In a weekend of football action in the Premier League that spreads over three days due to Television rights and the return of the Champions League, here are 6 things (Since it’s officially a top 6) to expect in our weekend preview as your favorite league returns to the screens.
Chelsea to consolidate further on top position: The Blues are away at Turf Moor against a team that holds the third best home record in the League. Burnley lie 12th on the table and for now have no relegation worries but with some major players like Jeff Hendrick and Dean Marney missing, Sean Dyche’s men will have their works cut out against a Chelsea side who are confident off the back of a win against title chasers Arsenal. Goal keeper Tom Heaton will have to be at his best once again to stop the likes of the rampaging Eden Hazard and Diego Costa but this is one game where Conte’s men are bank on favorite to nick it even if it is by the odd goal.
Thriller at Anfield: In what is considered as the mouth watering tie of the weekend fixtures, Mauricio Pochettino and his Spurs side take the trip to Anfield against a Liverpool team that is bruised, forgotten how to win, struggling with form and out of the top four. Liverpool have fared pretty well against the top six sides thus far this season, so despite losing at Hull last time around, I fully expect Klopp’s men to put up a performance portraying much of what they exhibited earlier in the season, a lot of running, passion and creativity going forward. Sadio Mane is back and this is a game suited for him but with the likes of Dembele and Wanyama shielding the back four, Mane will need all the help he can get if he is to get his team back to winning ways. Tottenham are the major reason why we still have a title chase, sitting 9 points behind run away leaders, they know there is little margin for error at this point and a win will do their world a lot of good at this point especially for a team yet to pick maximum point from an away tie to any of the top six team.
#Arsene Out?: It all looked like this was finally going to be the season, the midfield seemed to have taken shape with the likes of Xhaka, El Neny, Coquelin and Ramsey, the defense had found the missing ‘steel’ with the purchase of Mustafi and upfront Theo Walcott rediscovered his scoring boots alongside the likes of Ozil and Sanchez wrecking havoc on Premier League grounds. But following back to back defeats to Watford and Chelsea, the placards are back, the confidence is down the gutters and the fans are blaring yet again, Arsene out. Hull City look reborn under manager Marco Silva and four points from two games they were expected to be mauled has seen the team climb to eighteenth place on the log breathing life to their relegation fight, this is a game that Arsenal are usually expected to win but after the defeat at home to Watford, many fans have refused to be cocky on this one, another point will be massive for Hull City but I won’t be surprised if Arsenal wins this by a fairly comfortable margin and all is well again in Arsene’s world.
Can Allardyce save this yet again?Crystal Palace are in danger and if anyone can get them out of it, Big Sam can. One win since taking over, losing five including last week’s massive home defeat to bottom placed Sunderland, performances have been poor, results have been ugly, team morale is down and they now lie fully in the relegation zone, 19th and joint on same point with Sunderland. With games against the top 6 sides coming in soon, Palace need to start picking points. Stoke City have not exactly been smashing but manager Mark Hughes seems to have been able to restore some confidence back into the team but if there is one game he will be wary of, this is the one, of their last 7 encounters, Crystal Palace have won six and drawn one, so form may not matter much here. It will however be surprising if Palace yet again gets all three points from this one and a draw may not be too out of place for Mark Hughes’s side
More miracles from Jesus?: Monday night kickoff and it is all about the new darling at the Etihad, Gabriel Jesus. Key striker Sergio Aguero can’t get into the team again, our own Kelechi Iheanacho doesn’t even make the bench, the Brazilian wonder kid will be on show again as he seeks to continue his fine start to life in the Premier League. They are away at Bournemouth and with a chance to move to second on the log depending on what happens at Anfield Saturday night, Peps’ lad will have to take their chances against a Bournemouth side short of defensive options.
Watford to do the double over United?: One of the games that remains painful on the minds of most United fans this season is their 3-1 defeat away at Vicarage Road to a colorless Watford side, their subsequent run of poor results further made the victory hurt. But it is Week 25 and both sides meet yet again off the back of identical results, Watford are boosted by wins in their last two outings whilst United dispatched Champions Leicester City in a game that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic net his 15th league goal of the season. Jose Mourinho’s men have been stuck on the 6th position for the better part of two months whilst for Hornets, it is 10 more points to earn another season in the top flight. United are one point away from 5th place Liverpool and two points off 4th place Arsenal, if results go their way, this may be the week they move above their current position but like in previous times, will United end again with a draw when a win is most needed?
Other fixtures and Predictions:
Middlesbrough VS Everton – Everton to continue their fine form with an away win.
Sunderland VS Southampton: Something is in the waters at Sunderland, they should pick at least a point.
West Ham United VS West Brom: A draw
Swansea VS Leicester City: Leicester City looked so uninterested, Swansea to get a win.