The FA Cup semi-finals have hit this weekend’s Premier League fixture list, so only six top-flight games take place in gameweek 35. Here are the picks of those:
Watford v Crystal Palace (Saturday, kick-off 3 PM)
Crystal Palace have a golden opportunity to put some clear distance between themselves and the relegation zone at out-of-sorts Watford on Saturday afternoon.
The home side heads into this clash all but safe from the drop zone. A record of four defeats in their last five Premier League outings means the Hornets are nine points clear of the bottom three. With such few games remaining, it seems unlikely that Javi Gracia’s team will be dragged into the fight for survival.
Palace could actually leapfrog the home side in the table with a win in Hertfordshire. The Eagles are currently five points ahead of Southampton, who occupy the last relegation spot after picking up seven points from a possible 12 in the top-flight. Roy Hodgson’s side look in decent shape. However, a run of just one win in their last six away games in the top-flight is a poor one. The Eagles head into this clash as slight underdogs, but only due to Watford holding home advantage.
Stoke v Burnley (Sunday, kick-off 1:30 PM)
On Sunday, Stoke face a vital clash at the Bet365 Stadium against north west rivals Burnley. The Potters are in major need of a victory, but Burnley are unlikely to be easy opponents.
The home side are currently four points behind 17th place Swansea, who have played one fewer game than the hosts have. Paul Lambert’s side needs to start picking up wins or they will be plying their trade in the Championship next season. A winless run of nine games in the Premier League has led to the Potters poor league position. The fact that the home side has also failed to win in five league games at the Bet365 Stadium has also been a big factor in their lowly position in the table.
Burnley are enjoying a strong season and could be set to seal a top-seven finish, which could be enough to ensure Europa League football next season for the Clarets. Sean Dyche’s side has won five of their last six outings in the top-flight. However, a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea last time ended a five-game winning run. The Clarets have recorded wins in their last three away games on their travels in the top-flight.
Everton v Newcastle (Monday, kick-off 8 PM)
Everton have wildly underachieved this season after such hope in the summer. On Monday night, the Toffees face a Newcastle team just one point behind them in the table and a game in-hand.
In reality, Everton’s form has been inconsistent of late. The Toffees have failed to win in their last three top-flight games, although the last two league games have finished all square. The Merseysiders have a decent recent record at Goodison Park, with only the league’s top two Manchester City and Manchester United winning at the grand old stadium in the last 12 league games.
Newcastle have surged up the Premier League in recent weeks, going from the relegation battle to the top-half of the table. A four-game winning run in the league has seen the Magpies relegation worries evaporate. A key to the Magpies recent run has been an attacking improvement, as Rafa Benitez’s side have found the net two or more times in three of their last four league outings.
Gameweek 35’s other Premier League fixtures:
West Brom v Liverpool (Saturday, kick-off 12:30 PM)
Arsenal v West Ham (Sunday, kick-off 1:30 PM)
Manchester City v Swansea (Sunday, kick-off 4:30 PM)
Who will secure vital Premier League wins in gameweek 35?