Swansea City have moved into pole position in the race to stay in the Premier League and they have a great opportunity to gain another three points against already-relegated Sunderland. This is billed as one of the biggest matches in the Welsh club’s history and they will have a good travelling support after it was announced that the players would be paying for the fans to attend the match. The Swans have always been a family club and this gesture is another example of that.
Sunderland may already be relegated, but they won’t roll over on Saturday as they attempt to pull off a second shock result to alter the picture at the bottom of the league. Although it would have been frustrating for supporters to see them beat Hull City last weekend, it does provide the team with some momentum to take into the summer. David Moyes is likely to remain in charge and he needs some good results to win the fans over ahead of the next campaign.
After being involved in the relegation fight all season, the Swans finally pulled out of the relegation zone last weekend with a win over Everton. It was a tough assignment, but the side delivered one of their best performances of the season to take the three points. Paul Clement’s side worked hard throughout the match and will be delighted to have kept a clean sheet. A similar display at the weekend should be enough to earn another crucial victory.
The home side have lost seven of their last ten matches, which is why they are rooted to the bottom of the table. They have an outside chance of climbing above Middlesbrough before the end of the season and that would provide them with a boost ahead of the summer. A win last weekend against Hull City showed that they can compete and they shouldn’t be written off ahead of the match with Swansea.
After a run of five losses in six Premier League matches, Swansea have taken seven points from their last three, which has lifted them out of the relegation zone. They have only conceded once during this run and that will give them confidence ahead of the final two matches, as their defensive issues have finally been addressed.
After an excellent performance to beat Hull City, it is difficult to see David Moyes making any changes ahead of the weekend. George Honeyman impressed last weekend and is likely to be given another opportunity in the first team at home.
Paul Clement could also select an unchanged team for the match at the Stadium of Light. Everybody did their bit last weekend and deserve to retain their places in the side. The partnership of Jordan Ayew and Fernando Llorente was great to watch against Everton. They will cause problems for Sunderland on Saturday.
Lee Cattermole, Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo are all in with a chance of returning for the match this weekend. However, Jan Kirchhoff, Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair won’t be available until next season.
Jefferson Montero is unlikely to be fit as he continues to suffer from a hamstring injury. Wayne Routledge and Angel Rangel face late fitness tests ahead of the trip to the North East. Nathan Dyer remains on the sidelines.
Verdict: Sunderland 0-2 Swansea City
This would have been a straight-forward prediction before last weekend, as Sunderland hadn’t offered any fight before that. However, their relegation has taken the pressure of them and they now pose a real threat to Swansea City.
David Moyes’ team have another opportunity to have a say in the relegation battle and they will want to finish their home season on a high.
That said, the visitors have talked about this weekend as one of the biggest matches in their history and they should have enough to pick up the win.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Tottenham Hotspur head into tomorrow’s clash with struggling Bournemouth still searching for their first Premier League victory at Wembley Stadium. Much as been made about Spurs’ hoodoo at the national stadium, where they are temporarily based while construction continues on their new ground.
Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have dropped more points at ‘home’ so far this season than in the entirety of the last campaign. However, they take on a Bournemouth outfit that have collected four points and are above only Crystal Palace in the league standings.
Despite their difficulties at Wembley, Tottenham are unbeaten in the top-flight since August and sit third in the table with 14 points from seven matches. Their demolition of Huddersfield Town before the international break, in which the in-form Harry Kane netted a brace, highlighted their ability to crush opponents.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will be acutely aware of the task facing his side. The Cherries have a terrible record against Spurs since being promoted to the Premier League and have yet to gain a single point on their travels this term.
Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns and could be boosted by the return of Mousa Dembele, who has recovered from a foot problem. Victor Wanyama is still sidelined with a knee injury, though. Harry Winks, who impressed on his England debut, is set to retain his place in the starting XI. Long-term absentees Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are several weeks away from first team action.
Howe’s line-up will depend on whether striker Joshua King passes a fitness test after suffering a tight hamstring for Norway. Ryan Fraser and Brad Smith are both poised to miss out, after suffering knocks during the international break. Callum Wilson has been continuing his recuperation by getting minutes under his belt for the Under-23s.
Match prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bournemouth
Spurs have thrashed Bournemouth in the two fixtures between the clubs at White Hart Lane – and a change of venue is unlikely to bring the Cherries better fortune. If at their best, Howe’s side can at least give Tottenham something to think about and prey on the anxiety they have experienced at Wembley. However, with no away form to speak of, Spurs look set to be too strong.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
The two most successful clubs in the history of English football will resume hostilities tomorrow, when Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield. It is a mouth-watering return to the Premier League following the international break, which sees Jose Mourinho’s side put their unbeaten start to the season on the line. The atmosphere is sure to be electric for Saturday’s early kick-off and victory for the hosts would bring them to within four points of their fierce rivals.
With only one win from their past four top-flight outings, Liverpool’s form has stalled somewhat after a bright start. Scoring goals has not been a problem for Jurgen Klopp’s men – but in contrast, no club in the top half has shipped more. It is these defensive shortcomings which have been to blame for too many dropped points.
United meanwhile, have been mightily impressive, taking 19 points from 21. For all their attacking flair, they have also been watertight in defence, with the only goals they have conceded coming in the 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.
Klopp has been left reeling from the news that key player Sadio Mane has been ruled out from up to two months after injuring his hamstring during the international break, which means Daniel Sturridge may keep his place in attack. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are edging towards a return, although no date has yet been set.
United have selection problems of their own and will be without Marouane Fellaini, who suffered damage to his knee while playing for Belgium. Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcus Rojo all remain sidelined.
Match prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Mourinho is a master tactician whose game-plan will be to keep it tight and frustrate Liverpool. Klopp’s team are more than capable of ruining his approach however, although Mane’s absence is a huge blow. The first goal will be crucial in deciding the outcome.
Everton vs Burnley: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Everton will look to record just their third Premier League win of the season when a high-flying Burnley take the short trip across the north west to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Dyche’s side have started the year in impressive fashion, losing just once in their opening six matches, and they’ll provide another stern test for an Everton side that are struggling to grind out results.
Yet Ronald Koeman will hope his side’s comeback victory over Bournemouth last time out can add some inspiration around Merseyside and kick-start a season that hasn’t got going just yet.
Despite spending over £100million during the summer on some well-known names, Everton have found it difficult to convert that into results on the pitch with just two wins from their first six league games.
Consecutive defeats against Chelsea (2-0), Tottenham (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) had dampened spirits around Goodison somewhat but they secured a much-needed win last week against the Cherries.
Their Europa League adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan either, losing heavily away at Atalanta before being held at home by Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol to leave them at the bottom of Group E.
The visitors have fared a little better so far this season, only losing the once against West Brom, and they’ve already surprised a few by drawing with Liverpool and Tottenham and seeing off Chelsea.
They’ll arrive on Merseyside with a fine away record too, unbeaten in their first three matches – all three of which ironically were against these top-six contenders – and they’ll want to extend the run.
Ronald Koeman could be without the services of both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane after the defensive duo missed out on the draw with Apollon Limassol through respective injury problems.
That could see young Mason Holgate drafted into the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams, with Everton potentially reverting to a four-man defensive system to cater for their lengthy injury list.
There’s little to report for Burnley ahead of Sunday’s clash, although Jonathan Walters could be in contention for a spot on the bench after recovering from an ongoing ligament problem in his ankle.
Match Prediction; Everton 2-1 Burnley
Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see a reaction from his team after their disappointing late set-back against ten-man Apollon on Thursday, and he will want to make it two wins from two in the league.
But it certainly won’t be an easy task against a disciplined Burnley team, who have only conceded five goals all season despite facing a tough run of away games against Premier League title contenders.
Oumar Niasse is in-line for a start after his starring role in the win last weekend and his presence could lift a depleted Everton side, and whilst it won’t be a stroll in the park the hosts should nick a close affair.
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