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Manchester United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford in the final Premier League home game of the season on Thursday night. The Red Devils need just the one point to secure Champions League football for the next season. Last weekend was "just perfect" for Erik ten Hag and his players. They recorded a priceless 1:0 win over Bournemouth, while Liverpool dropped two points against Aston Villa. As a result, Man United now need only one point from the remaining two games. As I wrote, the victory against Bournemouth was priceless. The lone goal was scored early in the match by Casemiro. His stunning bicycle kick in the 8th minute decided the winners, but goalkeeper David de Gea should also be mentioned. It was his 17th Premier League clean sheet of the season, enough to collect the Golden Glove. Ten Hag has some injury worries ahead of this match - Marcus Rashford is rated as doubtful with a leg injury, while Lisandro Martinez, Tom Heaton, Donny van de Beek, Marcel Sabitzer and Phil Jones are definitely sidelined.
I wrote many times about Chelsea and I will repeat once again - this is an awful season for the Blues. They sit on the 12th place with 43 points. The best they could finish the season is 11th position. Of course, the fans are disappointed, as well as new owner Todd Boehly. The American spent huge money to bring new players - more than £323 million only in January transfer window. He also changed the manager - Graham Potter replaced Tuchel, while then Lampard replaced Potter. Of course, the new name is expected soon. Lampard has huge number of injury issues at the moment, with defender Benoit Badiashile being the last victim. He could supposedly be facing a few months out with a groin problem. Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Armando Broja, N'Golo Kante, Marc Cucurella, Marcus Bettinelli and Reece James are also struggling with injuries. On a positive note, Kalidou Koulibaly should start, while it remains to be seen if Mateo Kovacic will be ready in time for this game. Carney Chukwuemeka is pushing for a starting role and Lampard should consider that, particularly because he was blocked from joining up with the England squad for the Under-20 World Cup.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Prediction:
Manchester United have three points more than Liverpool and need just a point from the remaining two games. And I believe the Red Devils will join Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle in the Champions League. In other words, Man United will avoid defeat here. The potential draw will satisfy both teams. It is clear about the hosts, but I am also sure Frank Lampard will be satisfied too. Leaving Old Trafford unbeaten will improve his awful record. Manchester United are the toughest nut to crack at home in the current Premier League season. None of the remaining "Big Six" teams were able to escape the defeat - the champions Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have all lost here. The draw will definitely be a good result for Chelsea.
Manchester United vs Chelsea Pick: Draw @ 4.43 with Pinnacle
Ortega; Lewis, Stones, Laporte, Gomez; Silva, Phillips, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Alvarez, Palmer
Brentford welcome Manchester City to the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Both teams have nothing to play for, the result is almost irrelevant, though both managers will like to finish the season in style. And it was an excellent season for both. Pep Guardiola's side secured another title, while Thomas Frank's men will definitely finish in the top-half of the table. In the last round they outplayed Tottenham Hotspur, winning 3:1 at new White Hart Lane. The victory came just few days after the FA announced Ivan Toney's suspension. He is banned from football for 8 months, until January 2024, plus £50,000 for 232 breaches of the FA's betting rules. The 27-year-old can return to training with Brentford four months before it ends on 17 September. Having on mind Toney is the club leading scorer with 20 goals (plus 4 assists), I didn't expect such a powerful display from the Bees. Nevertheless, a brace by Bryan Mbeumo and another Yoane Wissa's effort were enough for the 14th victory of the season. The players confidence is very high at the moment and they are more than capable of upsetting the champions. As well as the banned Toney, the hosts remain without departing captain Pontus Jansson and Keane Lewis-Potter due to thigh and knee injury respectively. Finally, Christian Norgaard is rated as doubtful with an Achilles problem.
Manchester City are new English champions, for the third time in a row and fifth in the last six seasons. Pep Guardiola is doing an excellent job and the fans are pleased. During the summer he brought Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, a striker that made the difference with 36 Premier League goals and 8 assists. But while focus is completely on Haaland, he's far from the only reason. Players like Kevin de Bruyne (7 goals and 16 assists), Phil Foden (11 goals and 5 assists), Riyad Mahrez (5 goals and 10 assists), Ilkay Gundogan (8 goals and 4 assists), Jack Grealish (5 goals and 7 assists), Bernardo Silva (4 goals and 5 assists), Rodri (2 goals and 6 assists), Julian Alvarez (9 goals) or John Stones (2 goals and 2 assists) should not be marginalized. The Citizens are in terrific form winning 12 of the last 13 games in the Premier League. They were also successful in the Champions League where secured the final with a 4:0 win against Real Madrid at the Etihad. Haaland is simply unstoppable and I predict a difficult 90 minutes for Brentford's defenders. Of course, if he play. Haaland may be saved for the upcoming finals against Inter in the Champions League and Manchester United in the FA Cup. Guardiola has no suspension concerns, but two players are struggling with injuries. Phil Foden had sustained a knock against Brighton, which was the reason for his withdrawal, while Nathan Ake is still struggling with a thigh injury. None of them should be risked here. This is a perfect situation some of the younger players - Sergio Gomez, Cole Palmer, Kalvin Phillips - to be promoted to the starting lineup.
Brentford vs Manchester City Prediction:
Last weekend Brentford outplayed Tottenham and won 3:1 at new White Hart Lane. I was afraid about their performances without Ivan Toney, but the Bees' manager Frank find a good replacement. Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa were excellent against the Spurs and I expect to continue that way. Their confidence is surely high at the moment. Considering the fact that Guardiola will rest some of his key players, I expect Brentford to remain unbeaten here.
Brentford vs Manchester City Pick: Brentford +0.5 AH @ 1.99 with Pinnacle
Manchester United host Fulham at Old Trafford in the last match of the season. The Red Devils did the job on Thursday, when they booked a Champions League spot thanks to an impressive 4:1 win over Chelsea. Manager Erik ten Hag and his players could be satisfy with the Top-four finish in the Premier League. There is a question about the fans, are they fully satisfied or not. I think they always want more and most of them are still expecting trophies, like it was under Alex Ferguson. The 20-time English champions won the EFL Cup in February, while they will face Manchester City in the FA Cup final next weekend. The current form is very good, United are in series of three victories after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth and Chelsea. There is no pressure on Manchester United players in this match, but Ten Hag know a defeat could spoil the atmosphere in the squad. However, it will be wise to rest some of the key players. To be worse, Antony suffered an ankle injury against Chelsea and it is unlikely to be available for this match. Luke Shaw, meanwhile, picked up a back injury on the same match and is not expected to be risked. The Dutchman will also be missing Lisandro Martinez, Donny van de Beek and Marcel Sabitzer.
Fulham will definitely finish in the middle of the table. The Cottagers are 10th with 52 points and they can't go either higher or lower. Having on mind they were newcomers in the Premier League, that's a good result. Fulham have managed to secure back-to-back seasons in the top flight for the first time since 2014. They are in good form in the finish of the championship, two victories and one draw on the last three matches. Last weekend they played a 2:2 draw with Crystal Palace. At this point I will mention that Fulham are good away from home, picking up 23 points from 18 matches, which is a better record than three big names - Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. That is why I expect to score at Old Trafford, at least. Silva has most of the players available, but Andreas Pereira, Tim Ream and Layvin Kurzawa are out injured. The ex-United player Daniel James should be ready in time for this game. Aleksandar Mitrovic will probably lead the line. The Serbian international was sent off at Old Trafford in April in a FA Cup fixture between two teams. Mitrovic received an eight-game suspension and probably learnt the lesson.
Manchester United vs Fulham Prediction:
The result from this match is not too important. Manchester United have secured a Champions League spot thanks to the high victory over Chelsea on Thursday. Fulham, meanwhile, are 10th and they can't go higher or lower. Considering that United should play the FA Cup final, I expect Ten Hag to make changes from Thursday, with Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Scott McTominay all in line for starts. On other side I think Aleksandar Mitrovic will like to improve his record by scoring at Old Trafford. I expect an efficient match with goals on both sides.
Manchester United vs Fulham Pick: Both teams to score - Yes @ 1.60 with Pinnacle