The last round of matches were very interesting. Leicester became champions of England in quite amazing fashion. Chelsea fought hard to overcome a two Tottenham goal deficit to hand The Foxes their first ever title. Arsenal overcame their lacklustre disposition to record an all important win over Norwich which took them into 3rd place. Manchester United succeeded in extending Leicester’s celebration by a day after a hard fought draw with the eventual champions. In La Liga, Real Madrid obtained a 1-0 win at Sociedad to keep up the pressure at the top while Barcelona forced a 2-0 draw at Betis to remain on top. This weekend is another challenge. A look at what they are up against.
Manchester United are very much in the running to finish in the top four therefore it would be total warfare when they visit a Norwich side fighting for survival. Luis Van Gaal have rightly advised his charges to be prepared for battle.
Norwich have everything to play for on Saturday. They haven’t picked a single point from their last three matches, a run of form that has severely marred their chances of survival. Coming up against a United side that have never lost home and away to a newly promoted side, Alex Neil’s men would need to be at their most aggressive if they intend to get anything off this one.
Klose, Tettey and Wisdom are all injured for Norwich. Schweinsteiger, Shaw and Januzaj are all injured for United. Jones is doubtful while Fellaini begins his suspension.
Kickoff: Saturday, 12. 45pm
Venue: Carrow Road (Norwich)
Referee: Craig Pawson
Prediction: Very hard game. Norwich could get a draw if United don’t win it.
Chelsea brought atonement of sorts to Stamford Bridge after that nostalgic comeback versus Tottenham. Helping former manager Claudio Ranieri win the title and making sure bitter London rivals Tottenham didn’t get it brought wild celebration to Chelsea.
Sunderland are back in relegation waters and fighting to make it to safety. Having drawn their last two matches, nothing short of a win would do at this point. But they face a Chelsea side they have lost to in 19 of their last 22 BPL meetings, a record Sam Allardyce must better if they must escape relegation.
Zouma and Remy are still injured for Chelsea. Sunderland are good.
Kickoff: Saturday, 3pm
Venue: Stadium of Light (Sunderland)
Referee: Mike Jones
Prediction: Another close call. Chelsea are playing better than a few weeks back. I see them winning this one.
Fear of Playoffs
Arsenal are lodged quite precariously in third place, a position Manchester City covet for the fear of UCL playoffs. A draw would ensure Arsenal remain in that spot and Arsenal must give 100 percent to get it.
Manchester City are still reeling from their UCL semi-final exit and qualifying safely for next season’s edition is their only priority. Coming up against a side they have lost to more times in the league than any other side, they would need their A-game if they must overthrow Arsenal.
Kompany joins Zabaleta and Silva in City’s injury list while Mertesacker and Oxlade-Chamberlain are injured for Arsenal.
Kickoff: Sunday, 4pm
Venue: Etihad (Manchester)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Prediction: Very tight. I see a draw playing out. If anyone would win it, I think Arsenal will.
In the Race
Real Madrid obtained a tight win over Manchester City to take their UCL campaign into the final match. Anything short of a win over Valencia however would effectively end their Liga race if Barcelona goes on to win.
Valencia are cosily positioned in 9th place with 44 points, their lowest amount of points amassed at this point of any season since 1988. They have absolutely nothing to play for so expect them to just enjoy the game. Their last four meetings with Madrid at the Bernabeu have all ended in draws and nothing says this one can’t end so too.
Bakkali is injured for Valencia while Madrid are good.
Kickoff: Sunday, 4pm
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu (Madrid)
Referee: David Fernandez
Prediction: This game has all the trappings of a draw. But I see a slight Madrid win.
Barcelona are at most two steps away from becoming back to back La Liga champions. They could become champions this weekend though if anything were to happen to both Atletico and Real Madrid. But their fate remains in their hands as they look to take their final two steps.
Espanyol went five points clear of the relegation zone with that hard fought win at Sevilla last weekend. Though they aren’t completely safe yet, they certainly look very likely to win the battle over relegation. But they haven’t beaten Barcelona in their last 13 matches thus, if breaking that long chain of losses is a goal, they must be ready to fight for it.
Barcelona are without the injured Vermaelen and Mathieu. Arbilla and Abraham are out for Espanyol.
Kickoff: Sunday, 4pm
Venue: Camp Nou (Barcelona)
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano
Prediction: Barcelona to win
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