Friday, June 22, 2018

Premier League Preview: Matchday 31

Arsenal will be hoping to keep alive their title hopes as they take on Everton

Arsenal will be hoping to keep alive their title hopes as they take on Everton

Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their Champions League exit as they take Everton at Goodison Park in the opening game of matchday thirty-one in the Premier League.

Anything other than victory for the Gunners could see them fall further behind in the title race and defeat could leave the door open for both Manchester City and West Ham United to leapfrog them.

Everton meanwhile will move into the top half, if only temporarily, if they win and with as many two games in hand over a number of the sides around them will still fancy their chances of qualifying for Europe.

Leicester edging closer

Leaders Leicester City have the chance to extend their advantage at the top to eight points as they travel to a Crystal Palace side who are yet to win in the league in 2016.

Palace themselves will be keen to take the points as they slip closer and closer to the relegation zone with the gap between themselves and eighteenth place Norwich City currently standing at eight points.

Second place Tottenham Hotspur host a Bournemouth side all but certain of their place in the top flight for next season on Sunday afternoon.

Spurs go into the game fresh from being eliminated from the Europa League, but will already have their eyes on Europe’s superior tournament for next year as they close in on a top four finish at the very least.

Derby day

Manchester City, who book their place in the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in their history midweek, face Manchester United who begin the weekend four points behind their fierce rivals.

West Ham United sit inbetween the Manchester sides and are well in the hunt for a Champions League place themselves.

They travel to fallen champions Chelsea, who in losing their last two games have been eliminated from both the FA Cup and Champions League but remain unbeaten in the league since Guus Hiddink returned the club back in December.

Race for Europe

Seventh place Southampton face eighth place Liverpool on Sunday afternoon with both sides currently tied on forty-four points – seven off the top four while Stoke City, who sit a point behind face a trip to fourteenth place Watford.

West Bromwich Albion will look to continue their recent league form as they host a Norwich City side who sit in the bottom three on goal difference while Swansea City can move eleven points clear of danger if they beat bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa at the Liberty Stadium.

Finally, Newcastle United take on Sunderland in arguably the most anticipated Tyne-Wear derby off all time.

It is highly unlikely that both sides will be playing Premier League football next season so defeat will be unthinkable for both Rafael Benitez and Sam Allardyce.

Sunderland are priced at 8/15 to go down, just ahead of Newcastle who can be backed at 4/7.

Which, if either of the North East sides will retain their Premier League status?


Deke Hardman

Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both and, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.



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