May 1, 2023 6:31 pm
We take a look at the 3 games set to be played throughout the week, including Liverpool v Fulham, Man City v West Ham, and Brighton v Man United.
Liverpool v Fulham
Well, we saw the good, the bad, and the ugly when Liverpool hosted Spurs at the weekend. For the neutral, it was potentially one of the games of the season, but for both Liverpool and Spurs fans, it was absolute torture come the full-time whistle.
Liverpool looked like doing what Newcastle did to Spurs the other week. They raced into a 3-0 lead after just 15 minutes, with Curtis Jones and Luis Diaz scoring in the first 5 minutes, and Salah powering home from the penalty spot 10 minutes later. It looked like a certain 3 points for Liverpool, and a very comfortable win for them.
Spurs had other ideas and actually showed a bit of a fight about them this time. Harry Kane pulled one back 5 minutes before half time, getting his 25th goal of the season, and giving Spurs half a chance of getting back into the game. Son made it a contest with 13 minutes to go, scoring his 10th of the season, and Spurs’ second of the game to make it 3-2.
Liverpool continued to crumble, as Richarlison finally got his first goal of the season, and his first goal for Spurs, with a 93rd-minute equaliser. There was still time for some more drama, however. A horrible back pass from Lucas Moura found its way to Diego Jota, and the inform man powered home, winning the game for Liverpool just 99 seconds after Spurs had equalised.
Liverpool will be glad of the 3 points, but defensively, they were absolutely woeful. Against a team with more confidence, they could easily have lost that game. Their performance over the first 15 minutes needs to be emulated over the whole 90 if they have any chance of hanging on to 5th place.
Fulham may have considered themselves unlucky against Man City, as they fell to a 2-1 loss at home, but in truth, they just were not good enough. They only managed one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes, and that was scored through Carlos Vinicius.
Aside from that, it was all one-way traffic. The early penalty from Erling Haaland will certainly have settled any nerves City had coming into the game, and Fulham did not really stand a chance after that. They did well to get themselves back into the game, but they need to do better.
After challenging for a European spot for the last month or two, they now sit in mid-table, with no realistic chance of qualifying. For me, their attention should be turning to the next season now. There is no chance they go on and get relegated here, and they do not have anything to play for but pride now.
With Fulham’s predicament of having nothing to play for and the fact Liverpool is fighting tooth and nail for a spot in the top 4, Liverpool really needs to come out and blow Fulham out of the water. A win here puts them a few points clear of Spurs, a loss and they are only one point ahead. Liverpool needs to win this, and it think they will, just.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Fulham
Man City v West Ham
Man City were good against Fulham, but not amazing. They created chance after chance and only scored through a penalty and a goal-of-the-season contender from Julian Alvarez. All that matters at the end of the day for City, and that they got 3 points, and that they now sit on top of the table, with a game in hand.
City will have been glad to pick up 3 points at Craven Cottage as well. It is one of their only remaining fixtures where you felt like they could have struggled. They will need to do better in future, but their defensive display against Fulham shows that they can shut teams out as well.
With 6 games to go, City’s season is reaching a climax. Finally top of the table, with this game being an opportunity to go 4 points clear, a Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid and an FA Cup final against Man United all to play. Their chances of winning a treble are truly alive.
West Ham were on the end of an absolute cracker at Selhurst Park at the weekend. Despite being at their attacking best, their defensive side let them down, as they slipped to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace.
Despite Soucek giving them the lead within the first 10 minutes, Crystal Palace blew them away with 3 goals in 15 minutes, with Jordan Ayew equalised after 15 minutes, Zaha putting The Eagles ahead 5 minutes later, and Schlupp completing the turnaround on the half-hour mark.
West Ham got back into the game, but it was too little too late, as Palace ran out deserved winners. The result keeps The Hammers 5 points clear of the drop zone with 5 games to play. They need to get back to basics defensively, and not let their commitment in the Europa Conference League affect their Premier League Status.
I think this game will be one step too far for West Ham. We saw them go toe to toe with Arsenal the other week, but Arsenal were struggling. City is on such a high at the moment, they look incredibly hard to beat. This should be a straightforward home win here.
Prediction: Man City 3 – 0 West Ham
Brighton v Man United
Brighton had, potentially, their game of the season at the weekend. They hammered Wolves 6-0 at home, earning De Zebri yet another impressive win as Brighton’s manager. The job he has done since Potter left has been nothing short of incredible.
Deniz Undav, Danny Welbeck and Pascal Groß all scored a brace each, with 4 of those goals going in before halftime, the first time they have done this since 2016 when they played Leeds in The Championship. Each week they seem to be getting better and better, and I cannot wait to see how they fare next season.
This is one of Brighton’s two games in hand against the teams above them, so it is vital that they pick up a win here to try and claim a spot in the top 5 again. It will be a tough game for Brighton, and a tough race for 5th spot, with Liverpool starting to pick up points again, but this season has been a massive success for them no matter what.
Man United picked up a slender, but important win against Aston Villa at the weekend. They came up against Emery’s inform side trying to put some distance between themselves and the sides below them, and they delivered.
Despite United dominating the game and restricting Villa to just one shot on target, they did not blow Villa away. They created a fair few chances, and Fernandes scored the only goal of the game with 39 minutes on the clock.
The only issue I can pick with United’s performance is that they did not put the game to bed. Yes, they stayed solid defensively, but they really should have been out of sight. They will have to be better in front of goal against Brighton.
This is a big game for both sides, and I think it will be a very entertaining one. Brighton is brilliant going forward, and United are as well. There should be goals in this one, but I feel both sides may pull the hand break slightly, as neither side can afford to lose this either. Brighton to edge this one for me.
Prediction: Brighton 2 – 1 Man United