With plenty still to play for at both ends of the Premier League, Michael Owen is back to look ahead to Premier League Matchday 37.
Burnley to win
Norwich v Burnley
Already relegated Norwich were beaten again last time out and their 1-0 loss to Chelsea means they have now lost eight consecutive league games for the first time in their history.
Burnley rescued a point against Wolves on Wednesday with a late, late penalty from Chris Wood to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six matches and the Clarets have now only lost once in the league in their last 14 matches.
Sean Dyche has done his usual trick of steering the club to a very comfortable position in the table and, while they may still have the faintest of hopes of securing a spot in next season’s Europa League, the likelihood is that they will just miss out.
I can’t see Norwich turning their dismal form around at this late stage in the season and I’m going for a repeat scoreline of the reverse fixture.
I’m going for a 2-0 straightforward victory for Burnley.
Both Teams To Score
Bournemouth v Southampton
Bournemouth were beaten 2-1 in a closely fought match at the Etihad last time out and couldn’t repeat their recent heroics when they came back from a goal down to beat Leicester City convincingly. They played well and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point. However, the only thing that matters right now is getting points on the board and, with just two games left, time appears to be running out for the Cherries.
Southampton are another team who will have to settle for a mid-table finishing position, although there should be plenty of optimism about their prospects for next season. Danny Ings scored their equaliser against Brighton on Thursday and in doing so, became the first Southampton player to score 20 league goals in a season since James Beattie in 2002-03.
I see this being a close match although I do fancy both teams to score. I’m going for a 1-1 draw which is very unlikely to be enough to save Bournemouth from the dreaded drop into the Championship.
Harry Kane to score any time
Tottenham v Leicester
Tottenham’s push for a Europa League position is very much alive and kicking. Only Liverpool and Manchester City have won more Premier League games since Jose Mourinho took charge at Tottenham and they are in a good run of form. Their 3-1 victory away at Newcastle United on Thursday means that they now sit seventh in the table.
Leicester City’s 2-0 win at home to Sheffield United on Thursday guaranteed European football for Brendan Rodgers and his team next season, although they will be looking to make sure it’s a Champions League berth, rather than Europa League that they secure.
The result of this match could come down to a battle of the strikers. Jamie Vardy is looking a certainty to lift the Golden Boot and Harry Kane is fresh from scoring a brace at St James’ Park.
In what is a huge match for both teams, I’m going for a 2-1 home win for Jose Mourinho and his men.
Under 2.5 goals
Brighton v Newcastle
Brighton’s form since the restart has been less than impressive but they now need just one point from their remaining two games to retain their Premier League status for next season and they will be anxious to get the job done before they visit Burnley on the last day of the season.
Newcastle United played really well in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham on Wednesday night but will have taken some consolation by their performance and the fact that they managed 22 shots on goal to Spurs 8. They now sit comfortably in the table and Steve Bruce will want the future of the club’s ownership sorted as quickly as possible in order that preparations can be made in readiness for next season.
In the five previous meetings between these two clubs in the Premier League, only once has there been more than one goal so I’m certainly not expecting a goal-fest this time around!
I’m going for a 1-1 draw that will probably suit both managers.
Sheffield United to win
Sheffield United v Everton
Sheffield United’s four match unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt end by a lackluster performance and disappointing defeat at the hands of Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Chris Wilder was fuming and disappointed in equal measure and the result severely dents the Blades hopes of qualifying for European football next season. That said, any football fan must have great admiration for the way that Sheffield United have taken the Premier League by storm this season.
With two defeats and two draws in their last four Premier League matches, Everton’s season appears to petering out without so much as a whimper. Theo Walcott’s late equaliser against a much better Aston Villa side on Thursday night will have done little to mask the issues that Carlo Ancelotti faces between now and the start of next season and with nothing more than pride to play for, I’m finding it hard to make a case for an Everton win.
As long as the Leicester result was just a blip, I still fancy Chris Wilder’s team to secure a well deserved place in the Europa League next season and I have them down for a return to winning ways in this one with a 2-1 home win.
Wolves to win to nil
Wolves v Crystal Palace
Burnley’s late equaliser on Wednesday night has handed a real boost to the teams behind Wolves in the table and, with two losses and a draw in their last four games in the Premier League, the Wanderers need to get back to winning ways quickly if their season isn’t to end in disappointing fashion.
Raul Jimenez continued his rich vein of form and scored his 17th Premier League goal of the season with a superb volley from the edge of the box.
Crystal Palace suffered their sixth straight league defeat when they were beaten 2-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday. It’s fair to say that Palace haven’t had too much luck with VAR decisions of late but the facts are that Palace have now failed to score in five of their last six Premier League games and I imagine that the end of the season can’t come quickly enough for Roy Hodgson and his team.
I expect Wolves to boss this match and think it could be another goalless night for the Eagles. I’m going for a 2-0 win to Wolves.
Manchester City to win and both teams to score
Watford v Manchester City
Watford’s defeat to West Ham on Friday night has really left their participation in next season’s Premier League in doubt. Their disappointing result against fellow relegation rivals West Ham mean they now have to face Manchester City at home and then Arsenal at the Emirates in their last two games of the season. With a marginally better goal difference than both Bournemouth and Aston Villa below them, they won’t be pleased to learn that Manchester City could be looking to break the 100 goals barrier once again.
It looks to be any two from three in Watford, Bournemouth and Aston Villa to join Norwich in the Championship next season and it’s anybody’s guess which of the three will survive.
Manchester City are certain of a second place finish in the Premier League this term and Pep may decide to rest one or two players and/or take a look at one or two others. On the other hand, he may go all-out for goals as his team also face Norwich in the last game of the season. Manchester City scored over 100 league goals in season 2013/14 and then again in 2017/18 and with 93 already scored this season, may try to break that mark yet again.
Over 2.5 Goals
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Aston Villa need a win to give themselves any kind of chance of surviving relegation but the look on the players’ faces after conceding a late equaliser at Everton on Thursday seemed to suggest that they feel the game is up. Credit to them for earning four points out of six when all looked doomed but that late equaliser really did seem to take the wind right out of their sails.
Arsenal came from behind to beat Liverpool in their last Premier League outing and have now lost just one of their last six in the league. Unfortunately for Villa, the Gunners also need the points if they are to secure a berth in next season’s Europa League and given that the Villans have failed to win against Arsenal at Villa Park in their last 17 Premier League games, going all the way back to 1998. I think it might be another dismal day for the West Midlands outfit on Tuesday.
I’m going for a 2-1 away win for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.
Manchester United to win and both teams to score
Manchester United v West Ham United
Manchester United continued their relentless pursuit of a place in next season’s Champions League with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in mid-week. The win moved them level on points with Leicester City albeit with a slightly inferior goal difference. United will be desperate to secure another three points in this clash with West Ham and that would leave all to play for in their final game of the season in a mouth-watering clash against the Foxes.
Barring some remarkable results in the last two Matchdays of the 2019/20 Premier League season, West Ham will once again be playing their football in the top flight of English football next season. They raced into a 2-0 lead against relegation rivals Watford on Friday night and, despite a scare early in the second half, they managed to hold on to secure an absolutely massive three points.
West Ham won the reverse fixture 2-0 and at that point the Hammers sat three places above Manchester United in the table (5th and 8th respectively).
However, given the form of Manchester United at present I think the difference in class will tell and I expect Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Red Devils to win comfortably 3-1.
Both teams to score
Liverpool v Chelsea
Liverpool’s form has been somewhat indifferent since they won the Premier League and were beaten by Arsenal in their last match after two unusual errors in defence allowed the Gunners to come back from a goal down. That defeat means that Liverpool can no longer set the record for most points in a season but that won’t in any way, diminish what they’ve already achieved this season. The Reds will finally be presented with the Premier League trophy at the end of the match and will undoubtedly want to end their last home game of the season in style.
Chelsea’s narrow 1-0 victory over Norwich on Tuesday means they sit third in the table at the start of Matchday37 but this is a tricky match for them to face at this late stage of the season. They finish the season with a home game against Wolves and with Leicester City and Manchester United breathing down their necks Frank Lampard will be desperate for a positive result at Anfield.
Liverpool won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in September and I fancy Jurgen Klopp’s men to grind out another 2-1 victory this time around.