Man City, Liverpool clash in epic title-decider; Chelsea & Arsenal seek redemption; Apex Football Weekend Preview

Come Friday night April 8th 2022, action in the Premier League will commence with Matchday 32 fixtures as the season reaches the business end.

Following the conclusion of the quarter-final first leg matches in all three European continental football competitions namely: the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League, domestic activities resumes with a full slate of crucial games at both ends of the table, including an epic mouth-watering title showdown between reigning league champions and current leaders Manchester City and Merseyside outfit Liverpool.

As usual, Apex Football previews the biggest games from Matchday 32 offering in the Premier League this weekend, and what it portrays for all the teams involved.

MANCHESTER CITY VS LIVERPOOL:

No doubt, the most-anticipated and widely talked about fixture amongst football fans and pundits alike is the clash between Manchester City and Liverpool which will headline Super Sunday in the Premier League this weekend.

Both sides have won the last four domestic titles, with the Cityzens being victorious in 2018, 2019 and 2021 while the Reds claimed a first league crown in thirty years by scooping the trophy in 2020. This weekend’s mammoth clash is a showdown that is sure to dictate the destination of the title.

The Reds come into this match on the back of a ten-match winning run and will be looking to make it eleven wins on the spin, would put them two points ahead of their rivals, a small but significant advantage at this crucial stage of the campaign. Liverpool’s last league win at the Etihad came way back in 2015 but a morale-boosting Champions League victory over Benfica in midweek means the Reds will make the trip to Manchester brimming with confidence.

On the other hand, City have responded positively having dropped points away to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park a fortnight ago by beating Southampton, Atletico Madrid and Burnley to ensure spirits are high ahead of Liverpool’s visit to the Etihad Stadium. 

EVERTON VS MANCHESTER UNITED:

A game in which both sides desperately need the three points but not more so than Everton, whose current situation in the Premier League has seen them reach panic mode.

The Toffees continue to slide deeper into the relegation mire as they fell 3-2 to Burnley at Turf Moor last time out. Their terrible run of form sees them remain in 17th place with one point separating them from the drop zone as they prepare to embark on a nightmarish run of fixtures. 

Manager Frank Lampard was brought in to steady the ship, guide the team to safety whilst restoring the feel-good factor around the blue half of Merseyside, but seven defeats in 12 means morale is at an all-time low. The visit of Manchester United will be followed by games against Leicester City, Liverpool and Chelsea – making this weekend’s clash against the Red Devils a must-win if Everton are to avoid dropping into the second tier for the first time since 1954.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will visit Goodison Park in the knowledge that only a victory will do if they are to keep their top-four hopes alive. One victory in their last four games has seen them relinquish their grip on the final Champions League spot, allowing Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs to take pole position in the race for fourth. 

With reports already suggesting that Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is close to being appointed as the club’s new permanent manager, perhaps it could provide the spark United needs to renew their push for a Top-Four spot.

SOUTHAMPTON VS CHELSEA:

These are not happy times for Chelsea Football Club and its supporters. The initial off-the-pitch issues surrounding the club’s takeover, sale and new owner appeared not to have any bearing on the field as the Blues continued to rack up the wins required.

But the West London outfit have now suffered back-to-back defeats at Stamford Bridge in the matter of days. First, it was fellow London rivals Brentford claiming a surprise 4-1 victory last time out despite the Blues having taken the lead through Antonio Rudiger. Then their bid to successfully retain their European crown were torn to shreds in midweek as Real Madrid won the first leg of their quarter-final clash 3-1, with Karim Benzema netting a hattrick.

With the club’s long-term future still uncertain, coach Thomas Tuchel is well aware he desperately needs to steady the ship with a much-needed morale boosting win over the Saints – as Top-Four rivals and fellow London clubs Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal involved in a frantic chase for a UCL spot.

ARSENAL VS BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION:

Arsenal were brought down from their high horse on Monday night, when they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Crystal Palace to bring to an end their six-game unbeaten run on the road.

The loss to Crystal Palace was engineered by one of their own – former player and captain Patrick Vieira, which has now plunged the Gunners into familiar crisis as they prepare to take on an out-of-form Brighton and Hove Albion.

Furthermore, the Gunners’ problems are compounded with injury to left-back Kieran Tierney, which has left the side desperately short of options in defence with crucial games coming up. Coach Mikel Arteta has already had to make do without Japanese right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, whose season-ending knee injury leaves the Gunners threadbare in at the back.

Nonetheless, Arsenal should be able to take advantage of Brighton’s poor run of form in attack. The Seagulls have the worst shots-to-goals ratio in the league, converting just 6.7% of their chances. In their goalless draw with Norwich City last time out, they had 31 efforts at goal without scoring – the most by a side in a Premier League match since Crystal Palace against Cardiff City in December 2018.

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