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All eyes on basement battle as Allardyce makes return

Sam Allardyce back in the dugout as new Leeds boss (Photograph by Dave Howarth/PA via AP)

The Premier League enters its final month with all four key races still in the balance.

The relegation scrap took a further twist with the recent news that Leeds United manager Javi Gracia has been relieved of his duties and replaced by Sam Allardyce, who has a reputation of keeping several teams in the top flight.

The Fantasy landscape also heats up with the final few games and Jefferson Lerma, of Bournemouth, and Morgan Gibbs-White, of Nottingham Forest, are strong budget midfield options for the run-in.

Congratulations to April winner Javon Darrell, whose team TLF Gunners amassed 510 points across the month. Jordan E and Oh My Ghoddos leads the overall standings with 2,299 points.


Bournemouth v Chelsea (11am)

Bournemouth thrashed Leeds at home, their sixth win in nine games, to move nine points clear of the drop zone. Ryan Fredericks and Junior Stanislas are out this weekend, while Hamed Traore, Marcus Tavernier and Kieffer Moore are doubtful for the Cherries.

Chelsea have lost six straight games under Frank Lampard and will finish with their lowest-ever Premier League points total in a 38-game season if they do not win at least four of their last five games.

Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mason Mount and Armando Broja are out with various injuries this weekend.

Chelsea edge this rivalry through 11 meetings, with six wins to Bournemouth’s four.

Prediction: 2-2

Manchester City v Leeds United (11am)

Manchester City remain in control of the title race and beat West Ham to keep their noses in front while also having a game in hand on rivals Arsenal. Nathan Ake is doubtful this weekend for Pep Guardiola’s team.

Leeds United were smashed on the road by Bournemouth for their fifth defeat in six games, but remain above the relegation zone on goal difference. Stuart Dallas, Luis Sinisterra and Tyler Adams are out this weekend, while Liam Cooper is doubtful.

This is an even rivalry, with each side taking seven victories from their 19 league meetings.

Prediction: 2-1

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace (11am)

Tottenham came from three goals down but conceded a late winner to lose away to Liverpool and dent their hopes of Champions League qualification next term.

Hugo Lloris, Emerson Royal, Ryan Sessegnon, Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma are out this match.

Crystal Palace edged West Ham in a seven-goal thriller to hit the 40-point mark and virtually secure another season of Premier League football. Nathan Ferguson is out with a muscle injury for this London derby, while Nathaniel Clyne and Wilfried Zaha are doubtful.

Spurs dominate this derby, winning 16 of their 27 meetings with Palace.

Prediction: 1-2

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa (11am)

Wolves have to remain cautious about their survival bid after a thumping away defeat to Brighton. Francisco Oliveira and Sasa Kalajdzic are out of this home match with Europa League contenders Villa, while Nelson Semedo is doubtful with a knee injury.

Aston Villa were beaten by Manchester United last week and failed to score for the first time under coach Unai Emery. Matty Cash, Philippe Coutinho, Leon Bailey and Boubacar Kamara are out for this West Midlands derby.

This is another even derby rivalry, with each club winning five of their 15 league encounters.

Prediction: 1-2

Liverpool v Brentford (1.30pm)

Liverpool edged Spurs thanks to a strike from Diogo Jota in the fourth minute of stoppage time to jump into fifth place. Calvin Ramsay and Stefan Bajcetic are out this weekend, while Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita are doubtful.

Brentford came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest and keep their slim European hopes alive. Thomas Strakosha, Pontus Jansson, Christian Norgaard and Keane Lewis-Potter are out for the Bees’ trip to Merseyside, while Kristoffer Ajer is doubtful to lack of fitness.

These teams have met three times, with each club winning once.

Prediction: 1-2


Newcastle United v Arsenal (12.30pm)

Newcastle maintained their firm grip on third place with a comfortable home win over bottom side Southampton. Jamaal Lascelles, Emil Krafth, and Allan Saint-Maximin are out with various injuries, while Sean Longstaff is doubtful with a foot problem this weekend.

Arsenal returned to winning ways at home to Chelsea, moving back ahead of Manchester City in this topsy-turvy title race. Takehiro Tomiyasu, William Saliba and Mohamed Elneny are out to injury, while Gabriel is doubtful with a knock this weekend.

Arsenal have won 33 of their 55 league meetings with the Magpies.

Prediction: 1-2

West Ham United v Manchester United (3pm)

West Ham were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in midweek and are without Gianluca Scamacca, while Kurt Zouma is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Donny van de Beek are out for this trip to East London, while Tom Heaton, Scott McTominay and Alejandro Garnacho are doubtful.

United dominate this rivalry with 33 wins to West Ham’s seven through 53 league encounters.

Prediction: 0-2


Fulham v Leicester City (11am)

Fulham narrowly lost at home to Manchester City last weekend, and were beaten by Liverpool on Wednesday. Aleksandar Mitrovic is suspended, Andreas Pereira and Tim Ream are out to ankle and arm injuries respectively, while Willian is a doubt owing to a hamstring injury.

Leicester drew with Everton to edge out of the drop zone on goal difference. Jannik Vestergaard, James Justin, Sammy Braybrooke and Kelechi Iheanacho are out with injury this match, while Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans and Ryan Bertrand are doubtful.

Fulham hold the upper hand in this rivalry with four wins to the Foxes’ two from nine matches.

Prediction: 2-2

Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton (1.30pm)

Brighton are without Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Jakub Moder and Jeremy Sarmiento, while Evan Ferguson is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Everton took a draw from their visit to relegation rivals Leicester on Monday, yet remain one point from safety. Ruben Vinagre, Seamus Coleman and Andros Townsend are out this game, while Ben Godfrey is doubtful.

The Toffees edge this series with five wins to Brighton’s four through eleven encounters.

Prediction: 3-1

Nottingham Forest v Southampton (4pm)

Nottingham Forest conceded the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time at Brentford, which keeps them just inside the bottom three on goal difference. Dean Henderson, Neco Williams, Scott McKenna, Giulian Biancone, Willy Boly, Omar Richards and Chris Wood are out this weekend, while Jack Colback, Gustavo Scarpa, Danilo and Brennan Johnson are doubtful.

Southampton are six points from safety after the defeat at Newcastle. Romain Perraud, Juan Larios Lopez and Mohamed Salisu are out for Saints this weekend, while Tino Livramento and Paul Onuachu are doubtful owing to lack of fitness and knee injury respectively.

Forest dominate this rivalry with six wins from their 11 meetings.

Prediction: 1-0

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Published May 05, 2023 at 7:31 am (Updated May 05, 2023 at 8:09 am)

All eyes on basement battle as Allardyce makes return

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