win in his first season at the Foxes.
Even without Vardy on the team sheet I think that Leicester have enough in reserve to mount a victory against Swansea City. Their consistency and demonstration of great team commitment, passion and solidarity has driven them forward to this point and it should drive them towards a Premier League title.
Prediction: Leicester City 2-0 Swansea City
Sunderland vs Arsenal
Another season where Arsenal promise a lot, but deliver very little. Some Arsenal fans are becoming Arsene Wenger’s biggest critics as he fails to capitalise on a Premier League season, where the Premier League heavyweights are in transition periods. Manchester United are still coming to terms with life away from the big time. Manchester City are preparing for a better season under Pep Guardiola, while establishing that the Champions League semi-final is the biggest moment in some time. Also Klopp’s Liverpool are continuing to develop for greater moments, which has given a seemingly strong Arsenal the chance to take the Premier League by storm- but it just hasn’t happened and many Arsenal fans deem this unforgivable
It can also be argued that Wenger epitomises consistency, oozes stability, which many Premier League outfits would kill for and perhaps Arsenal supporters should be careful what they wish for after years of consistently delivered Champions League Football. A sudden change in everything they’ve ever known might not guarantee this consistency- just look at Manchester United after Alex Ferguson for example.
Alexis Sanchez has started firing in goals again, after scoring two against West Bromwich Albion there is enough reason to believe that Arsenal will have too much for Sunderland, who continue their bout for Premier League status.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Arsenal.
Barclays Premier League Fixtures:
12.45: Manchester City vs Stoke City
15.00: Aston Villa vs Southampton
15.00: Bournemouth vs Chelsea
15.00: Liverpool vs Newcastle United
14.05: Sunderland vs Arsenal
16.15: Leicester City vs Swansea City
20.00: Tottenham Hotspur vs West Bromwich Albion
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