It’s been a while since we’ve last done one of these Premier League previews, but we’re back for the latter end of the season when everything comes down to the wire. The face of the league has changed quite a bit as well. Manchester City has barely managed to topple Liverpool at the top, Manchester United have pushed into the top four since Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over as manager and Chelsea are behind Arsenal in sixth. West Ham has improved to ninth and Bournemouth are left behind in the dust in twelfth. The bottom of the league has slightly shifted as well, with Fulham in nineteenth and Huddersfield now in last.
This weekend, there are three main matches to look out for, one on Saturday, two on Sunday, all which can change the shape of the top of the league. On Saturday, Tottenham takes on Southampton away at St. Mary’s, hoping to go six points ahead of Manchester United. Then Sunday’s two games: Chelsea take on Wolves in a battle for pride and revenge, followed by Arsenal versus Manchester United. Starting with Saturday, here’s a preview of the three games.
Southampton vs Tottenham
Though Southampton could win at home, under their new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, it seems Tottenham’s run of form is too strong. Tottenham is coming off of beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, holding two cleans sheets against them, and drawing against arch-rivals Arsenal.
Both sides have a few injuries to be wary of. Danny Ings and Mario Lemina will be unable to play for Southampton and Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier are all out for Tottenham. However, Harry Kane is likely to play, and Tottenham’s defense is still very strong. Along with that, before the draw to Arsenal, Tottenham did not draw any matches in 28 games.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Tottenham
Chelsea vs Wolves
Chelsea needs to win for two reasons. The first reason is that if Chelsea wins, they can remove themselves from sixth and find themselves in the top four again. The second reason is that the last time these two sides faced, Wolves found themselves a stunning 2-1 win, and Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea will want revenge.
A win wouldn’t come easy for Chelsea, but they have the benefit of a home game. Along with that, it seems the Chelsea squad is fully fit after their 0-3 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League. Wolves luckily only have one absentee and that’s Ryan Bennett. It’ll be exciting to see which of the sides are stronger.
If Wolves can grab a win, they’ll close the gap between them and Chelsea to ten points. However, being in form, hungry for a win and being at home, Chelsea is favorite.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Wolves
Arsenal vs Manchester United
Manchester United have just come off of a spectacular (but controversial) 1-3 win against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), while Arsenal is on the other end of the spectrum, having to recover from a shock 3-1 loss to Stade Rennais. Despite this, United cannot take Arsenal easy as Arsenal’s form at home is typically much stronger.
It also seems that Arsenal’s squad this weekend will be better. Though Lucas Torriera will be out on red-card suspension, Alexandre Lacazette is returning to the team. Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerín remain out on injury.
For United, things look much worse. United will be missing six first-team players. Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Antony Martial might be able to return, but plenty of names will be sidelined including Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian.
Despite the weaker squad, it’s easy to argue United can win. They did beat PSG with ten starters out and Arsenal’s form can be unpredictable at times. Arsenal will likely fight back with firepower, but defensive mistakes are common.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-3 Manchester United
Other English Premier League predictions:
Crystal Palace 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
Huddersfield 1-2 Bournemouth
Leicester City 3-0 Fulham
Cardiff City 1-3 West Ham
Newcastle United 2-1 Everton
Manchester City 4-0 Watford
Liverpool 5-0 Burnley