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Football

Man City, Liverpool Premier League title chase heads into last 90 minutes of the season

Brighton vs Man City

The American Express Community Stadium, East Sussex

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Michael Oliver

A win will guarantee Manchester City claim their fourth Premier League title, and sixth overall in the top flight. City would be the first team retain the Premier League trophy since Manchester United 10 years ago. They can also become the first team to end a top-flight campaign with 14 consecutive victories, breaking Arsenal’s record of 13 in 2001-02. A 32nd win of the season would also equal the top-flight record, set by City last season. Pep Guardiola’s side have claimed at least one league victory against every side they have faced for the second consecutive season; the only other team to achieve this in the English top flight are Preston in 1888-89 and 1889-90. City have not lost on the final day of the season since 2013, when defeated 3-2 by a Norwich side managed by current Brighton boss Chris Hughton. They have won all 21 of the Premier League matches in which Oleksandr Zinchenko has played. Sergio Aguero’s tally of 31 goals in all competitions leaves him two shy of matching his highest total for City in a single season, set in 2016-17.

Kevin de Bruyne could be involved in Manchester City’s title decider after recovering from a hamstring injury. Fernandinho remains out with a knee problem and is doubtful for the FA Cup final, while Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo are also still sidelined.

Brighton’s only absentees are Davy Propper and Jose Izquierdo, who are out with respective hamstring and knee problems. Captain Bruno is set for his final game before retiring from playing.

Manchester City have won their last four meetings with Brighton in all competitions, including two this season. The Seagulls have lost all three of their Premier League games versus City by two-goal margins. They last claimed league points against City in a second-tier game on 1 April 1989, winning 2-1 at the Goldstone Ground thanks to an Alan Curbishley penalty and an Ian Brightwell own goal.

Burnley vs Arsenal

Turf Moor, Burnley

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Mike Dean

Fit-again Burnley striker Peter Crouch, whose contract expires this summer, will hope to make his first appearance since March. Full-back Phil Bardsley has recovered from a gashed leg and is also vying for a recall.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is available for Arsenal after missing their last league game through suspension. Aaron Ramsey, Denis Suarez, Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding are all still injured.

Burnley have lost nine successive meetings with Arsenal in all competitions – only against Wolves have they suffered a longer run of defeats, losing 11 in a row between 1987 and 2002. The Gunners have won 1-0 in the last three league encounters at Turf Moor, scoring 90th-minute winners in each of their last two visits. Burnley have not beaten Arsenal in a league match since a 1-0 victory at Highbury in 1974.

Arsenal have ended the last seven Premier League seasons with a victory, and have not lost on the final day since a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham in 2005. The Gunners could go five league games without a win for the first time since a run of five successive draws in January and February 2009. They could also finish below Tottenham in three consecutive league campaigns for the first time since a run of nine seasons from 1959-60 to 1967-1968. Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in their last 28 top-flight away games, including only one this season (at Watford in April). They are one short of equalling the club record for most goals conceded in a Premier League campaign (51 last term). Should they concede two goals or more it will be their worst defensive record since the 1983-84 season, when they let in 60 in 42 matches). Granit Xhaka could make his 100th Premier League appearance, becoming the fifth Swiss player to reach that milestone after Stephane Henchoz, Philippe Senderos, Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami.

Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth

Selhurst Park, London

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Roger East

James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp are out for Crystal Palace, while Christian Benteke and Scott Dann are both injury doubts. Goalkeeper Julian Speroni, who is leaving after 15 years and 405 games, has asked not to be handed a farewell appearance out of sentiment.

Teenage goalkeeper Mark Travers is again set to start for Bournemouth. The Cherries remain without a host of injured players, including Dan Gosling, David Brooks and Dominic Solanke.

Bournemouth could complete a league double over Crystal Palace for the first time in 30 years. Palace have won just one of the seven previous Premier League meetings (D4, L2), and have never beaten them at home in the top flight.

Fulham vs Newcastle United

Craven Cottage, London

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Kevin Friend

Fulham will assess full-back Denis Odoi, who missed the defeat by Wolves after being concussed in last month’s win against Cardiff. Newcastle midfielder Ki Sung-yueng is ruled out of their final game because of a knee injury.

Full-back DeAndre Yedlin, who this week underwent groin surgery, is also absent. Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff and Florian Lejeune continue their rehabilitation from injuries.

Fulham have won eight of their past nine home league games against Newcastle, including each of the last six (five of them in the Premier League). The Magpies have kept clean sheets in three of the last four top-flight meetings, although those shut-outs all came on Tyneside.

Leicester City vs Chelsea

King Power Stadium, Leicestershire

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Anthoney Taylor

Leicester pair Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki could make farewell appearances on Sunday, with both out of contract and set to leave the club this summer. Matty James and Daniel Amartey remain absent with respective Achilles and ankle problems.

Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is a doubt after limping off during the Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night. Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be available despite suffering cramp in that game.

Leicester won the reverse fixture 1-0 and are vying to complete the league double over Chelsea for the first time since 2000-01. However, Chelsea have won on six of their seven competitive visits to the King Power Stadium, with the exception being a 1-2 defeat in Leicester’s 2015-16 title-winning campaign. This is the 100th league meeting, with Chelsea winning 46 times to Leicester’s 25.

Chelsea could go nine successive Premier League away matches without a clean sheet for the first time since February 2001. Their only away victory in eight attempts this season against a side currently in the top half of the table came at Watford on Boxing Day (D1, L6). The Blues are in danger of losing their final top-flight fixture in consecutive campaigns for the first time since 1992 and 1993. Eden Hazard has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player this season, with 16 goals and 15 assists.

Liverpool vs Wolves

Anfield Stadium, Liverpool

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Liverpool are bolstered by the likely return of Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah from concussion. Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson are expected to overcome respective knee and calf injuries sustained in midweek. Roberto Firmino remains out with a groin problem but should be fit for the Champions League final.

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has no fresh injury concerns and could name an unchanged side for the 15th time this season in the Premier League.

Liverpool have won the past four Premier League meetings, and only lost one of nine (W6, D2). This will be the sixth time Liverpool and Wolves have met in their final game of a top-flight season, with Liverpool winning the previous five by an aggregate score of 12-4. However, Wolves have won two of the three most recent encounters, both by a 2-1 scoreline in the FA Cup: at Anfield in 2017 and Molineux this January. They could win consecutive away fixtures against Liverpool for the first time since 1950.

The Reds have earned eight league wins in a row and are on the longest current unbeaten run in the top flight (W12, D4). They could remain unbeaten at home in consecutive top-flight seasons for the first time in 39 years. Victory on Sunday would equal the club top-flight record of 30 in a season, set over 42 matches in 1978-79. Liverpool have not lost their final home match of a campaign in 13 attempts since the famous 0-2 defeat in a title decider against Arsenal in 1989. Their tally of 18 headed goals in the Premier League this season is more than any other side. Jurgen Klopp’s side have also scored an unrivalled 22 league goals from set-pieces, excluding penalties. Sadio Mane has scored 16 Premier League home goals in 2018-19, the most by any player. Liverpool are the first team in Premier League history to have two defenders each provide at least 10 assists in a season. Full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have set up 11 goals apiece (according to the Premier League).

Man United vs Cardiff City

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has pledged to involve Manchester United youngsters such as Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood against Cardiff. Club captain Antonio Valencia hopes to be fit enough to make a farewell appearance after a decade at United. Jesse Lingard could return after injury but Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial are fitness doubts.

Cardiff are without loanees Harry Arter and Victor Camarasa because of a calf strain and dead leg respectively.

Manchester United are unbeaten in eight league meetings since a 0-3 away defeat in November 1960 (W6, D2). United won this season’s reverse fixture 5-1 in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match in charge. Cardiff have never kept a clean sheet in 15 away games against United in all competitions.

Manchester United will finish outside the Premier League’s top four for the fifth time in six seasons since Alex Ferguson retired as manager. They are winless in five games in all competitions, and have only managed two victories in their past 11 (W2, D2, L7). The Red Devils have only kept two clean sheets in the league at Old Trafford this season, guaranteeing their lowest tally in a campaign since 1962-63, when they were also limited to two. It’s 14 league and cup games without a clean sheet for United, their worst run since a 16-match streak from October to December 1970. They have won an unrivalled 18 of their 26 matches on the final weekend of a Premier League season. Their most recent closing defeat came against West Ham in 2006-07. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had an eight-month spell as Cardiff manager in 2014. He was unable to avoid relegation from the Premier League and left the Bluebirds after seven league matches of the following season with the club 17th in the Championship table.

Southampton vs Huddersfield Town 

St. Mary’s Stadium, Hampshire

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Lee Probert

Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard is expected to miss the visit of Huddersfield because of a groin injury. Maya Yoshida has again been ruled out due to a virus but Angus Gunn will return in goal after missing the defeat at West Ham.

Huddersfield defender Erik Durm has been ruled out, while Mathias Jorgensen and Chris Lowe will be assessed. Head coach Jan Siewert has confirmed reserve goalkeeper Joel Coleman will make his first Premier League start.

Southampton are unbeaten in the last four meetings in all competitions (W2, D2). Huddersfield’s last away win against Saints was a 2-1 top-flight victory in September 1971.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Andre Marriner

Tottenham pair Juan Foyth and Son Heung-min begin three-match domestic bans, with a club appeal against the Korean’s red card rejected by the FA. Jan Vertonghen misses out with an ankle injury, while Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama are doubts because of respective hamstring and thigh issues.

Everton forward Richarlison is unavailable because of a rib injury, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is also out. Andre Gomes is back after a ban but Seamus Coleman is a fitness concern.

Tottenham are unbeaten in the 12 most recent Premier League meetings, winning the last four by a 16-4 aggregate scoreline. Everton haven’t won a Premier League game at Spurs since November 2008.

Tottenham could lose three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since November 2012. They are in danger of suffering three successive home defeats in all competitions, which hasn’t happened in a season since a four-match losing streak from September to November 2004. Spurs could also go three home games without scoring for the first time since April to May 2003. Tottenham have lost 19 fixtures in all competitions this season. They were last beaten 20 times in a campaign in 2003-04. They have won their final league game of the season in seven of the past eight campaigns. A draw would guarantee Spurs a top-four finish for the fourth consecutive season. Christian Eriksen has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances against Everton.

Watford vs West Ham

Vicarage Road, London

Sunday, 12-05-2019 @5pm

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Watford’s player of the season Etienne Capoue is available on Sunday after overcoming a groin problem. Miguel Britos should also play – the defender missed last weekend’s defeat against Chelsea after having a wisdom tooth out.

West Ham midfielder Robert Snodgrass returns after serving a one-match suspension. Declan Rice and Felipe Anderson were also absent last weekend with a virus but they are fit to face the Hornets. Jack Wilshere is in line for his first start since September after two separate ankle problems.

Watford could do the league double over West Ham for the first time. West Ham are winless in their last four Premier League away games at Watford (D2, L2).

 

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