Under The Spotlight: Saturday's top predictions

Aaron Ashley
LiveScore
Interim boss Mike Jackson has turned Burnley's fortunes around of late
Interim boss Mike Jackson has turned Burnley's fortunes around of late

Things are heating up in the Premier League with the end of the season in sight and it could be a defining day at both ends of the table.

Title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool face tough away trips to Leeds and Newcastle respectively, while the scrap for survival sees a crunch clash come from Vicarage Road where Watford play host to Burnley.

It is also a big day of action in the Football League with the League One campaign coming to a close.

And time is also running out in the Championship and League Two with the penultimate fixtures set to be played.

There are also some tasty tussles taking place across Europe, with top-flight matches scheduled in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Watford vs Burnley — away win 

Eyebrows were raised when Sean Dyche was given his marching orders by Burnley but the decision certainly seems justified given the start they have made under Mike Jackson.

Burnley have taken seven points from three games under their interim boss, following up a 1-1 draw at West Ham with wins to nil over Southampton and Wolves.

They could now enhance their survival hopes further and stretch their gap over second-bottom Watford to 12 points with victory at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets have lost all 10 of their Premier League home games since November and that sorry spell includes 3-0 defeats to Leeds and Norwich, as well as a 2-1 reverse against Brentford.

Time is running out for Roy Hodgson's Watford in the fight for survival
Time is running out for Roy Hodgson's Watford in the fight for survival

Blackpool vs Derby — home win 

Derby put up a valiant effort in their battle to avoid Championship relegation after picking up a 21-point deduction but it was their treacherous away record that eventually determined their fate.

The Rams have been strong at home but not so good on their travels, with their last nine away trips in the league all resulting in defeat.

That spells danger at Bloomfield Road against a Blackpool side that have won six of their last nine Championship clashes on home soil and are finishing with a flourish.

The Tangerines thrashed Birmingham 6-1 in their last home game and may heap more misery on their already-relegated opponents.

Burton vs Wycombe — away win

It is the last chance saloon for Wycombe in their pursuit of the League One play-offs and they know only victory at Burton is likely to be good enough to see them sneak into the top-six.

Just goal difference has the Chairboys out of the playoff places but there has been little wrong with their recent form in an 11-game unbeaten run.

Wycombe have won seven of their last 11 fixtures, highlighted by a 1-0 win at home to play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, and they should be confident of scooping maximum points at the Pirelli Stadium.

The Brewers have won only two of their last 13 league outings and they were beaten 2-0 at a relegation-threatened Doncaster last Saturday, which was the sixth time in their last seven games that they had failed to score.

Rochdale vs Bristol Rovers — away win

Rochdale have impressed recently, taking 10 points from their last four League Two home games.

But they have benefited from a soft schedule and may be found wanting against a Bristol Rovers side still motivated by the possibility of automatic promotion.

Rovers are in the play-off spots but are only two points behind third-placed Northampton and six points from their final two games would give them a chance of pinching a place in the top three.

Since the turn of the year, Joey Barton’s men have lost only three of their 23 league matches and seven of their last 10 fixtures have resulted in maximum points.

The Gas have won on recent away trips to fellow high-fliers Northampton and Port Vale and should master Dale, who are 18th and are preparing for another season in the fourth tier.

Joey Barton is looking to secure an immediate return to League One for Bristol Rovers
Joey Barton is looking to secure an immediate return to League One for Bristol Rovers

Hoffenheim vs Freiburg — away win

Securing a place in the Bundesliga’s top four is still a realistic target for Freiburg and they may be heading to face Hoffenheim at the perfect time.

With three games to go, Freiburg find themselves fifth and while they are going well and have suffered just one defeat in 10, Hoffenheim have fallen out of European contention after a six-game winless run.

Hoffenheim’s last two home games have seen them beaten 2-1 by Bochum and held to a goalless draw against rock-bottom Greuther Furth.

Things only get more difficult now with Freiburg boasting the fourth-best away record in the division.

Tags

Premier LeagueWatfordBurnleyBlackpoolDerbyChampionshipBurtonWycombeRochdaleBristol RoversLeague TwoHoffenheimFreiburg1. Bundesliga
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