Part two of this round which marks the halfway point in the English Premier League kicks off tonight with two matches. Leicester, who are again up to third on the table, meet Chelsea while West Ham host West Brom in the evening’s late fixture.
All four teams picked up wins at the weekend, so will be heading into their games with confidence at a high.
Those who look closely at the table might well be selecting a draw in the Leicester vs Chelsea game. Both teams have played 18 games, both have lost five, both have scored 33 goals and both have conceded 21 goals. If ever a game looked a stone-walled 1-1 draw this is it, based on their form to date. But it’s the wins column where Leicester have moved six points clear of Chelsea, having won 11 times to Chelsea’s 8.
While Leicester seem to have no problem scoring goals, the visitors have been struggling to find the net lately and in fact have only scored one goal in each of their last four games. That includes a hard-fought 1-0 win at 10-man Fulham on Sunday and clearly there’s something wrong with this misfiring Chelsea frontline. As a Blues fan I keep waiting for them to click … and I keep dropping points on Superbru. But, I live in hope and will again go for a Chelsea win here, but it’s not a confident choice.
West Ham have squeaked out two 1-0 results in a row and when one looks at the five matches they’ve lost they have been to Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle. That suggests that, especially at home, they could have too much for struggling West Brom. But the Baggies finally found form in their surprise 3-2 win away at Wolves and perhaps, just perhaps, Big Sam Allardyce has managed to find the key to success with his team.
Still, West Brom are in desperate trouble and we still have to see whether or not that win at Wolves was “one of those Premiership results” that we get, because they were poor in their previous two games at home to Arsenal and Leeds. I’m expecting this one though to be close, and not a classic on the eyes, but a win for West Ham.
Other games this midweek are Manchester City at home to Aston Villa, Fulham at home to Manchester United and Liverpool at home to Burnley.
City have struck form and their 4-0 win over Crystal Palace was their fifth in a row and took them to second on the table. They are now, almost as if they’ve crept up on everyone, the bookies’ favourites to win the League. In their last 9 matches they’ve only conceded 2 goals, while scoring 19 times. Villa’s defence is certain to be in for a long night.
Liverpool and Man United played out to a tepid 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday and both will be looking to get back on the winning trail. United’s chances look especially bright given they play a Fulham side that held Spurs to 1-1 and then were down to 10 men for the second half of their game against Chelsea which they lost 1-0 some 72 hours later. Their legs will be tired and United can capitalise on that.
Liverpool were goal shy against United and ultimately fortunate to come away with a point, but they’re now down to fourth on the table, given the closeness of the teams. They should bounce back with all three points here against a side that are only four points above the relegation zone.