There were goals galore scored by the English sides in Europe this week as both Manchester clubs took huge strides towards reaching the final of the Champions League and Europa League, respectively.
City went to Paris and came away with a vital 2-1 away win over last season’s finalists PSG, while United ensured that their trip to Rome will be little more than a lap of honour after they dismantled Roma 6-2.
Chelsea also gave themselves a chance of reaching the Champions League final with a 1-1 draw in Madrid, while Arsenal are not out of it despite going down 2-1 to Villarreal.
Now, though, it’s back to the English Premiership where things don’t always go according to plan!
Let’s see if we can navigate through this round after a tough last round.
Southampton 1 Leicester City 2: I’m starting to believe in the trends of the “reverse fixture” and in January Leicester ran out 2-0 winners. Here they are away from home, but are still flying high in third spot, so I’m going for them to win this, albeit not as comfortably.
Crystal Palace 0 Man City 2: City will be eyeing the Champions League return against PSG, but still should have too much allround quality and depth for a Palace side that’s settled in 13th spot and which is probably a fair reflection of where they should be at the end of the season.
Brighton 1 Leeds United 1: Brighton have a 7-point buffer over Fulham above the relegation trapdoor and haven’t scored in their last three matches. They’ve actually ben disappointing this season after a promising start where they played some good football. Leeds are unbeaten in their last 6 and have drawn with Liverpool and Man United in their last 2.
Chelsea 3 Fulham 0: Chelsea will have tired legs following their high intensity 1-1 draw with Real Madrid on Tuesday and they also have the all-to-play-for second leg to come. But, they will be full of confidence and have a 4-point buffer ahead of West Ham on the table. I can see them making a statement here.
Everton 1 Aston Villa 0: Villa won their first four games of the season which included a 7-2 drubbing of Liverpool. However, they’ve fallen off the pace subsequently but interestingly haven’t played Everton so far this season! The hosts might just edge this.
Newcastle 1 Arsenal 2: Both are proper Jekyll ’n Hyde clubs but in the reverse fixture Arsenal won 3-0. However, they played on Thursday in Spain – and lost – so there’s plenty of hope for Newcastle. But that 3-0 win surely gives Arsenal; the mental advantage here?
Man United 1 Liverpool 1: The big tie of the weekend and one which Liverpool need to win to stay right in the Champions League top four conversation. They squandered 2 points against Newcastle last week – the Magpies finding the net twice in the final three minutes! – while United have been flying. It’s a tough game to call but the reverse fixture was 0-0 so I’m following that strategy this time again!
Tottenham 3 Sheffield United 0: The visitors have already been relegated and Spurs have been stuttering. However, they remain only 5 points off a top four spot so they have everything to play for. If interim manager Ryan Mason has been able to get them to be more ambitious going forward, this one could get messy for Sheffield United.
West Brom 1 Wolves 1: There were plenty goals in the reverse fixture, won 3-2 by West Brom. Wolves have been another team who have disappointed this season and are a shadow of the side that entertained last season. Those 5 goals in the reverse fixture were against the norm and I think here the best bet might be the under 2.5 match goals.
Burnley 1 West Ham 1: Tough end to the round. Burnley hammered Wolves 4-0 last time out and have actually scored in each of their last 7 games. Sean Dyche has again got the best out of a limited squad and pulled them clear of relegation. The reverse fixture went in the favour of West Ham, and they need to win to stay in the top 4 hunt. They’re favourites, but Turf Moor on a Monday night is never easy.
Suggested treble: Wins for Chelsea and Tottenham and under 2.5 match goals in West Brom and Wolves.