Manchester United – Bournemouth
Well, this is quite the doozy. A team unbeaten since December, who just won a trophy, against a team without a win since hell froze over. Of course, despite their recent success, we all know United are a bit sh*t since they’re still only sixth. Meanwhile, Bournemouth have Eddie ‘the next, big thing – no, it’s not because he’s English’ Howe at the helm. This should be a walkover.
Swansea City – Burnley
Burnley were supposed to be my sure bet. They won at home, and they lost away. But they’ve gone and made it all complicated by losing at home against Lincoln, then doubling their away points tally (with a draw!) last weekend. If that wasn’t confusing enough, Swansea are somehow good again under Paul Clement. That’s the guy that messed up a sure thing at Derby. Football, bloody hell.
Leicester City – Hull City
Well, this is just nice and unpredictable, isn’t it? Leicester were floundering so nicely a couple of weeks ago, while Hull had finally figured out that they had to score goals to win matches under Marco Silva. A historic double over the reigning champions was a sure thing. Then Ranieri got fired and Leicester thrashed Liverpool under the new management of Craig Shakespeare (insert script writing gag here). Now my job is so much harder. Don’t these clubs have any respect for prediction hacks when they make sudden personnel changes?!
West Bromwich Albion – Crystal Palace
After a truly abysmal start that was worse than under Pardew, Allardici’s side seem to finally be getting to grips with their job (yes, they’re about five months late to the party, but let’s forget that). Turns out a romantic weekend a way with Big Sam was all the players needed to be scared straight. Unfortunately, they’re up against perhaps the most underrated side in the league. I really can’t see the Eagles getting anything from this.
Watford – Southampton
Manolo Gabbiadini has been in absolutely outlandish form since his transfer to the south coast of England. Who would’ve guessed that Southampton had a better atmosphere than famed tourist destination Napoli. The Italian has scored five in three matches, and really should’ve gotten a hat-trick and a winner’s medal last weekend. Unfortunately, he came up against a United team playing with rabbit feet (yes, that’s a pun that’s really stretching it. No, I’m not going to apologise), and led by a not-so-modest Swede. I doubt Watford are going to be able to contain the striker though.
Stoke City – Middlesbrough
Given the recent revelations about Mourinho’s tendencies to berate Ozil for his desire to have a shower after a bad game, the only logical leap to be made here is that Karanka must do the same with his players over at Riverside. If that’s true, then I genuinely sympathise with the families of the Boro players since they must absolutely stink having not played a decent game for months. Meanwhile Hughes’ Stoke have been Hughesing along to their standard ninth place finish despite losing erstwhile talisman Bojan. Can’t see either side upsetting the apple cart for a match as insignificant as this.
Liverpool – Arsenal
Ah, the battle of the crises clubs. Those poor fans at Anfield and Emirates, having to watch their multimillion worth superstars, led by their objectively world class coaches, go to battle in their massive stadiums in a match broadcast across the globe. It must be such a struggle seeing your team playing breathtaking football every week, while doing their best to finish in the top four. I bet they’d much rather be like Newcastle United who are the top of the league. Hey, the Championship is still a league.
Tottenham – Everton
This used to be an absolutely titanic matchup, if somewhat pointless with regards to the league table, in years gone by. Though, with these two teams favoured to finish sixth and seventh, I guess it still is. Huh, times don’t change as much you would think. Well, unless you get bought out by a rich Sheikh.
Sunderland – Manchester City
Manchester City really do have quite a fearsome front line with Aguero, Sane, Sterling, Silva and De Bruyne all playing out of their skin recently. And that’s not even mentioning Jesus, who all but confirmed Aguero’s departure in a spectacular month. To bad he seems to be made of the same glass as the Argentinean striker. Unfortunately for Guardiola, his keeper seems to be defending shots as well as parent playing against his kid. Considering the clinical ruthlessness of Defoe, Sunderland might just sneak a result.
West Ham United – Chelsea
Last week, I came up with a whole load of reasons for optimism that Chelsea would drop points against Swansea – from Clement’s insider knowledge of Stamford Bridge to desperate hope for a more even league. However, this weekend is drastically different. West Ham at the Olympic Stadium is almost as easy a win as Tottenham at Wembley. This is going to be a rout for the ages.