Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool
This weekend could not get off to a better start then having a Friday Night game under the flood lights at the Emirates Stadium, with two power houses going head to head, both needing 3 points in their battle for the top 4. Both sides come into this game with a decent run of form behind them, however I feel like Arsenal will still be hurting from their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in their earlier clash this season where they were taught a footballing lesson by Jurgen Klopps troops. Wenger will be hoping that his man on the moment Ozil doesn’t go missing in the big game and can get support by the inconsistent Sanchez whose mind seems to be elsewhere lately (perhaps considering a January move elsewhere). Giroud is out, but Welbeck seems to be back for the encounter. Liverpool have been in fine goal scoring form and usually perform quite well against the big teams and with Salah, Coutinhio and Firminio in fine form as well as 2 clean sheets in a row, Klopp will be hoping to give the Gunners a run for their money. Let’s hope for plenty goals.
Everton 1 – 1 Chelsea
Big Sam is back with a bang. He has come in and organised the Toffees defensively as well as in attack and they seem to be back in fine form. They have turned their poor start to the season completely around and currently find themselves back in the top 10. The players are playing with good confidence again and Rooney seems to be back to his best form. With players such as Bolasie, Barkley and Coleman soon to be back in the mix of things Everton will feel that they can beat anyone at the moment and with a home game against Chelsea this weekend they will come into this game hoping to get all 3 points. Conte on the other hand will come to Goodison Park with a well organised side who have won 3 games in a row in all competitions and seem to have put that defeat to West Ham behind them. I think this will be a tight affair with very few goals and it would not shock me if this one ends in a low scoring draw.
Brighton 1 – 0 Watford
Both these sides have hit a poor run of form during this winter season but they both seem to find themselves in a midtable position so it is not yet time for panic stations to set in. Last time these two sides met the game ended in a dull goalless draw and it would not be against the odds for a similar scoreline to follow. I do feel that Hughton will see this game as a must win to help push to the magic 40 points and safety come the end of the season. Marco Silva will be fuming and hurting after seeing his side get smashed at home to Huddersfield last week and will definitely be looking from character from his players to turn that result around and give a better showing this time around.
Man City 3 – 0 Bournemouth
City have only dropped two points all season so far and they seem to be extremely tough mentally at the moment and they must come into games feeling very confident and positive that they can always take home three points. They are still on course to win 4 trophies this year but Pep has said he is only concentrating on one game at a time right now. It seems that whatever side he puts out on the field has the ability to get goals and win games. Both these sides played mid-week in the EFL Cup but City have more squad depth and feel like that will tell when they meet this weekend. I can’t see anything other then a City win. Eddie Howe will have to try and do what no other Premier League manager has done this week if he is to stop City from running away with this title. Last time these sides played it ended in dramatic fashion with Sterling scoring in the last kick of the game. Let’s hope for another action packed game come this Saturday.
Southampton 1 – 2 Huddersfield
Both sides find themselves in mid table and know that a victory can propel themselves further away from the dreaded drop zone. This Christmas period has not been too kind to The Saints and they have gone 5 games without a win. Huddersfield on the other hand have won 2 out of their last 3 games including their incredible 4-1 win at Watford last week. They will come into this one high on confidence and therefore I can see them snatching this one by the odd goal to continue Southampton’s poor run of form.
Stoke 1 – 1 West Brom
This game has become a bit of a 6 pointer and a must not lose for either team. West Brom’s terrible winless streak has continued to 17 games now and is an unwanted record for the Baggies. Pardew has finally seen them score their first goal under his reign last week against Man Utd but they still ended up losing that encounter and dropped into the relegation zone. This may be the wake up call they need and Pardew will be hoping that the Baggies soon start playing with a bit more freedom and pace to start unlocking their oppositions defences. Stoke have lost 3 on the spin and Mark Hughes position seems to be under threat at the moment. There are rumours of former Stoke and West Brom boss Tony Pulis making a return to the Brittania but it is all just paper talk at the minute. Mark Hughes will know that anything less than a victory this week may be the end of his 3 year spell. I think this will be a hard-earned draw by both sides and if anything, Stoke may nick the winner.
Swansea 0 – 2 Crystal Palace
Paul Clement is under major pressure and can not seem to dig the Swans out of the bottom 3. Swansea have lost 8 of their last 10 Premier League games and another defeat this weekend could be tickets for Paul Clement. He believes that he has enough in his squad to get them safe and a win this weekend is crucial for him to give his side a chance of safety as another defeat could see them drift further and further away from the sides above them. The Eagles have started to spread their wings and seems have finally lifted themselves out of the relegation zone for the first time this season with their 3-0 away win at Leicester in their last outing. They are playing with a lot more confidence and all their big players are coming to the party including Zaha, Benteke, Townsend and Loftus Cheek. Roy has used all his know how get Palace out of danger and he will be expecting them to make it 8 games without a loss this weekend and three wins in a row. Last time these 2 sides met Swansea won the game 2-0, I can see it being a reverse this time out.
West Ham 1 – 1 Newcastle
David Moyes is starting to look like the manager he was at Everton all those years ago. He seems to be smiling a lot more and he looks a lot more relaxed and at home at West Ham. He has the players looking hungry and playing better football lately and has gone 3 games unbeaten and that has helped them climb their way out of the relegation zone. Next step for him is to try and keep them out of danger which is easier said than done in this tough league. His troops will be coming up against a helpless Newcastle United who have been in free fall mode and have dropped into the relegation zone for the first time this season. There is a bit of turmoil and confusion at the club at the moment and no one knows what is going on regarding the takeover. The sooner this all gets resolved the better as it seems to be affecting the results of late. It is time now for the Newcastle players to pull up their socks and dig deep and start putting some points on the board starting from this weekend. I believe the Geordies will grab themselves a valuable away point in this game.
Burnley 0 – 2 Spurs
Spurs lost 4-1 last week against the mighty City and will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they play the surprise package of the season being Sean Dyche’s Burnley. Last time out these sides drew 1-1 and as much as I hope Burnley can keep their incredible form up until the end of the season and finish in a European spot I can’t see their squad being deep enough to compete with the likes of the big 6 and I think they will slowly start losing pace with the big boys (I hope to be proven wrong though). I can see Burnley making life tough for Spurs but once Spurs get the breakthrough they may go onto to score 2 or 3 as Burnley try to chase the game.
Leicester City 1 -2 Man Utd
This could turn out to be a very spicy affair with a lot of goals. Both these sides have very creative and pacy midfielders and forwards and I feel this one may be a fun one to watch. Claude Puel has the Foxes playing some great football of late but they were caught napping last weekend by Palace and lost 3-0 at home. This may have dented their confidence slightly and they will hope to turn things around quickly with a win against Man Utd. Jose on the other hand will know that top spot is way out of his distance and he will know that he needs to keep winning to stay in the top 4 this year. A shock defeat to Bristol City in the EFL Cup has not helped his chances of winning silverware this year. He will now be under pressure to win the FA Cup or the Champions League otherwise it could be a disappointing season for them. Jose has the skills to out class Claude Puel and I can see him having just enough to take the 3 points in this encounter but I think it will be a great and exciting game.
Let me know your thoughts?