Sports Mole provides score predictions and previews for all of today’s Premier League fixtures, including Man City vs. Liverpool.
Last season’s top two are both chasing different targets heading into the latter stages of this campaign, with the Citizens seeking to close the gap to league leaders Arsenal and the Reds battling to make the top four.
We say: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool
As they did against Man United in March and Man City earlier this season, Liverpool need to step up for the big occasion on Saturday and put aside their poor away form if they wish to come away with a positive result to boost their top-four hopes.
Even though there are question marks over Haaland’s fitness, we expect the Citizens to continue their strong run of form with a slender victory on home soil, temporarily closing the gap at the summit before Arsenal face Leeds a few hours later.
Last season’s top two in the Championship have experienced contrasting seasons in the top flight this term, with the Cherries currently languishing in 19th place in the table and the Cottagers sitting 10 places further up in ninth spot.
We say: Bournemouth 1-1 Fulham
The absence of Mitrovic and Willian is a major blow for Fulham, with the former having scored just under a third of their Premier League goals this season, but the Cottagers will still believe they have options in attack to pose a threat to the leakiest backline in the division.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, will hope to take advantage of Fulham’s dip in form, although they may have to settle for a share of the spoils once again as they did six months ago.
The Gunners hold an eight-point lead at the top at the time of writing, while the Whites are one of nine teams in danger of demotion to the second tier.
We say: Arsenal 3-0 Leeds United
Neither Arsenal nor Leeds can claim to be in tip-top physical condition for the return of Premier League football, but lightning should not strike twice on the road for the Whites this weekend.
The likely absence of Gnonto will no doubt harm the visitors’ bid to expose Arsenal’s defensive shortcomings at home, and the Gunners ought to break the 70-point barrier with relative ease here.
Both sides are locked together on 42 points in the table, but the seventh-placed Seagulls boast a superior goal difference and two games in hand on their upcoming visitors.
We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Brentford
The Premier League’s best and worst set-piece sides go head-to-head here, with Brentford netting 19 goals from dead-ball situations, and Brighton conceding 14 times from such scenarios.
The Bees should therefore feel optimistic of wiping out the hosts’ clean sheet, but De Zerbi’s attacking masters have otherwise kept the back door shut extremely well at home, and Brentford’s spate of failures on the road should tip the scales in the Seagulls’ favour.
The Eagles and Foxes are two of nine sides in danger of demotion approaching the business end of the campaign, sitting 12th and 17th respectively but separated by just a two-point chasm.
We say: Crystal Palace 0-0 Leicester City
Hodgson will not be expected to fix Palace’s woeful attacking fortunes overnight, and shoring up at the back should be the 75-year-old’s immediate priority, especially with both teams likely fearful of defeat in this one.
The reverse fixture at the King Power earlier this term ended without the net rippling once, and we can envisage a similar cagey contest and result here, as Hodgson experiences a steady yet unspectacular return to management.
While the Tricky Trees have failed to win any of their last three league matches on home soil, the visitors are hoping to avoid a fourth successive top-flight away game without a victory.
We say: Nottingham Forest 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Few would be surprised to see a tight affair played out between Nottingham Forest and Wolves, who are two of the joint-lowest scorers in the Premier League this season along with Everton and Crystal Palace (22).
The two relegation-threatened teams will be aware of the benefits that securing maximum points would bring as they enter the latter stages of the campaign, but a lack of firepower at both ends of the pitch could result in a low-scoring draw on Saturday.
We say: Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa
Consistently troubling opposing defences under Emery, Villa’s sensational scoring run under the Spaniard should not cease at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea have hardly typified consistency.
The international break would have undoubtedly done Potter the world of good, but it is a struggle to back the injury-hit hosts with unbridled confidence at this moment in time, so an in-form Villa may very well keep their unbeaten streak going with a hard-earned point.