The Premier League is back this weekend with game week 22. Footyblog.net takes a look ahead to some exciting fixtures.
The biggest game is on Sunday, when Chelsea host Manchester United in what promises to be a massive game for both teams. A win for the home side would move them 12 points ahead of their opposition, a gap you would imagine would be to overcome. However a United win would reduce it to six and give them every hope of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
The game is made even bigger for Chelsea as the rest of the top four have home games they would expect to win. Table toppers Arsenal host 16th place Fulham, whilst Manchester City host 3rd bottom Cardiff. With City’s home form this season, it’s hard to look past another large win for the blue half of Manchester. Liverpool host Aston Villa in Saturday’s late kick off.
At the other end of the table, two under pressure managers have massive games. Chris Hughton received the dreaded vote of confidence this week and his Norwich side face Hull at Carrow Road. Sam Allerdyce’s West Ham host Newcastle at Upton Park having eased a bit of pressure with an away win over Cardiff last weekend.
Bottom of the table Crystal Palace host Stoke, knowing that a win could see them move into 15th place. The other team in the bottom three, Sunderland, host Southampton in Saturday’s early kick off. Much has gone on behind the scenes at Southampton this week and the players and fans alike will be glad to get back on the pitch.
As for the two teams just outside of the top four sixth place Spurs visit Swansea on Sunday whilst Everton have to wait until Monday until they make the trip to West Brom to take on Pepe Mel’s side.
SAT 18 JAN 2014
Sunderland v Southampton 12:45
Don’t be too fooled by Sunderland’s league position, they are in decent form. They have picked up nine points from their last six games and have also scalped Chelsea and Manchester United in the Capital One Cup but the Black Cats have not won any of their last four home games and have only picked up seven points at home all season, the worst record in the league.
After a good start to the season, Southampton have seen their for stutter a bit of recent, picking up just seven points from the last six games. Much has been made of their off field problems in recent days and it will be interesting to see how this has affected the players, with rumours about the futures of star players such as Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw coming into question.
SUNDERLAND 2-1 SOUTHAMPTON
Arsenal v Fulham 15:00
Top of the table Arsenal are unbeaten at home since the opening day of the season, winning seven and drawing two of their last nine at the Emirates and it will take a lot for Fulham to come away from the game with any points. Arsenal are also in confident mood, having beaten Aston Villa 2-1 away from home on Monday although they have failed to win two of their last four home matches.
Rene Meulensteen’s men find themselves in 16th place in the Premier League but have the worst goal difference with -24. They have however picked up three away wins this season, despite losing their other seven matches away from Craven Cottage. Fulham have also conceded 20 goals in their last six matches.
ARSENAL 3-0 FULHAM
Crystal Palace v Stoke 15:00
The meeting between Crystal Palace and Stoke see’s two teams who have struggled for points in recent weeks take on each other. Palace have picked up just four points from their last six matches, and Stoke only one more. Palace’s recent home form has been much better however, with the London club picking up seven points from their previous four.
Stoke have the worst away record in the Premier League, picking up just five points from their ten away matches, a run which includes six defeats in the last eight games, picking up only two points in that spell. The match also see’s Tony Pulis take on his old side for the first time since leaving the club in the summer.
CRYSTAL PALACE 2-1 STOKE
Man City v Cardiff 15:00
It is hard to find the right words to describe Manchester City’s home form this season and the only word we can use is sensational. Ten wins out of ten, notching up 38 goals along the way says it all. They have put four past United and six past Arsenal and Spurs and it looks as if Cardiff are in for a long 90 minutes.
To make matters worse, Cardiff have only won once on their travels this season in ten attempts, scoring just five goals and go into the game in the bottom three. They did pick up a shock away win at Newcastle in the FA Cup, a victory which might give them some hope going into this difficult game.
MANCHESTER CITY 5-0 CARDIFF
Norwich v Hull 15:00
These two teams only have one win between them in their last six games, albeit Hull absolutely took apart Fulham, worrying runs of form and Norwich have only scored three goals in that spell. In fact, if you include FA Cup matches to that run, the Canaries are without a win in eight and have only won three games at Carrow Road this season.
Hull have the second worst away record in the Premier League (on goal difference) with just one win and five points, although they did beat Norwich in the return fixture earlier on in the season. They have drawn two of their last four games on the road.
NORWICH 1-1 HULL CITY
West Ham v Newcastle 15:00
The form table is much kinder on Newcastle than it is West Ham. The Hammers have picked up just five points from their last eight Premier League games, the second worse record in the league. Newcastle have picked up double the points in the same period, despite defeat to Manchester City last time out.
However, West Ham have lost just one of their last four home games, drawing two, and won last time out against Cardiff. Newcastle’s away record has been pretty decent if not inconsistent, winning two of their last four, and four of their last eight, losing the other games in that sequence. In fact, they are without an away draw all season.
WEST HAM 1-2 NEWCASTLE
Liverpool v Aston Villa 17:30
Liverpool have won nine of their ten home games this season, having only suffered defeat by Southampton earlier on in the season and have scored 14 goals in their last four home games, winning them all. They have also won six of their last eight games.
Aston Villa’s away form has been decent this season and the midlands club has picked up four away wins, including the impressive opening day win away at Arsenal. Their recent form has been poor however, having won just one of their last six matches, including Monday night’s 2-1 defeat by Arsenal.
LIVERPOOL 3-1 ASTON VILLA
SUN 19 JAN 2014
Swansea v Tottenham 13:30
Swansea are bottom of the form table in the last six matches, having picked up just two points from their last six matches. Their home record has also dipped this season in comparison to previous years, having won just two of their ten matches at the Liberty Stadium, drawing four and losing four.
Spurs have the second best away form in the division, winning seven of their ten matches on the road, including their last four and six of the last eight. The last four wins have all come by a single goal. They were however smashed 6-0 by Manchester City on the road.
SWANSEA 1-2 SPURS
Chelsea v Man Utd 16:00
This match-up see’s the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the form table taking each other on, having both won five out of their last six matches, Chelsea drawing the other, Man Utd losing it. However, if you look back to the last eight, Manchester United have lost three, compared to Chelsea’s one.
Chelsea are also unbeaten at home this season, winning nine out of their ten home games and are still unbeaten at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League. Manchester United’s away for has also been fairly decent, the third best in the league. They have won six out of their ten away games, drawing and losing two.
CHELSEA 0-0 MANCHESTER UNITED
MON 20 JAN 2014
West Brom v Everton 20:00
West Brom have just one win in their last ten matches, a run which has seen them change manager. They have a average home record this season, having won three, drawn three and lost four at The Hawthorns. They have also struggled for goals, having only scored six in their last six matches.
Everton on the other hand have on lost one of their last eight matches, winning five of those and find themselves in fifth place. They have also only been beaten once on the road this season, but have drawn five of their ten matches. Everton have also won four of their last six matches.
WEST BROM 0-2 EVERTON