Premier League Preview: Man Utd host high-flying Aston Villa, Spurs look to bounce back, and can it get worse for Everton after Newcastle defeat?

Published on 29 April 2023 at 12:00

Another exciting weekend of Premier League action is upon us, and for teams at both ends of the table, the rigorous run of games leaves little room for mistakes to be made, here's your preview for Matchweek 34 of the 2022/23 Premier League.


Crystal Palace vs West Ham

Although it’s looking increasingly unlikely that neither Roy Hodgson nor David Moyes will be in a Premier League dugout at the start of next season, both managers’ main concerns are around reaching the coveted 40 point mark, and it could truly go either way at Saturday lunchtime. 


The Eagles are looking to quickly rebound from frustrating games against Everton and Wolves, whilst the Hammers could be starting to rebuild some momentum following strong performances against the likes of Fulham, Arsenal and Bournemouth. 


Though one may think that West Ham would want to focus on their UEFA Conference League efforts (it’s less than a fortnight until they host AZ Alkmaar in the semi finals) Premier League safety is still not guaranteed for Moyes and co, and with some difficult fixtures up ahead against the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Brentford, this could be one of the last opportunities for West Ham to secure the full three points for the rest of the season.

Brentford vs Nottingham Forest

After some unlucky results and some equally tough fixtures, the European dream had looked all but officially over for Brentford, yet their recent win over Chelsea has reignited hope for Thomas Frank’s side to take the Bee’s where they have never gone before.


Incoming visitors Nottingham Forest could soon be saying goodbye to their survival dream however, as they find themselves embroiled in the relegation dogfight alongside the likes of Leicester City and Everton. Though Steve Cooper will be looking further ahead to the relegation six-pointer with Southampton and very-winnable fixtures away to Chelsea and Crystal Palace next month, this game could be simply damage limitation for Nottingham Forest. 


Both sides are desperate for a win here and look to end a rough period of form (both teams enter this fixture with just one win in their previous five games), but out of Brentford’s pursuit of Europe and Nottingham Forest’s pursuit of survival, which dream could be closer to becoming reality come Saturday afternoon?

Brighton vs Wolves 

Brighton, now out of the FA Cup after their semi-final defeat to Manchester United, can now completely set their sights on securing European football, and with plenty of games in hand on those around them, now could be the perfect time for Roberto De Zerbi’s team to build up momentum at the expense of Julen Lopetegui’s side.


Wolves, like the aforementioned Crystal Palace and West Ham, have an outside chance of going down, but shouldn’t count themselves as a favourite at this moment in time. Amidst the off-field drama surrounding talisman Raul Jimenez, even more inconsistent performances and results could be their ultimate undoing 


Wolves found themselves in a similar position to their hosts just a few seasons ago, dazzling the top half before settling for a Europa League spot: now it’s Brighton’s turn to do more than just replicate this feat. A dominant win at the expense of the travelling Midlanders could be the catalyst of Brighton’s future as a European-level Premier League side.

Bournemouth vs Leeds

Earlier in the season, Bournemouth looked to be finished before they really even got going: decimated 9-0 by Liverpool in August, the Cherries’ turnaround under Gary O’Neil has been nothing short of spectacular. The likes of Marcus Tavernier, Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing in particular have received major plaudits for their performances as they have slowly but surely crawled out of the bottom three.


Leeds may have just escaped the drop last season, but have looked incredibly exploitable in recent weeks, and a far cry from the team that notably took all three points at Anfield earlier in the season. With 12 goals conceded in their last three home games alone, defensive solidity should be Leeds’ top priority heading into the closing stretch of the season.


Factoring in last season’s points threshold for safety was 36 points and above, Bournemouth realistically just need to avoid defeat in order to unofficially guarantee their Premier League status. By the same metric, Leeds will likely need to win this weekend, then follow it up with a win against one of Man City, Newcastle, West Ham or Spurs. It took them until the very final day to confirm their safety last season, it’s looking like another agonising end to the campaign for fans of the Yorkshire outfit.

Fulham vs Manchester City 

It was more a matter of when rather than if Manchester City amassed another incredible winning run that would put them on course for the Premier League title, and following their crucial win against title rivals Arsenal during the midweek fixtures, Pep Guardiola’s side are in pole position for a third straight Premier League title, much to the annoyance of the red half of Manchester and Roy Keane in particular.


Opponents Fulham meanwhile have shown their dangerous potential at times this season, but are clearly a side sorely missing the suspended Aleksandr Mitrovic, in spite of strong performances from the likes of Willian and Andreas Pereira. With European football seemingly off the table and safety guaranteed, will Fulham merely be looking to avoid being the answer to the question “Which team did Erling Haaland score his record-equalling 34th Premier League goal against?”


Man City fans do fear that any slip up could cost them, and Fulham are certainly no pushovers, but this should be business as usual for the Cityzens as their quest for ‘the’ treble continues.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa 

The first scalp that Unai Emery took since taking over the reins as manager of Aston Villa was Erik ten Hag’s, could lightning strike twice as they travel to Manchester United on Sunday?


In what has become an unexpectedly decisive clash between two Champions League hopefuls, Villa (the third most in-form team in the league since Emery’s arrival) must continue with their acclaimed performances and widen any margin between themselves and the chasing pack of Spurs, Liverpool and Brighton if they wish to reward their hard work with a long-awaited return to continental football. 


Old Trafford has been a fortress for much of Man Utd’s Premier League season, with their sole defeat coming on the opening weekend against Brighton. But are the cracks beginning to show without the ever-reliable Varane and Martinez? Ollie Watkins is certainly the one to watch in this Aston Villa side: having produced a masterclass performance just a fortnight ago against the renowned defence of Newcastle, could a pairing of Shaw and Lindelof be an even simpler task for the 27-year-old?

Newcastle vs Southampton

The Saints will need a miracle to stay up this season, coming up against a formidable Newcastle team who have already beaten them three times across two competitions, and are quite simply scoring goals for fun with 19 in their last six games alone.


Southampton have shown their class against the big teams this season, surprising Man City in the Carabao Cup and most notably dealing two damaging draws to Arsenal that have majorly dented the Gunner’s title hopes. But losses against the likes of Bournemouth have put survival in doubt, and it may take more than divine intervention to get the club off the foot of the table this time around.


A Newcastle win may seem like the safe option and a foregone conclusion in the eyes of many, but Southampton will undoubtedly show signs of potential across the 90 minutes. Whether they can snatch a result against the Magpies is far less of a guarantee.

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur

Stints spent outside of European football can sometimes be a blessing in disguise for clubs: for example, it helped Chelsea breeze past the rest of the division in the 2016/17 season. But the financial rewards and transfer allure that come with qualification may be something that neither Liverpool nor Spurs can afford to miss out on. 


The visitors appear to be sleepwalking into disaster, seemingly hoping the teams around them mess up enough and allow them to finish in the top four, an essential feat in order to retain the services of Harry Kane and attract the highly-sought Julian Nagelsmann to North London. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool meanwhile will not want to go another Summer without the necessary funds or credibility to convince the likes of Jude Bellingham to Merseyside; the Champions League remains their stomping ground and arguably their best shot at silverware season after season.


In this titanic tussle between two of the ‘Big Six’. Spurs will still be looking to rebound from their recent performances, but at a stadium where they’ve failed to record a win since May 2011, Liverpool will be the favourites to ascend to 5th position in the table.

Leicester City vs Everton 

18th plays 19th. Former champions versus a side never relegated from the Premier League. It seems stunning to even write about two clubs of Leicester and Everton’s stature both being involved in the relegation battle, but such is the state of the Premier League in 2023.


A win for either team won’t catapult them out of the relegation struggle, but a loss inflicted could all but officially condemn one to the Championship. The magnitude of Monday night’s fixture cannot be understated.


Jamie Vardy, Leicester’s hero on so many occasions, will be relied upon to deliver potentially one more great moment of heroism for the Foxes, and after the Toffees’ midweek humiliation courtesy of Newcastle, another great escape from Leicester is certainly the most likely scenario to unfold. 

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Have Arsenal completely thrown away their Premier League title hopes? Three straight draws followed by a humbling courtesy of Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad have seen Man City assume the Champions-elect mantle heading into the closing stages of the season. A win is nothing short of a necessity for the Gunners.


Had it not been for Thomas Tuchel’s relatively strong run of form at the beginning of the season, Chelsea would almost certainly be vying for Premier League survival based off their form under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard. Condemned to mid table mediocrity for the rest of the campaign, the Blues could play serious spoiler in the title race by snatching a point away at the Emirates. 


Whilst only time will tell whether or not Chelsea can rebound next season from what is perhaps their worst in over a generation, would it be much of a major surprise to see them get one over on their bitter London rivals and deal another decisive blow to Arsenal’s title prospects?


Be sure to let us know how you think the upcoming round of Premier League fixtures will unfold, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the content here on HL Division Sport, including extensive coverage of football, darts, and the world of motorsports!


Jaspar Shepherdson

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