Norwich City vs. Southampton
Venue: Carrow Road
Norwich City welcomes Southampton to Carrow Road in the first of two games on Friday.
The game presents the rock bottom Canaries with an opportunity to earn a rare win and further boost their slim chances of beating the drop come the end of the season.
Before the enforced lock-down, Teemu Pukki and Danny Ings were two of the league’s leading marksmen but while the former appeared to have slightly lost his scoring touch before the break, the latters timely goals in 2020 have helped Southampton go seven points clear off the relegation zone and teammates will once again rely upon Ings in tomorrow night’s game.
Considering the Saints have one of the division’s best away records this season and wins have been difficult for Norwich, a task further worsened by the absence of the home fans, we tip Southampton for a narrow away win.
Prediction: Norwich 0 – 2 Saints
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Jose Mourinho will welcome familiar faces as Tottenham Hotspur hosts Manchester United in Friday’s final fixture.
The reverse fixture saw the Red Devils win at Old Trafford, man-of-the-moment Marcus Rashford playing a pivotal role in securing United maximum points in December and they will be hoping for a repeat performance from the global role model as they push for a top four finish.
Mourinho will expectedly have a full strength squad to call on in attack; particularly delightful will be the return to fitness of Harry Kane, although caution should be applied since the forward hasn’t played a competitive game since going off injured at Southampton on New Year’s Day.
While Kane is available for selection, his England international teammate Dele Alli is to serve a one-match suspension and that could be a bit of a worry to fill in midfield.
We expect an open game, similar to what we witnessed at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, United will aim to stretch Spurs’ full-back’s with the pace of Anthony Martial and Daniel James and with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba starting a competitive game together for the first time in midfield, a score draw is the likely outcome of this game.
Prediction: Spurs 1 – 1 Man Utd
Watford vs. Leicester City
Venue: Vicarage Road
Struggling Watford are home to high-flying Leicester City in what ordinarily should be a cracker in the first of four Premier League games on Saturday.
The Hornets, 17th on the log are level on points with Bournemouth, who are in the drop zone but should draw inspiration from their astonishing performance the last time they played on this ground, a comprehensive 3-0 win against run-away league leaders Liverpool.
The Foxes might have lost out to Manchester City in the race for second-place but they have a healthy five-point lead against Chelsea and will want to at least maintain that gap in the exciting race to finish in a UEFA Champions League spot.
This should be an open game where both teams will break at will with but the key determinants on both teams possibly will be Troy Deeney and Jamie Vardy.
We tip both teams to score, over 3.5 goals and a draw to settle this game, a result which isn’t a great deal of help to both teams’ aspirations.
Prediction: Watford 2 – 2 Leicester
Brighton vs. Arsenal
Venue: Amex Stadium
Arsenal retain slight hope for better fortune as they visit Brighton three days after suffering a humiliating defeat at Manchester City.
The Gunners lost the reverse fixture at home and with a depleted back-line following the unavailability of Pablo Mori and David Luiz, they will be further put to a stern test against a physical Seagulls attack.
Ideally Arsenal should be the sharper of both teams having played one competitive match since the restart of the league, but their lack of creative cutting edge against City, missing their midfield anchorman Granit Xhaka through injury and a shaky defence will see them possibly losing for a second straight game and Brighton doing the double with Bernd Leno playing a huge role in keeping the scoreline respectable.
Prediction: Brighton 1 – 0 Arsenal
West Ham United vs. Wolverhampton
Venue: London Stadium
The London Stadium comes alive as two attacking teams West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers trade tackle.
Before the Coronavirus enforced break, the Hammers had endured a terribly disappointing campaign despite parading a squad that should comfortably be challenging for a top half finish.
One major worry for David Moyes has to be how his team will deal with the offensive threat of the Wolves, particularly the ever-lively Adama Traore, who should create numerous problems for Aaron Cresswell, Diogo Jota and the elegant Raul Jimenez through the middle.
Factoring West Ham have endured a mixed campaign and without the fans to have their back, we expect Wolverhampton to do a smash-and-grab job and secure the road win, an outcome which should see the Hammers drop into the bottom three if results elsewhere expectedly goes against them.
Prediction: West Ham 1 – 2 Wolves
Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth and Crystal Palace clash in a game which the hosts should fancy taking their chances in Saturday’s final encounter.
The Cherries have been one of the Premier League’s biggest disappointments this term, struggling to make an impact at the other end of the table but have rather being consistent relegation battlers despite parading some outstanding attacking talents.
While Palace have proven capable to more than hold their own on the road this season, we tip Bournemouth to have used the break to recharge their batteries, go all out and push beyond their limit to secure a vital victory in a testing game against a Roy Hodgson coached team.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2 – 1 Palace
Newcastle United vs. Sheffield United
Venue: Saint James’ Park
Newcastle United and Sheffield United kickoff Sunday’s fixture with what should be a low-scoring affair at Saint James’ Park.
The Magpies went four straight games without scoring a goal before Allan Saint-Maximin’s winner at Southampton in their last fixture before the enforced break ended the drought.
The Blades, who are equally low scorers didn’t show any signs of doing any different at Villa Park, retaining their conservative but effective style of football, a pattern which should come in handy on Sunday.
We expect Newcastle’s struggles in front of goal to continue, while Sheffield will take advantage of having played a competitive game to secure a narrow win which aids their push for a European spot.
Prediction: NUFC 0 – 1 Sheffield
Aston Villa vs. Chelsea
Venue: Villa Park
Aston Villa welcomes Chelsea to Villa Park in what promises to be an exciting game, largely based on past encounters between both clubs.
The fixture marks a return to the ground for Tammy Abraham, who played a leading role as Villa secured promotion to the top division last season but find themselves first from bottom without the England international forwards vital goals.
Nothing has changed with Chelsea as regards the present squad and they could still face a tough time sorting out their defensive and goalkeeping blunders.
However, their blushes could be spared thanks largely to a visible lack of threat carried by Villa in attack as they looked flat against Sheffield United, a worry which might force the manager to hand Tanzania forward Mbwana Samantha a start.
Regardless of Aston Villa’s expected reshuffling, they shouldn’t pose much of a threat to a Chelsea team who we expect to be quickly out of the blocks, score an early goal and secure an away win which keeps them ahead of their close competitors for fourth-place.
Prediction: Villa 1 – 3 Chelsea
Everton vs. Liverpool
Venue: Goodison Park
The Merseyside derby concludes Sunday’s matches as Liverpool are guests of city rivals Everton.
The game could possibly have been a title-decider if Manchester City had lost to Arsenal on Wednesday and the Reds had won this derby, but they now have to win their next three games starting with this fixture to lay their hands on a long overdue title.
Both teams have a full strength squad to call on, with Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph in the Toffees’ team, while the Reds have no known injury concerns as at the time of writing this piece.
The last two league meetings between both teams on this ground have ended in scoreless draws, while Everton haven’t emerged victorious in the derby for a decade and with football only just returning, both managers might prefer to adopt a cautious approach, leading to a cagey encounter which possibly ends in a goalless draw.
Prediction: Everton 0 – 0 Liverpool
Manchester City vs. Burnley
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Manchester City and Burnley conclude game-week 30 fixtures with a Monday night encounter.
The Cityzens didn’t enter second gear as they easily discarded Arsenal in a rescheduled fixture, with Kevin De Bruyne easily the standout player.
Confidence must be high within the ranks especially with Raheem Sterling, who broke his goal scoring drought of 2020 but there could be slight concerns in defence following Eric Garcia’s substitution after colliding with Ederson, but the availability of experienced trio Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones with either being capable of partnering Aymeric Laporte.
Burnley’s chances are made further difficult with confirmed absence of Ashley Barnes after complications following a double hernia operation, while top scorer Chris Wood remains a doubt with an Achilles problem.
Despite Jay Rodriguez expectedly leading the Clarets’ attack in the duo’s absence, he will likely be starved of service as City cut off the threat through the wide areas and the middle, and will earn a second successive clean sheet win.
Prediction: Man City 2 –0 Burnley
Disclaimer- Predictions are just for fun, based on analysis. We do NOT sell or guarantee results.