With the Premier League season entering the business end, every point counts with teams fighting for the title, European places, and survival.
Grosvenor Sport ambassador Jamie O’Hara previews Liverpool v Aston Villa and two other key fixtures this weekend in Manchester City v Chelsea and Newcastle v Leicester.
Liverpool v Aston Villa – Saturday, 15:00 BST
Score prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Aston Villa 15/2
Anytime goalscorer: Trent Alexander-Arnold 19/2
Liverpool have been in great form but I think they might have left it a little too late to make it into the top four. I think with the home games they’ve got, Manchester United will just have enough to see it through. Newcastle beat Brighton on Thursday which was a massive result for them and I think Liverpool have just left it too late.
Jurgen Klopp will be kicking himself when he looks back at some of their performances because they could have done it and got back in the Champions League, even though it’s been a shocking season for them. He’ll probably look back at a few games and a few moments which didn’t go their way which might have given them the extra points they needed to get in the top four.
They’ve had a bad season in terms of the success that they’re used to but their form going into the latter stages has been phenomenal, it’s almost comparable to Manchester City’s. So I think they’ll win this game against Aston Villa, and keep winning. But I don’t know if Manchester United will drop enough points for them to catch up.
Aston Villa have been absolutely brilliant this season under Unai Emery – what a job he’s done, he could be up for manager of the season for what he’s done since he’s come in. They were in a terrible position, completely low on confidence, so I think he’s done an amazing job, but at Anfield it’s a different kettle of fish. Liverpool will win this one 2-1 and Trent Alexander-Arnold will get on the scoresheet.
I think Villa can probably go on and get a Europa Conference League spot, they’ve been better than Spurs this season and the football they play is better. If they keep doing what they are doing they will attract players and it will be interesting to see what they do next season.
Manchester City v Chelsea – Sunday, 16:00 BST
Score prediction: Manchester City 3 – 1 Chelsea 11/1
Anytime goalscorer: Phil Foden 21/10
This Manchester City side are probably one of the best teams I’ve ever watched. I look back at teams like the Manchester United sides of 1999 and 2008 with the likes of Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo and they were unbelievable. And the Barcelona team that Pep Guardiola was in charge of, they were the reason I was staying up late on a Saturday night every week because they were just ridiculous! And I think that this City team are as good as that. They’ve really gone into another gear now and they’re in a zone where I don’t think anyone can get near them.
I always found City a bit boring to watch previously because they’d pass you to death and it just got a bit dull. But now they’re ruthless, they’ll pass you to death, but then they’ll hurt you as well and win four or five nil. With the likes of Erling Haaland and then Julian Alvarez coming off the bench, they just go for the kill and absolutely destroy you.
I don’t think anyone will get near them and they’ll win the Treble. I think they’ll beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final, they’ll beat Chelsea to win the Premier League, and then they’ve got to face Inter Milan in the Champions League final. But the only way they lose that game is if they beat themselves because Inter Milan are nowhere near them quality-wise.
I think Chelsea are going to get pumped by City on Sunday. City know that they just need a win for the title and Chelsea know they’re in trouble. I think it’s going to be 3-1 to Manchester City and I think Phil Foden will score. I just can’t see anything other than a Manchester City win at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.
Newcastle v Leicester – Monday, 20:00 BST
Score prediction: Newcastle 4 – 1 Leicester 16/1
Anytime goalscorer: Callum Wilson 17/20
Newcastle’s win over Brighton was massive for their top-four chances, they’re only one win away now. It’s been an incredible season for Eddie Howe, he’s done a brilliant job. They’ve played some fantastic football, bringing in top players who are also young, and they will only get better and better.
I think Eddie Howe has really shown how good he is as a manager and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in the Champions League next season. I’m interested to see who they can sign; will they go out and really splash the cash now and go for a big market player? They’ve gone about their business in the right way and the recruitment has been really good.
I think Leicester are in trouble, and I think they’re going down. Dean Smith has gone in there and I just don’t think he’s the person that can get them out of it. I watched them against Liverpool and they were awful. I think they’re gone, and with the players they’ve got it’s crazy, and they will lose their top players this summer.
I think it was a mistake to get rid of Brendan Rodgers. I think it went a bit stale, but Rodgers would have found a way to get results and keep them up, and then maybe they could change it in the summer. There weren’t too many managers available who could really make a difference, and I know Dean Smith is a good manager but I don’t think bringing him in was ever going to give them a lift to get them out of trouble. Brendan Rodgers is one of the best coaches and the players have gone from him to Dean Smith, who in my opinion is not on the same level.
So I can only see a Newcastle win here. I’ll go for another 4-1 win for the Magpies, with Callum Wilson finding the back of the net once again.