Saturday 4/30/16 (7:00 AM PT)
Watford vs. Aston Villa (1)
All year, it has been tough to seek out a game with the Villains in it, and this one is no different. Neither team has a dog in any fight, and after Villa’s performance last week, which was downright embarrassing, there's really no reason to tune in. Watford haven't been much better lately either, having won just once in their last eight, but the Hornets will still be happy given their place in next
Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace (3)
Palace isn’t mathematically safe, but the London side is looking good, as they sit eight points clear of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Newcastle are in the thick of the race for 17th, and with their closest competitors each having a game in hand, this is a massive fixture if they want to give themselves a good chance to escape. With five points in their last three games (more than any team in the bottom half), things are looking up at St. James’ Park, and the Eagles will enter to a rowdy atmosphere that still believes the Magpies can pull off an unlikely escape. It's not a fixture of great teams, but it does carry great importance.
Stoke vs. Sunderland (2)
The game means a whole lot less to Stoke than their visitors, but the Potters will want to begin gaining momentum for next year after losing their last three by a combined 12-1 score, so don’t expect them to lie down. Sunderland are currently safe, but only on goal differential, and they don’t want to be relying on other teams to do their dirty work, so they have to get some points in their final four fixtures. Sam Allardyce has his team primed for an escape after a win and a draw in their last two out, but teams at the bottom are known for inconsistency, so the task is far from complete. It’s not the best game in the time slot, but it does have decent meaning for one side, and that makes it compelling.
West Brom vs. West Ham (3)
West Ham have a legitimate chance to nab a European position if Manchester United slip up in their last four fixtures. This is practically a must-win to stay on their heels, though, and they catch the Baggies, who are scuffling, at a good time. If Saido Berahino plays, which he most likely will, he presents a threat that could ruin the day for West Ham, but the Hammers’ collective squad is certainly stronger. Though there’s a pretty decent disparity in the table, it's still the best game in the time slot talent-wise, and that makes it a good choice during the busy Saturday time slot.
Everton vs. Bournemouth (2)
While there isn’t anything on the line other than mid-table positioning, this game could end up being
(9:30 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. Norwich (3)
Both of these teams are locked in battles to achieve their season goals. Arsenal are out of the title race, but they still need to hang on to a top-four place, with Manchester United within striking distance of the Gunners. For Norwich, it’s put up or shut up time, as the Canaries are in serious need of points if they are to get back into position to survive the season. It’s desperation time at the bottom of the table, and that could either create a tense fixture with very little between the sides or a wide open one. On talent, Arsenal are the favorites, but teams in the thick of the fight can be tough to beat.
Sunday 5/1/16 (4:00 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Liverpool (1)
Liverpool’s Champions League hopes are dependent on them winning the Europa League, and with a second-leg clash coming against Villarreal last week after a first-leg loss, expect Jurgen Klopp to rest most, if not all, of his starters for the trip to Wales. A win could take Swansea as high as 11th in the table, which would be big for a side that was struggled for much of the season. The Swans will have a bit more motivation to get three points, but there isn’t much on the line here, which could lead to a bit of a dud. Along with the awful wakeup time, that makes this game a definite pass.
(6:05 AM PT)
Man United vs. Leicester (5)
On the other hand, if there was ever a game to wake up early for, it’s this one. History could be made at Old Trafford on Sunday, but it won’t be the hosts doing it. With a win, Leicester would clinch the most unlikely title in Premier League history. United won’t roll over and let them have it, though, as the Red Devils still have a Champions League spot within their sights, and they need wins to remain in the
(8:30 AM PT)
Southampton vs. Manchester City (3)
Both of these teams are still fighting for something, but their fates are nearly sealed. City can almost secure a place in next season’s Champions League this weekend, but their focus will be on next week’s second-leg UCL clash with Real Madrid. Saints, on the other hand, are still trying to nab a Europa League spot, but they need some help to get it. This has the potential to be a high-quality clash, even if neither team is exactly where it hoped to be at this stage.
Chelsea vs. Tottenham (4)
Regardless of the teams involved, London derbies are always tense, and this one shouldn’t be any different. Eden Hazard laid the gauntlet down a week ago when he proclaimed that Chelsea would prefer Leicester to win the league instead of Spurs, so despite their season being a loss, the Blues still certainly would like to lay the blow that officially knocks Tottenham out of the title race (if Leicester don’t win Sunday). Spurs still have plenty to play for, and they will definitely want to keep the five-point edge they currently posses over Manchester City and Arsenal to lock down second place for good. Ultimately, Chelsea have been very good in the second half, and Spurs have proven they are top notch, and with a great kickoff time on Monday, it's an excellent watch if you can make it work.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin, Saturday 4/30/16, 9:30 AM PT
The Bundesliga’s third-place team hosts the side right behind them with both trying desperately to hold onto Champions League places. However, this is a contest between a pair of sides headed in opposite directions. Leverkusen have won six games in a row, the most recent of which was a superb 3-2 comeback win at Schalke, while Hertha are scuffling, with just one point in their last four games. Monchengladbach have pulled to within one point of Hertha in the race for the Champions League, but Gladbach has to visit Bayern Munich this weekend, meaning Hertha will have a great chance to gain some breathing room. They’ll need to break out of a big rut to do it though, and they’ll have to do that against one of the hottest teams not just in Germany, but in Europe. Both teams will be desperate for a win, and with the excellent kickoff time, this should be a great watch.