Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough
Boro are staring at the proverbial barrel and Bournemouth are behind the trigger as the visitors near an immediate return to the Championship. Expect the Cherries to apply the kill shot this week against a Middlesbrough side running out of fire power and time.
Hull City vs. Watford
Having won three straight at home, the KC Stadium may prove to be Hull’s saving grace against the drop. Against a Watford side as putrid away from home as they are formidable on familiar confines, look for Hull to stretch the win streak to four.
Swansea City vs. Stoke City
It’s now or never for Swansea as they face a must win at home to Stoke. With Wayne Routledge and Jack Cork out through injury, as well as the fact they’ve only won once in their last five league games against Stoke, Swansea will be pushed closer to the brink after these 90 minutes.
West Ham vs. Everton
In a fixture usually filled with goals, this could mark another game for the Prem’s leading scorer, Romelu Lukaku, to run riot. At Olympic Stadium, a place which has yet to feel like home for the Hammers, Europa League spot-chasing will earn three precious points to further bank their return to continental football.
Burnley vs. Manchester United
After surviving Anderlecht to reach the last four of the Europa League, United face two important games in a five day stretch. The loss of Zlatan Ibrahimović in the Anderlecht game, while huge, could prove to be the chance for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to consistently prove their worth to Jose Mourinho. Burnley’s stronghold at home has loosened and the Red Devils will further capitalise on that fading form.
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
Palace has been Liverpool’s biggest bogey side since winning promotion in 2013 and after knocking off Chelsea and Arsenal in the last month, it wouldn’t be preposterous to think another scalp in on the cards. But after grind out wins at Stoke and West Brom, Liverpool are displaying the urgency and grit needed in crunch time and will do so again to further boost their top four hopes
Chelsea vs. Southampton
For the first time in months, Chelsea are feeling real pressure as Spurs, their opponents in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final, are within touching distance and face a visit from scalp-hunting Southampton. Are the Blues still the standard bearers in the league or are last season’s nightmares still haunting them. This week at least, the former stands true.
Arsenal vs. Leicester City
This could be a battle of two teams just eliminated after deep cup runs if Arsenal are unable to overcome Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday. The result and exertions of that FA Cup semi-final not withstanding, they will scrape past a Leicester City side who appear to be safe from relegation and have been dreadful away from home this season.
Middlesbrough vs. Sunderland
In the ‘we’re doomed’ bowl, Middlesbrough host Sunderland in what essentially is a preview of next season’s Championship. Both teams are all but mathematically relegated but Boro, only because Sunderland looks even worse for wear, will finally notch a win to ease fever-pitch tensions at the Riverside.
Crystal Palace vs. Spurs
We have a title race on our hands again as Tottenham have cut Chelsea’s advantage at the top to four points with six games left. However, with Palace desperate to clinch salvation, Selhurst Park could prove the day Spurs title challenge was ended once and for all, and are due for a let down after blistering form the last two months.
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Interestingly being played on a Thursday, this might actually play into United’s hands given they’ve being playing on that day since September. However, against a City team seeking to clip their rivals to clinching Tuesday and Wednesday night football for a second season running, familiarity will matter little. Expect a classic Manchester derby, with the home side taking the three points.
Here’s a full round-up of Ric’s picks: