Thursday, January 18, 2018

Premier League Preview: Matchday Twelve

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Premier League 17 Nov 2017

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Following the final international break of the year, attention turns back to club football with North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur getting matters underway in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Home advantage sees Arsene Wenger’s side as slight favourites despite being three places and four points behind their neighbours with eleven games played.

Victory for the Gunners would see them, if only temporarily move level on points with champions Chelsea and to within a point of Spurs, who themselves will reclaim second spot should they avoid defeat.

Zlatan returns

Manchester United start the weekend in second and face Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Saturday’s late afternoon match, and the hosts are set to be boosted by the return of both last season’s top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and record signing Paul Pogba.

Ibrahimovic suffered a potentially career ending injury back in April, damaging his cruciate knee ligament though he is in contention for selection and can be backed at 3/1 mark his return with the first goal of the game.

Jose Mourinho’s men could be as much as eleven points behind Manchester City by the time they kick-off, with the league leaders traveling to Leicester City earlier in the day.

The Foxes are unbeaten in their last five league games, with three different managers overseeing that run and a win here could see them end the day in the top eight depending on results elsewhere.

Baggies struggles

Champions Chelsea travel to West Bromwich Albion knowing that anything other than victory could see them slip out of the top four while the Baggies are looking to end a nine game winless run that has left them dangerously close to the bottom three.

Back-to-back wins have kept Liverpool on the coattails of the top four and they will fancy their chances against a Southampton side who have scored just nine league goals so far while Burnley, who are level on points with Jurgen Klopp’s side will be equally confident as they host second-from-bottom Swansea City.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Everton travel to Crystal Palace in what could be caretaker manager David Unsworth’s final match in charge while Bournemouth host Huddersfield Town with both sides having secured welcome 1-0 victories last time out.

Moyes back in town

Sunday’s sole fixture sees a Watford side, looking to bounce back from their dramatic defeat to Everton last time out take on West Ham United in David Moyes’ first match since being appointed as Slaven Bilic’s replacement.

The Hammers start the weekend in eighteenth place, one point from safety and their new boss will be desperate to start well ahead of a December which sees them play Manchester City, Cheslea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Finally, Monday evening’s game on the south coast sees Brighton and Hove Albion entertain Stoke City with the hosts looking to build on their impressive start to life in the Premier League.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deke Hardman


Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both SoccerNews.com and FreeBetting.com, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.

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