Another tantalising round of Premier League action beckons as Aguero looks to extend his goal-scoring record against Newcastle, United will want to make it eight wins on the bounce and a possible sting loading at Wembley?
Read on to see who EPL EGGHEADS is backing…
Wolves v West Ham
Well who would have predicted both of these sides suffering setbacks in their respective FA Cup ties? Wolves had to fight back to draw 2-2 at Shrewsbury, while West Ham was rinsed by Wimbledon.
It’s difficult to see West Ham getting anything from this game, they are yet to win away to any side in the top ten and have won just four of their last eleven games on the road. When you consider the fact that Wolves have scored two or more goals in all but one of their home victories and the state of the Hammers’ defence, it seems will we get a really open game. Goals will definitely be the order of the day.
Fulham v Brighton
I thought Fulham played really well last time out against Spurs. Ryan Babel seems to have hit the ground running and was influential in driving the Cottagers forward. Claudio Ranieri knows that in order to have any hopes of survival, a run of wins needs to start immediately.
Brighton have been quietly going about their business and haven’t really been involved in the relegation conversation, but back to back defeats to United and Liverpool have left them just seven points clear of the danger zone.
The Seagulls haven’t been great on the road this term, relying quite heavily on their home form. I know it’s a big call but I’m not sure Chris Hughton’s men are out of the woods just yet!
Arsenal v Cardiff
Arsenal was eliminated from the FA Cup after yet another inspired performance by Manchester United. Unai Emery will be eager to get that out of their minds as after their victory over Chelsea, they find themselves just three points shy of a top four spot.
Cardiff head into this game with the League’s worst away record. The Blue Birds have managed just five points from a possible thirty-three and I can’t see how they will deal with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette upfront.
Huddersfield v Everton
There could be an upset on the cards here. Huddersfield host a rather out of shape Everton side, who are fresh from defeat to Millwall in the FA Cup. That defeat – considering Millwall are currently fighting relegation in the Championship – will do little for the confidence around Marco Silva’s camp.
Huddersfield is in desperate need for a morale boosting game and this could be the opportunity. New manager Siewert will be concerned about his sides’ defensive frailty but will likely allow his side to just have a go.
I’m a big believer in the ‘magic’ of the honeymoon period when a new manager comes in, so I’m going to go with a home victory.
Newcastle v Manchester City
On paper this looks like a straight forward City win, but I’m not sure it’s that simple. Obviously, City will come into this game as favourites and full of confidence, but Pep Guardiola will know that Rafa Benitez is a master of setting up a side to be difficult to breakdown and defensively organised – especially when a ‘big gun’ is in town.
This game will be Pep’s 100thPremier League game in charge, he’s won seventy-three of the ninety-nine so far, should City win this game Pep will break the record (73 wins in 100 games) previously held by Jose Mourinho. Whilst this won’t be the priority, it is an incredible accomplishment by a man who has given so much to the beautiful game.
Manchester United v Burnley
Eight games played, eight games won. Into the next round of the FA Cup and three points from a Champions League position. The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer juggernaut rolls on!
All of a sudden there is hope that United could have a positive season, and more than that, the brand of football synonymous with Old Trafford is back.
Burnley will pose a threat insofar as they are another side on the up, but I think United will have too much quality for them.
Southampton v C Palace
What a tough game to call! Southampton under Ralph Hasenhuttl have been a completely different animal and will want to make it three wins on the spin in the League.
Most noticeable has been the change Southampton seem to have is their attacking prowess. The Saints have scored sixteen times under the Austrian’s guidance – doubling their eight goals managed in their ten games before he arrived.
Palace comes into this with high spirits considering their victory over Spurs in the FA Cup. They really seem to produce brilliant performances against the League’s ‘better’ sides; which is fantastic, but I wonder if their supporters think “where would we be if we played like this on a consistent basis”?
This could be one of the more exciting games of the weekend with goals galore!
Bournemouth v Chelsea
Bournemouth has been struggling, but for whatever reason you wouldn’t say that’s the case. Their win against West Ham last time out was just their third win since November. While their performances have generally been competitive, their results have been terrible.
Chelsea will be a tough test for Eddie Howe’s side though, the Blues come into this game on the back of two successful cup wins. Chelsea needed penalties to get past a wounded Spurs but cruised to a comfortable win against Sheffield Wednesday in their FA Cup clash.
I think Mauricio Sarri will be concenred about their defensive instability, having only managed to keep four clean sheets in their last eleven League games.
Liverpool v Leicester
Liverpool welcome Leicester to Anfield on Wednesday evening, the Reds hold a four-point advantage over second placed City, but by the time this game kicks off it could be just a single point.
I suppose there might be a little pressure on them to win, but they are rarely found wanting when playing in front of their home fans.
I think Leicester will struggle here, you look at their defence and think ‘how will they deal with Liverpool’s attack?’
Tottenham v Watford
Tottenham are in a crisis, no two ways about it. They are without their best players and have now lost three of their last four games – their worst run of results since last September.
Son Heung-Min will be a welcomed returnee for the Coys, but I’m not sure where the South Korean international is at physically.
Watford is in a rich vein of form, they are six games unbeaten and will know they could cause yet another upset at Wembley on Wednesday evening. If the Hornets take the game to Spurs and put pressure on them in the final third I think they could come away with something here.
Spurs are having real issues finding the back of the net, as a result of their injury concerns, and so I think there is real value to get behind Watford – be it via superbru or your local bookmaker!
Crazy how Spurs were part of the conversation as a dark horse for the League title just a couple weeks ago…but that’s football and that’s why we love it!