Most punters are still reeling from some Champions League shockers this week. I mean, who could possibly have predicted that the leaders of the English, Spanish, and German Leagues would all fail to win at home against supposedly inferior opposition. Not that inferior though, as Liverpool and Roma qualified for the Champions League semi-finals at the Expense of Barcelona and Manchester City, whilst Bayern Munich scraped through against Sevilla.
Meanwhile, what happened at the Bernabeu Stadium beggared belief as Juventus stormed back from a 3-0 home defeat to Real Madrid to level the tie, only for their efforts to be undone by a carelessly given away penalty. Of course, up stepped that man Ronaldo to hammer his penalty kick in with the coolest right foot in the business.
It’s hard to think that this weekend’s action is going to come close to the same excitement levels, as Wolves seem to have wrapped up the Championship, whilst Accrington look to have League 2 in the bag. Meanwhile, Wigan and Blackburn are still fighting for the League 1 title, but both are fancied to maintain their challenges this weekend. The major European Leagues also look all but wrapped up, so we’ll see if we can drum some excitement in the English Premier League.
Tottenham vs Man City
If there’s going to be a humdinger of a match this weekend, this match between two of the most free-flowing attack-minded sides in the country could provide it, especially if recent matches between the two sides are anything to go by. The last five matches between them have produced 19 goals, with City winning the reverse fixture 4-1 earlier in the season.
However, Tottenham have won the last two renewals 2-0 and 4-1 and could just pile additional pressure on Pep Guardiola’s shoulders this week. The City manager will be trying to avoid four successive defeats after seeing his team blow the chance to win the Premier League against Manchester United and the chance of winning the Champions League with home and away defeats against Liverpool. Guardiola’s idea of defence is attack so there could be plenty of goalmouth action, but it remains to be sees whether City can pick themselves up of the canvas for another big battle on the back of two knockout blows in such a short space of time.
Liverpool vs Bournemouth
Another fixture with a history of producing loads of goals is Liverpool vs Bournemouth and there have been 18 goals in the last four matches between them. Four of those were scored by Liverpool in this season’s reverse fixture, though Bournemouth took a point home from last season’s trip to Anfield after a 2-2 draw. Neither team may be in the mood for a fight though as Bournemouth look assured of survival and Liverpool may choose to rest players with their impending Champions League semi-final against Roma now likely to take precedent over their remaining Premier League fixtures.
West Ham vs Stoke
West Ham have clawed their way up to fourteenth place in the Premier League after a poor start to the season, and victory in Monday’s match against Stoke could almost guarantee their place in next season’s Premier League. Recent renewals suggest the value-bet could be the draw though as the last three times West Ham have hosted Stoke the games have finished 1-1, 0-0, and 1-1.
However, West Ham won 3-0 at Stoke in December and, as that was their first win against Stoke since 2013, it could be that Stoke are simply on their way down after a poor season by the club’s standards.
Southampton vs Chelsea
Southampton are another club whose decent run in the Premier League is in danger of coming to an end this season and, if there last four matches against Chelsea are anything to go by, then the Saints can only hope the other teams around them don’t win any points this weekend. Chelsea have won the last four including their last two away games against the Saints.
Crystal Palace vs Brighton
Southampton may not be in luck though as nearest relegation rivals Crystal Palace host a stuttering Brighton side that has taken just one point form their last four games. The reverse fixture produced a 0-0 draw but Brighton did win a home FA Cup tie against Palace in January. Therefore, Palace may have to up their game to get all three points, making them look on the short-side at a shade of odds-on.
Huddersfield vs Watford
Huddersfield also have home advantage this weekend as they play Watford. However, they’ll be bidding to do the double over Watford after winning 4-1 away at Watford already this season. Huddersfield need a win too as they’ve gone five games without one, but this does look a good chance to claim three points as Watford are on a run of four consecutive away defeats despite improving their home form of late.
Swansea vs Everton
Another team who will hoping to distance themselves further from the drop zone this weekend is Swansea who host an Everton side who they beat 1-0 last season on their way to Premier League survival. However, Everton turned that form around in no uncertain terms this season with a 3-1 win at Goodison Park. Swansea’s Premier League home form has been excellent of late though with a run of five consecutive victories including wins over Arsenal and Liverpool. Everton had also been struggling away from home since Christmas until beating Stoke last time.
Don’t Forget The FA Cup
Whilst most of the big domestic trophies seem to be almost won bar the shouting, don’t forget that the FA Cup is still very much up for grabs with the semi-finals taking place next Saturday and Sunday.
If you want to book them into your sporting diary, Manchester United vs Tottenham takes place on Saturday 21 April at 5.15 on BBC 1. Meanwhile, Chelsea take on Southampton at 3.00 on Sunday 22 April in a match that is being shown on BT Sport.