The proposed European Super League announcement from Sunday looks pretty much dead in the water now after all six English clubs withdrew in the face of a furious backlash from fans, players, royalty, leagues, and the government.
However, life and football looks to be back in place and we still seek answers from the Premier League as six weeks are still to be played to conclude the season. Man City faces Tottenham in the League Cup final, excluding both from domestic league action.
And don’t forget the early Friday deadline with Arsenal v Everton giving Fantrax managers confirmed lineups!
Friday, April 23
Arsenal v Everton
Arsenal is on a four match-unbeaten run while Everton has drawn its last three, which reveals lack of pace and ambition. Both teams clash each other out of form so will struggle to grab all three points. However, Carlos Ancelotti’s side’s away form is decent, recording nine wins in 15 EPL games on their travels. The Gunners always make life difficult at the Emirates, which is why the Toffees could just edge it for the victory.
* The Gunners have not lost to Everton in any of their last 24 home games.
* Everton defeated Arsenal 2-1 at Goodison Park in December and is seeking a first league double over the London side since 1985-86.
* Everton is one of just three teams to have managed fewer clean sheets at home (two) than Arsenal (three).
Prediction: 0 – 1
Saturday, April 24
Liverpool v Newcastle
Eliminated from all cups, Jurgen Klopp’s men are now focused on securing a top-four league slot, so their game against Newcastle is a must-win. Despite the Reds’ victory against Leeds United, the Magpies defeated West Ham over the weekend and have back-to-back wins to lift their confidence. They’ve significantly enhanced their survival hopes, but they do lack depth to carry their momentum through the difficult games they’re about to face. Anfield could be a reality check.
* Newcastle is winless in 24 league trips to Anfield.
* Juergen Klopp’s side has dropped 13 points from winning positions this season, two more than the last two campaigns put together.
* Newcastle snapped a five-match losing streak against Liverpool with a goalless draw in December.
Prediction 3 – 1
West Ham v Chelsea
This London derby is not your usual top-six versus relegation fodder curb-stomp. We finally have a collision with meaning behind it — the winner claims an advantage in the top four race. Thomas Tuchel’s new-manager bounce may have ended in a dull draw at Brighton, so Chelsea may feel a dip in confidence despite the impressive win against Man City in the FA Cup semi-final. On the other hand, West Ham is clawing back toward European football despite losing to Newcastle last week. The Hammers are still without Michail Antonio and Declan Rice, but Jarrod Bowen is filling in nicely and Jesse Lingard is likely to return. This match should be a fun one to watch (at least for neutrals).
* Chelsea is looking for an eighth Premier League double over West Ham following a 3-0 victory earlier this season.
* West Ham has collected 31 points at home this season, second only to league leaders Man City (38).
* Thomas Tuchel is looking to become the first Chelsea manager to remain unbeaten in his first 10 away games in all competitions.
Prediction: 0 – 1
Sheffield United v Brighton
Brighton has delivered performances that suggest being a better team than each season’s table-position shows, and the story has been the same this year so far. While the Seagulls’ back line has been solid, a lack of finishing upfront has been a problem. Sheffield United tied an unenviable Premier League record for earliest relegation after a 1-0 loss to Wolves. Blades really don’t have much to play for anymore.
* Sheffield United has scored in each of the last 11 league games against Brighton, losing just one of those matches.
* Paul Heckingbottom won six of his first eight top-flight matches at Hibernian in 2019, but he has failed to pick up a single point with the Blades in his first four games.
* The Blades have lost 26 games this season — the joint-most they’ve suffered in a single league campaign — and their relegation was confirmed last week with their 1-0 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Prediction: 0 – 2
Sunday, April 25
Wolves v Burnley
Since the international break, Burnley has suffered a hattrick of defeats, so they’re now fourth from the bottom. But the Clarets have been playing better lately. Wolves are in similar form, edging out results from struggling sides Fulham FC and Sheffield, so this fixture really is about one of the two just finding a way to win.
* Burnley won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Turf Moor in December and is aiming to complete a first league double over Wolves since the 2012-13 Championship campaign.
* Wolves have won their last two Premier League games, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side last winning three in a row in the competition in June 2020.
* Sean Dyche’s defense has conceded at least twice in each of its last three Premier League matches.
Prediction: 0 – 0
These sides provided one of the best games to watch back in December when Leeds suffered a thrilling 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford. On average, there was a shot every three minutes. One can expect the same at Elland Road as Bielsa’s Peacocks go into this game on a five-match unbeaten run. But Manchester United has still not lost on the road in the season. The visitors will also have their focus shifting towards Thursday’s Europa League tie with Roma , so Leeds could steal a march. This could be the marquee match of the week despite plenty of fine clashes to watch.
* Leeds has won just one of the last eight home matches against Man United in all competitions.
* Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United is unbeaten in the last 23 Premier League away games, four short of Arsenal’s English top-flight record set between April 2003 and September 2004.
* Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood has scored 15 Premier League goals, with no player scoring more as a teenager for the club in the competition.
Aston Villa v West Brom
Villa had a chance for a draw against Man City when John Stones was handed a red card, but Matty Cash followed his fellow Englishman down the tunnel of shame, and there weren’t any points for Dean Smith’s men. West Brom is a team that has defeated Chelsea 5-2 and Southampton 3-0, so this team has become the team that can edge out results. Samuel Allardyce could grab a point or three to survive the relegation exit.
* Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi has scored more league goals against West Brom than he has against any other side since moving to England, though all four of his strikes against them have come at the Hawthorns.
* West Brom has had a player sent off in each of its last three meetings with Villa in all competitions.
* The Villans are looking to secure their first league double over West Brom since the 2008-09 season, when the Baggies were relegated from the top-flight.
Prediction: 0 – 2
Monday, April 26
Leicester v Crystal Palace
Despite highs and lows, Leicester’s story has been fantastic this season. The Foxes are still in position for Champions League qualification for next season. They’ll look for Kelechi Iheanacho to continue his form of scoring goals for fun against a Crystal Palace side sitting 13th in the table with just one win in in the previous five. It really looks like the Eagles are just waiting for the season to end as soon as possible.
* Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is looking to score in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2017.
* Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho has scored 10 goals in his last seven club appearances in all competitions.
* Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has scored five goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Leicester.
Prediction: 1 – 0
[All key facts sourced from Reuters]
What are your predictions for these fixtures? What are your thoughts on the drama of the Super League? Any specific match you’re looking forward to watching? What are your fantasy strategies for the week? Any popular player whom you hope will earn you points? Whom are you adding and dropping? Please let us know in the comments below, and if you hear any late fitness news (e.g. Covid-19 positive or injury), please share!