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Premier League preview 19th January 2013

Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez is under-pressure after three winless games at home

Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez is under-pressure after three winless games at home

This weekend’s Premier League clashes are in danger of being hampered by the great British weather. With snowing falling throughout Britain a large number of games could be postponed.

Anyway here are the games that are scheduled for this weekend. The two big games of the weekend Premier League schedule take place on Sunday. The early kick-off on Sunday sees Chelsea face Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s home form has been poor in recent games. Rafa Benitez’s side have failed to win in their last three games at home and have lost two of those encounters. However in their last two away games the Blues have scored nine goals.

The visitors have enjoyed an inconsistent season. At times the Gunners have looked rampant and at times toothless. Arsene Wenger’s side progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday with a 1-0 home victory over Swansea, but it’s in the league they need to find consistency.

The late game on Sunday sees league leaders Manchester United visit high-flying Tottenham. The home side have enjoyed a good campaign so far under Portuguese boss Andre Villas Boas. Spurs currently sit fourth Premier League table and have won four out of their last six games in all competitions.

Liverpool will look to continue their push for the top six as the Reds host Norwich at Anfield. The home sides recent good run of good form ended last weekend with defeat at bitter North West rivals Manchester United.

However, the Reds have won four out of their last six games in all competitions and star striker Luis Suarez has found the net six times in as many games in all competitions.

The Canaries are on a terrible run. Chris Hughton’s men have picked up just one point from their previous five top flight clashes. However that point came last weekend with a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle.

Manchester City face Fulham at the Etihad Stadium looking to cut the gap at the top of the Premier League to seven points, with leaders Manchester United not playing until Sunday. City’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend will have given the Citizens a much needed boost.

Fulham are on an awful run that has saw the Cottagers pick up just two wins from the last 14 top flight games. Martin Jol’s side have also failed to defeat Manchester City in their last seven meetings and have lost four of those clashes.

Two of the Premier League strugglers Newcastle and Reading meet at St James Park. The home side have won just two out of their last 13 Premier League games and are just two points away from the relegation zone.

The visitors start this game second from bottom in the Premier League table. However, the Royals could move out of the relegation zone with a victory and results going their way elsewhere. Brian McDermott’s side will be boosted by last weekend’s 3-2 victory West Brom.

Elsewhere, London rivals West Ham and QPR meet at the Boleyn Ground. The home side have slipped down the table in recent weeks, taking just four points from their last six top flight games. However they did play well in Wednesday’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester United and the Irons will be looking to move up the table again after that poor run.

Rock-bottom QPR had the boost of winning 1-0 against West Brom in the FA Cup during midweek. Hoops boss Harry Redknapp faces one of his former-clubs hoping for his team to record a rare away victory. Rangers are five points away from safety, but have picked up four points against London rivals Tottenham and Chelsea in their last two league games.

Wigan host Sunderland at the DW Stadium, only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. The Latics form has improved slightly in recent times though. Roberto Martinez’s team has taken four points from three games and also won at Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Tuesday night.

The visitors have climbed up the table in recent weeks and beat West Ham 3-0 in their last top flight outing. Martin O’Neill’s side lost 2-0 at home to Championship Bolton on Tuesday though to exit the FA Cup. The Black Cats are six points clear of the relegation zone in 14th.

In-form Swansea host Stoke at the Liberty Stadium looking to extend their unbeaten league to six games. The Swans exited the FA Cup on Wednesday night at Arsenal, but had fielded a much changed team from the one that earned an excellent 0-0 draw at Everton last weekend.

The visitor’s league form has been slightly patchy of late and the Potters suffered a 4-0 home loss to Chelsea in their last league encounter.

However, Tony Pulis’ side bounced back from that defeat with a 4-1 victory over Championship Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, with Jonathan Walters scoring a brace after his nightmare game against Chelsea at the weekend.

The late kick-off on Saturday is the West Midlands derby between West Brom and Aston Villa at the Hawthorns.  The home side have suffered a dramatic loss of form in recent weeks and have won just one game in all competitions from the last six.

The Baggies threw away a two goal lead at Reading last weekend and ended up losing 3-2. Steve Clarke’s side also suffered a 1-0 FA Cup home defeat to QPR on Tuesday night. However, the Baggies will be confident of beating their local rivals, who are in poor form.

Villa have slipped into the relegation zone, after conceding 22 goals in just seven matches. Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton was one of the low points of the season for the Villans. Paul Lambert’s side will be hoping to catch their opponents at a good time though.

On Monday night Southampton host Everton at St Marys Stadium. The Saints dispensed with the services of boss Nigel Adkins, despite the team coming from two goals down to earn a draw at Chelsea on Wednesday night.

The South Coast outfit have already appointed Argentine Mauricio Pochettino as Adkins replacement. The Saints are just three points above the relegation zone.

The visitors are fifth place, after their 0-0 stalemate with Swansea last weekend. However the Toffee’s could move back into the top four with a big victory on the South Coast.

Can Chelsea rediscover their home form this weekend against Arsenal?

Fri 18 January, 2013
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