Just two rounds of fixtures remain in the Premier League this season, as managers, players and supporters alike all pray that their respective teams can finish their campaign with a flourish.
It just looked as though things were beginning to become a little clearer at both ends of the table over the course of the past two or three weeks. But Week 36 cast us all into doubt again, as the picture grew increasingly murky in the race for the Premier League title and the battle to avoid the drop.
Who's going to win the Premier League title?
Arguably the biggest game of Week 37 comes from Goodison Park, where Everton take on Manchester City in Saturday’s late kick-off. City know that if they can win their remaining three games then the title is virtually guaranteed, but the Toffees still need a point to secure European football, and they have been excellent at home this season.
Liverpool, who relinquished their grip on the Premier League title after losing 2-0 to Chelsea in Week 36, will travel to Crystal Palace on Monday night looking to get back to winning ways.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s Anfield conquerers host a Norwich City team who are in desperate need of points to stave off relegation. The Portuguese boss insists that despite that marvellous victory in Week 36, his team shouldn’t be considered potential champions, per BBC Sport:
We are not in it. The champions will be Liverpool or City. We have nothing to celebrate.
Today was an important three points and we need one more to finish third. Now we can say we have won both matches against the champions.
After some incredible results over the past month, it’s proven perilously difficult to predict results at the end of this fascinating campaign. But let’s have a go anyway.
Here is a full list of fixtures and predictions ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round of games:
|Game||Date||Kick-Off Time (BST)||Prediction|
|West Ham vs. Tottenham||3 May 2014||12:45 p.m.||1-1|
|Aston Villa vs. Hull||3 May 2014||3 p.m.||0-0|
|Man Utd vs. Sunderland||3 May 2014||3 p.m.||2-0|
|Newcastle vs. Cardiff||3 May 2014||3 p.m.||0-1|
|Stoke vs. Fulham||3 May 2014||3 p.m.||1-1|
|Swansea vs. Southampton||3 May 2014||3 p.m.||2-2|
|Everton vs. Manchester City||3 May 2014||5:30 p.m.||1-2|
|Arsenal vs. West Brom||4 May 2014||1:30 p.m.||3-0|
|Chelsea vs. Norwich||4 May 2014||4 p.m.||4-0|
|Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool||5 May 2014||8 p.m.||1-1|
Everton vs. Manchester City
Roberto Martinez’s team’s Champions League dream looks all but dead after two own-goals condemned them to a 2-0 defeat against Southampton. Now, they’ll be looking nervously over their shoulder, as they need a point from their final two games to secure Europa League football for next season.
A win or draw here for Everton could effectively hand their city rivals Liverpool the title, and that’s a potential scenario former Manchester City and Everton midfielder Peter Reid certainly isn’t looking forward to:
City brilliant , the game at Goodison is doing my head in already.— Peter Reid (@reid6peter) April 27, 2014
It’s shaping up to be a very difficult game for the Toffees, as the new favourites for the Premier League title come to town.
City’s 2-0 win against a very pragmatic Crystal Palace side went somewhat unnoticed in amongst Sunday’s drama. Now Manuel Pellegrini and his team know that three wins will be enough for them to secure their second league crown in three seasons.
With so much more on the line for City, I can see them just edging this one. Everton looked a little jaded in their game against Southampton, and at the end of a long season, their small squad seems to be running out of legs.
City have Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero rediscovering their best form after returning from injury, and those two will give City that extra cutting edge in the final third. Expect a very close game, though.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Manchester City
Chelsea vs. Norwich City
Jose Mourinho might claim that his Chelsea team are out of this title race, but the dance down the Anfield touchline on Sunday certainly didn’t resemble a man who’d given up on the trophy.
It’s true that Chelsea need slip-ups from both Liverpool and City before the season ends, but it’s certainly not out of the question, as illustrated here:
Chelsea = BPL title winner! If; on May 3rd: Crystal Palace win against Liverpool Everton win against Manchester City #believe— Malaysia Blues Army (@MBArebellion) April 28, 2014
But it’s the games against teams like Sunday’s opponents where Chelsea have slipped up as of late. Losses to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and most recently Sunderland are the matches that have derailed their charge, and they must be careful not to lose their focus when Norwich rock up at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Canaries have been in very poor form as of late, though. They were swatted aside by Manchester United last weekend, and having been plunged into the bottom three in Week 36, they need to get points from this game or their final fixture against Arsenal to have any chance of retaining their top-flight status.
They just don’t have the quality to trouble this Chelsea team, though, and after their win at Anfield last weekend, Mourinho’s men will have superb momentum going into this one.
Expect a comfortable win for the home side.
Prediction: Chelsea 4-0 Norwich City
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
Liverpool supporters will be desperate for an Everton win on Saturday (I bet it’s not too often you’ve heard that). Even former Liverpool player John Aldridge has lent his support to the Toffees ahead of this weekend's games:
Well it feels like arsenal 89!!but the team can still do something about it by getting 6 points!we couldn't.Come on Everton!!!— John Aldridge (@Realaldo474) April 27, 2014
If their local rivals can get any kind of result against Manchester City, then Liverpool will be going into this fixture against Crystal Palace with the title in their hands once again.
Brendan Rodgers will be keen for his side to recover from that Chelsea defeat, but they’re set to face a similar examination by Tony Pulis and his cohesive Palace side.
The Eagles won’t surrender any space to the Liverpool forwards, and the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard must be patient in waiting for their openings. The Reds’ back-line must also be careful of getting caught on the break by the pace of Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie.
Both teams had winning runs ended last weekend, and it’ll be curious to see how they react. You just worry that the loss to Chelsea at Anfield might have knocked the stuffing out of Liverpool a little bit.
I’m going for a hard-fought point for Palace on Monday evening.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Liverpool