The Premier League offers one final mid-week blockbuster game-week full of fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday as we head toward Finale Sunday. And at long last we celebrate the return of those cheers and boos, those energetic voices of the fans in the stands! Football’s most important part of the game is back!
There are still some places to play for in the top five representing European qualification. Above and below, Man City has already claimed the title, and the three bottom-feeders have been proven relegated. Man United can capture second place by defeating Fulham at Old Trafford.
However, it is a replay of the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester that offers top drama in the race for the coveted Champions League spots. The Foxes need a draw or better to keep third when they visit Stamford Bridge. Chelsea in fourth is under immense pressure with Liverpool lurking one point behind and laser focused on nicking that spot.
Let’s check out what teams have chances to grab all three points on offer in GW-37:
Tuesday, 18 May
[ Man United, Fulham, Southampton and Leeds are scheduled to kickoff together, so Fantrax managers should have all four lineups confirmed before their deadline. ]
Man United v Fulham
The only problem United faces is Maguire’s injury. The Red Devils still have a Europa League final to play for, but their defensive performance last week against Liverpool suggests they suffered from the absence of England international. Still, Fulham has lacked threat in big moments, which is why the quality of attack and pace that the Red Devils offer should prove too much for the pre-relegated visitors.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Both teams have virtually nothing to play for, but the return of the fans to enjoy two attacking squads go head-to-head will be something to boost their morale. Leeds has the highest tally of shots taken, so this fixture promises plenty of attacking threats, end to end play and goals to be scored. Ralph Hasenhuttl would want to present a winner for the home fans.
Brighton v Man City
Man City’s improvised back line looked all over the place, conceding more than usual against Newcastle. Pep may look to rest star players again, but he will give some minutes to maintain sharpness. All eyes remain on the European trophy in Porto in just under two weeks. Brighton, a bottom-half but safe team, will just aim to please their fans. The Seagulls’ ability on set-pieces and attack from the wings is what makes them a fun team to watch at times.
Prediction: 1 – 3
The biggest game this week will pave the route to be taken to the third and fourth Champions League spots. The two FA Cup finalists have a lot at stake. While the Blues may enjoy revenge for their loss in Saturday’s cup final, Liverpool’s threat from fifth makes this a must-win to seal fourth. In third after defeating Man United, Leicester can more easily survive a draw.
However, the Foxes’ regular players must have paid a toll physically and mentally in their Cup victory, so a few tired legs at Stamford Bridge will give Thomas Tuchel the edge.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Wednesday, 19 May
Everton v Wolves
Just when the Toffees had an opportunity to close the gap on Champions League football next season, they went off the rails and looked confused. Their performance against Sheffield United was poor given the quality of players they posses. Wolves have had a mediocre campaign and surely want to end it winning, but their lack of quickness has been hurting them. They sure have missed Raul Jimenez this season.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Newcastle v Sheffield United
Newcastle was on the way to seal a shocker against City, but with the return of fans back to St James’ Park, the Magpies will look to entertain. Allan Saint-Maximin & Co against a relegated Blades team should land a well-deserved three points.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Harry Kane has confirmed his desire to leave Spurs this summer, which may ring bells at the likes of United, City and Chelsea. Still, with the Golden Boot on offer, the Tottenham talisman will seek one final show in front of his home crowd against a Villa side not looking like its early season self since captain Jack Grealish’s injury.
Prediction: 3 – 1
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
One can never predict which Palace side will show up, but despite having nothing to play for, individual talent from Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Eberechi Eze provided enough quality to win at Villa. This could be Roy Hodgson’s final game as Palace boss at Selhurst Park, so expect his team to be well organized and motivated. Meanwhile, the Gunners surprised many at Stamford Bridge; they could be confident enough to end their campaign with a couple of three pointers.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Burnley v Liverpool
Who remembers the iconic fallout of Sean Dyche and Jurgen Klopp during the half-time whistle inside the Anfield tunnel? Burnley is the team that knows how to beat the Reds, having done so earlier in the season to become the team to break Liverpool’s 69 match home win streak. The defeat augured nightmare for the Reds who went into a home-defeat skid. If the Clarets do their first ever double over Liverpool since 1929-30 season 90 years ago, surely they will also end Liverpool’s Champions League hopes.
But fate may once again be smiling on Liverpool. Allison’s historic header at the death against West Brom could inspire the team to finish the route back to a Champions League spot.
Prediction: 1 – 1
West Brom vs West Ham
Sam Allardyce was so close to demolishing Liverpool’s Champions League dream and leaving only Europa League scraps. Now he can do the deed for David Moyes’ side. West Ham will have more of the ball, the Hammers using quick passing and pace to break and score, but ‘Big Sam’ will defend deep and frustrate the home side enough to aim for a draw.
Prediction: 1 – 1
[All key facts sourced from Reuters]
What are your predictions for these fixtures? What are your thoughts on the top-four race? Do you think the return of fans will influence the game like before? 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!