SPURS VS ARSENAL (5/03/16 KICK OFF-12:45GMT)
Both teams had a midweek to forget after they failed to capitalize on Leicester City’s slip the day before, suffering defeats to West Ham and Swansea. Spurs could have gone top but failed to breakdown a resilient West Ham. Manager Mauricio Pochettino described the first half of that game as a bad one with his side failing to register a single shot on target. They are hoping for a different kind of half though when they face Arsenal in the North London derby this Saturday. The Gunners are also in a rut after failing to beat a makeshift Manchester United and losing to Swansea at home. The fans made their frustrations known with boos ringing around after full time on Wednesday. It is clear that pressure is mounting on Manager Arsene Wenger with reports suggesting that he could be out of a job if he fails to clinch the title this season. One thing is clear, none of these teams can afford to lose with 10 games to go and the quest for the title getting ever so tighter.
Spurs could pip this on form and their knack for bouncing back from setbacks this season but I expect Arsenal to fight hard and grab at least a point even without the injured Petr Cech.
PREDICTION SPURS 1-1 ARSENAL.
WEST BROMICH ALBION VS MANCHESTER UNITED (6/03/16 KICK OFF-16:00GMT)
“We need to take things one step at a time” Those were the words of manager Louis Van Gaal after his United side grabbed a vital late goal to take all three points against Watford and put them level on points with 4th placed Manchester City. Preaching caution is a wise move from the manager after his side have flattered to deceive on numerous occasions this season. They have followed wins with losses and consistent performances have been few and far between. However after the horror show against the much unknown Danish team in the first leg of the Europa league, United have won three games on the trot with a new unlikely hero in 18 year old Marcus Rashford, bringing that air of optimism around Old Trafford back again – albeit a cautious one. Their opponents this weekend are no push over. Tony Pulis’ side held league leaders Leicester City to a 2 all draw this midweek and their fighting spirit was much evident. They will be in buoyant mood after such an inspired outing and will be hoping to burst United’s happy bubble.
I expect this game to be one of defence against attack as West Brom will be happy to cede possession and hit United on the break. But in the end the quality of United would tell and edge them past their opponents.
PREDICTION: WEST BROM 1 – 3 MANCHESTER UNITED
CHELSEA VS STOKE (5/03/16 KICK OFF-15:00GMT)
Whatever Guus Hiddink is doing at Chelsea seems to be working a treat. The Blues have gained more points since his appointment last December than any other team and that run has coincided with rediscovery of form of players who were integral to their title winning campaign of last season. Diego Costa is scoring again after his bullying exploits earlier on in the season. Chelsea are playing like a team once again. Their last outing in midweek was a 2-1 win over struggling Norwich and that moved them into the top ten for time this season. Stoke City are also in fine form, winning 3 games in a row. They will want to continue that when they visit Stamford Bridge which is far from the fortress it used to be in seasons past. With Chelsea in such rejuvenated form it seems highly unlikely that the Potters can halt them in their pursuit of European football.
PREDICTION CHELSEA 2 – 0 STOKE.
WATFORD VS LEICESTER CITY (5/03/16 KICK OFF-17:30GMT)
Leicester City are league leaders with 10 games to go when only a year they were battling to stay up. Can they complete this fairy tale and lift the title? Well to answer that we will have to wait till end of season. But first it starts with beating Watford at Vicarage Road after they dropped 2 points in a hard fought 2- 2 draw with West Brom in midweek. Fortunately for the Foxes, their closest rivals failed to capitalize on that and hence they still remain top extending their lead in the process. They cannot afford to take such chances again and anything less than 3 points from the leaders could most likely prove costly in the title race. Watford will prove a stern test for them after they left Old Trafford with no points losing to a late winner from Juan Mata for the Red Devils. They fought hard but paid the price for not taking their chances. They will however be hoping to redeem themselves against the leaders. Striker Odion Ighalo who has lost his golden touch and been firing blanks of late will have to be at his former best if they are to stand a chance of winning this one. Leicester will be without midfield Marshall Kante who missed the midweek match against West Brom.
Watford have been struggling of late and I expect Leicester to recover from that midweek slip and win this.
PREDICTION: WATFORD 2 – 3 LEICESTER
MANCHESTER CITY VS ASTON VILLA (5/03/16 KICK OFF-15:00GMT)
City followed their league cup victory against Liverpool on Sunday with a listless performance against the same team where they lost 3-0. They were totally abject in that match and were run rugged. That loss put them in danger of missing out on the Champions League next season. They now sit level on points with United albeit with a game in hand. Their away record also makes for bad reading. They have gained 16 points from a possible 39 points away from home this season. This is not the hallmark of a team gunning for the title and from the evidence on show in midweek they are far from a title winning side. It’s a good thing then that they are playing at home this weekend against rock bottom Aston Villa who look destined for Championship football next season after suffering another defeat in midweek. They have 16 points so far this season and signs of recovery are far from evident. They however drew with City in their last meeting earlier on this season but an improvement or repeat of such a performance seems highly unlikely as the Citizens would be out to prove a point this weekend.
I am expecting a high scoring game with City scoring a bulk of the goals.
PREDICTION: MANCHESTER CITY 4- 1 ASTON VILLA