Mourinho, Wenger renew rivalry, as Spurs hopes to pile pressure on Chelsea
In the famous words of the former Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, ‘It’s squeaky bum time’. That was how the legendary Scot referred to the final weeks of an EPL season and it will be apt to describe this weekend as one of those moments in the league where the title could be won or lost and also teams could get relegated. Chelsea and Tottenham are in a battle for the title, the blues have the upper hand and for the Spurs, nine wins on the bounce have shown that they are willing to chase Chelsea all the way, but do they have the stamina to go the distance and win all their remaining matches?
That question will be answered this weekend and the remaining match-weeks of this season. The Marquee matchup this weekend will see Arsenal host Manchester United at the Emirates. I’m going to preview all ten games that will be played this weekend as usual, with tips to help you win some cool cash on www.nairabet.com while you enjoy the matches.
WEST HAM vs. TOTTENHAM
This London derby will be played tonight at the Olympic Stadium and Tottenham will be looking for a tenth consecutive win to keep Chelsea honest going into the final weeks of the season. As important as this game is for Spurs in their quest to catch Chelsea, you can arguably say it is more important for West Ham in their quest to stave off relegation. The Hammers are on thirty-nine points on the log and a loss for them today, coupled with wins for Swansea and Burnley, will see them in the thick of the relegation battle and that is not a scenario they would want, so that factor makes this game a very interesting and intriguing one as both teams have something important they are fighting for.
Spurs have won three of the last five league meetings against West Ham and the reverse fixture this season was an absolute thriller as Harry Kane struck twice within two minutes with seconds left on the clock to give Spurs a 3-2 win from a 2-1 losing position. The trio of Arthur Masuaku, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll, will undergo late fitness tests to ascertain if they will be part of this game for West Ham, while Mauricio Pochettino could name the same XI that started the 2-0 win over Arsenal last weekend. My betting tips for this game are a double chance bet on Spurs and over 1.5 goals.
MANCHESTER CITY vs. CRYSTAL PALACE
The Citizens need to get all three points when they welcome the Eagles to the Etihad this weekend if they hope to have their UCL qualification fate in their hands as a draw last weekend against Middlesbrough didn’t do them a lot of favours. Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce will be looking for his fourth big scalp of the season to help move his team away from the relegation waters. The Eagles seem to enjoy the games against the league’s ‘big boys’ as they have beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal in the last month and will be looking to add the Citizen to their list of big name conquests. Sergio Aguero might be out for the rest of the season for Man City and Gabriel Jesus could not have picked a better time to return from injury will automatically replace him in the lineup, while David Silva and John Stones are also still doubts for the home side. Sam Allardyce will be missing three centre halve and the most telling will be Mamadou Sakho, whose emergence in the team coincided with their recent impressive performances. Yohan Cabaye missed last week’s defeat at home to Burnley with a knock but may return tomorrow for the trip to Manchester City. I will take a risk on this game and go for a double chance bet on Crystal Palace and over 1.5 goals.
BOURNEMOUTH vs. STOKE CITY
The Cherries will be looking for their third win on the bounce when they host the Potters at the Vitality Stadium tomorrow. Bournemouth have secured their top flight status for next season and a win in front of their home fans will be a great way to celebrate that achievement. Stoke City have failed to score in their last two matches and against a Bournemouth side that hasn’t conceded a goal in their last two games, it’s going to be a tough afternoon for the Potters.
Benik Afobe suffered a hamstring injury last weekend and might not feature against Stoke today and with Callum Wilson also sidelined, Joshua King will most likely start in attack for the Cherries. For Stoke City, Jonathan Walters remains a doubt for Stoke as he continues to recover from a knee injury. A double chance bet on Bournemouth and over 1.5 goals are my betting tips for this match.
LEICESTER CITY vs. WATTFORD
The outgoing champions have been able to turn their season around and escape the infamy of being relegated just one season after winning the league. They welcome Watford to the KingPower Stadium tomorrow with the intention of taking all three points on offer there. The Hornets are also safe and have nothing to play for these last weeks of the season. Islam Slimani has returned from injury for the foxes and should play some part in this game, while Wes Morgan still has a hamstring problem and is out of this tie. Miguel Britos was forced off for Watford against Liverpool with an injury last week and is ruled out this weekend, while Craig Cathcart and Jose Holebas both remain a doubt. I will be going for a Leicester win and over 1.5 goals in this fixture.
BURNLEY vs. WEST BROM
The Clarets were able to secure their first away win of the season last weekend against Crystal Palace and a win at home today against the Baggies will seal their top flight status for next season, while the Baggies, who have secured their own top flight status are on a four game losing streak and seem to have already checked out mentally for the rest of the season. Tony Pulis’ teams have a reputation of slacking off and coasting once they reach the forty point mark in a season and the recent display of this West Brom team isn’t doing his reputation any favours.
Burnley have been able to make it this far due their impressive home record and they will want to continue in that form with a win at home tomorrow. Andre Gray and Robbie Brady will be looking for recalls to the starting XI this weekend, but few changes are expected to this Burnley side, while Matt Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu are both doubts for the Baggies in this game. My betting tips are a Burnley win and over 1.5 goals on www.nairabet.com
HULL vs. SUNDERLAND
Mauro Silva has a very impressive home record in his managerial career and he will want to continue in that vein with a win for his relegation threatened Hull team over already relegated Sunderland. Hull City are in an intense battle to maintain their top flight status and know that a victory over the Black Cats will go a long way in helping them realizing their ambition. Sunderland were officially relegated last weekend with their loss to Bournemouth and have nothing to play for, a scenario that might make them a dangerous proposition for any opponent as they will finish the season without pressure and might want to go down with a bang. Mauro Silva won’t recover any of his injured players this weekend, so few changes are expected from the sides that have been picked in recent weeks. David Moyes will welcome back Sebastian Larsson, who has served his three-game suspension. My betting tips for this game are a win for Hull City and over 1.5 goals.
SWANSEA vs. EVERTON
Swansea desperately needs all three points against Everton as they are in eighteenth position and two points from safety. A three-game losing streak was stopped when they beat Stoke 2-0 and then got a very impressive draw away to Manchester United. They should enter this game in confident mood as Everton are on a two-game winless run without a goal. Swansea have won four of their last six matches at home and another win will see them continue to fight the very real threat of relegation to the Championship.
Ronald Koeman’s side has failed to win any of their last six away from home, although four of those have been draws and I don’t see them winning this one either. Jack Cork, Martin Olsson and Leroy Fer are options again for Swansea after recovering from injuries, while Morgan Schneiderlin is out of this game for Everton. I will advise on a Swansea win and over 1.5 for this game.
LIVERPOOL vs. SOUTHAMPTON
The Saints have an impressive recent record against Liverpool as they have lost only once in their last six games against the Reds and they will enter Sunday’s game against Liverpool in confident mood. They will be looking to finish the season in the top half of the table and also dent Liverpool’s quest to finish in the Champions League places with a positive result at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp has sometimes struggled against less fancied opponents, but he cannot afford not to win this game as anything but a win will seriously jeopardize his team’s chances of getting into the UCL.
Philippe Coutinho suffered a dead leg against Watford but should have recovered to feature at some point against Swansea, while Adam Lallana is in line to make his first start for Liverpool since March after coming off the bench last weekend following a long spell out injured. Charlie Austin and Matt Targett should be closing in first-team returns for Southampton following long spells out on the sidelines, while Sofiane Boufal is a doubt for Claude Puel. My betting tips for this game are a double chance bet on Liverpool and both teams to score.
ARSENAL vs. MANCHESTER UNITED
A decade ago, this fixture at this time of the season, would have most definitely had a huge impact in the direction of the title. These days, both teams are involved in a scrap for fourth place and that is what is at stake this weekend as both teams face off at the Emirates. Arsenal need a win to realistically harbor any hopes of finishing in the top four as a loss will potentially keep them nine points off fourth place with four games to go, while a draw will see them six points off the pace. Manchester United will enter into this game in a buoyant mood after their away win over Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie. They are on a twenty-five game unbeaten run in the league and will not want to lose that record at the home of one of their arch-rivals.
Arsene Wenger is still searching for his first competitive win over Jose Mourinho and there could be no better time to get it than in this fixture as the Portuguese has hinted that he might field a weakened side so as to be able to concentrate on the Europa League. Marcus Rashford limped off during Manchester United’s win over Celta Vigo on Thursday and isn’t likely to be risked here with one eye on the return leg. Wayne Rooney or Anthony Martial should lead the line. Granit Xhaka has been ruled out for Arsenal after suffering an ankle injury against Tottenham but Shkodran Mustafi is back in training and might feature in this game. I will advise on a double chance bet on Arsenal and over 1.5 goals in this tie.
CHELSEA vs. MIDDLESBROUGH
Chelsea will welcome Middlesbrough to the Bridge on Monday night with the intention of sending the visitors back to tee side empty-handed. The blues have won their last six matches against Boro and I don’t see this one turning out any different. A loss for Boro and a draw for Hull City will confirm Boro’s relegation, so they know that they have their work cut out as only a win against Chelsea will keep their survival hopes alive. Chelsea could be just one point ahead of Spurs before this game, which make a win very important for them.
Thibaut Courtois and David Luiz are the only injury doubts for Antonio Conte who has a fully fit squad, while Daniel Ayala, Victor Valdes and Grant Leadbitter all remain doubts for Boro. My betting tips for this game are a win for Chelsea and over 2.5 goals on www.nairabet.com
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