There are six Premier League games at 3pm on Saturday, with the focus very much on the relegation scrap as Stoke, Crystal Palace, Swansea and Huddersfield are all in action and desperate for points.
Palace go to Bournemouth and Roy Hodgson’s are side in need of a victory after a run of just one win in nine for the Eagles. Last weekend they were somewhat unlucky to go down 2-1 at home against Liverpool but the time for hard-luck stories is now over, with just six games to go and a win, on offer at 2/1, is a must at the Vitality Stadium, with Southampton, in the last relegation place, two points behind them with a game in hand.
Palace have a major doubt over striker Christian Benteke as their injury woes show no sign of ending. James Tomkins is at least fit to return although Joel Ward, Jeffrey Schlupp, Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann are all still out. Wilfried Zaha’s ability to unlock defences will be key in the run-in and, with the Cherries now looking safe in 10th place, Palace are tipped to edge a tight contest.
Another side in dire need of a win are Huddersfield, who go to Brighton – themselves not completely out of danger. The Terriers are 16th, just three points clear of Saints who have a game in hand on them. The worry for David Wagner is that his side appear to have hit the buffers at exactly the wrong time as they haven’t managed a goal in their last four since a win over West Brom at the end of February. Brighton’s recent form isn’t much better, however, and they’ve lost their last three without registering a goal. There’s plenty at stake at the Amex and the draw might be the best option here at 5/2.
Eighth-placed Leicester City, 20/21 to win, host a rejuvenated Newcastle at the King Power Stadium in what looks like another tight 3pm game. The Foxes are after a Europa League place and Burnley, who are three points and one place above them before this weekend’s action, are well within their sights. Claude Puel has done an impressive job since taking over in October so expect Leicester to have too much for Rafa Benitez’s side. The visitors have taken the pressure of themselves after back-to-back wins in recent weeks and will be preparing for the game safe in the knowledge defeat in the East Midlands will not be a disaster.
Stoke’s position in the table is perilous as they sit second from bottom, four points from safety, following three straight defeats. The sight of an in-form Spurs visiting this weekend is the last thing Paul Lambert needs and, buoyed by a hugely impressive win at Chelsea last weekend, expect Mauricio Pochettino’s side – 10/31 to win – to get the job done and compound the Potters’ relegation problems.
Watford against Burnley is probably the game with the least riding on it in the top flight this weekend as the Hornets, in 11th, are now nine points clear of the bottom three and seem safe. The Clarets, who are seventh, are still five points adrift of Arsenal directly above them while Sean Dyche’s men have won their last three so will be confident, but Watford are tough nut to crack at Vicarage Road, not losing at home since December 30, so Javi Gracia’s men are taken to edge this at odds of 27/20.
Finally, bottom-of-the-table West Brom entertain Swansea, with the Baggies now surely staring at life in the Championship. They decided to sack Alan Pardew this week after a dismal run of nine straight defeats and Darren Moore has been installed as caretaker boss. It would be the ‘Great Escape’ to eclipse all others if he was to somehow save Albion from this dire predicament given they’re 10 points from safety and there are just six games to go.
Stopping the rot must be his first target but Swansea also need the points badly as they’re 15th and only three clear of the drop zone themselves. Carlos Carvalhal’s impressive run of form in charge has been derailed by two straight defeats but expect them to get back to winning ways here, on offer at a very generous 49/20, to pretty much consign the Baggies to relegation.
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