Manchester meets Merseyside this weekend, headlined by Manchester United vs. Liverpool.
Prior to Sunday’s huge clash at Old Trafford, Manchester City travel to Everton looking to keep the heat on leaders Chelsea, who will be hoping to bounce back after a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham ended their winning run.
Antonio Conte’s side travel to champions Leicester on Saturday evening. Elsewhere, Arsenal are at Swansea and there’s a big game at the bottom as Sam Allardyce takes Crystal Palace to former club West Ham.
Predict the outcome of all the matches in our match polls.
MAN UNITED: If United beat Liverpool they’ll have won 10 games in a row, which shows the huge turnaround from a few months ago when they couldn’t stop drawing. More importantly, people could begin to talk about them being part of the title race, something that hasn’t happened since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Liverpool know if they win, they not only cement their title hopes but more or less end United’s. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return after his week off, hoping to be more clinical than he was at Anfield earlier this season. Dejan Lovren will have his hands full.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool — Scott Patterson
LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s current form is patchy while Manchester United’s has been excellent. It takes a brave or foolish man to predict an away win, but Jurgen Klopp’s record against the biggest teams has been excellent so far. The visitors may well relish the role of being underdogs.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Liverpool — Steven Kelly
EVERTON: Finishing as high as possible in the league is all that remains for Everton after elimination from both domestic cups. New signings could provide a timely boost as the Blues chase three points against a Manchester City team that is unbeaten in the last seven meetings between the two sides.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Manchester City — Luke O’Farrell
MAN CITY: Pep Guardiola’s men should be feeling confident ahead of their trip to Goodison Park. Five wins in their last six matches equals a resurgence, though City must be wary of an Everton team that has been hit-and-miss in recent weeks. City often struggle on Merseyside, so it’ll need a good display for them to take maximum points.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Manchester City — Simon Curtis
LEICESTER: The champions aren’t likely to beat Chelsea, but the same was said before the home fixture with Manchester City. Without Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani the Foxes could lack firepower, but Ahmed Musa — who scored both goals in the 2-1 FA Cup victory over Everton — may get a rare start and could cause the visitors problems. The truth, though, is that if Chelsea turn up, the Foxes will be well-beaten. There’s no shame in that, given the Blues’ current form.
Prediction: Leicester 1-3 Chelsea — Ben Jacobs
CHELSEA: N’Golo Kante has starred for Chelsea since signing from Leicester City last summer. The dynamic midfielder returns to the King Power for the first time, keen to prove he made the right decision to leave the Premier League champions. Leicester may have only lost two top-flight games in their last 25 at home, but with Kante in their ranks Chelsea will have the edge in a tight game.
Prediction: Leicester 0-1 Chelsea — Mark Worrall
SWANSEA: Swansea have always done well against Arsenal, and with the Bob Bradley era in the rearview mirror, they have a chance to rediscover their identity under the more astute Paul Clement. Season form so far suggests a rout for Arsenal, but Clement’s appointment should help stop the bleeding.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 Arsenal — Max Hicks
ARSENAL: Swansea will doubtless be up for Clement’s first league match, but it’s probably unrealistic to expect too dramatic a turnaround at a club in free fall for much of the season. Olivier Giroud is in fine form and with Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny back in tandem, the defence should look a little more secure, too.
Prediction: Swansea 1-3 Arsenal — James McNicholas
TOTTENHAM: After a poor start to the season, West Brom have improved greatly in the past few months and currently lie in eighth place in the Premier League, so though Tottenham can expect to win this game they cannot take it for granted. Spurs must take the same passion and intensity into this fixture as they showed in their 2-0 victory over Chelsea. If they can do that, there should be no slip-ups.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 West Brom — John Crace
WEST BROM: West Brom will be looking to extend their unbeaten run at White Hart Lane to five games when they face Tottenham in their first away fixture of 2017. Jonny Evans has been outstanding against the top sides and he’ll need to be in that form again for Tony Pulis’ men to keep Spurs at bay.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 West Brom — Matthew Evans
WEST HAM: It’s hard to think of a better time for Allardyce to return to his old club and hope to take all three points. Palace will be safe with Allardyce in charge, so expect the south London outfit to put further pressure on the ebbing confidence of the shot-shy Hammers, still reeling from Dimitri Payet’s revelation he wants out.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace — Peter Thorne
CRYSTAL PALACE: With Allardyce having more than just a few days to work on his team’s shape and approach, Palace might just find some of that resilience that has been missing for so long. The inclusion of Loic Remy should give the side more cutting edge, too.
Prediction: West Ham 0-1 Crystal Palace — Rob Sutherland
SUNDERLAND: Saturday’s clash is winnable, but few Sunderland games from now until May are likely to be easy. If Stoke have blown hot and cold all season, they have been hot often enough for David Moyes to need a fired-up team display, with Jermain Defoe at his sharpest, to secure three priceless points.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Stoke — Colin Randall
STOKE: Peter Crouch will be looking to score the two goals needed for him to join the illustrious “100 club,” with the big man set to continue up front for the Potters’ trip north to struggling Sunderland. Their lowly hosts’ sole threat would appear to be Defoe, but Stoke will need to improve upon recent performances if they’re to take advantage and claim all three points.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-1 Stoke— James Whittaker
HULL CITY: Given that Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are next on the agenda, the visit of Bournemouth is as close to a must-win fixture as Hull City will ever get in January. The obvious concern is the lengthy injury list handicapping Marco Silva during his first days as manager. Bournemouth will be fresher and have the attacking talent to deny City the win they so desperately need.
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Bournemouth — Phil Buckingham
BOURNEMOUTH: This is the ideal fixture for a recovering Bournemouth side. Eddie Howe will be desperate for a confidence-booster after their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Millwall in the FA Cup on Jan. 7 and there’s no side they would have preferred to face next than the one they thrashed 6-1 back in October. Another easy win.
Prediction: Hull City 1-3 Bournemouth — Will Kent
BURNLEY: Southampton have lacked firepower all season and without injured former Claret Charlie Austin, they do not have an obvious source of goals. But a close battle feels likely with Claude Puel’s men expected to be tight at the back and the visitors could deny Burnley an eighth home win in the Premier League.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Southampton — Jamie Smith
SOUTHAMPTON: Southampton will take a lot of confidence out of Wednesday’s EFL Cup semifinal victory over Liverpool, but that game will also have sapped their energy levels as they spent a lot of time chasing the ball. Burnley’s impressive home record means a point would be a good result
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Southampton — Alex Crook
WATFORD: Watford’s poor recent league form means this fixture has taken on added significance, but Valon Behrami, Daryl Janmaat and Stefano Okaka could all return for the Hornets. A porous home defence will have to be wary of new Boro signing Rudy Gestede, but this game should provide Watford with the ideal platform to get their campaign back on track.
Prediction: Watford 2-1 Middlesbrough — Mike Parkin
MIDDLESBROUGH: Last time out for these sides, Watford edged Middlesbrough without really needing to pull their weight at the Riverside. Boro will find it tough to play away at their lower-table peers but should be buoyed after a convincing 3-0 cup win last weekend and the rich form of returning players such as Grant Leadbitter.
Prediction: Watford 2-1 Middlesbrough — Catherine Wilson
Can United keep up their winning run? Will Morgan Schneiderlin play in Everton’s clash with Manchester City and could he make the difference? What about West Ham — where do they go from here, with news Payet wants to leave?
It’s another big weekend in the Premier League. Predict the outcomes in our match polls and have your say in the comments below.
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