THE PREDICTOR: No Welbeck to haunt Man United? Arsenal to settle for perennial fourth

Southampton Saints seem to be forgetting how to win, while Aston Villa are enjoying a rare season finale after a shambolic start. The Saints that played in this same league at the first half of the season is no more.


saints                                 2-1          villa    2pm

Southampton Saints seem to be forgetting how to win, while Aston Villa are enjoying a rare season finale after a shambolic start. The Saints that played in this same league at the first half of the season is no more.

The current on is struggling to even score goals and last week’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester City makes of a numbing moment for Ronald Koeman. However, Tim Sherwood has mathematically saved Aston Villa from the drop and the side can relax now and play for fun as they wait for FA Cup against Arsenal. A win for Villa at St Mary’s will guarantee survival, but damage Saints’ hope of qualifying for Europe. They are still in contention to qualify for a Europa League place but are in danger of being pipped at the line by Swansea, who are just a point behind.

spurs  4-1  Hull                             4PM

Tottenham Hotspur have not scored a goal in five games of their last eight games. They will want to arrest the rot at home to Hull City but and probably send the Tigers to Championship after Burnley put them in a spot of bother last weekend with a damning 1-0 win. Hull currently occupy the one remaining relegation place now must beat Tottenham Hotspur and hope other relegation battle results go their way. While the Tigers cannot mathematically be relegated this weekend, their fate could be sealed before they play their final game if they fail to win at White Hart Lane, Newcastle beat QPR, Leicester get a point at Sunderland and the Black Cats win their game in hand in midweek (against Arsenal). The bad news for Steve Bruce’s side is that Spurs have won four and lost none of their last six Premier League fixtures against Hull City. Hull have scored just five goals in seven previous Premier League games against Spurs and never more than once in a match. The Tigers are doomed. To make matters worse, they are in the news for wrong reasons after midfield Jake Livermore tested positive for cocaine and faces a ban. He will not play for the Tigers again this season.

sunderland   0-0  leicester 4PM

Another crunch relegation fixture. At the Stadium of Light today, the two sides will seek a victory to guarantee their premiership status for at least another season. The Black Cats have climbed away from relegation zone in recent weeks with back-to-back victories over Southampton and Everton. That form gives the impression that if there is any side capable of checking The Foxes’ fine run of form that has seen them win six of their last seven games (losing only to Chelsea) then it is Dick Advocaat’s revived Sunderland. A win for Sunderland, coupled with loss for Hull at White Hart Lane will guarantee the Black Cats survival. Victory for Leicester, coupled with a draw or Spurs win at White Hart Lane would ensure the Foxes’ top-flight status for next season. However, the Wearsiders have not beaten Sunderland in six outings. Looks like a draw.

QPR       1-0  newcastle              4PM

Relegated Queens Park Rangers can still hurt, especially when their potential victim are Magpies, a side seeking their first win in ten games, a side that has been playing so badly they look worse than a second division side in the countryside. Rangers have nothing to play for apart from pride after their fate was sealed with a crushing 6-0 loss at Manchester City last weekend. While Newcastle need a win at Loftus Road to secure their Premier League survival. QPR defender Nedum Onouha could return after serving a one-match suspension but Sandro cannot play due to ongoing work-permit issues. Playmaker Adel Taarabt and defender Armand Traore will not be considered for selection. For Magpies, striker Papiss Cisse could start his first match in two months, while Daryl Janmaat returns to after suspension but fellow defender Mike Williamson is still suspended.

Liverpool        3-1  palace       7PM

An emotional moment for Steven Gerrard as the Anfield hero and skipper plays his final home match for the Reds after making more than 700 appearances over a 17-year spell. Gerrard wil be given a guard of honour with the Reds hoping to give him a winning send-off at Anfield after losing three of their last four matches to slip out of contention for a top-four finish. But considering how Gerrard is unlucky in his career, one should not be betting this game. Palace could do anything to spoil the party. That 3-1 above is a very cautious and, admittedly, an emotional prediction by a fan. Crystal Palace have found the back of the net in each of their last six Premier League matches against the Reds, including three goals in their last two.


man utd             2-1  arsenal    4PM

Manchester United want a league double over rivals Arsenal. A really worthless Louis van Gaal’s side were 2-1 winners at the Emirates in November but things have so changed that had it not been a run of three straight defeats before last weekend, they would be in second place and above Arsenal now. Well, this Old Trafford clash is a chance for the Red Devils to leapfrog the Gunners into third. The Gunners, who beat United 2-1 at Old Trafford in the sixth round of the FA Cup, are not giving up on piping Manchester City to second despite a shock 1-0 loss at home to Swansea last week. Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw are expected to return. But Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie are doubts, while Michael Carrick and Rafael await next season.

For the visitors, Danny Welbeck, the former Red Devil whose goal knocked United out of the FA at the same stadium, has been ruled out with a knee injury. Manchester United are unbeaten in seven home league meetings with Arsenal, since a 1-0 defeat in September 2006.

Other fixtures

west ham    2-1     everton

burnley      0-4     stoke

west brom  2-5     chelsea

arsenal      4-1     s’derland

swansea      2-2     man city

atletico      1-3     Barcelona

espanyol    1-1      real

Roma           2-0     Udinese

sampdoria   2-3     lazio

valencia      3-2     celta vigo

*Seaman is a Liverpool fan