The penultimate round of games in the Premier League is upon us and the English top-flight still have some more twists and turns.
While Leeds are celebrating promotion to the Premier League, the names of the teams who will go down to the Championship remains unknown. West Ham might have done enough to survive but Watford will be looking over their shoulders in the last two games of the season.
So, let’s put on our seat belts and dive into the hazardous game of predicting games of football as an unprecedented league campaign draws to a close.
Norwich City vs Burnley (Prediction 0-2):
Norwich City showed some gumption in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend but the Canaries have been without a win since February. The club are facing their last two Premier League before returning to the Championship next season.
It remains to be seen whether the Norwich players manage to play without any inhibition in their last two fixtures and provide a glimpse of what could have been if they had performed a bit better earlier in the season.
Burnley are moving towards finishing in the top half of the Premier League and are on an unbeaten run of five games. Their performances have not dropped, despite having little to play for since the restart.
They also became the first team to take points off Liverpool at Anfield this season. Sean Dyche will not want his side to lose their focus and they are likely to beat Championship-bound Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Bournemouth vs Southampton (Prediction 2-1):
Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone but West Ham’s win over Watford on Friday night gives them hope of survival. The Hornets’ last two games are against Manchester City and Arsenal, and the Cherries are just three points behind Nigel Pearson’s side.
Eddie Howe will be desperate to conjure a performance out of his players in the last home game of their season. A win over Southampton would give the Cherries a real chance of survival, despite with a trip to Everton waiting for them on the last day of the campaign.
Southampton have looked a solid outfit since the Premier League resumed and are a much different team to the one who got beat 9-0 at Leicester earlier in the season. They are coming into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw to Brighton and will certainly pose a tough challenge for Bournemouth.
However, they have nothing to play for at this stage of the season and the Cherries have more of a motivation to get the three points at the Vitality Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City (Prediction 1-1):
Jose Mourinho has spelt out his intention of getting Tottenham to next season’s Europa League. They are currently occupying the last European slot in the league table and are a point ahead of Sheffield United in eighth, and two points ahead of Arsenal in ninth.
Tottenham are coming into the game on the back of back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Newcastle United, and Mourinho doesn’t want his team to slack in the final two Premier League games of the season.
Six points from their final two games will get Tottenham into next season’s Europa League.
Leicester are still fourth in the Premier League table but have Manchester United breathing down their neck as both sides are level on points. The Foxes need to win as Manchester United face relegation-threatened West Ham in midweek.
A win for both the teams could make the final game of the season between the two a straight shoot for a Champions League spot.
But Leicester can’t think too far ahead and need the points on Sunday. But looking at Tottenham’s recent form, it is hard to see the Foxes winning at the London Stadium.
Brighton vs Newcastle United (Prediction 2-1):
Unless something catastrophic happens in the final two games of the season, Brighton are set to spend another season in the Premier League. Graham Potter’s side have managed to collect the points needed to stay away from the relegation dogfight in the final two games of the campaign.
While the Brighton boss has insisted that he is looking for more points, Potter is aware that his side have done enough to continue in the Premier League next season.
Newcastle’s form at the start of Project Restart moved them away from the relegation zone, but performances and results have petered off in the last week or so.
They are on a run of three straight defeats and look like a team who have nothing to play at this stage of the season.
Can Steve Bruce conjure a performance out of his side and finish the season on a more positive note? He could but do not bank on it.
Sheffield United vs Everton (Prediction 2-0):
Sheffield United are still in the running for a place in Europe next season, despite losing to Leicester City earlier in the week. But Chris Wilder’s side now have little margin of error and will need to win their last two Premier League games and hope that Tottenham drop points.
Sheffield United will look to keep their end of the bargain when Everton visit Bramall Lane on Monday. A home win will keep them in the hunt for a Europa League spot going into the last day of the season when they will travel to Southampton.
A couple of wins following the resumption of the season has acted as a cushion for an Everton side who have looked poor in recent weeks.
They are without a win in their last four games and needed a late equaliser to share the points against relegation zone dwellers Aston Villa at Goodison Park earlier in the week.
The Toffees have nothing to play for and their recent performances have reflected that. It is unlikely they will arrest their slide in form at Bramall Lane.
Wolves vs Crystal Palace (Prediction 2-0):
Wolves are effectively out of contention to finish in the top four and are now defending their territory in order be in the Europa League again next season. They have a two-point cushion against eight placed Sheffield United but the margin for error for them is slim.
Nuno Espirito Santo will not tolerate any slacking from his side when they host an out-of-form Crystal Palace side on Monday night. They would want a win in order to go into the final game of the season in pole position to clinch a Europa League spot.
Crystal Palace are on a run of six consecutive losses and will be thankful for the points they accrued just before the season was suspended in a run of three straight wins. Without those points, Roy Hodgson’s side could easily have been in the relegation dogfight.
They showed more fight against Manchester United on Thursday night and were unlucky with refereeing calls. But Hodgson will want his side to get something from their final two Premier League games as this run of form could easily continue into the start of next season.
However, Wolves need the win more than them and that can make all the difference.
Watford vs Manchester City (Prediction 0-3):
Watford have found themselves in a pickle after their feeble 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Friday night. With their final two Premier League games being against Manchester City and Arsenal, they are now looking over their shoulders with only three points separating them from the bottom three.
Nigel Pearson has admitted that his side will now need something from their last two games in order to not depend on Bournemouth and Aston Villa for survival.
They have beaten Liverpool at home this season before the season-break. Can they repeat the trick against Manchester City? Don’t count on it.
Following their defeat at Southampton, Manchester City have won their next three on the bounce, scoring 12 goals and conceding just once.
While they had to huff and puff to beat Bournemouth in their last Premier League game, Pep Guardiola’s side are looking to finish the season on a high and put down a marker for the 2020-21 campaign.
Anything other than a Manchester City win would be a shock, despite Watford’s desperation.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal (Prediction 0-2):
Aston Villa missed a tantalising opportunity to get a win at Everton when they conceded a late equaliser earlier in the week. Watford’s defeat West Ham gives them a chance to survive relegation this season, but they will be taking on an in-form Arsenal side on Tuesday night.
The Villans have struggled against the top teams this season and will have to pull off a shock next week. A draw is not good enough for them at this stage of the season and a win over Arsenal seems unlikely.
Whatever happens in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, Mikel Arteta’s side need to win their last two Premier League games in order to maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for the Europa League trough league standings next season.
Arsenal have won four of their last six games and did beat Liverpool 2-1 at home in their last Premier League outing. Arteta will be desperate to see his side not squander on their gains and lose points in their final two games.
Manchester United vs West Ham (Prediction 3-0):
For Manchester United, the equation is straight – win their last two Premier League games and they will be in the Champions League next season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be in FA Cup semi-final clash on Sunday but he will have one eye on the league game against West Ham.
With Leicester and Chelsea facing tricky games, a win for the Red Devils could be massive in their attempts to qualify for the Champions League.
They have been in pristine form since the restart and Solskjaer will be desperate to make sure that they continue their run until the end of the season.
The win over Watford has more or less confirmed West Ham’s stay in the Premier League for one more season and if results go their way, the Hammers’ safety could be guaranteed even before the ball is kicked at Old Trafford.
In theory, they could have nothing to play for on Wednesday and that could come in handy for Manchester United, who need to keep winning.
Liverpool vs Chelsea (Prediction 2-1):
Liverpool have looked ropey since winning the Premier League title. They dropped their first points at Anfield this season against Burnley and followed it up with a defeat at Arsenal.
Despite an unprecedented season, Liverpool will not be matching Manchester City’s 100-point tally of the 2017-18 campaign. But they have enough motivation to win on Wednesday night as they will be presented with the Premier League trophy after the game.
Jurgen Klopp will want to have the glow of win on his players’ faces when they lift their first league title in three decades.
Chelsea will be needing something from their trip to Anfield to keep their top-four destiny in their hands going into the last game of the season. They have already beaten Manchester City this season and will be facing a Liverpool side, who have looked out of colour in recent games.
But beating the Premier League champions at Anfield still looks like a bridge too far for this Chelsea side. A point could become valuable but a defeat could inflict real damage to their top-four hopes.