A spring Super Sunday? Yes please. The Premier League heads towards the end of this epic 2017/18 season, but fear not, we still have a few more weeks of it before we wave goodbye until August.
This Sunday sees three of the top six in action, including the champions. There’s not much to dislike about that, particularly when you add West Ham and their penchant for the ridiculous into the mix.
Here are a few thoughts on the two matches…
WEST HAM UNITED vs MANCHESTER CITY
The London Stadium has been distinctly calmer of late, after the unpleasant scenes of a few weeks ago. The Hammers’ improved form might just have something to do with that. David Moyes’ side have opened up a six-point gap to 18th and are probably no more than a victory short of safety.
Manchester City celebrated their title at home last weekend in the only way they know how. Pep Guardiola’s side smashed Swansea 5-0 with a performance fitting of champions. A performance and result as dismissive as it was unsurprising.
Guardiola may rotate from now on. City have little to play for, but this could be a good opportunity for the Spanish manager to learn a bit more about some of his younger players. Phil Foden, for instance, should see plenty of minutes. City can relax – if they were ever stressed in the league this season – and that is certainly not a good sign for their opponents.
We know how this match will look. Moyes, as he did at the Etihad earlier this season, will park the proverbial bus. It nearly worked before, making the result a little trickier to predict than the pattern of play.
Any hope of scoring for West Ham will rest on Marko Arnautovic again. The Austrian is the best player outside the top six and will have to have one of his good days if West Ham are to have any hope.
I really don’t see any value in City to win at 8/25. West Ham could just stage an upset, but I think the best price in this one is on both teams to score.
TIP: Both teams to score @ 4/5
MANCHESTER UNITED vs Arsenal
Manchester United stormed back from a goal down to beat Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend. Jose Mourinho’s team look set to retain second place, but there is no suggestion they will relax with Arsene Wenger coming to town.
The Gunners smashed West Ham in the league last time out. Their Europa League clash with Atletico Madrid in midweek, though, bordered on disaster after dominating the match against 10 men. It was, in so many ways, the most Arsenal performance you could imagine.
The second leg of that crucial Europa tie comes just a few days after their trip to Old Trafford. Pragmatism, I expect, will reign supreme in Wenger’s mind as he balances his desire to end with a victory over Mourinho and United with the need to have his best players fresh for next Thursday. Rotation is likely again.
Mourinho’s side will be at full strength. Unlike their disappointing last home performance – the defeat to rock-bottom West Brom – there will be no question of motivation for this one.
Regardless of its irrelevance on the table, this is an important fixture. Mourinho, typically, will look to keep it tight. Under 2.5 goals at 5/4 could be good value.
The hosts were always favourites for this. Had Arsenal notched a good result on Thursday, there could have been value in backing the away side, however. Instead, it’s best to settle for the underwhelming 21/50 price on a home win, particularly with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil likely rested.
TIP: Manchester United to win @ 21/50
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*