There is another full round of Premier League fixtures this weekend and we’ve gazed into our crystal ball to predict the winners…
Newcastle v Chelsea
It’s hard to see anyone stopping the Chelsea machine at the moment. Having already secured progression to the knockout stages of the Champions League, Jose Mourinho can afford to field his bug guns on Saturday and rest them for European action in midweek.
After a stunning turnaround, Newcastle have stuttered a bit recently and have been hard-hit by injuries, leaving them ill-prepared to face the rampant Blues.
Hull v West Brom
Hull were very impressive on Wednesday against a tired Everton side, coming away from Goodison Park with a well-deserved point.
Conversely, West Brom are struggling at present, with the goals from up front having dried up. Alan Irvine is approaching a testing period, with matches against fellow strugglers Aston Villa and QPR on the horizon.
Both sides need the win desperately, but it’s Hull that are more likely to get it.
QPR v Burnley
A six-pointer if ever there was one, if QPR are going to remain in the Premier League then home wins against teams like Burnley is a must.
The Clarets will feel this will be one of their few realistic chances of getting three points on the road, but they will struggle to get the win they so desperately need.
Charlie Austin’s goals are likely to be key.
Stoke v Arsenal
With Laurent Koscielny back in the centre of defence and Alexis Sanchez really finding his feet, Arsenal are looking a much more capable unit.
Saturday’s trip to Stoke will prove a real challenge for the Gunners, with Arsene Wenger’s side have traditionally struggled to come to grips with physical sides like the Potters.
However, Mark Hughes’ Stoke are not the Stoke of old, and on this occasion that might not be a good thing.
Having come off defeats to Liverpool and Manchester United, Stoke desperately need a positive result and if they can shackle Sanchez they may have a chance of escaping with a point. That’s a very big ‘if’ though.
Liverpool v Sunderland
Sunderland have proved difficult to beat of late, holding Chelsea and not letting Manchester City have it all their own way in the early stages of their midweek clash.
However, the Black Cats are unlikely to prove enough of a threat to really stand a chance of getting one over the Reds, with a draw perhaps the best they can hope for.
Liverpool have strung a few positive results together in recent weeks despite not always looking too convincing. Expect Brendan Rodgers’ side to do the business though.
Tottenham v Crystal Palace
Having been completely outplayed by Chelsea in midweek, Tottenham will be hoping for more from their second London derby of the week.
Spurs are looking a bit directionless for the most part, and they will need to get convincing wins from fixtures like this one if Mauricio Pochettino is to be given enough time to turn things around.
Palace have been decent at home, and should be good enough to stave off relegation, but a win at White Hart Lane seems unlikely, a draw not quite so much.
Manchester City v Everton
City’s Champions League victory over Bayern Munich has sparked something of a revival at Eastlands, with the Citizens’ minor wobble a thing of the past.
Sergio Aguero seems near-impossible to stop at the moment and having seen how lethargic Everton looked against Hull, he will be licking his lip in anticipation.
Everton have a decent record against City and are likely to give them a tough time, but a win looks beyond Roberto Martinez’s side.
West Ham v Swansea
It’s Southampton who have been raking in the plaudits as the season’s surprise package, but West Ham are defying expectations too – and a win on Sunday could see them leap into the top four.
Sam Allardyce will be delighted to have silenced his (many) critics, and a win over a more than competent Swansea side will further entrench their standing at the right end of the table.
Swansea’s form has been somewhat erratic – they haven’t won two in a row since August, but they’re always a dangerous outfit.
Aston Villa v Leicester
Leicester will perhaps be glad to be on the road this weekend as manager Nigel Pearson’s relationship with the Foxes faithful heads to even shakier ground.
Aston Villa will be keen to build on their win over Crystal Palace earlier in the week, a result that ended a nine-match winless run.
The hosts should have enough in the tank to grind out another win.
Southampton v Manchester United
It’s easy to say that Southampton’s bubble has burst following two defeats on the trot, but it’s important to remember that the two sides they’ve lost to are the big hitting Manchester City and Arsenal.
United meanwhile have won four on a row, but they still look anything but invincible. However, with Wayne Rooney back in the mix on Monday they are likely to step up a gear.
Southampton will find their feet once more, but it’s unlikely to be against the Red Devils.