Premier League predictions: Arsenal’s confetti bonfire and Southampton’s last chance saloon

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All of this weekend’s Premier League predictions, including Man City vs Leeds, Newcastle vs Arsenal, and Nottingham Forest vs Southampton

Big weekend coming up; an entire nation waits as a man prepares to put a hat on. This is history, folks - drink it in. Or just drink (responsibly). Your call.

It’s set to be a big weekend in the Premier League too. Nobody will actually be getting coronated in the coming days, of course, but with every passing round of fixtures we edge ever closer to finding out who will be left clutching the crown come the end of the season, and who will be Arsenal. My money is on Arsenal.

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At the foot of the table, a whole host of clubs are scuttling about in a perpetual state of panicked disarray, like Prince Andrew’s PR team, and every game assumes a must-win hue from here on in. Some are running out of time, some are running out of hope, and some are scraping the proverbial barrel on both.

Nevertheless, onwards we march, a weary procession beholden to opulence, rapidly approaching the abbey of the final day. For the sake of our collective sanity, let’s leave any and all beleaguered analogies in the introduction. Shall we predict some scores?

National World

Bournemouth vs Chelsea

If somebody had told you at the start of the campaign that, with just a handful of games left to play, Bournemouth would be level on points with Chelsea in the Premier League table, you might have been inclined to run a concussion check on them. The Cherries, in the view of many, were leading candidates for relegation, while the Blues, as is tradition, should have been in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Instead, what has transpired in recent weeks is a kind of double-ended concertina, with both teams folding inwards from opposite poles to meet in the obscurity of mid-table. As good as Bournemouth have been of late, Chelsea have been a (barely) sentient wheelie bin fire under Frank Lampard. They’ve lost four in a row in the Premier League, and honestly, why couldn’t it be five? Bournemouth 2-0 Chelsea.

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Manchester City vs Leeds United

How much of an impact can Sam Allardyce have on Leeds United’s tumbling fortunes in the span of just four games? Well, we’re about to find out, aren’t we? According to the man himself, he has a footballing brain just as good as Pep Guardiola’s. That might be the case (it’s not), but the real issue he faces on Saturday afternoon is that he has inherited a squad that is nowhere near comparable to Manchester City’s.

For their part, the defending champions look irresistible at the moment. The only real question is whether Big Sam can fashion an object immovable enough to frustrate them into submission. The smart money says he can’t. Man City 4-0 Leeds.

Wolves vs Aston Villa

A Midlands derby with a lot more riding on it for one team than the other. Disregard the mumblings of envious naysayers, Aston Villa’s transformation under Unai Emery has been one of the stories of the season so far. A win here would keep alive their hopes of European qualification come the end of the campaign, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t take three points at Molineux.

Last week’s 6-0 hounding by Brighton didn’t so much suggest a Wolves side who are already on the beach, but rather one that have dived headfirst into a plunge pool of all-inclusive pina coladas. Wanderers will want to make amends for that performance against their local rivals, but honestly, I just don’t see it. Wolves 1-2 Villa.

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Tottenham vs Crystal Palace

At this present moment in time, I feel as if roughly 50% of my job involves criticising Tottenham’s exploits. The other 50, in case you’re curious, is a 40/10 split between digging out Frank Lampard and coming up with ridiculous think pieces on which Premier League mascot would win in a battle royale. But I digress.

Spurs have slipped to seventh in the table off the back of three defeats in four, and will drop out of contention for Europe entirely if they don’t turn things around sharpish. They could be in for a tough time from Roy’s boys, however, who have lost just one of their last six. A 1-1 draw in this one.

Liverpool vs Brentford

If Liverpool are to somehow, miraculously, qualify for the Champions League this season, they cannot afford to put a foot wrong in their remaining four matches. The gap between themselves and Manchester United is four points, but the Red Devils have the added insurance policy of a game in hand over their bitter rivals. Hell, even if Liverpool are flawless, it might not be enough to make up the ground on those above them.

Regardless, all they can do is keep on winning, and three points against a Brentford side who look to have steadied themselves after a recent wobble, is an absolute must. This could be tight, but I see the home side edging it. Liverpool 1-0 Brentford.

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Newcastle United vs Arsenal

This could be a proper humdinger. One wrong move and any faint, lingering hopes that Arsenal might have of winning the title go up in smoke like confetti on a bonfire. Arguably the last place they would want to visit with everything hanging in the balance as it is is St. James’ Park.

Newcastle are on the cusp of the Champions League. As rich as they now are, even the Magpies wouldn’t have dared to dream that they would so far along in their progression so soon after being taken over. Three points over the Gunners would all but confirm their spot at Europe’s top table next season, surely. They might have to settle for just the one. 2-2 draw.

West Ham vs Manchester United

You would fancy that one more win would be enough to drag West Ham to safety this season. They might already be there, in fairness, but an extra little boost certainly wouldn’t go amiss. Three defeats on the spin will have David Moyes worried, as will the fact that the next visitors to the London Stadium are his old employers.

Manchester United arguably should have been behind well before Alexis Mac Allister’s stoppage time penalty put them to the sword against Brighton in midweek, but that blip aside, the Red Devils are going well enough in their bid for a top four finish. A second defeat on the bounce could throw a real spanner in the works, though. Fortunately for them, I don’t see it happening. West Ham 1-2 Man Utd.

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Fulham vs Leicester City

Three games unbeaten and Leicester are free of the slithering tendrils of the relegation zone... just about. The Foxes missed a golden opportunity to open up some real daylight between themselves and the bottom three on Monday night against Everton, but the general trend under Dean Smith has been a positive one, and they will fancy their chances of staying up if they continue to perform at the level they have of late.

As for Fulham, to be as comfortable as they currently are is a commendable achievement in and of itself. and Marco Silva deserves a huge amount of credit. You do wonder whether, predominantly for that reason, Leicester might want this one more. Fulham 1-3 Leicester.

Brighton vs Everton

You really fear for Everton. The Toffees may have salvaged a point against Leicester on Monday, but by and large they look like a spent force. Sean Dyche must be feeling increasingly exasperated, but even that is surely better than the sense of apathy that is slowly starting to creep in on Merseyside.

Meanwhile, on the south coast, Brighton are in rude health. Three wins in four, including a big result against Man United on Thursday, and the Seagulls are rocking. In truth, I only see this going one way. Brighton 3-0 Everton.

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Nottingham Forest vs Southampton

This is the last chance saloon. Forget the maths and the percentage likelihoods, if Southampton lose this, they’re as good as down. The Saints are six points adrift with four games to go, and if they are to put the wheels in motion on an improbable escape, they need to start pronto.

As for Forest, they will fancy this one. Three points at home against the worst side in the division would go a long way towards aiding their own survival bid - especially given the tough fixtures that some of those around them have to contend with this weekend. Forest 3-0 Southampton.

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