The final Mourinho vs. Wenger battle & Reds want a favour from Swans – Premier League Preview

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There are just three weekends of the 2017/18 Premier League season remaining and the top flight cooks up some great action over the next few days.

Liverpool were frustrated in their last league outing, blowing a two-goal lead to eventually draw away to all-but-relegated West Brom.

The Reds host a Stoke City side on the verge of the drop themselves on Saturday lunchtime, with three points vital in the top-four battle.

Confidence should be sky-high after Tuesday’s thrilling 5-2 win over Roma in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

Elsewhere last weekend, Man City thumped Swansea City 5-0, Arsenal cruised past West Ham and there were draws between Watford and Crystal Palace, and Stoke and Burnley.

They were the only five fixtures, with the FA Cup semi-finals also taking place, as Man United and Chelsea made it through to next month’s final at Wembley.

Here’s a look at the best of the action over the next three days, with lots still to play for at both ends of the table.

 

Ones To Watch: Swansea City vs. Chelsea & Man United vs. Arsenal

SWANSEA, WALES - Monday, January 22, 2018: A general view of the Liberty Stadium before the FA Premier League match between Swansea City FC and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is impossible not to have some games with little resting on them at this stage of the season, but Chelsea‘s trip to Swansea is not one of them.

This is a crucial match for both sides, as they scrap for Champions League football and survival, respectively.

The Blues have managed to keep their top-four hopes alive after back-to-back away wins at Southampton and Burnley, and it has made life slightly nervy for Liverpool and Tottenham.

Another win here would keep them in the hunt ahead of the Reds’ trip to Stamford Bridge on May 6, which no Reds supporter wants to be a must-not-lose match.

Swansea will believe they can cause an upset, however, with their four-point cushion over 18th-place Saints potentially cut to one by the time kick-off arrives.

There is still a feeling that Chelsea are not firing on all cylinders, despite reaching the FA Cup final, and the first goal at the Liberty Stadium could be vital.

We should all be cheering on the Swans.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 9, 2017: Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho during the FA Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Bet365 Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The following day, Man United host Arsenal, in what will be Arsene Wenger’s final trip to Old Trafford in the Emirates hot-seat.

Admittedly, there is not much riding on the game, which does take an edge off it, but Wenger’s relationship with Jose Mourinho is famously frosty and sparks could fly.

Either that or it ends up being a dreadful game, and you will all come hunting me down with pitchforks for tipping it to be a cracker!

 

One To Avoid: Newcastle vs. West Brom

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 3, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications

We felt too bad to include Burnley yet again, even though their clash with Brighton at Turf Moor looks sleep-inducing.

Instead, we’ve gone for Newcastle’s meeting with West Brom, which should be a meaningless meeting in the grand scheme of things.

Rafa Benitez has done a superb job in guiding the Magpies well clear of relegation, and they are now looking at a very respectable mid-table finish.

The news isn’t as bright for West Brom, though, and although spirited showings against Man United and Liverpool have given the Baggies a smidgen of hope, they will be playing Championship football next season.

For all Benitez’s many strengths, entertaining football is not generally one of them, and he is unlikely to be out to thrill the masses at St James’ Park.

Expect a narrow home win and further misery for the visitors, in a game we never speak of again.

 

Potential Upset: Southampton vs. Bournemouth

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 4, 2016: AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the FA Premier League match against Liverpool at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ok, we know that Southampton losing to Bournemouth would not really be a great shock in the current climate, but we make the rules here at TIA!

The Cherries’ players probably have half an eye on their summer holidays, while Saints are desperate for a win in their fight to avoid the drop.

One team will be giving their all and the other won’t be, why is why an away win would be considered a surprise.

You could easily see it happening, though, with Eddie Howe’s men no doubt happy to put another nail in the coffin of their south coast rivals – a team that has been superior to them throughout history.

Nerves will be jangling all around St Mary’s, and this really has to be considered a must-win game for the hosts.

Failure to get the victory could see the relegation battle wrapped up before the final day.

 

Fixtures, UK TV Info & Predictions

The Kop sign Anfield, General, Matchday (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday

Liverpool vs. Stoke – 12:30pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 3-0

Burnley vs. Brighton – 3pm
Prediction: 1-0

Crystal Palace vs. Leicester – 3pm
Prediction: 2-1

Huddersfield vs. Everton – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

Newcastle vs. West Brom – 3pm
Prediction: 1-0

Southampton vs. Bournemouth – 3pm
Prediction: 2-2

Swansea vs. Chelsea – 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Prediction: 1-2

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 24, 2018: West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunday

West Ham vs. Man City – 2:15pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 1-3

Man United vs. Arsenal – 4:30pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 1-1

Monday

Tottenham vs. Watford – 8pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 2-0

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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