It’s all about Chelsea at the moment.
After winning the Barclays Premier League (BPL) with three games to spare, they will be looking to dent Liverpool’s hope of catching up with the floundering Manchester United and pipping them to a fourth place finish on the log that will guarantee a berth in the UEFA Champions League.
So, can Jose Mourinho and his men frustrate the Reds at Stamford Bridge?
Find out the views and predictions of our soccer analysts on this fixture and the other nine.
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EVERTON V SUNDERLAND
Sunderland have won just two of the last 20 league games against Everton but won this fixture last time out with a 1-0 victory in December 2013. Sunday, can they make it two in a row?
Sunday: Everton got served at Aston Villa last weekend but at home in recent times they have looked formidable. Sunderland’s point last weekend gave them a lifeline in a tough relegation battle but Goodison Park is not the right place to gain a point with the form Everton are at home. 2-0
Aisha: Sunderland are languishing in 18th position right now but their recent performances particularly last weekend’s 2-1 win over Southampton indicate that they just could avoid the dreaded drop. For Everton, the 3-2 loss to Aston Villa didn’t really affect them as they are already safe. I’m betting this game will end in a 1-1 draw.
Kayode: Time, erm, games are running out for Sunderland as relegation battle thickens. They need a result here and it’s difficult to see how they can achieve that. Everton have been poor by their standard this season but have improved of late and will want to push for a top 10 finish. Like Aisha, I go for a 1-1 draw as well.
ASTON VILLA V WEST HAM UNITED
West Ham have failed to win any of their last 10 away matches in the BPL. Aisha, another loss at Villa Park?
Aisha: With the magical 40 points acquired last weekend, Aston Villa ensured that they will play in the Premier League next season. West Ham will be typically tough but I tip Villa to win this 2-1
Sunday: Another weekend another home game and most-likely another home win. Tim Sherwood knows only maximum points will do against a West Ham side that has wind down for the season. Chris Benteke to continue the rescue mission. 2-1
Kayode: If I could vote, Tim Sherwood will win my Manager of the Year award for incredibly turning things around at Aston Villa. He has got them to play with pace, flair, imagination and craft. And they are in the FA Cup final. The two teams played out a drab goalless draw in November when they met in London but this should go to the home side. 2-1
HULL CITY V BURNLEY
Sunday, let’s go superstitious. Hull City have never won a BPL game in the month of May. They have drawn three and lost seven. A defeat in the card?
Sunday: Steve Bruce’s wards were abject on Monday night, probably because he has his eyes set on this fixture. Burnley will be their determined usual self but without Danny Ings’ goals, there’s drought in attack. N’Doye scores in front of the fans and he should add another this weekend. 2-1
Aisha: This might just turn out to be the most exciting game of the weekend as both sides are battling relegation. I think Burnley are doomed and will go down but Hull need at least six more points to avoid relegation. I see them beating Burnley 1-0
Kayode: A game between two sides fighting to beat the drop is always very interesting. Hull City still have games with the top teams so this is supposed to be the easiest stop off on their run in. For Burnley, nothing less than a win at the KC Stadium will ensure another year in the elite division. I see the game, though, ending in a draw. 2-2
LEICESTER V SOUTHAMPTON
Leicester City have won five of their last six BPL games, as many victories as they had collected in their previous 39 league matches. Aisha, will it be six in seven for the Foxes?
Aisha: Jose Mourinho says he believes Leicester City will survive and I agree with him. Southampton haven’t been in good form recently so I will back Leicester to win this 2-1
Sunday: Leicester’s resurgence has been nothing short of miraculous. Five wins in six, including four wins on the bounce has seen them climb out of relegation positions and another win would. But Southampton still have their sights on Europe and another point would aid their cause. 2-2
Kayode: Southampton have scored two goals in each of their last three away games against Leicester City, winning one 2-1 and losing the others 2-3. They will draw this 2-2!
NEWCASTLE UNITED V WEST BROMWICH
Newcastle have only ever lost five home games in a row once before in their league history (October 1953 when they lost six on the trot). Will it happen again with this match?
Sunday: I am a true Geordie; therefore I’d never boycott any of our games even if the owner is showing lack of ambition. This malaise has eaten into the players and it has culminated into an 8-straight defeat. But we should turn it around against a West Brom side who are assured of survival already. My plea is for the fans to support their manager – the “best” coach in the premier league – and the players for the sake of the city. WE NEED PREMIERSHIP FOOTBALL; IT’S NOT EASY BEING IN THE WILDERNESS OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP. 2-1
Aisha: Newcastle United desperately need points because they could be dragged into a relegation battle if they don’t win the next couple of games. I feel that their home fans will help them beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0
Kayode: Papiss Cisse could return to the Newcastle squad for this game. The Senegal striker is available after completing a seven-match ban for spitting at Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, although he has been nursing a knee problem which may limit his involvement. Cisse has scored three goals in just 199 minutes of Premier League action against West Brom. Also, he has scored a goal every 92 minutes on average this season – the best rate of any player with five or more goals in the top flight. He will lead them to a 2-0 win.
Let us go for a brief commercial break.
STOKE CITY V TOTTENHAM
Tottenham have won four of their last five league games against Stoke at the Britannia. Aisha, its easy to predict another win for Spurs, right?
Aisha: Both Stoke and Tottenham lost their last games. But while Stoke have nothing more to fight for since they are already safe and can’t make Europe, Spurs who are 6th on the table still have Europa League aspirations. Yes, I see an away win for Spurs. 1-2
Sunday: A dead-rubber encounter. Nothing at stake for anyone, especially the home team. A share of the spoils the most-likely outcome. 1-1
Kayode: Stoke have not enjoyed the best form in recent weeks despite picking up a win against Southampton and drawing against Sunderland at home. They lost 2-0 to Swansea last weekend and it prevented them from leapfrogging West Ham on the log. Tottenham’s performances have dropped as well. They have only managed to win two of their last six league games and face a fight to stay in the top six. A draw looks likely here. 1-1
CRYSTAL PALACE V MANCHESTER UNITED
Palace have failed to score in eight of the last 10 meetings with Manchester United in all competitions. But United have failed to score in their last two away games. Sunday, a goalless draw then?
Sunday: Manchester United really need the three points if they are to fend off the feeble challenge of Liverpool in the race for fourth but Palace are not the right place for a straightforward win. The Red Devils would be made to sweat but they should get the job done. 1-2
Aisha: Manchester United have lost their last three matches in a row. This is surprising considering that they won their previous six consecutively. A team that seemed ready to challenge even Chelsea for the title are suddenly at risk of missing out of the Champions League completely. Crystal Palace on the other hand have also lost three consecutive games. The Eagles will be tough at home but United should win this 1-2
Kayode: Manager Alan Pardew has no injury concerns for Saturday’s match at home to Manchester United but the same cannot be said of the Red Devils. Several members of the squad are doubtful for the game because of a virus. Manager Louis van Gaal said ‘a lot’ of players were suffering from the virus, but would not go into specifics. Virus or no virus, I will also be the testing the microphone here and go for a 1-2 score line!
MANCHESTER CITY V QUEENS PARK
City are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions against QPR (W4 D2), but have drawn the last two. A loss is a logical sequence, right Aisha?
Aisha: Former champions Manchester City have found their form… but at the wrong time. The title is gone but they will want to finish second and salvage some pride. I pity Queens Park Rangers. I expect Man City and Sergio Aguero to be ruthless. 3-0
Sunday: Goodbye QPR, the new yo-yo club of England. The Rangers have no chance against a resurgent City side and they could as well kiss survival goodbye if other results go against them. Aguero on the prowl. 3-0
Kayode: Manchester City have lost just one of their last 15 BPL home games (W11 D3 L1) and it’s highly unlikely they will lose this one. I go for a 3-0 win too.
CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have lost just one of their last four BPL visits to Stamford Bridge (W2 D1 L1). Sunday, can they avoid defeat this time around?
Sunday: Who would score for Liverpool, an aged Gerrard, a lost Sterling, or an epileptic Coutinho? Chelsea are champions but Mourinho is not one to reduce the intensity and another target would be set by the mercurial Portuguese. And in Hazard and the aged Drogba who is slowly getting his game back, its consolidation time for Chelsea. 2-0
Aisha: Many analysts expected Chelsea to emerge champions. Jose Mourinho and his boys did not disappoint. Their opponents in this game, Liverpool, were also expected to do well but they faltered badly. To add insult to their injury, they have to form a “Guard of Honour” for their bitter rivals at kick-off. Mourinho will likely give many of his title-winning squad the much-deserved rest and field a young side but I think even at that, Chelsea will win 1-0
Kayode: Jose Mourinho has won eight and lost just one of 10 league matches as a coach against Liverpool. In the 11 league meetings between his two spells in charge, Liverpool won six and lost just two matches against the Blues. The league has already been won so I expect the Portuguese to give some fringe players the opportunity to shine. I see the game ending in a 0-0 draw.
ARSENAL V SWANSEA CITY
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 34 Premier League matches at Emirates Stadium (W24 D9 L1). Aisha, can they continue the impressive home form?
Aisha: Arsenal have been the most impressive team in the final lap of the season but their inconsistency at the beginning left them with too much to do. They will however aspire to finish second and this will mean comprehensively beating Swansea. I see a 3-0 victory for the Gunners.
Sunday: The Gunners have consolidated second place and will further cement it against Swansea who has nothing to lose and playing with freedom. But Arsenal are business as usual and there would be no slip-ups in the race to cement 2nd place instead of the usual 4th place they are condemned to. 3-1
Kayode: The two sides have met seven times in the Premier League with three wins apiece and one draw. Swansea have had to come from behind to get seven of the 10 points they have earned against the Gunners. They won’t earn any point this time around. 2-0
WEEK 35 PREDICTIONS
|Leicester v Newcastle||1-0||2-1||2-1||3-0|
|Aston Villa v Everton||2-0||2-1||2-1||3-2|
|Liverpool v QPR||2-1||2-0||2-0||2-1|
|Sunderland v Southampton||1-1||1-2||1-2||2-1|
|Swansea v Stoke||0-0||1-1||2-1||2-0|
|West Ham v Burnley||1-2||1-0||2-0||1-0|
|Man United v West Brom||2-0||3-1||3-1||0-1|
|Chelsea v Crystal Palace||2-0||2-0||2-0||1-0|
|Tottenham v Man City||1-2||2-2||2-2||0-1|
|Hull v Arsenal||1-2||1-1||1-1||1-3|
PUNDITS LEAGUE TABLE
|PUNDIT||WK 35 CORRECT RESULT (1PT)||WK 35 SCORE (2PTS)||WK 35 TOTAL POINTS||CUMMULATIVE POINTS|