The early pace that Arsenal set in the Premier League has been slowing down of late. They have endured three successive draws and needed a last-minute Bukayo Saka goal to rescue a point against the bottom side in the division, Southampton, last time out.
Manchester City on the other hand breezed past Bayern Munich and Sheffield United in the FA Cup. They have also won their last six league games and if they win their games in hand then they will be the champions. A treble is on the cards which would secure Pep Guardiola‘s side the status of one of the best teams ever.
Arsenal has led the league for a long time, so if they are to lose it from here then it would feel as if they have ‘bottled it.’ The Gunners last won the Premier League in 2004 and possibly the long wait for another title has weighed heavy on this side, which has put too much pressure on them. City has won the league six times since 2012 and is the dominant force in English football.
Last year, City won the title without playing a recognised centre-forward. They now have Erling Haaland who has scored 48 goals in all competitions. The Norwegian may not have gotten on the scoresheet at Wembley last Saturday but Guardiola was able to take him off after 68 minutes to make sure he is fresh for the Arsenal clash.
When City beat Arsenal 3-1 in the league in February it felt like the balance was swinging in favour of the defending champions. A win on Wednesday would ensure Guardiola’s side is the clear favourite for the title.
Score prediction: Man City 2-1 Arsenal
Tottenham vs Manchester United, Thursday April 27, kick-off 20:15
Tottenham Hotspur needs a response after they were dismantled 6-1 by Newcastle last time out. The only positive for them in that game was a Harry Kane solo goal. However, the fact that Kane had to do it alone could push the England captain towards exiting the club as it seems he has to do it all on his own for Spurs.
Manchester United had a much better weekend as they defeated Brighton on penalties in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. Eric ten Hag‘s side may not have put in a great performance but the result is all that matters. They are on for a double having already won the EFL Cup and if they can secure Champions League football as well then it will go down as a very good season.
There have been difficulties for United this season. They lost their opening two games to Brentford and Brighton, Cristiano Ronaldo departed in disruptive fashion and they have suffered heavy defeats to City, Liverpool and Sevilla. However, they could put themselves in a very comfortable position for making the top four as a win would put the Red Devils nine points above Spurs.
Qualifying for the Champions League is all Spurs have left to save their season. If they fail to qualify then Kane will most likely assess his future at the club along with many of the club’s other top players. Not qualifying will also affect who Tottenham can appoint as their next manager and the quality of players that they could bring in. This truly is a six-pointer in the race for Champions League football.
Score prediction: Tottenham 0-2 Man United
Nottingham Forest vs Brighton, Wednesday, April 16, kick-off 19:30
Brighton was so unlucky not to beat Manchester United in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley on Sunday. The club’s wait for a major trophy goes on but they are still in the race to ensure European football for next season. Roberto De Zerbi‘s side is currently 8th but has games in hand to get into the top seven.
De Zerbi needs to pick his players up after their defeat on penalties by United. They came so close which will hurt a lot, especially for Solly March who played so well but unfortunately missed the decisive kick. The Brighton player needs to get over this soon to help his team get into Europe for next season.
Their opposition Nottingham Forest is currently 19th in the division and is fighting to stay up. They put in a spirited performance at Anfield against Liverpool but were edged out 3-2. The club has done well to stick with Steve Cooper throughout this season. However, with relegation a real possibility the time is ticking on Cooper’s time in charge.
A reason to be cheerful for Forest is that it is still very tight at the bottom of the league. A win could see them move up out of the drop zone if results go their way. This could be a very good time to play Brighton with the Seagulls on a downer after losing in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Score prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Brighton
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