Regular readers will know that I'm running a predictions league on the official Fantasy Premier League site, and I'll be running one next season as well. As soon as the details are released over the summer, I'll post them, and hopefully I'll get plenty of people to join again. At the moment Stephen Bradley has a Manchester United style lead, and it looks like he can only lose the lead himself, rather than anyone actually catch him. Here's a look at how my predictions league stands.
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Aston Villa v Wigan
Aston Villa should be safe from the threat of relegation when this weekend is over if results go their way. If they win this game they will as good as guarantee their safety, and they can then start to plan for next season. Their home record is still pretty good, and they have to be favourites against a team in the bottom three.
Wigan are drawing too many games for their own good, but they are capable of getting a result against almost any team in the league. If they can keep their concentration for the full 90 minutes they have a real chance of getting something from this game. They are only in the relegation zone on goal difference, and it's possible they will actually climb out of it if they only lose by a single goal.
Wigan will be fighting for their Premier League survival, and I think they will manage yet another draw to add to the 14 they have had already this season.
Bolton v Sunderland
Bolton have won their last five games at home in the league, and they're still challenging for seventh place. A win in this game would possibly see them catch or overtake Everton, and they have to be fancied to get all three points. Daniel Sturridge has been in fine form for them since his loan move from Chelsea, and he looks likely to add to his goal tally against a Sunderland defence which has leaked a lot of goals since the turn of the year.
Sunderland are without all of their strikers, and on a very poor run, but thankfully they beat Wigan a couple of weeks ago to almost ensure their survival for another season. They will do very well to get anything at all out of this game, and I can't see them doing it.
Bolton should continue their good home form with a win.
Everton v Man City
Everton are one of the form sides in the Premier League at the moment, but their defeat against Man Utd a couple of weeks ago saw their chances of sixth place disappear. They have only three home defeats all season, and they will do all they can to put a spanner in the works for City.
Man City are very close to clinching their Champions League place for next season, and a win in this game would make it almost a certainty. I don't expect them to play for a win though as Roberto Mancini knows a draw will edge them closer to their goal. Their really big test is against Tottenham on Tuesday night, and if they can avoid defeat in both games they will be almost guaranteed to play with the big boys next season. There's the small matter of an FA Cup final next week as well, and it's the start of a crucial eight days for their club. If Carlos Tevez can overcome his injury they could find themselves with a trophy, as well as their top four finish.
I think City will set up looking for a draw, and they should get that result.
Newcastle v Birmingham
Newcastle have scored a lot of goals at home this season, and they are as good as safe from relegation. A win here should see them move back into the top ten, but they have only won once in their last six home games. They still have to be favourites against a team that don't travel well.
Birmingham are almost safe as well, and a draw here should would be a great result for them. They haven't traveled well this season, and they are clear favourites to lose, but they are never easy to beat. As long as they stay up this will be judged to be a great season for them after winning the Carling Cup final.
I think Newcastle will have enough to get all three points.
West Ham v Blackburn
West Ham are in a dsperate position at the foot of the table with only three games left. They have lost their last five league games, and four out of six at home, but a win could still move them out of the bottom three. The chances are they will be relegated if they lose this game, and it will be a very tense affair for their fans. They can't seem to stop conceding goals at the moment, and if Scott Parker is out again they will have real problems.
Blackburn are not quite safe themselves, but a win in this game would surely be enough to ensure their Premier League survival for another season. They managed to beat Bolton last week, but they are still on a very poor run themselves, and they have conceded more goals away from home than any other team in the league.
This is a huge game for both clubs, and I have a feeling West Ham might just about nick it.
Tottenham v Blackpool
Tottenham need to win all of their remaining four games to have a chance of claiming a Champions League place for next season. Realistically they will do well to finish above Liverpool in fifth, and qualify for the Europa League, but I'm sure they will give everything they have in their remaining games. They will see this game as the easiest of their remaining games, and they should win it well..
Blackpool were good on their travels earlier in the season, but they are really struggling at the moment. They are only outside the relegation zone by one goal on goal difference, and if they are well beaten in this game that could change very quickly. Charlie Adam has been their inspiration this season, but he has no goals and only one assist in his last five games. If they are to get anything from this game they will need a big input from him.
I can't see anything other than a good win for Tottenham.
Wolves v West Brom
Wolves have yet another local derby, and a win should see them move out of the relegation zone. However, they haven't won any of their last three home games, and the appetite for self destruction is a real thorn in their sides. They are still missing the injured Kevin Doyle, and their recent poor run has coincided with his injury on international duty.
West Brom have been great since Roy Hodgson took over, and their Premier League survival is certain for another year at least. They still don't keep too many clean sheets, but they are scoring plenty of goals through Peter Odemwingie. They will be up for this game, and they will make things very difficult for Wolves.
I think this game will end all square, which might possibly see Wolves move out of the bottom three for the moment.
Stoke v Arsenal
Stoke's players will be looking to make an impression on their manager before their FA Cup final next week. Their home form is very good this season with nine wins, and four draws, and they will be looking to keep it going. They will play their usual high ball and high pressure game, as they know it's exactly what Arsenal don't like, and there is no love lost between the two clubs.
Arsenal's win over United last week was an excellent performance by them, with the winning goal coming from Aaron Ramsey. He has some bad memories of his last trip to Stoke, when his leg was shattered by a reckless tackle from Ryan Shawcross. If Cesc Fabregas is still injured it should mean a starting role for Ramsey, and that could be a very emotional occasion for him. Arsenal will look to play their way through the man mountains of Stoke, and if the referee can be strong they should get a result. The possible return of Thomas Vermaelen after eight months out injured could possibly help their cause too.The league title is beyond them, but at least they can guarantee third place, and finish the season with a flourish.
I think Arsenal should have enough to get the three points, but then again I am an Arsenal fan.
Man Utd v Chelsea
Manchester United know they will be almost certain of taking a record 19th league title if they avoid defeat in this game. It comes only a few days after they qualified for the Champions League final yet again, and on the face of it things look very good for them. Their home record is nothing short of remarkable this season, with 16 wins and one draw so far in the league, and it's the main reason they are favourites to win the title. I would be surprised if they went all out to beat Chelsea, as they know Chelsea have to attack them, and they can play on the break.
Chelsea have done remarkably well to get back to get back in the title race, and Arsenal did them a huge favour last week. If they win this game they will take over on top of the table on goal difference, and set up a remarkable race to score goals between themselves and United in the last two games. I'm still not convinced by Chelsea, and they have had a lot of decisions go their way in their current run. I think they will pay a price if they go all out for a win, and they might well keep it tight until the last twenty minutes.
It should be a fascinating game, but I'm not convinced it will be a great game. This United team is far more defensively minded than a lot of it's predecessors, and I don't expect them to play any other way. I think it will end in a draw, and United will get the 19th title they crave to overtake Liverpool.
Fulham v Liverpool
Fulham are up to ninth in the table, and they have a very good home record yet again this season. They don't concede too many goals at home, and they will think they have a good chance of beating a weakened Liverpool team.
Liverpool have done really well since Kenny Dalglish took over as manager, and they know that fifth place is now a real possibility for them. They have had a lot of injury problems recently, but the players who have come in have done really well. Dirk Kuyt is scoring a lot of goals for them recently, and he could be their key player. Their away record is still not good enough, and they need to sort it out for next season.
I think Fulham will give Liverpool a tough game, and manage to take a point from them.
Man City v Tottenham
Man City could do without a midweek game only four days before their FA Cup final, and especially against the team looking to overtake them in fourth place. No matter how the weekend games go City will be very happy with a point in this game, and I expect them to keep things as tight as possible.
Tottenham simply have to win this game, and I expect them to go for it from the start. They have some very good attacking players, and they will give City a very hard game before their appearance at Wembley on Saturday. I don't think their defence will be good enough to hold out, and that could be their undoing.
I think City will do enough to get the draw they need, and take their place among the big boys next season.
Feel free to tell me where you think I have gone right or wrong in your opinion.
That's if for today.
See You Tomorrow.
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