Chelsea face former boss at home looking to close the gap to the sides above
The top five all play on Sunday and Arsenal travel to the Etihad aiming to become the first side to beat Manchester City this season. Sides have come close and even scored a few goals against their, at times, unconvincing defence but they always seem to be able to score at least one more. Arsenal have won four of their last five games though and have kept close to the sides at the top of the table. If they are to harbour aspirations of mounting a title challenge though they need to put in a big performance in this match. There has not been more than one goal between the two sides since Arsenal’s 2-0 win at City in early 2015.
Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge aiming to bounce back after the loss in Rome. This fixture last season saw the home side run out 4-0 winners against their former manager and his side and a similar result this year would be welcome. A win for Chelsea would move them to within a point of their opponents but it will not likely be an easy run. United have been difficult to beat this season and if their performance at Liverpool is anything to go by then they may try to stifle the attack somewhat. They did suffer their first defeat of the season two weeks back so have shown vulnerability for Chelsea to attack.
Tottenham’s defeat last week ended their four-game winning run which they will be looking to restart at home to bottom side Crystal Palace. They have scored 12 goals over those four games but found themselves against a difficult United defence last time out. At Wembley, Spurs have struggled against the more compact side and Palace may aim to set up this way. They have conceded 21 goals already this season though so they may not be able to keep the home side quiet. Palace are bottom but have picked up four points in their last three games. A win on Sunday would not be enough to move them off the bottom of the table but any points at this stage will give them confidence going into the relegation fight.
Despite losing only one of their last six games Liverpool are some distance from the top of the league. They are only three points outside the top four and will be aiming to beat West Ham at the London Stadium to maintain within touching distance. West Ham fans saw their side lose a 2-0 lead last week at Crystal Palace which would have been their first win in three games. They currently sit just two points above the bottom three and may find themselves lower once the evening game kicks off.
Only once have Watford beaten Everton in the league but they will likely go into the game at Goodison Park on Sunday as favourites. Despite losing their last two games Watford have impressed this season and sit in 8th place after a strong start. Everton, on the other hand, find themselves in the bottom three having won just once since the opening day of the season. A win may be enough to move them up the league but they are not yet showing signs of a cohesive side. Watford could move into the top six with a win, should other results favour them also.
May 2008 saw Stoke City clinch promotion to the Premier League following a 0-0 draw at home to Leicester. Since then they have had nine seasons finishing between 14th and 9th in the top division. Leicester, on the other hand, went down that day to the third tier. They spent the following seasons winning League 1, two visits to the playoffs and winning the Championship as well as winning the Premier League. Stoke have not beaten Leicester at home in the Premier League but did win away in January 2015. Leicester are in good form at the moment and have not lost in their last four.
Newcastle and Bournemouth have met just twice in the Premier League with the away side winning on both occasions. They have a similar record over the last five but Newcastle sit 9th while Bournemouth are languishing in the bottom three. Bournemouth have lost seven games already this season and have not scored many goals. Both times they have scored more than once, however, they have won.
Huddersfield go into their home game against West Brom having won just once in their last five league games. They are however the only side to beat Manchester United this season but are dropping down the league after a good start. West Brom too are on poor form and have not won since August. Last week’s 2-3 loss to Man City did show some spirit though.
The fixture between Southampton and Burnley last season saw a 3-1 home win and hosts will be looking for more of the same on Saturday. Southampton have won just one in their last five but remain in the top ten. Burnley, on the other hand, have lost just once away from home this season and currently sit 7th in the league.
Swansea have lost four of their last five games with their only win against a promoted side, Huddersfield. They face fellow new boys Brighton this weekend aiming to pick up form. Brighton are on a good run at the moment and have lost just once in their last five. They are 12th at the moment and will be hoping to put more distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Chelsea’s home win over United last season came when the side were in excellent form. Now that their form is a little more mixed they will be hoping that key players return to the side to make sure of a similar result. Although it is not yet at the stage in the season for ‘must-win games’ a defeat in this game would be difficult to swallow. A win would quickly turn the opinion of the season and leave the Champions closer to the top of the league.