Premier League Matchweek 31+: Preview, Betting tips and Predictions
|Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his last seven matches against Aston Villa in all competitions, netting nine goals, eight for Arsenal and one for Chelsea. Source: premierleague.com|
Fast, furious and all shades of drama in the Premier League
The last round came with not many surprises but once again, we’re happy football is back.
Manchester City rounded off round 31 in style with a 5-0 thumping of a hapless Burnley, they didn’t even need the fourth gear to score five on a night Sean Dyches would remember for many reasons.
Sergio Aguero limped off with VAR awarding a penalty after Ben Mee thought he had gotten away with the tackle on City’s record goalscorer.
The result meant Liverpool will wait another day to lift the title.
|Everton midfielder Alex Iwobi battles with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson during the goalless draw between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison park. Image credit: premierleague.com|
Speaking of Liverpool, the champions in waiting are home to Crystal Palace, a side that likes to shock them, bringing to fore the 3-3 result at Selhurst in 2013, one that ultimately ended Liverpool’s hopes of winning the title that season.
Dwight Gayle netted twice to the despair of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, an opportunity presents itself for the Kops to rewrite the story.
Palace on their rights are not going to be involved in the relegation battle this season, they are comfortable and can let guards down, but they hate to concede, they like to be gritty and a bogey to anyone, it won’t be pretty but the Kops should shine.
It is what it is, you can’t give what you don’t have, Arsenal is on a downward spiral and even Arteta can’t help it.
How much of debris is there to evacuate?
The ashes of the calamitous reigns of Unai Emery is still very much obvious with players that are championship level at best.
The loss at Brighton tells the same story of Arsenal since the latter days of Arsene Wenger, down to that of Emery and now plaguing the promising career of Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal are away to Southampton, if the Saints’ result against Sheffield is anything to go by, then Arsenal are in for another defeat.
How do you explain two defeats and three nasty injuries in just four days?
Fitness-wise, Arsenal are probably the most spineless in the league and getting sent off the most in the league despite having one of the lowest tackles is left for the referees to explain but you can’t make a case for this Arsenal side.
They aren’t only poor, they are not putting in any real shift for anyone to bank on them, the Saints should be licking their lips at the mention of this fixture.
Elsewhere, Chelsea rallied to beat Aston Villa on a day the Villans would rue their momentary loss of concentration that saw them conceding two in quick succession, which adds to their misery as the team that gives everything in the first half and then crumble pathetically in the second half.
Chelsea could hand Liverpool the title as early as this weekend if they beat the City and Liverpool does their business at home to Palace.
The Chelsea that beat Villa wasn’t solid, they just took their chances when they could and the rest is history, but with a bigger stake, and their place in the champions league for next season under threat as well, they just might come out to party.
Pep Guardiola knows nothing about their fate in the CAS over financial doping, but the former Barcelona manager will always come correct.
FA Cup glory and Champions League should suffice for the lost premier league title, but they have to win it first.
City will be without Sergio Aguero but could have Eric Garcia back after suffering a concussion against Arsenal.
Riyad Mahrez wasn’t risked further at home to Burnley having suffered a knock on his knee and the Citizens can also call on Leroy Sane who made his season debut in the closing stages of the romp over the Clarets.
|Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in six Premier League goals (three goals and three assists) since his debut in February, two more than any other player during that period. Source: premierleague.com|
The young lad excelled at center half against Spurs last weekend and should be the man to be trusted ahead of the aging Nemanja Matic.
Debates across Manchester has been on the man between the sticks, while many feel it’s time to recall Henderson from his Sheffield loan.
Others think it might be good to keep the trust in David De Gea, but with the Blades up next for United, Henderson would be in the stands as he’s not eligible to play against his parent club.
Sheffield surprisingly lost at Newcastle, unfortunately, there was no one to watch.
Steve Bruce has to be the most attacked manager in the league, no one believes in him and no one is seeing him in charge when the big money owners take over, but he’s going about his business quietly.
Sheffield will look to right the wrongs of last weekend against a resurgent Manchester United, they have to do this without their goalkeeper and must hope Sharp is sharp enough upfront.
Jose Mourinho was lucky to come out of the fixture with United with a point, his defensive approach was evident again and had VAR to thank for reversing a penalty call that could have taken the result away from him.
They face Westham next, a team fighting the drop, with not so much of optimism in the team and struggles for new contracts amidst harsh financial conditions, Spurs have no excuses.
Speaking of new contracts, five Burnley players are out of contract this month, meaning they have just a little time to renew or stand to have just fourteen first-team players to finish the rest of the season, the only relief for the Clarets is the fact that they are safe on the table and would survive with just a win or two.
Let’s talk predictions, as we always do, tricky fixtures everywhere as usual but we have to do what we have to do… shall we?
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