The fight for survival in the Premier League is wide open this season and results from Week 30 onwards are vital for the futures of several clubs.
Week 30 of the Premier League is underway in style when old foes Manchester United and Liverpool lock horns on Saturday night and this does look to be a weekend whereby several away clubs and underdogs remain live chances of winning.
Week 30 of the Premier League will launch in style on Saturday night when bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool square off at Old Trafford. The winner of this match will be in the box seat to finish second overall and given the hatred that is held between these two teams, this is sure to be another fiery encounter.
United got out of jail in Week 29 when Nemanja Matic slotted home the winner against Crystal Palace in injury time. The Red Devils were actually two goals in the red following a slow start and did well to get back into and win the match, but the simply cannot afford to repeat that performance against one of the league’s formed sides in Liverpool.
The Reds’ resurgence continued with a 2-0 win over Newcastle last weekend and they are now undefeated in their last 6 matches in all competitions. Mo Salah was on target for Liverpool again and the prolific Egyptian now leads the race to the Golden Boot.
This is always an exciting fixture regardless of form, but Liverpool’s recent performances just cannot be ignored and I am confident they can leave Manchester with the win.
We are set for an intriguing fixture when Swansea City travels to Huddersfield early on Sunday morning Australian time.
The Swans looked to be back to their old ways when on the receiving end of a Brighton masterclass a fortnight ago, but they responded in the best way possible with a demolition job of their own against West Ham in Week 29. Ki Sung-Yueng opened the scoring for the Welsh side in the eighth minute and that opened the flood gates as they knocked home four before conceding only one in response.
Things weren’t as positive for the Terriers, who dropped all the points away to Spurs. Realistically, they won’t be winning matches like that one for the remainder of the season, but that means that they have to be making the most of every opportunity, particularly against clubs who are faced with a similar task for survival, like Swansea.
Both sides can fall into the bottom three if they lose this weekend, but Swansea’s form has been great recently and they can take another big step away from danger by winning this match.
West Bromwich Albion will attempt to salvage some pride when they host Leicester City on Sunday.
It’s been a season to forget for the Baggies and they will more-than-likely be relegated to the Championship at season’s end. They have simply failed to gain anything of a foothold on the league this time, nor string together a competitive run of form. They suffered their fifth straight defeat last weekend and it looks to be only a matter of time until their fate is sealed.
Leicester City have been safe from the drop zone since before Christmas and they continued a smart run of form in Week 29 with a 1-1 draw against a competitive Bournemouth outfit. They are clearly a class below the league’s best teams, but they occasionally produce glimpses of the brilliance that captured the title two seasons ago, and that was on show in the form of Riyad Mahrez’s brilliant goal last weekend.
West Brom are playing like a team that has given up and this is another great opportunity for Leicester to take three competition points.
Both clubs have claims on winning the match and there is subsequently plenty of value to be taken around both Newcastle and Southampton in betting this weekend.
Newcastle are firmly entrenched in the relegation dogfight and were unable to improve their situation when they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend. That is now two games winless for the Magpies and they need to start finding a way to take all three points, if they are to save themselves from another season in the second tier.
It’s a pretty similar scenario for the Saints, who are caught seventeenth in overall standings and therefore in serious danger of a return to the Championship. They actually haven’t been losing much, but they have also failed to find the winner’s circle and single competition points are simply not enough at this point of the season.
Both teams need the win and it is extremely difficult to analyse how this will play out. A draw looms as a likely outcome, but I am happy to sit back and watch.
One of the best matches of the week looks likely to take place when West Ham hosts Burnley early on Sunday morning.
The Hammers have been pretty inconsistent this season, but its been particularly slim pickings for the London club in recent weeks and they will enter this fixture off the back of consecutive 4-1 losses to Liverpool and Swansea City. While most teams can be forgiven for dropping points to Liverpool, West Ham were simply unable to get into the contest with Swansea last week, in what was a particularly lacklustre display.
Burnley have been the real surprise packet of the 2017/18 EPL season and they enter Week 30 in seventh position overall. They were too good for a ten-man Everton last weekend and have suffered only one defeat in their five most-recent league games.
This match looms as an opportunity for West Ham to find a bit of form leading into the final few weeks of play, but Burnley are simply too tough to tip against when they are playing an inconsistent club.
Everton will look to return to winning form when they host Brighton at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Toffees suffered a disappointing loss to Burnley last weekend and were reduced to ten men late in the piece when Ashley Williams was sent for flinging his arm into the neck of striker Ashley Barnes. The captain will therefore be out of the squad for this fixture and that could prove vital to Everton’s organisation, defence and winning potential.
Brighton are in a purple patch of form at the right end of the season and are seeking a third-consecutive win after destroying Swansea and producing their best result of the season by beating Arsenal last week. Aussie Mat Ryan has been a brick wall between the posts for the Seagulls and he will play a key role against a reasonable Everton attack again this weekend.
It’s tough imagining Everton returning to winning form here, but Brighton haven’t been great on the road and a low-scoring draw looms as a likely outcome.
Betting suggests that Sunday’s meeting between Chelsea and Palace at Stamford Bridge will be one of the most one-sided in Week 30 of the Premier League.
Chelsea have incredibly lost three of their four most-recent games in England’s top league, but two of those have been against the best two teams in the competition and they can probably therefore be forgiven for those. They were actually quite good against runaway leaders Manchester City last weekend and managed to hold the Blues’ potent, multidimensional attack to only one goal.
Palace came within minutes of pulling off the upset of the year when they led Manchester United 2-1 deep into their Week 29 fixture, but they were simply unable to withstand a constant barrage from the giants and eventually lost 3-2. They can take plenty of positives from the performance despite the result and they can give Chelsea a real fight this weekend.
Chelsea should win, but they are too short at their current $1.30 quote.
Arsenal will do battle with Week 29 winners Watford at the Emirates on Sunday night.
The Gunners seemingly sealed their fate in the race to Champions League berths when they dropped all the points to Brighton last weekend and they are now caught in sixth overall, eight points behind the fifth-placed Chelsea.
The Hornets snuck past West Bromwich Albion 1-0; probably ending the Baggies’ run in the top flight, while perhaps ensuring themselves another Premier League campaign. Captain Troy Deeney was again instrumental in his side’s win and netted the 77th minute winner.
This is an intriguing fixture as Arsenal are clear favourites, but Watford are the sort of club that will be bullish of their own chances. Watford pulled off the upset when these clubs met in October, but Arsenal should be able to reverse their fortunes this time around.
The penultimate match of the round will see Bournemouth host Tottenham, in what should be a good spectacle on Monday morning.
The Cherries have managed a number of credible performances and results recently and held a competitive Leicester side to a draw away from home last weekend. Bournemouth are a win above the relegation scrap, but they do need to continue finding points if they are to assure themselves another EPL campaign.
Spurs have been one of the league’s most consistent teams all season and they are still right in the fight for second, albeit two points below Liverpool heading into Week 30. They kept alive an impressive undefeated streak in the league that stretches back to mid-December with a comfortable 2-0 win over Huddersfield last weekend and they deserve to start clear favourites again this weekend.
Stoke City have the immense task of hosting Manchester City in the final match of Week 30.
Its been a pretty disappointing season for the Potters and they are staring down the barrel of demotion. They are second-last in overall standings heading into this match, having won only six times through the first 29 weeks of the competition.
Manchester City’s statistics speak for themselves and they are on track for a multiple record-breaking season. They will realistically win this match easily and it would not be surprising to see them put on a big score at the Potteries.