Man City Seeking Clincher vs. Manchester United

By Matt Jones05 April 2018
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Soccer: Premier League Best Bets

When you've been battered in the first leg of a Champions League quarterfinal, what do you want in the very next game? Probably the chance to win the title against your biggest rivals.

For Manchester City, the opportunity to do exactly that is Saturday, as a win against Manchester United would secure the prize. United supporters heading to that fixture will be hoping to see Jose Mourinho and his side pull off something special to prevent that coronation.

Elsewhere, there's a Merseyside derby, albeit one of the least anticipated in years. Other eye-catching clashes come near the bottom of the table.

Here's a look at what to expect.

Everton vs. Liverpool

Both teams could probably do without this fixture at Goodison Park on Saturday for very different reasons.

Liverpool because they have a Champions League tie to negotiate. Having beaten City 3-0 at Anfield on Wednesday, the Reds are on the brink of a semifinal and Jurgen Klopp will want them at full strength for that trip.

Evertonians, by contrast, want the season to end. They've reached 40 points to effectively preserve their Premier League status, although every day Sam Allardyce remains at the club, the club remains stagnant. A win in this fixture for the first time in 2010 would at least lift the mood a little.

There may be an opportunity for Everton, too. With Mohamed Salah and a host of other Reds players set to be rested, they'll be up against a Liverpool side that is understrength and have an eye on Tuesday.

Still, Klopp will be able to call on fresh legs and players from the fringes keen to make an impact. Plus, Liverpool always seem to find a way to frustrate Everton in this fixture and if they start well, it's easy to see the decibel levels dropping quickly at Goodison.

Everton have toiled against the top six sides this season and while they will be closer to a win here against the rotated Reds, the Anfield club will have another derby triumph to celebrate.

Predicted score: 1-2 (8.50 William Hill)

Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace

It's been hard lines for Crystal Palace as of late, with Roy Hodgson seeing his side slip closer to the bottom three after some galling losses.

In their last three matches at Selhurst Park, the Eagles performed admirably against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool, only for late goals from the visitors in each game to condemn Palace to defeat.

Now they're just two points clear of the drop and Southampton, in 18th, have a game in hand too. You feel as though this trip to Bournemouth, who are marooned in midtable, is a tremendous opportunity for them to pick up some points.

Bournemouth have been involved in some absorbing games lately, meaning their supporters at least have some entertaining football to watch as they meander toward a mid-table finish. They would've been delighted to see Jermain Defoe back among the goals in the 2-2 draw with Watford last time out, too.

In many respects, the Cherries could prove to be ideal opponents for the Eagles, as Eddie Howe's side always open the game up. Palace, so strong on the break through Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, have the players to capitalize.

And given the simple fact that, at this point in the season, the will to win a game of football can make so much of a difference, the Eagles will do enough here.

Predicted score: 1-2 (9.00 Ladbrokes)

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

In a season of spectacular highs, Manchester City supporters would've been feeling a little low on Thursday morning after their loss to Liverpool. Saturday has the potential to be the perfect hangover cure.

While nothing will ever top the drama of their 2012 title win at the expense of United, beating the Red Devils to become champions at Etihad Stadium would be very sweet indeed. After Wednesday, you suspect the City players will be smarting as they gear up for this one.

If City perform, it's tough to see United stopping them. Jose Mourinho has steered his side to four wins in a row now in the Premier League, including wins over Liverpool and Chelsea. Yet this is a much stiffer challenge for the Old Trafford club.

Liverpool have laid down a blueprint on how to beat City that requires aggressive pressing and the ability to move the ball through the phases of the field quickly. United have yet to showcase these qualities under Mourinho this season and history dictates they will be in survival mode in this one.

Getting the likes of Romelu Lukaku, who is in splendid form at the moment, and Alexis Sanchez into the game in the final third is important for United if they're to relieve the inevitable City pressure. Still, the home side have been able to pull apart almost every side that's visited them in the Premier League this season.

City need to build some momentum ahead of the reverse fixture with Liverpool next week, so expect a strong team on Saturday evening. They'll clinch the title here and feel a lot better about themselves when the Merseysiders come to visit in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Predicted score: 2-0 (8.50 William Hill)

Brighton vs. Huddersfield

Brighton were unfortunate not to beat Leicester last weekend after Glenn Murray missed a penalty. Otherwise, they've been strong at the Amex Stadium and will get past a Huddersfield team that is still not quite out of trouble yet; Newcastle beat David Wagner's side last week.

Predicted score: 2-1 (9.00 Ladbrokes)

Leicester vs. Newcastle

An intriguing battle between two in-form sides should be on the cards here at the King Power Stadium. Leicester have really kicked into gear lately and will be eyeing seventh place and a potential European spot for next season. Newcastle are almost safe on 35 points, but will have to wait another week until they can completely relax.

Predicted score: 2-0 (9.00 William Hill)

Stoke vs. Tottenham

Stoke's testing run of fixtures continues against a red-hot Tottenham team. The Potters are still three points away from safety after their loss to Arsenal last weekend. Spurs, who were exceptional in beating Chelsea 3-1 on the road last week, should be confident, should have Harry Kane back and should win comfortably.

Predicted score: 0-3 (8.00 Ladbrokes)

Watford vs. Burnley

Burnley have a fine chance of finishing seventh this season after a win at West Brom last week. They may also still feel as though they can catch Arsenal, who are just five points ahead in sixth. Watford are tough to beat at home though and will give Sean Dyche's side a game.

Predicted score: 1-1 (6.50 William Hill)

West Brom vs. Swansea

Alan Pardew's departure in midweek may prompt a better atmosphere at the Hawthorns on Saturday for West Brom supporters, but any thoughts of them pulling out of trouble at the bottom are surely over. Swansea will see this as an opportunity to improve their chances of staying afloat, although it's easy to see them being held.

Predicted score: 1-1 (6.50 William Hill)

Arsenal vs. Southampton

It took Arsenal a while to warm up against Stoke last week, although they ran riot late on after going ahead at the Emirates Stadium. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in excellent form at the moment for the Gunners and he'll be too hot for a dreadful Southampton team to handle in this one.

Predicted score: 3-0 (12.00 William Hill)

Chelsea vs. West Ham

After losing to Spurs last weekend the chances of Chelsea pushing back into the top four are extraordinarily slim at this point, but Antonio Conte will want to see his team focused on the job at hand. West Ham need a couple more wins to edge clear of the bottom three; although they won last week, it'd be a shock if one was to come here.

Predicted score: 2-0 (6.50 William Hill)