This week we have seen two midweek Premier League games taking place already on Tuesday evening. First up, Tottenham snatched a late winner against Brighton to enhance their prospects of a Champions League spot, while denying the Seagulls a crucial point in their battle for safety. Then in the other game of the night, Shane Long netted the fastest goal in Premier League history after just 7.69 seconds to hand Southampton the lead at Watford before a late Andre Gray goal handed the Hornets a share of the points.
These games are followed tonight by two more crucial matches as Wolves take on Arsenal at Molineux, but of more importance is the Manchester derby game at Old Trafford where Manchester City will hope to pick up maximum points to keep their title challenge on track against a United side who have lost six of their last eight and who are in real danger of missing out on Champions League qualification once again this season.
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Then on Friday night, Liverpool are in action against the bottom club Huddersfield Town at Anfield in what is sure to be an exciting and atmospheric evening, while on Sunday, Manchester City will play again, this time away at a Burnley side who have been in good form over the second half of the season and who have almost certainly secured Premier League football once again for next season.
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Let’s now take a look at each of the three crucial games in the race for the Premier League title this week and give you our tips for each.
Wednesday 24th April
Manchester United v Manchester City
It is fair to say that there is huge pressure on both these teams to get a result tonight. Manchester City’s quest to retain their Premier League title is the obvious pressure on City at the moment, but Manchester United are in the middle of a dismal run of form that has seen them lose six of the last eight games. The pressure is on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they need at least a top four spot, or even a third place finish, to perhaps qualify for the Champions League next season and at the moment, that looks beyond them.
The next two games for United are crucial with City at home followed by Chelsea at Old Trafford this coming weekend. With Luke Shaw returning after suspension, United fans will at least have the left back, who has arguably been one of their star performers this season, back to try and counter the threat of Raheem Sterling down the right.
City could be without Kevin de Bruyne for this game and also their game with Burnley at the weekend and the Belgian’s creativity could be a real blow for City. That said with the likes of Gundogan, David Silva and young Ben Foden, the matchwinner against Tottenham last weekend, ready to deputise, they should not be at too great a disadvantage.
Tonight’s game should be a passionate one and these games have had a fair few goals in the past but I feel this one could be a tight nervy affair and as such, I am backing United to surprise a few pundits here and hold their city rivals to a draw.
Tip – Draw – 5/2
Friday 26th April
Liverpool v Huddersfield Town
Regardless of the result at Old Trafford on Wednesday, Liverpool fans will have packed out Anfield well in advance of kick off against the Premier League bottom club Huddersfield Town. The Reds are 1/14 on to win this game, so even the crummiest of pundit will be going to tip the Reds to win, so I am instead going to try and be a bit more creative and instead offer you a bet on the Correct Score market.
First off, Liverpool are in good form of late and defensively they have looked more solid in recent matches. Huddersfield Town are somewhat shot shy, especially away from home and it would be a huge surprise if the team that has managed just 20 Premier League goals this season, ten fewer than the next worst team, grabs a goal at Anfield.
With that in mind, it should then be a question of how many the Reds will score and while it is tempting to think that if Liverpool turn it on, this could be a real thumping for Huddersfield, Liverpool haven’t looked like really hammering since them beat Watford 5-0 at Anfield a while back. As such, while I am expecting the Reds to win, I think the scoreline will be a little more modest and that Liverpool’s fans hopes of closing the goal difference gap between them in City, may have to be content by doing that by just a couple of goals.
Tip – Correct Score – Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield Town – 13/2
Sunday 28th April
Burnley v Manchester City
This game is going to be a tough one for both teams. Burnley have been thumped twice by Manchester City already this season in both the league and cup, but Sean Dyche’s men are in good form at the moment and they know a point will mathematically ensure their survival, even if Cardiff City manage to beat Fulham on Saturday.
City are of course, also in great form, but they have had a long run of very tough games, several of them on the road and there are signs in recent performances that City are looking very leggy, especially late on in games where they have been hanging on at times, notably against Tottenham at home last weekend.
Being a strong, well-organised and physical side who made it very tough for Liverpool at Turf Moor last year, Burnley I think could give City real problems, especially at set pieces and while I can see City taking the lead in this game in the first half before fatigue becomes a factor, I can see Burnley coming into it late on.
If they can put City under pressure then I feel Burnley could well take advantage of those tired legs and perhaps claim an equaliser, which could, depending on the result on Wednesday night, really put the title race firmly in Liverpool’s hands.
Tip – Draw – 7/1