01 May Premier League midweek preview: Can Arsenal bounce back against Frank’s misfiring Blues?
Following another high-quality weekend of tumultuous action in the Premier League, the games continue to come thick and fast in midweek with four more mouth-watering ties for us to ingest.
All eyes are on the Emirates on Tuesday as Arsenal look to put their disasterclass against Manchester City behind them. The Gunners welcome Chelsea to the Emirates in an all-London affair and will look to heap more misery on a side who have not won a game since March 11th and have lost their previous five matches in all competitions.
It is the perfect time for them to face a Chelsea side who are completely downtrodden and devoid of any confidence but Arsenal’s form heading into the clash also leaves a lot to be desired. Mikel Arteta’s men have won only once in their last five outings and were thumped 4-1 away at title rivals Man City last week in what looks like it will prove to be a season-defining fixture.
For the first time in a long time the power is not in the Gunners’ grasp and their fate lies in the hands of the rambunctious Cityzens, who could easily win their remaining six games on their way to defending the title.
Following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday, Pep Guardiola’s side leapfrogged Arsenal at the top and now sit one point above them with a game in hand. A defeat against Chelsea will further dent the dwindling hopes of Arsenal winning the league for the first time in 19 years but victory will put them back atop the division by two points, for 24 hours at least as City are in action on Wednesday evening when they take on West Ham.
Guardiola’s well-oiled machine have been simply magnificent of late, winning their last eight league games including that swashbuckling performance against Arsenal – a game in which they completely outclassed their nearest opponents in the top-flight table and reminded us all that they are still the kingpins of English football, in case that was ever in doubt.
There is a firm expectation that City will stretch their winning run to nine league wins against the Hammers on Wednesday but as we witnessed on Sunday when they only narrowly edged a close encounter against Fulham, it may not be completely straightforward.
West Ham have endured an underwhelming and inconsistent campaign this time out, performing exceptionally well in the Europa Conference League – where they have made the semi-finals – but majorly struggling in the league, with a thin squad struggling to cope with both domestic and European commitments.
David Moyes’ men thwarted Arsenal’s title challenge last month, coming from two goals behind to draw 2-2, and they will do their utmost to prevent City from strolling to a third consecutive title when the table-toppers visit east London on Wednesday, although that is a job very much easier said than done.
Elsewhere this week, Liverpool, fresh from beating Spurs in dramatic fashion, welcome Fulham to Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s side made life extremely difficult for themselves on Sunday having initially stormed into a 3-0 lead and were pegged back to 3-3 deep into injury time, only for Diogo Jota to save the day right at the death to keep Liverpool in fifth-place.
Fulham seem to have regained some of their early-season form in recent weeks after a slight drop off in performance, coinciding with Aleksandar Mitrovic’s lengthy suspension kicking in, beating Everton and Leeds whilst also running City close during Sunday’s narrow defeat at Craven Cottage.
Marco Silva’s side are firmly rooted in mid-table and can put this season down as a huge success; a win away at Anfield would be the perfect tonic to a promising season for the west Londoners, and put an unwanted spanner in the works for Liverpool as they look to cement a spot in next season’s Europa League ahead of Tottenham, Villa and Brighton.
The week’s remaining game comes on Thursday, as Brighton and Manchester United replay their recent FA Cup semi-final, this time at the Amex Stadium. Both sides are gunning for European football next term, with United looking to solidify their position in the Champions League and Brighton hoping to book their slot in the Europa League next season – a huge achievement should they manage it.
United edged past Aston Villa 1-0 on Sunday thanks to a Bruno Fernandes strike, while the Seagulls stuck six past Wolves without return in what was a hugely resounding win on Saturday – a result which really highlighted their class and proved what a worthy and capable side they have become under Roberto de Zerbi.
TUESDAY 2ND MAY
Arsenal 20:00 Chelsea
WEDNESDAY 3RD MAY
Liverpool 20:00 Fulham
Manchester City 20:00 West Ham
THURSDAY 4TH MAY
Brighton 20:00 Manchester United