Premier League leaders Chelsea face a gargantuan battle to retain their seven-point lead at the table's summit this Saturday, when Manchester United will make the trip to Stamford Bridge.
A crunch encounter between two of England's juggernauts makes up for the reduced amount of action in Week 33, with only 14 teams in action this weekend thanks to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Read on for a preview and predictions of Matchday 33's most enticing fixtures.
|Premier League Week 33 Predictions|
|Saturday, April 18||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Crystal Palace||3-1||West Brom|
|Saturday, April 18||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Everton||1-0||Burnley|
|Saturday, April 18||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Leicester City||1-1||Swansea City|
|Saturday, April 18||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Stoke City||1-2||Southampton|
|Saturday, April 18||5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET||Chelsea||2-2||Manchester United|
|Sunday, April 19||1:30 p.m. BST/8:30 a.m. ET||Manchester City||3-1||West Ham United|
|Sunday, April 19||4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET||Newcastle United||2-2||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Premier League Standings|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||32||8||9||15||30||46||-16||33|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||33||7||5||21||38||59||-21||26|
Chelsea Halted By Resurgent Red Devils
Chelsea couldn't hope to be facing Manchester United at a worse time, with the Red Devils' rampant performance against Manchester City last Sunday giving all of the confidence needed for an upset in Week 33.
A title charge may not be all too realistic for manager Louis van Gaal's surging outfit, but the two teams' current veins of form indicate Saturday's visitors are most certainly capable of clinching a result.
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas struck in the 88th minute against Queens Park Rangers to save Chelsea's blushes last Sunday. It preserved the Blues' seven-point lead at the table's summit.
While the west Londoners have been forced to grind out numerous results of late, United have looked all the more confident, encouraging Old Trafford legend Eric Cantona to believe they can win the title, per Sky Sports:
Even if Chelsea were to lose on Saturday, it would only serve in pegging the league leaders back by three points, a somewhat acceptable sacrifice considering they still possess a game in hand.
United will also be motivated by the injury absences of Diego Costa and Loic Remy, per The Independent, with the seasoned Didier Drogba no longer the same threat he once was:
Van Gaal is gradually showing the Premier League masses that his tinkering is taking effect at Old Trafford, moulding United into one of Europe's in-form lineups with much still to play for.
A stuttering Chelsea team will be hard-pressed to outgun the Red Devils in their current state, but manager Jose Mourinho's defiance at home will likely be sufficient to earn a point.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United
Manchester City Nail Hammers to the Wall
There's a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the Etihad Stadium at present, with the club seemingly in crisis following Sunday's derby defeat at Old Trafford. Or at least that is to call it a crisis for a club of City's magnitude.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini is on a mission not to just save the club's season in these last weeks of the 2014-15 campaign but also salvage any future he might have with the club, as OptaJoe details the Citizens' slump:
This Sunday's visit of West Ham United to the Etihad has all of the ingredients for a fixture allowing Pellegrini some reprieve, with the hosts under pressure to perform against out-of-shape opposition.
Having lost just four games before Christmas, Sam Allardyce's side are now in a state of freefall, winning just two of their last 15 Premier League games. Saturday saw the east Londoners blow a 1-0 lead against Stoke City to draw 1-1, after which centre-back James Collins was quoted by the club's official website as saying:
It’s a loss. The game’s over, we’ve got to be more street wise and know how to win games. We’ve done it too many times this season and we haven’t learned from it. Everyone’s bitterly disappointed. We’ve only ourselves to blame. The game’s over, we’ve got to keep it in the corner, do anything to win the football match and we’re not doing that.
It was three points in the bag, not the prettiest game again. But three points are three points, especially with the run we’re on. There’s not a lot more you can say.
Collins knows as much as any what a challenge lies ahead against City, with the Hammers having lost each of their last five trips to the Etihad.
It's now become apparent, though, that some City stars are battling for their futures at the club, according to the Daily Telegraph's Mark Ogden, which could encourage a spring back to form in Week 33:
Coming off of the back of such a damaging defeat to their most bitter rivals, Manchester City will have their tails up and are coming up against a team that's kept just one clean sheet away from home this term.
It could spell yet more disaster for Allardyce, who's at risk of waking a sleeping giant from its slumber on Sunday.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 West Ham United