1. West Ham v Sunderland - Big Sam Getting Hammered On TV
Saturday doesn’t exactly bless us with TV gold thanks to the Cup final and Man United v Arsenal falling on the Sunday, but people who aren’t too keen on Sam Allardyce may like to start their weekend with this one.
Sunderland’s squad has definitely improved defensively since January, with Lamine Kone looking a cracking signing, however, West Ham have moved on massively since letting Allardyce go and are unbeaten in 10 matches at Upton Park in the top-flight.
Ok, it might not be a ‘hammering’, but titles have to be punny, that’s just the rules. The home side have scored exactly two goals in their previous four top-flight games at the Boleyn.
West Ham 2-0 Sunderland 9.00
2. Leicester v Norwich – Foxes Keeping Canaries Down The Coal Mine
This should be a relegation six pointer but instead it is a chance for Leicester to go five points clear at the top of the league with just 11 games remaining.
It is hard to see anything other than a Foxes win as they embark on a run of games against fairly average opposition before a tense run in. If they are to win the league you feel they must take at least 18 points from their next nine fixtures.
Four clean sheets in a row on home soil have seen Claudio Ranieri’s men remain at the summit and with Norwich conceding at least twice in their last six league ties, it should be a case of pizza all round in the east Midlands.
Leicester to win without conceding 2.67
3. Southampton v Chelsea – Blues Looking To Exorcise Demons Against Saints
This is the pick of Saturday’s action but it all happens away from the cameras unfortunately. This game will be a real symbol of how far Chelsea have come since the appointment of Guus Hiddink.
The 3-1 loss at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season saw Chelsea completely done over by an excellent Saints display and it was the point at which people realised that Jose Mourinho may not be able to turn the tide.
The Pensioners players will be eager to prove they are a better side than that now. The hosts have kept six clean sheets in a row, with five of those being wins, so expect a cagey but engaging affair on the coast.
Under 1.5 goals 3.05 (Under 2.5 is at 1.69 for those who are not quite so bold)
4. Stoke City v Aston Villa – Imbula And Potters Smashing Villa
Aston Villa scored three goals in a game earlier in the week, the problem was it was their U21s who registered them and it was their first team who conceded them.
Quite frankly picking Villa to do anything other than lose, especially away from home, is impossible.
Stoke got a first league win in five at Bournemouth, with new signing Giannelli Imbula impressing massively in the middle of the park. The former Porto man should thrive against a spineless Villa and push the Potters on to a comfortable win.
Stoke to win both halves 4.75
5. Watford v Bournemouth – Cherries Sinking Like A Stone
Watford have won as many games as West Ham this season and only trail the top six by four points. If it hadn’t been for Leicester’s meteoric rise then it would be them that all the media were lavishing praise upon.
They are superbly organised at the back, with only Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United conceding fewer goals on their own patch.
The Cherries have lost their last three in all competitions, scoring just once and conceding seven in the process. In their next 10 games they face Southampton, Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton and could be the team who gets dragged into the depths of the Championship.
Watford to win without conceding 3.85
6. West Brom v Crystal Palace – Toxic Baggies Being Beaten At Home
West Brom are a club in turmoil, which is weird considering they are eight points clear of the relegation zone. Now into their fifth successive top-flight season, supporters are demanding more than just survival, letting the players and manager know how they feel, a little too boisterously in some quarters.
That has led to talk of Tony Pulis quitting in the summer and that rotten atmosphere is not going to help on the pitch.
An away win at Everton eased relegation fears and it is six games without defeat at home in all competitions. However, the Baggies performances have been poor and Palace have the attacking threat to put them to the sword.
Crystal Palace to win 2.85
7. Manchester United v Arsenal – Tired Legs Ending Gunners Title Tilt?
This could be a case of win or bust for Arsenal in terms a title charge. Should Leicester win on Saturday, the Gunners will be five points behind the Foxes, while Spurs face a massively winnable clash with Swansea.
United still hold faint hopes of making the top four and they have not lost at home to the Gunners in the Premier League for 10 years.
Arsene Wenger’s men have won just one of their previous four on the road and will be weary from their exploits against Barcelona in midweek. This could be a slow possession-based prelude to the Cup final.
8. Tottenham v Swansea – Eriksen Sending Signal Against Swans
Tottenham may have had a Europa League clash in midweek but this youthful squad are not one to complain about a build-up of games, in fact I expect them to thrive on it.
Spurs are no longer Spursy. They are title contenders and they will not be shackled by the Swans on their own patch.
Christian Eriksen is back to his brilliant best and his excellent form has been somewhat ignored thanks to the impressive Dele Alli. The Dane has three goals in as many games against the Welsh outfit and he will be at the heart of everything here.
Christian Eriksen to score and Tottenham to win 8.00