Everton 1 Man Utd 2
Despite their defeat to Chelsea, the ethos Louis van Gaal has been drumming into the players were evident as they dominated possession at Stamford Bridge. A similar display at Goodison Park will certainly deliver glad tidings to the record champions. He must redeploy Wayne Rooney as a striker.
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1
There is nothing in the world Arsene Wenger wouldn’t give in exchange for a victory over Chelsea this weekend. Not only would it keep alive Arsenal’s slim hopes of winning the title, it would erase the unwanted record of never having beaten Jose Mourinho. Expect a war of attrition as Chelsea try to take steam out of the steaming Gunners.
Southampton 1 Spurs 1
At the half-way point, I had anointed Ronald Koeman as my manager of the season. A lean tiring squad and Graziano Pelle’s loss of form have put this accolade in jeopardy. Mauricio Pochettino must be burning to prove he is a better coach than the Dutchman. I am calling another stalemate in this one.
C. Palace 2 Hull City 1
Crystal Palace were a tad unlucky not to score against West Brom last time out. Alan Pardew’s high flyers will be looking to make amends when Steve Bruce’s troubled Hull City visit Selhurst Park this afternoon. The Tigers’ inability to convert chances created will be punished by a Palace side that has been in rampant form since Pardew took charge.
Burnley 0 Leicester 0
A month ago, this game would have been easy to predict. Not any more. Leicester City’s imperious form has seen the Foxes win three games in a row and render this a relegation six-pointer. Though Nigel Pearson’s rampaging Foxes are the team with momentum, Burnley can’t afford to lose as this would condemn them to Championship football.
Man City 2 Aston Villa 1
Aston Villa make the trip to the Ettihad buoyed by the clinical manner in which they eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup. The wrong noises are coming out of the Noisy Neighbours, with talk of a clear-out affecting players’ morale. All the same, I expect the form of Sergio Aguero to make the difference as they try to ensure Champions League qualification.
Leicester 0 Chelsea 2
As a consequence of Jose Mourinho’s distaste for squad rotation, Chelsea are doing just enough to win football matches. In addition, the champions elects’ squad is smaller compared to that of title rivals Arsenal and Manchester United. Those are issues to be addressed in the summer. I am counting on a refreshed Diego Costa to hurt Leicester City.
Hull City 2 Liverpool2
Big games get the best out of Steve Bruce’s vastly talented albeit underachieving Tigers side. If they can get to the level at which they performed in the 2-3 loss to Chelsea, they will get the point they need to stave off their relegation worries. With both Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli struggling, Liverpool are blunt without the goals of Daniel Sturridge. This game is a knock out blow for Liverpool’s Champions League hopes.
Stoke 3 Sunderland 1
Sunderland’s experienced central defensive pair – Wes Brown and John O’Shea failed to cope with Congolese wing wizard Yannick Bolassie as they timidly fell 1-4 to Crystal Palace a fortnight ago. Another African striker, Mame Biram Diouf, is even more equipped to test their weary legs. Jermaine Defoe could get onto the score sheet in a losing effort.
Newcastle 1 Swansea 1
Affable Geordie John Carver is feeling the pressure that comes with losing six matches in a row. Fans are understandably holding processions to protest the direction in which owner Mike Ashley is taking the club. A point against Swansea without much to play for would represent an improvement.
West Brom 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool haven’t looked the part for the better part of five weeks. Defeats to Arsenal, Man Utd and Aston Villa have all but drained the confidence out of Brendan Rodgers’ side. Still, I think last season’s runners up will launch a final assault on that final Euro slot.
QPR 2 West Ham 1
Chris Ramsey is running out of time to record his first home victory as Queens Park Rangers. A stuttering West Ham United side would be a good starting point. With the fifth highest wage bill in the division, the West Londoners have no business languishing in the bottom three. Eduardo Vargas and Charlie Austin are primed to pounce.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor