BPL Preview: City host Gunners after European exit


By Ryan Moran

  • The Etihad clash could determine the third place finish.
  • Sunderland and Newcastle look to extend unbeaten run in relegation battle.
  • Norwich target first point in three games, hosting Manchester United

Manchester City Vs Arsenal

Third placed Arsenal travel to fourth placed Manchester City with only three points separating the sides. City’s superior goal difference means a victory will lay claim to a third placed finish if they win their final game of the campaign against Swansea City.

A 1-0 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid saw Manuel Pellegrini miss out on a Champions League trophy. The Chilean did, however, take the Citizens to their furthest point in the competition, reaching the semi-finals. With no silverware to play for, two more victories will end the Pellegrini era on a high, in anticipation for Pep Guardiola’s arrival.

An eight game unbeaten run stands Arsenal in good stead for their visit to the Etihad. Two wins and Champions League qualification is earned without the need for a qualifier. Defeat will spark more unwanted protests as Arsene Wenger is put under pressure by supporters fed up of another déjà vu season. The Gunners have the upper hand having beaten City 2-1 at the Emirates.

Prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal

Norwich City Vs Manchester United

As the business end of the season approaches and three points are worth six in a relegation fight, Norwich need all the points they can get. Both Norwich and Sunderland have a game in hand over Newcastle, who occupy the last place for Premier League survival.

The Canaries are without a point in their last three games while United are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions. With the odds stacked against them, like they have been all season, could Norwich pull off the unthinkable and claim that last top flight place?

United are still in with a slim chance of Champions League qualification, providing Arsenal beat City. An FA Cup trophy remains a possibility and, for Louis Van Gaal, one trophy will be a successful season amid reports all season the Dutch is under pressure.

While results on the pitch haven’t delivered the instant success required by a United manager, the future is bright because of Van Gaal. Marcus Rashford has established himself in the first team picture alongside Jesse Lingard and Timothy Fosu-Mensah in recent weeks.

If the Dutchman was to lose his job, the next manager is left well-endowed with a squad who have shown their capability of turning up when required. Anthony Martial has capabilities yet to be uncovered with next season the Frenchman’s chance to take the Premier League by storm, similar to compatriot Paul Pogba in Serie A.

Prediction: Norwich City 1-3 Manchester United

Sunderland Vs Chelsea

Sam Allardyce walked into the job knowing the focus, a focus achieved by Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat. Premier League survival is the focus, a focus still achievable.

One win in their last five games hasn’t helped their cause as Newcastle have turned a corner since the arrival of Rafael Benitez. While only Leicester are the only team to take all three points, draws haven’t moved the Black Cats clear of trouble.

Poyet broke Jose Mourinho’s home record during his successful fight for survival. Allardyce will hope victory over Chelsea can spur his team on to survival.

Chelsea are preparing for next season having recalled both Lucas Piazon and Michael Hector from their loan spells at Reading. Players are seemingly now playing for a place in Antonio Conte’s plans for next season. The Blues will hope to follow up their 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge with another win.

Prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Chelsea

Aston Villa Vs Newcastle United

A four game unbeaten run has thrust Newcastle towards survival. Draws against Manchester City and Liverpool issued a statement of intent but their victory over Crystal Palace was their biggest show of character.

Karl Darlow is the third goal keeper to occupy the Newcastle goal and saved three points for his side. A nervy Jamaal Lascelles has settled into life under Benitez and has looked assured at the centre of the Magpies’ back four.

Aston Villa’s season goes into turmoil as Gabriel Agbonlahor stepped down as club captain. The sooner the season ends, the better for Villa. Newcastle’s season could be defined by this result, a loss could put them back in relegation given they have played a game more than rivals Norwich and Sunderland. With Tottenham their last fixture, one more predicted win out of two is the minimal requirement to ensure a chance of survival.

Prediction: Aston Villa 0-3 Newcastle United


Premier League 7 May-8 May
Norwich v Manchester United– Sat 7 May 12:45
Aston Villa v Newcastle – Sat 7 May 15:00
AFC Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion –Sat 7 May 15:00
Crystal Palace v Stoke City –Sat 7 May 15:00
Sunderland v Chelsea –Sat 7 May 15:00
West Ham United v Swansea City – Sat 7 May 15:00
Leicester City v Everton – Sat 7 May 17:30
Tottenham v Southampton – Sun 8 May 13:30
Liverpool v Watford – Sun 8 May 16:00
Manchester City v Arsenal – Sun 8 May 16:00