This weekend’s Premier League slate is a bit light as four of the teams in England’s top flight do battle in two games at Wembley for berths in the FA Cup final. With that said, there’s still plenty of intrigue on the agenda for this weekend, both in England and elsewhere.
Saturday 4/21/18 (4:30 AM PT)
West Brom vs. Liverpool (2)
(7 AM PT)
Watford vs. Crystal Palace (4)
Last week’s memorable 3-2 win over Brighton went a long ways towards securing Palace’s Premier League safety, and another victory this weekend at Watford would just about seal the deal. As it stands, the Eagles are still in the scrap, as they sit five points ahead of 18th-place Southampton with four games left. But Palace have been playing some good football lately, and Roy Hodgson’s side will feel confident heading to Vicarage Road. Watford are in poor form as well having lost four and drawn one of their last five games; with their survival just about secured, the Hornets are ripe for the picking, and Palace need to take advantage.
Sunday 4/22/18 (5:30 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. West Ham (3)
This is a London derby that can occasionally produce some thrilling entertainment, but this doesn’t feel like one of those times. Arsenal’s domestic season is ending with a thud, and as they turn their attentions to a critical Europa League semifinal tie against Atletico Madrid, Arsene Wenger will deploy a less-than-full-strength Gunners team Sunday. Meanwhile, West Ham are six points but four places out of the drop zone, and they’ll likely head to the Emirates without too much pressure on their shoulders. Those two factors — as well as the fact that the Hammers still need another win to ensure their safety — could open the door for a West Ham win, but it’s very tough to know what to expect from a contest pitting two sides who have had pretty disappointing campaigns overall.
Stoke vs. Burnley (3)
It’s desperation time for Stoke, who are four points from safety with four games to go and are in dismal form. The Potters haven’t won in 10 EPL contests and have lost four of the last five as well. They catch Burnley on short rest after a tough 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on Thursday, but the Clarets have been road warriors all year and come in with three straight wins away from Turf Moor. Stoke might have a trick or two up their sleeve, but it’s hard to think that’s going to
(8:30 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. Swansea (2)
The one thing that could brighten Stoke’s day, however, is seeing that the team they are chasing in 17th, Swansea, has to line up against Manchester City. The question now is what team will Pep Guardiola roll out? City have officially been confirmed as champions and have nothing to play for, but they are also eliminated from all other competitions, so the Catalan manager doesn’t have too much reason to rest his top squad. In fact, he may want to give his stars a moment in the spotlight as they celebrate their championship. Even if he does play a mixture of reserves with starters, City still should have more than enough firepower to take down bottom-half opposition. Swansea will have to defend for their lives and won’t be expected to get anything, but even stealing a point could prove huge in a few weeks’ time.
Monday 4/23/18 (12 noon PT)
Everton vs. Newcastle (1)
Despite sitting two points apart in the mid-table and having nothing to play for, Everton and Newcastle will feel very differently entering this game. The Toffees had ambitions of finishing higher up the table and are just trying to see out a disappointing campaign and reload for the next. Newcastle were clearly the strongest promoted side at season’s start, and they lived up to the billing, rolling their way to an impressive finish while confirming themselves again as a legitimate first-tier side. Outside of supporters, the only reason to tune is here is the kickoff time on Monday midday, which is fantastic for those looking for a change from early games.
Saturday 4/21/18 (9:15 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Manchester United
With two teams that each need to lift a trophy to silence some doubters meeting with a cup final berth on the line, this has the potential to be an absolute spectacle. Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side has slowed a little bit in recent weeks, but as Tottenham go for their first piece of silverware in the Pochettino era, there’s little doubt that they’ll bring their best to
Sunday 4/22/18 (7 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Southampton
There’s no doubt that the three other semifinalists wanted to face Southampton heading into the draw for the last four, and the Blues are the lucky side to do so, but that doesn’t mean their work is that clear cut. Yes, Saints have been poor of late and are looking a strong bet to go down, but they’ve made it this far, and there’s no doubt they are going to put forth one of their best efforts of the season at Wembley. After all, Southampton’s miserable year has had the FA Cup as its only bright spot, and they aren’t going to let go of that too easily. Chelsea should ultimately win, but Southampton could be dangerous, with this potentially being their last hurrah for over a year.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Juventus vs. Napoli, Sunday 4/22/18, 11:45 AM PT
Sixty minutes into their midweek contest, Juventus had one hand on the title. Five minutes later, however, Juve conceded an equalizer to Crotone, while Napoli scored twice to turn a losing position into a winning one against Udinese. Juve had a nine-point lead at the time, but it quickly shrunk to four, where it stands at the moment. Now, the two sides will meet in what will surely be the Serie A game of the season. A Juve win would all but lock up the title, while a Napoli triumph would put all the pressure on the Old Lady, who are six-time defending champions, down the stretch. If there is any game across Europe to tune into this weekend, it is this one.