Premier League Predictions: Man Utd to extend their unbeaten run, six pointer at Anfield

The Premier League action is stretched over three days this weekend with some huge games in the race for the top four and the battle to avoid relegation. Manchester United kick things off at home against Bournemouth, while the standout fixture comes on Saturday evening as Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield.

League leaders Chelsea don’t play until Monday evening as they visit London rivals West Ham. Bottom of the table Sunderland have the unenviable task of hosting Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, read on for all our Gameweek 27 predictions…

Manchester United 3-1 Bournemouth

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United return to Premier League action after victory in the League Cup final last weekend. They’ll be looking to make it 17 league games unbeaten against a Bournemouth side who have conceded at least two goals in their last seven domestic outings. Eddie Howe’s side have lost six of their last seven on the road and they’re now only four points above the relegation zone. United are closing in on the top four and should pick up another three points here.

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Swansea City 2-1 Burnley 

This is an absolute must-win for Swansea. They lost 3-1 at Chelsea last week in a game they weren’t expected to win, but now they must ensure they deliver three more points at home to keep their survival bid in good shape. Burnley have proven to be a solid outfit this season but the contrast between their home form and away form is a major cause for concern for Sean Dyche. They have still not won on the road all season, and that doesn’t look like changing here.

Leicester City 2-1 Hull City

The Premier League champions produced a stunning performance to beat Liverpool last time out which left fans wondering where that quality has been all season. The sacking of Claudio Ranieri infuriated football fans in general but if they make it two wins on the spin here it could prove to be a turning point in their season. Hull have to start picking up points if they’ve got any chance of avoiding the drop. Marco Silva’s side are 19th and the stats look ominous for the weekend, they’ve failed to win in ten of their last 11 away games.

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West Brom 1-1 Crystal Palace

This is a huge game for Palace in their bid to avoid relegation. The Baggies have won seven of their last eight home matches in the Premier League and Tony Pulis will be out for his men to get three points against his former employers here. However, they have very little to play for. They are safe in the top half and will struggle to move much higher than their current position of eighth. Palace are only in the bottom three on goal difference heading into the weekend and must try and avoid defeat here.

Watford 0-2 Southampton

The Hornets are going steady in mid-table, picking up eight points from the last 15 on offer. Walter Mazzarri will be hoping he can be the man to end Watford’s winless run against Southampton in the Premier League. Since their return to the top flight the sides have met three times, drawing twice with one Saints win. Claude Puel side will still be licking their wounds after losing the EFL Cup final last weekend after being on the receiving end of a poor decision by the officials. They will hope to bounce back here against a side they’ve not lost to in the last six meetings.

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Stoke City 1-0 Middlesbrough

Stoke were simply awful at Spurs last weekend as they lost 4-0 to Tottenham once again. Mark Hughes will be demanding a much better showing at home here against a Middlesbrough side that’s still having major problems in front of goal. The Potters are unbeaten in seven at home in the league, while Boro have not won away since August, failing to score in their last three trips to league opposition.

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal

Quite simply the biggest game of the weekend. Neither of these sides can afford to drop points in the battle to finish in the top four. Liverpool need to respond to their poor performance against Leicester while Arsenal will be itching to get going again following their postponed game due to last weekend’s cup final. Just one point separates the pair and a win for either would be huge. Anfield has proven to be a tough place to visit, with Liverpool losing just one in their last 20 in the league there. A draw looks likely.

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Tottenham 2-1 Everton 

Tottenham can set a club record by winning what would be a ninth-straight game at White Hart Lane here, but that will be no easy feat against an Everton side who have looked strong in 2017 so far. In fact, the Toffees have been the league’s best side in 2017 heading into the weekend and have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven. Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku are enjoying excellent seasons and should both be able to add to their tallies in what should be an entertaining game. Spurs need the points more, and should just edge it.

Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City

The Black Cats look destined for the drop this season, but they’ve got out of trouble time and time again and given the unpredictability of the Premier League, anything can happen between now and the end of the season. A win here would be a huge boost for David Moyes but they welcome a Manchester City side who bagged five in midweek. Sunderland have conceded nine goals in their last three games against City at the Stadium of Light in all competitions, expect goals.

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West Ham 1-3 Chelsea

Chelsea have had one hand on the Premier League trophy for a number of weeks as they continue to prove their resilience week-by-week. The depth of Antonio Conte’s squad is proving it’s quality, with Cesc Fabregas stepping up to deliver in last week’s win over Swansea and they should be able to take three points in Monday’s London derby. The Hammers have only lost one of their last six but are facing a much stronger Blues team than the one they knocked out of the EFL Cup earlier in the season. Chelsea to take three points.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Saturday, May 30 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST – Sunday, May 31)

Match Odds: Orlando City 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus Crew 21/10

Match Preview

Orlando City and Columbus Crew clash in MLS for the second time this season when they meet at Citrus Bowl on Saturday evening.

Head coach Adrian Heath can be very happy with Orlando’s last two results as they picked up a valuable point in a 1-1 draw away at San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, and thrashed LA Galaxy 4-0 at home the week before.

The win over the Galaxy was the Lions’ first ever victory at home and they’re now sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with 13 points from their opening 12 games.

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If Orlando avoid defeat in this game, it will also be the first time they have strung together a run of three games without defeat.

Columbus Crew are fourth in the Eastern Conference with 15 points and drew their last game at home to the Chicago Fire in disappointing fashion as they let a two-goal lead slip, conceding a devastating last-minute equaliser to tie the game.

The Crew have managed just one victory in their last four games (D1, L2) and also haven’t won a game away from home yet this season, so they’ll be looking to break that trend (D2, L3).

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Gregg Berhalter’s Columbus side eased to a 3-0 victory when these two sides met in the reverse fixture in April, thanks to goals from Federico Higuain, Justin Meram and Kei Kamara.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Pedro Ribeiro (hamstring) and Kevin Molino, while Lewis Neal (neck), Tony Cascio (back) and Aurelien Collin (hamstring) are all doubts. Brek Shea will miss the game through suspension after his red card against San Jose.

Columbus Crew midfielders Wil Trapp (concussion) and Ethan Finlay (toe) are both doubtful.

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Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: L/D/L/W/D

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: Columbus Crew have conceded at least two goals in their last four matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – The Brazilian has been excellent in Orlando’s recent good performances and will be vital to his side once again.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 Columbus Crew – Orlando are full of confidence after their last two games and there’s always goals when Columbus play, but they just can’t win away from home. A high scoring draw could be the order of the day.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Southampton

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Sunday, May 24 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester City 4/7 – Draw 7/2 – Southampton 4/1

Match Preview

Manchester City welcome Southampton to Etihad Stadium for the last game of the Premier League season with the hosts having already secured a second-place finish.

Southampton have exceeded all expectations and are guaranteed to finish one place higher than last season. If results go their way, they could even finish as high as fifth.

City’s recent form has been impressive, winning their last five, scoring sixteen goals along the way since their demoralising defeat to rivals Manchester United back in April.

Manuel Pellegrini‘s future is under immense pressure after failing to retain the Premier League crown or win a cup competition this season, leaving City trophy-less for the second time in three years.

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Although his future is in doubt, Pellegrini still expects to be the manager come next season as they aim to take the title back from Chelsea.

A summer clearout is expected at Manchester City with Yaya Toure said to be playing his last game for the club along with possible departures such as Stevan Jovetic, James Milner and of course Frank Lampard before he leaves for MLS club New York City FC.

Before the season began, Southampton were tipped for relegation, a low points total and looked like a club that would be in disarray. But they certainly aren’t. Ronald Koeman has come in and done a very impressive job, leading them to their highest position in Premier League history.

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The Saints arrive in Manchester off the back of a terrific 6-1 victory at home to Aston Villa and will be hoping to try and secure European football next season.

The reverse fixture saw Manchester City win 3-0 at St Mary’s with goals from Yaya Toure, Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy the difference.

Team News

Manchester City will be missing Samir Nasri who has a groin injury.

Southampton will be without Dusan Tadic (groin). Goalkeeper Fraser Forster is a long-term absentee, so Kelvin Davies is expected to continue between the sticks. Morgan Schneiderlin could return to the side for what would potentially be his last appearance for the club as he’d constantly being linked with a move away. Jay Rodriguez could make his first appearance in fifteen months after his ACL tear in the same fixture last season.

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Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Southampton’s last five: L/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: The last time Manchester City did the double over Southampton was in the 1992/93 inaugural Premier League season.

Key Player: Yaya Toure – Although he is certain to leave Manchester City this summer, he is so important to his side. He can flip the game in a heartbeat. The Ivorian hit a brace at Swansea last week and could add to his twelve goals this season.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 2-0 Southampton – City will expect to finish strongly at home with a victory. Southampton have had a brilliant season but will fall just short of their opponents in this one.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Sunderland

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Wednesday, May 20th – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – Sunderland 9/1

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome Sunderland to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night for the penultimate game of the Premier League season with both sides in need of just one more point to secure very different objectives.

The Gunners are in search of one more point to ensure they finish in third place above Manchester United and avoid the Champions League qualification playoff game, while a point for Sunderland will guarantee their top flight status for another season.

Theo Walcott‘s deflected cross off Tyler Blackett rescued a vital point for Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday and kept them two points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United coming into this game-in-hand.

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Arsenal’s fantastic run of eight straight wins has been halted by a run of four games with just one victory (D2, L1), although Arsene Wenger has still done enough to guide his side to a Champions League finish for the 17th consecutive season.

The Gunners have won all but one of their home games against sides in the bottom 11 of the Premier League table this season – a 2-2 draw with Hull City back in October being the only points they’ve dropped against the lower league teams at home.

Sunderland arrive in London having lost just one of their last six games (W3, D2) and their 0-0 draw at home to Leicester last weekend extended their current mini-unbeaten run to four games.

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Despite the good run, Dick Advocaat will know there is still work to do and the final two games are away at Arsenal and Chelsea, so they may be relying on Hull City failing to win against Manchester United on the final day in order for them to survive.

Arsenal won the reverse fixture 2-0 at the Stadium of Light thanks to two goals from Alexis Sanchez and have won the last four meeting between the two sides.

Team News

Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny will face a late assessment as he is suffering with the flu, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy are all unavailable because of injury.

Sunderland will be without the injured Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez, Wes Brown, Jack Rodwell and Ricardo Alvarez.

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Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/D/W/L/D

Sunderland’s last five: L/D/W/W/D

Key Stat: Sunderland haven’t won away at Arsenal in the league since November 1983 when they beat the Gunners 2-1 at Highbury.

Key Player: Aaron Ramsey – The Welshman doesn’t stop running and his work-rate can’t be faulted even though he’s playing out of position on the right side of midfield.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland – The Gunners’ home advantage will help them just edge past the Black Cats who will go into the final day with it all to play for.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Tottenham

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: St James’ Park – Sunday, April 19 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Newcastle 21/10 – Draw 13/5 – Tottenham 5/4

Match Preview

Newcastle United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon as both sides look to ensure their Premier League campaign’s don’t fizzle out to a disappointing conclusion.

John Carver has described the Newcastle managerial post as “the hardest job in football” following discontent from the fans after a run of five straight defeats has seen the Toon Army slip down to 14th place in the table.

Rumours of the Newcastle supporters planning to boycott the game against Tottenham in a protest against the way owner Mike Ashley runs the club has only intensified yet more negativity surrounding the club, making the job of the manager and players even more difficult.

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The Magpies have only managed to score once in their last five games and twice in their last seven – Newcastle have picked up the joint fewest points (4) along with QPR out of any team in the last eight games.

Tottenham have endured a miserable few weeks themselves with just one win in their last four games (D1, L2) including a disappointing defeat at home to Aston Villa last weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino‘s side have been unusually flat in recent weeks and it could be a case of a long season catching up with them having played 51 games in this campaign, which is more than any other Premier League team.

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Spurs are seven points behind fourth-placed Man City and if they are to maintain any faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, they absolutely have to win this game, otherwise it will be all but over for another year.

With that in mind, this is certainly a fixture that has the potential to feel like it’s just a formality as both Newcastle and Tottenham are almost at the stage of the season where there is nothing to play for.

But the Magpies need to step up their performances to guarantee their safety, while Spurs have to be ready to pounce on any potential slip-ups from the teams above them, making a positive result imperative for both sides.

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Newcastle edged the reverse fixture in the Premier League at White Hart Lane with a 2-1 victory in October, although Tottenham gained revenge in the last meeting between the sides with an emphatic 4-0 win in the League Cup just before Christmas.

Team News

Newcastle will welcome skipper Fabricio Coloccini back into the team following his suspension, while Siem De Jong could make his first appearance since he suffered a collapsed lung back in August. The Magpies will still be without the suspended Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse.

Tottenham have a number of doubts for the game as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is trying to recover from a knee problem and Kyle Walker missed the game with Aston Villa because of a foot injury. Jan Vertonghen has been trying to shake off an illness and could be unfit for action.

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Key Points

Newcastle United’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/L/L/L

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: There has never been a goalless draw between these two sides in the Premier League.

Key Player: Harry Kane – Two Premier League games without a goal for this man is almost considered a drought by the unbelievably high standards he’s set this season. Spurs will be looking to the Englishman for a moment of inspiration on Tyneside as they look to score their first goal away from home in 202 minutes of football since Kane struck at Loftus Road on March 7th.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur – This game is a battle of two sides who find themselves far from at their best and desperately looking for a spark, and for that reason we could see a tight game that ends all square.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Reading vs Arsenal

Competition: FA Cup semi-final – Reading vs. Arsenal

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Saturday, April 18 – 17:20 BST (12:20 ET)

Match Odds: Reading 12/1 – Draw 5/1 – Arsenal 1/4

Match Preview

Reading and Arsenal clash at Wembley Stadium for the first FA Cup semi-final on Saturday evening as the Gunners look to reach a second successive final and continue the defence of their title.

Reading are undoubtedly major underdogs coming into the game as they sit eighteenth in the Championship and many will struggle to see how they can overturn Arsenal, but the beauty of this competition is that anything can happen.

Few would’ve predicted Bradford winning at Chelsea or Middlesbrough winning at Manchester City in the fourth round, so the Royals can approach the game with a nothing to lose attitude.

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Steve Clarke’s side are without a win in five games in all competitions and their last victory came in the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Bradford – the Royals have won just two of their last 12 (D5, L5). Reading have also seen off Huddersfield, Cardiff and Derby in their run to the semi-final.

Arsenal are the FA Cup holders and arguably the best team in the country right now after a run of eight straight wins has lifted them to second in the Premier League – the Gunners have also won 15 out of their last 16 domestic fixtures.

Arsene Wenger‘s last taste of defeat in the FA Cup was against Championship opposition in February 2013 when Blackburn Rovers won 1-0 in a fifth round tie at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are undefeated in 10 FA Cup ties since then, including victories over Hull, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Manchester United in this season’s competition.

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It will be the Arsenal manager’s tenth FA Cup semi-final and should the Gunners go on to lift the famous trophy once again, they will become the most successful club in the history of the competition – they currently share the record for most FA Cup titles (11) with Manchester United.

The last time these two sides met, Arsenal ran out as 4-1 winners in a Premier League game back in March 2013. The last cup meeting between the two was that enthralling 7-5 League Cup comeback win for Arsenal in October 2012 at the Madejski Stadium after Reading had taken a 4-0 lead.

The Wembley stage is set and the FA Cup semi-final is always a great day for both sets of players and fans alike. Arsenal are heavy favourites, but Reading will relish the occasion that marks their best achievement in the competition since 1927 as they attempt to reach their first ever FA Cup final.

Team News

Reading will be delighted that striker Pavel Pogrebnyak will be available after struggling with a knee injury, although they will be without the on-loan Nathan Ake and Kwesi Appiah as they are both cup tied.

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Arsenal have rarely had so many options at their disposal in recent years as only Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are unavailable with injury. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal as he continues his role as the ‘cup goalkeeper’, while Wenger could also rotate on-pitch slightly from the team that faced Burnley last weekend. Mathieu Debuchy and Jack Wilshere are both fully fit and available for selection.

Key Points

Reading’s last five in all competitions: L/D/D/D/L

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have won all 12 of their previous matches against Reading, so the Royals will be making history if they win this one.

Key Player: Mesut Ozil – The German has put in some excellent performances in the last few months and on a big Wembley pitch, this is the type of game where he could really pull the strings and open up Reading’s defence.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-0 Reading – The FA Cup is a magical competition but it’s so hard to see how a struggling Reading side are going to upset the rhythm of an Arsenal team that can’t stop winning. The Gunners will be made to work hard but should ultimately win the game comfortably.

MLSGB Premier League Predictions: Gameweek 33 – Spurs, Southampton and City to win

As the end of the season draws near, the drama at either end of the table is set to continue this weekend and so it’s time for another member of the MLSGB team to turn to the crystal ball. This week Jamie Ives takes a look the fixtures and gives his opinion on how they will unfold.

Chelsea play Manchester United in this weekend’s standout Premier League game, while Liverpool, Arsenal and Aston Villa are taking part in the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley, so they will not play this week. QPR, Sunderland and Hull are also out of action as a result.

But there are still six games to enjoy and after Ben Ashton correctly predicted the outcome of six games with one perfect score last weekend, it’s time for Jamie to give his calls on where he sees the games going this weekend.

Saturday, April 18th (All kickoffs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Stoke City vs. Southampton

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With Southampton still pushing for a Champions League place it is important that Ronald Koeman’s team keep in touch with the pack.

Stoke have arguably nothing left to play for and that’s why I see Southampton edging this one.

Prediction: Stoke 1-2 Southampton


 

Crystal Palace vs. West Bromwich Albion

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Palace have looked like a team possessed under Alan Pardew, and their front three of Wilfried Zaha, Glenn Murray and Yannick Bolasie have fired them onto a winning run of four now.

Tony Pulis’ West Brom have been dreadful recently, having lost three on the bounce, and I see form winning this one. Palace comfortable winners.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 West Brom


 

Everton vs. Burnley

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Everton have been a different side since crashing out of Europe and have all but guaranteed top-flight football next season despite some relegation whispers.

Burnley however, are picking up points here or there but aren’t doing enough to stay up so far. I think they could nick this one, however as the race for survival looks to take another twist.

Prediction: Everton 0-1 Burnley


 

Leicester City vs. Swansea City

Embed from Getty ImagesLeicester are in my opinion the unluckiest team in the Premier League this year, having played so well without getting enough points.

Swansea have been brilliant and even with the loss of Wilfried Bony, have produced results. Score draw at the King Power Stadium for me, not that it will help the Foxes too much.

Prediction: Leicester 2-2 Swansea


 

Chelsea vs. Manchester United (17:30)

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The hardest one to call this weekend. Man United have been sensational recently and Chelsea have been excellent at home so this is little to separate these two rivals.

A score draw seems fair but this one could go either way.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United


 

Sunday, April 19th

Manchester City vs. West Ham United (13:30)

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Manchester City are the team everyone is talking about and for all the wrong reasons. Last Sunday’s derby defeat has all but sealed Manuel Pellegrini’s fate as the Citizens look set to finish way behind Chelsea.

With Sam Allardyce also being linked with a departure from his post, both sides need a win. I’m saying a City win in a high-pressure game.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham


 

Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (16:00)

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The final game this weekend sees two teams who have not delivered sufficiently lately go head-to-head, with both having lost last weekend. Newcastle have looked lost under John Carver and need some fresh faces but still need to see the season out.

Spurs have all but lost the battle for a Champions League spot after defeat at home to Villa last weekend, but they should win easily on Sunday against a Magpies side that look lifeless.

Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Spurs

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Manchester City

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, April 12 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester United 8/5 – Draw 12/5 – Manchester City 13/8

Match Preview

Manchester United and Manchester City clash in a crucial local derby at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon in what is the standout fixture of this weekend’s Premier League action.

Louis Van Gaal and his Man United team come into the game in high spirits after their 3-1 win at home to Aston Villa last time out extended their recent good run to five straight wins in the league.

United also boast the best home record in the league with 13 wins out of 16 (D1, L2), and have won ten of their last 11 games at Old Trafford.

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Manchester City’s objectives this season have changed drastically from winning the league to now just making sure they qualify for the Champions League after Crystal Palace inflicted more misery on Manuel Pellegrini‘s side at Selhurst Park on Monday night.

The 2-1 defeat to Palace marked City’s third loss in five games and they’ve now won just four of their last 11 games in the Premier League (D3, L4) – a run of form that will not cut it for a team that was hoping to retain their title.

One thing that City have in their favour is their dominance of this fixture in the last few years – they’ve won all of the last four Manchester derbies and have only lost two of the last nine against United in the league.

Manchester City celebrate against United earlier in the season (Photo: Getty Images, Shaun Botterill)

Manchester City celebrate against United earlier in the season (Photo: Getty Images, Shaun Botterill)

It’s set to be another classic and one of those fixtures that captures the eyes of the whole nation – not many would have envisaged United being above City in the league at this stage of the season, but that’s the current situation and that makes this game even more important.

Team News

Robin Van Persie will not feature for Man United despite his return to training this week, while defender Jonny Evans continues his suspension. Luke Shaw is out with a hamstring injury and Chris Smalling is a slight doubt through illness.

Man City skipper Vincent Kompany is a doubt with a hamstring injury, while strikers Wilfried Bony and Stevan Jovetic are both unlikely to make the squad due to ankle and muscular injuries respectively. Defender Dedryck Boyata is out with a knee injury.

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Key Points

Manchester United’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/W/W/W

Manchester City’s last five in the Premier League: L/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: Manchester City have won six of their last seven Premier League games against Manchester United.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – His importance to Man United cannot be stressed enough. If he performs, United have always got a chance and we can expect him to be the difference once again on Sunday. Rooney has scored five out of the last seven of United’s goals in the Manchester derby (in the Premier League).

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City – Putting it simply, United are in great form and City are not. Of course, current form and league position goes out of the window to a certain extent in a local derby, but home advantage and their current run should see Louis Van Gaal’s side edge it and heap further pressure on his opposite number Manuel Pellegrini.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs Liverpool

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Saturday, April 4 – 12:45 BST (07:45 EDT)

Match Odds: Arsenal 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – Liverpool 100/30

Match Preview

Arsenal and Liverpool clash at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime in the Premier League‘s stand-out fixture of the weekend.

These two sides have been the best Premier League teams in 2015 so far and this game represents another huge moment in the race for Champions League qualification, with Liverpool five points adrift of fourth and six points behind third-placed Arsenal.

Defeat for Liverpool in this game will leave them desperately playing catch-up and they arguably need to go all out for the win to stand any chance of making the top four.

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Meanwhile, Arsenal can heap the pressure on Manchester City as a win would see them leapfrog City into second, even if only for a few hours.

The Gunners are on an impressive run of six straight wins in the league and have lost just twice in their last 15 games, winning 12 and drawing one.

Liverpool have also been in great form and their 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United last time out was their first Premier League loss in 14 matches after they’d been on a 13-game unbeaten run, consisting of ten wins and three draws.

Arsenal’s main man in recent weeks has been the in-form striker Olivier Giroud – the Frenchman has scored nine goals in his last nine games in all competitions as well as six in his last five Premier League matches.

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Arsene Wenger will certainly be hoping that Giroud and his Arsenal teammates can continue from where they left off following the international break.

Brendan Rodgers will be urging his players to call upon the performance that famously ripped Arsenal apart at Anfield in that 5-1 win back in February 2014.

The reverse fixture between these two sides this season ended as a 2-2 draw in dramatic fashion as a 97th minute header from Martin Skrtel rescued a point for the Reds after goals from Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud had given Arsenal the lead following Philippe Coutinho‘s opener.

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Team News

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) remains out for Arsenal, while Danny Welbeck suffered a knee injury on international duty but could still make the squad. Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby all featured in a friendly against Brentford on Tuesday but it is unlikely any of them will play due to lack of match sharpness. Tomas Rosicky could also return to the squad following illness.

Liverpool will be without skipper Steven Gerrard as he begins a three-match ban following his red card against Manchester United. Martin Skrtel is also unavailable after he was suspended retrospectively for a stamp on David De Gea. Jon Flanagan remains out with injury, while Adam Lallana (groin), Dejan Lovren (abdominal) and Daniel Sturridge (groin) are all trying to recover and could be doubtful. Youngster Jordan Ibe is also out injured.

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Key Points

Arsenal’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/W/W/W

Liverpool’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/W/W/L

Key Stat: Arsenal have only lost one out of their last 14 games at home to Liverpool in the Premier League (W7, D6).

Key Player: Aaron Ramsey – The Welshman is starting to show glimpses of the incredible performances we saw last season and his goals from midfield between now and the end of the season will be crucial – his battle with Jordan Henderson will be one to watch.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool – Arsenal are on a great run of form and Liverpool are missing a few key players. This will be a tight but very entertaining game and the Gunners should just edge it with the home advantage.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union

Venue: Toyota Park – Sunday, March 29 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 6/4 – Draw 23/10Philadelphia Union 7/4

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park on Sunday evening in an all Eastern Conference clash as both sides look for their first win of the 2015 MLS campaign.

The Fire have had a slow start to the season, losing their first three games and they already find themselves rooted to the foot of both the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.

Philadelphia suffered their first defeat at home to FC Dallas last weekend having previously tied their opening game at home to Colorado before an entertaining 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake a week later. The Union are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference.

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Chicago have struggled to find the net in the early stages of this season but Harry Shipp did manage to notch their first goal during the 2-1 defeat at San Jose last time out.

Head coach Jim Curtin has only seen his Philadelphia side pick up one win out of their last ten games in MLS if you carry over from last season’s fixtures, and they will be desperately trying to pick up three points against a Chicago side that appear to be there for the taking.

The Fire have an even worse recent record in MLS, with just one win in their last 12 games and head coach Frank Yallop has got a lot of work to do in order to turn things round.

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The last meeting between these two was a 1-1 draw back in October. In-fact, all three of last season’s games between Chicago and Philadelphia ended in a tie.

Team News

Chicago Fire will be without long-term absentee Mike Magee. Midfielders Patrick Nyarko and Razvan Cocis are also out, while Shaun Maloney and David Accam are away on international duty. The Fire have signed midfielder Víctor Pérez on-loan from Spanish side Real Valladolid, so he could make his debut.

Philadelphia Union have survived the international duty exodus, but do have a long list injuries. C. J. Sapong, Cristian Maidana, Eric Bird, Sheanon Williams and Conor Casey are all out. Goalkeeper Andre Blake is also unlikely to return to the squad following knee surgery a month ago. Zach Pfeffer will miss out through suspension.

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Key Points

Chicago Fire’s form: L/L/L

Philadelphia Union’s form: D/D/L

Key Stat: There has never been a goalless draw between these two sides.

Key Player: Fernando Aristeguieta – With two goals from his opening three games, he is Philadelphia’s main goal threat and Chicago have got a job on their hands trying to contain him.

Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2 Philadelphia Union – Chicago Fire have had a poor start and the Union should edge out their first victory of the season and heap more misery on Frank Yallop’s men.