THE PREDICTOR: Foxes history as Magpies bow down

With just four games left, Sunderland, who are 17th in the table, will look to take a step closer to top-flight safety in their away match with 10th-placed Stoke City today.
Will Pardew leave Benitez in quagmire today? (Net photo)
Will Pardew leave Benitez in quagmire today? (Net photo)

SATURDAY

STOKE 1-1 SUNDERLAND 4pm

 

With just four games left, Sunderland, who are 17th in the table, will look to take a step closer to top-flight safety in their away match with 10th-placed Stoke City today. The Black Cats have been playing their best football in entire season, while Stoke have badly dipped in their last three games, losing all. I expect the Black Cats to win this, but Mark Hughes might have other ideas to arrest the losing streak his Potters is going through.

 

NEWCASTLE 1-2 PALACE 4pm

 

Alan Pardew could be up for a very heat-up atmosphere when he returns to St James Park to compound misery on his former employers. Newcastle have been fighting to stay afloat under Benitez and a win will lift them above relegation zone for the first time this year if other results go their way. Palace will meanwhile be in trouble if they go down to Newcastle. With 39 points, the Eagles are not yet safe. A loss would mean they must pick a point from their last two games to survive. However, the Magpies are most fated to drop than Palace. I see Pardew relegating Newcastle here.

EVERTON 2-2 B’MOUTH 4pm

Roberto Martinez’s chapter at Goodison Park is as good as done now. Everton have looked devoid of ideas and they are lucky they already booked their place in top flight for next season. Everton’s home form as bad as Aston Villa’s and facing the determined Cherries will be a tough test to a side that just score on days when Romelu Lukaku has left his shooting boots with the concierge attendant. Bournemouth will return home with a point if luck smiles their way and they manage to put out the kind of performance they did at home to Chelsea last week despite going down 4-1.

ARSENAL 4-0 NORWICH 6.30pm

Arsenal’s flimsy hope of winning the title went up in smoke last week but there is the matter of finishing in top four at play now. The Gunners cannot afford to drop points knowing Manchester United are just around the corner praying for any misfortune to strike their London rivals. The good news for Arsenal is that visiting Norwich have such a terrible home form that this game should be realistically sorted but awaiting confirmation on the pitch. With relegation looking more and more a certainty, the Canneries couldn’t have wished for a worse time of the season for this fixture to come.

SUNDAY

MAN UTD 1-2 LEICESTER 3pm

I am going to be daring and give Leicester a win and the title right here although the Foxes do not need a win to seal the title, but rather for Edin Hazard to make good his promise of Chelsea cracking up Tottenham Hotspur. Leicester showed that life without Jamie Vardy was life as usual with a resounding victory at home to Swansea to virtually leave them three points shot of a historic title. Claudio Ranieri has, until last weekend, been guarded about expressing himself on the title charge, but he opened up and declared they are winning it. Unlike Ranieri, Sir Alex Ferguson had as early as February anointed Leicester for the title. It would be something for the Foxes, with Fergie in the stands at Old Trafford, to lift it right there. And they will.

SAINTS 1-2 MAN CITY 5.30pm

Manchester City have lost their fragile playmaker David Silva to a hamstring again. Will he be missed? Nope. With Kevin de Bruyne available, Silva was just a necessary problem on the team. City visit St Mary’s Stadium hoping to secure three points that will help their cause as they fight to finish in the top four while at the same time try to make it to Uefa Champions League final on Wednesday. Southampton are playing for Europe and will give this game their all. Away win or draw.

MONDAY

CHELSEA 2-1 SPURS 9pm

You have to feel for Tottenham Hotspur. For the third straight week, they are playing on Monday night. No team likes that fixture as it tends to favour the ‘small’ sides. Depending on what angle you look at it, this game is a hallmark of a home win. Mauricio Pochettino is without inspirational midfielder Delle Alli, who has been slapped with a three-game ban for misconduct following a clash in last week’s fixture. Alli has been the man with assists and crucial goals, the engine oil that has been driving Harry Kane all season. Although Leicester managed life without Vardy last weekend, it remains to be seen how Spurs will approach this game without Alli. Edin Hazard already said the entire Stamford Bridge, from janitors to the fans and the players, want nothing of Spurs title talk.

Chelsea will play to frustrate Spurs and frustrate is something the blues can spell without their heads.

OTHER FIXTURES

West Brom 1-2 WEST HAM
Watford 2-0 A. ViLLA
swansea 0-2 liverpool
SOCIEDAD 2-2 R. MADRID
BAYERN 2-0 GLADBACH
DORTMUND 3-3 WOLFBERG
BILBAO 0-1 CELTA VIGO
BIRMINGHAM 0-2 BORO
BRIGHTON 1-2 DERBY
BURNLEY 2-0 QPR

jacobs.seaman@newtimes.co.rw

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