The Premier League sides play their 20th game of the season as we enter the new year
As we enter the new year, there is still no idea of who could clinch the Premier League title this season.
It has been arguably one of the closes seasons in recent memory, with up to six teams all in with a chance at the title. Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Leicester, Tottenham and even Liverpool could all occupy the top four and potentially claim the BPL title.
Crystal Palace have also slipped under the radar and are currently sat in fifth place – could they claim a European spot?
This week sees such key clashes as Everton vs Tottenham, West Ham vs Liverpool, Man United vs Swansea and Watford vs Man City. Without further ado, here is the preview of each game this week…
West Ham vs Liverpool
Bad news for Reds fans is that Dimitri Payet could feature at some point after two months out with an ankle injury. It’s unlikely that they will start him and rush him back into the side but expect him to come on at some point – and if he picks up where he left off, Liverpool should be worried.
However, Daniel Sturridge could also be available and cold give Jurgen Klopp another option up-front.
West Ham have won two of their last three ties against Liverpool and they’ll be eager to make it three out of four on Saturday. But, the Reds come into this game off the back off a superb win against high-flying Leicester and a win over Sunderland and they will be confident they can take care of the Hammers too.
A win for either side could propel them into 5th place, at least until later in the day that is. Jurgen Klopp’s side will be full of confidence after their victory over the Foxes and Black Cats and I expect them to claim a win here – although only just I’ll add.
My Prediction – West Ham 0-1 Liverpool
Arsenal vs Newcastle
Arsenal will want to get off to a flying start in this new year and they could very well do it against a Newcastle side that is without a win in their last three games. However, Steve McClaren’s side are currently in the bottom three and will be desperate to get something against the Gunners in the hopes of escaping the relegation zone.
Mathieu Flamini could be in for a start for Arsene Wenger’s side but unfortunately, Alexis Sanchez remains out. As for Newcastle, they will be without Vernon Anita.
All doesn’t look good though for Newcastle – Arsenal have beat them in eight of the last eight meetings between the two sides and in the last 29 Premier League games between the two of them, Newcastle have won just three times.
The Gunners want the Premier League title this year and I expect them to get all three points here as they continue to fight for first place.
My Prediction – Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
Leicester vs Bournemouth
Leicester will be sad to see 2015 go as it was a fantastic year for the club. They’ll be hoping they can continue their good run in 2016 and they start the year off with a home tie vs Bournemouth.
The Cherries themselves had a year to remember and they’ve taken to the Premier League quite well, currently sitting in 16th place, three points off the drop zone. Both sides will be desperate for three points here and it could be a close one.
The Foxes though have lost just one of their last 12 league games and have only lost once at home this year. It’ll be a tricky task for Eddie Howe’s side but one that they will take in their stride.
As I mentioned earlier, I can actually see this being a close game. In the end though, Leicester have just been too good and with Vardy and Mahrez both still fit, I can see the home side getting the win here.
My prediction – Leicester 2-1 Bournemouth
Man United vs Swansea
United will be hoping that they can end their current run of six Premier League games without a win against Swansea but it won’t be easy. The Swans are also eager to turn their fortunes around and with the current state that the Red Devils are in, the away side will be confident they can maybe get something out of the game at Old Trafford.
LVG’s side have conceded just three goals at home all season though, so it looks like it could be a tough day at the office for Swansea’s strikers.
However, Swansea have also kept clean sheets in their last three games and Bafetimbi Gomis scored the winner in the last two Premier League games vs United – can he make it three this weekend?
In my opinion, I think it could be another close contest. Swansea will give it their all but United showed a big improvement last time out vs Chelsea and if they can just start turning chances into goals, then I can see them taking the three points here.
My prediction – Man United 1-0 Swansea
Norwich vs Southampton
Southampton have a superb record against Norwich, having put seven goals past them in the last two games and having won the last two meetings against them.
The Canaries have also won just one of their last four home fixtures against the Saints and if that continues this weekend, it could be a bad weekend for Norwich.
However, Norwich come into this game on the back of a win over Aston Villa and two weeks before that, they claimed victory over Man United. They’ll be hoping they can do the same against Southampton this Saturday.
Southampton on the other hand have won just one of their last four Prem fixtures but that was a 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal. Both sides can beat the big boys – but who will come out the winner here? I can only see one outcome and that is the spoils being shared.
My Prediction – Norwich 1-1 Southampton
Sunderland vs Aston Villa
A relegation crunch-clash, which both sides will be desperate to win. Both clubs have found themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table and with the new year ushered in, they’ll be hoping it means a change in fortunes for both of them.
The stats though are all in Villa’s favour – they are unbeaten in their last nine games against the Black Cats and they have also kept them from scoring in four of the last five games against them.
Sunderland though face a Villa side who are currently a shadow of their former selves. They’ve won just once all season and have just eight points. Things are not good at Villa Park and Sam Allardyce’s men will be keen to take advantage.
Unfortunately, despite the stats, I can’t see Villa getting a win, although it could very well end as a draw.
My prediction – Sunderland 1-1 Aston Villa
West Brom vs Stoke
Stoke are surging up the table and come into this game on the back of two fantastic results against Man United and Everton. Their front four have been an absolute handful in recent weeks, with Arnautovic in particular currently on fire.
It could spell trouble for West Brom who, despite winning last time out vs Newcastle, went five games without a win before their victory over the Toon last week.
In six of the last seven meetings between these two sides, there have been under 2.5 goals and I once again expect this to be a game filled with very little goals – just one could separate the two sides.
I think it’ll be Stoke who come out the victors here. They’re on a good run of form at the moment and their strikeforce has been sensational.
My prediction – West Brom 0-1 Stoke
Watford vs Man City
Both sides have been superb this year, with newly-promoted Watford in particular slipping under the radar and doing fantastically well, with the club currently in ninth place and just two points off fifth place.
This should be an intriguing match but the stats are all in City’s favour – Man City have won their last three games against Watford and they have scored at least two goals in their last three games against the Hornets.
However, City are without a win in their last six away Premier League matches and Watford will be hoping to make it seven this weekend and they could very well do it.
I expect an interesting tie and in the end, I can’t see a clear winner. Watford are doing superbly and could hold City to a draw.
My prediction – Watford 2-2 Man City
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Palace take on Chelsea this Sunday in what will be another interesting fixture in Gameweek 20.
Alan Pardrew’s side are flying high in fifth place, while Chelsea are at the wrong end of the table and have seen the sacking of Jose Mourinho. However, since Guus Hiddink has taken temporary charge, the Blues have actually gone unbeaten in their last three games.
Palace will still be hoping they can get a result and the stats show that it is certainly possible that they could claim victory. Chelsea have failed to win in their last seven away games in the Prem, while Palace are undefeated in their last six Premier League games.
It won’t be easy for either side to take the three points here and for that reason, I could see them both cancelling each other out. The Blues won’t want to lose and neither will palace and that could result in a draw.
My prediction – Crystal Palace 0-0 Chelsea
Everton vs Tottenham
The last game of the weekend sees high-flying Spurs take on Everton. Tottenham have won their last three Premier League games and are sitting comfortably in fourth place, while Everton, despite Lukaku’s goals – have managed to win just once in their last three.
However, the Toffee’s certainly should not be written off. They have home advantage, they have the firepower of Lukaku and if they can stay solid at the back then Spurs will not find it easy to get anything against them.
Tottenham though are in-form and have impressed away from home. They too have a super striker of their own in Harry Kane and it is yet another intriguing tie that could go either way.
In my opinion though, I can see the away side snatching the victory.
My prediction – Everton 2-3 Tottenham