Week 36: City at Wembley for Spurs test

Manchester City head to Wembley in the best game of week 36 as they look to get over a terrible week by defeating Champions League hopefuls Tottenham.

A win for City would still not guarantee the Premier League title for Pep Guardiola’s side with nearest rivals United at home to rock-bottom West Brom.

Elsewhere, Chelsea get the weekend under way with a trip to Southampton on Saturday; Liverpool host Bournemouth, whilst Arsenal travel to in-form Newcastle.

The heavyweights

David Silva and Dele Alli

Manchester City’s David Silva and Tottenham’s Dele Alli compete for the ball at the Etihad last season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tottenham v Manchester City (Sat): City’s Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool, sandwiched between a derby defeat by United, has taken the gloss off an impressive season as Pep Guardiola’s side try to take another step towards the Premier League title on Saturday evening.

City crushed Tottenham 4-1 in mid-December which was the last time the north Londoners lost in the Premier League – a run of 14 games. Spurs have won their last six league games and beaten Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea in their last eight, with a draw against Liverpool preventing a clean sweep against top-six sides.

Tottenham have lost just once at home this season and that came in their opening home game against Chelsea, so the omens look good they can get a result against a City side looking vulnerable for the first time even with the title close at hand. Three of the last seven matches between these teams have been won 4-1 by the home team and goals usually feature too, with 11 of the last 13 encounters producing three or more goals.

Southampton v Chelsea (Sat): The Blues have won their last four meetings with Southampton although they have won just one of their last five Premier League games, a run which has seen them slip 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

Saints, three points adrift of safety but with a game in hand on fourth-from-bottom Crystal Palace, start the game with just one win in their last 19 Premier League games having lost their last three and conceding exactly three goals in all of those defeats. Southampton lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge when the teams met in December and they will have to bring their A game if they are to get a result on Saturday.

Liverpool v Bournemouth (Sat): Buoyant Liverpool host Bournemouth having booked their place in the Champions League semi-final with a 2-1 win against Manchester City during the week. The Reds have the only unbeaten home record in the Premier League following City’s defeat by United last weekend and have won their last three matches at Anfield without conceding a goal.

Liverpool smashed the Cherries 4-0 at Dean Court in December, but Bournemouth have lost just two of their last 14 games so head to Merseyside with confidence. Their last seven matches have seen goals at both ends and five of those produced four goals or more.

Newcastle v Arsenal (Sun): Arsenal’s sole focus is the Europa League but ironically their Premier League form has improved since their hopes of a top-four finish went up in smoke. The Gunners have scored at least three goals in their last five home matches but they travel to Newcastle with just three away wins all season, the last of which came at the end of December.

The Magpies were being written off as relegation fodder towards the end of 2017 when a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates left them in the bottom three but three successive victories mean they are virtually guaranteed another season in the Premier League. Interestingly, the Gunners have won their last 10 matches against the Magpies, five of which have been by a 1-0 scoreline, but with Arsene Wenger possibly selecting a weakened team that winning sequence could come to an end.

Manchester United v West Brom (Sun): The Red Devils continue to impress at home with 13 wins and two draws from their 16 Premier League games and they should have no problem overcoming a team with just three victories all season. United have scored exactly two goals in their last five domestic home games and they won 2-1 at The Hawthorns earlier in the season.

The Baggies have an excellent recent record at Old Trafford, winning two and drawing one of their last four visits, but another shock victory looks a step too far.

The rest of the games

Burnley v Leicester (Sat): The Clarets are seeking their sixth successive victory as they try to narrow the five-point gap on sixth-placed Arsenal. Three of the last four meetings between the sides have ended up 1-0 with Leicester leading the series 2-1. The Foxes have won their last two away games, but lost 2-1 in their last outing at home to Newcastle. A one-goal margin of victory looks a good shout with Burnley favourites to achieve it.

Crystal Palace v Brighton (Sat): Palace remain in a relegation battle despite drawing with Bournemouth last week. These arch rivals have already met twice at the Amex Stadium this season. The first encounter resulted in a goalless draw in the Premier League which was followed by a 2-1 FA Cup win for the Seagulls who have picked up just one point from a possible nine. Four of the Eagles’ last five games have produced at least three goals all of which involved both teams scoring. We fancy Palace to win this one.

Huddersfield v Watford (Sat): Huddersfield ended a four-match run without scoring by securing a 1-1 draw at Brighton last time out and they go into the clash with good memories of their last encounter with Watford after equalling their biggest victory of the season in a 4-1 win at Vicarage Road in December. The Hornets have not scored away from home in their last five Premier League games, six if the FA Cup defeat at Southampton is included. A low-scoring game looms in West Yorkshire.

Swansea v Everton (Sat): The Swans are starting to wobble as the season reaches its climax and remain in danger of going down with just four points separating them from third-from-bottom Southampton. With two points from their last four games Swansea may need to avenge their 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park to give themselves breathing space at the bottom. Everton have lost nine away games this season but they go into the game in good heart after picking up seven points from a possible 12. Despite only two draws at the Liberty Stadium this season, this may well be a third.

West Ham v Stoke (Mon): The Hammers round off week 36 with a relegation contest against Stoke who are without a win in nine and have also lost their last four. West Ham’s troubles already seem to be a distant memory after they followed a 3-0 win against Southampton with a 1-1 draw at Chelsea. West Ham won 3-0 at the bet365 Stadium in December and with Andy Carroll potentially back, another win is expected against the Potters.

Week 36 looks pretty tough and we’d be surprised if anyone hits the 20-point mark, but don’t let that put you off – click on the blue banner below and make those predictions. Best of luck to everyone.

cta