Our reporters back Sir Alex Ferguson's side to take another step towards the Premier League title, while their bitter rivals are set to clinch a seat amongst Europe's eliteWelcome to the latest edition of our weekly series, where we introduce you to the Goal.com reporters who will be travelling the length and breadth of the country to bring you all the action from the grounds.
The weekend sees two crunch ties which will go a long way to shape the final standings of the Premier League table, once the dust settles on May 22.
West Ham face Blackburn Rovers at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon, as two of league's strugglers look to claw themselves away from the relegation dogfight.
But the tie of the weekend, is the final match, where Manchester United - who looked nailed on winners of this season's trophy - welcome the resurgent men from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford, with Carlo Ancelotti's once dormant side able to leapfrog Sir Alex Ferguson's men into top spot.
So with nine matches on offer, here are the predictions of the Goal.com team...
| Aston Villa
Matt Monaghan says...
Ashley Young has been linked to Real Madrid and Manchester United but his performances for Aston Villa this term have looked anything but top drawer.
With 12 months to run on his contract and his position newly secured as an England regular, the versatile attacker is hot property ahead of the summer market. Speak to most Villa Park regulars this term and they'd struggle to see what all the fuss is about, however.
Young has failed again to hit the heights of his 2008-09 season, with his recent match-winning turn at West Ham United being anything but the norm. On Saturday he will face one of the most accommodating defences in the Premier League.
Tear Wigan Athletic apart and it would help to prove why he could be playing at Old Trafford next term. Fail to shine again and the mystery surrounding his desirability will only increase.
Alex Fisher says...
This weekend I'll be watching Bolton take on Sunderland. The home side will be eager to maintain their excellent home record and the visitors are still fighting to secure their place in the Premier League.
Bolton haven’t lost at home in six matches and will be expecting to add Sunderland to that list given the Black Cats have recorded just one win in their last 10 and have only won three times on their travels.
I am looking forward to seeing an open game with lots of goals. I am disappointed not to be seeing Asamoah Gyan for Sunderland, but I am hoping the other players on show will deliver a bit of attacking flair in the game.
Sunderland’s away record, and the fact that they don’t have any recognised strikers available leads me to think Bolton will win this one, and I think it will be quite comfortable.
| Manchester City
Jonathan Birchall says...
When Roberto Mancini looks at his fixture list, plotting Manchester City’s path to the Champions League, this trip to Goodison will have provided uncomfortable reading for weeks. It is a trip down the M62 that could come to define the club’s season.
For the Toffees, it is a case of wanting to add as much gleam on to a campaign that has had a fairly glum, inconsistent air about it since it kicked off in August. David Moyes’ men aren’t so much saving their season, more giving it a late spit shine and hoping to pass it off as presentable.
I can’t wait to see this City side tested, with Baines looking to run at Zabaleta particularly offering promise of fireworks down the left. However, needing a win with their minds on the continent, I can see the visitors just about scraping this one.
| Birmingham City
Simon Sinclair says...
Newcastle will be looking to bounce back after a crushing defeat to Liverpool last time out. Fortunately for them they are probably safe, so the Magpies will be the more relaxed of the two sides. Their home form has been good towards the latter part of the season so I’m expecting more of the same from them.
The only blow for United is that Mike Williamson was ruled out for the season on Thursday with a broken arm so Steven Taylor will have to step up the mark and replace one of their best performers this season.
Birmingham need a result here to keep themselves away from the relegation zone. They’re four points clear but at this stage of the season anything can happen. They’ll be looking at their experienced players to put in a performance here and ease the nerves of the younger players in the side.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Newcastle play against a cagey Birmingham side, but the Magpies won’t want to rest on their laurels, especially with ex-Sunderland player Kevin Phillips in the Blues ranks, and he’ll be eager to get on the score-sheet.
| West Ham
Andrew Kennedy says...
Whilst West Ham at times showed glimpses of the quality they will need to stay in the division in last Sunday’s 2-1 away defeat to Manchester City, a raft of injuries ahead of Saturday’s clash with Blackburn Rovers at Upton Park will only cast further doubt on the east London club’s chances of Premier League survival.
With central defensive duo Matthew Upson and James Tomkins both doubtful, midfield man Scott Parker also faces a race against time to be fit for the game after breaking down in training on Wednesday.
The visitors, however, will be buoyed by last weekend’s 1-0 victory over local rivals Bolton, and will look to secure a further three points that would all but guarantee safety.
The atmosphere will no doubt be tense at the Boleyn Ground, and whether the crowd get behind or on top of the home side could be a key factor in this relegation dog fight, and unfortunately with Avram Grant’s injury list mounting, I think it will be Steve Kean’s men condemning the Hammers to their Championship fate.
Josh Clarke says...
I’m looking forward to a game at White Hart Lane between two sides that have been expansive and haphazard in equal measure this season. A 0-0 draw is out of the picture.
For Spurs, the onus has shifted dramatically after their spate of Premier League draws, with the long-earmarked date with destiny with Manchester City next Tuesday now just a warm-up act for the Europa League qualification stand-off with buoyant Liverpool.
For the Seasiders, the dogfight continues. If you can call two draws on the bounce a resurgence, then well, Blackpool are back in business. One point from 18 prior to that has left them lingering uneasily on the brink of the relegation zone and though their last win was against Harry Redknapp’s side – the Tangerines won’t complete the double.
The game is utterly dependent upon who wins the battle in the middle of the park, with Blackpool’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of Adam, Vaughan and Southern charged with stifling Tottenham’s array of attacking impetus. I don’t think they will.
| West Brom
Ashleigh Rose says...
It’s a massive Black Country derby ahead of West Brom and Wolves on Sunday with Wanderers' top-flight status hanging by a thread. Roy Hodgson has already secured another season of Premier League football for his West Brom side but for his opposite number, Mick McCarthy, it looks like Wolves' fate will go down to the wire.
Wolves did manage to stop the rot last weekend with a hard-fought point away at Birmingham but it’s still no wins in their last five and they remain second from bottom and a point of safety in the league’s tightest of relegation battles. Neighbours West Brom come into the game fresh off the back of their first win over Aston Villa in half a century and are aiming for their first ever top-10 Premier League finish.
Derbies are tight at any stage of the season, but with Wolves still struggling for goals without Kevin Doyle and the momentum with the Baggies, I can see a win heading for the blue and white half of the Black Country.
| Stoke City
Wayne Veysey says...
First of all, a confession. I am almost ashamed to admit that this will be my first ever visit to the Britannia Stadium.
As the chief correspondent of Goal.com based in the south, the football matches I cover mainly involve the top six in the Premier League, the English clubs in the Champions League and the England team.
I cover around three matches a week but, of the 20 top division grounds, the Britannia Stadium has eluded me, as has Bloomfield Road during Blackpool's debut Premier League campaign. It is a quirk of how the fixtures have fallen but also the demands of our coverage.
I am looking forward to being in the land of the tall people and seeing whether Arsenal shrink or stand up to it. I am looking forward to the atmosphere that is said to be second to none and the famous wind that buffets the stadium in all seasons and makes the venue such an unwelcome proposition for visiting teams.
Greg Stobart says...
It's 'Judgement Day', 'Grand Slam Sunday' and 'Clash of the Titans' all rolled into one as Chelsea somehow come into the game knowing a win will see them overtake United at the top of the Premier League on goal difference to virtually complete a stunning late surge for the title.
It is big-match defeats to Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal that has allowed Sir Alex Ferguson's men to slip into this position but they will be heartened memories of their convincing supremacy over the Blues in both legs of their Champions League quarter-final clash last month.
Chelsea will almost be able to play with freedom, knowing that they must win, but United are expert on the counterattack and will look to use the wings to break quickly.
Carlo Ancelotti's side won at Old Trafford last year but United have proven time and again this season that they are able to accept challenges presented to them.
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A tough weekend for our guys, as the Premier League gods, with some surprising results sending our predictions off course. Jonathan Birchall, Matt Monaghan and Greg Stobart all correctly predicted the outcomes of their games, with Jon missing out on a perfect score by one goal, having foreseen a 2-0 victory for Liverpool.
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