Premier League Preview: Don’t get hurt before the FA Cup Final!
The Premier League does feel like a bit of an afterthought this week. What with all this drama about Arsene doing what many think he should have done years ago, Liverpool thrilling and worrying their fans in equal measure on Tuesday night and Oxlade-Chamberlain reminding England fans that any injuries now pretty much mean no World Cup for some players this round of fixtures, many of which are utterly pointless, seem to have sneaked up on us.
Nevertheless, if you want to lose some money follow these tips.
Liverpool vs Stoke City
This feels a little bit like McFly coming on after the Beatles in their pomp have finished a set. No, I am not suggesting Roma were the Beatles, far from it, I am illustrating that this fixture doesn’t really have the same feel to it as Tuesday night. If King Kloppo has any sense, he will wrap the entire first-team squad up in cotton wool and not let them anywhere near the stadium. However, would that cast the door ajar for a hapless Stoke side? They have already confirmed that Paul Lambert is remaining in charge
if when Stoke are relegated, which is hardly the way to boost early-bird season ticket sales. But a win for them here, if they are brave enough to attack Liverpool’s reserve team, would be very valuable.
Liverpool 2 – 0 Stoke City
Burnley vs Brighton & Hove Albion
It would be rather strange to see Arsene Wenger finish below the most English of English managers in the league in his final season as Arsenal manager, considering Monsieur Wenger is the man who pretty much spelled the end of the traditional English manager when he began his revolution. Sean Dyche has been talking up the virtues of a team that tries very hard for 90 minutes and there is every chance that they could finish 6th ahead of the Gunners if their focus remains on working out how they didn’t beat the ten-men of Atletico last night. Brighton are nearly safe and know picking up single points in the remaining games one at a time will probably be enough. Don’t expect a goal-fest!
Burnley 1 – 0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Crystal Palace vs Leicester City
The biggest thing being discussed in the Leicester City changing room right now is where they are planning to go for their end-of-season ‘holiday’. Oh, and how much longer they have to put up with Claude Puel before they can get Nige back. Therefore, this is a game that Palace must have double underlined as winnable. Expect more drama around Wilf Zaha today for sure as his pace must be making Wes Morgan have a sleepless Friday night.
Crystal Palace 3 – 1 Leicester City
Huddersfield Town vs Everton
Big Sham Allarfarce’s men are safe and might even end up as high as 8th, which for my money is still a total utter failure considering the money they have spent. But then, as Sam will remind you, he was only brought in to make sure they didn’t get sucked into a relegation battle so as far as he is concerned, you can stick your fan survey up your arse. Huddersfield are not quite safe yet but must believe that Everton are there for the taking, especially if they run around more than Wayne Rooney. And, if you do not run around more than Wayne Rooney then you deserve to go down.
Huddersfield Town 2 – 1 Everton
Newcastle United vs West Bromwich Albion
I think we can all agree, nobody cares about this match. Newcastle are safe, WBA are done. The only thing of note that might come from this is if Darren Moore gets a result against dear Rafa then he can say at the end of the season that he was unbeaten against two Champions League winners and a Champions League runner-up. As I keep saying, Darren, if this does happen – retire. Get out. Never manage again. Future pub quiz questions depend on you doing this!
Newcastle United 0 – 0 West Bromwich Albion
Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth
This is some kind of derby, no? I have some perverse dislike to Mark Hughes still having a job in the Premier League so I am very much looking forward to him ending the season relegated (twice) and without a league win in his brief spell at St Mary’s. Bournemouth can play some lovely football when they feel like it and I am hoping they feel like it tomorrow.
Southampton 1 – 3 AFC Bournemouth
Swansea City vs Chelsea
According to Carlos Carvalhal, always good for a quote, the FA selling Wembley would be as bad as they royals selling Buck House. I tend to agree in some ways. Carlos, that was a very good answer to that question but what about the more pressing issue of keeping Swansea in the top flight? Chelsea could well be there for the taking in someways as, no doubt, the player’s minds will wander towards an FA Cup Final place.
Swansea City 1 – 2 Chelsea
West Ham United vs Manchester City
Finally, David Moyes won’t be able to pick Joe Hart. Thank god for that clause in his contract that says he cannot play against the club who owns him. Hart has been delightfully inconsistent since getting the number one jersey back, leading to Moyes deciding that the Hammers won’t sign him permanently in the summer. However, I have a feeling Messrs Gold and Sullivan like the idea of England’s Number One being West Ham’s and will do a deal before the World Cup, only for Southgate to relegate old Joe to third choice in Russia. Anyway, I doubt Manchester City feel like losing this one so will stick four past Adrian instead.
West Ham United 0 – 4 Manchester City
Manchester United vs Arsenal
Hang on, this is quite a big fixture. It has certainly snuck up on us. For all their delightful football on Thursday night, the Gunners couldn’t beat Atletico Madrid so will probably be thinking about that for 90 minutes at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho, although now admitting to having a lot of respect for Arsene, will no doubt want to beat him just one more time before Wenger sails off into the Parisian sunset for a mega-million euro one-year-deal at PSG or something. This has the makings of actually being an entertaining match.
Manchester United 2 – 2 Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford
Harry, dear Harry, if you are going to catch Mohamed Salah’s Golden Boot-in-waiting then this is the game you need to max out in. Watford are done, finished, choosing their clubs for next season. Tottenham should be hurting from their FA Cup semi-final defeat. Tottenham should win easily. But remember, this is still Tottenham no matter what Pochettino tells you.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 3 Watford