Monday, February 17, 2020

Premier League Preview: Matchday Twenty-two

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Premier League 12 Jan 2018

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After the FA Cup third round action the Premier League returns this weekend with the showpiece fixture taking place on Sunday afternoon, when Liverpool host leaders Manchester City.

The table-toppers are go into arguably their toughest task of the season a massive fifteen points clear of neighbours Manchester United, who currently occupy second spot and eighteen ahead of their opponents.

City’s last league win at Anfield came almost fifteen years ago while they have taken nothing at all from their last four visits though they face a side playing for the first time since selling Phillippe Coutinho, one quarter of their fab four who have taken the league by storm this season.

Chasing pack

Any potential slip up by the champions elect will leave the door open for the Red Devils, who host managerless Stoke City on Monday evening.

Jose Mourinho’s side ended a run of three straight league draws with victory over Everton on New Years’ Day and go in to the weekend one point ahead of Chelsea, who host the side they dethroned as champions Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.

Antonio Conte’s men have themselves drawn three games in a row, in three seperate competitions culminating in Wednesday evening’s stalemate with Arsenal in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

The Gunners themselves play on Sunday afternoon when they face a trip to Bournemouth, just over twelve months after their last visit to the Vitality Stadium – arguably one of the games of last season.

Another thriller?

Arsene Wenger’s men came from three goals down with just twenty minutes remaining to salvage a point with Jack Wilshere watching on half way through his season-long loan spell with the Cherries.

The England international, who is back at his parent club will again miss out after picking up a latest injury after impressing over the past month to help quash speculation over his future and see calls for his inclusion in England’s World Cup squad.

Saturday’s late kick-off sees fifth place Tottenham Hotspur host Everton, looking for the three points which would, at least for twenty-four hours see them move level on points with fourth place Liverpool.

Danger zone

Elsewhere on Saturday, bottom-of-the-table Swansea City face a trip to Newcastle United while West Bromwich Albion, who sit above the South Wales side on goal difference alone welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the Hawthorns.

Crystal Palace will be looking to continue their climb up the table as they host Burnley while Huddersfield Town can move into the top half if they beat West Ham United and other results fall in their favour.

Finally, Southampton will be hoping to pull themselves away from trouble as they travel to Watford, with the Saints starting the weekend above the dotted line by virtue of goal difference.

The Saints have been back in the top flight for six seasons and can currently be backed at a price of 5/1 to be relegated.


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 and, 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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