So, this is week that Arsenal are truly in the relegation battle, with losing to Aston Villa to nearly save them, and now they can condemn Watford (and Troy Deeney) to the Championship.
It should be a very exciting afternoon…..
So, here are Dan’s predictions:
Arsenal 2-1 Watford
On and off the pitch, Watford have lacked composure and have gone into meltdown. I’m not saying if Nigel Pearson was in charge, they wouldn’t have lost to Man City, but if they had stopped and not panicked, they could have seen the bigger picture.
Their worst-case scenario was even if they had lost to West Ham and City, it still would have taken a swing in their goal difference of 7 for their fate to not be in their own hands. That happened in two games.
A manager’s and owner’s job is to make the atmosphere as calm as possible to give your squad the best possible chance. They instead created a crisis. They could win at the Emirates and still get relegated so I can’t see how Hayden Mullins can build self-belief. Watch Tuesday’s post-match interview with Ben Foster and you can see that’s a man who has accepted relegation. The Hornets wouldn’t have believed we could play that badly at Villa Park, the irony now that they want us to be that poor again.
I would rest players who if injured you couldn’t replace for the Cup Final (Tierney, Bellerin, Auba, etc) but I don’t agree we would have an advantage by resting our first team while Chelsea have a competitive fixture.
Remember the last time we won the FA Cup? We were the ones still battling for the top 4 on the final day while Chelsea rested their stars having won the title with weeks to play. At Wembley they were then below par, having not played a game with intensity pressure as recently as us.
Burnley 1-0 Brighton
Last on Match of The Day surely? We shouldn’t mock, as it means we will finish below Burnley.
Chelsea 2-1 Wolves
I will write more about it next week, but midweek was another example why we should be positive against Chelsea. You can get at their defence. This is essentially a final for Frank Lampard, If Chelsea win he’s in top 4, lose and they need a favour from Man United. While Wolves need a win to guarantee qualification for the Europa League.
Crystal Palace 0-3 Spurs
You want to play Palace at the moment, the definition of being on the beach. It hurts me to say it, but my predictions mean they will qualify for Europe. At which point, Jose Mourinho will spend the next month telling us all why it’s his best ever achievement.
Everton 0-1 Cherries
So, throughout my predictions you may have realised I have a soft spot for Bournemouth. I lived near the city and they are my stepdad’s team, so I always keep an eye out for their results. I forecasted their scores a while ago and felt if they win at Goodison they stay up. I just never envisaged Villa beating Arsenal. I credit Eddie Howe for keeping belief high and recent performances have been good, but did they leave it too late? Picking an away game, you want an Everton, simply based on them having nothing to play for. I just can’t see Villa losing though.
Leicester 0-1 Man United
Hard to predict as neither side have played well in the last couple of games so it’s who copes with the pressure better. If you had said in pre-season Leicester would need a win to qualify for the Champions League Brendan Rodgers would have bitten your hand off. Yet in February the Foxes had a 15-point advantage on Man United so this would be seen as a chance missed. If both managers hear that Chelsea are losing, do they play out a draw?
Man City 6-0 Norwich
It’s the Prem highest scorers against the team who have conceded the most. I would call it the banker of the day but there would be zero point putting a bet on, the odds are so small. It’s been such a crazy season, Norwich will probably go and win now. 25-1 for an away win. Same odds for a 7-0 win.
Newcastle 0-3 Liverpool
Remember when this used to be anticipated as one of the games of the season? There’s no reason for Steve Bruce not to take off the handbrake and let his players express themselves, but based on their 0-0 draw with Brighton I think he will park the bus again.
Sheffield United 0-2 Saints
The fact Sheffield United might be slightly disappointed to be in 8th tells you the season they have had. In August they were odds on to go down. Saints are ending the campaign with momentum and will benefit from the quick turnaround.
West Ham 1-1 Villa
Villa, it seems, spent the majority of the season in the bottom three and post-lockdown were written off.
Climbing out of the drop zone 5 days before the end of the season will give them such a mental boost.
I would say they have the easiest fixture compared to Watford and Bournemouth but then I watched West Ham at Old Trafford and thought they were awesome. How do you predict though how players will react to situations changing daily (look at the Championship in midweek)? 20 mins in you might hear the other two are losing, so then you relax or the other two are winning and you fall apart.