It’s time for Round 36 in the Premier League.
With Norwich City already relegated, just four teams remain in the fight for Premier League survival. Two of them face off in a winner-takes-all relegation battle that neither can lose. Plus, the chase for the Champions League just got tighter after Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United all dropped points in their last games.
From the week’s 10 games, these are our five bold Premier League predictions.
Burnley vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers, July 15
Burnley is a hard-working, all-action team that can bully and harass opponents. They currently rank 10th in the league, five points behind the sixth-place Wolves. Against Liverpool, Burnley was fortunate to get a 1-1 draw but showed their grit and resilience. Against Sheffield United, a team that recently beat Wolves 1-0, Burnley drew 1-1.
On Sunday, Wolves outplayed a lackluster Everton and won 3-0. They needed to get back to winning ways after two poor performances. Losing twice almost certainly ended Wolves hopes of Champions League qualification but with teams above them dropping points in the last round of games, there’s a glimmer of hope as they’re only four points off fourth.
Prediction: If Wolves play Daniel Podence in attack expect a Wolves victory. However, head coach Nuno Espirito Santo will most likely start with Adama Traore. Burnley and Wolves draw at 1-1.
Manchester City vs. AFC Bournemouth, July 15
Manchester City will be buoyed by the news that their Champions League ban was overturned. With three games left in the league, City cannot be caught in second place so they might experiment with their lineup.
AFC Bournemouth ranks 18th in the Premier League and sit in the last relegation spot. The team needs to win because Aston Villa faces a wayward Everton team who they’ll likely beat.
Three points against City would give Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth a chance and as they proved by beating Champions League-chasing Leicester City 4-1, anything is possible.
One thing AFC Bournemouth shouldn’t do is look at Manchester City’s recent results. They may have lost twice since the restart but they’ve scored 22 times, only conceding three, across seven games.
Prediction: A bleak night for AFC Bournemouth. Manchester City, 4-0, over AFC Bournemouth.
Leicester City vs. Sheffield United, July 16
Leicester City has one win in their past five games. Champions League qualification remains in their hands but they face Sheffield United, Tottenham and Champions league-chasing rivals Manchester United in their final three games. Leicester City is capable of winning all three but in their current form, it’s unlikely.
Sheffield United, on the other hand, came back from lock down poorly but quickly regained the form which made them the Premier League’s surprise package this season. They currently rank seventh in the league and are coming off two big wins, including a 3-0 victory over third-place Chelsea.
Prediction: Leicester City’s head coach Brendan Rodgers will be seeking a response after his team lost to AFC Bournemouth, 4-1. But they’ll be pegged back by a Sheffield United team on the rise. Leicester City and Sheffield United draw at 2-2.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United, July 16
Crystal Palace has already checked out for the season and has lost all but one game since returning from the lock down. They rank 14th in the Premier League and cannot be relegated. At this point, the Palace players have nothing to play for but pride. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem enough to keep Roy Hodgson’s men motivated.
While the Crystal Palace players have had their feet up, Manchester United have been scoring freely and pushing hard to take a top-four Premier League position. Despite dropping points in a last-minute 2-2 draw with Southampton, Man United’s form makes them look favorite to take one of the two available Champions League places. Leaving Chelsea and Leicester City to fight it out.
Out of all the games this weekend, this one is the easiest to predict the winner.
Prediction: Manchester United defeats Crystal Palace 3-0 with Mason Greenwood getting at least one goal.
West Ham United vs. Watford, July 17
West Ham United won 4-0 against Norwich City, a result that put Norwich City down a league and ensured West Ham’s Premier League fate was in their own hands. With games against relegation rivals Watford and Aston Villa coming up, West Ham knows a good result against Watford will almost guarantee their safety.
In the Premier League, both Watford and West Ham have the same points (34) and are currently split only by goal difference. It would be easy for both teams to play out a safe draw and take one-point each. However, Watford must-win because their last two games are against Manchester City and a resurgent Arsenal looking for a top-six finish. Meaning, any points earned against West Ham would likely be Watford’s last this season.
The good news for Watford fans is that they come into the game against West Ham with two consecutive wins and look to have found their fight. There’s no doubt this is the game of the round. Expect blood and thunder in this all London match-up.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Watford.