It has been one of the most remarkable weeks in the history of English football surrounding the European Super League. With the ‘Big Six’ under immense pressure, will it have an effect on their performance on field? We’ve got you covered with previews and tips for the key fixtures right here!
Arsenal vs Everton
Saturday 5:00am AEST, Emirates Stadium
Everton’s winless drought extended to five matches after a 2-2 draw with Tottenham last week. Despite having three consecutive draws, there is plenty of upside for the Toffees and they have an excellent opportunity to pick up a win against a Arsenal side struggling for form. Arsenal needed a 97th minute equaliser from Eddie Nketiah just to pick up a point at home against a Fulham side that is heading for relegation.
Whilst there are plenty of critics surrounding the Toffees at the moment, Everton have recorded the same amount of points from their last three games, as Arsenal have in their last four games. Toffees defence has been solid recently and last week they showed plenty to suggest that they were starting to get their offensive mojo back, recording the eighteen shots on goal and two goals. Arsenal have struggled to chain midfield movements into attacking opportunities, and they lack creativity through the middle of the pitch.
Everton defeated Arsenal when the sides met earlier in the season and which will give them plenty of belief that they can produce a similar result on Saturday morning. Everton have the attacking threats to pile on the pressure on a back four that has struggled this season. The Toffees will be fired up looking to put a stop to their winless run, and with what Arsenal have shown this season, they’re more than capable of ending the streak against the Gunners.
Liverpool vs Newcastle
Saturday 9:30pm AEST, Anfield
Liverpool has had an incredibly underwhelming title defence, yet with six games remaining in the season, the defending champs have plenty to play for. The Reds are only three points behind third placed Leicester and a Champions League berth which looked highly improbable four weeks ago, is there for the taking. Liverpool have a big chance to stake their top four claims when fifteenth placed Newcastle come to town.
The Magpies have won consecutive games against Burnley and West Ham to move themselves clear of the relegation battle. Liverpool have an incredible record against Newcastle over the past six years, going undefeated and winning five of the eight Premier League matches against Newcastle since 2015. Liverpool have had their way with Newcastle in recent times and Sadio Mane has been a key aspect in that. Mane has bagged three goals in his last three games against Newcastle and after scoring against Leeds last week, Mane will be full of confidence.
With Newcastle virtually having saved their Premier League status, there is very little for them to play for across the final few weeks of the season, and there’s a high chance we will see a plateau in their form. Liverpool are desperate to salvage something from this season and with the emotional toll that the players would have endured over the week, you can expect a Liverpool outfit that will be out to send a statement this weekend. The Reds will be far too strong for Newcastle.
West Ham vs Chelsea
Sunday 2:30am AEST, London Stadium
The London Stadium plays host to a table shaping, season defining clash on Sunday morning as the fifth placed West Ham, host Chelsea who are sitting in fourth, equal on points with the Hammers. West Ham will be ruing a missed opportunity to move into third place on the Premier League table after failing to defeat Newcastle last week, on a weekend where Chelsea was held to a draw by Brighton. A win for the Hammers would have seen them firmly entrenched in the top four, however they are now in a scrap with five teams as just three points separates third placed Leicester from seventh placed Liverpool.
The two sides have had an even battle over the past few seasons, with both sides picking up two wins and a draw from the past five Premier League matches between the two London sides. Chelsea tasted the most recent success after beating the Hammers 3-0 earlier in the season. As the pressure of the season has risen, West Ham’s defence has begun to crumble, conceding ten goals from their past four Premier League games. There’s no doubting the attacking compatibility of the Hammers, however the defence leaves a lot to be desired.
Chelsea have got plenty of weapons in attack to give the West Ham defence plenty of headaches. West Ham gave Chelsea a second chance in the top four race after last week's defeat, and with a quality side like Chelsea, you can’t afford to give them a second chance. Chelsea will be out to gain the ascendancy in race for the top four, and they will go a long way to securing a Champions League spot with a win over the Hammer.
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