The Premier League returns this weekend after a two-week break for European and FA Cup commitments for a number of top flight clubs. Others have had two full weeks to recover and will hope some warm-weather training will help inspire them to three points this weekend.
Sunday will also see Manchester United and Southampton go head-to-head at Wembley in the EFL Cup Final. Arsenal and Manchester City will not be in action, as a result of Sunday’s final, but read on for all of our Gameweek 26 predictions…
Chelsea 3-1 Swansea
Chelsea face a Swansea side who have dramatically improved since the appointment of Paul Clement. The reverse fixture was filled with controversy as Chelsea felt hard-done by to not come away with all three points. They’ll be looking to make amends here and extend their lead at the top with both Manchester United and Arsenal not playing in the league this weekend.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Middlesbrough
Crystal Palace in are in trouble. They need to get a positive result out of this one otherwise Middlesbrough will open the gap between themselves and the bottom three. A win for Sam Allardyce’s side could potentially take them up to 16th and could help to inspire them to get on a run. Middlesbrough know they have to avoid defeat to risk potentially being dragged into the relegation zone, so a draw looks likely.
Everton 3-1 Sunderland
Everton are on an eight game unbeaten run in the Premier League. They’re still in the mix for a European placed finish so have to fight hard to cause the sides above them problems. Sunderland’s so-called revival looks more like a one-game wonder as they were thumped 4-0 having dished out their own four-goal haul the game week before. This looks like a foregone conclusion but you can’t rule Sunderland out of scoring with Jermain Defoe leading the line.
Hull 2-2 Burnley
Hull City look capable of staying up this season but they have to make their home form count. Burnley cannot buy a win on their travels and despite their commanding position over their opponents here it looks like that unwanted run will continue. Hull have managed to pick up seven points from the last 15 on offer, so a draw here wouldn’t be the worst result.
West Brom 2-0 Bournemouth
West Brom are unbeaten in four and looking as solid as usual ahead of what looks a very winnable fixture against a Bournemouth team that are seemingly in freefall. The Cherries have lost three in a row and conceded six in their most recent away game at Everton. Eddie Howe’s men are out of form but will hope they are clear enough of the bottom three to be fully dragged into a relegation scrap.
Watford 2-2 West Ham
Both these sides have had two full weeks to prepare for what is a big game for both sets of players. Watford have only lost two of their last 11 at home and are a tough unit to break down, but West Ham have been playing with more belief of late and goals are to be expected in what should be an entertaining game.
Spurs 2-1 Stoke
This is a massive game for Tottenham after their disappointing midweek Europa League exit to Gent at Wembley. Mauricio Pochettino knows his players need to bounce back straightaway, but the fact that his first-team played on Thursday night could play a major role in the outcome of the game. Stoke have been inconsistent all season but will fancy their chances after an extended break. They don’t do well in London though, having only won one of their last 20 trips to the capital…
EFL Cup Final – Manchester United 2-0 Southampton
Jose Mourinho loves playing cup finals at Wembley. He’s only lost one of 11 finals during his managerial career and has his United team firing on all cylinders ahead of Sunday’s clash. It’s a huge game for the Saints, who have never won the League Cup in their history, but they are up against it and it’s tough to see any other outcome than a United win.