Liverpool’s emphatic 4-0 defeat against Manchester City on Thursday night was an early preview to a potentially tight race for the Premier League title in the 2020-21 campaign.
But the current season still has six matchdays left and many more stories to tell before the curtains are drawn on an unprecedented term.
The top four race has gathered more steam after both Leicester and Chelsea lost against Everton and West Ham respectively, with Sheffield United’s win over Tottenham reigniting the former’s European hopes, while further denting Spurs’ fading top four charge. The Hammers’ surprise victory over Chelsea has come as a major boost in their hopes to claw their way away from the relegation scrap.
Without further ado, let’s see what gameweek 33 of the Premier League has in store for us.
Norwich City vs Brighton (Prediction 0-1):
Norwich have remained rooted to the bottom of the Premier League since Boxing Day and are seven points adrift of safety with just six games left in the season.
The Canaries have little to no hope of safeguarding their Premier League status and are likely to return to the Championship at the end of the season.
It seems likely that even if they get a result at home against Brighton, they have left themselves too much to do for the last few games of the campaign.
Brighton have a six-point lead over teams in the relegation zone and are aware that another win could just do the trick, given the quality of the teams below them.
Graham Potter will be stressing the importance of getting three points from Norwich to his players.
Given Norwich’s form and complete lack of confidence, and Brighton’s incentive for a win, the away side could get the victory they need at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Leicester City vs Crystal Palace (Prediction 1-1):
Brendan Rodgers’ side are miles away from their scintillating early-season form and are now just barely holding on to their top-four status.
Their defeat to Everton this week means just three points are separating them and Manchester United in fifth.
The Foxes are in dire need of a win as they have just four victories in their last 16 Premier League games.
With games against Arsenal, Sheffield United, Tottenham and Manchester United lined up until the end of the season, Leicester City will be aware of the importance of getting all three points against Crystal Palace.
Jamie Vardy’s callow run in front of goal and the lack of the early-season verve on the pitch has left Leicester looking over their shoulders in the race for a top-four finish.
After a run of four consecutive wins, Palace have lost back-to-back games against Liverpool and Burnley.
With nothing to play for in the last six games of the season, the Eagles run the risk of going through the motions.
Roy Hodgson will be desperate to make sure that his side’s season doesn’t end with a whimper.
With Leicester on the ropes in terms of form, Palace will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Manchester United vs Bournemouth (Prediction 3-0):
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are a far cry from the team that lost tepidly to Bournemouth at the Vitality in November.
Manchester United are unbeaten in 15 games in all competition and have looked imperious since the season restarted last month.
With Chelsea and Leicester losing this week, the Premier League giants smell blood in the race to finish in the top four and will be looking to exert further pressure with another three points at home when Bournemouth visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
With their forward lining firing on all cylinders and their defence looking solid, Manchester United will be confident of taking care of the Cherries.
Bournemouth have lost six of their last seven Premier League games and have been getting further dragged down in the relegation quagmire. A 4-1 defeat at home to Newcastle further complicated matters for Eddie Howe’s side.
However, there is hope for them as only a point still separates them from Watford, who are 17th in the league table.
But with games against Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City after their Old Trafford visit, Bournemouth are potentially staring down the barrel.
Anything other than a Manchester United win at Old Trafford this Saturday would be a surprise.
Wolves vs Arsenal (Prediction 2-0):
Wolves have won their last three games on the trot and have been making a real run to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.
They are level on points with fifth-placed Manchester United and are just two points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Wolves have not conceded a goal in their last four league games and a solid defence has helped them to register 1-0 wins over Bournemouth and Aston Villa.
Wolves will be looking to have the same tightness at the back when they host Arsenal on Saturday and register another win and keep the pressure on the teams ahead of them.
Following defeats to Brighton and Manchester City, Arsenal seemed far away from the European places.
But back-to-back wins over Southampton and Norwich have got them back in the race.
They are still eight points off the top four places but Arsenal can still qualify for the Europa League.
But they have a tough run of games ahead, with Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool in their next four Premier League fixtures.
Wolves will fancy their chances of etching out another narrow win at home against the Gunners.
Chelsea vs Watford (Prediction 2-0):
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side squandered a chance to move into third place this week when they lost 3-2 to West Ham in a London derby.
The defeat meant Chelsea are now just two points ahead of Manchester United, who are fifth in the league table.
The Blues remain favourites to finish in the top four but the loss at West Ham has complicated the equation for them.
Chelsea also have games against Sheffield United and Liverpool left in their fixture list and are aware that they cannot afford any more surprising slip-ups against unfancied teams.
Watford have somehow managed to keep their head just above the relegation quagmire despite losing three of their last four Premier League games.
They have a point’s lead over the teams in the relegation zone and only Bournemouth and Aston Villa’s inability to get a result has kept the Hornets above the drop zone.
The Hornets will be aware that they will need to string together a few points in the last six games to keep themselves in the Premier League next season.
However, they are unlikely to get anything when they visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Chelsea will look to avoid anything other than a routine home win.
Burnley vs Sheffield United (Prediction 1-1):
Back to back wins over Watford and Crystal Palace have catapulted Burnley into the top half of the Premier League.
Keeping aside the rumours over his future at Turf Moore, Sean Dyche is looking forward to a strong end to the season and help his side finish in the top ten at least, if not a late charge for a European spot.
The Clarets have been strong at home and will be looking to keep their form going when Sheffield United come visiting on Sunday.
Sheffield United ended their winless run with three points against Tottenham on Thursday.
The victory helped revive their hopes of qualifying for Europe and spring a major surprise in their first season back in the Premier League.
However, given Burnley’s form it is hard to see that they will lose at home against Sheffield United.
Newcastle United vs West Ham (Prediction 1-1):
Two wins in their three games since the restart have dragged Newcastle away from a potentially tense finish to the season.
Newcastle are sitting comfortably in 13th in the Premier League table and looked good in their 4-1 win at Bournemouth this week.
The team have not allowed the takeover talks to overwhelm their end to the campaign and Steve Bruce has been giving a good account of himself ahead of the potential arrival of new owners ahead of next season.
West Ham’s 3-2 win over Chelsea at home on Wednesday was a massive boost to their hopes of surviving in the Premier League this season.
They climbed up to 16th in the league table and have managed to build some distance from the teams in the relegation zone with a three-point gap.
David Moyes will be hoping that his team will carry the confidence into the game at St. James’ Park and he will be looking to get something from their travel to Tyneside on Sunday.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa (Prediction 4-0):
The new Premier League champions got their guard of honour at the Etihad on Thursday evening but were walloped 4-0 by Manchester City, who served an early warning to Liverpool ahead of next season.
Jurgen Klopp refused to blame the defeat on the attitude of his players but he will be looking for a response fitting the champions when Aston Villa visit Anfield on Sunday.
Klopp will be desperate to avoid a meandering end to the campaign after watching his side dominate the league from the start to the finish.
Aston Villa have lost two of their three games since the restart and have not tasted victory in the Premier League for seven games, losing six of them. The Villans have been on a free fall but they are still just a point away from safety.
Dean Smith will stress the same while he looks to get a tune out of his team in the last six games of the season.
But Villa are unlikely to get anything against a Liverpool side who will be looking to make a statement on Sunday.
Southampton vs Manchester City (Prediction 0-2):
Ralph Hasenhuttl has seen his Southampton side win two of their three Premier League games since the restart.
The Saints are on 40 points and are unlikely to get dragged into the relegation dogfight.
But like some of the other mid-table sides, Southampton are also looking to avoid a tepid end to their campaign.
However, life is likely to be tough for the south coast team when Manchester City come calling on Sunday.
Manchester City have massively underperformed this season and more or less surrendered the Premier League title to a rampaging Liverpool side.
But Pep Guardiola’s side served an early warning for next season when they thrashed the champions on Thursday with a convincing 4-0 win at the Etihad.
Guardiola is unlikely to allow his side to relax until the end of the season, even though the title is lost. They are likely to win all three points when they visit the St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (Prediction 1-1):
Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United on Thursday further dented their fading hopes of gatecrashing into the Champions League spots.
They are nine points adrift of Chelsea in fourth and seven points behind fifth-placed Manchester United.
The importance of being in the Champions League for Tottenham’s finances has been well documented but Jose Mourinho has failed to find any consistency from his side.
Another failure to win on Monday night will further complicate matters for Spurs.
Everton have posted back-to-back Premier League wins against Norwich and Leicester City and are looking to a strong finish to the season. Carlo Ancelotti is still hopeful of making a late charge for a European place but the Everton manager will ideally like a top-half finish this season. Everton will see getting a point from Tottenham as a good result on Monday night.
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