The Premiership is back and as expected not all players are. Lallana, Coleman and Funes Mori will all miss the Merseyside derby, Saturday’s early kick off. Chelsea have the easiest game of the top six, while Arsenal host Man City Sunday afternoon. Swansea v Middlesborough is the pick at the bottom.
Liverpool v Everton
Liverpool have the best record against the top six this season and narrowly beat the Toffees at Goodison in December. I fancy a repeat at Anfield, more due to Everton’s injury woes than anything else. Coleman and Funes Mori will be out for the rest of the season, while Lallana is more replaceable for Klopp, with Can likely to have an important role to play in April. Everton have only lost one league game in 2017 but I think it’s likely to change this weekend. 2-1.
Burnley v Tottenham
Much has been made of Burnley’s home form and Spurs could struggle without Kane here. Both have tight defences and Keane should be happy with his international break. Spurs are the more likely to score though. 0-1.
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Probably the most favourable game for any of the top six this week, despite Benteke finding his shooting boots for Belgium. As did Costa for Spain and I fancy him to score again here. The games at Hull and Swansea could have huge implications for Palace if they can’t muster a result against the league leaders. 3-1.
Hull v West Ham
This is huge, no doubt about it. Hull need points and Bilic needs to start turning things around if he’s to be at the club next season. The Hammers have won one of their last six and missing Antonio this week may lead to another bad result. It’s time to stick my neck out. 2-1.
Leicester v Stoke
Leicester have won their last three and progressed past Sevilla in the Champions League, the club is back on a high. Stoke have only won four of their ten games since the turn of the year, all of those against teams currently 14th or lower and generally out of form. Vardy could punish the Potters after hs goal against Lithuania. 2-1.
Manchester United v West Brom
Much was made of United’s long stay in 6th but West Brom could yet surpass that in 8th. The Baggies have had mainly negative results against teams above them this season, including a 2-0 loss to United earlier this season. Rondon is no longer firing but United have a couple of midfield injuries so it could be close. 1-0.
Watford v Sunderland
Both of these teams last won four matches ago. Watford seem cagey and stale with no real forward impetus. Sunderland are relying on the age-defying Defoe. Moyes will hope that Kone and O’Shea will be fit. A point isn’t enough at this stage so I’m going for a Black Cats win. 1-2.
Southampton v Bournemouth
This could be the highest scoring game of the weekend, depending on the fitness of Gabbiadini. Van Dijk is a huge miss for the Saints and Bournemouth are relentless in their attacking philosophy. Neither are particularly in form and may well share the spoils. 2-2.
Swansea v Middlesborough
Swansea should fancy themselves here. Middlesborough have struggled for goals all season and now have forgotten how to defend too. Sigurdsson and Llorente are a class above what Boro possess and that will probably be the difference between staying up and going down. This game could be make or beak for both sides. 2-0.
Arsenal v Manchester City
This is potentially the game that decides the future of Arsenal’s biggest asset, Alexis Sanchez. He wants success like this South American rival Aguero. Finishing outside the top four is not going to keep him at the Emirates. Pep hasn’t been a huge success is his first season but a win here keeps them in contention for second. 2-3.