After an exciting midweek of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League semi-final action involving English clubs, the Premier League is back this weekend for the penultimate full matchday of the 2017/2018 season and there is still plenty to play for as David Moyes’ Hammers travel to the Midlands for a make or break mission and two top-six titans face off in a packed Super Sunday.
The eagerly-anticipated few days of action will begin this evening on the South Coast with the meeting of Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United live on Sky sports Friday Night football.
The Seagulls are not yet mathematically safe in 14th place and a precious win would take them up to the fabled safety mark of 40 points, but it won’t be easy as they meet a Red Devils side looking to cement second position to go into their final two games without a worry, don’t expect any side to be holding back in this one at the American Express Community Stadium.
A day later, Sky Sports will televise their second live fixture of the matchday and it comes from the bet365 Stadium and primarily concerns the fight for survival with Stoke City hosting Crystal Palace.
A few weeks ago, this clash between Paul Lambert’s side and Roy Hodgson’s men would have been a desperate one, although now the visiting Eagles have been able to propel themselves well away from danger and into mid-table, but the Potters are still members of the bottom three and anything other than three points could see them relegated on the day.
The attention will then swiftly turn to four traditional afternoon kick-offs an abundance riding on them, the first affects both ends of the table with top-four chasers and relegation strugglers cashing at the Hawthorns Stadium.
Despite a run of four games unbeaten under Darren Moore, it’s now or never for the Baggies, who could go down there and then even if they don’t win and other results go against them, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs will care very little for the plight of the Throstles and only be focused on securing Champions League football for next season, something they could all but do.
The Foxes will go hunting for a first league victory in the space of five games and fancy their chances against the East Londoners, who have only won once on the road this year and conceded the most goals in the division, one thing that will spur Moyes’ boys on is the prospect of watching the relegation drama unfold without being involved, they can get to 38 points in their final away game, away from danger.
Meanwhile, high stakes action will be unfolding elsewhere but the odd game out will occur at Vicarage Road in Hertfordshire at 3 PM as sides with little left to play for go head-to-head.
Neither Javier Gracia’s Watford nor Rafa Benítez’s Newcastle United can yet say for sure that they will be playing in the PL next term, however, it does look to be almost certain, neither team is in a rich vein of firm currently, both having lost their last two, the home side are the slight favourites to edge this matchup.
If there isn’t much to play for in Watford tomorrow afternoon, there certainly Is in the final 3 PM clash, which takes us back down to the South Coast, it’s AFC Bournemouth vs Swansea City.
Eddie Howe’s Cherries are facing an outfit in and around the drop zone for the second weekend in succession and will be hoping to do better this time after a defeat to bitter rivals Southampton, for Carlos Carvalhal’s Swans, a triumph if they want to stay in control of their fate and are not helped by other results, is required, they could go 18th if they are defeated.
Saturday’s football will be rounded off in the evening by BT Sport’s only live game of the matchday and it involves a safe Everton team under Sam Allardyce and a desperate Southampton one under Mark Hughes at Goodison Park.
The Toffees still have a faint hope of chasing down the Clarets for seventh position but regardless of securing European football, Allardyce is playing for his future on Merseyside, the 18th place Saints could move out of the relegation zone for the first time in several weeks, drastically improving their fortunes with a game-in-hand on some of those around them.
However, the Top-Flight isn’t going to be done there for the weekend as there will still be the matter of a highly-important Sunday, encompassing a pair of Super Sunday fixtures and one other pivotal clash, it begins at the Etihad Stadium.
All is set for a special afternoon in Manchester as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City as they hunt numerous PL records and lift the trophy as champions after the match, however, David Wagner’s Terriers have more incentive than most to spoil the party as they fight for their lives and if they are unable to pick up any points from a tricky three closing matches, a fairy-tale first Premier League season could turn into a nightmare.
Football fans world-over will then get a break from formalities at the wrong end of the table and focus on things at the top end, and they do not come much bigger than this famous derby.
Chelsea and Liverpool will encounter each other at Stamford Bridge in an outing that could make or break Antonio Conte’s Blues’ slim hopes of sneaking through the back door and into the top four, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will be eager to stop them, however, are sure to be suffering a little bit of hangover from reaching the Champions League Final in Rome on Wednesday night.
At the same time but not part of the Sky Sports Super Sunday proceedings, the two frontrunners to secure Europa League football next season will meet at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal played on Thursday and exited the EUL at the hands of Atletico Madrid, they will need to get over that disappointment quickly as they have Sean Dyche’s Clarets breathing down their necks and if they steal an unlikely win, it will boost their hopes of not having to go through the EL qualification rounds and fast-tracking to the group stages, by finishing sixth.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United (Friday 8 PM) – 2-1.
Stoke City vs Crystal Palace (Saturday 12:30 PM) – 2-0.
West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday 3 PM) – 2-2.
Leicester City vs West Ham United (Saturday 3 PM) – 0-0.
Watford vs Newcastle United (Saturday 3 PM) – 2-1.
AFC Bournemouth vs Swansea City (Saturday 3 PM) – 1-2.
Everton vs Southampton (Saturday 5:30 PM) – 1-1.
Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town (Sunday 1:30 PM) – 4-0.
Chelsea vs Liverpool (Sunday 4:30 PM) – 3-2.
Arsenal vs Burnley (Sunday 4:30 PM) – 3-0.
So, now that all the spills and thrills from yet another full weekend program of the league that we all know, and love have been well and truly previewed, who will be matchday 36’s winners? Who will be its losers? And, more importantly, who will make the headlines? Join us once again early next week to find out.