It’s all to play for now in the race for the top four. Midweek defeats for Leicester City and Chelsea have opened the door for both Man Utd and Wolves – can they capitalise this weekend?
Both sides will be looking to keep up the pressure as they host Bournemouth and Arsenal respectively.
The race for Champions League football head up our latest set of Premier League predictions…
Premier League Predictions – Weekend Preview – Gameweek 33
Saturday 4th July
NORWICH CITY VS BRIGHTON, 12:30
With the current bottom three showing little signs of life, a point here could be all Graham Potter needs to effectively secure survival in his first season as a Premier League manager – which gives the Albion boss a dilemma heading into this game against rock-bottom Norwich City.
The Seagulls sat far too deep against a much-improved Man Utd in midweek in a performance reminiscent of Chris Hughton’s final days at the club, and Potter will be eyeing an instant response.
The Brighton boss will surely take a more cavalier approach against a Canaries side that have shipped eight league goals since the restart, but will also be aware that Norwich will be targeting this as their last stand in terms of at least making their rivals sweat.
Three points would be mission accomplished for Albion, but the away side might just settle for a handy point.
Prediction: Norwich City 1-1 Brighton
LEICESTER CITY VS CRYSTAL PALACE, 15:00
It’s officially squeaky bum time at Leicester. Brendan Rodger’s side were downed 2-1 by Everton on Wednesday, and with other results hardly going their way, the Foxes now look in danger of complete implosion.
Crystal Palace have shown they can be devastating on their travels this season, so the Northern Irishman desperately needs to hit on a winning formula this weekend, even if performance levels remain below par.
Much will depend on whether the Eagles have one eye on an eighth-place finish or are already thinking about next season. Given the traffic they have to wade through, it would be some run to put Palace in European contention, so the Foxes will need to sniff out any signs of slacking off early in what has become a must-win game.
Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace
MAN UTD VS BOURNEMOUTH, 15:00
Whisper it quietly…. are Utd returning to the force of old? The arrival of Bruno Fernandes looks their shrewdest business in some time with the Portuguese running the show against Brighton in midweek. After a rusty restart against Spurs, Utd now look one of the form teams in this division and should make light work of a Bournemouth side that look like a Championship-side in waiting.
That said, the Cherries have pulled off the occasional shock against Big Six sides, including a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture. How Eddie Howe could do with a repeat in his biggest time of need.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-0 Bournemouth
WOLVES VS ARSENAL, 17:30
Arsenal’s recent resurgence in form has added some extra spice to this fixture, with Wolves out to prove they have genuine staying power in the race for the top four against a team that have lost that knack in recent years.
Nuno’s side boast an enviable record against high-profile opposition but they’ve also rediscovered their gritty ruthless streak in edging out several of the relegation strugglers since returning to action.
The Gunners’ mini-crisis post-restart now looks officially over after they wiped the floor with Norwich City in midweek. This game will be more telling, however, as to where they currently belong in the Premier League food chain.
Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Arsenal
CHELSEA VS WATFORD, 20:00
A sucker-punch from West Ham left Frank Lampard reeling in the London derby on Wednesday night. He’ll now be desperate to ensure the Blues don’t come unstuck against another of the Hammers’ relegation rivals as out-of-form Watford travel to Stamford Bridge.
The Hornets’ survival hopes suffered a sharp dent with a listless 3-1 home defeat to Southampton last time out. However, given the form of the teams underneath them, Nigel Pearson’s side can probably afford to treat this game as a free hit ahead of a reasonably generous run-in.
That said, the Blues will be wounded after sloppy defensive play against West Ham contributed to them losing ground in the top four battle. You’d expect them to fly out the traps here.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Watford
Sunday 5th July
BURNLEY VS SHEFFIELD UTD, 12:00
The pubs open on Saturday, and this fixture looks undemanding hangover viewing to kick off Sunday’s action, with Burnley reverting to type in recent weeks in grinding out narrow wins.
Despite continuing speculation circling around Sean Dyche’s long-term future with the Clarets, Burnley are showing no signs of deviating from their manger’s philosophy and would move above Sheffield Utd with a victory at Turf Moor.
Sheff Utd can put recent troubles to one side after their gutsy win over Tottenham on Thursday night, but they could be pitching up in Lancashire at just the wrong moment against an in-form home side.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Sheffield Utd
NEWCASTLE VS WEST HAM, 14:15
We’ve probably just cursed it, but this could be an entertaining game at St James’ Park on Sunday as two sides still revelling in impressive midweek wins go head-to-head.
Steve Bruce is now just one win away from emulating Rafa Benitez’s best finish with the Magpies in the Premier League – not bad for a man who still looks to be heading for the exit door regardless of how far he takes his hometown club this season.
David Moyes finally enjoyed some much-needed respite from his own turbulent reign in East London as his West Ham side finally found their fighting spirit to down Chelsea 3-2 at the London Stadium. With an encouraging fixture list ahead, a draw wouldn’t be the worst result here for the Scotsman.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 West Ham
LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILLA, 16:30
It won’t be the party atmosphere homecoming at Anfield that Jürgen Klopp and his newly-crowned champions would have been dreaming about at several points this season. That leaves the Reds having to settle for getting back down to business on home turf instead after their heavy midweek defeat to dethroned Man City.
With a Premier League points record still very much within their grasp, and no cup distractions on the horizon, struggling Villa can’t expect Liverpool to lose focus again here.
Dean Smith badly needs to improve his side’s record against the Big Six, with Villa taking just two points from their last 63 on offer.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
SOUTHAMPTON VS MAN CITY, 19:00
Given they’ve hit the magical 40-point mark with room to spare, it’s splitting hairs somewhat, but Ralph Hasenhüttl still has some thinking to do to make sure Southampton’s erratic home form doesn’t continue into another Premier League campaign.
Saints have the worst home record in the entire division – picking up just 14 points all season on the South Coast – one point less than cut-adrift Norwich.
Home comforts are likely to be in short supply this weekend against a City side that sent out a warning shot for next season against table toppers Liverpool on Thursday.
Prediction: Southampton 0-2 Man City
Monday 6th July
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS EVERTON, 20:00
It’s two of the Premier League’s ever-presents under the floodlights on Monday night as old rivals Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti lock horns at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The two managers famously differ in their approach to management, and Ancelotti’s understated manner means some of his good work has so far gone under the radar on Merseyside. Only Liverpool, Man City and Wolves have posted better form since he took over.
The away side could make life difficult for Spurs, who might now have to resign themselves to challenging for a Europa League place after dropping points against Sheffield Utd.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton