May 19, 2023 5:19 pm
We take a look at this week’s Premier League action, including the game where City could clinch the title, at home against Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa battle it out for a European spot, and West Ham, who can confirm their status as a Premier League club for next season, against a Leeds side desperate for points.
This Week’s Premier League Fixtures
Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford
Bournemouth v Man United
Fulham v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Wolves v Everton
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
West Ham v Leeds
Brighton v Southampton
Man City v Chelsea
Newcastle v Leicester
Liverpool v Aston Villa
I can say with some confidence now, that Liverpool is back. They are on a 7 game-win streak and have not lost since their 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Man City. In that time, they have demolished Leeds, earned a dramatic draw against Arsenal, won a 4-3 thriller against Spurs, and gained 3 clean sheets in their last 3 games.
Last time out, they took on a Leicester side who were hoping to catch Liverpool on one of their off days, in a bid to put some much-needed points on the board. Liverpool, however, were not interested. Curtis Jones scored a brace as Salah registered 3 assists, in a comfortable 3-0 win.
The result keeps them hot on the tail of Man United. They are one point behind them and have played a game extra, but with 2 games to go, or 3 in the case of Man United, their top 4 hopes are alive. It has been a brilliant turnaround from them to get without a shout of a Champions League place, let alone being 1 point off.
Aston Villa bounced back from a derby day defeat to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Villa Park. Jacob Ramsey scored within the first 10 minutes to give Villa the lead, and Douglas Luiz added the all-important second goal after 72 minutes. Despite a late scare from a 90th-minute Harry Kane penalty, Villa saw the game out to gain a vital 3 points.
The result keeps Villa’s slim hopes of a European spot alive, putting them 1 point behind Brighton, who take up 6th place. With 2 games to go, Villa will be wanting to finish the season on a high, before turning their attention to improving next season. Aston Villa are a very exciting club at the moment, and it will be interesting to see how far they can go.
This is a difficult game for both sides. Playing away at Anfield is tough for any team, and Villa will be no different. For Liverpool, they cannot afford to relax. The pressure will be on them to try gain that 4th spot from United, and they will have to be at their best to beat a good Villa side. I think the home crowd will help Liverpool see this one through though.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Aston Villa
Wolves v Everton
Wolves are mathematically safe and they will be playing in the Premier League next season. What an achievement for the club, as a few months ago they looked dead and buried. It looked as if they would be going down with a whimper, but Lopetegui has galvanised the club, and the players, and has steered them to safety.
Their home form has been crucial to this. They have made themselves hard to score past, let alone beat, at home, and it has certainly paid dividends for them. They have won to nil in their last 4 games at home, beating Chelsea, Brentford, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, but it is their away form that has let them down this season.
They put in a pitiful performance against Man United last week, registering 5 shots, with 0 on target across the 90 minutes, compared to United’s 27 shots, 9 on target. United ran out 2-0 winners, but it could have been a cricket score really. They will have to improve on this next season if they are to avoid another relegation fight.
Everton left themselves hanging precariously above the relegation zone by a single point after their loss against Man City. Nobody really expected them to turn up and beat City, or even get a point, especially considering the run City are on, but the performance from Everton was abysmal.
Gundogan continued his scoring run with a goal either side of Erling Haaland’s 36th of the season. City was cruising in the first half, and some of the football they played made it look like it was men against boys. Everton needs to put up more of a fight in their last two games, as they may as well have rolled over and handed City the three points before kickoff.
With two games to go, Everton’s Premier League status is hanging by a thread. They have this game against Wolves, and then a home game against Bournemouth on the last day of the season. A win in either of these games could see them safe, but they cannot rely on other teams to drop points. They need to be winning both of these games.
This is such a massive game for Everton, and it is a shame for them that Wolves are so good at home at the moment. I do not see Wolves rotating the team and throwing a few youth players in, they will want to finish the season strongly. Unfortunately for Everton, their survival status looks like it will be decided on the final game of the season.
Prediction: Wolves 2 – 0 Everton
West Ham v Leeds
If Everton’s game against Wolves is massive, then this game is absolutely colossal for both sides. A win for West Ham will guarantee their survival, whereas a win for Leeds could take them out of the bottom three, with one game left to play.
After beating Man United 1-0, West Ham had Premier League survival and the Europa Conference League semi-final on their minds. First up, the home leg in the Europa Conference League against AZ Alkmaar. West Ham started slowly and went in at the break 1-0 down, but they managed to turn it around in the second half with a much-improved performance. A Benrahma penalty got them back on level terms, and 8 minutes later, Michail Antonio netted, giving The Hammers a 2-1 aggregate lead.
West Ham then turned their attention to the Premier League, as they travelled to play Brentford, where they got completely battered. West Ham registered 4 shots, with all 4 on target, however, Brentford managed 24 shots, with 10 of those on target. The damage was done in the first 45 minutes of the game, with Mbeumo scoring after 20 minutes, and Yoane Wissa scoring just before halftime, condemning West Ham to a 2-0 loss.
West Ham then travelled to AZ Alkmaar in their second leg of the Europa Conference League, in a game that lacked any real goalmouth action. Alkmaar started strongly again, as they did in the reverse fixture, but could not get past a resilient West Ham defence. Despite only having 30% possession, West Ham scored in the 94th minute through Pablo Fornals, making it 3-1 on aggregate, sending them into the finals.
Whilst West Ham was tasting European glory once again, Leeds remained in the relegation zone, despite picking up a very good point. They faced a Newcastle side attempting to clinch a top 4 spot. It was a fairly even game, with Newcastle potentially shading it, but Leeds fans will be happy with the performance, but disappointed they could not take all 3 points home.
Luke Ayling gave Leeds a fast start, netting in the first 7 minutes of the game. Callum Wilson equalised from the penalty spot in the 31st minute, sending the sides in at half-time level. Callum Wilson then netted his second penalty of the game in the 69th minute, giving Newcastle a 2-1 lead. Kristensen then equalised with 11 minutes to go to make it 2-2, and there was still time for some late drama, with Junior Firpo receiving his marching orders for Leeds in the 91st minute.
The draw keeps Leeds 1 point from safety, with 2 games to go, and their final game of the season is at home against Tottenham Hotspur. They are now relying on other teams to drop points, but they still need to do their job. They need to win games, and this would be a perfect place for them to start.
As I said before, this is a colossal game for both sides. I thought Leeds was down and out, but that draw against Newcastle could spark something new. A result like that will give them confidence, but West Ham is flying high after their progression to a European Cup final. This should make for a brilliant game, and I think West Ham will win here and achieve safety.
Prediction: West Ham 2 – 0 Leeds
Man City v Chelsea
Man City are an absolute juggernaut when it comes to their form at the back end of the season. They are ripping every single team apart with ease. If they performed like this over the course of a whole season, it would be hard to argue that they would finish the season invincible.
Their game against Everton looked like an absolute breeze. A comfortable 3-0 win, Gundogan continuing his brilliant form, and Haaland netting as usual. City is just making it look so easy at the moment. It is hard to see them losing any of their last 3 games. There is a lot of pressure on this game against Chelsea, as they could be crowned champions if they win, but Pep will try to ease those expectations.
Speaking of City making it look easy, they cruised into the final of the Champions League, demolishing Real Madrid 4-0 on the night, winning 5-1 on aggregate. City started fast, as they did in the reverse fixture, but made their chances count this time round. Bernardo Silva netted twice in the first half, with Akanji adding a third in the second half, and Alvarez completing the rout in second-half stoppage time.
It is easy to big Man City up, and say that they should be winning every trophy they take part in, but realistically, it does look like they will win the treble now. They have 3 games left in the Premier League, and they could finish that race if they beat Chelsea. They have an FA Cup final against Man United who have been stuttering in recent weeks, with the goals from Rashford drying up. They then have the Champions League final against Inter Milan, where they will be hoping to add a new trophy to their cabinet.
Chelsea on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Man City at the moment. They have no chance of winning anything this season, and a bottom-half finish looks very realistic for them at the moment. In fact, if they lose against Man City, they are guaranteed to finish in the bottom half of the table, which is a horrendous season for a ‘top 6’ club.
After getting their first win under Frank Lampard against Bournemouth, expectations were raised slightly as they had a favourable home game against a Nottingham Forest side who are typically poor away from home. These expectations were not met, however, despite the performance, as they stumbled to a 2-2 draw.
Taiwo Awoniyi opened the scoring after 13 minutes before Raheem Sterling scored a brace with 7 minutes in the second half the give Chelsea the lead. Awoniyi scored again with Forests’ second shot on target, giving them an unlikely 2-2 draw at full-time. Chelsea managed 14 shots, with 6 of these on target, but could not make these chances count. The lack of an out-and-out striker has its impact yet again.
With the form City are in, it is hard to see anything other than a comfortable home win here. I do not see a way Lampard could spring a surprise here and delay City’s crowning. This should be a very comfortable game for the home side, and another poor performance from Chelsea.
Prediction: Man City 3 – 0 Chelsea
Newcastle v Leicester
Newcastle have a big fight on their hands for their Champions League place. With 2 games to go, Liverpool sits 4 points behind them, meaning they are just one win away from securing that Champions League spot they have been fighting for all season. What an incredible achievement for them this season.
After their disappointing 2-2 draw against Leeds, Newcastle hosted another side with European aspirations, Brighton. It was a strange game. Despite only having 33.7% possession, Newcastle peppered the Brighton goal, with 9 shots on target from their 22 taken. Newcastle took the lead after 22 minutes through a Deniz Undav own goal, and former Brighton defender Dan Burn made it 2-0 just before halftime.
Undav scored in the right net 6 minutes after the restart to give Brighton a lifeline, but late goals from Callum Wilson and Guimaraes handed Newcastle a vital and much-deserved win. If they play like that in their final few games, they will finish 3rd. I cannot wait to see what they manage next season in the Premier League and in the Champions League.
Leicester are in deep, deep trouble. They have two games left, and they sit 2 points from safety. They are going down with a whimper at the moment. There does not seem to be any fight left in them. Their game against Liverpool showed that. It was always going to be a difficult task, getting anything out of that game, but their performance bewildered me. They look like a team that is already down.
The same might be said for this game, it will be a difficult ask for them to get anything from this game, but they need to put a performance in that offers some hope. Their last game, away against West Ham, is going to be so important for them, as their survival is going to hinge on it.
A big game for both sides then. A Newcastle win guarantees them Champions League football next year, whereas a Leicester win gives them some hope of surviving relegation. Newcastle has been a different animal at home lately, bar their game against Arsenal the other week, and I cannot see Leicester getting anything out of this. As I predicted with Everton and Leeds, Leicester’s Premier League survival fight will go down to the last game of the season.
Prediction: Newcastle 3 – 0 Leicester
- Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 2 Brentford
- Bournemouth 1 – 2 Man United
- Fulham 1 – 1 Crystal Palace
- Nottingham Forest 0 – 2 Arsenal
- Brighton 3 – 0 Southampton