The Premier League is treating us to five midweek games which could impact on the race for Champions League qualification, and the battle to avoid relegation to the Championship.
CaughtOffside writer @JoeFish08 has gazed into his crystal ball to predict the results…
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Newcastle United 1-3 Manchester City
The Magpies picked up a much-needed win over Swansea City on Saturday to drag themselves back towards safety. Another home victory this evening would lift Newcastle out of the relegation zone.
But Man City are a different beast, and Newcastle know that better than anybody, having lost their last two games against Manuel Pellegrini’s side by an 11-1 aggregate. Sergio Aguero has been their chief tormentor, and the Argentine showed the type of form he is in with Saturday’s hat-trick at Chelsea.
Kevin de Bruyne has also been brilliant since returning from injury, and he should be able to pick enough holes in Newcastle’s defence to inspire the Citizens to a two-goal victory at St James’ Park.
West Ham United 2-0 Watford
The Hammers were involved in the game of the weekend as they drew 2-2 with table-topping Leicester City. Do not expect even close to the same level of drama when Watford visit Upton Park on Wednesday.
Hornets manager Quique Sanchez Flores has Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace in mind and is likely to make major changes to his lineup, allowing West Ham to run out comfortable winners.
Liverpool 2-1 Everton
Jurgen Klopp will get his first taste of a Merseyside derby tomorrow when Everton visit Anfield. It has been a brilliant couple of weeks for Liverpool, but their local rivals are suffering badly.
Roberto Martinez may need FA Cup glory to save his skin, and so could consider rotating his squad ahead of their Wembley meeting with Manchester United. Whatever lineup the Toffees field will make it difficult for Liverpool in the derby atmosphere, but the Reds are on a roll and should nick it.
Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace
Both of these teams have FA Cup semi-finals at the weekend, the difference being that Palace, now effectively safe from relegation, can afford to rest players, but the Red Devils simply cannot.
Louis van Gaal’s side need to try to close the four-point gap to Arsenal and Man City in the race for the final Champions League spot. Saturday’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa was not exactly a statement.
Palace seem to have turned a corner, collecting four points from their last two games including Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal, but United should have enough to edge past a half-strength Eagles.
Arsenal 3-0 West Bromwich Albion
If they were not dead already, Arsenal’s title hopes were dealt a fatal blow by Palace’s comeback at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners have only won two of their last seven league games. That is why they will not be champions again this season, and why the pressure is increasing on manager Arsene Wenger.
But Arsenal are unlikely to drop points at home to bottom-half sides twice in a week. Wenger will expect a response, and Albion have very little to play for throughout the remainder of the season.
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