It’s important we enjoy this weekend’s EPL football ahead of the irritation of next weekend’s international break and I’ve been hitting the books to try to ensure we head into that enforced sabbatical with a smile on our faces. Here we go with this week’s ‘Three for the Weekend!’
Manchester City 2 Manchester United 0
As recently as three seasons ago this fixture would be the footballing equivalent of Batman v Superman. In 2016 it bears a closer resemblance to Mickey Mouse v Mr. Bean. Kudos to City for making the UCL quarter finals for the first time in their history but on the evidence of the performances of the other teams who got through from the Round of 16, there’s more chance of England winning Euro 2016 than the Citizens going on to lift the European Cup. But at least the Blue half of Manchester comes into this one on something of a high.
United trudged out of the Europa League in predictably turgid fashion against Liverpool on Thursday night and are sleep walking to the end of the season when surely a big bold, brave and SPECIAL decision must be made as to who takes the club forward from the dugout.I’m loathed to go for a City clean sheet with their Vincent Kompany-less defense holding a shocking statistical record over the course of this season but the Marcus Rashford hoop-la has already waned and Kinglsey Coman showed on Wednesday night that the Red Devil’s don’t have the most exciting teenage Frenchman in Anthony Martial. City to win 2-0 for me but please for the love of god let this match be a better spectacle than the rancid ninety minutes this two served up in the reverse fixture in October.
Crystal Palace 2 Leicester City 2
Palace are the only one of the 92 teams in the English professional football without a league win in 2016 and to give that some perspective, Aston Villa are one of those 92. The Eagles’ league form since Christmas has been shocking but in fairness to Alan Pardew not all of those winless-run showings having been as bad as the results suggest and as they have proved in the FA Cup since January they are a capable side.
Leicester got the job done against Newcastle in workmanlike fashion on Monday but there were clear signs that the pressure has now been ratcheted up a notch or two and you can be certain they are going to drop points somewhere along the line before May. Palace did the double over the current league leaders last season and it is not fanciful to suggest they can come away with at least a point here.
Spurs 4 Bournemouth 1
Mauricio Pochettino wisely decided to fly the white flag in the Europa League when the Lilywhites drew Borussia Dortmund and Spurs will now through everything they have at a title opportunity that may not show itself again in a very long time. Eddie Howe has performed miracles with the Cherries this season and they sit 13th on 38 points with the magical, mythical 40 point safety barrier within touching distance.
There is a good chance though they could lose their last 8 games and still be safe and it’s hard not imagine that isn’t somewhere in the back of the player’s minds. They are unbeaten in four and have won three on the trot but will find this weekend’s outing their toughest assignment for a long while. Spurs defense has wobbled lately with just home clean sheets in their last six EPL home games but Bournemouth’s brand of football suits the way Spurs play to a tee as proven by the 5-1 away win in the reverse fixture.