Today sees four Premier League clashes, kicking off with Chelsea vs West Bromwich Albion at noon. We then got the big clash between Man Utd and Spurs at Old Trafford alongside Southampton vs Middlesbrough. We finish the day at Anfield with Liverpool and West Ham looking to avenge poor showings last weekend.
Chelsea vs West Bromwich Albion
Antonio Conte’s men are surely heading into this clash as favourites, after avoiding defeat since September in the league. Will today be the day that unbeaten run comes to a shuddering halt?
Recent matches have seen Chelsea leak goals against Tottenham and Manchester City, giving WBA some hope of at least getting a draw at Stamford Bridge. The performances from the West Midlands club has been impressive coming into a challenging fixture.
A shock win will benefit them ahead of next weekend’s home clash against Manchester United, should the Red Devils lose their mid afternoon home match to Spurs.
The Baggies’ fans will head to West London with a lack of belief after seeing their side fail to take any wins at the Bridge since 1978. This will be a comfort to the Blues. With Tony Pulis’ club potentially in the Europa League placings mix, a win over the league leaders will certainly give them that extra confidence heading into an crunch festive period.
This match should be intense with both teams wanting the win for very different reasons so expect the kitchen sink to be thrown down both ends. Chelsea however have a poor disciplinary record so Pulis will set his side up defensively to frustrate their opponent. Both sides however should come away with a point given that both are in form.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 WBA
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
This match is a must win for United if they want to challenge for the title. They will however have to shake off the jet lag from their Ukraine trip, if want to have a chance against a tough Spurs team.
The omens are however in the Red Devils favour because the Lilywhites have recorded 19 defeats at Old Trafford, more than at any other stadium. They will have to really pull something out of the bag, if they are to avoid making it a 20th loss at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
Jose Mourinho will be glad to finally have a proper first team squad, full of players who can get the required goals. Their defence however will need a January overhaul, if they’re to avoid leaking goals and especially in the latter stages of the match.
Zlatan Ibrahimović and Henrik Mkhitaryan will be looking to have brought back their performance from Thursday night and pick up where they left off, albeit at Old Trafford. Those two surely need to start if are to have a fighting chance of getting anything from the game.
Mauricio Pochettino will delighted that his club managed to end their Wembley drought with a 3-1 victory in midweek. The confidence earned from ending that streak is surely going to flow through to Old Trafford, where they will look to reverse another nightmare stadium record into a positive result.
Spurs look best placed to win the game, due to having not travelled aboard for an European midweek tie. Harry Kane is back to his best and will be a tough nut for the Red Devils’ rocky back four to keep quiet.
We are definitely going to see a tight and cagey affair but expect the North Londoners to sneak a win in the dying stages. United’s defence will once again be to blame for another late collapse because Spurs have been relentless in the final stages, all season.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Spurs
Southampton vs Middlesbrough
This game can’t come soon enough for the Saints following their shock Europa League exit in midweek.
Claude Puel will be looking to use this match to let his players vent their disappointment by running riot against an in form Middlesbrough side. They will however be without Charlie Austin, who is their top goal scorer so far this season.
Middlesbrough themselves are set to be without Alvaro Negredo, Gaston Ramirez and Jordan Rhodes. Losing Negredo and Ramirez is disastrous for the Teessiders who are needing a win, if they are to pull away from the drop zone. Their away form is however impressive and will help to limit the impact of losing key players.
The goal average for both sides is less than one goal per match. Looking at that stat, this meeting is either going to be goals galore or a quiet goalless draw.
Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Middlesbrough
Liverpool vs West Ham
Both teams will be looking to get a win after embarrassing showings in the defence last weekend.
Taking players to a warm weather training camp after a 4-3 defeat from 3-1 up is often quite a silly decision, instead of just getting straight back on the training pitch. With Jurgen Klopp, it might be a correct decision because he knows how to get the best out of this strong Liverpool squad.
The midweek trip to the Nou Camp will also physiologically help the players to improve their performance, in order to complete against European giants. It might also help refocus them ahead of a home clash with an underperforming West Ham side, looking to rediscover their form of last season.
The Hammers struggled at Anfield until last year so will be looking to avoid slumping back into that track record. Having Andy Carroll back will help at set pieces but the East Londoners need to sort out their attacking form because they aren’t taking their chances when have sight on goal.
Unlike their Merseyside opponents, Slaven Bilic and his squad has been training as usual so expect them to be ready for a battle. The Reds will however have to prove to critics that last week was just a blip and get back to winning ways, if they are to take any advantage of any point deduction that might head Chelsea’s way in the title battle.
The previous three Sunday matches involving Liverpool this season has seen 21 goals scored so expect a goalfest. Liverpool should however have that bit extra to sneak the necessary three points.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-2 West Ham