EPL Week 38 Preview: Title Glory Down to the Wire

Victor Kekereekun
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A highly competitive Premier League campaign means the 2018/2019 Champions of England will be decided in the season-closing round – week 38, with Manchester City and Liverpool both in the title mix. With this, two identical Premier League trophies will be at Brighton and Liverpool this weekend to cover both title eventualities.

The third and fourth positions have already been booked by Spurs and Chelsea respectively. Coming off a favourable mid-week action where both teams secured a final appearance in European competitions (UCL & Europa League) – though with their chances of lifting the trophies up in the air , they have little or nothing to play for in this last Premier League round.

Meanwhile, Arsenal head into this weekend’s EPL action, knowing fully well that their last hope of Champions League football cum next season is the Europa League glory.

Having lost on all fronts, Man United can only play for integrity when they host Cardiff at the Old Trafford

Here is APRECON’s build-up to the last round of the 2018/2019 English Premier League season;

Tottenham vs Everton

Date: Sunday, 12th May
Kick-off: 3:00 pm
Stadium: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Last League meeting: Dec. 2018 Everton 2 – 6 Tottenham

The euphoria of Tottenham’s exceptional Champions League semi-final triumph will only just be subsiding by the time they line up for their final-round clash with Everton. Spurs’ top-four sport is assured – they are three points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal with a superior goal difference of eight goals.

But their league form has been poor, losing seven of their last 11 – including 1-0 defeats to West Ham and Bournemouth in their past two.

Everton are looking to hold onto eighth and have finished the season with a flourish, winning five and drawing one of their last seven. They accounted for Burnley 2-0 last weekend.

Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 12 games against Everton, winning the last four encounters by a combined 16-4.

Everton sunk to a humiliating 6-2 loss to Spurs at home just before Christmas, with Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane both grabbing doubles.

But Everton are a great upset chance here, with Spurs coming off such an emotional UCL victory and not having a great deal of motivation to get up for this one as they have already secured a Champions League football spot, even with a greater honour of final appearance in Madrid.

Man United vs Cardiff

Date: Sunday, 12th May
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Stadium: Old Trafford
Last League meeting: Dec. 2018 Cardiff 1 – 5 Man United

A disappointing back-end of the campaign means the best Man United can do is leapfrog Arsenal into a fifth-place finish. They have won just two of their last eight and are winless in their last four, inexplicably drawing 1-1 with bottom-
placed Huddersfield last week.

Cardiff City’s relegation fate was sealed via a 3-2 loss at home to Crystal Palace last week, their ninth defeat in their past 11 outings.

Cardiff’s last win over United was in 1960. The Red Devils thumped the Welsh outfit 5-1 in Cardiff earlier this season.

United’s only loss at Old Trafford since Week 3 was to Man City three weeks ago, and they should end a roller-coaster campaign on a positive note.

Leicester City vs Chelsea

Date: Sunday, 12th May
Kick-off time: 3:00pm
Venue: King Power Stadium
Last League meeting: Dec. 2018: Chelsea 0-1 Leicester

Leicester sit ninth and are guaranteed to finish in the top half, but they will be keen to continue their strong finish to the year. They have won six and drawn one of their last 10, while they almost thwarted Man City last week, ultimately going down 1-0 at the Etihad.

Third-placed Chelsea have lost only one of the last six – to Liverpool – and are coming off a 3-0 thrashing of Watford. But they are chasing just their third win from their last nine away games.

Leicester have won only two of their last 17 against Chelsea – one of which came in Week 18 this season, a 1-0 upset at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are on a four-match winning streak at King Power Stadium.

Chelsea are narrow favourites, but a hard-fought draw is standing out as the best head-to-head option – considering Chelsea have little to play for in this tie.

Liverpool vs Wolverhampton

Date: Sunday, 12th May
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Venue: Anfield
Last League meeting: Dec. 2018 Wolves 0 – 2 Liverpool

Liverpool can win the Premier League title with a win over Wolves – but they need Man City to lose or draw with Brighton.

Nevertheless, Liverpool will be hell-bent on taking care of their half of the equation, and they should still be buoyant after their miraculous Champions League semi defeat of Barcelona.

Win, lose or draw, Wolverhampton will finish seventh – and extraordinary result for the promoted club. They are coming home with a wet sail, winning their last three against Arsenal, Watford and Fulham, and edging past Liverpool would be a dream end to a marvellous season.

Liverpool have won their last four Premier League encounters with Wolverhampton – including a 2-0 away win earlier this season. But Wolves have eliminated the Reds from two of the past three FA Cups, scoring a 2-1 home upset in January.

Liverpool have lost just once all season in the league, are unbeaten in their last 16 and have won eight straight. It has been a stellar EPL campaign regardless of the outcome of the title race and they should finish it off in fitting style.

Brighton vs Man City

Date: Sunday, 12th May
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Venue: Amex Stadium
Last League meeting: Sept. 2018: Man City 2-0 Brighton

The job is quite straightforward: Manchester City just need a win over 17th-placed Brighton to clinch back-to-back Premier League titles.

City have won 13 straight in the EPL and have kept clean sheets in their last four, but 1-0 wins over Burnley and Leicester in the past fortnight were more than enough to have their fans on the edge of their seats. A screamer of a winner from captain Vincent Kompany against the Foxes handed all points to Pep Guardiola’s side.

Brighton, meanwhile, are safe from relegation. Though they are winless in their last eight games, the Seagulls have managed three draws from their last four outings – including a 1-1 result at the Emirates to blight Arsenal’s top-four bid.

Man City are on a four-match winning streak against Brighton, including a 2-0 league victory and a 1-0 FA Cup success this season – both at home. It may not be pretty, but the Citizens should get the job done to retain the title.

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Burnley vs Arsenal

Date: Sunday, 12th May
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Venue: Turf Moor
Last League meeting: Dec. 2018: Arsenal 3-1 Burnley

Arsenal have absolutely butchered their top-four hopes over the past month, winning only one of their last six games.

After losing three straight to Palace, Wolves and Leicester, they drew 1-1 at home to lowly Brighton. They can only think of winning the Europa League final over Chelsea to secure a Champions League appearance.

Burnley sit in 15th and will no doubt still be relieved at having avoided relegation with their four-game unbeaten run in April. They have lost their last two to Man City (1-0) and Everton (2-0).

Arsenal are on a nine-match winning streak against Burnley. The Gunners prevailed 3-1 at home in Week 18, but they have not scored more than one goal in each of their last four visits to Turf Moor.

It is not unreasonable to tip Arsenal as favourites against a team running near the bottom of the ladder – and if Arsenal should bring their latest ‘Mestalla’ self into action, they should grab the win at Burnley effortlessly.


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