By Niall Clarke
- Five burning questions for match-week 29 of the Premier League season
- Predictions for all the weekend’s games
We have a full fixture list for match-week 29 of the Premier League season, and we have five burning questions that are begging to be answered for the weekend.
How will Spurs cope without Harry Kane?
One of the most anticipated games this weekend takes place at White Hart Lane where second placed Tottenham host Southampton in match that will have a say on the title race. Top scorer Harry Kane has been ruled out with an ankle injury sustained at during the FA Cup tie with Millwall last weekend, and there is concern regarding how Spurs will cope without their talisman.
The injury is said to be similar to the one he picked up earlier in the season that kept the Englishman out for five games, matches where Spurs struggled grabbing goals. Kane’s ability to score is a huge part of Tottenham’s success, but Mauricio Pochettino does have other options at his disposable. Son-Heung Min scored a hat trick in that very game where Kane got injured, plus Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are more the capable of scoring from midfield.
There is no doubt that the side will miss his presence up top, especially given Kane’s recent form. How will Spurs cope without their main goal-scorer? Will they have enough going forward to get past Southampton on Sunday? All questions that will be answered on Sunday.
How will Manchester City respond to their Champions League exit?
Manchester City return to Premier League action against Liverpool on Sunday after exiting the Champions League at the hands of Monaco on Wednesday. The Premier League side lost 3-1 on the night and exited the competition on the way goal rule after a 6-6 aggregate score.
It was overall a poor performance from the Citizens who once again disappointed at a European level. Pep Guardiola’s dream of a debut season treble has been squashed, but there is still an outside chance of a domestic double, and that will be the main goal when they return to the Etihad stadium this weekend against Liverpool. It is hardly an easy way to settle back into league action as Jurgen Klopp’s side have the best record against fellow top six sides than anyone in the division. Their high pressure and quick attack has thrived against more open sides, teams like Manchester City.
It is a game that promises goals and it has big stakes in the race for the top four. Liverpool need to win to keep distance between them and their rivals whilst City need to stake their claim for Champions League qualification and keep in touch with Chelsea at the top. Will City respond positively to their Champions League exit? Or will Liverpool pile further misery on Guardiola, his side and their fans?
What next for the relegation battle?
Swansea and Bournemouth look set to stay in the Premier League, but one of them can take a big step towards survival when they face each other in Saturday’s tea time kick off at the Liberty Stadium.
Crystal Palace have escaped the bottom three for now, but they are still in danger of being dragged right back in there. The Eagles have a very winnable home game against Watford on Saturday which could take them four points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand.
The bottom three reads Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland at present, and only one of them stands a shot at getting out of there this week. Hull could move out of the drop zone with a win at Everton, but given the Toffees form it looks unlikely to happen. Middlesbrough have gone the route of their rivals and have decided to sack Aitor Karanka in order to seek new guidance. Will it have the same positive affect it did for Leicester, Swansea and Hull? Finally, Sunderland will be bottom not matter what happens this weekend, but they can close the distance between themselves and their rivals when they host Burnley on Saturday.
Will Chelsea show any signs of wobbling?
With a ten point gap and only 11 games remaining, Chelsea are almost certainly going to be crowned Champions at the end of the season, the key word being almost. There is still enough time left for Tottenham or Manchester City to catch them, and at this stage of the season the realisation that you are nearly there can have a negative affect.
Chelsea have a tough game away at Stoke on Saturday in a game they should win, but one you can see them dropping points in. The Blues have looked almost unbeatable since changing formation, but their nerves have yet to be tested. Can they go the rest of the season without dropping points? Or will they show signs of the pressure getting to them? With this being the 28th game of their season, maybe an early indication will be seen against Stoke on Saturday.
What else is happening?
Arsenal look to turn their form when they travel to the Hawthorns to face Brom. The Gunners are in danger of not finishing in the top four, and dropped points here will do no favours to their chances. West Brom away is a tough proposition to anyone in the league, but their poor form will ease Arsenal’s nerves. Manchester United will be hot on their heels when they face Middlesbrough on Sunday. Everton will also keep up their outside chance when they face Hull.
Leicester will look to ride their wave of momentum when they face West Ham. The Foxes qualified for the Champions League quarter finals in midweek and look more like their title winning selves. Will that form continue as they look to stay in the Premier League for another season?
West Brom 1-1 Arsenal
Crystal Palace 1-1 Watford
Everton 2-0 Hull
Stoke 0-2 Chelsea
Sunderland 0-0 Burnley
West Ham 1-2 Leicester
Bournemouth 3-2 Swansea
Middlesbrough 0-1 Man United
Tottenham 2-1 Southampton
Man City 2-2 Liverpool
The Premier League returns on Saturday 18th of March
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