The fight for European spots and the relegation battle are getting red hot. At the top Chelsea managed to overcome one of their closest rivals while Spurs showed late resilience. Likeliness is they’ll be three of the top four. Elsewhere Liverpool dropped points, United and Everton shared one apiece and Arsenal made up ground. Palace, Swansea and Middlesborouh capitulated, while Hull escaped the bottom three. West Ham have found themselves sliding each week and are only five points above the drop.
Tottenham v Watford
Spurs showed their mettle against Swansea, leaving their business late. With Kane likely back against Bournemouth next week they should push Chelsea as far as possible. Watford have only won three away games to date and suffered their second worst result of the season in the reverse fixture (1-4). Spurs are undefeated at home in all domestic competitions so I wouldn’t bet against them. 2-0.
Manchester City v Hull
On paper you’d back City, on form you’d back Hull. Conceding two against Boro shows their deficiencies though and City’s attacking quartet could get a hatful. Swansea’s dip in form may let them off this week. 3-0.
Middlesborough v Burnley
This is the week, mark my words. Boro are woeful. At least under Karanka they could defend. This is the week Burnley get their first away win. 1-2.
Stoke v Liverpool
Liverpool are unbeaten in five. A draw against Bournemouth however is not acceptable. That’s the kind of game they’ve got every week now until the end of the season and they have to get up for it or they’ll miss out on a top four spot. I don’t often bet against Stoke at home but the Reds may nick it. 1-2.
West Brom v Southampton
If Southampton’s two games in hand weren’t against United and Arsenal I’d think about backing them to finish above the Baggies, especially given their recent bad form. It’s a mid table clash and neither side has anything to gain or lose. 1-1.
West Ham v Swansea
The Hammers have lost five on the trot. Swansea haven’t been much better. It’s a hard game to call as both teams really need a win, which means it might be a goal-fest. Equally one team might steal a narrow win because of the lack of quality on show. 2-2.
Bournemouth v Chelsea
The Cherries made Liverpool look silly late on for the second time this season on Wednesday. Chelsea beat them 3-0 on Boxing Day and I expect a repeat to end their current run of form. 0-2.
Sunderland v Manchester United
Sunderland have won three points this calendar year, all from draws. They’ve scored three goals in those eleven games. They’re dire but it’s a funny game and it wouldn’t surprise me if Moyes and his misfits ended Jose’s terrible unbeaten run. I’ll go for the favourites and a repeat result, despite the fact it’ll likely be United’s B team with the Europa League coming up. 1-3.
Everton v Leicester
Everton have had some tough fixtures and lost momentum, while the Foxes have experienced a complete turnaround under Shakespeare. The Toffees could be vulnerable without Coleman and Funes Mori but do possess the firepower to outscore teams. It should be an entertaining affair and I expect both teams to score. Leicester may have one eye on their game against Atletico Madrid though. 2-1.
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Palace are still in danger despite four successive wins taking them outside the relegation zone. A disappointing result against Southampton may be followed by defeat here. Arsenal, and Ozil in particular, looked good against West Ham (although that’s not saying much) and I expect them to take three points here. 1-2.