United Face City in One Of Two Key Wednesday Night Premier League Clashes
Wednesday night’s two Premier League games could well play a pivotal role in deciding two key factors at the end of the season; which teams finish in the Champions League qualification places and who ends up winning the Premier League title. Liverpool currently lead the race for the latter, two points ahead of Manchester City having played a game more but a win for City on Wednesday night would move them one point ahead with just three games left to play each.
For United and Arsenal, who face a trip to Wolves in the other game on Wednesday night, the battle is for a Champions League spot, a matter complicated by both Arsenal and Chelsea’s involvement in the Europa League. Should one of those two teams win the competition, they would take a Champions League spot for next season and only the team finishing third behind Liverpool and City would earn that final Champions League spot. If neither of them wins the Europa League, then third and fourth would earn a Champions League place from their Premier League performance.
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Let’s begin our preview of Wednesday’s big games starting with what should be an intriguing game at Molineux as the scourge of the top six, Wolves face Arsenal.
Wednesday 24th April
Wolves v Arsenal
Wolves record against the top six this season has been superb. They have beaten Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham on the road in the Premier League, drawn with Manchester City and also beat Liverpool and Manchester United in the FA Cup too. They have also played Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and earned a point, so the Gunners will be under no illusions as to the size of the task facing them today.
That said, Wolves have not been at their best since their dramatic FA Cup Semifinal defeat to Watford, when they were just seconds from reaching the final, but a Watford equaliser and then another Hornets goal in extra time saw them progress at the expense of the Midland side. They have not win since that defeat and were held at home last time out by Brighton.
After Arsenal blew a great opportunity to move third in the Premier League table by losing at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday, the Gunners now know that a win here is imperative to improve their Premier League prospects but getting a positive result at Molineux is tough, of the top six only Liverpool and Tottenham have landed wins on the road here.
The Gunners run in will be punctuated by their two-legged Europa League semifinal tie with Valencia, but all four of Arsenal’s remaining games are winnable if they play their best, but three are on the road and Arsenal this season in away games have been especially poor. A win here would certainly give them a huge confidence boost ahead of a tricky run in.
We can’t quite get around how these two teams play at times. Wolves look awful against weaker opponents but really click against the top sides. Arsenal can be world beaters one minute and then dismal the next. To me this is very much a game where the winner will be who turns up on the night and experience shows that Wolves tend to do this in the big games. Therefore, back Wolves to win at 19/10 with bet365. For a Correct Score, the Gunners defensive record on the road is abominable but Wolves do not score too many, so it is a toss up between 1-0 and 2-1 and I’m going to go for the correct score of Wolves to win 2-1 here which is a 10/1 shot at bet365.
Manchester United v Manchester City
There’s no doubt that most eyes in the Premier League, especially those owned by Liverpool fans, will be glued onto events unfolding at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. The Reds fans will be hoping Manchester United can take something from this game and dent City’s title hopes, while the blue half of Manchester will be desperate for the three points to move them ahead of Liverpool in the title race once again.
In terms of form and previous record in this fixture, the omens don’t look great for United fans. City come into this game with nine wins in their last ten games and they have also lost just once at Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2012. They have won on both their last two visits to Old Trafford, with United’s best results against City most recently tending to come at the Etihad.
There’s also not much solace for United fans in their recent form. The Red Devils have lost an unprecedented six of their last eight games, although the one crumb of comfort is that the two wins in that period have been home wins in the Premier League, although unconvincing, over Watford and West Ham, both by 2-1 scorelines.
Of course, this is a derby game and anything can happen in these types of encounter and it is fair to say that City have not been their fluent best in recent times either, scraping a win against Tottenham at the weekend when they were hanging on at times. With Kevin de Bruyne also likely to be absent through injury, United may also benefit from the Belgian’s qualities, which have been a key element in City’s performances of late, being absent.
City for their part though have been very strong against top six sides this season and have a strong record against them, however United have proven in the past to be well capable of beating this City side and after their 4-0 shellacking at Goodison Park at the weekend, which was labelled a ‘disrespectful’ performance by their midfielder Paul Pogba, United fans will be expecting a reaction on Wednesday night.
Luke Shaw coming back is a big boost for United as they have missed the left back in his three-game absence. However, their performance at Everton will have to be improved tenfold for them to stand any chance against City. City are starting to look a little leggy but they are grinding out results and I think they will manage to do so here, preserving their good away record against their local rivals. Back Manchester City to win at 4/9 and you can back City to win the game by a correct score of 2-1 at odds of 7/1 with bet365.