After a midweek of UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League semi-final action involving English clubs, the Premier League returns for a full program of fixtures this weekend, Matchday 36 to me and you, and what a few days it promises to be as David Moyes’ West Ham United play host to the champions and there is a titanic top-six battle on Super Sunday.
The weekend’s drama will be kicked-off at Anfield Stadium on Saturday lunchtime live on Sky Sports, as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool entertain Paul Lambert’s Stoke City.
The Reds will no doubt be focusing on Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final second leg with Roma seeing as the top four is all but secured for them, this may give the relegation-threatened Potters a chance to pick up some much-needed points, it’s now or never for the Staffordshire side.
Attention will then swiftly turn to five traditional afternoon kick-offs, the first of which sees Sean Dyche’s Europa League hopefuls Burnley face off with Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion.
An expected three points for the Clarets would mathematically be enough to ensure that they finish no lower than seventh place, thus giving them European football next season, but the Seagulls will also be in search of an elusive victory, one would theoretically ensure survival in their first ever PL term, plenty to play for.
Another place where much will be at stake at the same time is the John Smith’s Stadium where Huddersfield Town take on Everton in desperate need of a victory to keep their blood pressure low.
That triumph for David Wagner’s men could really set the cat amongst the pigeons in the bottom half and move them to within touching distance of the magic 40 points, while the Toffees’ faint hopes of sneaking into seventh under Sam Allardyce will all but be over with defeat and could be finished even if they do win.
Also in the race for seventh place are Claude Puel’s Leicester City, another outfit to be playing at 3 PM, making the tricky trip to Selhurst Park to do battle with Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.
The Eagles look to have beaten the odds to stay in the division after all with their most recent three-game unbeaten run and if it continues, they will undoubtedly be safe, although the Foxes do have the opportunity to plunge Palace back into danger if results elsewhere don’t go the way of the South West London team.
While all of this unfolding, in the North East, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United will welcome Darren Moore’s rock-bottom West Bromwich Albion to St James’ Park.
It is well and truly now or never time for the Baggies, if they fail to collect three points, they could be relegated there and then, despite a recent revival under their caretaker boss, for the Magpies, playing for pride is the order of the day as they are now safely in mid-table, almost mathematically safe.
The final of the Saturday afternoon kick-offs involves the PL’s 18th-placed side in the form of Mark Hughes’ Southampton, who go head-to-head with their fierce rivals AFC Bournemouth under Eddie Howe.
The Saints will be questioning whether they have played a bigger game than this during their latest spell in the Top-Flight, the outcome of the match could make or break the team that are six points adrift of safety and there is little that the Cherries would love more than inflicting a defeat on them, helping their neighbours to relegation.
Saturday’s action will conclude in South Wales live on BT Sport, the broadcaster’s only love match of the Game Day, where Chelsea are the visitors to the Liberty Stadium.
Carlos Carvalhal’s Swansea City occupy the last safety position in the league of 17th and if they aren’t able to pick up anything in this clash with the reigning champions, may find themselves only three points above danger, Antonio Conte’s Blues could apply the pressure to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur if they win.
A day later, two Sky Sports Super Sunday encounters will take place and they involve three of the division’s top six sides and one fighting a relegation battle, it’s first to the London Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will be the visiting team to Stratford on the afternoon and while the title may be in the bag for them, the chance of breaking numerous Premier League records will motivate them, while the Hammers will be hoping to continue their fine home record, a shock victory could work wonders for the team who sit only six clear of the drop zone in 15th.
It is expected to very much be a case of saving the best till last on Sunday as the second offering of the day sees the renewal of one of the most famous rivalries in the English Top-Flight, Manchester United vs Arsenal.
The goal for Jose Mourinho’s men will now very much be to finish second behind their City rivals and three points would give them an even greater chance of achieving that ahead of the Reds, while Arsene Wenger, in his final trip to Old Trafford as Gunners boss, will be trying his best to end on a high, with Thursday’s Europa League last four second leg journey to Atletico Madrid in mind.
However, the English Top-Flight is not done there for the next few days with the curtain being brought down on the Matchday on Monday evening live on Sky Sports when the trending Wembley Stadium hosts Tottenham Hotspur and Watford.
The future of the ground may be in doubt, but the future Mauricio Pochettino’s will see for Spurs is playing Champions League football next season, an accolade they can take a huge stride towards with a triumph, although London rivals the Hornets under Javier Gracia, will be out to spoil the party in spite of criticism placing them on the beach already.
Liverpool vs Stoke City (Saturday 12:30 PM) – 3-0.
Burnley vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday 3 PM) – 2-0.
Huddersfield Town vs Everton (Saturday 3 PM) – 2-1.
Crystal Palace vs Leicester City (Saturday 3 PM) – 3-1.
Newcastle United vs West Bromwich Albion (Saturday 3 PM) – 1-2.
Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth (Saturday 3 PM) – 1-2.
Swansea City vs Chelsea (Saturday 5:30 PM) – 1-0.
West Ham United vs Manchester City (Sunday 2:15 PM) – 0-4.
Manchester United vs Arsenal (Sunday 4:30 PM) – 4-1.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford (Monday 8 PM) – 2-0.
So, now that another highly-anticipated round of fixtures of the league that we all know, and love has been well and truly previewed, who will be the third from last Matchday of the season’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.