With only two weeks of the Premier League season remaining, Mark Young predicts the results of five of this weekend’s relegation and title deciding matches.
Newcastle United 1-2 Crystal Palace
Newcastle United will welcome back Alan Pardew to St James’ Park this Saturday for a game that could be pivotal in the race to survive the drop.
The Magpies had a week in which they earned five points from three games, coming back from behind at home to Manchester City and away at Liverpool to earn vital points. Rafa Benitez has given them a fighting chance now, and they are one point behind both Norwich and Sunderland above them.
The issue is that Pardew will not want to lose against his former employers, and could put the first nail in Newcastle’s coffin. The FA Cup finalists will have their eyes on the show piece final on May 21st but could still get sucked into the relegation battle.
The Eagles should be able to get a win at a desperate Newcastle, seeing themselves safe and leaving Pardew’s former club looking down.
Stoke City 0-1 Sunderland
Sunderland’s trip to Stoke will have just as much of an impact on the relegation battle as anything else this weekend, but Big Sam looks like he will be able to fight on again.
Stoke have been poor in recent weeks and look set for the beaches of foreign lands, which could help the Black Cats. The Potters were brushed aside by Tottenham and Manchester City, with four goals conceded in each, whilst Sunderland have battled and can count themselves unlucky to have only got a point from Arsenal last weekend.
With that being said, it is unlikely that they will be unlucky again, and they should keep their heads above water – just.
Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City
Saturday evening’s game has Arsenal hosting the Canaries of Norwich City as one side battles for a top four spot and the other battles to stay out of the bottom three.
Arsenal were tepid in their draw with Sunderland last weekend, and will be looking over their shoulders with Manchester United looking to pounce on any slip up in the race for Champions League football.
If this game was in November, you could see Arsenal winning by a few clear goals, but Norwich will not be giving up their Premier League status without a fight.
The Emirates has been relatively hostile in the last few home games, and a battling victory against a relegation struggler probably won’t ease the Gunners’ fans frustrations, but a single Alexis Sanchez piece of magic may be Norwich’s downfall.
Manchester United 1-1 Leicester City
Leicester City can win the Premier League at Old Trafford this Sunday afternoon against FA Cup finalists Manchester United.
It will take all three points for the Foxes to win English football’s most prestigious prize at its most iconic club ground, but it won’t be easy for Claudio Ranieri’s side. Jamie Vardy’s ban didn’t stop Leicester racking up four goals against Swansea last week, but United aren’t quite finished for the season yet.
Louis van Gaal’s hungry young side will want to be snapping at Arsenal and Manchester City’s heels for a place in the top four, making for an intriguing encounter.
Leicester may have to wait one more week to be crowned champions, but a point at Old Trafford will leave them with one hand on the trophy.
Chelsea 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham fell to a disappointing draw on Monday night, and will have to pick themselves up at Stamford Bridge this week. Spurs are seven points behind Leicester with nine points to play for, so they will need snookers and have to win their remaining three games.
Chelsea’s players have come out and said that they don’t want Spurs winning the league, which hasn’t gone down too well in North London.
The Blues have put up a dreadful defence of their Premier League trophy, so Spurs should just about have enough to keep the title race alive for one more week.
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