Intensifying pressure

With Chelsea not in action till Monday night, the pressure intensifies for those in relegation and Champions League mix this weekend.

Saturday sees Manchester City host Crystal Palace at lunchtime in a critical game to their top four hopes.

At the other end, Hull face an already relegated Sunderland whilst Swansea face an shaky Everton side at the Liberty Stadium.


Manchester City vs Crystal Palace

Pep Guardiola will be hoping to avoid a potential slip up here against a Crystal Palace side, that has seen off Chelsea and Liverpool in past month.

City were frustrated by an impressive Middlesbrough side last weekend so need to ensure that they are flying above the Eagles here if want victory.

With Sergio Aguero and David Silva out, Palace have a chance to end their barren run in this fixture.

They have gone 24 years without a clean sheet against the Citizens and are yet to win on the blue side of Manchester since 1991.

Despite a strong April, defensive injuries are going to catch them out here with Gabriel Jesus in fine form.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace

Result: Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace


Bournemouth vs Stoke

Stoke will be looking to repeat their ninth place finish from last season but face a high flying Bournemouth side.

After unentertaining games last weekend, it won’t be a surprise if this has got a goalless draw written all over it.

The past three Premier League fixtures between these clubs have seen eight goals with all coming from different players.

Unlike Bournemouth, the Potters have struggled to win games lately with no goals in five of their last eight games.

I expect Eddie Howe’s men to come through this test and maintain a top ten push with. Joshua King is in scintillating form.

Prediction: Bournemouth 2-0 Stoke City

Result: Bournemouth 2-2 Stoke City


Burnley vs West Bromwich Albion

Burnley will be favourites here with West Brom in freefall.

Victory will ensure that the Clarets have avoided instant top flight relegation for the first time in the modern era.

The Baggies have lost their last five games without a goal in four so this is critical to securing their eighth place.

Tony Pulis will be confident here of ending the rout given his side’s recent record against Sean Dyche’s men.

Turf Moor is no place for any club to go but West Brom will have too much in them to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat on the bounce.

Prediction: Burnley 0-1 WBA

Result: Burnley 2-2 WBA


Hull vs Sunderland

A win for Hull will mean that Middlesbrough MUST beat Chelsea on Monday night to starve off relegation that bit longer.

Sunderland travel to the KC Stadium with no pressure, having already been relegated.

They however can decide who joins them in the Sky Bet Championship next season.

Hull have won all but one top flight home game under Marco Silva, since he took over in January 2017.

The bad news is that Sunderland have beaten the Tigers in seven of the last eleven meetings. If they can repeat this here then pressure will fall firmly on Marco Silva’s side to deliver in their last two fixtures.

Those two games are however tough as they head to a resurgent Crystal Palace, before hosting Tottenham on the final day.

That makes this game all the more important but pressure can swallow clubs up whole at this stage of the season.

The Black Cats might treat this as the first of three showcase games for players looking to move on this summer.

As a result, this will be a true test of Hull’s resolve so expect a narrow result.

Prediction: Hull 2-1 Sunderland

Result: Hull 0-2 Sunderland


Leicester vs Watford

Leicester need a win here and for others above them to lose, if they are to match the worst ever position recorded by the defending Premier League champions.

Watford however have started to rediscover their best despite a tight defeat at home to Liverpool.

The Foxes are currently looking to extend their unbeaten home run under Craig Shakespeare.

Watford however have lost their last four on the road, so need a win here to end that nightmare.

This is going to be a tough game but I fancy Leicester to come through given their superior recent record in this fixture.

Prediction: Leicester 1-0 Watford

Result: Leicester 3-0 Watford


Swansea vs Everton

Depending on Hull’s result, Swansea need to beat Everton or risk being cut adrift of safety.

Unlike the Swans, Everton have achieved their target of Europa League football so can afford to experiment here.

This could well affect how both teams approach this game in terms of work ethic.

Swansea are unbeaten in their last five meetings with the Toffees, despite having only one win. Now is the time to go and grab a second and potentially game changing victory.

Everton have however not lost a single game at the Liberty Stadium in league competitions. With both sides in contrasting situations, could that run be about to draw to its close?

The match should be entertaining, given the Swans’ awful defence against the Golden Boot leader.

On that note, a draw seems likely.

Prediction: Swansea 1-1 Everton

Result: Swansea 1-0 Everton

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