Scrap of their lives

With a reduced fixture list in the Premier League due to a FA Cup clash, the relegation scrap takes centre stage this weekend.

Middlesbrough, Swansea and Hull all need wins if they scrap for what looks to be the last survival spot.


Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough

This is must win for Middlesbrough whilst victory for Bournemouth will all but guarantee their place next season in the top flight.

Bournemouth might be without a win since the international break but their performances have been excellent.

Since the return fixtures started in January, the Cherries have shipped more goals than any other club so expect Middlesbrough to try and exploit this to their advantage.

Boro themselves have been struggling but are showing signs of improvement.

I was at the match against Arsenal on Monday and they showed determination and played an even match. The attacking intent was serious whilst the defence showed moments of weakness

More of that then they should get at least a point at the Vitaly Stadium.

Bournemouth are unbeaten at home to the Teessiders in league meetings but lost in the second leg of their 2nd round clash of the 1991-92 League Cup.

Unlike the Cherries, Boro haven’t won on the road since their opening away game at Sunderland in August.

The match will hopefully be competitive but can see the visitors walking away with three vital points and their first league double of the season.

Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Middlesbrough

Result: Bournemouth 4-0 Middlesbrough


Hull vs Watford

Win here then Hull could be five points clear of the drop zone.

Marco Silva’s record at home is impressive and another win here will be a big help in his mission to keep the Tigers roaring at top volume next season.

Watford’s away form is poor but they are already all but mathematically safe.

Their head coach, Walter Mazzarri is keen to see if his squad relaxes now that they hit the 40 point mark or if they will push on.

These sides haven’t met here at Premier League level yet so expect a real battle after the Hornets won the reverse fixture.

With Hull still in trouble but in such great home form, expect to see them win here.

Prediction: Hull 2-1 Watford

Result: Hull 2-0 Watford


Swansea vs Stoke

If Swansea are to stay in touch of Hull, they can’t afford to drop points here.

The Swans are currently 18th but defeat here coupled with wins for Hull and Middlesbrough will pile the pressure on.

Stoke have struggled for results lately but victory over Hull last weekend will give them belief.

The head to head stats points towards an away victory because Swansea have just one win in this fixture, from their last seven meetings.

The Potters however haven’t claimed two consecutive away victories at the Liberty Stadium. To add to their misery, they haven’t scored on the road since a 3-1 win in Sunderland all the way back in January.

A draw here looks the most likeliest scenario but the home crowd could be the key 12th man that helps Swansea nick it.

Prediction: Swansea 2-1 Stoke

Result: Swansea 2-0 Stoke


West Ham vs Everton

Everton head to the Olympic Stadium needing a win to place pressure on Manchester United and Arsenal.

West Ham have only one win from their last nine outings and with such a strong Everton side, this will be tough for them.

Their scoring record at home is worse than away so expect the Hammers to try and counter attack here.

Everton however have struggled away from Goodison Park with just two wins in their last 14 away trips.

They need to start getting wins on the road, if they’re to compound Arsenal’s season even further into disarray and pip Manchester United to fifth.

Romelu Lukaku has scored every time that he played West Ham so he will be a key figure to shut out.

The Toffees haven’t lost on their last eight visits to East London but this is their first match at the Olympic Stadium.

Could this be the undoing of their record here?

Slaven Bilic might be under pressure but Everton need to improve their away form and can see them starting it here.

Prediction: West Ham 0-2 Everton

Result: West Ham 0-0 Everton



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