Chelsea Return To League Action Against Spurs After Almost Three Weeks
Chelsea’s match at home to Spurs on Sunday afternoon closes the weekend’s Premier League action. This game comes three weeks after the last league fixture and given Chelsea’s mixed form of the last few months, the break may have been positive. With just two wins in their last five league games, the side have dropped out of the top four. They now sit five points behind their visitors who after four straight wins are 4th. Depending on other results Tottenham could move to 3rd as the race for the top four hots up.
League leaders Manchester City can take another step towards sealing the title if they can beat Everton on Saturday evening. They travel to Merseyside with a 16 point gap at the top of the table and on the back of four straight league wins. Everton are now just trying to make the most of what’s left of this season and then move on in the summer. They have won their last two games and sit 9th with 40 points. They are only three points behind Burnley and eight behind Arsenal in 6th so it is not beyond reason that they can improve but they have played a game extra.
Manchester United will be looking for their fifth straight home win as they entertain Swansea City on Saturday. United hold a mere two-point gap over 3rd place Liverpool but their rivals have played a game extra. A win at Old Trafford this weekend would maintain this gap at the very least and take them a step closer to once again securing Champions League football next season. Swansea sit in 14th in the table but given that their advantage over the relegation zone is only three points, they will be keen to avoid defeat. They have taken points from four of their last seven games against United including the 1-1 draw last April.
Liverpool open the weekend’s action as they travel to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace. Having won only three of the last seven meetings between the sides, Liverpool will be hoping to continue their fine form of late. Four wins from five leaves the side seven points ahead of 5th but having played a game extra. Palace have had a poor run over the last few months but an important win over fellow strugglers Huddersfield last time out improved their chance of survival. They are now two points above the bottom three but having played a game more.
Arsenal return to league action this weekend in their early Sunday game at home to Stoke. The relegation-threatened side have never taken so much as a point away from their nine visits to the Emirates but did win the reverse fixture earlier in the season. Arsenal got their first win last time out ending a run of three straight defeats but remain in 6th place. With a five-point gap over Burnley below the side can afford to look up the league and aim to gain ground on the top four. Stoke are still three points from safety but following last weekend defeat, it is becoming difficult to see where they will make up the difference.
Burnley sit in 7th going into the weekend but are just three points ahead of the sides below them. They have won their last two games in the league and travel to bottom side West Brom on Saturday. West Brom have lost their last seven games in a row. They are now 10 points from safety and it may only be a matter of time until they are relegated. Their win at Burnley in August is, however, one of the three wins they have this season.
Leicester are one of the sides who could draw level on points with Burnley should they pick up a win in their visit to Brighton. With ten wins, draws and defeats from their 30 league games so far Leicester remain firmly in the top half of the table. A run of good results could see them challenge for Europe. Brighton have won their last three home games and despite being in 12th place, they are only six points above the drop zone and with tough fixtures ahead.
West Ham and Southampton are two sides who are in real danger of relegation. With only two points separating them before kick off the winner of this game can take a real step towards survival, should there be one. West Ham have lost four of their last five including a 3-0 defeat at home to Burnley last time out. Southampton’s recent run hasn’t been much better as they have picked up just two points in their last four games.
Newcastle’s win in their last game moved them four points clear of the relegation places. They now face Huddersfield at home and a win would move them closer to the top half than the bottom three. Huddersfield have not scored in three games but are just a point behind their hosts heading into the game.
Watford have won their last three home games and face Bournemouth at Vicarage Road this weekend. The results of the last fixtures saw the away side move above Watford and into the top 10. Although neither side is definitely safe yet their eight-point advantage will likely see them remain comfortably above the bottom three.
With just eight games remaining in the season Chelsea need to put in a commanding performance against Spurs and pick up the win. One would feel that anything but a win would make breaking back into the top four places a very difficult task.