Man Utd 1 Man City 1
Champions’ elects United battle it out with the outgoing title winners at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson has publicly stated that there will be no let up in intensity. Expect a tightly contested thriller in which City throw the kitchen sink and see it repulsed by well-organised Red Devils.
Norwich 0 Swansea 0 `
These are two teams in a rut. Norwich can’t buy a goal which Swansea have lost three on the trot. The hangover of such a stellar season in which they won the Capital One Cup has caught up with them. I fully expect the two teams to cancel each other out.
Stoke City 1 Aston Villa 0
Regardless of what happens to Villa, Christian Benteke has confirmed his place at an elite Premier League striker. Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross should take care of the giant Belgian as Stoke wrap up the points at their Brittania fortress. However, I am still tipping the Villains to survive the drop.
QPR 3 Wigan 2
The phrase relegation six-pointer was coined for this kind of tie. This game is an absolute must-win for Rangers if Harry Redknapp is to perform the Houdini act. The moneybags face a Wigan side that has been buzzing in recent weeks, so it should be a slugfest but I am tipping Rangers to nick it.
Newcastle 2 Fulham 0
Newcastle are probably still tired from their tough Europa League tie away to Portuguese giants Benfica. That should however not stop them from thriving against an in-form Fulham side that is notoriously poor on the road. Yohan Cabaye, Yohan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko look a class act.
Reading 2 Southampton 2
Nigel Adkins welcomes a side he helped to two promotions hoping to inflict a body blow. His replacement, Mauricio Pochettino, is working wonders and had led the Saints to victory over Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. So I expect both teams to be operating at full-throttle but to cancel each other out.
West Brom 1 Arsenal 2
Manager Arsene Wenger’s decision to drop keeper Wojciech Szeczensy and hitherto defensive lynchpin Thomas Vermalaen is yielding dividends. The Gunners have put together a run that has taken them within two points of a Champions League position. Spanish geniuses Santi Carzola and Mikel Arteta are providing the inspiration.
Spurs 1 Everton 1
Spurs are finding it hard to balance their Europa League challenge with qualifying for the Champions League. However, their 2-1 victory away to Swansea will have calmed jangled nerves. Well rested Everton will be seeking to stave off marauding central defender Jan Vertoghen and undisputed star Gareth Bale.
Chelsea 2 Sunderland 0
Sunderland caused massive shockwaves by sacking manager Martin O’Neill and replacing him with maverick Paolo di Canio. His principal job is to put an end to an eight-match winless streak. Chelsea will be desperate for the three points to cement their Champions League place. The European champions are playing good football.
Liverpool 2 West Ham 0
I would have loved to see the in-form Andy Carroll up against his parent club. Liverpool tore Aston Villa apart in 15 second half minutes but they remain a work in process. The attacking threat of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho should be too much for the Hammers.