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Our experts believe that Roberto Mancini's men will return to the top of the Premier League with a win whilst the Gunners, the Reds and the Blues will all be held to draws

Just two weeks ago it looked as if the Premier League title race had come to an end as Manchester United held an eight-point lead at the summit over rivals Manchester City.

However, that lead now stands at just three points ahead of the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, meaning that a win for Roberto Mancini's men on Monday could send them top on goal difference.

The race for Champions League football is equally unpredictable as fourth-placed Newcastle face a trip to in-form Wigan, who are looking to fight the drop.

Meanwhile, waiting to pounce on a slip-up from the Magpies are Tottenham, who also face relegation-threatened Lancashire opposition in the form of Blackburn.

Spurs' north London rivals Arsenal are by no means safe in third place, just six points ahead of Harry Redknapp's men, and they meet Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium in a fixture which has previously seen them come unstuck.

Elsewhere in the fight to stay in the Premier League, QPR and Aston Villa must make short trips to local rivals Chelsea and West Brom respectively whilst Bolton have a considerably lengthier jaunt up north to meet Sunderland.

Everton will hope to build on their shock 4-4 draw at Old Trafford when Fulham visit Goodison Park and a win would ensure that they stay ahead of Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who visit Norwich City.

In seemingly the only fixture which presents two sides with little to play for, already-relegated Wolves face an out-of-form Swansea, whose safety is already secured.

So, with all that to chew on, let's see what our correspondents who will be at the grounds think ...

2-1 Fulham


It was an interesting afternoon last Sunday at Old Trafford as nearly 80,000 people watched what will be well up there in the candidates for match of the season.

Of course I’m talking about Everton’s colossal efforts against Manchester United, a game that saw the Toffees concede three goals in 12 minutes, only to grab a share of the spoils thanks to the imperious displays of Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic.

A home tie against Fulham will be the perfect opportunity to continue such blistering performances and strengthen their place ahead of Merseyside rivals Liverpool.

The Cottagers, meanwhile, are enjoying a run of four games without defeat – taking 10 points from a possible 12.

7/1 Sam Bisby's predicted 2-1 win for Everton is 7/1 with PaddyPower
However, Martin Jol’s side will have to call upon their maximum resources to come out of Goodison Park with a respective result against a Toffees side undefeated in the league since the end of March and still buoyant after their exploits in Salford.

Stoke City


The Britannia Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal since Stoke’s promotion to the Premier League; the Potters have won three of their four meetings in league and cup.

The Gunners are one of the form teams in the Premier League at the moment; they have won seven of their last 10 matches and find themselves in the driving seat to finish in third place this season.

Stoke, on the other hand, have only won four games in 2012 - however, they are unbeaten in their last four home games so will be confident that they can stay with Arsene Wenger’s men.

11/1 Alex Fisher's predicted 2-2 draw is 11/1 with PaddyPower
The result in the last three matches at the Britannia has ended 3-1 but I can’t see that happening this time. I can't pick a winner, either, and expect to see a high-scoring draw.



A meeting with Sunderland would normally be enough to strike fear into Bolton hearts, with the Black Cats having been victorious in their last five matches.

However, there surely could not be a better time for relegation-threatened Bolton to visit Wearside because Sunderland look like a side for whom the end of the season can not come quickly enough.

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill’s players look as though they have their minds on their summer holidays and that should enable Bolton to bolster their own hopes of avoiding the drop.

Bolton played well when they were last up in the North-East when they lost 2-0 to a Hatem Ben Arfa-inspired Newcastle but, if Owen Coyle gets his players fired up, then three points should be in the bag.
11/1 Rob Stewart's predicted 2-1 win for Bolton is 11/1 with PaddyPower

Since their 3-3 draw at Manchester City, Sunderland have lacked punch and should be there for the taking by a Bolton side invigorated by their 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

Swansea City


Wolves’ relegation to the Championship was confirmed last Sunday following a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City and, while emotions were running high at Molineux, the west Midlands outfit have dropped out of the Premier League with a whimper.

Under the guidance of Terry Connor, Wolves have taken just two points from eight games, and the only remaining motivation for the 49-year-old will be to restore pride and some credibility to his managerial reputation.

However, after a season which has been showered with plaudits, Swansea still have a top-half finish within their sights and, with home advantage on their side, it will be a difficult task for a demoralised away team to break down Brendan Rodgers’ side’s dominant possession game.

13/2 Andrew Kennedy's predicted 2-1 win for Swansea is 13/2 with PaddyPower
Unfortunately, Wolves have neither the midfield grit to disrupt their flow, or the defensive backbone to ride out wave after wave of attack, and I think it will be the Swans who come out on top by two goals to one on Saturday.

West Brom
Aston Villa


Alex McLeish could be perceived as somewhat of a West Brom hero; on a quest to make the Baggies the top club in the Midlands.

At this stage last season his Birmingham side sat just above the drop-zone. Now, as Villa prepare for the Hawthorns' clash, just three points separate them from joining his old club in the Championship. Deja vu, anyone?

Tuesday's loss to Bolton leaves the Villans winless in seven - the nightmare scenario of relegation is indeed becoming more of a reality with each game.

The hosts, however, go into the fixture on the back of a massive victory for their manager Roy Hodgson, a 1-0 defeat over his former club Liverpool - whom they now trail by just one point.

9/1 John Stammers' predicted 2-0 win for West Brom is 9/1 with PaddyPower
Their boss will be hoping for no let-up, while the fans would love to deepen McLeish's troubles. Therefore, with the momentum truly against the visitors, I fancy another disappointing day for the Villa faithful.

1-3   Newcastle


With the end of the season approaching quickly, it is the time of year when some games may have an aura of disinterest about them, but Newcastle’s trip to Wigan represents quite the opposite.

Recent victories against Manchester United and Arsenal have seen confidence and belief rise again in Roberto Martinez’s team and they currently sit one point above Bolton, who occupy the final relegation place.

Another year in the Premier League is still far from secured, but another win could at least see them move four points clear, although in their way is a side fighting for Champions League against the odds.

In the battle for the final top-four place, Newcastle are looking the most likely victors at the moment, three points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham meaning that this game holds immense importance for both.

18/1 Ryan Benson's predicted 3-1 win for Newcastle is 18/1 with PaddyPower
With Papiss Cisse looking deadly and Newcastle winning each of their last five matches, one struggles to look past Alan Pardew’s men, despite the resurgence of Wigan.
Norwich City

The challenge for Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool at this stage of the season is maintaining their appetite for Premier League fixtures with the FA Cup final looming.

The Reds have taken just four points from their last six matches and, although they hold a game in hand over most of the mid-table sides, there is still time for a mediocre-at-best league campaign to become a very poor one indeed. 14th-placed Stoke trail Liverpool by only four points.

After an electrifying start to 2012, Norwich's form has dipped. Their main priority of survival is all but guaranteed, though, and they will be keen to ask questions of their more illustrious opponents on home turf.

11/2 Oliver Platt's predicted 1-1 draw is 11/2 with PaddyPower
Grant Holt and Andy Carroll, if they start, should provide an intriguing subplot as they look to stake their claims for a place in the England squad for Euro 2012.

Chelsea 1-1 QPR


After their famous triumph in Barcelona, I am looking forward to seeing how much Chelsea limbs and minds are focused on the third of their end-of-season objectives - claiming a top-four league finish.
Roberto Di Matteo made eight changes for the stalemate at Arsenal last Saturday and will be expected to make a similar number of alterations for the visit of revitalised QPR.
The big question is who will man the defensive barricades in the absence of the suspended Branislav Ivanovic and injured centre-back pair Gary Cahill and David Luiz.

Jose Bosingwa deputised with great aplomb in midweek but the physical style of Bobby Zamora wil lpresent a different challenge to Barcelona's more nimble ball players.
7/1 Wayne Veysey's predicted 1-1 draw is 7/1 with PaddyPower
All eyes once again will be on John Terry, as he lurches on to the next drama in his reckless life. He is due to face Anton Ferdinand, the man he is accused of racially abusing last October at Loftus Road.



Spurs have finally slipped out of the top four, relinquishing their place to in-form Newcastle as the reality of a dire situation sets in. One win in nine games, a supposed player revolt and an impending change of manager has undermined what had been an excellent season up to February.

Supporters of the north London club will hope that the penny has finally dropped but Tottenham will need to drastically improve upon a blunt performance at Loftus Road last weekend. The good news is that the omens are with them – Spurs have won the past five meetings between the two clubs – and, frankly, if form vanishes, omens are all supporters need to rustle some hope.

But hope will be found up in the away enclosure too. It looked as though Steve Kean's side had bolted too soon and five consecutive defeats threw them straight back into trouble.

13/1 Jay Jaffa's predicted 2-2 draw is 13/1 with PaddyPower
However, an encouraging 2-0 win over Norwich will provide enough confidence to believe in upsetting the bookmaker's odds.

Though they're back in with a shout of survival, it's a big ask to claim three points at White Hart Lane – no matter the form of the hosts.

Manchester City
Manchester United


Whether it’s ‘game of the decade’ or ‘derby of the century’, the hype is in overdrive and it is entirely understandable given the significance of this clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Not only do City have home advantage but they also have the momentum - and I’m looking forward to seeing how they start the game. The first 20 minutes are going to be crucial and, roared on by the crowd, Roberto Mancini’s side will go for United’s throats from the off.

United have the experience of big matches and title triumphs, but their defence creaked under pressure against Everton last week and they will also travel across the city with memories of the crushing 6-1 defeat to their noisy neighbours in October.
15/2 Greg Stobart's predicted 1-0 win for Manchester City is 15/2 with PaddyPower

The title is on the line between two rivals who have pushed each other all the way in the Premier League this season.

Anything could happen - especially given the classic derbies in recent years - but I think City’s all-Argentine strikeforce might make the difference on an epic, nerve-jangling night in Manchester.