Friday 5/12/17 (11:45 AM PT)
Everton vs. Watford (1)
Though Watford could still mathematically end up tied on points with 18th place and take the unlikeliest of drops, the Hornets are, for all intents and purposes, safe from relegation. Everton, meanwhile, are locked into seventh place regardless of any results, so they too have little to play for. Both teams will be striving to end the season strong, but with Chelsea going for a title in the same time slot, this is only watchable for the 15 minutes before the Blues kickoff.
West Brom vs. Chelsea (4)
Speaking of those Blues, Chelsea are going for their sixth top-flight title and fifth since 2005 Friday against West Brom. A win in any of their last three games (or three draws) will do the trick, but the Blues will want to put the race to bed as soon as possible so they can begin preparations for the FA Cup final at the end of
Saturday 5/13/17 (4:30 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. Leicester City (4)
Chelsea may be cruising to the trophy, but preseason favorites Manchester City still have work to do to ensure their spot in next season’s Champions League. The Sky Blues are in a good place, sitting in fourth with a game in hand over third-place Liverpool, but one slip up in the last three matches opens the door for Arsenal (or Manchester United, with two slips) to sneak past. Missing the UCL would be a huge blow for Pep Guardiola, so now is not the time to second guess. Leicester, as they have since the Craig Shakespeare takeover, are going to provide quality opposition and are hot coming in with two straight wins by a combined 4-0 margin. The Citizens certainly can’t sleep or get caught looking ahead, and if they do, they might pay a big price.
(7:00 AM PT)
Sunderland vs. Swansea City (4)
With Hull hitting the road for a massive game against Crystal Palace, Swansea knows that three points over lowly Sunderland could well be enough to secure safety for another year. The Black Cats played spoiler last weekend to Hull, so they are still kicking despite their confirmed relegation. Swansea need to control this from the get go, as letting the game get out of hand would be a massive gaffe for a team that is once again in a relatively favorable position in the relegation race.
Both of these sides will be content having locked up another season of top-flight football and will get to showcase their talents with little pressure at Dean Court this weekend. There really isn’t much intrigue for those who aren’t fans of the sides, and with the critical relegation battle above, this is probably skippable. Still, two teams with nothing to play for often produce entertaining games as they battle with nothing to lose.
Middlesbrough vs. Southampton (1)
With these teams both simply playing out the string, there aren’t a lot of reasons to tune into this one. Boro’s long-awaited relegation was confirmed Monday with a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, but they’ll be eager to put in a performance in their final top-flight home game of the foreseeable future. Southampton are a much better side, but the Saints also have nothing to play for and have hit a bump in the road with three losses and two draws in their last five. There are more interesting and important contests elsewhere.
(9:30 AM PT)
Stoke City vs. Arsenal (3)
Depending on Manchester City’s result earlier, Arsenal could pull level with the Citizens with a win at the bet365 Stadium, and they’ll be able to cut the gap on third-place Liverpool to a point regardless. If the Gunners want a top-four finish, this is virtually a must-win. Stoke have given Arsene Wenger headaches in recent seasons, as they haven’t lost to Arsenal at home in six meetings. The Gunners need to change that run, and that could create a charged and tense atmosphere in Stoke’s final home game of the season.
Sunday 5/14/17 (4:00 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Hull City (5)
This is as big as it gets in the relegation race. If Swansea win Saturday, Hull will know that anything less than a victory of their own will result in relegation. However, a win for the Tigers could not only see them keep the pressure on Swansea but also drag Palace into the mire. The Eagles are four points up on Hull as it stands and will feel confident of getting a victory in front of their home fans, but a loss would set up a very nervous final day for Sam Allardyce’s side. With a drop down to
(6:15 AM PT)
West Ham vs. Liverpool (3)
West Ham are on a five-game unbeaten run which included a win over Spurs last Friday, and they’ll bring momentum with them as they entertain another top-four hopeful. The Reds have a win and a draw in their last two contests, but a slip at the London Stadium could cost them a Champions League place. Additionally, the Hammers haven’t lost to Liverpool in the last five meetings between the teams. The pressure will be on Jurgen Klopp and co., and the Reds will need to be at their sharpest to get past a team that’s finding its form and has given them plenty of problems recently.
(8:30 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Manchester United (5)
The game will be somewhat secondary here as Tottenham say goodbye to White Hart Lane, their long-time home and one of England’s most storied stadiums. Of course, that doesn’t diminish what should also be a cracking match. Spurs will attempt to complete an undefeated home campaign, and while Jose Mourinho will likely play a changed side after Thursday’s Europa League exertions, the Red Devils are certainly talented enough to end Tottenham’s home run. Nonetheless, this will be an emotional day for Spurs, and with a chance to clinch second place in what’s going to be an incredible atmosphere, expect a determined performance from Tottenham.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Roma vs. Juventus, Sunday 5/14/17, 11:45 AM PT
We discussed the stakes still on the line in Europe’s top-five leagues Thursday, and while this may not be the most important game happening this weekend, it’s probably the one that best combines quality and significance. Whether they win this weekend or not, Roma are unlikely to catch Juve, but they do need to win as they try to put distance between themselves and third-place Napoli in the battle for an automatic spot in next year’s Champions League. Meanwhile, Juventus can complete the first leg of their sought-after treble with a victory over the Romans. These teams have both scuffled a bit recently in domestic play, but this remains a fascinating contest between two of Italy’s three best teams, with one looking to seal a title and the other chasing a UCL berth.