Bi-weekly match previews – Jason Pettigrove

Not too long now until we wind up the Premier League for another season.

Every game has something riding on it and you can watch them all on Here we look at six games in more detail:

Everton v Southampton

This game should be an absolute cracker for the neutral, if not for the two managers.

Both teams love to play an expansive and attacking brand of football that’s very easy on the eye.

The visitor’s have fared better during the campaign and still have European football in their sights.

Roberto Martinez’s side should be pushing for a Champions League spot with the quality of personnel he has in situ and it’s hard to put a finger on exactly where the Toffee’s have gone wrong in the campaign.

A long journey north could benefit the hosts but only if their defence is on point on the day.

For Romelu Lukaku, read Graziano Pelle. For Ross Barkley, read Saido Mane.

The Saints have as good a squad as any in the division and in Ronald Koeman, a manager that knows only how to play one way.

John Stones was once a nailed on England regular but on current form it’s doubtful he’ll make the Euros. Another poor showing here might well hand the win to the away side.

Newcastle v Swansea

Rafael Benitez showed his desperation last week when the Magpies were toothless in their defeat to Southampton.

The Spaniard is a great manager but he isn’t a miracle worker. Well, perhaps he was in Athens in 2005 but this is a wholly different scenario.

In a sign of what modern football has achieved, there are barely any players at the club who genuinely give two hoots whether they stay up or not.

As long as they’re getting their inflated wages at the end of each week, they’re happy.

But Newcastle have always been about much more than that and 55,000 proud Geordies at St. James’ Park will put them right on that score.

It’s a must win game for Benitez and Co. as Norwich start to disappear over the horizon and with the games running out for the north east club to make a late surge for safety.

Swansea were, at one stage, staring into the abyss and although they haven’t had the best of seasons, far from it, they’ve managed to claw themselves out of the dogfight in good time, and can relax going into this one.

The frustration from the home support will only grow as the pressure gets too much for some.

Chelsea v Man City

There was a time when the games between these two heavyweights would be gold standard Premier League fare.

Not anymore.

Both have fallen from grace significantly this season, and both new incoming managers have a job on their hands to get either club back to where they belong.

By the time this game comes around, City will know whether they’ve entered the semi final stages of the Champions League for the first time or not.

They’re just about clinging onto the qualifying place for next season’s competition at this stage and arguably Pep Guardiola wouldn’t have countenanced a Europa League tilt when agreeing to take over.

The Blues aren’t even in the spots for European football’s ‘other’ competition, so a win here is imperative for Guus Hiddink.

Antonio Conte won’t enjoy managing a club out of Europe but given that they are in a transistional period, a 12-month hiatus might not be such a bad thing.

Bournemouth v Liverpool

Liverpool are finally beginning to get back to somewhere near their swashbuckling best.

Jurgen Klopp always said to judge him at the end of his contract, or at the very least, the end of the current campaign.

There’s enough in the current set-up to see that the German is taking the Reds in the right direction.

Superb showings against both Spurs and Dortmund, despite not winning either game, gave the locals something to chew over, and getting over the line in games will be Klopp’s immediate focus.
With some studious transfer activity over the summer, there’s no reason why Liverpool won’t be challenging come this time next season.

A Europa League spot beckons at this point as they fight it out with a handful of clubs in these next few weeks.

Eddie Howe will be delighted how this debut Premier League season has gone.

At one time, Bournemouth were looking every inch the club that all supporters loved because of their philosophy but they just weren’t good enough for the top flight and would go back down to the Championship with their heads high.

To Howe’s credit, nothing of the sort has happened and the Cherries have rallied to the extent that they now sit in 11th in the table and well clear of relegation.

They’ll give the visitors a game at the Vitality Stadium too.

Leicester v West Ham

Who’d have thought at the beginning of this season that a fixture between these two sides would take top billing, with respect?

The Hammers are just starting to rock on their heels a little and although Slaven Bilic’s focus remains heavily on the FA Cup, should his side get knocked out or not win the trophy outright, it’s beginning to look less and less likely that West Ham could enjoy a Europa League campaign in their debut season at the Olympic Stadium.

Leicester by contrast will be mixing it with the big boys in the Champions League unless we say a collapse of truly epic proportions.

Another victory against Sunderland, more importantly another shut out, saw that the Foxes could relax for another week in their lofty perch.

This could be one of the games of the season between two very evenly matched sides and it’s not far off the mark to describe the hosts as the irresistible force, their visitors the immovable object.

West Ham have some superb physical specimens in their ranks who’ll ensure that Leicester have to work for a result.

Stoke v Tottenham

The Potters were well beaten at Anfield last time out and Mark Hughes will be looking for a reaction from his staff.

It would be a little unfair to suggest that his team have over performed this season but they have surprised many by the culture of their football.

Smooth transitions, quick and accurate passing, a more continental style of play….all a far cry from the days of lumping it forward to Peter Crouch.

It’s that kind of change that has given Stoke hopes of getting into Europe but they have to pick up as many points as possible between now and then and hope their closest rivals – Liverpool, West Ham, Southampton – all slip up.

It’s a big ask and they certainly wouldn’t want high-flying Tottenham up next on the calendar.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been the best team to watch in the division this year. Their vibrant football has harked back to yesteryear when the likes of Hoddle and Ardiles were in their pomp.

In Harry Kane they have a marksman supreme and as we head into the European Championships, he’ll be keen to show Roy Hodgson that he has to be a starter.

Other live games available on are: Manchester United v Aston Villa, West Brom v Watford, Arsenal v Crystal Palace and Norwich v Sunderland.

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