Easter Weekend Football Preview
The big clash of the weekend sees Chelsea host Tottenham in what is a must win match for Chelsea if last year’s Premier League Champions want to be playing Champions League football next season. The match takes place on Sunday, so Liverpool and Manchester United could have already distanced themselves further from the two London clubs as they, respectively, take on Crystal Palace and Swansea.
It’s crunch time at the bottom too in what is one of the cliched six-pointers between West Ham and Southampton. We also discuss the important matches in the Championship, League 1, League 2, Serie A, and La Liga.
Liverpool have the chance to draw first blood this weekend in the battle for Champion League places for next season. However, a trip to Crystal Place may not be as easy as it sounds with the London Club battling for Premier League survival just two points above the relegation places. Matches between the two sides have been strange in recent seasons, with both teams winning away from home on three successive occasions, with Liverpool winning three games that have had at least three goals in them.
However, Liverpool took the reverse fixture 1-0 this season, and that suggests this may be a lower-scoring game than one might think. Therefore, maybe less than 2.5 goals could be the way to go. A Liverpool win would see them go second.
Liverpool’s jump up the Premier League Table could be a temporary one though as Manchester United could hit back at three o’clock as they taken on Swansea at Old Trafford. Swansea enjoyed a purple patch against United from 2014 to 2015 in which time they beat United four times in five games.
However, United have had the upper-hand since then with four wins and a draw in five games. Swansea did bag a draw last season but have been beaten twice at home by United since, and it’s their away form hasn’t been nearly as good as their recent home form. Therefore, United should regain second spot.
The big-cash of the weekend then comes on Sunday as Chelsea host Tottenham in a match that Chelsea will surely have to win if they’re to be in the Champions League next season. There’s a good chance that Chelsea could breathe much needed life into their season though as Tottenham haven’t taken three-points home from this fixture since 1990. They’ve also steadied the ship with two recent home wins, whilst they beat Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in both the Premier League and the FA Cup last season.
Meanwhile, the big relegation battle of the weekend sees West Ham host Southampton in what could prove a massive game for the two clubs. Southampton currently sit in 18th place just two points behind West Ham. A win for Southampton would move them above West Ham and out of the relegation places, whilst West Ham would have what could prove a significant five-points cushion over Southampton if they win. However, it’s Southampton who could prove the most interesting bet having won three of the last four games between the two teams including a 3-0 win in this fixture last season. A Win for Southampton could also make life tough for Huddersfield and Crystal Palace.
Wolves may have briefly given the chasing pack hope of catching them with defeats to Villa and Fulham, but they’ve quickly stamped their authority back on the Championship with wins over Reading and Burton Albion. However, despite beating Middlesbrough 1-0 earlier this season, they’ve lost their last five away games to Middlesbrough. Defeat for Wolves would be music to the ears of everyone involved with Cardiff who are six-points behind Wolves but have a game in hand. Cardiff aren’t certainties to land the odds against Burton though as, despite winning the reverse fixture this season, Burton beat them at Cardiff in the League Cup.
Wigan’s chances of returning to the top of League 1 depend on two fellow Lancashire sides this weekend as Wigan host Oldham and Shrewsbury head to Rochdale – with both Oldham and Rochdale trying to avoid relegation to League 2. Wigan could only manage a 0-0 draw in this fixture in 2016 but did win 2-0 at Oldham earlier this season. Oldham were no match for eighth-placed Portsmouth in their last home match, whilst Wigan are looking for their fourth straight away win. Having won their last three away matches to nil, and beat Oldham to nil already this season, Wigan may be value to win to nil again.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury may have won their last three home games against Rochdale, but they’ve lost their last two away matches against them 2-1 and 3-2. Rochdale, who still have games in hand, could still avoid relegation with a few wins and they may be value to topple Shrewsbury.
Luton hit the top of League 2 last weekend with a 2-0 win over Barnet that stopped a run of five winless games, whilst Accrington didn’t have a match. Luton are only top on goal-difference though and Accrington now have two games in hand. Accrington will be looking forward to their games against Mansfield too as this is traditionally a good fixture for them with nine wins and three draws in their last 12 meetings. However, last year’s renewal ended 4-4 if you’re in the mood for betting on another eight-goal thriller. Luton will have to find their best form against Colchester though as they’ve lost there on their last two visits but did beat them at home 3-0 this season.
Juventus and Ac Milan were for a long time the big two teams in Serie A and the two clash this weekend as Juventus try and maintain their two-point lead over their only challengers Napoli. AC Milan will no doubt be trying their best as they still have a chance to be playing Champions League football next season. However, their best may not be good enough against a Juventus team that won all three matches between the two sides last season.
Napoli have a tricky looking fixture though as they travel to Sassuolo. They may be odds-on to beat the team in seventeenth place in Serie A but haven’t won either of their last two matches there.
The fact that Barcelona are 11 points clear at the top of La Liga must cast some shadow of doubt as to them playing at 100% against Sevilla this weekend, but odds of 4/5 for an away win may make it into one or two accas this weekend. That’s because Barcelona have won their last five matches against Sevilla.