The Premier League title race is dull this season, saved only by the brilliance and fresh positive approach of Pep’s Manchester City. The battles for top four and league survival are a completely different matter, looking to build to a tense finish. Game week 27 brings us the following fixtures:
Tottenham v Arsenal
This should be a brilliant fixture between two sides who seem to shoot themselves in the foot one week, then show us top quality the next. I fancy Spurs in this one just because I believe their starting 11 has a better keeper, defense and balance. Having said that, Arsenal now have real firepower. Nobody, and I mean nobody, loves playing at Wembley as much as the Gunners. It’s now 10 unbeaten at the capital stadium for the Gunners.
Everton v Crystal Palace
Everton are woeful right now, while Palace are decent. I’m still betting Sam sets up the home side to win ugly this week, and despite the form I see a home clean sheet.
Stoke v Brighton
Both are showing some late winter form. A low scoring affair is most likely, but it may be more open than expected.
Swansea v Burnley
The Swans have had a wonderful few weeks, beating both Arsenal and Liverpool amongst other good results. Burnley are simply a super consistent side. Once again, goals galore is not the prediction, so a draw may be enough for both teams.
West Ham v Watford
After a bright start, the Hammers are finding it tough once again. Their two best players are injured, and the tight defense we saw David Moyes bring into the side in his early games as disappeared. Watford meanwhile had been in terrible form, but the shocking 4-1 win over Chelsea must have given the players a shot in the arm. Any result can happen here and any player can hit the fantasy points highs or lows.
Man City v Leicester
With the Champions League returning in midweek, and with injuries mounting up for Pep, it would not surprise me to see him play with his starting 11 selections. Leicester are playing their best football of the season and are not to be underestimated. The Riyad Mahrez situation is laughable (Mahrez, back in training, is not in contention), but it may help bring even tighter team spirit. With suspected rotation and the form of the visiting side, I don’t see a big home win this week, but of course I do see a win.
Huddersfield v Bournemouth
I’ve written recently how I see a flat Huddersfield side as being one we should exploit with our fantasy choices right now. Bournemouth have been in fine form, looking a real handful with the ball. Any side that can win 3-0 at Chelsea should be favoured.
Newcastle v Manchester United
There has been no immediate change to the huff and puff Man Utd attack since Alexis Sanchez arrived. Pretty amazing considering the abilities of the players available. Until there is evidence of improvement, they are going to have to work hard to win games, more so against sides that are set up to keep things tight. Of course, having the match winners they do, the Red Devils could explode in any one game, but this one should most likely be a grind.
Southampton v Liverpool
Liverpool travel to their feeder club and will be expected to take 3 points. However, as we know the Saints players are in the shop window in this game like no other. One good showing could secure a summer move to Anfield so maybe the home team shock Klopp’s men.
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion
I’m a big fan of Antonio Conte. I enjoy the way his sides play, and I enjoy the bold decisions he takes with his player choices and tactics. He is a proven top level manager, one I don’t think we in the UK fully appreciate yet.
It’s a shame then to see the writing is on the wall for Conte’s time as Chelsea manager. Barring an amazing turnaround of approach by the Chelsea ownership, Conte may need to win the Champions League to survive as boss, and even that may not be enough. There is history in the fixture that won’t help Conte. Both Villas-Boas and Roberto De Matteo lost Chelski jobs after home defeats to West Brom — you’ve been warned Antonio.