Manchester United and Arsenal are evenly matched this season as they go into battle for third place.
United won 2-1 at the Emirates in the Barclays Premier League (BPL) in November, despite Arsenal dominating for the majority of the match.
Arsenal won 2-1 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in March, despite United dominating for the majority of the match.
There’s little to choose between them.
Not so, though, with our soccer analysts.
Welcome to the BPL Preview!
SOUTHAMPTON V ASTON VILLA
In 68 previous meetings, Villa have managed 27 victories over Southampton while Southampton have recorded 20 wins over the visitors. But Villa are unbeaten in their last three meetings with the Saints. Aisha, will they make it four on the bounce?
Aisha: Southampton have been recording poor results recently putting hopes of qualifying for Europe in doubt. Aston Villa, on the other hand, have been brilliant and Christian Benteke deservedly won the player of the month award for April. However, Southampton will be strong at home so I see this ending in a 2-2 draw.
Sunday: Southampton have been below-par in recent weeks and home comfort should help them over an inspired Villa who have an eye on FA Cup glory and can cement survival next week at home. 2-1
Kayode: Villa have turned their season round since Tim Sherwood’s appointment and are in impressive form while the Saints seem to be allowing their season to peter out in an attempt to avoid Thursday night football next season. A victory on Saturday will secure Villa’s safety so I expect them to go for a win. But I think the match will end in a 1-1 draw
BURNLEY V STOKE CITY
Of the 96 games played between the sides, Burnley have won 33 games, Stoke City have won 42 games, while the rest have ended as draws. At home Burnley have won 22 of their 48 ties against Stoke. Kayode, can they make it win number 23?
Kayode: Relegated Burnley are only playing for pride now. Both teams are not in impressive form of late. While Burnley have won just one of their last six games, their visitors have bagged two wins in the same number of games. A draw is written all over this game. 2-2
Aisha: Burnley won last weekend but were relegated. The atmosphere at Turf Moor will be sad when Stoke City come visiting so I will call this a 1-1 draw
Sunday: Burnley are down and out but not without fighting. Their determination is still there for all to see – minus the points, though. Stoke City are on a roll and are enjoying the end-of-the-season parade. Burnley should say goodbye with a point in front of their supporters. 1-1
QUEENS PARK RANGERS V NEWCASTLE UNITED
Newcastle have only won three away games all season, but they are unbeaten in their last five meetings (W4, D1) against QPR. Sunday, a win for your team right?
Sunday: It is a relegation three-pointer, looking at it from Newcastle United’s angle. QPR are gone but a point, at least, for Newcastle should aid their survival if other games go in their favour. They also have Papiss Cisse back and the Senegalese was badly missed during his 7-game ban when the Magpies did not win a game. QPR should put up a fight but Newcastle will leave with at least a point to cling on to Premier league life. 1-1
Aisha: Queens Park Rangers got relegated last weekend in the most embarrassing manner losing 6-0 to former champions, Manchester City. Newcastle United finally stopped a woeful run of loses by drawing 1-1 with West Brom last weekend and a win against QPR may secure their Premier League status. I think they will take advantage of the melancholy at QPR to get an away win at Loftus Road. 1-2
Kayode: Like the previous fixture, this is another game between a relegated side against one fighting to avoid the drop. But I think Newcastle have all to play for after ending a dismal run of eight consecutive defeats. It is a must win for the Magpies and I think they might just nick it. 0-1
SUNDERLAND V LEICESTER CITY
No side has picked up more points than Leicester City in their last seven games. They have managed to pick up 18 points while champions Chelsea have picked up one less over the period. Sunday, can they pick up all three this time around?
Sunday: Relegation six-pointer of the week. Leicester’s run of five wins in six has been hailed as miraculous and only Chelsea pinned them back in that run. Their vibrant forward, now-solid backline and a dynamic midfield should contain Defoe and Sunderland which could collapse at any time and this weekend should be that time – considering the fact that I am a Newcastle fan! There’s no better joy than for Sunderland to hit the Championship next season. 1-2
Aisha: Two sides battling relegation and both have been getting decent results in recent games. A win for either will almost certainly guarantee Premier League survival, but I don’t think any of them will lose this. I also feel that both will remain in the BPL. 1-1
Kayode: This season’s relegation battle thumps the race for the title by a long mile and its down to the resurgence of Leicester City. Both them and Saturday’s opponent Sunderland have climbed above Newcastle and Hull in recent weeks and they go into this game knowing a win will secure their Premier League status. I’m tempted to give the match to Leicester but let me settle for a draw. 1-1
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V HULL CITY
Hull can be relegated this weekend if they lose and other results go against them. Sunday, do you see Spurs giving them a return ticket to destination Championship?
Sunday: Hull City find themselves in a difficult situation and this game must yield at least a point if they want to have their fate in their hands in the relegation struggle. They have not played badly in recent weeks but they have not picked up some deserved points and they could correct that at a below-par Tottenham. The north Londoners have been abject in recent weeks – especially in defence – and it is unclear if manager Pochettino has convinced the hierarchy they do not need the distraction of Europa League next season. Hull to steal a point. 1-1
Aisha: Tottenham have choked in their last couple of games particularly in the 3-0 loss to Stoke last weekend. But Hull have also been poor and are likely to be the third team to be relegated. I see Spurs winning this 3-1
Kayode: I have a sneaking feeling that Tottenham are looking to avoid playing in the Europa League next season! Its seems to be a distraction to their top four target and a place in the Champions League as they normally struggle in the Premier League after playing on Thursday. So, I see Hull pulling a “surprise” here with a win that all but guarantee safety. 0-1
Let us go on a brief break.
WEST HAM UNITED V EVERTON
West Ham have gone 13 games without a win against Everton in the Premier League (D4 L9), losing each of the last five. Aisha, can the Toffees maintain their superiority over the Hammers?
Aisha: It’s 10th versus 11th as West Ham tackle Everton. Both sides lost last time out and I’m guessing they are already in holiday mode. I see a 1-1 draw at Upton Park
Kayode: This is a match of great insignificance! Both are contented with their current position on the log going by their recent results bereft of enthusiasm. I expect a boring game yielding no goals. 0-0
Sunday: Dead rubber. West Ham are more concerned with replacing Big Sam Allardyce while Everton almost certain of Europe via the fair play route. They have improved during the season run-in and had luck against them last weekend when they lost by two deflected goals against Leicester. They should give the sleeping Hammers a run for their money. 2-2
LIVERPOOL V CRYSTAL PALACE
Liverpool have lost only one of their previous 14 home league games against Crystal Palace – winning 11 (D2). Aisha, a win for the Reds in Steven Gerrard last home game?
Aisha: This is Steven Gerrard’s last game at Anfield and it will be highly emotional as English football bids farewell to one of the greatest midfielders ever in football. Gerrard showed how good he still is even at 34 when he equalised against champions Chelsea last weekend. I believe Liverpool will be inspired by the occasion of Gerrard’s farewell and be too good for Crystal Palace. 2-0
Sunday: Farewell Steven Gerrard. The journey that started in 1987 will come to an end next week, but the Kop will be seeing their hero for the last time this weekend and Anfield will stand still for their captain, even Crystal Palace might be sunk into the celebrations. Back on the pitch, Liverpool players will package the three points as a farewell gift for the US-bound midfielder, although they would be threatened by the heavy artillery of Palace’s wingers. Goodbye Stevie ‘MBE’ Gerrard. 2-0
Kayode: This game is all about Steven G! The Reds’ captain has led Liverpool with distinction for over ten years and how nice will it be to have a Roy of the Rovers ending in his last game at Anfield as a Liverpool player with a hat-trick in the 3-0 score line?
SWANSEA CITY V MANCHESTER CITY
Swansea have lost four of their last five matches against Manchester City, drawing the other. Sunday, can Swansea win the battle of “City” this time around?
Sunday: City want second spot so badly and have improved, with Aguero leading the charge to seal the top goal scorers’ gong. Swansea, however, intelligently dispatched Arsenal on Monday and they would certainly cause troubles for City’s defence but Aguero and Silva should come to the rescue. 1-3
Aisha: Manchester City were at their devastating best against QPR last time putting six past their hapless opponents. They also consolidated second position after Arsenal lost to Swansea, incidentally the team they are up against. With the form that Man City are in right now, I will give them this game. 1-2
Kayode: Swansea are on a three-game winning streak but Wilfried Bony is the only player since March 2012 to score for them against Man City. Now that he’s now representing the opposition, it is hard to see where the Welsh club’s goals are going to come from. Own goal? 1-1
MANCHESTER UNITED V ARSENAL
Wayne Rooney has scored six in his last seven games against Arsenal at Old Trafford. Sunday, another goal for the captain?
Sunday: Well, he can score in the game of the week which is coming at the wrong time of the season. United need a point to seal fourth spot and Champions League return while Arsenal still believe they can finish second. Pride is the prize at stake and though Louis van Gaal’s strikers are misfiring while Arsene Wenger’s forward are still good to go, the Red Devils should sneak all three points at the Theatre of Dreams. 2-1
Aisha: The biggest game of the weekend. Manchester United stopped a three game losing streak with victory away to Crystal Palace last weekend while Arsenal lost to Swansea at home. United will leapfrog Arsenal into third place with a win in this game and I think they have all the motivation to do that. 2-1
Kayode: The third meeting between United and Arsenal this season sadly is a play-off for third place rather than for the title. How things have changed! United shouldn’t lose at home to the Gunners yet again. 2-0
WEST BROM V CHELSEA
Didier Drogba has scored eight goals in seven Premier League starts against the Baggies. Sunday, can the Ivorian bag goal number nine against West Brom?
Sunday: Hmmmmmm, not impossible in this game where nothing is at stake. Expect Jose to field some fringe players while Pulis is using this period to examine his squad for a possible summer clear out. Chelsea’s class should see them take all three point and hopefully,Mikel could sneak in a goal. You heard it here first! 1-2
Aisha: Chelsea are champions and West Brom are safe. But I think Jose Mourinho will demand a good performance from his team so I will predict an away win here. 1-2
Kayode: An easy, but slim, win for the champions. 0-1
WEEK 36 PREDICTIONS
|Everton v Sunderland||1-1||1-1||2-0||0-2|
|Stoke v Tottenham||1-1||1-2||1-1||3-0|
|Newcastle v West Brom||2-0||1-0||2-1||1-1|
|Leicester v Southampton||2-2||2-1||2-2||2-0|
|Hull v Burnley||2-2||1-0||2-1||0-1|
|Aston Villa v West Ham||2-1||2-1||2-1||1-0|
|Crystal Palace v Man United||1-2||1-2||1-2||1-2|
|Man City v QPR||3-0||3-0||3-0||6-0|
|Chelsea v Liverpool||0-0||1-0||2-0||1-1|
|Arsenal v Swansea||2-0||3-0||3-1||0-1|
PUNDITS LEAGUE TABLE
|PUNDIT||WK 36 CORRECT RESULT (1PT)||WK 36 SCORE (2PTS)||WK 36 TOTAL POINTS||CUMMULATIVE POINTS|