Saturday, March 2nd
Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham
Long live St. Totteringham’s day. For Arsenal supporters that is.
The long-celebrated tradition has been brought out of retirement for the upcoming weeks as two consecutive Spurs losses have Arsenal drooling over the potential of beating their rivals for third place behind Liverpool and Manchester City. If Arsenal leaves Wembley with three points, they will only be a point behind Spurs, an incredible turnaround after just a week.
Following a shock loss at Turf Moor last weekend, Tottenham’s woes continued with an uninspired performance against Chelsea. For the first time ever under Pochettino’s management, Spurs failed to execute even a single shot on target. Kieran Trippier, however, showed his teammates what good finishing looked like, slotting a pass beyond Hugo Lloris and into his own net.
Tottenham should be nervous at the possibility of Manchester United, Arsenal, or even Chelsea knocking them out of the Champions League positions in the final ten matches of the Premier League season.
Arsenal, on the other hand, has been on a tear in recent weeks. Their most recent victory featured five goals from the Gunners against a struggling Bournemouth. Though Emery’s team has looked lethal lately, the North London derby presents a challenge of an entirely different degree. Playing at Wembley and against a Tottenham side that is eager to return to winning ways will cause Arsenal more mental problems than tactical ones.
Tottenham must produce a decent performance after two tragically disappointing league matches. Arsenal, however, will also be mindful of Chelsea and Manchester United’s pursuit of Champions League football and need something from the game to stay in the race.
Both sides desired results will result in a high-scoring draw to kick off the match week.
Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth
After scrapping out a 1-0 victory against West Ham, City will continue their hot pursuit of Liverpool with a triumph over a struggling Bournemouth. Success at the Vitality Stadium Saturday would put City in first place for a full 24 hours before Liverpool kickoff against Everton for the Merseyside derby.
Since shocking Chelsea 4-0 in late January, Bournemouth has been in a constant spiral. Their latest defeat came in the form of a 5-1 drubbing against Arsenal. This spell of terrible form has seen the Cherries fall to 12th in the league, now only nine points above the relegation zone.
Bournemouth’s troubles will continue against City. Their defensive issues will be exposed further by Manchester City’s machine-like attack force. Expect a comfortable win for the Citizens this weekend.
Southampton 0-2 Manchester United
Returning to Old Trafford after beating Crystal Palace 3-1, Manchester United will look to extend their unbeaten streak in the Premier League. Under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, United are yet to experience defeat.
Though his squad is riddled with injuries, the Norwegian manager would like to pull a few players off of the injury report and onto the team sheet this weekend. Among those returning will likely be Marcus Rashford as well as potentially Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, and Jesse Lingard.
Solksjaer, however, must consider rotating his squad to fuel a comeback against PSG next week which may force him not to rush any injured players back into his team. Suspended for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, Pogba will feature in United’s starting 11 against Southampton.
Having lost just twice since the new year, the Saints have looked reborn under new manager Ralph Hassenhuttl. Their latest win struck the final nail in Ranieri’s coffin as they fired two goals past a helpless Fulham. Their opponents this weekend, however, present a different challenge entirely.
Solksjaer’s side will be too much for Southampton, overpowering them through the midfield and with their pace down the wings. United will win this game by multiple goals.
Cardiff City 1-2 Wolves
Though Wolves were beaten in a shock defeat to Huddersfield a few days ago, they will bounce back with a strong performance at their home ground. Given that Nuno’s men are undefeated in their last five matches at Molineux, Wolves will favor themselves to come away will all three points.
Wolves, however, will not be pleased with Cardiff’s transformed away record that has seen them win two and draw one of their last five road matches.
Likely to respond from their disappointing midweek performance with a strong showing, Wolves will beat Cardiff 2-1 in their push to nail down the seventh spot as their own.
Huddersfield 0-1 Brighton
In a match that will have critical repercussions for both sides’ relegation chances, neither Brighton nor Huddersfield can afford a loss this Saturday.
Though Huddersfield has used this season as an attempt to score the record for fewest points in a Premier League Campaign, their chances at achieving such a feat were crushed after they beat Wolves 1-0 in midweek. Before the win, however, Huddersfield had not taken three points from a match in seven consecutive home games.
Brighton also finds themselves in poor form with their last win coming in a 1-0 victory against Everton in late December.
Brighton, however, has the advantage Saturday. Their strong home record combined with Huddersfield’s abysmal performances on the road will tip the result in favor of the Seagulls. Brighton will take three points from this matchup in a dull and cautious affair.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Burnley
After losing 3-1 to Manchester United on Wednesday, Palace will not be looking forward to a trip to Turf Moor. Burnley, after all, has developed a strong record at home, winning five of their last seven home games in all competitions.
The problems continue for Roy Hodgson’s men as Palace have lost both of their previous visits to Turf Moor. Crystal Palace, however, can gain confidence from their reinforced lineup that will feature Batshuayi and Zaha playing as part of their front three.
After beating Tottenham 2-1 a week ago, Burnley saw their seven-game unbeaten streak fall to the wayside as they lost decisively to an inspired Newcastle.
This match will feature two teams that have ditched their early struggles and found relative stability in their low-table positions. As both sides are in possibly their best form of the season, it is difficult to pick out a decisive winner. Therefore, a draw is on the cards.
Newcastle 1-1 West Ham
Newcastle will be looking to carry their recent form at St. James’ Park down to London with them as they take on West Ham in Saturday’s late fixture. Though Newcastle has been resurgent in recent weeks thanks to the signing of Miguel Almiron and the emergence of Sean Longstaff, their record on the road makes betting on them to win this weekend a difficult ask.
West Ham, who delivered a valiant 1-0 loss against Manchester City in midweek, has been instrumental in using home-field to their full advantage this season. Having already beaten Arsenal and Manchester United and drawn against Chelsea and Liverpool at the London Stadium, the Hammers have turned last season’s nightmare stadium into something of a fortress. Also, West Ham trampled Fulham 3-1 in their previous match at home and are favorites to come away with three points this weekend.
Though Newcastle has the fifth best defensive record in the league, Benitez’s boys have only kept a single clean sheet in their previous eight matches. This record proves ominous, forecasting that there will be goals from both sides in the game, but not enough to declare a winner.
Sunday, March 3rd
Leicester City 2-1 Watford
Leicester’s clash against Watford this weekend will feature the most anticipated return to the Premier League since David Silva’s hair grew back. On Sunday, Brendan Rodgers will lead the Foxes out of the tunnel against the Hornets.
Rodgers takes over from Claude Puel who received the sack after a massive 4-1 home loss to Crystal Palace Tuesday. Brendan Rodgers has taken a wayward path to the King Power. After leaving his coaching role at Chelsea nearly ten years ago, Rodgers has coached Reading, Swansea, Liverpool and, most recently, Celtic.
Though Watford cruised to an emphatic 5-1 victory against Cardiff last Friday, they were brought back to earth in a humbling 5-0 defeat to league leaders Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers’ arrival should give Leicester the boost needed to put up a significant fight against a Watford side who would have been heavy favorites if this competition was played two weeks ago. Leicester may just put on their best showing of the league in this match, beating Watford in a confident return to form.
Chelsea 3-0 Fulham
After beating Tottenham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge Wednesday, Chelsea could not have asked for a more favorable matchup. Fulham, who currently sit in 19th place and eight points from safety, have just hired Claudio Ranieri, their second manager of the season. Also, Fulham holds the worst defensive record in the premier league, conceding 63 goals in 28 games, eight goals more than second-worst Cardiff.
Chelsea, who did well to beat Tottenham after a physically and mentally exerting 120 minutes against Manchester City in last weekend’s cup final, will treat the match as an opportunity to get three points without too much exertion. Sarri’s lineup will be an exciting element of the game. Against such a porous defense, the Italian should likely deploy the young Hudson-Odoi beside Higuain and Hazard. Also, Emerson Palmieri, who delivered his two best performances of the season in consecutive games, watched from the sidelines in midweek as Alonso put in his best shift of the campaign. A position Emerson seemed to have in his back pocket is once again up for grabs. The biggest storyline for Chelsea, however, remains between the sticks. Will Sarri put Kepa back in the lineup or will he continue his punishment of the young Spaniard?
Regardless of the final lineup, Chelsea should have no problems against Fulham.
Liverpool 4-1 Everton
If these predictions are correct, Liverpool will enter Goodison Park in second place in the league, desperately needing all of the points available to stay ahead of chasers Manchester City.
Though Liverpool was stagnant throughout February, drawing multiple matches in all competitions, the reds silenced the critics with an emphatic 5-0 win against Watford on Wednesday.
On the other side of Liverpool, Everton sits in ninth place in the league, caught in the middle of a disappointing first season under Marco Silva.
If Liverpool wants to win their first title in 29 years, these are the games in which they cannot afford to drop points. Though the spirit of the derby could work against Liverpool, Klopp’s men have the strength and creativity to gain all three points against Everton. Marco Silva’s side has looked increasingly shoddy in recent weeks and has left the door open for a thrashing at the expense of Liverpool this Sunday. Do not be the least bit surprised if Liverpool takes full advantage of their rival’s woes and completely demolish Everton in the derby.