It’s getting tense at both ends of the table with just four gameweeks remaining in the Premier League.
Will any results this weekend rip up the script?
We’re back with our latest set of Premier League predictions, with the North London derby leading the way…
Premier League Predictions – Weekend Preview – Gameweek 35
Saturday 11th July
NORWICH CITY VS WEST HAM, 12:30
Norwich City may be bracing themselves for Championship football again next season, but they won’t want to go out with a whimper at an empty Carrow Road. Once again naivety cost them in midweek as Watford pounced on momentarily lapses in concentration from the Canaries to condemn them to a sixth straight defeat.
Of their remaining fixtures, this looks to be the most realistic candidate for Norwich to at least claw back some pride from a disappointing return to the top flight. Visitors West Ham could be edgy here as they look to get back on track after defeat to Burnley, especially with six-pointers against Watford and Aston Villa looming.
This has the feeling of a ‘must not lose’ game for the away side. David Moyes is nothing if not cautious. He may well opt to bank a point if it’s on offer rather than take an unnecessary risk, given the Hammers’ points and goal difference advantage on their immediate rivals.
Verdict: Norwich City 1-1 West Ham
WATFORD VS NEWCASTLE, 12:30
Safety is within their grasp. Can Watford follow up their midweek win over Norwich with three points on Saturday that will all but secure a fifth consecutive season of Premier League football?
With West Ham, Man City and Arsenal to come, Nigel Pearson won’t want his team to hang around against a Newcastle side that exhibited all the signs of easing off for the season in their 5-0 thrashing against Man City.
However, the Magpies have been a thorn in the side of several relegation-threatened sides since the restart, fighting back to draw 2-2 with West Ham and trouncing Bournemouth 4-1.
Watford will need to proceed with care.
Verdict: Watford 1-0 Newcastle
LIVERPOOL VS BURNLEY, 15:00
You can’t switch off for a minute against the rampant Reds. Brighton had to learn that the hard way in midweek as two defensive errors allowed Liverpool to race into a 2-0 lead at the Amex before eventually cruising to a comfortable 3-1 win.
While Graham Potter’s Brighton can often play themselves into trouble, that can’t be a charge aimed at one of the league’s most streetwise outfits, Burnley.
The Clarets could be on the brink of emulating their best ever Premier League finish (7th) after a terrific run of form since the restart that has seen them move into the Europa League mix. Liverpool look back to their ruthless best again now the novelty of winning the title has worn.
However, this could be a hard-fought three points in their race to join Man City in the 100 club.
Verdict: Liverpool 2-1 Burnley
SHEFFIELD UTD VS CHELSEA, 17:30
For the rest of the top half, Sheffield Utd are fast becoming that itch you can’t scratch. Every time you think the Blades are about to fall away, they come roaring back.
A dogged 1-0 win over Wolves in midweek suggests Chris Wilder’s side aren’t going away in the race for the top seven, and Frank Lampard will need his side to be at their disciplined best to avoid becoming the latest high-profile casualties of the buoyant Blades.
Chelsea have rallied well since their recent hiccup against West Ham and could shade it here given their extra day of rest.
Verdict: Sheff Utd 0-1 Chelsea
BRIGHTON VS MAN CITY, 19:30
Brighton failed to box clever against Liverpool as two defensive lapses in the first 10 minutes put paid to any ambitions the Seagulls had of pulling off a shock result against the Reds.
It doesn’t get much easier for Graham Potter’s side this weekend, as they face a Man City side out to make a point after three away league defeats on the spin.
The Seagulls have never taken a point off City in any of their Premier League meetings, falling to a 4-0 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Verdict: Brighton 0-2 Man City
Sunday 12th July
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS VS EVERTON, 12:00
The sheer turnaround of games since the start of Project Restart can turn any side’s season on its head in the space of seven days.
That’s unfortunately been the case for Wolves, who have all but kissed goodbye to any hopes of a top four finish after two frustrating defeats to Arsenal and Sheff Utd in the last week. Another tilt at the Europa League also no longer looks a given with just three points now separating Wolves in sixth and Burnley in 10th.
This fixture represents a welcome opportunity to get back on track with Everton looking as if they are treading water ahead of a rebuild by Carlo Ancelotti for 2020/21.
Verdict: Wolves 2-1 Everton
ASTON VILLA VS CRYSTAL PALACE, 14:15
This is it. No more excuses. No more hiding behind VAR or the five-sub rule.
Dean Smith and Aston Villa need a win to keep their slim hopes of survival alive, and there really isn’t much excuse not to claim three points here against a mid-table side with nothing to play for and on a four game losing streak.
Villa can rightly feel aggrieved that a VAR call turned their midweek fixture against Man Utd in the visitors’ favour, but Smith will have been alarmed at the lack of fight after that goal went in.
With three difficult games to come after this, Palace will want to avoid ending this campaign on an extended slump going into the pre-season break.
Verdict: Aston Villa 2-1 Crystal Palace
TOTTENHAM HOSPUR VS ARSENAL, 16:30
A North London derby behind closed doors? It’s going to lack the usual spice, but both of these two old rivals will want to put a marker down for differing reasons here.
With one point separating the pair, it’s not just local pride at stake here, with both sides chasing a Europa League spot. Arsenal look in the ascendancy despite dropping all three points against Leicester after being reduced to 10 men, but they’ve only recorded two league victories in their last 10 attempts home and away in this fixture.
Jose Mourinho will be out to silence the doubters after another sub-par performance from Spurs in midweek against Bournemouth. Spurs failed to register a single shot on target against the Cherries, so it’s probably no bad thing the natives can’t get restless should the hosts put in another no-show.
Verdict: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Arsenal
BOURNEMOUTH VS LEICESTER CITY, 19:00
The clock is ticking on Bournemouth’s half-decade stint in the Premier League. Eddie Howe will need to call on all his man-management skills to lift a Cherries dressing room that saw a priceless late win snatched from them on Thursday night by the VAR officials at Stockley Park.
That hard-fought point at least gives the hosts a glimmer of hope of closing the gap on West Ham and Watford, but with a trip to Man City upcoming, this fixture now looks must-win.
Unfortunately for Howe, Leicester have their own business to take care of as the race for the top four intensifies. With Jamie Vardy back in predatory mood, the Foxes could pop the Cherries’ lingering hopes of a miracle finish to the season here.
Verdict: Bournemouth 1-2 Leicester City
Monday 13th July
MAN UTD VS SOUTHAMPTON, 20:00
Man Utd’s recovery continues apace with the Red Devils breaking a Premier League record against Aston Villa, becoming the first side in the history of the league to win four consecutive games by a margin of three goals or more.
It won’t be easy for the in-form hosts to continue that particular run on Monday night against a Southampton side showing plenty of professionalism since securing their top-flight status.
The Saints are winless in their last eight meetings with Utd but do have a small track record of success at Old Trafford – recording back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.
Verdict: Man Utd 2-0 Southampton