Premier League Preview: Weekend of February 3
By: Lewis Robinson
Burnley vs Manchester City
Burnley have only picked up 1 point from the last 12 on offer after enjoying a great start to season. Sean Dyche has already accomplished his goal for the season, avoiding relegation, and larger clubs should be looking to appoint him in the summer if they need a new manager. Manchester City come into the game as heavy favorites and I see them winning this one comfortably despite some injuries to key players.
Burnley 0- Manchester City 2
Bournemouth vs Stoke City
The relegation battle is starting to heat up as only 8 points separate Bournemouth in tenth and last placed team West Brom. Both teams will be desperate for all 3 points and come into the game with a small spring in their step. Bournemouth are coming off the back of possibly their biggest win ever in the Premier League after beating Chelsea 3-0, while Stoke have picked up 4 points from 2 games under the leadership of Paul Lambert. So naturally, this game will end in a draw, with both teams unwilling to come away from the game empty handed.
Bournemouth 1- Stoke City 1
Brighton vs West Ham United
Another battle between two teams in the bottom half of the league will mean a lot to both sides. David Moyes has quietly turned West Ham around and are unbeaten in their last 5. This trip to the south coast will be anything but easy, but I see the Hammers coming away with all 3 points.
Brighton 1- West Ham United 2
Leicester City vs Swansea City
It has been an interesting week for Leicester off the field to say the least. Islam Slimani has joined Newcastle United on loan until the end of the season, but they did manage to resist offers from Manchester City from Riyad Mahrez. Normally keeping a quality player like Mahrez would be a positive, but rumors circulating that he may not play again for Claude Puel’s side is worrying. Mahrez needs to be on the field for Leicester to be successful going forward and Swansea have beaten Liverpool and Arsenal in their last two matches. Putting this all together spells a very even and entertaining match at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester City 2- Swansea City 2
Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town
Manchester United were woeful midweek against Tottenham as they struggled to get forward and worry the oppositions defense. Mourinho will be furious with his team and will be demanding a positive reaction. The reality of playing in the top flight of England seems to be hitting the Huddersfield Town players and they have started to slide down the table. I see Manchester United bouncing back from their midweek loss in convincing fashion.
Manchester United 3- Huddersfield Town 0
West Brom vs Southampton
A relegation six pointer between two of the teams currently in the relegation zone will be considered a must win game by both managers. Alan Pardew has strengthened his side during the January transfer window, and it will be interesting to see if he can get the best out of loan signing Daniel Sturridge. I fear Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino is out of his depth managing in the Premier League. It would be a shame to see such a great club like Southampton go down to the Championship but unless something drastic happens soon, they will be dropping out of the top division.
West Brom 1- Southampton 0
Arsenal vs Everton
Arsene Wenger and his team have plenty to think about ahead of their clash with Everton. Arsenal fans had plenty to cheer about on Wednesday as they announced the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund and Mesut Ozil agreed a new contract. Unfortunately, their joy was short lived as they lost 3-1 to relegation threatened Swansea. Theo Walcott scored twice midweek for the Toffees and will be desperate to score against his former side. I think this one will be close, with Arsenal coming away with a win in the end.
Arsenal 3- Everton 1
Crystal Palace vs Newcastle
These two sides will be looking to put some distance between themselves and the bottom 3 this weekend. This game may be the most even match of the weekend on paper, but I see Crystal Palace winning the game thanks to the atmosphere at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace 2- Newcastle 1
Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur
In the biggest match of the weekend, Liverpool welcome Tottenham to Anfield. This game should be a great watch for the neutrals as both sides can score goals at will. I believe this game will come down to who can control possession in the middle of the park better. If Liverpool come out all guns blazing and play the type of “rock and roll” football manager Jurgen Klopp demands, this game could be over within 20 minutes. The last time a Spurs side won at Anfield in the league was September 2011, and I don’t think that record will break this weekend.
Liverpool 3- Tottenham Hotspur 2
Watford vs Chelsea
Chelsea were simply embarrassed by Bournemouth on Wednesday’s game at Stamford Bridge. A team of Chelsea’s quality should not lose games like that, no matter what injuries or problems they may have. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I think Antonio Conte has lost his way a little bit and will be on his way out of the club at the summer. It seems to be an endless cycle with Chelsea managers that can’t be broken, in which a new manager comes in and enjoys immediate success only for it to fizzle out in their second season. I don’t think it will happen this season, but how funny (or sad depending on how you feel towards Antonio Conte) would it be for Roman Abramovich to call up Guus Hiddink and ask him to come back to the Bridge for yet another late season rescue mission.
Watford 1- Chelsea 2
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