Another weekend of Premier League action has come and gone. Usually, the idea of mid-week games would excite me. But given the weekend us United fans just had, I’m quite frankly dreading it.
Losing to bottom-of-the-table West Brom and awarding them just their second win since August was humiliating. Now, fans’ patience with ‘the Chosen One’ has started to diminish, and a trophyless season could be the icing on the cake.
United aren’t the only side back in action though, there are four games in the Premier League this week that could begin to tell the story for the rest of the season.
Here they are:
AFC Bournemouth vs Manchester United
I’m sure you’ve already heard how laughable United’s performance was against West Brom on the weekend and how we gifted City the Premier League title – but this tie seems to be a catch-22 scenario.
On the one hand, United can bounce back. Punishing the Cherries in their own backyard would be the perfect response to the weekend’s miserable display.
On the other hand, however, Jose’s men have a massive FA Cup semi-final tie on the weekend against Spurs. Personally, I think the FA Cup has to be prioritised. In what has been an underwhelming second season under Mourinho, silverware could salvage it somewhat.
With the Premier League out of the question, we may as well get something out of this season.
Both sides go into Wednesday night’s fixture having lost their previous ties, Bournemouth suffering a 3-0 loss away to Liverpool and United obviously losing to West Brom.
Eddie Howe’s men have impressed this season, for the most part, currently sitting in 11th place. Safety from relegation isn’t mathematically confirmed just yet for Bournemouth however, though it’s looking likely.
For United, the only absentee comes in the form of Sergio Romero, who’s out with a knee problem. Which leads questions as to the kind of side Jose will field on Wednesday. Not to say that United don’t have depth. In fact, some players are in dire need of game time.
A United win with a semi-rested squad for Saturday would be the best case scenario. But let’s not get our hopes up…
Brighton vs Spurs
United’s opponents for Saturday are also in action this week, they visit Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday night.
Spurs also look to get back to winning ways after suffering a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City, their first loss of 2018. Brighton, meanwhile, also lost on the weekend, to Crystal Palace in the famed ‘M23 Derby’.
The Seagulls currently sit just seven points above the drop zone in 13th, while Spurs sit seven points clear of Chelsea in fourth.
There’s plenty to play for in this game though. Brighton look to secure Premier League football for another season while Spurs have the opportunity to tie with Liverpool on points.
Burnley vs Chelsea
To say that Chelsea have under-performed this season would be an understatement. Last season’s champions are now struggling to crack even the top four. Despite players like Eden Hazard, Willian, and N’golo Kante showing glimpses of their title-winning form, it still hasn’t been enough.
One team who haven’t under-performed in any way, however, is Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
The Clarets currently sit in seventh place following their 2-1 win over Leicester on the weekend. The idea of European football becoming an ever-increasing possibility for Burnley as well, as a win against Chelsea could move them into sixth.
Burnley have won all of their last five Premier League games. And with the Turf Moor crowd behind them, there’s no reason why they can’t make that six, even against opponents as formidable as Chelsea.
Leicester vs Southampton
The last of this week’s mid-week games sees Leicester City take on relegation strugglers, Southampton.
Both sides suffered losses in their last outings, the Foxes against Burnley as mentioned and Southampton losing 3-2 to Chelsea.
The game is simply a must-win for the Saints. While three points won’t necessarily lift them out of the relegation zone, it would certainly help their bid for survival. Stoke City are hot on their heels though, just one point behind them in 19th, while Swansea are five points clear of Southampton in 17th.
Leicester, on the other hand, sit firmly in the top 10 of the table, though their recent defeat to Burnley leaves their hopes of European football dwindling. A win for the Foxes could widen the gap between them and 9th placed Everton, however, solidifying their hold of 8th place.