The Premier League is back with another set of matches this weekend and we’re set to witness a few crucial six-pointers over the next few days. With only nine gameweeks left until the end of the season, things have become do-or-die in the Premier League.
Manchester City remain the frontrunners to win the league title but are now being given a run for their money by Jurgen Klopp’s ever-resurgent Liverpool. Chelsea are in a state of limbo both on and off the field and are only a few points away from securing their third-place finish.
The top-four race has been typically intense this year, with Arsenal now emerging as favorites after an excellent run of form. Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are also still in with a chance but will need to pull up their socks in the coming weeks.
There is an element of unpredictability in the relegation zone at the moment, and the month of March could give us a few concrete answers. Here are my predictions for this weekend’s Premier League matches:
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool
Four weeks ago, this would’ve been a banana skin game for Liverpool. But Brighton aren’t playing particularly well right now. They did well at times against Newcastle, but as always, they lacked the cutting edge.
Luis Diaz has done well for Liverpool, but I’d still go with Diogo Jota ahead of him in the starting eleven. If tomorrow’s match was a Champions League semi-final or a big game, I’d be shocked if Jota didn’t play.
I see nothing but a Liverpool win this weekend. This game is an excellent opportunity for them to keep the pressure on in the title race. They’re playing before Manchester City this weekend, and that’s a big advantage. This should be an easy Liverpool victory.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Liverpool
Brentford vs Burnley
This is the big Premier League game this weekend. If Brentford win, that’s it. They’re safe. They’ll be nine points clear of Burnley with a victory here, and that’s a massive number of points with only nine games to go. This is a hard game to predict, but I’m backing Brentford to win.
Christian Eriksen has been unbelievable – I’m absolutely stunned. A lot of Premier League teams will be wondering why they didn’t take a chance with him. He’s a phenomenal footballer. He was brought in to keep them up and if they beat Burnley, his work is done.
Prediction: Brentford 2-1 Burnley
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
I don’t know when Tottenham will turn up and when they won’t. It’s hard to predict. Both Manchester United and Tottenham are very similar. If either team won this game, you wouldn’t be shocked one bit. That’s been their Premier League season so far.
Both these teams are like a pack of revels – you don’t know what you’re going to get. This is a pundit’s nightmare. Whichever way I call it, this could come back to bite me.
Dejan Kulusevski has been outstanding for Tottenham. Antonio Conte knew him from the Serie A, and it was a no-brainer of a signing. He’s hit the ground running in a much harder league than the Serie A.
I’m still living in the past, so I expect Manchester United to turn up in big Premier League games. They’ll have Cristiano Ronaldo back and they do have the home advantage. Both teams are chasing the top four, and I’ll back Manchester United to get ahead in the Premier League top-four race this weekend.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea vs Newcastle United
I’m going to be at this game, and I think Chelsea should be able to win. Newcastle beat Southampton this week, and I think that’s it for them – they should be safe in the Premier League now. Chelsea beat Norwich and that’s it for them too – they should make it to the top four.
Chelsea are in a bit of a situation at the moment. Rudiger’s gone anyway – you don’t refuse to sign a contract and lose eighty grand a week for nothing. When players don’t sign contracts, you can take it for granted that they’ll leave more often than not.
Where can you take Chelsea from here? They’re the champions of Europe and they’ve won everything. Whoever buys Chelsea at this point will probably just lose money. They’ll have to start selling players – if they can get their money back for Timo Werner, they’ll probably sell him too.
Newcastle have been absolutely outstanding to do what they’ve done in the Premier League so far, but I’m going to go with a comfortable Chelsea win. To be fair, I’d probably predict the same result if this fixture was taking place a year from now.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United
Leeds United vs Norwich City
Leeds, wow! They were bad in their Premier League match against Aston Villa. I didn’t like what the manager said after the game either – he said he didn’t realise the players were that stressed. They played well against Leicester, but they got absolutely smashed by Villa.
This is a must-win cup final for Leeds. They have to win. I don’t know how many more chances we’re going to give Norwich, but they could cause some problems. You don’t know which Norwich will turn up, and you don’t know which Leeds will turn up either.
The shackles will be off for Norwich. But Leeds are under a lot of pressure and I don’t know if they can handle it. Patrick Bamford is back, and his return could give Leeds and their fans the boost they need. A draw wouldn’t be great for Leeds, but it’s a likely result this weekend.
Prediction: Leeds United 1-1 Norwich City
Everton vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Everton have to win this game. They have Wolves and Newcastle at home coming up, and they need at least four points from these two games. I don’t see how Everton are going to get that big Premier League result this season.
The thing with Wolves again is that you don’t know what team you’re going to play. Every team will be looking at Ruben Neves now – he’s a proper player. Wolves are the better team at the moment, and Everton will be in big trouble if they lose this game.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
West Ham United vs Aston Villa
Aston Villa are playing really well at the moment. Philippe Coutinho’s hit the ground running in the Premier League, and he’s settled quicker than snow. He’s putting himself in the shop window in the transfer market. Coutinho hasn’t enjoyed his football for four years and now he’s playing with a smile on his face. If I was him, I’d sign for Aston Villa.
This is a big game. Three weeks ago, you’d think this is a give-me game for West Ham. But Villa are in a real vein of form now, and they’ve done well under Steven Gerrard. West Ham will probably have one eye on their game against Sevilla, and I’m going to back Aston Villa to pull off a bit of an upset here.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Aston Villa
Southampton vs Watford
I was quite shocked by Southampton’s result this week. But Watford, oh! Roy Hodgson must be pulling all his hair out – they just can’t defend. I thought Watford had a few results in them but they’ve been poor.
Southampton created a lorry-load of chances against Newcastle and they can be impressive on their day. I’d back Southampton to win this game comfortably.
Prediction: Southampton 3-0 Watford
Arsenal vs Leicester City
Leicester have turned a bit of a corner, but they’ll have to do without Jamie Vardy this week. Youri Tielemans could be on the move this summer – Brendan Rodgers has made him a much better player. He hasn’t signed a contract as yet, and I think he’ll be on his way.
The football Arsenal played last week was breathtaking. They could put severe pressure on United and Spurs in the top-four race with a victory. This game will be tight, but I’d expect Arsenal to win this game.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City
This is a hard game for Manchester City. They were outstanding last week against Manchester United. I think I nearly called that result, didn’t I? City are a bit open on the counter, and I think Patrick Vieira will look to exploit that this weekend.
Crystal Palace are a better opponent than United for Manchester City, believe it or not. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re a proper team. Palace will sit back and break with pace and energy.
This is going to be a good game. I’m going to back Manchester City to win, but I don’t think this will be a walk in the park.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Manchester City