English Premier League week 17 preview: Liverpool to extend lead at the top?
As we begin to start wrapping up the first half of this year’s Premier League season, there are still a few key matches to be played out, including some derbies! From the first game tomorrow morning, Manchester City are going to try to fire their way back to first against Everton after losing to Chelsea 2-0 last week. Right after that, an exciting mid-table clash between Wolves and Bournemouth, who are each just a point apart. At the end of tomorrow, another London derby takes place, with Fulham trying to find a massive victory against West Ham. However, the best of them all is not even tomorrow, with arguably England’s largest derby between Liverpool and Manchester United saved for Sunday. Four matches to preview, starting in order with Manchester City vs Everton.
Manchester City vs Everton
Until last week, Manchester City was undefeated in the season. Before you easily give City the win against Everton, it may not be that easy to defeat Everton. Manchester City has only defeated Everton twice in their last seven matches, with the last three matches at The Etihad resulting in draws. Meanwhile, Everton has re-spawned as their old selves, sitting at seventh in the table, right behind Manchester United. In Everton’s 16 matches, they’ve netted 23 goals, but unfortunately, that’s quite miniature when compared to Manchester City’s 45 goals.
One thing Manchester City won’t have on their side is a fit squad. The injuries are numerous, with Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, John Stones and Gabriel Jesus likely having to sit this match out, with Sergio Agüero also having a possibility of not playing.
Everton should have the blessing of a fit squad, with the only injury worries being Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin. Despite this, Everton may put up a good challenge, but it is much harder this time round to acknowledge a serious possibility of an Everton win. Manchester City’s form and the levels of their players are far better, and it seems Manchester City could re-claim first place this week.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Everton
Wolves vs Bournemouth
This might not be the most attracting match to some of the fans’ eyes, but it’s definitely the most competitive this weekend. Although they both are two spots apart in the table, they are just a point apart. Wolves are the lower one, sitting in tenth on 22 points, while Bournemouth is eighth with 23 points. This is perhaps Wolves’ best opportunity to push for seventh.
Wolves have won their last two matches, including a massive 2-1 victory at home against Chelsea. Bournemouth’s form is not as good, as last week they had to face the wrath of Mohammad Salah’s hattrick in Liverpool’s 0-4 domination over the Cherries.
The visitors, Bournemouth, will also have to deal with some injuries. Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling are out this weekend while Wolves will be missing Jonny due to a knee injury.
Being at home with a better recent record and Mexican powerhouse Raúl Jiménez with four goals so far this season, Wolves may be getting the reward they’ve been looking for some time now.
Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Bournemouth
Fulham vs West Ham
So the last time I previewed Fulham in a derby match, they were defeated 2-0 by Chelsea, thanks to goals by Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. In Manager Claudio Ranieri’s second game in charge of Fulham, he had to go up against his former team. Although they lost, Fulham defensively put up a better job than many expected. Now going into his fourth game, another rivalry, as Fulham host West Ham.
At first, it’s still hard to see how Fulham can pose a challenge against the Hammers, as West Ham are NINE spots above Fulham, who are last in the table. Despite this, Fulham does have some things in their favor.
Along with being at home, West Ham does have a major injury problem to handle. Marco Arnauntovic, Winston Reid, Carlos Sánchez, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshire are all down with some injury with Pérez most likely having to sit this fixture out. Fulham will have to do without Floyd Ayité, Maxime Le Marchand and McDonald due to injury as well.
Unlike Fulham, West Ham has found success in their last few matches, including 3-2 and 3-1 victories against Crystal Palace and Cardiff City. Meaning, despite having a weaker squad, West Ham are far more than just capable in providing Fulham trouble. Fulham may put up a fight, but this may just be yet another derby which Fulham lose.
Prediction: Fulham 1-3 West Ham
Liverpool vs Manchester United
For the first time in quite a while, Manchester United are the massive underdogs, needing to prove themselves in this fixture. Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho is under a large amount of pressure for underperforming, as United sit in sixth in the table, behind Arsenal, while Liverpool merely is in first.
Both sides will have some major injuries to caress, Manchester United more than Liverpool. The hosts, Liverpool, will have to play without Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nathaniel Clyne. The visitors are without Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian, Scott McTominay and Alexis Sanchez, which may bring worry to Mourinho regarding his defense, especially when up against Liverpool’s front three of Mohammad Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino.
One thing that will give confidence to Devil supporters is that Mourinho is undefeated in matches at Anfield, Liverpool’s home ground. However, this season, the class between the two teams looks far greater and Manchester United’s weak defense will most definitely struggle to handle Liverpool’s pacey and fiery attack.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Manchester United
Other English Premier League Predictions:
Crystal Palace 2-3 Leicester City
Huddersfield 1-1 Newcastle United
Tottenham Hotspurs 5-0 Burnley
Watford 2-2 Cardiff City
Southampton 1-3 Arsenal
Brighton 0-3 Chelsea