By Jonathan Lewis | 4th March 2021
We are into the final stretch of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign and it is quite clear at the top of the table with Manchester City in pole position to reclaim the league title from Liverpool.
The Cityzens are already 14 points clear of second-placed Manchester United and their form has been simply exceptional with a stunning 15-match winning league streak.
They are scheduled to host United in the Manchester derby on Sunday and that is one of the big games to look forward to this month among several others.
Here are some of the key matches to watch out for.
Liverpool vs Chelsea – March 4:
Liverpool recently ended a dreadful four-match losing league run with a 2-0 win at Sheffield United and they are now two points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham United.
The Blues, on the other hand, are unbeaten in seven league games since Thomas Tuchel took charge. They are one place and one point above the Reds.
Bookmaker-ratings.com have the hosts as marginal betting favourites in this game but this could be a tough one to call with the hosts’ defensive issues and Tuchel at the helm for the visitors.
The winner of this game will jump into the top four, given the Hammers are not in midweek action. The Reds are unbeaten against the Blues at Anfield in the league since 2014.
They will be boosted by the returns of Fabinho and Alisson, but it will be difficult to predict a winner. The Blues have improved defensively and may welcome Thiago Silva back after a hamstring concern.
Prediction: Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea
Manchester City vs Manchester United – March 7:
The Cityzens have won their last 21 games in all competitions and are close to matching Bayern Munich’s 23-match record European winning streak last year where they won the treble.
Their recent league record against United has been poor with two defeats and one draw and manager Pep Guardiola will be determined to put an end to the winless run.
Meanwhile, United’s record against the ‘Big Six’ in the league this season has been disappointing with just five points (five draws) attained from seven games while scoring just one goal.
They have taken the game to their rivals in the past, but could go with a more conservative approach as they need points in their top-four pursuit. Still, the Cityzens can be fancied to edge out the contest.
Prediction: Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
Chelsea vs Everton – March 8:
The Blues have been handed a tricky schedule with United, Liverpool and Everton to face. They managed to play out a draw against United and will be aiming to get at least one point out of their Anfield trip in midweek.
At the weekend, they will come up against another Merseyside outfit in the Toffees, who have beaten them in three of the previous four league meetings.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are right in the mix for Champions League qualification and will fancy their chances of getting something out of the game at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have been solid at the back under Tuchel but that has come as a cost. The decision to play with a back three has limited their attacking threat.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Everton
Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur – March 14:
The north London derby has not been a favourable fixture for the Gunners in recent times as they have been unable to finish on the winning side.
The Gunners have not won any of the previous five matches against Spurs in all competitions and have lost the last two games in the Premier League.
The game is sandwiched between the double-legged round of 16 tie of the Europa League and both teams may be tempted to rest players, given they stand a better chance of qualifying for the Champions League by winning the competition.
While there is plenty of pride at stake, a draw won’t be a bad result for both teams. Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has lost just two of his 22 matches as the opposition manager against the Gunners.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Newcastle United – March 20:
Brighton have impressed with their possession-based football under Graham Potter, but they are still in a relegation battle, all because of their poor exploits in front of goal.
The Seagulls have created plenty of scoring chances this term but have not converted them. Last week was a prime example as they missed two penalties in the 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Both teams are just three points ahead of the drop zone at the moment but the scenario could be different before they face each other on Matchday 29.
Callum Wilson, who has been the Magpies’ top scorer is out injured until April, but the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron have impressed lately.
Judging by the Seagulls’ lack of cutting edge upfront, it won’t come as a surprise if the Magpies take the points from the Amex Stadium.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Newcastle United
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and 11v11.com
Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer