Premier League teams have five or six league matches remaining this season. The top four is settled, the league title is heading to Manchester City, and there are surely a few players more concerned about their fitness pre-World Cup than anything else.
The focus is the relegation battle. Several teams could yet slip into the bottom three, resulting in the loss of tens of millions. A few of those teams are in action this Saturday afternoon, here are a few thoughts on the fixtures…
BURNLEY vs LEICESTER CITY
This match is probably a last chance for Leicester to catch Burnley in the battle for ‘best of the rest’. The pair have occupied seventh and eighth for much of 2018, but the Clarets currently lead their visitors by six points.
After a poor run in the early part of the calendar year, Sean Dyche’s side have returned to their remarkable knack for winning, picking up 12 straight points. The Foxes, on the other hand, have been inconsistent of late, including a home defeat to Newcastle last time out.
These two teams will be hoping to catch the other in transition. That can make for stalemate, but I think there will be goals at Turf Moor. Both sides can relax, and we might actually get a decent match as a result.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 27/20
CRYSTAL PALACE vs BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
This match is bigger than the rivalry. Crystal Palace need a win. Brighton are just a couple of points from safety after a very impressive first season in the Premier League. It could be a fiery encounter at Selhurst Park, and a significant one at that.
Neither team come into this in the best form. The visitors might take a draw, which would take them to 36 points with five matches to play, but the Eagles really need a win here or they could fall back into the bottom three. Roy Hodgson and Chris Hughton have both done well this term, this match might be their biggest test yet.
Match of the Day is going to be brilliant if these predictions come off. I’m going for goals again at Selhurst.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 27/20
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN vs WATFORD
Huddersfield’s draw away at Brighton last weekend has pulled them to the relative safety of 16th. The Terriers are still in danger of relegation, though, and desperately need to pick up at least one more victory. This home fixture is an ideal opportunity to do just that against a Watford side who have struggled on the road of late.
The Hornets have taken just one point from four league matches. Just about safe on 37 points, this season has waned since their flying start. There isn’t much to get excited about right now. An end of season slide could make this campaign look far worse than it has been.
I don’t see Watford upsetting the form book here. Huddersfield haven’t scored in their last two at home, but I think David Wagner’s side will at least avoid defeat, though that might not be enough.
TIP: Huddersfield to win or draw @ 4/9
SWANSEA CITY vs EVERTON
Swansea are another team yet to reach the safety of 37 points. Two points taken from the last nine available leaves Carlos Carvalhal’s side sitting on 32 points, only four clear of Southampton in 18th. Home form has been key to their revival, however, having won four straight in south Wales.
Sam Allardyce’s Toffees got only their second away win of the campaign at Stoke. That match was followed by the dire 0-0 with Liverpool. It’s been a season to forget for Everton fans who were so optimistic back in August.
This is a home win for me. Everton have nothing to play for, and Swansea will be within touching distance of another Premier League season with victory. The Swans should be able to keep the visitors quiet and are likely to score at least once.
TIP: Swansea to win @ 6/4
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*