Saturday 3/31/18 (4:30 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool (4)
Palace got a huge morale-boosting win before the international break, earning a 2-0 win at Huddersfield to jump out of the relegation zone. Now, they’ll try to use that momentum for what will be a very difficult test against Liverpool. These sides have played some outstanding games in recent years, and with both locked in battles at either end of the table, the
(7 AM PT)
West Brom vs. Burnley (1)
While West Brom aren’t technically relegated just yet, the situation at the Hawthorns is bleak. Even a win against a Burnley side that’s won two in a row — its first two victories of 2018 — won’t get the Baggies anywhere close to safety. Sitting 10 points back of 17th place with seven games to go, anything less than three points won’t suffice. Burnley are comfortably in the top half and are simply trying to finish the season strong to take momentum into the summer; even so, considering West Brom’s misery, they should be able to stay hot.
Manchester United vs. Swansea (3)
Both of these teams can feel reasonably good about where they stand, but each could use a few more results to solidify their positions. United haven’t exactly lit the world on fire this season, but they’re nine points away from fifth-place Chelsea and have the inside track to finishing second in the table. Meanwhile, Swansea’s Carlos Carvalhal-led renaissance is still ongoing; the Welsh side has lost just two of its last 10 league games and now sits in 14th place, albeit just three points from the bottom three. They’ll be the underdogs heading to Old Trafford, but Swansea have pulled out a couple of surprises in 2018, and another isn’t out of the question in what’s an important game for both sides.
Brighton vs. Leicester (2)
Brighton aren’t safe yet, but the mere fact that the Seagulls are six points out of the drop zone with seven games to play is a massive accomplishment in and of itself. The Premier League newcomers have been excellent in 2018 with just three league defeats. Although they’ve lost their last two matches (to Everton in the league and Manchester United in the FA Cup), there’s still optimism abound at the Amex Stadium. With a completely safe Leicester visiting the south coast, Brighton will like their odds of continuing to march up the table and away from the bottom three for good.
Newcastle vs. Huddersfield (3)
Like Brighton, both Newcastle and Huddersfield can feel very positive about their performances in the season after being promoted to the top flight. One can almost secure its safety at St. James’ Park on Saturday. The teams are matched up pretty evenly with just one point separating them in the table, although Newcastle’s minus-10 goal differential is significantly better than Huddersfield’s minus-27. A win wouldn’t guarantee another EPL campaign for either side, but it would give one much-needed
Watford vs. Bournemouth (1)
Both Watford and Bournemouth sit on 36 points, eight clear of the drop zone with seven games to play, so each side is comfortable with its prospects of sticking in the league next year. It’s a decent fixture of non-elite sides on paper, but there’s little intrigue involved as neither team is involved in any noteworthy race. What they are playing for down the stretch is a top-half finish, a mark that could give either an offseason boost. Watford are at home here, but their leaky defense has conceded eight in its past two fixtures (albeit against Liverpool and Arsenal), so as the table placings indicate, it’s either side’s to win.
West Ham vs. Southampton (4)
Buckle in for a bumpy ride. The Hammers and Saints each have one win in their last six games, and neither has been victorious in their last three, with West Ham currently riding a three-game losing streak. The football might be subpar, but with Southampton in 18th and the Hammers just two points ahead, this is a massively important contest that could be fantastically entertaining. It is these fixtures that will determine who stays up and who goes down, and that alone makes it worth tuning in to. Plus, with West Ham’s second-to-worst defense in the league on display and massive fan unrest surrounding the club, there will almost certainly be goals and intrigue off the pitch, which is a cocktail for a wild affair.
(9:30 AM PT)
Everton vs. Manchester City (2)
Sixteen points up with eight games to play, Manchester City need three wins to confirm their status as champions, and there’s no reason to think they won’t get the first of those Saturday at Goodison Park. Everton entered the break with just their third set of back-to-back EPL wins all season, so they might be finding some late-season form, and they’re also the only team to take points from City at the Etihad this season. However, given that fact, the Citizens will likely come out with a chip on their shoulder. It’s the only game in the time slot, so it’s worth a watch, especially given the type of football City play, but don’t expect too much with low stakes all around.
Sunday 4/1/18 (5:30 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. Stoke (3)
This fixture is interesting, but for all of the wrong reasons for both sides. Sixth-place Arsenal are eight points adrift of Chelsea and are really playing for nothing but pride — and to not drop into a more embarrassing place. Meanwhile, Stoke — who wish they were in their normal midtable spot, playing for nothing — are on the brink of relegation and need every point to survive a drop they look ready to take at the moment. Arsenal are coming off a 3-0 win over Watford before the break, but it is just one of two wins in six for the Gunners, who have been ripe for the taking all year (which Stoke know, seeing as how they beat Arsenal at the bet365 Stadium back in August). That’s not to say the Potters, who have just one win in their last 12, will actually make good on the chance, however.
(8 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Tottenham (5)
1986. That’s that last time Tottenham won a league game away at Chelsea. And, if the Blues want to have any chance to qualify for the Champions League next year, they have to keep it that way. Fourth-place Tottenham are five points clear of the Blues as it stands, and a win for the Lilywhites would be a fatal blow to Antonio Conte’s (current) side. It would also all but wrap up the race for the top four. If Chelsea can
Bonus European Game of the Week: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund, Saturday 3/31/18, 9:30 AM PT
This might not be the most consequential game in Europe this weekend, but it’s still probably the biggest. There’s an incredible amount of talent on both sides of the ledger, and although this edition of Der Klassiker only really matters for one of the teams, there will be plenty of intensity in the contest. Bayern are coming off a loss to RB Leipzig, and they would certainly like to take some momentum into next week’s Champions League first leg against Sevilla, but they still lead the Bundesliga by 17 points, and there probably isn’t anything that will prevent them from taking home a sixth straight league title. For Dortmund, though, this is a critical game in the top-four scrap. The Black-and-Yellows are unbeaten in 12 league games and sit in third place in the table, but a loss to Bayern could trim the gap between Dortmund and fifth place to a single point depending on other results. The UCL battle in Germany promises to be fierce until the end of the season; depending on how this weekend goes, Dortmund will either give themselves some wiggle room or get dragged right back into the thick of it.