Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Chelsea to stumble, can anybody catch them?
Week 31 is here and with eight games to go, and in the words of Celine Dion, “this is getting serrrioouussss...” for teams at the top at the bottom of the Premier League.
Anyway, bearing that in mind, it’s time to throw out some predictions for the 10 PL matches taking place across Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
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I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out…
BASICALLY, FREE MONEY
Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)
Expect the Citizens to go all-out attack down in south London. I don’t think the Eagles can cope with a fired-up Sergio Aguero and if Chelsea slip up over the weekend, the Citizens will have to wait until Monday before they can make up some ground in the title race. That’s a bad combo for Palace.
Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool – (Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Taking about offensive firepower, Arsenal is stacked. Liverpool are without the suspended Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard, which will make a big difference. Home win at the Emirates as I expect the Gunners to make it seven wins on the spin. Here’s a look at how both teams could line up.
Manchester United 3-0 Aston Villa - (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Louis van Gaal’s boys will still be buzzing from their victory over Liverpool before the break and they will have a field day against a Villa side who aren’t as hard to break down as they once were. Could Aston Villa slip into a bit of a relapse after the initial boost of Tim Sherwood’s arrival? A big defeat here could force that.
DON’T TOUCH THIS…
Chelsea 2-2 Stoke - (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
Okay, I wouldn’t bet on this match at all. Stoke are tough to beat and always give Chelsea close matches over the years. The Potters match up well with the Blues and Jose Mourinho’s squad have traveled all over the world on international duty this week, so expect some tired legs. More dropped points at home from the Blues would add intrigue to the title race...
Burnley 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur - (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
2-1 wins way from home, Spurs love that. Expect another one here, but it could easily flip-flop and be a win for Burnley. Sean Dyche’s men will feed off the home crowd, just like they did in their famous win over Manchester City, and Tottenham’s hero, Harry Kane, should expect a bruising encounter.
Everton 2-1 Southampton - (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
The Toffees have won two on the spin and I’d expect them to make it three on the trot. Saints have a terrible record at Goodison Park over the years (no PL win since 1997) and without the injured Fraser Forster in goal, expect Everton to get revenge for the 3-0 drubbing they suffered in Southampton earlier this season.
Swansea City 1-1 Hull City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
Garry Monk’s side would be disappointed with a point, but they will have to take it. The Swans are going for a record points tally and highest-ever PL finish, but Hull are battling against relegation. Steve Bruce has been sunning himself on the beach during the international break and expect his side to be refreshed and ready to drag themselves away from the bottom three.
“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 QPR – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
This is it. QPR have impressed me a lot in recent weeks but either didn’t get lucky breaks or have just made silly mistakes at vital moments. The Baggies are a horrible, horrible team to play against (bravo, Tony Pulis) and are grinding out 1-0 wins to all but end their relegation fears. QPR boss Chris Ramsey should throw caution to the wind and go for it from the start.
Sunderland 1-2 Newcastle – (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Ah, the old Wear-Tyne derby. This should be a cracker. Both sides have temporary managers in charge after a season of struggle. Can interim Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat get a huge win in his first home game in charge of the Black Cats? John Carver, Newcastle’s boss, is a Newcastle native and knows how big this match is. Expect plenty of huge tackles and a fired up crowd as the Magpies aim to avenge defeat to Sunderland from earlier this season. Away win to plunge Sunderland deeper into relegation trouble.
Leicester City 2-1 West Ham United - Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
Esteban Cambiasso has been quoted as saying survival with Leicester would be like winning a cup. I think every Leicester fan out there would agree with that right now. The Foxes are seven points away from safety with nine games to go but are facing a West Ham side who have just one win in eight matches. This is the perfect opportunity to kick-start the “great escape.”