CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL, FRIDAY 8PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS (All competitions, most recent on right): CHELSEA – WWWWD, LIVERPOOL – WLWDW
LAST MEETING: May 11, 2016 – Premier League; Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0
MEMORABLE MEETING: April 14, 2009 – Chelsea 4 Liverpool 4; The Blues had won the Champions League quarter-final first leg 3-1 at Anfield but Liverpool levelled the tie with two early goals, before a classic played out that was only settled when Frank Lampard made it 4-4 on the night in the last minute of normal time and 7-5 on aggregate.
VERDICT: It’s Friday Night Lights for two teams without European football this season and this is one to sit back and enjoy. Chelsea and Liverpool are just a combination that work together and produce intriguing matches. If anything, Liverpool have been the more impressive this season with their attacking football, but they do seem a little vulnerable at the back. Chelsea are getting back to their clinical selves. I don’t see either side running away with this.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 2 Liverpool 1
HULL CITY v ARSENAL, SATURDAY 3PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: HULL – WWWLD, ARSENAL – LDWWD
LAST MEETING: March 8, 2016 – FA CUP; Hull 0 Arsenal 4
MEMORABLE MEETING: May 17, 2014 – Arsenal 3 Hull 2 (AET); Two early goals for the Tigers set up a huge FA Cup final sock, but the Gunners eventually got back into it, Santi Cazorla getting one back quickly before Laurent Koscielny sent it into extra time and Aaron Ramsey provided the winner to end Arsene Wenger’s trophy drought.
VERDICT: The two teams have taken different routes to getting seven points from four games, with Arsenal starting off with a home defeat to Liverpool, while Hull beat the champions first up. The Gunners have shown in the last couple of games that they are getting a bit more rhythm about their play but they will need to be on it in this one or they will get mauled by the Tigers.
PREDICTION: Hull 0 Arsenal 2
LEICESTER CITY v BURNLEY, SATURDAY 3PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: LEICESTER – LDWLW, BURNLEY – LWL(AET)LD
LAST MEETING: April 25, 2015 – Premier League; Burnley 0 Leicester 1
PLAYED FOR BOTH SIDES: Frank Sinclair – After moving to Filbert Street from Chelsea, Sinclair was part of the side that won the League Cup in 2000 and while at Leicester he became the own goal king. He moved to Burnley in 2004 and had a couple of good seasons at Turf Moor.
VERDICT: The comfortable win in the Champions League should be a boost to all at the King Power and they will look to maximise their home games in the league this season. Defending their title is already gone but they will hope that success in Europe can drive them on to a respectable finish. Burnley are already struggling and their win over Liverpool looks like an anomaly. They will do well to repeat it here.
PREDICTION: Leicester 3 Burnley 1
MANCHESTER CITY v BOURNEMOUTH, SATURDAY 3PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: MAN CITY – WWWWW, BOURNEMOUTH – LLWDW
LAST MEETING: April 2, 2016 – Premier League; Bournemouth 0 Man City 4
MANAGED BOTH CLUBS: John Bond – Bond was one of the flamboyant ‘sheepskin coat’ managers of the 1970s and 80s and got Bournemouth up from the old Fourth Division in the early 70s before a spell at Norwich from where he went to Manchester City, getting the club to the 1981 FA Cup final in an era when they had a reputation for flashing the cash to no effect.
VERDICT: City will expect to be as clinical today as they were against Borussia Moenchengladbach in their delayed Champions League game on Wednesday. Sticking with their hosts will be the aim for Bournemouth, who may find early attack the best form of defence. City have tended to be slow starters in these home games they are expected to win, it will be interesting if that changes under Pep Guardiola.
PREDICTION: Manchester City 3 Bournemouth 0
WEST BROMWICH ALBION v WEST HAM UNITED, SATURDAY 3PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: WEST BROM – WLL(Pens)DL, WEST HAM – DWLLL
LAST MEETING: April 30, 2016 – Premier League; West Brom 0 West Ham 3
PLAYED FOR BOTH SIDES: Bobby Gould – The nomadic striker (and later nomadic manager) played for the Baggies in the early 1970s and after a spell at Bristol City he went to West Ham where he was an unused sub in the 1975 FA Cup final win and also played 55 minutes of one game with a broken leg!
VERDICT: The Chinese takeover of West Brom will be expected to shake things up there but they have not started the season too badly under Tony Pulis, though how long he remains is anyone’s guess. The Hammers are struggling under the weight of expectation created by their new ground but I get the sense that they may demolish somebody soon.
PREDICTION: West Brom 1 West Ham 4
EVERTON v MIDDLESBROUGH, SATURDAY 5.30PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: EVERTON – DWWWW, MIDDLESBROUGH – DWL(AET)DL
LAST MEETING: December 1, 2015 – League Cup; Middlesbrough 0 Everton 2
PLAYED FOR BOTH SIDES – Paul Gascoigne: Sadly the great midfielder was already in decline when he joined Boro – with his debut in a League Cup final loss to Chelsea, but amid the personal problems there were periods of excellent football and the same can be said of his time at Everton, but by the end of his time at Goodison Park his career was all-but over.
VERDICT: Middlesbrough are making a decent fist of it on their return to the top flight, but Ronald Koeman has got Everton fired up, the squad was there they just need direction and the Dutchman has managed to do it. The ongoing problem for Everton in recent years has been a lack of killer touch at home but they should have the goal threat to see off Boro.
PREDICTION: Everton 2 Middlesbrough 1
WATFORD v MANCHESTER UNITED, SUNDAY 12PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: WATFORD – DLL(AET)LW, MAN UTD – WWWLL
LAST MEETING: March 2, 2016 – Premier League; Manchester United 1 Watford 0
MEMORABLE MEETING May 13, 1985 – Watford 5 Manchester United 1; Played just days before the 1985 FA Cup final, a strong United team crumbled as the Hornets had a field day, Nigel Callaghan scoring two in a romp for Graham Taylor’s team. United’s scorer that day was Kevin Moran – the cup final didn’t go so well for him as he was sent off, but at least the Dubliner was on the winning side that day.
VERDICT: Just as Arsenal did recently, United will expect to come to Vicarage Road and win but Watford showed last week that they are nobody’s pushovers and will make it hard for Jose Mourinho’s side to break a run of two defeats but that said the Red Devils should get the win.
PREDICTION: Watford 0 Manchester United 2
CRYSTAL PALACE v STOKE CITY, SUNDAY 2.15PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: PALACE – LLWDW, STOKE – DLWLL
LAST MEETING: May 7, 2016 – Premier League; Crystal Palace 2 Stoke 1
MEMORABLE MEETING: February 13, 2004 – Division One; Six first-half goals in this thriller as Andy Johnson hit a first-half hat-trick and Michael Hughes also scored for the hosts, with John Eustace and Clive Clarke replying. After the break Neil Shipperley and Wayne Routledge scored for Palace with Carl Asaba getting one back.
VERDICT: Stoke are in a real rut at the moment and they were opened apart easily by Spurs last week once the first came. Palace are a bit up and down but Christian Benteke is an excellent signing and can score goals in this team. On form this looks like a home win.
PREDICTION: Crystal Palace 1 Stoke 0
SOUTHAMPTON v SWANSEA CITY, SUNDAY 2.15PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: SOUTHAMPTON – DLDLW, SWANSEA – WLWLD
LAST MEETING: February 13, 2016 – Premier League; Swansea 0 Southampton 1
PLAYED FOR BOTH SIDES: Nathan Dyer – An FA Youth Cup finalist with the Saints he could not establish himself as a regular and moved to Swansea where he has had plenty of success, including a League Cup win, though his career highlight was at neither club- he won a Premier League title on loan at Leicester last season.
VERDICT: The easy win in the Europa League was just what was required and suddenly, with two natural goalscorers suddenly firing (sorry Shane) the Saints could be set to go on a good run. Swansea play good football, though and will fancy their chances here. Could be an entertaining game.
PREDICTION: Southampton 2 Swansea 1
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v SUNDERLAND, SUNDAY 4.30PM
LAST FIVE RESULTS: Spurs – DWDWL, Sunderland – LLWDL
LAST MEETING: January 16, 2006 – Premier League; Spurs 4 Sunderland 1
PLAYED FOR BOTH SIDES – Jermain Defoe: The striker was absolutely vital for Sunderland in their survival bid last year and will every bit as key this time. He is fondly remembered at White Hart Lane for the goals that he provided in two spells for the club.
VERDICT: Monday’s defeat to Everton was pretty grim for Sunderland fans and it may not get any better here. Spurs will be smarting at their Champions League defeat to Monaco and probably delighted to get back to the home comforts of White Hart Lane. A convincing performance should be forthcoming from the hosts.
PREDICTION: Spurs 4 Sunderland 0
From Tipster Michael Hughes @MagicMikeTips