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Your Premier League weekend preview (29/01/2021)

Another weekend of Premier League football is on the horizon and we have some really exciting prospects lined up for us, including a relegation six-pointer, a clash between historic rivals, and an unlikely battle for fourth place.

Everton vs Newcastle (12:30pm Saturday)

The weekend action kicks off at Goodison Park where an Everton side with ambitions of European football next season welcome a Newcastle side seriously out of form. 

Everton currently sit in seventh spot, just four points behind the top four but with two games in hand on the majority of sides around them. 

They come into this game off the back of a 1-1 draw against high-flying Leicester after three previous successive wins and have looked to be a side capable of clinching a European place in the first half of this season. 

Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be confident they can pick up three points here and would climb to fifth with a win ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures. 

Everton, Newcastle, Premier League

Newcastle are the most out-of-form side in England’s top four divisions right now, losing their last six games and only picking up two points since the middle of December. 

They’re finding themselves in increasing danger of slipping into  an intense relegation battle as they’re now only one point above Brighton and six points clear of Fulham who have a game in hand.

The pressure is seriously growing on Steve Bruce now and with some tricky games coming up for the Magpies, things are looking pretty bleak at the moment although a win here would be huge. 

Newcastle did win the earlier fixture against Everton though so will take some encouragement from that although the Toffees have the better of the rear head to head record between these two sides, winning nine of their last 14 meetings.

Crystal Palace vs Wolves (3pm Saturday)

Next up is a clash between two sides level on points around the middle of the table, both of whom will be desperate to return to winning ways as soon as possible. 

Crystal Palace have won just one of their last ten games in all competitions and that sole victory came against bottom side Sheffield United at the start of the month. 

Most recently was a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of West Ham, a game in which they were in front after just three minutes but by the end were fortunate to lose by just the one goal.

The Eagles look a bit short of confidence right now but so do Saturday’s opponents Wolves who are a long way of the heights they’ve reached in the last couple of seasons. 

Wolves, Crystal Palace, Premier League
Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Wolves at without a win in their last seven Premier League games although have tasted victory in two FA Cup games this month, one of which was against Crystal Palace. 

They set up very defensively in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Chelsea and kept a good shape throughout whilst not really looking to do much going forward, although they did have a couple of good chances late on. 

This game represents a good opportunity for both sides to get back to winning ways but it’s likely to be a close-fought affair.

Man City vs Sheffield United (3pm Saturday)

Also at 3pm is a clash between two sides at completely opposite ends of the table as current table-toppers Man City host rock bottom Sheffield United at the Etihad, looking to extend their lead at the top to four points.

Man City are in a ruthless run of form at the moment and appear to be growing stronger every week, currently on a seriously impressive run of 11 straight wins in all competitions. 

They’ve won their last four games by an aggregate score of 14-1 and although Pep Guardiola’s sides have been typical associated with a clinical attacking threat, and that’s also proving to be true again this season, it’s been the defensive side of their game that has made them so successful this season. 

They’re the joint second top scorers in the league but also comfortably have the best defensive record, which isn’t a great sign for their opponents who have scored less than all other sides in the league up until now. 

Sheffield United, Man City, Premier League

This game may seem like a walkover on paper although Sheffield United will be encouraged by their shock 2-1 win over Man United at Old Trafford on Wednesday. 

Although the Blades have won just twice so far this season, both of those victories have come this month, indicating some signs of improvement.

They’ve still got a lot of ground to make up if they’re to avoid relegation this season but they’re now just three points behind West Brom which should provide valuable motivation for the South Yorkshire side.

They will not give up until the task is no longer possible and whilst this game against City seems like too much of a big ask for the Blades, they will come into it with belief and will hope they can shock the Premier League again. 

Sheffield United will also take encouragement from the narrow scoreline in the reverse fixture back in October and whilst Man City ran out 1-0 winners, the Blades gave them a better game than may have been expected.

West Brom vs Fulham (3pm Saturday)

The final 3pm kick off comes at the Hawthorns as two relegation rivals go head to head in a real six pointer. 

West Brom are currently second from bottom, two points behind their opponents Fulham and seven points away from safety. 

Sam Allardyce is yet to add his usual defensive solidity to this Baggies team and they’ve conceded a huge 24 goals in the eight games he’s had in charge.

There were some encouraging signs two weeks ago when they beat Wolves in the Black Country derby but have since fallen to defeat against West Ham and a huge 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Man City. 

Fulham, West Brom

Fulham certainly don’t look as defensively frail as Saturday’s opponents, drawing games or losing them by the odd goal, but they really need to find a way to win.

You have to go back to the end of November for the last time the Cottagers earned all three points but you get the feeling the next win isn’t too far away following some resolute performances against the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Man United within the last month.

Another point was gained against fellow-strugglers Brighton on Wednesday but that may well be two points dropped as far as Scott Parker is concerned, given the position his side is currently in. 

West Brom’s last win over Fulham came all the way back in 2010 ad it’s safe to say the Cottagers have enjoyed more recent success in this fixture than the Baggies although with so much on the line this weekend, we should be in for a great game. 

Arsenal vs Man United (5:30pm Saturday)

Saturday’s tea time kick off sees two historic English rivals go head to head at the Emirates as Man United pay a visit to a rejuvenated Arsenal side.

Arsenal have hit a bit of form as of late, winning four of their last five Premier League games, avoiding defeat since mid December.

That has lifted the Gunners up to ninth place where they’re level on points with Chelsea, just three points behind the top six but seven points behind the top four. 

Champions League football would’ve been the aim for Mikel Arteta’s side coming into this season and could still be achieved but another season of Europa League football looks a more likely objective from now. 

Arsenal, Man United

Saturday’s opponents Man United had been on an impressive 13 game Premier League unbeaten run, last tasting defeat in the league against the Gunners at the start of November.

But that was firmly ended in shock fashion on Wednesday as Sheffield United produced a plucky performance to beat them at Old Trafford.

That would’ve put a sizeable dent in their confidence although they’re still firmly in title contention and could go top this weekend if Man City fail to win.

This should be a well contested affair and it’s certainly one to keep a close eye on as the action unfolds.

Southampton vs Aston Villa (8pm Saturday)

Saturday’s late kick off sees two sides who have really impressed so far this season go head to head, currently locked level on points. 

Southampton’s form has just hit a bit of a slump in recent games and the Saints have won just one of their last seven Premier League games, although that victory did come in impressive fashion against Liverpool.

The South Coast side are only four points off the top six and they certainly won’t have ruled out a European qualification spot just yet but have a bit of ground to make up.

The Saints posses plenty of attacking quality within their squad and when they’re on song, they’re a tough side to stop and they’ll be hoping to return to winning ways in the Premier League this weekend. 

Aston Villa, Southampton

Aston Villa will also not have given up hopes of European qualification, particularly given the fact that they’ve played two games fewer than most other sides in the league. 

The Villains come into this game off the back of a disappoint defeat to Burnley though, despite being ahead twice, which would’ve just knocked them back somewhat. 

Five of Villa’s next four games are against sides in good form in the top half of the table so it’s essential they keep their morale and confidence high heading into a ticket period. 

You have to go back to 2013 to find the last time Aston Villa beat Southampton and in fact the Saints have come out on top in six of the last seven meetings between the two sides, most recently running out winners in November’s seven goal thriller, so goals are a distinct possibility in this one. 

Chelsea vs Burnley (12pm Sunday)

Sunday’s action kicks off at Stamford Bridge where Thomas Tuchel will take charge of his new side for the second time against a newly rejuvenated Burnley side. 

Chelsea’s first game of the Tuchel era didn’t quite go to plan as for all their constant probing possession, they couldn’t seem to find anything at the end of it. 

Now that the new boss has had a few more days with his side, he will hope to see a greater improvement on Sunday.

That first win needs to come soon as the Blues sit eighth coming into this game, seven points adrift of the top four and Champions League football. 

Chelsea, Burnley, Premier League

Burnley come into this game off the back of three straight victories in all competitions and have hurled themselves nine points clear of the drop zone as a result. 

Somewhat surprising for a typical Burnley side is the fact that they’ve scored eight goals in those three games as they’re the league’s second lowest goal scorers with just 13 goals to their name so far. 

Sean Dyche’s men can now start to look up the table rather than behind them although their next two games are tricky assignments. 

The Clarets don’t have a great recent record against Chelsea and have lost five of their last six games against the Blues although they will hope to maintain their impressive form this weekend. 

Leicester vs Leeds (2pm Sunday)

Sunday’s action continues with an exciting prospect between two sides with plenty of attacking energy as Leicester City host Leeds.

Leicester have established themselves as serious title contenders this season and currently sit just two points off the top after a nine game unbeaten run on all competitions. 

They had their five game winning streak ended at Goodison Park on Wednesday where they were held to a 1-1 draw although their second half performance probably warranted more. 

They have the league’s second most prolific attack and Brendan Rodgers will hope that doesn’t dry out in the absence of Jamie Vardy but they could go top of the league this weekend depending on other results. 

Leicester, Leeds

Leeds had been regarded as the entertainers of the Premier League although the goals have just started to dry up in recent games, scoring just two in their last four in all competitions. 

Both of those goals came against Newcastle on Tuesday in a morale-boosting win a heavy defeat to Tottenham, a huge cup upset at Crawley and a disappointing loss to struggling Brighton. 

Defensively there is certainly room for improvement with only Crystal Palace and West Brom conceding more so far this season, and that will be a real area of concern for Marcelo Bielsa coming into this game against a side with a very dangerous attack. 

Leicester have a very good recent record in this fixture, winning their last three games against Leeds, who have won just twice against the Foxes in their last 16 attempts. 

West Ham vs Liverpool (4:30pm Sunday)

Next up is a rather unlikely battle for fourth place at the London Stadium between high-flying West Ham and a slightly out of form Liverpool side. 

West Ham are seriously impressing this season and are already only four points behind what they earned throughout the whole of last season. 

The Hammers are currently enjoying a six match winning streak in all competitions and most recently come back from an early deficit to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, a game in which they scored three but could easily have scored more. 

This game represents a trickier task for David Moyes’ men but they’ll be full of confidence for this one and will look to extend this fanatic winning run and climb above Liverpool into fourth place.

Liverpool, West Ham
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool are not so high in confidence after a serious dip in form where they failed to win in five and scored just one goal, but did get back to winning ways on Thursday against Tottenham Hotspur. 

That win would’ve done them a world of good and keeps the Reds in title contention, currently four points off the top.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have a difficult run of fixtures coming up and they can’t afford more disappointing results if they’re to stay in this race at the top.

Liverpool just about came out on top in this reverse fixture, coming from behind to win at Anfield with the help of a controversial penalty, but West Ham gave them a good game and this should be a fascinating affair.

Brighton vs Tottenham (7:15pm Sunday)

The weekend’s action is wrapped up at the Amex where Brighton and Hove Albion play host to Tottenham, both of whom need a win for very different reasons.

Brighton are currently five points clear if the drop zone but will be well aware that Fulham have a valuable game in hand. 

They missed an opportunity to open that gap up to eight points on Tuesday but had to settle for a 0-0 draw against the Cottagers which keeps them right in the mix.

The Seagulls have now lost just twice in their last ten games in all competitions, showing some clear songs for encouragement but no side has drawn more games than they have and they need to start translating them into wins.

Brighton, Tottenham

Tottenham will visit the South Coast off the back of a disappointing 3-1 deafet to Liverpool, and certainly not one of their best performances. 

Spurs will be without Harry Kane for this one after an ankle injury he picked up against the Reds which will be a big blow considering he’s the second top goal scorer and highest assist maker in the Premier League. 

A title challenge looks slightly out of the question for Jose Mourinho’s side at the moment although it’s certainly not ruled out and a win this weekend could take them within five points of the top. 

Brighton gave Spurs a very good game in the reverse fixture back in November and will have fond memories of the last time they welcomed Tottenham to the Amex when they ran out 3-0 winners. 

With that in mind, and given what’s at stake for both sides, we should be in for a really good game to wrap up the weekend’s Premier League action. 

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