Premier League | End in sight at battle at top and bottom hots up

With only nine games left of the season, the Premier League is into its final stretch – but while the title race may be all but over, there’s still plenty left to play for.

The race for the top four is hotting up – almost as much as the relegation battle, where any of the league’s bottom half could yet slip through the trapdoor.

We’ve run through the best bets for this weekend’s games.

Manchester United v Liverpool

It’s a match that needs no introduction, as fierce rivals Manchester United and Liverpool meet at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.

It’s the 200th fixture between England’s two most successful clubs, who have traded blows ever since their first meeting in 1894, which relegated Newton Heath (as United were then known).

With the end of the season in sight, victory for either team will go a long way towards securing Champions League football next year.

United sit second, after come-from-behind wins over Chelsea and Crystal Palace in their last two.

They’re 7/4 with to claim victory once again here.

Liverpool haven’t won in the league at Old Trafford since 2014, but their exciting side will fancy their chances on Saturday.

Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have 68 goals between them all season and will test David de Gea’s stern defence.

Liverpool are 17/10 to win this one.

Each of the last four meetings between United and Liverpool have finished as draws – and I think we’ll see another one tomorrow, with little between the sides.

That’s available to back at 9/4.


Newcastle v Southampton

With so much at stake at the bottom of the table, every game becomes a cup final for those involved – and none more so than Newcastle’s meeting with Southampton.

Both sides are just narrowly outside the drop zone – the Magpies in 16th, the Saints in 17th, though either could be in the relegation zone by the end of the day should results not go their way.

However, a victory for either would push them well up the table, and give them confidence ahead of what promises to be a nervy run-in.

Newcastle have won just one of their last seven games, but that was an unexpected three points against Man United last month.

Rafa Benitez’s men have only lost to Man City and Liverpool since the turn of the year, and defenders Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune make them very tough to beat.

They’re 9/5 to claim victory here.

Southampton could be sleepwalking their way to relegation – after finishing 8th last year, they’ve failed to spark under manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

They have more draws than anyone in the division, and have slipped into a relegation battle few expected.

Southampton are 7/4 to claim a much-needed victory here.

While both would love a victory, a point may prove to be crucial by the end of the season.

The match between these two earlier this season finished 2-2, and it’s 21/10 for it to finish level on Saturday.

Whatever happens, I can’t see it being a thriller.

Both teams are stronger defensively than they are going forward, and I think it could be a tight, cagey affair.

Back under 1.5 goals at 2/1.


Arsenal v Watford

Crisis? What crisis?

After four successive defeats, Arsenal answered their critics in style on Thursday night, beating AC Milan 2-0 in the San Siro.

That Europa League result will ease some of the pressure on Arsene Wenger, but also give his opponents even more fuel – why can’t the Gunners play like that all the time?

Arsenal face Watford on Sunday as they attempt to continue that momentum, and are 1/2 to beat the Hornets.

Javi Gracia has enjoyed his start to life in England, lifting Watford up to 9th after three wins in four.

The Hornets have won their last two matches against Arsenal – and are 11/2 to make it a hat-trick on Sunday, with the draw available at 15/4.

However, despite Watford’s recent results, I think the boost of winning in Milan will help the Gunners to victory.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will be raring to go after being cup-tied for the continental competition, and after netting at Brighton last week, could be on the scoresheet again.

I suggest backing the Gabonese striker to score first at 18/5.






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