IT’S the game Roy Keane has been waiting for! The battle for fourth place intensifies at the Emirates on Sunday, when Arsenal will attempt to claw back some of the five-point gap between them and Man United.
The Gunners still believe they can battle their way back into that vital Champions League qualifying place.
But United legend Keane stated earlier this week that big clubs celebrating just for finishing in the top four made him “cringe”.
Jose Mourinho has already hinted that he may need to field a weakened Man United team as this game is sandwiched by the two-leg Europa League semi-final with Celta Vigo.
Keane has now offered his support for Mourinho’s proposed plan. He said: “I think he is right. With the way the last week has gone, prioritise winning a trophy, definitely. Even a weak team would probably still beat Arsenal.”
Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal won the corresponding fixture 3-0 last season.
But the big question is whether he’ll still be at the Emirates come August.
The Chilean hit-man has just 12 months of his present deal left to run and is top of Bayern Munich’s shopping list for the summer.
Coral New Customer Offer
Friday, May 5
West Ham v Tottenham (8pm)
“You lost the league at West Ham,” has been a favourite chant normally reserved for Man United fans, but how the Hammers faithful would love to extend that friendly welcome to Tottenham supporters too.
Spurs have won seven games away from home in the Premier League this season, one more than West Ham have managed in their 17 games at the London Stadium.
Tottenham are on a nine-game winning streak in the league with Dele Alli in scintillating form. Jim’s prediction: Spurs are on a mission to catch Chelsea, away win.
Saturday, May 6
Manchester City v Crystal Palace (12.30pm)
If Man City want to retain fourth spot they are going to have to improve on their recent run of just two wins from the last seven Premier League games.
Sergio Aguero is at least doing what he does best, scoring 13 goals in his last 14 games in all competitions.
Palace aren’t quite out of the relegation woods yet but having won at Chelsea and Liverpool recently they will fancy their chances of an upset here. Jim’s prediction: A frustrating draw.
Bournemouth v Stoke City (3pm)
The battle for mid-table mediocrity begins. Bournemouth won’t mind at all, having just shaken off any real threat of relegation with back-to-back victories.
But Stoke have been stumbling around for a while, winning just one of their last eight games. Jim’s prediction: Draw
Burnley v West Brom (3pm)
Burnley have won more points at home (32) than both Manchester clubs (31) and last week’s victory at Crystal Palace should confirm their place in the Premier League next season.
West Brom were on course for their record points haul until the wheels fell off.
They’ve lost four on the bounce and haven’t scored a goal for five matches. Jim’s prediction: Burnley do it again, home win.
Hull v Sunderland (3pm)
Hull continue to cling on to the safe haven that is 17th place, with a two-point advantage over Swansea.
Their troops have rallied to the cause, particularly Harry Maguire in defence and Poland international Kamil Grosicki flying forward.
His first goal for the club will surely come soon.
Sunderland’s season is over after last week’s home defeat by Bournemouth confirmed their relegation with four games still to play.
That sometimes has a strange affect on doomed clubs, whose players suddenly put in decent end of season performances. But I don’t think Sunderland have it in them.
Jim’s prediction: A much needed home win.
Leicester v Watford (3pm)
Two clubs chasing a top-half finish – or should I say ambling in this final month. Leicester’s victory at West Brom last week ended a five-game winless streak in all competitions. Watford have lost three out of the last four. Jim’s prediction: Leicester to nick it.
Swansea v Everton (5.30pm)
The Swans will have had a close eye on the Hull game and will know whether a win will lift them out of the drop zone.
Four points from their last two games shows they haven’t given up the chase, with Gylfi Sigurdsson at his inspirational best.
Everton will finish at worst seventh but haven’t given up hope of catching a jaded-looking Arsenal in sixth. Jim’s prediction: A few goals in a feisty draw.
Sunday, May 7
Liverpool v Southampton (1.30pm)
In the three League and EFL Cup games between these two this season, Liverpool didn’t manage to score a single goal.
With just one loss in their last nine games though, Jurgen Klopp’s men appear to have rediscovered their early season form at just the right time.
The Saints have run out of puff in recent weeks with one point from three games, but Manolo Gabbiadini has accumulated a little more match time since returning from injury and should be firing on all cylinders again.
Jim’s prediction: A close one but Liverpool to win it.
Arsenal v Manchester United (4pm)
See main article, above. Jim’s prediction: I have a horrible feeling we’ll spend our Sunday afternoon watching a bore draw.
MOST READ IN FOOTBALL
Monday, May 8
Chelsea v Middlesbrough (8pm)
If Spurs have pulled within a point of the leaders after Friday evening’s game, Chelsea will have had nearly three days to stew.
But surely they won’t fail to grab all three points from a Middlesbrough team that has managed just one league win since the turn of the year.
Centre back Gary Cahill is the Blues’ unlikely goal machine, having scored in both their last two games. Jim’s prediction: Chelsea all the way.