How the Europa League could decide Arsene Wenger’s future

After nearly 22 years at the helm, Arsene Wenger has earned the right to a certain amount of power in north London. The Arsenal boss helped to drag the English Premier League into the modern era while transforming the Gunners into a team that was admired far and wide for their expansive and entertaining brand of football.

In the eyes of many fans, he should be one who decides when he steps down and it seems those in charge are reluctant to break this unwritten agreement. After all, if they fire him in the summer, they will bear total responsibility for the club’s immediate future. But if they wait until he walks and things don’t work out, they can claim their hand was forced. Wenger has another year to run on his contract and has insisted that he will honour those terms.

This impasse at the Emirates has been blamed for the club’s recent stagnation, which has seen them slip down the Premier League pecking order. They currently sit in sixth-place in the table, 30 points behind champions-in-waiting Manchester City and 13 points outside of the top four. However, they have won three of the last four FA Cup finals and are currently 5/2 at William Hill to win the Europa League, having already put one foot in the semi-finals with that 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow.

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This steady if unremarkable accumulation of silverware has so far been enough to keep the wolf from the door for the Frenchman. If he can add a European trophy to his haul, leading the club back into the Champions League in the process, there is no reason to suggest he will not continue his role.

While it may not be enough for some fans, a Europa League victory would once again put the board in a very difficult position. After all, how can you sack a loyal servant who is still delivering major silverware on a regular basis while running the club on a relatively strict budget? Last year, the North London club were one of only five Premier League teams to record a profit in the transfer window and this shrewd financial management has been a feature of Wenger’s tenure since the club moved into its new stadium 12 years ago.

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There has been speculation that if Arsenal win the competition, Wenger might still decide to step down, leaving the club with a major trophy and Champions League football to look forward to. It would certainly be a fitting way to end his time at the club – walking away on his own terms. However, much of this seems to be wishful thinking from those who are desperate for change at the club.

Wenger himself seems content in the role and has shown in the past that he is capable of proving his doubters wrong and will be keen to do so again. If he can lead the Gunners to European glory, the power to choose his destiny would remain in his own hands.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

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Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

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West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

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Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

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Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

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Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

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Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 11 – Huge weekend in title race as City face Arsenal before Chelsea vs Man Utd

Premier League Predictions: Week 11 – Another huge weekend of Premier League football is upon us. The international break is looming and so all 20 clubs will be hoping to head into the break in high spirits.

There are ten games to enjoy this weekend but there’s no doubt what the two standout fixtures are. Sunday will see a colossal double-header in the title race as Man City host Arsenal before Chelsea face Man Utd straight after. Spurs face Palace in the earlier game on Sunday, while Everton entertain Watford at the same time as the Chelsea vs Man Utd game.

Before all of Sunday’s action, there are six matches on Saturday. The weekend begins as Stoke welcome Leicester to the Bet365 Stadium at 12:30. Then on Saturday evening, Liverpool travel to West Ham looking to put pressure on the rest of the top six ahead of Sunday.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 11 isn’t one you want to miss…

Stoke 2-2 Leicester

The lunchtime kick off has the makings of a tight one. Both sides are sitting in and around mid-table, separated by just one point. It’s all very tight in the middle of the pack and there are plenty of goals flying in. We expect there to be goals in this one. Stoke and Leicester’s fixtures have seen the ball hit the back of the net a combined 59 times. The Potters won 1-0 last time out, while Leicester extended their unbeaten run to five in all competitions with a comfortable 2-0 win over Everton. Score draw.

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Huddersfield 1-1 West Brom

Despite promising starts to the season, both Huddersfield and West Brom have tailed off in recent weeks. Huddersfield did shock everyone with that stunning win over Man Utd a couple of weeks ago, but that is their only win in eight in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat to West Brom here, and will fancy their chances at home. The Baggies aren’t playing well and haven’t kept a clean sheet in five. That’s uncharacteristic of a Tony Pulis side. This one might not be pretty.

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Newcastle 3-0 Bournemouth

The belief around St James Park is there for all to see. Players and fans alike are behind Rafa Benitez despite some inconsistent form of late. The Toon Army come into this one having narrowly lost 1-0 away at Burnley and now a response is needed. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have been out of luck for the majority of the season so far and are the second lowest scorers in the league. They lost to Chelsea last weekend and a trip up North probably wouldn’t have been the next fixture they would have picked given the choice. Newcastle to take all three points.

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Southampton 1-1 Burnley

Burnley are flying high as they come into the weekend in seventh, level on points with Liverpool. Sean Dyche is further highlighting how good a manager he is and so there’s no wonder why he’s being linked with the vacant position at Everton. But for now, his focus will be on Burnley and getting as many points as possible every week. They will go to Southampton looking to hit them on the break and can expect to come away with a point. The Saints have been better in recent weeks but still lack a clinical edge. Both should score but the points look set to be shared.

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Swansea 1-1 Brighton

Swansea are sitting just above the relegation zone. On just eight points so far this season there is reason for concern. However, they probably considered themselves unlucky last weekend to lose away at Arsenal having held the lead. That made it three losses on the bounce in all competitions and they’ve won just one in their last seven in the league. By stark contrast, Brighton are on a three-game unbeaten run. They are sitting 12th in the league but a loss here would show them just how quickly things can change as it would put 17th placed Swansea just a point behind them. An important fixture that neither can afford to lose.

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West Ham 1-3 Liverpool

This is a big game for both sides. For West Ham, they need to show they are behind Slaven Bilic as he remains under intense pressure. For Liverpool, they need three points to make up ground on the sides above them ahead of Sunday’s games. West Ham carelessly threw away a win at Palace last week and had to settle for a point. They did beat Spurs in the League Cup before that, but in the Premier League, they have only one win in six. Liverpool have been inconsistent all season but looked good against Huddersfield last week. Expect them to prove too strong for a West Ham side that look to be in trouble.

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Spurs 3-0 Crystal Palace

What a rollercoaster week it has been for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. The low of losing narrowly to Man Utd last weekend in what wasn’t a pretty fixture, to their midweek heroics of taking apart Real Madrid. But, and it’s a big but – Spurs must stay grounded. The media frenzy which has surrounded them in such a positive light will very quickly turn with a poor result this weekend. If results go Tottenham’s way they could be within five points of top spot as the other four in the top five go head-to-head. There isn’t much to say about Crystal Palace’s league form this season. They remain bottom despite picking up a point last weekend. If Spurs play at their usual tempo, expect goals and a relatively easy win.

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Man City 4-1 Arsenal

At this stage of the season, it doesn’t look like anyone can stop Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s team are full of confidence and are brushing aside anyone in their way. Arsenal arrive at the Etihad as the underdogs but they are unbeaten in five in all competitions. The problem for Wenger’s men is they are still vulnerable at the back. They conceded two at Everton and then fell behind to Swansea last time out. Man City are ruthless and will exploit any weaknesses. Unfortunately, this looks like it will only end one way. And that’s with a convincing home win.

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Chelsea 1-2 Man Utd

Chelsea’s title defence has been far from convincing. The Blues are unconvincing and only just overcame Bournemouth last weekend before being torn apart in their midweek clash in Rome. If reports are believed to be true, all is not well behind the scenes for Antonio Conte and his side. Key players are missing for both Chelsea and Man Utd but Jose Mourinho will be eager to get one up over his old employers. Don’t expect a repeat of this fixture from last year. United will be difficult to breakdown and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them take all three points back up to Manchester. Is the clock ticking for Conte?

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Everton 2-2 Watford

Everton are in trouble. They’ve sacked their manager. They’ve spent a lot of money on a squad that haven’t clicked. And they’ve already been knocked out of Europe. They have lost five in a row in all competitions and Watford will arrive confident they can add to the Toffees’ woes. The Hornets have lost back-to-back league games for the first time this season but have enough about them to respond with a better performance at Goodison Park. The challenge for Everton is trying to rally and avoid dropping more points as a result of that Europa League hangover.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – 2nd vs 3rd as Man Utd take on Spurs, while Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool expected to win

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – The Premier League weekend kicks off with an absolutely huge clash. It’s 2nd versus 3rd as Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Expect plenty of goals across the ten fixtures this week, while there is the potential for upsets in must-win games for the top sides.

The three o’clock action comes thick and fast after the early kickoff. Struggling Crystal Palace face off against West Ham in the only London Derby of the weekend. Pace-setting Manchester City travel to West Brom, while Arsenal and Liverpool have home ties. Chelsea complete Saturday’s action with the late kickoff away at Bournemouth.

Sunday has a couple of interesting fixtures, Brighton welcome Southampton, before Claude Puel begins his reign as Leicester City manager at home to Everton, who have recently sacked Ronald Koeman. The weekend’s action is completed with Monday Night Football as Newcastle visit Burnley.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 10 will be an interesting one…

Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham 

Easily the biggest fixture of the weekend. Man Utd vs Spurs has provided some classic fixtures through the years. Both sides are coming into this one needing to bounce back. United’s loss at Huddersfield last weekend was a shock result and Jose Mourinho needs a reaction like his side showed in their midweek Carabao Cup clash. Spurs were emphatic last time out in the league. Their 4-1 win over Liverpool sent out a message to the rest of the league, however their dismal loss against West Ham in midweek was unforgivable and they owe it to their fans to pick up a positive result here. Expect goals as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku go head-to-head.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham

This is a big game. Make no mistake about that. Some reports suggested that failure to win this one would result in the sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. However, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Spurs may change that. Either way, Premier League points are the priority for both. Palace have struggled but did win their last home game. Another home win here would be a major boost. However, they haven’t scored in 9 of their last 10 games, losing each. West Ham haven’t been much better, failing to win 11 of their last 12 away games. Don’t expect this to be pretty.

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West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Tony Pulis, like every West Brom fan was devastated not to have picked up at least a point last weekend. However, they have to hold their hands up to accept losing at the hands of one of the goals of the season. West Brom are sitting in and around mid table but they won’t be looking forward to a visit from league leading Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way in midweek, yet they sealed their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite his displeasure of the ball. Normal service resumes with a ‘normal ball’ here and we expect City to continue their early title charge.

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Watford 2-0 Stoke

They might have lost 4-2 at Chelsea last weekend but Watford are undoubtedly this season’s surprise package so far. The Hornets are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight. They beat Arsenal in their most recent home fixture and should prove too strong for Stoke here. The visitors are in trouble. Last week’s home loss to Bournemouth left them down in 17th. They’ve not won away from home yet this season. Don’t expect that to change here.

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Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Arsene Wenger & co. have reason to be in high spirits. They took apart a very sorry Everton side last weekend keeping them at pace with the top four. Following up from that a much changed side secured progression in the cup in midweek. Arsenal should be looking to take three points in what has the makings of a routine home game this weekend. Swansea are sitting 15th but are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They cannot afford to take a drumming here as we all know how important goal difference can be in the Premier League. A win to ‘nil looks likely for the hosts.

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Liverpool 2-1 Huddersfield

The fact that Liverpool come into this game just one point ahead of Huddersfield tells you all you need to know. The Reds have been inconsistent and have not solved their defensive problems. Last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs further highlighted their vulnerabilities and they now need to bounce back. They will fancy their chances at home, but the visitors are riding high in confidence. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd was arguably the shock result of the season so far. Don’t rule out another surprise result at Anfield, although Liverpool should edge it.

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Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth remain in the bottom three. They picked up a much needed win last weekend away against Stoke and made it a week with plenty to cheer about having progressed in the cup. This is going to be another big test for them but they’ll be relishing a visit from Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side are coming through a rough patch with promise. Despite being a way off the top of the Premier League their squad depth stood the test of three games in a week. Last weekend’s win at home to Watford showed they have the resilience to fight back and if they go behind here, don’t expect them to let it phase them. Narrow victory for the Champions.

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Brighton 2-2 Southampton

Neither of these sides have really set the world alight yet this season. They have showed some signs of promise but inconsistency has prevented either side from making a statement. Brighton will be pleased with their start to life in the top flight. They are unbeaten in three-straight home league games and will now hope to keep that form going. The Saints picked up a first league win in four last weekend. It’s hard to tell which Southampton side will turn up. But goals could be on the cards here.

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Leicester City 1-1 Everton

The battle two sides who have recently sacked their managers. Leicester have acted promptly to replace Craig Shakespeare with Claude Puel. They picked up an impressive win away at Swansea last weekend and also reached the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in midweek so things are on the up. Everton’s woes continue, they sacked Ronald Koeman after being demolished by Arsenal last weekend and were knocked out the cup by Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Their poor run of form has to come to an end soon, but we don’t expect them to win here. Score draw.

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Burnley 1-1 Newcastle

The weekend is rounded off with an intriguing matchup. Burnley have been a better side away from home so far but will still see Monday’s game as one they should be winning. Their only home win so far this term came against Palace. For Newcastle, they’ll be looking to keep picking up points. They’ve only lost one of their last seven and look like they’re all pulling in the same direction as Rafa Benitez. It might not be the most entertaining game, but expect it to be interesting.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Expect a one-sided affair as Liverpool host Man Utd, while Man City should keep on rolling

Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Premier League action returns after the international break. Liverpool and Manchester United face off to get things going on Saturday lunchtime in what is the standout fixture of the weekend. Two games take place on Sunday, while Monday night rounds off what should be an action-packed weekend.

The remainder of the top four are in action on Saturday. Man City welcome Stoke, Spurs host Bournemouth and Chelsea travel to struggling Palace. Arsenal complete Saturday’s fixtures with a cross-London trip to Watford in the late game.

Brighton take on Everton, while Newcastle have the trip down south to Southampton in the Sunday double-header. The final fixture on Monday night sees Leicester face West Brom.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 8 marks the anticipated return of domestic football…

Liverpool 0-3 Manchester United

The latest instalment of the historic fixture. Jose Mourinho’s United have been in fantastic form this season, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have struggled defensively. Both sides have been hit with injuries of late, Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane, while Paul Pogba remains out for United. Given how free-scoring United have been and that Liverpool have just a +1 goal difference, we predict a healthy win for the Red Devils.

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Burnley 2-2 West Ham 

Burnley are high-flying in sixth place. Sean Dyche’s men picked up three points away at Everton before the international break and they will be looking to continue their great run of form here. West Ham’s struggles have been all too apparent, but they steadied the ship last time out with a 1-0 win over Swansea. This is going to be a tight one. Score draw.

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Manchester City 4-0 Stoke

Pep Guardiola would not have wanted the international break to come after his City side put in an outstanding tactical performance to win away at Chelsea. The Citizens are league leaders on goal difference and will be praying results go their way to open a gap at the top this weekend. Stoke also picked up three points heading into the international break, but this is going to be a huge ask for them. Expect goals from City.

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Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 

Negative runs have to come to an end at some point. Crystal Palace are yet to even score a goal this season, so what better way to do it this weekend against the Champions. Chelsea are without a few key faces, N’golo Kante and  is sidelined, while Alvaro Morata also continues recovery from a hamstring injury. Antonio Conte’s squad depth will be tested but in all honesty, anything less than three points and a clean sheet will be a failure for Chelsea fans here. It couldn’t happen, could it?

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Tottenham 2-0 Bournemouth

The end to the Wembley hoodoo for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have to pick up three points this weekend and with the goalscoring form of Harry Kane they should do. That said, Spurs cannot be too reliant on their Ballon d’Or nominee. Bournemouth are sitting second bottom and will not be looking forward to an away tie off the back of the international break. Spurs to win to nil.

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Swansea 1-1 Huddersfield 

The Premier League can be a cruel animal and Swansea are experiencing how tough things can be. They are without a league win since August and are going to need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Huddersfield have been giving a good account of themselves since so far this season. They’re only four points outside the top four, however as the games roll on they may quickly find out how quickly things can change. An away point will seem a better result for them than the hosts this weekend. 1-1 draw.

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Watford 2-2 Arsenal 

Arsenal’s early-season problems seem to be behind them. Contract sagas remain ongoing but on the field, the Gunners have won six of their last seven in all competitions. The only exception was that 0-0 draw at Chelsea. But Watford have impressed and the fact they come into this game just a point behind Arsenal is testament to their strong start. Marco Silva’s men lost 6-0 to Man City in their last home game and will be hoping to show more fight against one of the top sides this time around.

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Brighton 1-1 Everton

Both sides come into Sunday’s game tied on seven points from seven games. Brighton will be content with that. Everton will not. The Toffees have failed to get going, despite heavy summer investment. Ronald Koeman is under pressure and needs to get a result here. However, Brighton are tough to break down. They beat Newcastle in their last home game and will be hoping to secure at least a point here.

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Southampton 1-1 Newcastle

Southampton have really struggled to get going so far. They are short of goals and have lost three-straight home games in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat here but come up against a resolute Newcastle side. The Magpies seem to be growing in confidence. They battled well to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool before the international break and could add to their points tally with another strong showing here.

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Leicester 2-1 West Brom

Leicester come into the weekend outside the relegation zone on goal difference only. They could be in the bottom three by Monday night, depending on results and need to win this game. They have only won one league game all season so far but have enough quality to get three points here. West Brom are winless in five league outings themselves. The fact they are on the road here further limits their chances, so the Foxes should just edge it.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 5 – Spurs to get Wembley win, Chelsea to pile misery on Arsenal

Premier League Predictions: Week 5 – The fifth weekend of action is set to be a good one. It might be early in the season but some real six-pointers are set to be played out over the weekend. All the action begins on Friday night as Bournemouth – who are still looking for their first points of the season – host Brighton.

Then Crystal Palace start life under Roy Hodgson at home to Southampton in the lunchtime kickoff on Saturday. The Eagles are desperate for points after a dreadful start to the campaign. Spurs will hope to finally get their first Premier League win at Wembley when they face Swansea in the evening fixture. Tottenham have impressed on the road but have dropped five points in two games at Wembley already.

Then all eyes will be on Sunday’s mouth-watering double-header. Chelsea host Arsenal in what should be another thrilling game, before Manchester United welcome Everton to Goodison Park.

Read on below for all this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 5 should be a good one…

Bournemouth 1-1 Brighton

The home side are yet to pick up a point so far this season. That said, they have had some difficult fixtures to contend with. Eddie Howe’s side have no reason to panic, but they do need to get off the mark sooner rather than later to avoid a losing streak dragging on. Brighton have given a good account of themselves in their opening four games. Their four points sees them sitting mid-table and they will feel they have a good chance of getting a positive result this weekend.

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Crystal Palace 0-0 Southampton

Roy Hodgson makes his Premier League return on Saturday as he takes charge of his first game since being appointed Crystal Palace manager. Frank De Boer’s reign lasted just 77 days, as the Eagles have failed to score a goal – let alone pick up any points – so far. They look to be in trouble and although Hodgson will steady the ship, they are unlikely to spark into life this soon. Southampton have been underwhelming themselves and have failed to score in three of their four games. All signs point to a dull draw.

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Huddersfield 1-2 Leicester

Huddersfield’s unbeaten start came to an end on Monday evening and now they face the tough challenge of bouncing back. The Premier League can be cruel to newly promoted sides, but a good opening three games for Huddersfield has silenced many of their doubters. Leicester City were unlucky not to pick up a point against the champions last weekend and they’ll be expecting to get at least a point here.

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Liverpool 2-1 Burnley

Burnley have already stunned Chelsea and Spurs in their two away games so far. They will arrive at Anfield looking to take points off Liverpool here too. They are set up to frustrate teams and will make it hard for the Reds to get in behind. Jurgen Klopp’s men have the added problem of being without Sadio Mane. It is unclear whether Philippe Coutinho will be brought back into the side at this stage, though Liverpool should still find enough to edge this one, with or without the Brazilian. Wednesday’s draw with Sevilla was disappointing but the Reds should be able to narrowly get past a Burnley side that will miss Tom Heaton.

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Newcastle 2-2 Stoke

The Toon Army have had a lift with back-to-back wins and now they need to capitalise on their recent form. They’ve not conceded in their last two but Stoke are going to cause any side problems defensively this season. The mood around St James Park will be as buoyant as ever ahead of this one. Stoke’s dramatic comeback against Man Utd along with their win over Arsenal shows they’re not to be reckoned with. Score draw.

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Watford 1-3 Man City

Watford have impressed under new boss Marco Silva so far this season. They sit fourth coming into the weekend, just two points behind joint-leaders Man City. They showed great spirit to earn a 3-3 home draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend and will be hoping for a similar result here. However, City look like they’re starting to find their feet. They annihilated a ten-man Liverpool team last weekend and have an incredible array of attacking options to choose from. Watford will try and make it difficult, though the visitors should prove too strong.

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West Brom 1-1 West Ham

West Brom have surprised many with their positive and attacking start to the new campaign. They’re sitting 9th having lost just one of their four games but anything other than a win will more than likely see them drop into the bottom half. West Ham have finally got off the mark and they must now climb the table. A draw wouldn’t be the worst result for either side but it’s one that doesn’t do a lot for them.

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Spurs 3-0 Swansea

If Spurs weren’t at Wembley this season, there’s a good chance they’d be coming into this game at the top of the table. They have won away at Newcastle and Everton without conceding a goal. But they’ve dropped five points in two games at Wembley against Chelsea and Burnley. Mauricio Pochettino is adamant Wembley isn’t to blame for their stuttering start to the campaign. And their impressive showing against Dortmund did show they can play there. But the longer they go without winning at home in the league, the more of a problem it will be. Swansea don’t look set to upset the hosts here though. They have only scored two goals this season and lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle last weekend. Spurs should prove too strong here.

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Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

The Champions have silenced any talk of a repeat of their dismal title defence of just one year ago. They have won three on the spin in the league and have found their goalscoring touch. Arsenal’s problems have been well documented, however they do have a habit of picking up a result to get them going again when things have been tough. A win at the Bridge would be a huge result for Arsene Wenger & co, but Antonio Conte will have his side as well-drilled as ever. Expect a narrow victory for Chelsea.

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Man Utd 3-0 Everton

Everton couldn’t have been handed a tougher start to the season. They’ve already faced Man City, Chelsea and Spurs and now have a trip to Old Trafford to deal with. Add on the fact that Man Utd will have had two extra days to prepare for the game, and it’s difficult to see anything other than a home win. Jose Mourinho’s men have looked solid. They will have been disappointed with the 2-2 draw at Stoke last week, but they have the players to bounce back here. Everton struggled badly against Spurs and look set for another long afternoon on Sunday.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Leicester City

Premier League: Arsenal vs Leicester City

Emirates Stadium – Friday, August 11 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Leicester 11/2

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Preview

The 2017/18 Premier League season kicks off on Friday evening as Arsenal welcome Leicester City to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal will be feeling confident ahead of this one as they came from behind to win the Community Shield last weekend against Chelsea on penalties. This game will have more of a competitive edge than the usual curtain raiser, but we can expect Arsene Wenger’s side to be up for it.

The Gunners really need to mount a title challenge for the long haul this season. Wenger’s extended contract did not please every Arsenal fan, so there is added pressure to deliver.

There have been a number of changes to the Arsenal squad in the transfer window. The defensive addition of Sead Kolasinac looks to be a strong signing. While Alexandre Lacazette has come in to lead the line, he should add the killer instinct Arsenal fans have been calling for.

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Leicester City have had a busy transfer window so far, with Kelechi Iheanacho their biggest signing. He has proved to be a deadly finisher in his Premier League career, needing just a sniff of a chance.

Craig Shakespeare’s efforts to guide Leicester to stability last season earned him the job on a permanent basis. He will be looking to prove to the board he is the right man for the long term, but knows how big of a task this opener will be. The Foxes finished 12th last season and will be hoping to better that position once again.

They’ve spent big on some quality additions to the squad but are looking increasingly likely to lose Riyad Mahrez. Their key playmaker has made it clear he wants a new challenge but has been respectful of the club, so there shouldn’t be unrest in the squad.

Arsenal vs Leicester City

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Team News

Arsenal will be without some familiar faces for the opener. Alexis Sanchez is injured and his future with The Gunners remains up in the air. Santi Cazorla will also miss out, while Shkodran Mustafi, Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Gabriel Paulista are all doubts. New boy Kolasinac is expected to make his debut.

Leicester City are expecting to be without new signing Vicente Iborra. While there are doubts surrounding the fitness of Islam Slimani, Robert Huth, Kelechi Iheanacho and Danny Drinkwater.

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Key Points

Key Stat: Arsenal have won their last seven home games against Leicester in all competitions.

Key Player: Alexandre Lacazette – There is pressure on Arsenal’s marquee signing to score the goals to push them towards the title. He scored 129 times in 275 games for Lyon so has a big reputation.

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Prediction

Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City – Goals in the opener. There is pressure on the Arsenal squad to prove they are title contenders this season, so they need to hit the ground running. Although they have key players absent, they should be able to pick up three points on Friday night. Leicester are going to cause teams trouble this season, but they are up against it here.

Premier League Predictions: Spurs can cut the gap to one point before Arsenal welcome Man United on Sunday

Another huge week of Premier League action is upon us. Tottenham could close the gap on league leaders Chelsea to just one point as they visit West Ham on Friday before Antonio Conte’s blues welcome relegation-threatened Middlesbrough to Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Manchester City kick things off on Saturday against Crystal Palace and there are some key games in the battle to avoid relegation as Hull welcome already doomed Sunderland.

Sunday sees two huge games in the race for the top four as Liverpool host Southampton, while the standout fixture of the weekend takes place at the Emirates as Arsenal welcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. Read on for all our Gameweek 36 predictions in the Premier League…

West Ham 1-2 Tottenham

Spurs will be looking to apply the pressure on Chelsea as they open gameweek 36’s fixtures on Friday night. Mauricio Pochettino’s sides remarkable run continued last weekend as they won the last ever North London Derby at White Hart Lane. West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says he wants to put relegation beyond all doubt on Friday evening, so Spurs could be in for a tough one.

Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace

Manchester City’s underwhelming season was somewhat summed up in their 2-2 draw away at Middlesbrough last weekend, a game that they could have easily lost with Boro left seething at what they thought was a dive for the penalty. Palace aren’t completely out of trouble yet and have caused upsets this season, but an away win would be a big ask for Big Sam’s side.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Stoke City

Bournemouth sealed Sunderland’s fate with a late win against the Black Cats last weekend and will want to pick up another positive result here after reaching that important 40-point mark. Stoke played out one of the less eventful games of the season against West Ham last time out and another draw looks likely, only this time with a bit of action.

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Hull City 1-0 Sunderland

Hull to take another huge step towards securing Premier League safety at home against relegated Sunderland. David Moyes was left devastated at what has been on the cards for some time now for Sunderland and more misery will surely be heaped upon the North East club in their final four games before they drop out of the top flight.

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Burnley 2-2 West Brom

Sean Dyche’s Burnley have battled their way to what looks likely to be Premier League survival as they’re now up to 14th. Their home form has been impressive all season and played a large part in their battle against the drop. West Brom have seen their season slump into second gear, which may be frustrating for Baggies fans but they’ve made progress this season and should finish in the top half.

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Leicester City 2-0 Watford 

These sides come into the weekend level on 40 points with Premier League safety guaranteed. Leciester have been excellent at home in recent weeks, winning four league games in a row at the King Power Stadium.Watford have lost three of their last four and look like they might already be on the beach. It’s tough to see anything but a home win here.

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Swansea 2-2 Everton

This is a crucial game for Swansea City, who will already know the outcome of Hull’s clash with Sunderland before they kickoff on Saturday evening. The Swans have to match Hull’s result – or better it – if they are to stay in the survival picture. Everton haven’t got much left to play for. They have secured Europa League football next season and can’t finish any lower than tenth. They’ll still be looking to end the season on a high and could stop Swansea from taking three vital points here.

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Liverpool 1-0 Southampton

Liverpool know this is another potential banana skin as they try to secure Champions League football. They come into the weekend four points clear of Man Utd in fifth, but their rivals have a game in hand. The Reds edged past Watford on Monday thanks to Emre Can’s incredible bicycle kick, and they look poised to get a similar result here against a Saints side that hasn’t won in three.

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Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United

This is undoubtedly the biggest game of the weekend, with both clubs fighting for a place in the top four. Realistically, only one of these has a chance of qualifying for the Champions League, while it’s also a distinct possibility that both miss out. Arsenal have to bounce back from last week’s loss at Spurs, while United are going to be tested after flying back from their Europa League semi-final with Celta Vigo on Thursday evening. Mourinho will likely set up for a draw, and that usually works as they look to keep their long-standing unbeaten league run going.

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Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough 

Chelsea could be just one point ahead of Spurs coming into Monday’s clash but they’ve responded to the pressure in this title race whenever it has come, and Middlesbrough are unlikely to threaten the Blues charge to a second title in three years. Boro showed fight against Man City in last week’s 2-2 draw, but ultimately they are set to be relegated and that could well be confirmed with defeat on Monday.

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Premier League Predictions: Chelsea and Spurs resume title race before huge Manchester derby

There are five Premier League fixtures in midweek as ten teams are playing catch up after the weekend’s FA Cup action. Chelsea return to Premier League action against Southampton on Tuesday evening, while Tottenham travel to the in-form Crystal Palace the following day. Wednesday night also sees Arsenal take on Leicester and Sunderland visit Middlesbrough as the bottom two sides fight for a glimmer of survival hope at the bottom of the table.

The Manchester Derby takes place on Thursday night in a huge game in the race for a spot in the top four, so read on for all of our Gameweek 35 predictions…

Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

Chelsea seem to have got over their dip in form with their weekend FA Cup semifinal victory over Tottenham. The Blues now have a real shot at the double but there is still work for them to do in the league. Playing a day earlier than Spurs may not be what Antonio Conte wanted but he will be delighted if his side open up a seven point gap again and apply even more pressure to their rivals. Southampton were on the receiving end of a 3-0 loss to Man City last time out and this tie is one they know will be difficult. Chelsea know what they need to do and should pick up another three points at home on Tuesday evening.

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Crystal Palace 1-2 Tottenham

This is a huge game for Spurs, who know they need to take three points from Selhurst Park regardless of Chelsea’s result against Southampton 24 hours earlier. Mauricio Pochettino’s side must put Saturday’s FA Cup disappointment behind them if they are to topple a Crystal Palace side that has won six of their last eight league games, including Sunday’s 2-1 win at Anfield. However, Sam Allardyce has warned that he might need to rest players with such a quick turnaround for this game and that could see Spurs just edge it to keep the title race alive.

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Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City

Arsenal’s season has been a difficult one for the fans to take but their progression into the final of the FA Cup at the weekend has lifted some of the tension. Arsene Wenger’s side are seven points outside the top four but could potentially force their way back into contention if they get on a run and win their games in hand. Leicester have been hit by an injury blow ahead of this tie as Morgan and Slimani are out but their squad should be fresher than Arsenal’s for Wednesday’s game. The Gunners should be heading into this one expecting nothing less than three points, but their inconsistency has been there for all to see this season.

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Middlesbrough 2-3 Sunderland

This could have been an absolutely pivotal game in the race for survival but the truth is that both sides look destined for the drop. Sunderland have six games to try and close a gap of 12 points if they are to survive. They haven’t won in eight and will surely be relegated, regardless of their result on Teesside. Boro have the joint-worst home record in the division this season, along with Sunderland, but know they have to win this match to have any kind of hope remaining themselves. A draw doesn’t suit either side but Sunderland look the more likely to take three points, just based on the experience in the side.

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Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United

This is a huge Manchester Derby. The two clubs are battling for a place in the top four and United can overtake their city rivals with a win. Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge has been an uncomfortable one and is surely now going to be a trophyless one too after they crashed out to Arsenal in the semifinal on Sunday. Realistically City have to finish in the top four for this season to not be labelled a huge disaster, but with potentially five clubs battling for two remaining spaces their task is far from easy. Expect a cagey affair lacking that killer instinct both these clubs have missed this season. A draw would be an awful result for either side, but it seems a likely outcome.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Manchester City
Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, April 2 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET) 
Match Odds: Arsenal 2/1 – Draw 13/5 – Manchester City 5/4

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome Manchester City to The Emirates on Sunday afternoon in one of the standout fixtures as the Premier League returns this weekend.

This is quite possibly Arsenal’s biggest game of the season. They are in 6th place, six points outside of the top four but do have two games in hand on four of the five sides above them. If Arsenal lose this they are going to really struggle to make up the gap in the remaining fixtures of the season.

The pressure on Arsene Wenger seems to intensify with every passing game at the moment. Arsenal have lost four of their last five league games and are seriously risking not finishing in the top four.

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Manchester City are 12 points off the top of the table but while the league is still mathematically winnable they have to continue to fight for the title.

Pep Guardiola’s side need to finish second at the very least to make some success of their domestic season. This game is the second of their three grudge matches in a row. They’ve already avoided defeat to Liverpool in their last fixture and a win here before they face Chelsea would be a huge result for their confidence.

City are in a strong run of form. They have won three of the last five, picking up 11 points from a possible 15. It’s been three clean sheets away from home in a row for City and a fourth here is a big ask.

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Team News

Arsenal’s injury woes didn’t get any better before the international break as Petr Cech looks set to be out for around a month following his injury in the loss to West Brom. Wenger will still be without Santi Cazorla and Mathieu Debuchy, while Kieran Gibbs may return. Alexis Sanchez should be fit and ready to play after starring for Chile but Mesut Ozil’s status remains unclear.

Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna withdrew from international duty over the last week and a half, whether or not they will feature here remains to be seen.

Arsenal’s form: L/L/W/L/L

Manchester City’s form: W/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Pressure on Wenger – Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The Manchester City striker is key to his side taking three points here. He is going to have to deliver, which shouldn’t be a problem given that he has the ability to score against the very best as he so often proves.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City – Manchester City to heap more pressure on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. The Gunners are in a really difficult patch of form and could do without having to face a City side who have hit some form.