By their high standards, Manchester United’s sixth-placed finish last season was way below expectations, with an EFL Cup victory proving but a silver lining in a disappointing season The Red Devils have been markedly better this time round, despite failing to really trouble runaway leaders and rivals Manchester City. At the time of writing, Jose Mourinho’s men are currently in the runners-up position, five points ahead of third placed Liverpool. They remain in the running to win a trophy as well and will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month.
On the other hand, their opponents Watford are as good as on their summer holidays. The Hornets have had a topsy-turvy campaign - having gone through two managers since August. But have their safety secured with ample time to spare, Watford should already be looking to next season.
Liverpool vs Brighton and Hove Albion
The minimum goal for both clubs would have been clear heading into this season. For Liverpool, it would have been another top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Over at Brighton, meanwhile, it would have simply been survival.
Those goals are tantalisingly close for these two clubs and may have been realised before this match gets underway, which will render this fixture a chance for some icing on the cake and a look ahead to next season.
The Reds also have the prospect of a Champions League final to look forward to, so they will be keen to maintain their touch and avoid any unwanted injuries, plus they can cap off an undefeated league season at home.
West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur
At the time of writing, West Brom are only a mathematical chance of staying in the Premier League for another season. But sitting eight points behind Swansea City with three games remaining, having played a game more than the Swans, the drop is surely only a matter of time.
What they can do is try to build on a decent run of form that saw them pick up five points from three fixtures against Swansea, Manchester United and Liverpool as they focus on making their almost-certain return to England’s second tier a brief one.
Tottenham entered this season with high hopes of ending their trophy drought, but their recent defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals means their search for silverware will continue for another year.
Their aim will be both passing Liverpool for third on the table while ensuring they keep Chelsea at bay in the race for the top four.
Stoke City vs Crystal Palace
Once rock bottom of the table, Crystal Palace have turned a corner under Roy Hodgson, and seem to be sitting comfortably in 14th spot, six points clear of 18th placed Southampton. They are also a side in good form - with just one loss in their last five games.
On the other hand, Stoke City are still desperately fighting for their survival, and are at risk of dropping down to the second tier, as they sit four points behind Swansea City (17th), and also having played one game more. Victory has repeatedly eluded Stoke, especially in their last two games where they threw away leads to draw 1-1 against West Ham and Burnley. This time around, they cannot afford a draw.