Newcastle United v Swansea City 15:00
I’ve always believed that teams with little to play for shouldn’t be relied upon for goals come the end of the season, as they have a habit of playing out drab draws. Now don’t get me wrong. That’s not exactly the case here, as Newcastle certainly have a little work to do to secure their Premier League status. But it isn’t much they need to do. And as for Swansea, well they might as well have clocked off for the season.
With just six games left, Newcastle’s seven point cushion looks huge over their relegation rivals. But picking up a point here and there would definitely make fans feel better and I think they can do that here. For the Swans really have nothing left they can realistically achieve. And while Gary Monk’s impressive team are admirably still putting in performances at home, I suspect that on the road we’ll start seeing more humble efforts such as the 2-0 loss suffered to Leicester in their last away match.
Only one high scoring game in Swansea’s last five on the road suggests this will be no goal-fest. Meanwhile Newcastle have scored on average less than a goal a game in their last five at St James’ Park. So whatever happens there this time, it’s unlikely to be too exciting.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ [1.73]
West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool 15:00
The desperation at Anfield is now tangible. Poor Brendan Rodgers has had Liverpool playing some wonderful stuff during his tenure at the club, but it will all count for nothing if he comes up empty handed again. Qualification for the Champions League is an essential but now unlikely-looking requirement for the club. But don’t expect Liverpool to go down without a fight. And that could well mean plenty of entertainment, and goals, for those watching.
Liverpool have been more open at home than on the road this season. But the time for prudence has long gone. The Reds showed that in their latest away game, when they slipped up 4-1 at Arsenal. But that was a tough game. And while the execution may have been lacking, the intent was the right one. And so I fully expect to see Liverpool burn brightly this weekend, as they look to avoid having their season extinguished.
That would certainly make for a fascinating spectacle. Because the grand sorcerer of Premier League survival, Tony Pulis, is currently working his magic at West Brom. His side’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace last week bust a lot of betting coupons. And with the Baggies needing just another three points to realistically secure their safety, I believe we’ll see a confident Pulis looking to complete his mission in style with some swashbuckling performances from here until the end of the season.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.08]
Everton v Manchester United 13:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
It’s been a long and difficult season for Everton manager Roberto Martinez. Much more was expected than has been delivered. But at least the Toffees have shown they have some fight about them, as they’ve dragged themselves out of a predicament that at one time was looking precarious. It’s been a long slog though and there’s not been much entertainment on show in the meantime. For example, since the turn of the year, Everton have played seven home games at Goodison Park. But only two of those were high scoring. Defence has undoubtedly been the foundation upon which the Everton recovery has been built, with Martinez’s side keeping an impressive five clean sheets during those seven matches.
The big question is, will Everton’s durable backline be able to repel a Man United side that’s in desperate need of a win. The race for Europe is white hot now, with United and arch rivals City almost neck and neck. United need three points. But will Louis Van Gaal’s team be able to break down Everton’s defence? Recent results suggest it won’t be easy. In their seven away games since New Year, only twice have United managed to score more than a single goal. And only twice did the match end over 2.5 goals. So the chances are, this will be a low-scoring but nonetheless enthralling tussle.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ [1.86]
Arsenal v Chelsea 16:00
Live on Sky Sports 1
This looks a sumptuous contest between two teams really hitting form. Arsenal have been scoring for fun at the Emirates, and are averaging more than three goals a game there this year. Given that kind of form, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear they won all six of those matches played since January. Moreover, Arsene Wenger’s team are on an eight game winning streak. And so they arrive in full stride, ready to have a crack at the champions in waiting.
Chelsea meanwhile have the title all but sewn up and have been quietly banging in the goals along the way. Three goals at Spurs, albeit in defeat, five at Swansea, and then three at Hull are just the highlights of their last few away games. And now with the title looking all but won, Jose Mourinho can perhaps afford to let loose and go full tilt at one of his closest rivals, without too much fear of the consequences.
Arsenal have to win to keep alive any faint hope of the title. And if Chelsea can find the net, as they have in 15 of their 16 away matches this season, then we could be in for a rip-snorting encounter.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.32]
2014/15 Season P/L