FA Cup Final & Premier League Tips – 14th & 15th May
This weekend is the FA Cup Final weekend, and Liverpool and Chelsea will clash at Wembley in the only game on Saturday, although it has an unusual kick off time of 4.45pm (believe it or not, because of the Eurovision Song Contest).
It’s the second domestic cup final between the two teams this season, with Liverpool having won the Carabao Cup back in February when they defeated Chelsea 11-10 after an epic penalty shootout, following a 0-0 draw between the teams.
On Sunday, the action turns back to the Premier League with seven games taking place and we will pick three of those to complement our FA Cup Final tip for this week’s selection.
Crucial games include Tottenham taking on Burnley, Leeds facing Brighton in what is now a must win game for the Elland Road side, Everton hosting Brentford and in the race for the title, West Ham host Manchester City, with City knowing a win here, or against Aston Villa in their final game next weekend, would make it all but impossible for Liverpool to win the title.
So this could be a weekend where we see not just the FA Cup winner decided, but also who gets relegated from the Premier League and also who the Champions will be on the final weekend.
Here’s my tips for four of the games coming up this weekend.
FA Cup Final Tip: Saturday 14th May
With FA Cup Finals, there’s a good deal of sense in the adage that form goes out of the window as it is just a one off game. So to that end, I am not going to put too much stock in the recent form of both these teams, but I think a look at how they have got on against each other this season is far more pertinent.
What is clear from those three games is that a draw is the pick to make. The first game at Anfield saw Chelsea earn a 1-1 draw despite playing the second half with ten men after Reece James was sent off for handling the ball on the line.
Then at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool raced into a two-goal lead before Chelsea pegged them back before half time in what was a hugely exciting game and one of the best Premier League clashes of the season. The Carabao Cup Final was a hugely entertaining 0-0 with four disallowed goals by VAR.
Both teams have so much at stake here, perhaps Chelsea more so than Liverpool as it is the only trophy that they can win this season. But Liverpool are long overdue a win in this competition but I can see this one being forced into extra time and perhaps even penalties once again to decide the winner.
Premier League Tips: Sunday 15th May
Leeds United will be without Luke Ayling and Dan James for this game with both being suspended after being sent off in Leeds past two games, and they are absences that manager Jesse Marsche could have well done without as he strives to keep Leeds in the Premier League.
The Elland Road side now face a team against whom they have an awful record, winning just one of the last 16 games between the two going all the way back to February 2010. In fact, since they got promoted, Leeds are yet to beat Brighton in the Premier League, losing twice and drawing once.
So with history not on their side and a number of key men missing, this is a game I think Leeds have to try and win and I can see the opening half being close and cagey with the teams perhaps going in at half time all square, after which I can see the game opening up as Leeds try to get a goal and Brighton counter.
Given how brilliant Brighton were against Manchester United last week, it is hard to see them stalling here and I think as Leeds push for a winning goal in the second half, they can take full advantage and claim the win which could well send Leeds back down into the Championship.
West Ham have avoided defeat against Manchester City in their last two home games, but in 12 other games before and after that, City have won every single one and it is little wonder that many people feel City have already got one hand on the league title even before this game is played.
City’s dominant win at Wolves likely was the result that confirmed it and if they win at West Ham it would take a City defeat on the final day paired by two huge Liverpool wins for City to lose out on goal difference and that just doesn’t look likely to happen.
That’s not to say West Ham don’t have a chance here. If the Hammers play well, then they can certainly cause City plenty of problems, especially with a defence that has a number of players on the injury list now.
But given the form City are in, I just cannot see them slipping up and with Kevin De Bruyne in inspiring form, I am backing them to take the lead early in this game as they did against Wolves and to then hold on to it to ensure they claim the win that will almost assure them of the title.
Make no mistake, this is a massive day for Everton football club as their Premier League status is on the line. A win here would likely be enough for them to stay up and would require Leeds and Burnley to win both their remaining games, as well as Everton lose both theirs, for the Blues to go down.
A good run of recent form at home, plus a rare away win at Leicester followed by a draw at Watford has seen the Toffees move out of the drop zone and while it has still been a miserable season for the Blues, Frank Lampard will know that staying in the Premier League is the bare minimum for this team.
Brentford come into the game with no pressure on them and reaping the rewards from taking a gamble on Christian Eriksen’s return to the game with the Danish midfielder sparking some of the Bees best performances of the season during his half-season spell with the club.
I can’t see Everton losing here, but I think Brentford are going to be a tough team to beat and as such, I think a draw is the likely outcome.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.