Clubs are back in Premier League action this weekend after more than a week. Chelsea go into Saturday’s game at home to Leicester in 3rd but a win will move them up the table. Having won their last seven home games Chelsea go into this game in good form, despite some draws on the road. Leicester’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield on New Year’s Day was their first in five games. They remain in 8th but could fall further behind the sides above if they slip to defeat in this game.
League leaders Manchester City face one if their most difficult fixtures of recent months as they travel to Liverpool. Having gone for more than half the season unbeaten, the side will be looking to overcome a big test and maintain their points advantage. Liverpool are yet to lose at home this season but five draws already have seen them drop away from the top of the table. They are 4th at the moment but hold only a three-point advantage over the sides below.
Arsenal have never lost in the league to their weekend opponents Bournemouth and they make the trip to the south coast on Sunday. The sides last visit to the Vitality Stadium just over a year ago saw Arsenal rescue a late 3-3 draw. Having avoided defeat in their last seven league games may appear like a good run but five draws causing 10 dropped points has seen Arsenal slip to 6th, five points from the top four. A win and two draws have seen Bournemouth move a little clear of the bottom three over New Year but they are yet to take a point off the top six this season.
The last three games between Manchester United and Stoke City have ended in a draw. The pair will meet at Old Trafford in the final match of the Gameweek on Monday evening. Possibly still without a manager, Stoke head into the game on the back of a poor run. Four points from a possible 21 over their last seven games has seen them drop into the bottom three. Manchester United moved back into 2nd thanks to a 2-0 win in their last game but three straight draws before that has seen them fall 16 points adrift of the leaders.
Aside from the game in September, fixtures between Tottenham and Everton have been close encounters. Spurs were 3-0 winners of that game earlier in the season but Everton have improved since then. Two straight defeats in the league, however, along with the late FA Cup loss to Liverpool may have hurt their confidence. Tottenham had a good festive period winning three and drawing once moving them into 5th. Three points and a handful of goals stand between them and a top-four place.
Saturday sees two out of form sides meet at Vicarage Road as Watford take on Southampton. Watford have just one win in their last nine league games, while the visitors have one in ten. That run has led Southampton perilously close to the relegation zone and defeat may see them fall into the bottom three. Despite their run, Watford are still in 10th but only five points above their opponents.
Burnley’s superb early season form seems to be dwindling as they are now five league games without a win. They are still 7th in the table but now closer to the sides behind than those above. They travel to Crystal Palace tomorrow who are in fine form themselves. With one defeat in 12 games, they have moved clear of relegation danger. They need to continue their run however if they are to have a comfortable second half of the season.
Both Huddersfield and West Ham have picked up points throughout December to help keep them in mid-table. West Ham are 15th and only two points above the relegation places but their position would be worse if not for their eight points in five games. Huddersfield are 11th heading into the game and could make the top half if they find some winning form again. Three draws from their last four has seen them drop valuable points of late.
Bottom side Swansea travel to Newcastle aiming to move from the foot of the table. A point could be enough to see them climb to 19th, but a win is sorely needed. They are four points from safety at the moment and a poor run of form now may leave them with too much to do. Newcastle won last time out to move two points above the bottom three and another win could give them room to breathe.
Only goal difference is keeping West Brom off the bottom of the table at the moment as they welcome Brighton this weekend. It was Brighton who handed West Brom their first of ten defeats so far this season with a 3-1 win in September. Brighton are now 12th in the league with just one defeat in their last five.
Only a win will be enough to move Chelsea to 2nd place in the table ahead of Manchester United’s game on Monday. Given the Blues impressive home form of late, and some favourable away fixtures ahead Antonio Conte’s men may be able to pull out a small advantage over the rest should they slip up.