It’s been a long, dramatic and, in many ways exhausting, season, but the end is in sight.
The Premier League’s 20 teams have only a handful of games remaining before the climax a month from now on May 12.
And, after a thrilling week of Champions League action, there are some big games in the English top-flight. Here, we preview Saturday’s action.
Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town
Sandwiched in between their blockbuster trilogy with Manchester City, Tottenham welcome already-relegated Huddersfield to their new stadium.
The early kick-off presents Spurs with a chance to regain the initiative in the race for Champions League qualification.
Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday night lifted the Blues above the North Londoners into third but Mauricio Pochettino’s men can swing the pendulum back in their favour by making it two wins from two Premier League games at their new home.
On paper, three points seem like a virtual lock for Spurs. Although Huddersfield are now playing without pressure, there is a reason they have amassed only 14 points from 33 games.
The Terriers haven’t scored a Premier League goal against Spurs, losing the three previous encounters 4-0, 2-0 and 2-0.
It remains to be seen whether or not Pochettino will rest some of his key men before the Champions League quarter-final second leg with Manchester City on Wednesday night but Harry Kane will not feature; the England captain hobbled off during Tuesday’s win over City.
Brighton v Bournemouth
Now that their FA Cup dream is over, Brighton can turn their attention back to Premier League survival.
Back-to-back defeats against Southampton and Chelsea have made it harder for Chris Hughton’s men but it is not all doom and gloom. Their cup commitments mean they have games in hand and they will be quietly confident of dispatching Bournemouth, who have endured a disappointing campaign given their fast start.
The two south coast sides have already faced each other twice this season. The Cherries ran out 2-0 winners in the league before the Seagulls exacted revenge in the cup with a 3-1 victory at the Vitality Stadium.
Glenn Murray, Brighton’s top scorer with 11 in the league, was reduced to a role on the periphery in the cup defeat to Manchester City but the 35-year-old will feel as though chances will be easier to come by against his former employers on Saturday.
Burnley v Cardiff City
It’s a massive relegation six-pointer at Turf Moor. Taking six points off Wolves and Bournemouth has greatly boosted Burnley’s survival chances but they’re not out of the woods yet.
Cardiff, on the other hand, simply need to win. Defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City have left the Bluebirds five points adrift of safety and Neil Warnock will know that another loss will plunge his side closer to an immediate Championship return.
We’re expecting this to be a cagey, low-scoring affair. Cardiff have players who can hurt Burnley on the break, particularly Oumar Niasse, Josh Murphy and Junior Hoilett.
But at the other end, they will have their hands full with in-form Dwight McNeil, Burnley’s 19-year-old winger, and the strike duo of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, who have 18 goals between them this season.
Fulham v Everton
Fulham are down but Everton are most certainly on the up. It’s been a mixed first season for Marco Silva at Goodison Park but a string of positive results in recent weeks have re-established the Toffees in the race for seventh.
They’re coming off three straight victories, including a couple of impressive showings against Chelsea and Arsenal, so will be in buoyant mood as they head to Craven Cottage.
Fulham, in stark contrast, are set to face their home fans for the first time since being relegated. A £100million outlay last summer makes theirs one of the most catastrophic seasons in Premier League history.
It’s difficult to see them picking up a meaningless win here, either. They’ve lost their last nine and can’t stop shipping goals (add another 14 to that column and they will set the unwanted record of most goals conceded in a 38-game season).
Southampton v Wolves
Two sides coming off desperately disappointing results meet at St. Mary’s. Southampton took the lead against Liverpool only for a Reds charge to condemn Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men to a 3-1 defeat, keeping them just one place above the relegation zone.
But Wolves are reeling from their FA Cup semi-final misery. 2-0 up against Watford, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side crumbled to eventually lose 3-2.
Although they missed out on a Wembley date with Manchester City, this has still been a stellar campaign for the Old Gold. Their main objective now is to fend off the likes of Leicester, Everton and Watford and secure seventh spot.
Manchester United v West Ham
Facing Barcelona on Wednesday night will doubtless have taken chunks out of United but they must arrest their recent slide in the league.
The Red Devils have lost two of their last three, including a 2-1 defeat at Wolves after having taken the lead, and need three points to keep their top-four hopes alive.
A win would take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men above Arsenal into fifth before the Gunners’ clash with Watford on Monday night.
This fixture has been unpredictable in recent years. The Hammers stunned United with a 3-1 win at the London Stadium in September. In fact, United have failed to win ten of the last 21 meetings in all competitions so this is far from easy.
United have put four past West Ham in each of the last two encounters. The east Londoners usually bring out the best in Anthony Martial, too. The gifted Frenchman has six goals and three assists in six appearances against them.
Romelu Lukaku’s record isn’t too shabby either. The Belgian has 11 goals and four assists in 11 outings against the Hammers (although some of those came for Everton and West Brom).
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