Premier League week 28 – Fixtures and predictions

Premier League week 28 – Fixtures and predictions

Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday as the two sides continue their fight to finish in the Premier League’s top four.

Manchester United’s meeting with Chelsea at Old Trafford headlines Week 28 in the Premier League on Sunday.

Not only are these two sides in a battle to secure a UEFA Champions League spot for next season, their managers were embroiled in a bitter war of words earlier in the campaign. Indeed, there will be more focus on the touchline than usual when United boss Jose Mourinho and Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte make their way to the bench.

Elsewhere, there are a number of other crucial matches to take place over the course of the weekend, including some vital ones in the fight for Premier League survival.

Here’s a look at what’s to come in English football’s top flight this weekend and a closer look at a couple of standout fixtures.

Saturday, February 24

12:30 p.m. Leicester City vs. Stoke City (2-1)

3:00 p.m. West Bromwich Albion vs. Huddersfield Town (1-0)

3:00 p.m. Bournemouth vs. Newcastle United ((3-1)

3:00 p.m. Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Swansea City (1-1)

3:00 p.m. Burnley vs. Southampton (2-1)

3:00 p.m. Liverpool vs. West Ham United (3-0)

5:30 p.m. Watford vs. Everton (1-1)

Sunday, February 25

12:00 p.m. Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-2) 

2:05 p.m. Manchester United vs. Chelsea (2-1)

Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Ever since Mourinho and Conte traded verbal blows earlier in the season, plenty have been looking ahead to this fixture with a massive sense of anticipation.

In a series of exchanges, Conte called Mourinho a “little man” after the United boss jibed at the Chelsea manager he would “never be suspended for match fixing,” per BBC Sport. You suspect such comments will be referenced by both in the buildup to the game.

There were times recently when it didn’t appear as though Conte would make it to this game, especially after back-to-back losses for Chelsea against Bournemouth and Watford. James Dutton suggested after the latter defeat that the spat between the two coaches may have contributed to the Blues’ poor form.

Since then they have recovered with wins over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City, although a meeting with Barcelona in the Champions League and a trip to United represent a significant jump in quality.

United were poor in their last Premier League outing, though, as they were defeated by Newcastle United.

James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph commented on what he believes are a number of issues in the Red Devils side:

I know Bailly is injured but I find it baffling United could have spent £615m+ since Ferguson retired in May 2013 and are still putting out a defence like that today. There are other issues but the make-up of that defence given their limitations/the outlay is quite remarkable.

Still, on home soil, United are tough to beat, and while they visited Sevilla in midweek, the Sunday slot should mean they are well-rested for the visit of Chelsea.

Should Mourinho steer his team to victory here, they would go six points clear of the Blues. You suspect the Portuguese will somehow find a way of getting one over on his former club.

Prediction:

Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Spirits should be high in the Tottenham camp ahead of their trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday, despite their surprise 2-2 draw at Rochdale in the FA Cup.

Their comeback from two goals down against Juventus to draw 2-2 in the Champions League on February 13 was potentially a galvanising result for the remainder of the season.

In Harry Kane, they have a goal machine, too. As noted by OptaJean, no player in Europe can match the Spurs talisman in front of goal:

33 – Harry Kane is the top goal scorer in all comps among the top 5 leagues players this season (33 goals). Irresistible.

While Tottenham have Kane to lean on, Palace are having to do without their star attacker at the moment; Wilfried Zaha is set to miss this one due to injury.

Last time out they struggled in a 3-1 loss to Everton, and despite the positive work done by manager Roy Hodgson since he took over, they are not out of trouble yet. They come into the weekend just a point clear of Southampton, who occupy 18th place.

As relayed by the Premier League Panel Twitter account, the Eagles have found points tough to come by without their excellent winger as

Crystal Palace have failed to win a league game without Wilfried Zaha since 2016.

With him now facing an extended spell on the sidelines with injury, as well as Palace putting in some really poor performances recently, we fear for their Premier League safety.

It’s tough to see that changing on Sunday, as Spurs have settled into an ominous groove that appears destined to end up with them finishing in the top four.

Selhurst Park is never an easy place to go, and you can guarantee Palace will be organised here. Still, Tottenham have the composure and quality needed to break their hosts down.

Prediction:

Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Culled from Bleacherreport.

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