With the title race now officially over, Michael Owen has turned his attention to the relegation issue.
After a win for Newcastle, draw for Sunderland and defeat for Norwich last weekend, Owen sees the scales having tipped in favour of one of the north east clubs being the survivor out of the three.
The former Newcastle striker sees effort and motivation as being two of the biggest factors this weekend and whether Chelsea and Aston Villa will have much of either.
Chelsea had every motivation on Monday night when it came to preventing hated local rivals Tottenham from winning the title and whilst Michael Owen doubts if they will show as much fight at Sunderland, he also points out they went to a similar meaningless game at Bournemouth recently and won 4-1.
Owen sees a 1-1 draw as the most likely result to continue Sam Allardyce’s attempts to draw their way out of trouble – the mackems having drawn six of their last eight matches.
As for Newcastle, Michael Owen thinks it will be a nervous occasion but takes Newcastle ‘to edge it 2-1’.
Villa have lost every one of their last 11 matches and conceded 30 goals in the process, with their fans using the match to protest against the owner, Newcastle getting an early goal could/would surely lead to an implosion for the home side, with many of the players having become as vilified as the club’s owner this season.
In these last 13 weeks and 11 defeats, Villa have only scored seven goals, though there is a word of warning for Newcastle with four of those coming in the last two matches – a talented Southampton scoring four goals to overcome the Villa brace, whilst Watford scored two goals in injury time to win a game they looked set to lose.
Michael Owen writing for Colossus Bets:
“Chelsea certainly didn’t lie down against Spurs on Monday night in one of the most bad-tempered games you are likely to witness, but whether they will be as up for the fight at Sunderland on Saturday is debatable.
“The home side badly need three points as they are simply drawing too many games, as they did again at Stoke last weekend.
“They are now a point behind Newcastle with a game in hand, and three points are obviously vital here.
“They could well get them against a Chelsea side with little to play for, but then again that was the case when the Blues won 4-1 at Bournemouth recently.
“I go 1-1, and for the relegation battle to go down to the final weekend on May 15th.
“Newcastle have got eight points from their last four games following the 1-0 defeat of Palace, and you have to expect them to get the better of Aston Villa, even though the reverse fixture ended 1-1 in December.
“It could be a nervy affair, but I just take Newcastle to edge it 2-1.”
If Michael Owen is correct in his guesswork, it would leave Newcastle on 36 points and three ahead of Sunderland, United having Spurs to play on 15 May, whilst the mackems also have Everton at home on 11 May and Watford away on 15 May.
Meanwhile, Norwich are currently one point behind Sunderland and trailing Newcastle by two – they have Man Utd at home on Saturday, before Watford at home on 11 May and Everton away on 15 May.