Premier League Predictions – Aston Villa vs Man Utd & Midweek Predictions
Wolves were the big losers last weekend in the race for the top four as they dropped points while Leicester, Chelsea and Man Utd all picked up important wins.
The race for Europe collides with the fight for survival this week in the Premier League as Aston Villa host Utd and Bournemouth take on Tottenham.
Here are our full predictions for the midweek action…
Premier League Predictions – Gameweek 34
Tuesday 7th July
CRYSTAL PALACE VS CHELSEA, 18:00
Crystal Palace secured virtual safety arguably too quickly with Roy Hodgson’s side going increasingly off the boil since their opening post-lockdown 2-0 win against Bournemouth. It’s now three defeats on the spin for the Eagles, who are in danger of heading into next season with a few negative noises surrounding Roy Hodgson’s long-term future.
A London derby could be just the thing to spark Palace back into life, especially against a Chelsea side that can often be their own worst enemy when it comes to locking down a top four place. The Blues’ needs are greater, and they should have enough about them to edge the win here after returning to form against Watford.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea
WATFORD VS NORWICH CITY, 18:00
This looks an open goal for the Hornets – will they grasp the opportunity? Watford’s run-in still looks reasonably favourable in comparison to Aston Villa and Bournemouth.
This could be the fixture that sees them start to pull away from the bottom three as they face a Norwich side that look all but resigned to their fate following the limp 1-0 defeat to Brighton, but for all their flaws, the away side can still look tidy in possession. The Hornets need to be careful the away side don’t feel free to express themselves now it looks as if Daniel Farke’s side are simply playing for pride.
Watford don’t need to make things pretty – a tight win will more than do at this stage.
Prediction: Watford 1-0 Norwich City
ARSENAL VS LEICESTER CITY, 20:15
Arsenal are back. Or are they? On Tuesday night, we’ll find out for sure whether Mikel Arteta’s men are slowly starting to become the finished article, or if we’ve been suckered yet again into believing in another false dawn.
The Foxes deserve credit for taking their medicine after recent poor form and answering some of their critics by sweeping Crystal Palace aside 3-0 at the weekend, but they continue to be slow starters – only opening the scoring after half-time against the Eagles.
The return to form of Jamie Vardy cannot have come soon enough for Brendan Rodgers, but the Foxes will need a repeat from their main man with a tough run-in approaching.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City
Wednesday 8th July
MAN CITY VS NEWCASTLE UTD, 18:00
It was one of those games for Man City on Sunday night as Southampton’s defensive force field somehow held firm to down Pep Guardiola’s men 1-0 at St Mary’s. The City boss looks back on safer ground at the Etihad with the hosts scoring 14 without reply in their last four home Premier League games.
Newcastle look to be one of the few sides genuinely enjoying themselves in the post-lockdown landscape, with the Magpies picking up eight points in four games. However, that unbeaten run could end here with the away side’s last win at the Etihad coming six years ago in the EFL Cup.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Newcastle Utd
SHEFFIELD UTD VS WOLVES, 18:00
A surprise 2-0 reverse for Wolves at the weekend now leaves this game looking like a clash between two sides aiming for the top six rather than top four, but three points for Nuno’s outfit would keep the visitors’ Champions League ambitions just about alive if other results also fall their way.
That doesn’t look a given now Sheff Utd have rediscovered their ruthless streak with four points from two difficult games on paper against Tottenham and Burnley. With Chelsea and Leicester to come, Chris Wilder knows defeat here might leave the Blades’ travel plans much lighter for 2020/21.
Prediction: Sheffield Utd 1-1 Wolves
WEST HAM UTD VS BURNLEY, 18:00
David Moyes may rue a missed opportunity after the Hammers twice surrendered a lead against Newcastle to settle for a 2-2 draw. That still could be a handy point by the end of this season as it pulled the Hammers four points clear, but the Scotsman will be keen to calm nerves before some make-or-break games with Norwich and Watford by picking up a precious three points over Burnley.
However, if there’s one thing we guarantee with a Sean Dyche team, it’s that they will be more than happy to play spoilers. This will be a thorough examination of West Ham’s physical and mental resilience.
Prediction: West Ham Utd 1-1 Burnley
BRIGHTON VS LIVERPOOL, 20:15
A few weeks ago, this looked a ‘Hail Mary’ moment for Brighton in their fight against relegation. The Seagulls couldn’t buy a win home or away prior to the restart, and with the toughest set of fixtures of the bottom six, it looked as if a shock win over either Liverpool or Man City would be needed to help them turn the tide.
As it happens, a stunning upturn in form since the return means the Seagulls now look relatively safe on 36 points. However, a point or more here would surely settle the debate.
Graham Potter may release the handbrake here given this looks to be a free hit, but opposite number Jürgen Klopp is unlikely to be too accommodating after two below-par performances from the Reds since they ended their 30-year title drought.
Prediction: Brighton 0-2 Liverpool
Thursday 9th July
BOURNEMOUTH VS SPURS, 18:00
Eddie Howe got a hint of a response out of his Championship-threatened Cherries as they played their part in an entertaining 5-2 defeat to Man Utd at Old Trafford. However, it’s simply all about the maths now for Bournemouth, who need a rabbit out the hat from somewhere to finally put some much-needed points on the board.
With Leicester and Man City to come, this fixture stands out as one of Howe’s best remaining hopes of rebooting their survival bid, with Spurs and Jose Mourinho still looking an odd fit.
The first goal looks to be the key here – will Cherries’ heads drop if Spurs get their noses in front? And with the top four now a distant dream, how much fight will the away side show if Bournemouth get their tails up? It could be a game of fine margins at the Vitality – but it’s one where the home side need to show some signs of life.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Spurs
EVERTON VS SOUTHAMPTON, 18:00
We’re reached the ‘dead rubber’ phase of the season, where games involving two teams in mid-table can go either way.
Thankfully, these two sides have actually served up decent dollops of entertainment since Project Restart began, which suggests you might to at least pause first before skipping over to the Bournemouth game.
Carlo Ancelotti’s quiet revolution continues at Everton, but his charges will be tested here against a Southampton side that routinely up their game on their travels. Both teams already have one eye on next season, and that could see both managers experiment a little here.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Southampton
ASTON VILLA VS MAN UTD, 20:15
A disciplined display, some decent attacking intent, individual moments of promise. And 0 points. It was an all-too familiar story for Dean Smith and Aston Villa as their lack of material threat beyond Jack Grealish came back to haunt them once again away at Liverpool.
For large parts of that game, Villa went toe-to-toe with the champions, but still lacked the ruthless cutting edge to seize the initiative against a Reds side that largely looked to be phoning in their performance.
Given Utd’s greater immediate needs, this fixture looks an even tougher assignment for Villa, who are still seeking their first three points since the restart.
Utd looked shaky defensively at times against Bournemouth which could give Smith’s side half a chance, but it’s hard not to see the away side pouncing on any lapses in concentration in the Villa backline – particularly if they once again fall victim to the five subs rule.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd