What If: Premier League Gameweek 31

This is the next edition of my What If series where I try and predict what would have happened in the Premier League if the league had been allowed to continue. This Gameweek would have clashed with the FA Cup quarter finals so I’m bringing the games that would have been rescheduled due to it into this Gameweek and saying they’d have been played in the midweek after the quarter finals.

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

What would have happened:

I’d have expected Villa to have a motivation edge here, win this game and they’re tied on points with Bournemouth in 17th in this scenario. Sheffield United would also have been looking ahead to their FA Cup quarter final with Arsenal potentially and would have probably made changes here. This would give Villa a big advantage and since they’re pretty solid at finding the net at home I’m going to give them the win here and deliver a huge blow to Sheffield United’s European push.

Aston Villa 1-0 Sheffield United

Tottenham vs West Ham

What would have happened:

A London derby where West Ham would’ve fancied picking up a result. Tottenham have really struggled against teams lower down the table and West Ham could spring the upset here. Especially if they took the lead which I’d give them a solid chance of doing here. Friday night games have thrown up some unexpected results this year and this could be another one with Tottenham lacking the firepower to beat the bus West Ham will park after taking the lead.

Tottenham 0-1 West Ham

Burnley vs Watford

What would have happened:

Burnley were on a long unbeaten run before they were defeated by Man City last week and have been tough to break down for all of 2020. Watford meanwhile have some pretty weak away form though Nigel Pearson has a good record against Sean Dyche and I believe Watford can be a better side than Burnley on their day. This would’ve been a tough game to call so I would lean on saying this would have turned out to be a draw. 

Burnley 1-1 Watford

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

What would have happened:

Palace would have come into this unbeaten in 4 but I don’t think they’d have been able to stop Liverpool here. It would’ve been very similar to the Liverpool vs Bournemouth game where Palace would’ve had at least 9 men behind the ball at all times and they would’ve just looked to pick off Liverpool on the counter with Zaha and Ayew. But Liverpool will have been too strong at Anfield and I think they’d have won this one comfortably and confirmed themselves as Premier League winners in front of their home fans.

Liverpool 3-0 Crystal Palace

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Bournemouth

This game is another one which could have been tough for Wolves. Bournemouth would have their backs against the wall in terms of the relegation fight and were starting to look like they were coming back into form. Wolves would be 8 points off the top 4 going into this and I’d have had them knocking out Olympiakos in an intense game so there’s a chance Europa League would’ve become their main priority. But Wolves dominated the reverse fixture and were value for more than the 2-1 win so I can see them still doing enough here to win and keep their slim top 4 hopes alive.

Wolves 2-1 Bournemouth

Chelsea vs Manchester City

What would have happened:

Chelsea have struggled at home to the bigger sides all year which has been an achilles heel in consolidating a top 4 spot. I feel this would be another game they would lose at home. I believe Laporte would’ve been back by now and City are far more confident at the back when he is in the side. It will be a tight game but City will have too much for Chelsea and win it late on.

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City

Newcastle United vs Aston Villa

What would have happened:

If Newcastle were to win this game, it would’ve been extremely likely that they’d be certain to stay up. But with their lack of goals and Villa coming off a big win in this scenario, I’d have seen them conceding and not being able to score the 2 goals required to win this one. So I’m going to say another 1-1 draw with Newcastle feeling unlucky not to win.

Newcastle 1-1 Villa

Norwich City vs Everton

What would have happened:

This would’ve been a really entertaining game. Ancelotti has improved Everton greatly against the weaker sides and I believe they’ll have been able to pull through in this one even though it promises to be a close one. I can see both sides having a lot of joy going forward as Norwich will play a lot more attacking than they did in their last couple of home games before the break but their vulnerability at the back will mean Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison can have a lot of success.

Norwich 2-3 Everton

Leicester City vs Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton have really struggled away in 2020 but would come into this having picked up draws against a couple of top 4 contending sides and may have fancied their chances of getting another result here. But they tend to struggle against Vardy and he would come into this game in top form. With Leicester maintaining their solid defence I’m finding it hard to see them failing to win this one and I could see it being a clean sheet.

Leicester 2-0 Brighton

Manchester United vs Sheffield United

Man United looked like the 3rd best team in England on form before going into this enforced break. I’d have had them winning this one, they had kept 3 straight clean sheets at home and Fernandes was looking like a revelation for them. Both sides would have been coming off FA Cup quarter finals and the superior squad depth of Man United would’ve been another telling factor here which makes them a confident selection to have won this one.

Manchester United 2-0 Sheffield United

Southampton vs Arsenal

Southampton would’ve been coming into this in dire form but tend to always give Arsenal a tough game. Arsenal meanwhile would’ve come into this knowing they had to win here and beat Norwich at home to have a chance of the top 4 before 3 very tough league games against teams around the European spots. This would’ve been another game which could’ve gone any way and I wouldn’t have been surprised so I’d have said another 1-1 due to Southampton having had 10 days to prepare for this game and Arsenal being porous at the back and their lack of goals away from home.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal

Table after Gameweek 31:

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