5 THINGS TO EXPECT THIS WEEKEND IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE

The Premier league is gradually coming to an end and whilst the league title and Champions League places are being won at one end of the table, fans of teams like Sunderland and Middlesbrough have to deal with anguish, tears and regrets following their relegation to the lower league. But just before we will be left with boring weekends with nothing but the Confederation Cup and World Cup qualifiers to stand in gap, here are 5 things to expect from the weekend’s action in The Premier League.

The Relegation Battle continues: The relegation dogfight resumes this weekend and although two teams have already been relegated, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, but with two games left, one of three teams remain in danger of being relegated, Hull City who suffered a rare home defeat last week to Sunderland are occupying the final relegation spot with 34 points are away on Sunday to Crystal Palace who despite a glorious winning run weeks ago have lost their last three games and lie 16th on the log, with just four points above the relegation zone needing at least a draw to secure their place in the league. Hull are yet to win away from home under Marco Silva and Sam Allardyce sure knows how to get the required result to beat the drop, I expect Palace to get something out of this tie, even if not a win. Paul Clement’s Swansea secured a moral boosting win over Everton last week to move out of the relegation zone for the first time in five weeks and a victory away at already relegated Sunderland will ensure that the Welsh side stay another season in the Premier League. With Sigurdsson, Llorente and Ki putting in the shift, they should be able to get one over David Moyes men.

Chelsea may be crowned Champions today: Friday night games used to be a rarity in the Premier League but tonight features two matches, league leaders Chelsea are away at the Hawthorns where they face a lackluster West Brom, Tony Pulis men have switched off since hitting the forty point mark and have only secured two points from 18 since their win over Arsenal in March. Following Tottenham’s defeat to West Ham, the Blues took full opportunity routing Middlesbrough and confirming their relegation to the lower decision and now Antonio Conte’s men have an opportunity to end whatever is left of the title race before Spurs kick another ball. For Tony Pulis, it is really weird at how he has failed to hit the 50 point mark with the various teams he has coached despite been able to organize his team in the early half of the season, the players look uninspired and their minds already on holiday and with the efficiency Chelsea have shown in getting the job done this season and Conte barking orders down the touchline not giving room for his players to down tools, there is only one result possible here and it is a Chelsea win and a second title in three season for the Londoners. The other Friday night game sees Everton host Watford.

 

Liverpool on the edge?: Surely Jurgen Klopp’s men can’t afford to let this slip, another goalless draw at home to Southampton last time around making it three home games at Anfield without a win and four games this season against the Saints without a goal threw panic in the air once again at Liverpool. They are up against West Ham who created something of an upset with their win over Tottenham Hotspurs last weekend with Manuel Lanzini getting the solitary strike. West Ham are safe on 42 points and really have nothing to play for, though a chance to finish in the top half of the table and get extra revenue will be a motivation alongside getting a win in their final home game of the season. For Liverpool however, they cannot afford to drop points again, Manchester City lie a point below them having played a game less, same as Arsenal who are four points behind but with a game less. Liverpool are without star forwards Sadio Mane and Divok Origi but with Firminho, Coutinho and Sturridge, there is enough firepower to down the hammers but which Liverpool side will turn up? The one that has played some expansive and thrilling football at some point this season or the one that has struggled with disappointing results on occasions, there is little margin for error and if Klopp wants to make any success out of his first full season at Liverpool, he has to get a result and ensure that his team doesn’t lose this with two games to go.

Top Four battle for Manchester City and Arsenal: Back to back victories against Manchester United and Southampton have revived the hopes of a top four finish for Arsenal fans, top four has always been a guarantee under Arsene Wenger so a late surge has calmed the #WengerOut banners at least for now. Whilst a top four finish is not totally in their hands anymore, 9 points from their final 3 games is what the fans demand. They are up against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium come Saturday evening, and just like Chelsea, a switch to a back three seems to be working for Arsene’s men but on a ground where they have not won since 2010, this is another encounter where the full strength of the gunners will have to be on display and anything short of a win may just be goodbye to their Champions League hunt.

For Manchester City, a 5-0 mauling of Crystal Palace sets the perfect tone for the visit of outgoing Champions Leicester City, last time both sides met in the league at this ground, Riyadh Mahrez led his side to a stunning victory as they made their way to winning the league title. This season has however seen a twist of fortunes for both side, but following Ranieri’s sack, Leicester City have been rejuvenated under Craig Shakespeare and have moved from flirting close to the relegation zone to the top half of the table, sitting 9th on the log. Leicester will look at soaking up pressure and capitalizing on the pace of Jamie Vardy, with Wilfred Ndidi expected to play a crucial role in the midfield battle with Yaya Toure, David Silva was menacing against Palace and his trickery will be required again as a win for Manchester City all but confirms a top four finish this season.

Tottenham Hotspur VS Manchester United: By the time, this game kicks off on Sunday, it is almost certain that Chelsea will have secured the title and Spurs will have nothing to play for as even defeats in two of their last three games will not see them fall below the second position on the log, the young side have given it their all yet again this season but have fallen short at crucial moments. White Hart Lane sees its final home game with Spurs moving to Wembley stadium next season as work continues on their new ground and no bigger way to draw the curtains on what has been an eventful campaign than against Manchester United, the Red Devils on Thursday night secured their place in the Europa league final with a hard fought victory over Celta Vigo and with a thin squad due to injuries and suspension, Jose Mourinho is expected to ring a lot of changes to his starting XI, Manchester United are yet to record an away goal against any of the top four side, the last being a drab goalless draw at neighbors City. It is a game where nothing much outside pride and a proper farewell is at stake, Spurs will however want this more and I expect them to get something from this tie.

 

Ehis Ohunyon
Ehis Combs Ohunyon lives in Lagos but breathes Manchester. Realtor. Music and Football Writer, also on Radio at times.

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