Premier League Matchday 36: Salah can Break PL Record as Liverpool Take on Stoke9 min read
Liverpool took a big step towards the Champions League Final in Kiev next month when they beat Roma 5-2 at Anfield midweek and the Reds begin the weekend Premier League action when they entertain Stoke in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Meanwhile emotions will be running high in Manchester, where Arsene Wenger will face Manchester United – and long-standing rival Jose Mourinho – for the final time before he leaves Arsenal at the end of this season.
Liverpool v Stoke City
Stoke need to take maximum points this weekend to have any realistic chance of maintaining their Premier League status. With that in mind, it is unlikely they would have handpicked Liverpool for this must-win game given they have not won at Anfield in their 54 previous top-flight visits!
I am beginning to run out of superlatives for Mo Salah – all I will say is that the new King of the Kop needs just one more Premier League goal to become the outright top scorer in the history of the competition since it became a 38-game season – in his first season!
Tip: Liverpool to win to nil at
Burnley v Brighton
Brighton have only scored nine times away from home this season and it would be fair to say they don’t score many goals north of Watford given five of those nine away goals have been scored in London with two more on the south coast!
The Clarets have conceded in their last eight games at Turf Moor, but they will more or less clinch seventh place in the table if they keep the points against the Seagulls.
The Clarets were a short price to be relegated at the start of the season – to be on the verge of Europa League qualification is a magnificent achievement.
Tip: Burnley to win at
Crystal Palace v Leicester City
I will be surprised if we do not see a number of goals at Selhurst Park where the hosts are looking to win home back-to-back league games for the first time since last April.
The Foxes have scored and conceded in 22 different league games this season – more than any other side – and have a decent recent record at Palace losing just one of their last five. Only Harry Kane (15) and Mo Salah (13) have scored more away league goals than Jamie Vardy (9) so far this term and Gareth Southgate needs all his strikers in top form ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
Tip: game to finish in a scoring draw at
Huddersfield v Everton
There are unlikely to be too many goals at the John Smith’s Stadium despite the fact that Everton have only kept two clean sheets on the road so far this campaign.
The Blues have drawn six of their last eight away games against newly promoted clubs and I think they will have to settle for a hard-earned point against the Terriers who are not yet guaranteed their place in the PL next term.
Michael’s recommendation: Game to finish 1-1 at
Newcastle v West Brom
Newcastle were not at their best at Goodison earlier in the week, but get a confident vote to bounce back despite the fact that Darren Moore’s Albion have picked up four points from their last two games against Manchester United and Liverpool.
It is likely to be a case of too little too late, however, and West Brom need to pick up maximum points at St James’s Park to have any chance of an unlikely Great Escape.
The Baggies have only kept one clean sheet in their last 24 visits to St James’s Park, however, and I think this will be the game that confirms the Baggies will be playing Championship football next term.
Tip: Newcastle to win at
Southampton v Bournemouth
Southampton have never lost a home match against Bournemouth in thirteen previous games in all competitions and desperately need to keep the points in their bid to avoid the drop.
The Saints have not won any of their last nine PL home games and it promises to be a tight, tense affair on the south coast, but one from which I feel the hosts will take all three points.
Tip: Southampton to win at
Swansea v Chelsea
Chelsea were much too good for Southampton at Wembley on Sunday and Antonio Conte will be delighted that both his central strikers were among the goals in the FA Cup semi-final.
The Blues have won their last couple of away league games and the Swans might only be a point above the relegation places if the Saints have beaten the Cherries earlier in the day.
Whatever the result at St Mary’s I think the Swans can take a point.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at
West Ham v Manchester City
City have won their last two games at the London Stadium by a combined score of 9-0 and I expect the champions to have too much pace and quality for the Hammers.
City have scored 98 league goals so far this season and I expect Pep Guardiola’s side to have at least 100 on the board by the end of the game.
Tip: City to win and over 3.5 goals at
Manchester United v Arsenal
Jose Mourinho has largely held the upper hand in his meetings with Arsene Wenger down the years losing just two of their 18 previous clashes (W8 D8) and he has never lost to the Gunners boss in seven previous home games.
United will be buoyed by their semi-final win over Spurs last weekend and I expect them to gain a quick double over the North London clubs.
Arsenal are in Europa League action on Thursday and are likely to have one eye on the return leg in Madrid next week. The Gunners are yet to pick up an away point in 2018 and I expect United to edge what promises to be an open, entertaining game.
Tip : United to win and both teams to score at
Tottenham v Watford
Spurs have to put behind their FA Cup semi-final loss when they entertain a Watford side who have failed to score in four of their last six PL games and have lost their last seven matches in London.
Spurs seemed to run out of ideas and legs against United – despite taking a goal lead in last weekend’s semi-final – and there is a worrying trend emerging at the club.
Spurs thoroughly deserve their place in the Champions League next term but Mauricio Pochettino will be well aware his side need to find a way to take the next step and bring some silverware to the new-look White Hart Lane next term.
Tip: Spurs -2 on the handicap at
My weekend treble: Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester City at