Chelsea travel to West Ham in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off. They have lost just one of their last four away trips to West Ham, winning 2-1 in March. Six wins from seven have kept Chelsea 3rd in the league and they could stand to close the points gap to the sides above with a win. West Ham, on the other hand, are in the bottom three having picked up just one point in the past five games. Defeat on Saturday could see them go bottom of the table if Swansea get something from their match.
The big game of the weekend falls on Sunday as the top two face off at Old Trafford. Manchester City have still been winning games of late but they have suffered a notable dip in performance levels. They do, however, still have an eight-point cushion at the top. The last four fixtures have been tight with no more than a goal in any of them. Manchester City won in this game last season 2-1 but rivals United have won four games straight themselves. If there is to be any kind of title race this season then the neutrals had better hope for a United victory to close the gap for everyone else.
It is a weekend filled with derby’s as Sunday also brings Liverpool against Everton. On the back of their 7-0 Champions League win, Liverpool would be the favourites to take this game but Everton will be looking to spoil the party. They have won their last two games in the league and, despite a poor start, are in 10th. A win at Anfield would help them cement a top half place but for Liverpool, a win would keep them in the top four. Six league games without defeat have kept the home side near the top of the league as with other sides playing each other, they can could the gap.
Arsenal travel to Southampton on Sunday, a place where they have had mixed fortune over the past few seasons. May’s 2-0 win was Arsenal’s first in their last six visits in the Premier League. With only two wins on the road this season an Arsenal win is far from certain, however, Southampton have been on a poor run of late. They have won just once in their last five games, scoring six times over that period, although four came in one match.
Tottenham play host to Stoke on Saturday and are on a four-game winless run. That poor run has seen them fall to 6th in the table and they now sit four points outside the Champions League places. The last three meetings between the two sides have finished with a 4-0 win to Spurs and not since August 2015 have Stoke got so much as a point. Last weeks home win against Swansea ended a run of four games without a win for the visitors.
The home side won each meeting between Burnley and Watford last season so it’s Burnley holding the advantage this weekend. They currently sit three points above their visitors in the table and could move into the top 6 with a win tomorrow. Watford have impressed at times this season but a mixed run of results has prevented them from building momentum. Two wins in their last five have kept them in the top half but have been unable to push higher.
Two consecutive away 0-0 draws have boosted Crystal Palace’s survival hopes and they are no longer at the foot of the table. A win over Bournemouth tomorrow will be their fifth successive game without defeat and may move them level on points with 17th. Bournemouth’s revival in form has faltered over the last three games as they have just two draws and a defeat. A win on Saturday will be a welcome return to form and could move them back towards the top half.
Huddersfield and Brighton last met in the Championship and both have impressed at times in the debut Premier League season. It’s the away side who go into the game higher in the table as they sit 12th. Neither side has won in any of their last four league games though so three points for either would be greatly welcomed. It’s Huddersfield who desperately need to stop the rot as they have lost each of their last four, falling to 16th, five points above relegation.
Swansea can move within a point of West Brom by beating them at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow afternoon. One point from their last five games has seen the Swans drop to the bottom of the table. It has been the lack of goals which have been the problem as they have failed to score in four of those last five games. West Brom, on the other hand, haven’t won in the league since August. Seven draws so far this season has given them enough points to remain outside of the relegation places for now, but they need a turn in form soon to prevent the situation getting worse.
Leicester City have won their last three games against Newcastle without conceding a goal and they go into the match at Saint James’ Park in good form. They have won their last two games in the league and lost just once in nine. Newcastle, on the other hand, have won only once in their last ten games, and have dropped down the league placings. They currently sit in 15th place and are one of three teams five points above the relegation zone. A win this weekend would help move them towards safety ahead of some tricky games to come over the winter.
Chelsea will be hoping that come Sunday evening they are closer to the top of the table than they currently are. As long as they beat West Ham in the early kick-off then they will close the gap to at least one of the sides above. The run over Christmas is a favourable one for Chelsea and if they harbour any aspirations of winning the league again they need to win each game that comes along and keep chipping into City’s advantage as much as possible.