Manchester City will win the Premier League and Manchester United are home and hosed in qualifying for the Champions League which means three teams are battling for the two remaining places. Liverpool are away at Crystal Palace and should avoid defeat so the crucial match is Chelsea at home to Tottenham. A win for the visitors would be huge in the context of Champions League qualification but if Chelsea win three points the issue is back in the melting pot.
The champions-elect play at Everton on Saturday and they don’t have a brilliant record at Goodison Park. Everton won the corresponding fixture 4-0 last season and drew at the Etihad at the start of the current campaign. If the home side win or draw this fixture they will be the only team not to lose to City in the Premier League this season. Everton are becalmed in mid-table safety, free from relegation issues and out of the running to qualify for the Europa League.
Everton were a club in crisis at the end of last year but Sam Allardyce has come in and achieved the objective of keeping the club in the Premier League. Fans are not happy with the style of play but avoiding relegation was huge and Allardyce has got that particular job done. City are 16 points clear of United at the top of the table with eight matches remaining. They would have to lose six of those to give United a sniff and they have only suffered one defeat in the league all season.
This is the type of fixture to bet on a low card count. It could turn out to be a glorified kickabout and nobody will be going in too hard. When the effort levels are down players are less prone to commit fouls so there should be fewer bookings. In terms of goals this type of match can go either way but it should be an open contest which can produce more than 2 goals and both teams should score.
By kick-off at 5.30 Liverpool should be travelling back north after a satisfactory outcome at Palace. However, they have played one match more than the other sides in contention for a top four finish. Liverpool have won four matches in five starts and were scoring plenty of goals before the international break. Mo Salah keeps knocking them in and he could break Ian Rush’s season scoring record.
Palace are two points and two places above the drop zone so defeat can see them back in the bottom three. They won their last league fixture but that followed four defeats on the spin. Liverpool’s class should count and the visitors can win this fixture and stay right in the mix for Champions League qualification. The Chelsea v Tottenham fixture on Sunday will be massive in that context and a home win would put a fly in the ointment and that is a feasible outcome.
Stoke are one from bottom and three points from safety. However, only four points covers them in 19th place and Newcastle six places higher. Arsenal look destined for the sixth place as they are eight points behind Chelsea a place above and five points better off than Burnley in seventh. A standard home win should transpire for Arsenal but their Premier League season is over. Stoke are desperate for points but they probably won’t win any in this fixture.