Our reporters back Sir Alex Ferguson's side to become England's most successful club, while their 'noisy neighbours' will celebrate their own trophy success in the capitalWelcome 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.
Manchester United will be crowned champions with a point away to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
West Ham will be relegated should they lose at Wigan on Sunday afternoon, as two of the league's strugglers look to claw themselves out of the relegation dogfight.
But the tie of the weekend is the sole 3pm match on Saturday, as Manchester City take on Stoke City in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
So with 10 matches on offer, here are the predictions of the Goal.com team...
| Blackburn Rovers
| Manchester United
Greg Stobart says...
Could Manchester United throw away a 19th top flight title when they just need one more point to become champions? Not a chance.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side have two games to clinch the Premier League crown but they will be eager to complete the job on Saturday, not least in order to deny Manchester City some of the headlines if they win the FA Cup later in the day.
With the Champions League final against Barcelona on May 28, Ferguson will want to brush Blackburn aside so he can rest a few players when Blackpool travel to Old Trafford on the last day of the season.
Blackburn deserved their point at West Ham last weekend but United's strike pairing of Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney will be on a different planet to what the defence faced at Upton Park.
The Red Devils are playing with supreme confidence and no nerves – the title should be theirs before the FA Cup final kicks off on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Allen says...
After finally slipping into the relegation zone the pressure is on Blackpool more than ever to get a result against Bolton. The Seasiders are without a win in their last nine matches though, whilst their home form is the worst in the Premier League.
Bolton will be hoping to secure a top-half finish after enjoying a strong season but the Trotters, who are currently ninth in the table, have won only two league games on their travels this season.
The match has the potential to go either way but despite Blackpool’s motivation to get a win, they have not shown anything recently to suggest they can end their winless streak to move out of the bottom three and Bolton will prove too much.
Ash Rose says...
Sunderland probably can’t wait for the season to end now after a disappointing second half of the season that saw the club fall from European candidates to relegation strugglers, something Steve Bruce has put down to what he calls "the worst injury crisis he’s ever suffered in management", with Sunderland missing as many as 12 first-team squad members this season. The sale of Darren Bent obviously didn’t help either and despite Asamoah Gyan’s erratic form, they have struggled for goals since Bent's departure.
Wolves gave themselves a massive Premier League lifeline last weekend with the memorable 3-1 derby win over West Brom, and go into this game with a firm belief that can now avoid the drop. Mick McCarthy could even have Kevin Doyle to call upon again having declared himself fit for Wolves’ run-in. Though with the form that Steven Fletcher is in, they might not need him.
It may be Sunderland’s final home game of the season but with very little to play for I can see Wolves, buoyant after last weekend’s Black Country win, grabbing another vital point in their quest for Premier League safety.
| West Brom
Ryan Benson says...
Since West Brom’s five-match losing streak that commenced in December, the club have gone on to draw with Arsenal, beat Liverpool and secure Premier League football for another year, therefore branding this season a success.
Although having little to play for, Roy Hodgson will be looking for a response from Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to arch-rivals Wolves, a match in which West Brom were - at times - battered by their counterparts.
Everton have had a mixed bag away from Goodison Park recently, with a draw at Wigan coming as a disappointment, but the chance of getting sixth place could help trump West Brom’s threat.
| Manchester City
| Stoke City
Wayne Veysey says...
The beauty of this final is that whichever of the two perennial bridesmaids end their four-decade trophy drought, it will spark wild once-in-a-generation celebrations that could threaten to tear the arch off Wembley.
I was at Wembley for the all-Manchester semi-final and the noise generated by the City fans was awe-inspiring. As for the 'Poznan' dance which we saw plenty of following the midweek Champions League qualification, it has become one of the greatest crowd celebrations in world football.
Stoke City have earned a deserved reputation as one of the most vociferous set of supporters in the top flight since gaining Premier League status and will be no shrinking wallflowers, either.
We should be in for a treat of red and blue passion, colour, frenzy and emotion. The game might not be for the purists but we know it will be seriously competitive.
Andrew Kennedy says...
By the time Chelsea kick off against Newcastle on Sunday, Manchester United may have already rendered this game meaningless, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men only needing to avoid defeat against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday to confirm their record 19th Premier League crown.
The last time these two sides met at Stamford Bridge the Magpies became the first side to breach Chelsea’s goalmouth at home this season, but don’t expect a repeat of the 4-3 defeat Sunday’s hosts suffered in the League Cup third round.
The fact Carlo Ancelotti’s men have emerged from the abyss to comfortably secure a Champions League spot and make a late challenge for the title is testament to the Blues' incredible form since the turn of the year.
Newcastle have proved precarious opposition for the top teams this campaign, and were unlucky not to grab all three points against Chelsea in November’s encounter at St James' Park. However Alan Pardew’s side may be tempted to take their foot of the gas having cushioned their Premier League survival, and I expect the west London club to continue their hot streak with a 3-1 victory on Sunday.
| Aston Villa
Josh Clarke says...
Only the most pedant of mathematicians would claim that Aston Villa are not clear of the drop, but that doesn't mean that they won't want to continue their fine record at the Emirates.
Arsenal's last two outings - the win against Manchester United and the capitulation at the hands of Stoke - speak volumes about their season and I'm not sure whether we will see Jekyll, or Hyde, on Sunday.
I’m interested to see how Ashley Young and Stewart Downing fare on the expansive pitch at the Emirates – particularly as it’s looking unlikely that the England duo will be with Villa next season.
I think the Gunners will prove too strong for the visitors on the day and with the third slot in the Premier League still to be nailed down, Wenger will be keen to keep Manchester City at bay with three points.
Ian Murphy says...
Birmingham versus Fulham is a game that many people expected to have an 'end of season' feel about it when they glanced at the fixture list. But that couldn't be further from the truth for the home side, who need three points to take a giant stride to Premier League safety.
Back at the end of February everything seemed rosy for Alex McLeish's men, a surprise 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the League Cup final had the city bouncing and a comfortable mid-table finish was on the cards.
But just as the final has been blamed for Arsenal's title collapse, it can be seen as the catalyst for Birmingham's drop into the dreaded relegation scrap. The second city team have won just two of their 11 games since bringing the League Cup back to the 'second city' and sit just three points above Blackpool in 18th place. A win against Fulham is a must for McLeish, who will want the three points to ensure his side aren't still in with a chance of relegation when they travel to Tottenham on the final day of the season.
Despite sitting comfortably in 10th place with nothing to play for in their final two games, Mark Hughes will be expecting a reaction from his Fulham team after their poor display in last Monday's 5-2 mauling at the hands of Liverpool. Hughes will need to ensure his players aren't already on the beach and get them fired up for what is bound to be a physical encounter at St Andrew's.
Jon Birchall says...
Sunday’s clash at Anfield brings together two sides whose recent form couldn’t provide a larger contrast. Liverpool have four wins in six and have only lost once in the league since February. Spurs on the other hand have seen their hopes of Champions League football next season disappear with defeat at Eastlands on Tuesday leaving Harry Redknapp’s side with only one league win in three months.
Watching Kenny Dalglish’s men in recent weeks has proven an absolute pleasure, with Maxi Rodriguez’s upturn in form epitomising a club whose reversal in fortunes has been as remarkable as it was unforeseeable back at the turn of the year.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the visitors, a team in the most debilitating of slumps, look to stop the Red tide at a ground where they have struggled in the past. It will take a great effort to do so.
| Wigan Athletic
| West Ham
Matt Monaghan says...
Everything is sewn up at the top of the Premier League table, and if West Ham United lose on Saturday, their fate will be similarly sealed.
The Hammers' season to forget looks to be headed towards a predictable end after a run of five losses in their last six games left them four points away from safety. Football Writers' Player of the Year Scott Parker has been missing for much of this run and manager Avram Grant will be praying his talisman's ability will drag his Championship-standard team-mates away from the inevitable.
Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker dominated Wigan Athletic's midifeld three in the 1-1 draw last Saturday. Parker is of a much higher calibre and will relish the freedom of the D.W. Stadium, especially if Mohamed Diame misses out through injury again.
Parker has dealt calmly with the pressure of keeping West Ham in the fight on the pitch. Another top drawer performance this weekend could ensure they remain in the battle to secure the riches afforded by top-flight status that would keep the club afloat off the pitch.
||0 CORRECT 2 PERFECT 7 WRONG
A tough weekend for our guys, with some surprising results sending our predictions off course. Nonetheless, Simon Sinclair and Greg Stobart were spot on with theirs, having foreseen 2-1 victories for Newcastle United over Birmingham, and Manchester United's triumph over Chelsea.
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