By Neil Leverett
- The Britwatch Football Team give their preview and predictions for the weekend’s action
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- Correct result gets one point, correct result and score gets three points.
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – After Manchester City clinched the title after city rival United’s surprise loss to West Brom, Matchweek 35 will be party time for the Citizens at home to Swansea. As usual our writers have their say on what they think will happen.
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West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30)
Neil: Matchweek 35 kicks off at the Hawthorns as West Brom host Liverpool. Re-invigorated seems a massive cliche in the roller-coaster world of football management, but that is indeed the case for the Baggies right now after a shock win versus Manchester United at Old Trafford last Sunday. Caretaker boss Darren Moore has his newly-acquired side playing as a unit once more , but the rearguard action has surely come too late for the hosts to even dream of mounting the most unlikely of relegation survival challenges.
Whilst on any other occasion the Reds might represent too tough a task to conquer, with their impending UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg versus AS Roma to come on Tuesday, we may see a fair amount of rest and rotation here. If that does occur West Brom might be able to muster a decent challenge to their visitors and have a good recent record against them. I can actually see a point a piece on the cards here, but which will do little for the hosts’ rather gloomy lot
Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Liverpool
Niall: West Brom continue their quest for the unlikeliest of Premier League survivals when they host Liverpool on Saturday. The Baggies are coming in off a huge win at Old Trafford last weekend, a win that could spark an unlikely survival push. Liverpool will have the Champions League semi-final in mind, but they will also love to finish second above Manchester United. Some players may end up being rested though and that will favour Albion, however I can not see West Brom getting the win.
Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Liverpool
Watford vs. Crystal Palace (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: Each game for Crystal Palace is now absolutely massive, whilst Watford are left with little to play for in mid-table and it showed last time out versus Huddersfield. With Wilfried Zaha, Roy Hodgson‘s men are ticking right now and with the greater need for points, I can see the Eagles coming out on top here, but I expect both sides to score.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Palace
Niall: This is the only 3PM offering on Saturday which means a quiet Match of the day on Saturday night. This one could be entertaining though with Palace fighting for survival and Watford not having much to play for. It feels like the Eagles are in a better place at the moment with Zaha in form, but Watford are a difficult trip. I can see an entertaining draw coming from this one which is not ideal, but far from disastrous for Roy Hodgson.
Prediction: Watford 2-2 Palace
Arsenal vs. West Ham United (Sunday, 13:30)
Neil: All of a sudden, this game has taken on far greater meaning than a simple pre-cursor to Arsenal‘s Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid this coming Thursday night, given the announcement of Arsene Wenger‘s imminent departure from the club at the end of the season. A fifth consecutive away defeat last weekend had only served to add to the bitterness being felt around the Emirates in recent weeks and months, but with the Frenchman’s time in North London now almost at an end there is likely to be a different feeling in the air.
West Ham United almost shot themselves in the foot on Monday night against Stoke, but were rescued by Andy Carroll to keep the bottom three within arms-length – for now. Like Liverpool, the Gunners are likely to field a weakened side with their crunch European date to come later this week but regardless of away form, Arsenal have been formidable at home recently and should have enough here despite their well-documented defensive issues.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 West Ham
Niall: With Burnley breathing down their neck, the Gunners have some work to do to seal their Europa League status for next season. It is also about pride as the Gunners’ fans will not be at all pleased to see them finish below a team with one of the lowest budgets in the league. That said the problem is not at home, it is away. West Ham are inconsistent and have their own issues so I see Arsenal picking up the win.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 West Ham
Stoke City vs. Burnley (Sunday, 13:30)
Neil: This is surely the last chance saloon for the Potters, after surrendering said lead against the Hammers. Five points adrift with four games to play this is crunch time for Paul Lambert‘s men. Having won five game on the bounce, Burnley finally came unstuck against Chelsea on Thursday evening but are unbeaten on the road since losing to Crystal Palace back in mid-January. That makes this one very tricky to call, so in customary fashion I am sitting firmly on the fence.
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Burnley
Niall: This is a big game in Stoke City’s season. Time is running out for the Potters to whip up some magic and save themselves from relegation. They have a winnable game on Sunday but it is against one of the most in-form sides in the league. Burnley are pushing Arsenal for sixth place at the moment and have really picked up their early season form after a rough start to 2018. They are not only a good home side, they can perform away and their ability to get ahead and see out a lead may help them to another win here
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 Burnley
Manchester City vs. Swansea City (Sunday, 16:30)
Neil: After losing in the Manchester derby two weeks, to have crowned Manchester City official champions by now is something of a surprise in light of the Red Devils’s surprise loss to West Brom. It will be a carnival atmosphere at the Etihad then but the visiting Swans it will be nervous times just four points away from the relegation zone – albeit with a game in hand on the bottom three teams. With the Citizens having no other commitments to juggle a strongest XI is set to be named by Pep Guardiola, which means for all Swansea’s recently-discovered pomp there is little chance of taking anything back to the valleys here, though I do see them finding the net.
Prediction: Man City 4-1 Swansea
Niall: With the title wrapped up, Manchester City have nothing else to fight for in terms of trophies, they do however have the chance to break some Premier League records in the remaining four games. Swansea have slipped right into the relegation battle again and the last team you want to face in this situation is Man City. They may opt to give some game time to young and fringe players, but they will have too much quality for the Swans.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Swansea
Everton vs. Newcastle United (Monday, 20:00)
Neil: Matchweek 35 rounds off at Goodison Park on Monday night, in what could be something of a dead rubber, with both Everton and Newcastle having secured their Premier League status for another season. The Toffees late season form has been solid if unspectacular but know how to drag a point from a game recently. Newcastle meanwhile are on a hot streak having taken a maximum 12 points from their last four outings, that came at a crucial period for Rafa Benitez‘s men having pulled clear of danger. Both these sides have an attacking edge to their play, but when usually in evidence teams can have a tendency to cancel each other out; an occurrence I expect here.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle
Niall: This match is redundant in a lot of ways as neither side has anything to fight for. Both are well clear of relegation but also well off the European places. Pride is still at stake though and financial incentives of course, so it will not be a ‘friendly’ match by any means. The Magpies are in good form at present but Sam Allardyce sets up his sides well at home and makes them difficult to beat. A draw is the call.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle
Premier League Matchweek 35 takes place between Saturday April 21st and Monday April 23rd.
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