Premier League: Points up for grabs at both ends of the table on Wednesday

With the title race now over, all eyes will be on Champions League qualification and the battle to avoid relegation with four fascination Premier League fixtures on Wednesday night.

Matthew Crist

The destination of the 2020 Premier League title might already be decided, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to play for with four top-flight games taking place on Wednesday and points up-for-grabs at both ends of the table.

In the scrap to avoid relegation to the Championship, Bournemouth take on Newcastle while Norwich face a tough trip to face Arsenal, while a firey London derby is made all the spicier due to the fact West Ham are in a precarious position just outside the drop zone.

Leicester looked to have Champions League football tied up before the Covid-enforced hiatus, but a poor recent run has them looking over their shoulder, meaning a trip to Goodison Park to face a much improved Everton side looks far from a formality.

Bournemouth v Newcastle: 18:00

Steve Bruce

Successive defeats to Crystal Palace and Wolves mean that Bournemouth face an uphill battle if they are to avoid relegation from the Premier League with Eddie Howe’s side third from bottom with seven matches remaining.

Their five-year stay in the top-flight is in severe jeopardy and their performances since the resumption offer few in the way of positives with The Cherries now six matches without a victory.

As for Newcastle, Steve Bruce deserves a lot of credit for guiding his side to safety already when it looked for a time like they might be embroiled in a relegation dogfight themselves earlier in the season.

He’s now registered 10 wins in 31 matches with an impressive 3-0 home win over Sheffield United marking their return to action in June before a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at the weekend.

As a result, the pressure is very much on the home side and with games against Manchester United, Tottenham, Man City and Leicester to come, this fixture is about as much of a “must-win” game as you’ll find seeing as it’s unlikely they will gain many points in the coming weeks.

PREDICTION: Bournemouth to win and both teams to score

Arsenal v Norwich: 18:00


Things look pretty bleak for Norwich, who are without a victory since the restart and rooted firmly to the bottom of the Premier League on 21 points, leaving them six points from safety with only seven matches to play.

The two Premier League games since the restart have ended in home defeats to Southampton and Everton, although they put up a decent showing in the FA Cup at home to Manchester United, but it wasn’t enough to avoid an extra-time defeat.

Having played four away games in June, this is the first match at the Emirates for the Gunners since the restart with two defeats to Manchester City and Brighton followed by a win at Southampton in the Premier League and a 2-1 win in the FA Cup away to Sheffield United.

Expect a different Gunners line-up for this one though, with Arsenal’s top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, likely to return in attack while Hector Bellerin looks set to return at right-back and Emiliano Martinez will continue to deputize for the injured Bernd Leno.

Norwich’s sole victory came back in November against a struggling Everton side and there’s little to suggest that they will improve on that at The Emirates, especially when you consider that they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League meetings with Arsenal which was back in 2012.

PREDICTION: Arsenal win to zero

Everton v Leicester: 18:00


Leicester City will resume their search for a first win since the Premier League restarted when they take on a resurgent Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.

Although The Foxes still sit third in the table, they have seen their Champions League spot come under threat having won just four of their last 15 top-flight outings, including just one of their last seven; resulting in their lead over fifth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers being cut to just three points.

Draws against Watford and Brighton last time out have both been disappointing – and but for a Kasper Schmeichel penalty save could have been worse – it was also the fourth time in their last six league games that they have failed to find the net.

Everton were the width of a post away from inflicting a rare defeat on Liverpool in the derby on their Premier League return, before securing a 1-0 win against Norwich; and despite not finding the net too freely this season; Carlo Ancelotti’s side are the only Premier League side still unbeaten at home in 2020 across all competitions.

Their last Premier League defeat at Goodison Park came back in November and since then have faced six of the teams currently above them in the table and taken an impressive 12 points from the 18 on offer and who would bet against them taking another on Wednesday?

PREDICTION: Draw without goals

West Ham v Chelsea: 20:15

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea travel to the London Stadium on Wednesday evening to face West Ham United in the Premier League in a rich vein of form having won both of their Premier League games since the restart as well as booking their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup after a 1-0 victory over Leicester City on Sunday.

The Blues came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 away before delivered the Premier League trophy to Anfield, courtesy of a 2-1 home win against Manchester City last Thursday night.

In stark contrast, David Moyes’ side, they are without a win in three and have lost their opening two games since the restart, both by a scoreline of 2-0 which leaves them in deep trouble at the bottom end of the Premier League.

There are a couple of positives for West Ham fans to cling onto however, as The Hammers did beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in November and on their last two visits to the London Stadium, the Blues have failed to find the net.

PREDICTION: Chelsea over 2.5 goals

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