It’s a reduced set of Premier League fixtures this week, with the Carabao Cup final taking centre stage on Sunday.
Aston Villa and Manchester City will have their sights set firmly on the first silverware of the season, but for the teams in Premier League action, there’s a chance to steal a march on those who are otherwise occupied.
Here are our predictions for this weekend’s action…
Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Gameweek 28 Previewed
Norwich vs Leicester (Friday 20:00)
The Canaries’ hopes of surviving the drop this season took another hit last week after a disappointing, but ultimately predictable 3-0 reverse at Wolves. Things won’t get any easier this week either, with Brendan Rodgers’ high-flying Leicester City coming to town.
The Foxes have somewhat cooled off since their blistering run of form earlier in the season, but still look good value for their spot in the top four. They’ll need Jamie Vardy to find his shooting boots though, their talisman is now without a Premier League goal since before Christmas.
Prediction: Another nail in the coffin for Norwich, 1-2.
Best Bet: Harvey Barnes to score any time at 3/1
Brighton vs Crystal Palace (Saturday 12:30)
It might be one of the more unconventional rivalries in the English game, but there’s no lack of animosity between the Seagulls and Eagles. Brighton have had the upper hand in recent memory, losing just one of the last six meetings between the two.
Despite being the more established Premier League club, Palace often flatter to deceive when faced with their rivals. With just four points separating Brighton from the relegation zone, they’ll be looking to use this match as a springboard to propel them to safety, and the comforts of Premier League football for another year.
Prediction: Seagulls to down the Eagles at the Amex, 1-0.
Best Bet: Brighton to win to nil at 43/20
Bournemouth vs Chelsea (Saturday 15:00)
Two teams in desperate need of three points for very different reasons meet on the south coast on Saturday. The Cherries look in real relegation trouble for what is arguably the first time since they arrived on the scene in 2015. A lack of cutting edge going forward sees them sit outside the relegation zone by just two points.
Chelsea will be hoping to put their 3-0 midweek loss to Bayern Munich behind them by despatching Eddie Howe’s side and solidifying their top four hopes. Chelsea have failed to win here just once since the Cherries were promoted.
Prediction: An entertaining draw that does nothing for either side, 2-2.
Newcastle vs Burnley (Saturday 15:00)
An early front-runner to be last on Match of the Day come Saturday evening, Newcastle welcome Burnley to St. James’ Park this weekend. The home side’s form might have faltered recently, but the Clarets are flying, with Sean Dyche’s men having not tasted defeat in over a month in the Premier League.
With the chasing pack not exactly flying up the table, both these sides look to be safe from relegation, though don’t count out a late-season Newcastle meltdown.
Prediction: There won’t be many highlights, 1-1.
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at 16/25
West Ham vs Southampton (Saturday 15:00)
David Moyes’ battle to get West Ham out of the relegation zone continues this weekend with the visit of Southampton to the London Stadium. The Hammers will take confidence from a spirited performance away at Liverpool on Monday where they pushed the Champions-elect all the way.
Southampton on the other hand look to have consolidated their place in mid-table this season, thanks in large part to the exploits of Danny Ings. The Englishman can further make a case for being called up to the Euro 2020 squad with another strong performance here.
Prediction: Hammers to take advantage of Southampton’s inconsistencies, 2-1.
Best Bet: West Ham to win at 171/100
Watford vs Liverpool (Saturday 17:30)
Liverpool’s charge to the title is almost over after just 27 games. Despite a scare against West Ham on Monday, the Reds maintained their unbeaten run in the league and are now just four wins away from their first Premier League title.
Standing in their way in the late kick off on Saturday is a Watford side who appear to be faltering under Nigel Pearson. A promising start to life at Vicarage Road has somewhat tailed off, and Watford remain in considerable trouble. They’ll consider this as a ‘free-hit’ of sorts however, making them potentially tricky opponents for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Prediction: Liverpool march on, 1-3.
BEAT THE BORE DRAW
Everton vs Manchester United (Sunday 14:00)
The Red Devils make the short trip to Merseyside on Sunday, looking to continue their strong run of form since Bruno Fernandes’ arrival in Manchester. The Portuguese appears to have settled in quickly, and United look a considerable threat going forward with his creativity guiding them.
They’ll find Everton to be no pushovers however, prior to their unlucky 3-2 loss to Arsenal last weekend, the Toffees were unbeaten in the league since New Year’s Day. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have made themselves tough to beat, and United will need to be at their best to gain another three points in the race for the top four.
Prediction: A score draw, 1-1.
Best Bet: Match to finish as a draw at 12/5
Tottenham vs Wolves (Sunday 14:00)
Jose Mourinho’s reign as Spurs boss faces another tough test as his side welcome Wolves to north London on Sunday. The Portuguese’s injury-hit squad will have to rely on the likes of Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn to break down a notoriously stingy Wolves backline.
The visitors will fancy themselves to upset their hosts too, after a 3-1 win in this fixture last season. European exploits might well take their toll on Wolves though, and they’ll do well to get a point here.
Prediction: Wolves’ tired legs to scrape a point, 1-1.
Best Bet: Tottenham to score first at 49/50
The Carabao Cup Final
Aston Villa vs Manchester City (Sunday (16:30)
If Manchester City win the League Cup on Sunday, then, it will mean Guardiola’s side have claimed six of the last seven available domestic trophies. They’re understandably hot favourites to take the crown.
In all honesty, this is a game that Aston Villa could do without – but a trophy is a trophy, and after this season’s 6-1 defeat to City, they’ll be looking to make amends at Wembley on Sunday. City appear to be far too strong for anyone at the moment.
Prediction: City to take the crown comfortably, 1-4
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
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