Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Premier League Preview – Matchday 18

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Premier League 21 Dec 2018

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Matchday eighteen in the Premier League kicks off on Friday evening as Wolverhampton Wanderers take on leaders Liverpool.

The hosts go in to the game having won their last three fixtures and will end the day in sixth place if the avoid defeat, though standing in their way is the division’s only remaining unbeaten side.

Jurgen Klopp’s men triumphed over fierce rivals Manchester United last weekend to reclaim top spot, and they know that anything other than three points here will leave the door open for champions Manchester City to leapfrog them when they host Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Eagles are still looking over their shoulder despite edging past Leicester City a week ago and aren’t given much chance by the bookmakers who have them at 5/1 to avoid defeat.

Tough

Tottenham Hotspur left it late last weekend with Christian Eriksen netting the only goal of the game against Burnley in stoppage time, and they will have to wait until Sunday to make their mark on matchday eighteen with Mauricio Pochettino’s side facing a tough trip to Everton.

That means Chelsea have the chance to, if only temporarily claim third spot as they welcome Leicester City to Stamford Bridge while Arsenal, who are three points behind the Blues but with an inferior goal difference host Burnley in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Saturday’s clash at the London Stadium sees ninth place West Ham United take on tenth place Watford, with the sides level on points and either side could feasibly find themselves in sixth place by the final whistle.

For that to happen, they would have to win and hope that Wolves hadn’t on Friday evening though the current occupiers of sixth spot play in Saturday’s late kick-off.

Return

Indeed, Saturday’s action concludes at the Cardiff City Stadium where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer begins his tenure as Manchester United manager against the club, he steered to relegation four-and-a-half years ago a sentence I could only have dreamt up a week ago.

Equally, the baby-faced assassin could hardly have asked for a more favourable run of fixtures to bed in to his new role with his first two league games coming against two of the favourites for relegation.

Neil Warnock’s side have been solid at home of late – winning four of their last five though they have taken just one point from twenty-four available on the road.

Looking up

Bournemouth will be looking to get a win that will see them return to the top half, though opponents Brighton and Hove Albion will also have their eyes on the top ten while Huddersfield Town can climb out of the bottom three if they beat Southampton, who will slip back into the drop zone if they lose.

Finally, after ending a run of three games without a win by triumphing at Huddersfield a week ago, Newcastle United will be looking to pile more misery on bottom-of-the-table Fulham.

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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