Tuesday 4/4/17 (11:45 AM PT)
Watford vs. West Brom (1)
That time of the season has arrived where matchups like this are pretty irrelevant. Fortunately, they still produce quality football, and Tony Pulis will want to keep a hot West Brom team’s form up. Watford themselves are coming off a win, but consistency has been an issue all year, so performing on short rest could be a challenge. The points are very much up for grabs here, even if they aren’t all that critical.
Despite their amazing home form this year, Burley still need a few more points for safety, as they are perched five points above the relegation zone. Stoke won't make that easy, but they are not coming in with great form after just a point in their last three games, albeit against some pretty tough completion. With neither team finding a quality scoring option recently, expect a low-scoring affair at Turf Moor.
Leicester City vs. Sunderland (1)
In the blink of an eye, and with a change of manager, Leicester have turned back into the force they were a year ago. Tuesday, they will have a chance to further bury Sunderland, whose hopes of survival are hanging by a thread. The Black Cats haven't won in five (four of which were losses) and are now eight points from safety. It's now or never, to say the least, and with a tough matchup in the offing, this is looking like one of the Black Cats’ final stands.
(12 PM PT)
Manchester United vs. Everton (5)
Everton’s struggles this season have mostly occurred against top-six sides, so another bench marker here will give the Toffees a good status report of just where they stand. The Merseyside Derby loss to Liverpool has put a dent in their European aspirations, but if they are able to sneak past United at Old Trafford, they will be right back in the hunt for the top six. United, meanwhile, also have some pretty big goals which they need to stay on track for, and they cannot afford to drop points if they want to stay in the top-four race. With both teams coming off of disappointing results on the weekend, even on short rest, this should be a high-intensity, high-energy affair with a lot riding on the result.
Wednesday 4/5/17 (11:45 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Tottenham (2)
The Swans are teetering on the verge of the relegation
Arsenal vs. West Ham (3)
It’s a good old-fashioned London derby at the Emirates, and it’s a game both teams are desperate to win. The Gunners have won just one of their last six Premier League contests, and with the top-four place that’s been their property over the past two decades starting to slip away, Arsenal are feeling the pressure. They will have to play with a real sense of urgency against another side struggling for footing, as West Ham have lost four PL contests in a row. Both managers are feeling the heat, and both squads will need to turn their form around to keep their bosses in good stead.
Hull City vs. Middlesbrough (4)
As vital as the game above is, this one has it beat in terms of importance, and it’s not particularly close. With these sides sitting in the relegation zone, three points would be priceless for whichever team can nab them. The Tigers are certainly in better form after a comeback win over West Ham, and they haven’t lost a PL home game since December (in fact, manager Marco Silva hasn’t lost a home league game with any team in over three years). Boro, meanwhile, haven’t won any of their last 12 league games, and with a five-point deficit to make up if they want to navigate to safety, this is close to a must-win.
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace (2)
Beating Chelsea will do a world of good for Crystal Palace in a number of ways, but their confidence was already sky high heading to Stamford Bridge. Four straight wins have taken the Eagles clear of the relegation zone, and another victory at St. Mary’s could take them as many as seven points away from the drop. Southampton have been up and down all season, but they’re comfortably in the mid-table at the moment, and they are in no real trouble of slipping into a battle at the bottom. Both of these teams struggle to score at times, although each has the talent to take over a game. Anything could happen in this one, even if the stakes aren’t as high as they are in others in the timeslot.
Liverpool vs. Bournemouth (3)
The Reds are looking up after three wins and a draw in their last four games, and with Spurs just three points ahead of Liverpool, they’re eager to put the pressure on. Bournemouth are safe in 11th place even though they have a particularly brutal stretch coming up. The Cherries are capable of scoring against anyone, and Liverpool aren’t known for their defense. When these teams met on the south coast, Bournemouth came from behind to steal a memorable 4-3 win, and while a repeat is unlikely, the goals could well flow freely at Anfield.
Chelsea vs. Manchester City (5)
Following their shock defeat to Palace, Chelsea are suddenly under just a little bit of pressure from the chasing pack. Even though they’re still seven points ahead of second-place Spurs, the Blues need to be sure that they don’t stumble and open the door even wider for Tottenham, and Manchester City isn’t the team Antonio Conte would like to see this week. The Citizens have drawn three PL games in a row, but their unbeaten run is now up to eight. Chelsea might be a tiny bit nervous, and while they are still the favorites to
Bonus European Game of the Week: Barcelona vs. Sevilla, Wednesday 4/5/17, 10:30 AM PT
Sevilla are out of the now-two-horse La Liga race, but they still sit tied in third with Atletico Madrid and will want to get every point they can down the stretch to avoid the Champions League playoff round. Barcelona, on the other hand, are two points behind Real Madrid at the top, but with Los Blancos having a game in hand, Barca cannot afford to drop any points. Despite a rocky season, La Blaugrana are still well alive in the title race, but with Real back in top form, having only dropped two points in their last six games, every game from now until the end of the season is virtually a must-win.