Premier League: MD25 Preview
With relegation six-pointers and local derbies aplenty, Matchday 25 of the Premier League season promises a bucket load of drama. We preview each of this weekend’s fixtures below…
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leeds United
The weekend’s action begins on Friday night, with two of the league’s most inconsistent teams meeting at Molineux. If this game promises anything, then it’s goals. Leeds have won six of their last seven league away games outside of London, but with just one clean sheet in their last seven games in the Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa’s side will have an uphill task to find another win here.
Southampton v Chelsea
Two sides with very contrasting form open the proceedings on Saturday. Saints have now lost six on the trot in the Premier League, whilst Chelsea have won five and drawn once under their new coach Thomas Tuchel. The away side will want to maintain their momentum to aide their pursuit of a top four finish.
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion
If West Brom are to survive relegation, they need to start winning games soon. The Baggies will see this weekend’s game at Turf Moor as a good opportunity for three points, but Burnley have started to turn a corner lately. Sam Allardyce can count just one win as West Brom manager, but with the Clarets winning just one of the last seven meetings between these sides, perhaps the omens are good for the visitors.
Liverpool v Everton
The standout game of the weekend comes from Anfield, where Everton have failed to win since 1999. Liverpool are unbeaten in the last 23 Merseyside derbies in all competitions, and despite three consecutive league defeats, Jurgen Klopp’s side looked good in victory over RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League. Everton’s hopes of joining Europe’s elite have taken a knock with two Premier League losses recently, but a win here could reignite their continental aspirations.
Fulham v Sheffield United
It’s last chance saloon at Craven Cottage this weekend, where defeat all but rules out any unlikely survival hopes for Fulham or Sheffield United. Fulham’s win at Everton last weekend will have had Newcastle United, Burnley and Brighton looking over their shoulders. Scott Parker’s side have lost just one of their last six in the top flight, and have lost just one of their eight most recent Premier League meetings with the Blades.
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotpsur
Sunday gets off to a flying start with a feisty derby at the London Stadium. West Ham United have put themselves in the mix for European qualification with an excellent run of form since the turn of the year. Meanwhile, Spurs have struggled for consistency in the Premier League. However, the return of Harry Kane could be key here. The Spurs captain has scored 11 goals in 15 Premier League appearances against the Hammers.
Aston Villa v Leicester City
Aston Villa’s European qualification hopes face a tough test against in-form Leicester City this Sunday. The Foxes are unbeaten in seven games, and will not have given up on a title challenge just yet. However, that may change if Villa can replicate their performance in the reverse fixture, where they emerged as 1-0 winners. Leicester won 4-1 at Villa Park last season, but have never previously won successive games at Villa Park.
Arsenal v Manchester City
Another blockbuster fixture this weekend comes from the Emirates Stadium. Manchester City are in ruthless form, winning each of their last 18 matches in all competitions. However, Arsenal are now unbeaten in six home matches in the Premier League. City can boast wins in each of their last seven games against Arsenal, though.
Manchester United v Newcastle United
If Manchester United can play anywhere near as well as they did when beating Real Sociedad 4-0 in the Champions League this week, then it’ll be a walk in the park when they welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford on Sunday. However, you never know which United is going to show up. The Red Devils saw their title bid go up in smoke when lowly West Brom held them to a draw last time out, but given that the Magpies have lost seven of their last nine games, it would have to be a monumental off day for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to see Newcastle earn anything from this.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace
The validity of this match being labelled a derby is often a topic of debate for UK football fans, given that Crystal Palace will have to make a 50-mile trip down the M23 on Monday night. That said, there is no love lost when the Seagulls meet the Eagles. Brighton have put together a run of six games without a league defeat to steer them away from danger, and can move level on points with their enemies with a win. Crystal Palace will be without Wilfried Zaha, so Graham Potter’s side will certainly fancy their chances.
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