By Niall Clarke
- Five burning questions for match-week 35 of the Premier League season
- Predictions for all the weekend’s games
It is a super Sunday this weekend in the Premier League as Everton host Chelsea and a North London derby takes place in match-week 35. Here are five burning questions for the upcoming fixtures.
Will Arsenal dent Tottenham’s title challenge?
Not only can the Gunners move closer to their desired top four finish, they can also severely dent Spurs’ title charge by defeating their neighbours at White Hart Lane. Mauricio Pochettino’s side remain four points behind Chelsea after narrowly defeating Crystal Palace in mid-week. Chelsea will be playing arguably their toughest game left against Everton earlier that day, so Tottenham could have the chance to close the gap to the Blues to a mere point with four games left.
For Arsenal, this is more than just a chance to stick it to their rivals. Mid-week results have allowed the Gunners to get right back into the thick of the top four battle just when it looked like it was slipping out of reach. Champions League qualification is almost essential to a club like Arsenal, and they can ill afford to miss out on it for next season.
So high the difference between the two clubs has been, nobody is talking about Tottenham finishing above Arsenal for the first time in the Premier League which in itself will mean a lot to Spurs fans. However, there is still a title to possibly be won. It is unlikely they will catch Chelsea, but this is a weekend where they can take a significant step towards doing what looked like the impossible less than two months ago. But to do so, they will need to best Arsenal for the first time in two years.
Will Chelsea pass their toughest remaining test?
Match-week 35 feels like it could be a huge weekend in the Premier League season, and this match is one of the reasons why. Sunday’s fixtures could be pivotal to the title race and could be seen as when the title was won or lost for both Chelsea and Tottenham.
Everton away is undoubtedly the toughest game left for Chelsea this season. The Toffees have had a stellar season and have been challenging for a European qualification place for most of the duration. Romelu Lukaku has particularly stood out, and the Belgian sits on top of the goal-scoring charts with 24 for the season.
Goodison park has always been a tough trip for Chelsea, they have lost in their last two visits there, and this match feels that it could go the same way. Antonio Conte’s side have seen off most challenges this season, including Everton’s trip to Stamford Bridge which the Blues won 5-0, but recently they have shown signs of weakness. Manchester United and Crystal Palace have recently gotten the better of the league leaders, can Everton follow suit?
If Chelsea can get the three points here, it looks like they will go on to lift the Premier League trophy. A draw or defeat, which looks more likely than most Chelsea matches, will leave the Blues praying for an Arsenal win when they face Spurs later than day. It could be the day that figuratively seals the Championship for Chelsea, or could be the one that may turn the tide.
Who will move a step closer to survival?
With Sunderland all but relegated, the battle for survival in the Premier League continues between three sides that are right in the thick of it in match-week 35.
Middlesbrough boosted their hopes with a 1-0 win against the Black Cats in mid-week. Boro are still seven points from safety and look all but down themselves, but that faint hope could inspire them a great escape. They need a result against Manchester City though, and that looks unlikely.
Swansea and Hull are locked in a head to head battle for Premier League survival for the rest of the season, and they both travel this weekend. The Tigers have the easier of the two games on paper against Southampton on Saturday. Swansea face Manchester United at Old Trafford the following day. Both will be expected to lose, but for Hull it is a chance to move the gap to five points, whilst Swansea will look to leapfrog their rivals.
There are also sides flirting near the relegation zone that could get sucked into the fight if results do not go their way. Burnley’s poor away form has let them only three points ahead of Hull City, and they have a crucial game against Crystal Palace where the winner will probably confirm their Premier League status for another season. It is not just a big weekend at the top of the table, it is also pivotal to the bottom of the league too.
Will Man United, Man City or Liverpool get closer to a top four finish?
After a disappointing 0-0 draw in the Manchester derby, City and United missed the chance to put some breathing space between themselves and Arsenal, but with a game in hand on third place Liverpool, they still remain in a favourable position to finish inside the top four.
They could strengthen that position with the right results on Sunday. The Red Devils kick off the action packed day of football against 18th placed Swansea. Jose Mourinho’s side will be expected to pick up the three points and move into the top four even if it is only for a few hours. However, the Swans can not be rested on as they are fighting for their Premier League survival.
Man City play a relegation threatened team themselves in Middlesbrough later that Sunday. The Citizens have already got the better of Boro at the Riverside in the FA Cup, so there is a high possibility they will do it again in the Premier League. Boro are coming off a big win against Sunderland in mid-week though, and they need the three points in their fight for survival.
Liverpool have the toughest game on paper of the three as they travel to Watford on Monday. The win is vital to Liverpool with the chasing pack closing in on them. They have played two games more than Arsenal and one more than the Manchester clubs, and a loss could see them slip outside the top four.
What else is happening?
Leicester have gone slightly off the boil in recent weeks and are once again slipping towards the relegation zone, but a win against West Brom on Saturday should seal their survival.
Sunderland are already down in every way but the maths, and they face a Bournemouth side who are looking to reach the magical 40 point mark that usually seals Premier League status for next season. It is a mark that West Ham or Stoke will also meet on Saturday when they face off at the Bet 365 stadium on Saturday.
Southampton 2-1 Hull
Stoke 1-1 West Ham
Sunderland 0-2 Bournemouth
West Brom 1-1 Leicester
Crystal Palace 3-1 Burnley
Man United 2-0 Swansea
Everton 1-1 Chelsea
Middlesbrough 0-2 Man City
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
Watford 1-1 Liverpool
The Premier League returns on Saturday 29th of April
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