Saturday 4/23/16 (4:45 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. Stoke (3)
The Citizens have kicked back into life recently, and though they limped to a 1-1 draw in a midweek match with Newcastle, they had won three straight entering that contest. They will look to exploit an uncharacteristically porous Stoke defense that has allowed eight goals in its past two games against a pair of top sides. That has been part of a larger average run of form for the Potters which has seen the high hopes for the squad fade as they’ve settled
(7:00 AM PT)
Aston VIlla vs Southampton (1)
With a maximum of 12 more points available, Saints’ outside shot at a European position is all but mathematically over, and given Aston Villa’s confirmation of relegation a week ago, this matchup has little to offer in terms of important table movement. Southampton have been solid as of late, with just one loss in their last five — coming away to Leicester — so they shouldn't have much issue dealing with the most miserable team in the top flight. As they have (or haven't) done just about all year, Villa bring very little to this fixture, one that is surely worth a pass.
Bournemouth vs. Chelsea (3)
Both teams are safe, and neither has much else to play for, but this fixture represents another test for Bournemouth in their preparations for more success next year. Given they were a newly-promoted side, and one of the smallest to play in the Premier League, the Cherries have been solid all year, and this is a good chance to display that against a streaky Chelsea outfit that they already beat at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have lost their last two outings, and after their miserable start, they definitely don't want to finish on a low note. So, while it might mean nothing, it's still an interesting matchup nonetheless, and possibly the best one in its time slot this weekend.
Liverpool vs. Newcastle (3)
With the first leg of the Europa League semifinal looming on Thursday, it’s very likely that Jurgen Klopp will send out a less-than-full-strength Liverpool side Saturday. That shouldn’t matter, but with a desperate Newcastle side riding some momentum from two positive results in the past week, the Magpies will feel like they have a chance to steal the points at Anfield. Newcastle still sits two points from safety, but they might be finding their form just in time to save themselves, and they’ll be
Sunday 4/24/16 (6:05 AM PT)
Sunderland vs. Arsenal (4)
With Norwich off this weekend (their scheduled game against Watford was pushed back due to the Hornets’ FA Cup commitments), Sunderland have an opportunity to leap out of the relegation zone if they can get a result at home against Arsenal. It won’t be easy, as Arsenal will still hold out the faintest hopes of getting back into the title race, but, as importantly, of catching Spurs in the PL race. With both teams still fighting for something, there will be quite a bit of tension at the Stadium of Light, particularly on the Sunderland side. With so much on the line, this game is very likely to make the early wakeup time worth it.
(8:15 AM PT)
Leicester vs. Swansea (5)
This is the game of the weekend by default. Leicester remain the most fascinating story in the football world, and after last weekend’s chaotic draw with West Ham, the Foxes are five points up on Spurs at the top of the table. Standing in their way of history this weekend is a Swansea side that is all but mathematically safe, but Francesco Guidolin’s will head to the King Power looking for a result. This looks a mismatch on paper, but as Leicester get closer to securing the PL trophy, the pressure continues to rise. They’ve handled it so far, but the Foxes may be looking over their shoulders, and that could create some nerves and a potentially interesting situation Sunday morning.
Monday 4/25/16 (12 noon PT)
Tottenham vs. West Brom (4)
With Spurs still squarely in the fight for the title, expect a raucous atmosphere and a confident Spurs team to show up at White Hart Lane under the lights Monday night. Tottenham smashed Stoke to pieces last Monday in a 4-0 win in which Spurs showed that they are the current hottest team in the league. West Brom will try to play spoiler on Spurs’ challenge, but the Baggies have just one point in their last five games and have lost three in a row. With Spurs in absolutely flying form, they’ll feel very confident of keeping their chase going.
Saturday 4/23/16 (9:15 AM PT)
Everton vs. Manchester United (5)
The first FA Cup semifinal of the weekend promises to be a doozy. While Everton were terrible in a blowout midweek loss to Liverpool, a win and an FA Cup final appearance would salvage something from what’s otherwise been a poor season for the Toffees. The story is similar for Manchester United, who are
Sunday 4/24/16 (8 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Watford (4)
Well, in a season where absolutely nothing has gone according to plan, it's fitting that one of these two bottom-half teams will get to play for an elusive FA Cup title. Though it definitely isn’t a marquee matchup compared to the other game, it’s still a semifinal nonetheless, so expect both teams to come fired up and ready to battle. Neither side is in particularly good form in the league at the moment, but while Watford’s one win in their last eight might sound rough, it hardly is when compared to Palace’s one win in their past 18. Overall, the sides are very evenly matched, and after each had disappointing dropoffs in the PL, they will want to bounce back solidly with two fixtures at Wembley to close the season. It’s a total tossup and a huge game, so that makes it one of the best watches of the weekend.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Schalke vs. Bayer Leverkusen, Saturday 4/23/16, 9:30 AM PT
Though Bayer Leverkusen sit in third (in a UCL spot) and their hosts are in seventh (outside of European contention), the two are separated by just six points, so there is still plenty to play for as the mad dash to the finish line commences. If Schalke can nab three points here, and a few other results fall into line, Germany’s two Champions League places behind Bayern and Dortmund could be within the reach of five teams, which could make for an exciting finish to the Bundesliga despite the Bavarian outfit seemingly cruising to another title. The forms tell an inauspicious story for Schalke, however, as they come in with just one point in their last three games while Leverkusen have won five straight. All bets are certainly off, though, and given the great game time, this is a fantastic choice for Saturday.