Pearson’s Premier League Preview

Pearson Previews Liverpool

Liverpool continue their push for the top four with a home game against Southampton on Sunday. Defeat in their last home game had looked to hamper their chances at Champions League qualification but a faltering chasing pack below them has gifted them the advantage once again. They are four points ahead of 5th but having played one game more. Southampton are 9th in the table and could improve on that courtesy of having two games this week. They have picked up just one point in three games but a win in this game could help cement a top-half finish.

League leaders Chelsea must wait until Monday evening to play as they host Middlesbrough, a game which will likely decide the visitor’s future. Defeat at Chelsea could be enough to relegate them, especially if Hull or Swansea pick up wins. Chelsea have won four of their last five in the league and have only dropped points once in the last 13 home games. Middlesbrough, however, have won just once in 17 games and have not beaten anyone above them in the league since December.

West Ham host Tottenham tonight looking to become the first side to beat them in nine games. The Hammers are on 39 points and a win will move them into the top half ahead of the rest of the weekend action. They have however not won in the last three, but are unbeaten at home since mid-March. If Spurs do get their tenth straight win then they will move within one point of the top of the table with Chelsea still to play.

Manchester City have the first of three home games in a row this weekend, starting with Crystal Palace’s visit. City have drawn their last two games in the league but have not lost at home since early December. They are one point inside the top four so need to keep winning if they are to finish in the Champions League spots. Palace are 16th, six points clear of the final relegation place and so they will be sure of safety if the better Swansea’s result this weekend. They have lost their last two games but recent wins over Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea show they can beat anyone on their day.

Manchester United have a season-defining week ahead as they face two trips to North London in a week. This week they travel to Arsenal in the Sunday evening kick off following their European away leg in Spain last night. It has been 25 league games since United last tasted defeat, but with three away games in two weeks it may be difficult to continue that run. Victory over Arsenal will all but guarantee they finish above their rivals. Arsenal sit five points behind United and have not lost in their last four home games. A win in this game would move them within two points and their midweek game against Southampton could move them into 5th.

Everton go into Saturday’s game at Swansea looking to get their first away win in six games. A win will move them into 6th but having played three more games than Arsenal. Swansea could move out of the bottom three with a win but they need to pick up more points that Hull until the end of the season. Swansea won their last home game but it was their only win in nine games.

West Brom travel to Burnley on the back of three consecutive 1-0 home defeats. They have not scored in five games and picked up just four points in their last eight games. Burnley won their first away game of the season last time out and are now almost assured to be playing Premier League football next year. They are seven points clear of Swansea but could go inside the top half with a win here,

Bournemouth moved into the top 10 with their win over Sunderland last weekend and with three games remaining may finish the season in the top half. Of their last nine games, Bournemouth have lost only to the top two in the league, a run which has taken them well clear of any relegation fears. Stoke are their opponents this weekend and they have just one win in their last eight games and have not won away since mid-January. They are currently 12th but only one point away from the top half and would go above their hosts with a win.

Leicester have a home game for the first time in a month as they host Watford on Saturday. Four points from their last four games has kept them in mid-table and they are above Watford on goal difference. Watford have lost their last four away games and defeat could see them fall as low as 16th in the league.

Hull could take another huge step towards survival this weekend as they face relegated Sunderland at home. They have picked up points in four of their last six games but still remain just two points ahead of the drop. They have not lost in their last eight home games however and so will be looking to continue that run on Saturday. Sunderland were finally relegated last week following a 10 game winless run. They must now play for pride alone in their remaining four games but could make life difficult for Hull if they avoid defeat this week.

The mission for Liverpool this week is the same as it has been for some time now, just keep winning games. A win this weekend against Southampton will put them two games away from securing a top four finish. Their weekend could also get better depending on the Arsenal and United result.