Bottom-half battles dominate Saturday’s Premier League fixture list, but Super Sunday has a line-up that’s set to shake things up inside the Top 7.
Adrian Clarke selects his picks from three intriguing matches that will be well worth waiting for…
Manchester United v Swansea City | Sunday 30 April 12:00
History beckons for Jose Mourinho, who will no doubt be as proud as punch to eclipse Sir Alex Ferguson’s club record of 24 top-flight games unbeaten in the same season. Victory at home to the struggling Swans – who’ve failed to score in their last three away games – would make it a nice round 25 for a Manchester United side that’s learned how to grind out points.
It may not be quite as easy as it appears at first glance though. They are depleted by injuries and suspension, and must be knackered as they battle on through a back-breakingly busy schedule. Fatigue could be a leveller.
Paul Clement’s men will show ambition to score goals. Entrenched in the bottom three, draws are no good to them now. And interestingly that’s something they’ve achieved on their last five appearances against United, with four of the head-to-heads ending up 2-1 to either side. If you fancy 2-1 to the hosts this weekend it’s a 15/2 shot.
Gylfi Sigurdsson is always a good shout to score on the big stage. The Icelandic star loves games like this, and has notched on his last two trips to Old Trafford. He’s 17/4 to make it three in a row. Mind you I don’t expect Manchester United to slip up and let this record pass them by. They are finding ways to win, without being at their best.
I’d be taking a home victory with both teams scoring at 2/1, and just for a bit of fun, it may be worth considering Jesse Lingard (rested on Thursday) to return to the fold and score in a 2-1 success (27/1).
Everton v Chelsea | Sunday 30 April 14:05
If Chelsea are going to leave the door ajar for Spurs, this is the fixture they’re most likely to slip up in. When Everton bring their A-game (like they did at home to Arsenal and Manchester City) they are capable of ruffling the most pristine of feathers, so at 27/10 they are priced up quite generously.
It’s a big day for leading scorer Romelu Lukaku. He bagged a brace on Chelsea’s last visit to Goodison Park in March 2016, and would dearly love to make an impact against his former club once more. With Antonio Conte rumoured to be keen on bringing him back to Stamford Bridge, a match-winning contribution would also be timely.
Keep your eye on referee Jon Moss. He’s not one of my favourites and is more prone than most to getting card-happy on the big occasion. Moss is just one of four refs who’ve broken the 100 yellow card barrier this term, and is almost certain to dish out over 3.5 cautions (8/13).
Despite understandable optimism there will be an upset, I feel my money would be safer on predicting a professional, statement performance by Chelsea. They are streetwise and don’t look like blowing up to me. I’ll tip the Londoners at 26/25, and an away win with both teams to score (51/20).
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal | Sunday 30 April 16:30
Eight Premier League victories on the trot; no dropped points at White Hart Lane since October; 17 goals scored in their last five games on home turf. Tottenham Hotspur’s form is devastatingly good, so Arsenal have it all to do to land the spoils in this North London derby.
I’m surprised the home side aren’t shorter than 5/6.
Harry Kane likes this fixture. He’s played in four derbies and scored in every single one of them. That’s why he’s 22/25 to strike again on Sunday.
When you think that ref Michael Oliver has blown the whistle for 14 penalties this term (one every two games) you’d imagine there’s a decent chance he’ll get an opportunity from 12 yards. A price of 11/5 on a spot kick being awarded to either side looks appealing.
Arsene Wenger’s men have shown real character in the past week though, adjusting nicely to a new 3-4-2-1 formation. They’ll play on the counter in this one, and with a suspicion that Danny Welbeck’s pace on the break could be a factor, I’d lean towards the England forward as a possible Gunners scorer.
We know he’s not prolific, but I’m interested in Welbeck scoring anytime at 5/2.
Victory for Spurs would guarantee they finish above their neighbours for the first time in over two decades – but with strong ambitions of their own, I have faith Arsenal can delay that milestone being reached. I’m selecting a final score of 2-2 (21/2) in another full-blooded and exciting Spurs v Arsenal clash.