Jose Mourinho’s men visit the South Coast, on Friday. John Newsome doesn’t expect Brighton’s players to be already mentally on the beach, despite the Seagulls looking safe.
BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER UNITED
Friday Night Football live on Sky Sports sees Brighton take on Manchester United at The Amex. Brighton got a much-needed point away at Burnley last Saturday in a hard fought 0-0 draw. Much needed as they have this game against 2nd placed United and their final 2 Premier League games against Man City and Liverpool both away from home, so in theory may not get another point and will hope the 37 they have now will suffice.
United beat Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday with a late Marouane Fellaini goal, ironically in Fergie Time considering Mr Ferguson was there to present Arsene Wenger with a goodbye present. United are strong but not exciting and will need to improve to get anywhere near noisy neighbours City next season. That’s for Jose to sort. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic gave Manchester all 3 points at Old Trafford. Let’s hope this game lives up to it’s Friday Night Billing.
STOKE v CRYSTAL PALACE
Early Saturday afternoon kick off again, live on Sky Sports and Stoke are back at the bet 365 after earning a tremendous point in a goalless draw away at Anfield. Not many teams have come away with a point, never mind not conceding a goal against free-flowing Liverpool. However, Stoke were lucky the fixture fell in between Liverpool’s 2 Semi-final games in the Champions League against Roma. They have given themselves a glimmer of hope in avoiding relegation considering their final game is against fellow relegation rivals Swansea. Crystal Palace hammered 10 man Leicester on Saturday and are all but safe for next season. Roy Hodgson has performed a near miracle after taking over from Frank De Boer. They were dead and buried after the first 7 games, having lost all 7, letting in 17 goals and not scoring a goal in the process. Hats off to Mr Hodgson. Crystal Palace beat Stoke back in November coming from behind to win 2-1. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mamadou Sakho getting the goals. With Stoke fighting for survival, this will be a nervous affair.
BOURNEMOUTH v SWANSEA
Bournemouth lost to south coast rivals Southampton last Saturday and that would have hurt the Cherries faithful. Like Crystal Palace, they do appear safe from relegation but will want to beat Swansea to confirm this. Josh King got his 7th goal of this campaign which is a decent return for the Norwegian striker. Swansea are just above the relegation places lying only a point above Southampton and 2 points above Stoke.
They conceded an early goal against Chelsea last Saturday but although they eventually lost, didn’t concede anymore and matched the Blues for the remaining 86 minutes. It’s tight at the bottom of the table and the saving grace for the Swans is their final 2 games are against Southampton and Stoke so it is still in their own hands. Back in November at the Liberty, this reverse fixture finished an unentertaining 0-0. Let’s hope for goals.
LEICESTER v WEST HAM
Leicester are on the beach already and have finished for the season, unfortunately, that’s not fair on the fans and they should perform to their best for the full 38 games. They were woeful last Saturday losing 5-0 to Crystal Palace. The Foxes will argue the sending off of Marc Albrighton contributed to the poor result. However, they were already 2-0 down before Marc left the field of play. West Ham can be excused for their weekend loss to Man City, most teams lose to Champions City so no disgrace there.
The Hammers fans might ponder why David Moyes made 3 substitutions and none of them included bringing Andy Carrol on. Mr Carrol wasn’t happy, but that’s for David to sort. In November at the London Stadium, the aforementioned Marc Albrighton scored the Foxes goal in a 1-1 draw. Cheikhou Kouyate got the equalizer for the Hammers that day. With home advantage, West Ham should get the result they need to stave off relegation.
Home Win 3-1
WATFORD v NEWCASTLE
Watford, although not mathematically, appear safe from relegation, but their season has tailed off dramatically over the last few games not getting a win now in 7. They did perform quite well against Tottenham on Monday night at Wembley but ultimately, because of poor finishing from Richarlison and Andre Gray who made his first start under Javi Garcia, they still lost. Newcastle, who are definitely safe, performed dreadfully in front of their loyal Toon Army last Saturday, losing 1-0 to a fighting, spirited West Brom side, who may have left it too late to prevent relegation, but if the board stick with Darren Moore and appoint him on a Full-Time basis, should bounce straight back.
Newcastle are preparing for next season and will want to reverse the result from this fixture back in November at St James after Watford won 3-0. Andre Gray managed to score that day, along with Will Hughes, who may force his way into the England World Cup squad after an outstanding performance against Tottenham in front of the watching England Manager and a DeAndre Yedlin own goal. With nothing to lose, both teams should go all out for the win and there will be goals.
Away Win 1-3
WEST BROM v TOTTENHAM
Under Darren Moore, West Brom have been transformed, winning 2 and drawing 2, however, the revival will be in vain and they will be relegated. They beat Newcastle last Saturday, away from the Hawthorns and this is a fitting game, against Tottenham, to round off their season in front of the Baggies faithful. Matty Philips got the solitary goal in the win against Newcastle and in the Championship, should be a vital player in their quest to immediately return to the Premier League.
Tottenham beat Watford at Wembley on Monday night increasing their lead over 5th place Chelsea to 5 points and with games running out should stay in 4th place, giving them Champions League football next season. England duo Dele Ali and Harry Kane got the goals in the 2-0 win against the Hornets. Kane scored in this reverse fixture at Vicarage Rd back in November, equalising late on to earn Spurs a point in a 1-1 draw. Salomon Rondon got the Baggies goal early on. This result should not be too different.
EVERTON v SOUTHAMPTON
This is the late Saturday afternoon kick-off live on BT Sports. Everton got a great 2-0 win away at Huddersfield on Saturday with goals from January signing Cenk Tosun and Idrissa Gueye. They have reached 8th place in the table but the Toffee faithful are still not happy with Sam Allardyce. With only 2 games to go they can’t get any higher and with the teams below them out of form, should finish the season in 8th but Big Sam needs to find something extra to appease the fans.
Southampton lie in the final relegation place and got a much-needed victory over south coast rivals Bournemouth on Saturday beating the Cherries 2-1. Serbian Dusan Tadic scored both the Saints goals and will want to finish the season off in fine form to make their World Cup squad for Russia. Back at St Mary’s in November, Southampton got one of their best results of the season beating Everton 4-1 with goals from Tadic and Steven Davis, with a brace from Charlie Austin sandwiched in-between. With Southampton fighting for survival, the Toffees might be in for a tough early evening but may be too strong in the final fixture of the season at Goodison Park.
Home Win 3-1
MAN CITY v HUDDERSFIELD
First of the live Sunday football on Sky Sports sees Huddersfield travel the short distance over the Pennines to Champions Man City. Man City beat West Ham 4-1 last Sunday away in London and although are confirmed Champions of the Premier League will have a say in who is relegated as they play this game against the Terriers, a final home fixture against Brighton, then a long away trip to Southampton for the last fixture of a Record-Breaking season. The 4 goals against the Hammers took their tally for the season to 102 and will want to try and reach 110 with the games remaining.
Huddersfield had a great opportunity to cement their Premier League status prior to this tough trip to the Etihad but lost 2-0 to Everton on Saturday in front of their loyal fans. They are currently on 35 points with 3 games remaining but those games are this one to City, an away trip to Chelsea and the final game against Arsenal. Theoretically, they may not get another point and 35 points won’t be enough to survive, however, the glimmer of hope for the Terriers is the final game at home against Arsenal who have failed to pick up a single point away from the Emirates in 2018. So all is not lost. In this reverse fixture in November at the John Smiths Stadium, Huddersfield surprisingly were leading at halftime thanks to a Nicolas Otamendi own goal. The Citizens took control in the 2nd half and goals from City’s leading scorers, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling gave the away team all 3 points. With home advantage, City should run riot.
Home Win 5-0
ARSENAL v BURNLEY
Arsenal come into this fixture off the back of their loss away at Old Trafford last Sunday and the 2nd leg of their Europa League semi-final tie away in Spain against Atletico Madrid and with only getting a draw in the first leg and Atletico getting a vital away goal, it looks like their Europa experience is coming to an end. Arsenal are 6th in the table 3 points above Burnley but have a game in hand and a much superior goal difference so should stay 6th and play Europa League again next season. Arsene played a few youngsters at Old Trafford which is admirable of the parting Frenchman who was given a warm reception in Manchester even getting a nice trophy from Sir Alex. The young gunners put in a good shift but ultimately were beaten in Fergie Time by the more experienced Red Devils. Henrikh Mkhitaryan managed a goal against the team who didn’t want him, so that should have pleased him, little victories.
Burnley have been a revelation this year, cementing 7th place and will get the chance to play in the Europa League next season all be it via the qualifying route. They have not played free-flowing entertaining football scoring loads of goals, they have gained their points in tight close games. They have only scored 35 goals, one of the lowest in the league, but the reason they have gained points is they have only conceded 32 which is the 4th tightest in the league. So Mr Dyche has his way and it has worked well for the Clarets. With those stats, it’s no surprise that last weekends game against Brighton finished 0-0. At Turf Moor in November, a very very late penalty gave Alexis Sanchez one of his final goals for the Gooners and all 3 points. This will be another tight affair.
Home Win 2-0
CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL
What a cracker of a game to round off proceedings live on Sky Sports. Chelsea have regained a bit of momentum in the last few games in their quest to chase down Tottenham and a Champions League place. They are 5 points behind Spurs and have won their last 3 Premier League games, but with fixtures running out may have to settle for the Europa League. A Cesc Fabregas goal gave The Blues all 3 points away at Swansea last Saturday. By the time this game comes round, Liverpool should know whether they are in the Final of this year’s Champions League after taking a 5-2 1st leg lead to Roma on Wednesday night.
Understandably, their minds were on this tie when they played out a goalless draw against Stoke at Anfield last Saturday. The surprise in that game is the usually lethal Mo Salah missed an easy chance in the first half when he was clean through and just had the goalkeeper to beat, inexplicably putting his chip wide. That won’t affect Mo who has rightly been voted Player of the Year by his peers and the Football Writers. Next stop the Ballon d’Or but that’s for the future. In November at Anfield, this fixture finished 1-1. Salah got the reds and William got the blues. This will be another tight affair and Chelsea could just surprise Liverpool.
Home Win 2-1
Contact John Newsome, with your own predictions, requests and feedback, at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org