The Premier League starts to hit the final hurdles of this season but for Sunderland, the end could be nigh.
This weekend could see the relegated clubs start to become clearer depending on results.
With the top sides all not in action till Sunday and Monday, the bottom half dominates Saturday fixtures. Some clubs can secure mathematical safety with victory and condemn others to a longer wait on their fate.
Southampton vs Hull
Southampton will be looking to put Tuesday’s defeat at Chelsea swiftly behind them here. Hull however emerged victorious in the reverse fixture. back in November.
A win will guarantee safety for the Saints no matter what, due to their superior goal difference over Swansea.
The Tigers however can crank up the pressure here with three points but are winless in Southampton since 1951.
Southampton have been inconsistent at home with just two victories since January. That stat is really worrying given that the side are capable of better and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Claude Puel leaves at end of this season.
Hull however have a pathetic away record so can’t go to St Marys too confident. They have shifted 41 goals on the road and recorded 14 away defeats.
Looking at those stats for both teams, a draw looks to be the most logical option here.
Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Hull
Result: Southampton 0-0 Hull
Stoke vs West Ham
Both sides have underperformed this season so victory is vital here, if either want a top ten finish.
The Hammers haven’t beaten Stoke since Mark Hughes took charge. Their last four in five meetings have all ended in draws, which tells a lot about how tough this fixture will be.
Hughes will surely be looking to Sadio Berahino here, given that he has scored in three of the four games that he faced West Ham. He is however yet to score for the Potters so this is the perfect chance to end that duck.
With there being just a point between them in the table, you would have to fancy a draw here with some goals.
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 West Ham
Result: Stoke 0-0 West Ham
Sunderland vs Bournemouth
Sunderland need to match Hull’s result or their top flight status will be at its end, after a rollercoaster decade.
After seeing their pride dented in a Tees Wear derby defeat, David Moyes need to rally his side and start mission impossible.
It’s still mathematically possible for them to survive if win every remaining game. They however need Hull and Swansea to not reach 36 points or their luck is out.
Bournemouth however need to keep getting points if want to beat last season’s points tally. The Cherries however could do with finishing as high as they can and collect more prize money.
Having beaten Middlesbrough comprehensively last weekend, Eddie Howe will want to compound the North East’s misery further.
The Mackems will be eying victory here given that Bournemouth have beaten them just once in nine meetings. Recent meetings in Sunderland have however seen three draws across all competitions.
Given how important this fixture is, the Black Cats need to rediscover their goal scoring groove. Since the turn of 2017, the Stadium of Light has witnessed just FIVE goals which isn’t good enough for the Premier League or a side struggling to score.
This fixture got Bournemouth written all over it, if I am being honest I expect a blasting here.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-4 Bournemouth
Result: Sunderland 0-1 Bournemouth = Sunderland ARE RELEGATED!!!!!
West Bromwich Albion vs Leicester
This Midlands derby should be a cracker if recent meetings are anything to go by.
Since reaching 40 points, West Brom have just been embarrassing to watch. The players seem to have already gone on their summer holidays except for the match against Arsenal, which is pretty worrying.
Hopefully Tony Pulis has used the fortnight off to sort his Baggies out and try avoid ending this season on a downwards spiral. With a top ten finish now doubtful, a win here is going to be key to answering a lot of questions.
Leicester have however been making strides forward and suffered an unfortunate defeat at Arsenal in midweek. If they can build on that performance, they could certainly do some damage here.
This is the 100th league meeting between these sides so this is the perfect opportunity for West Brom to get back off their dreamy hols and winning again.
The Foxes however have the upper hand in recent meetings with their last two trips here ending in thrilling 3-2 results.
I expect to see another cracker here, especially if Alan McInally is commentating on this for Soccer Saturday.
Prediction: West Brom 3-2 Leicester
Result: West Brom 0-1 Leicester
Crystal Palace vs Burnley
Crystal Palace can secure safety here and keep Sam Allardyce’s proud top flight record squeaky clean.
After a strong run since returning from the International break, you would be forgiven for thinking this will be an easy win for the Eagles.
Their defence however is pretty much in shreds, due to several injuries. This is sure to impact upon the team put out here.
Burnley have struggled away from home and have started to look vulnerable to the drop.
The Clarets however haven’t gone all season without an away win since 1902-03 season. As a result, expect them to push Palace all the way, despite never beating them in the top flight at Selhurst Park.
With so much at stake and Allardyce not affording more injuries, expect Burnley to finally get their first ever Premier League away in London win.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Burnley
Result: Crystal Palace 0-2 Burnley