What a difference a couple of weeks make. Just when one thought that the relentless schedule would see the “bigger” clubs with their bigger squads, start to pull away from the “smaller” clubs, the formbook has been torn to shreds.
Who would have thought both Burnley and Brighton would bring Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten League run at Anfield to a halt, both winning 1-0. I’m certain the lack of crowds has played a major part; surely 50 000 fans at Anfield would have lifted their Liverpool boys.
Manchester City meanwhile just keep on rolling with 9 League wins in a row and 10 if they win at Anfield on Sunday. Can you imagine that? Liverpool losing 3 in a row at home after 68 games without a blemish? But that’s the way it looks it might go.
Result trends so far this season:
1-0: 45 times
2-1: 30 times
1-1: 24 times
2-0: 24 times
3-0: 16 times
0-0: 16 times
3-2: 7 times
Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 1: Both lost in midweek, with Arsenal being reduced to 9 men against Wolves, so draw a line through that, while Aston Villa lost for the 4th time in their last 6. Only a point separates them on the log although Arsenal are favourites in this one. I’m actually leaning towards the hosts but sitting on the fence for now.
Burnley 2 Brighton 1: Both have beaten Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield and in fact Brighton have won their last 2 games, also beating Tottenham. They’re favourites here to make it a hat-trick of wins but although Brighton have lost their last 2, it was to stronger teams in Chelsea and Man City.
Newcastle 0 Southampton 1: The Saints have lost their way of late, losing their last 4 and going down to Man United 9-0 in the week. Before that they actually beat Liverpool. Newcastle themselves have lost 6 of their last 7 and yet beat Everton 2-0 away in their penultimate start. Somehow I’m expecting the Saints to play for their badge in this one.
Fulham 1 West Ham 2: The Hammers are in a purple patch, with 5 wins from their last 6 games, while struggling Fulham haven’t won since November. They’ve been showing a lot of huffing and puffing, but do look a Championship side at this level.
Man United 2 Everton 0: How can we go against United after winning 9-0 during the week. But Everton are no slouches and in fact the 9/2 for the draw and 13/2 for an Everton win are tempting. United should win, but it won’t be 9-0!
Tottenham 2 West Brom 0: Chelsea consigned Jose Mourinho to his first-ever taste of losing two home League matches in his management career. They’re devoid of a cutting edge and goals without Harry Kane and West Brom will be happy if they can drag this into half-time at 0-0. Still, you’d have to think a chastened Spurs will find a way to win.
Wolves 1 Leicester 2: Wolves snapped an 8-game winless streak with victory over Arsenal in midweek, but that was against 10, and then nine men. Before that they had struggled to find the buzz they exuded earlier in the season. Leicester, meanwhile, just keep chugging away, game after game and remain in the top 4.
Liverpool 1 Man City 2: The real wobble has set in at the champions and it’s Man City who, in seeking their 10th straight League win, look like running away with the title tis season. Every season there’s a title-winning spell and I’m fully expecting Pep’s men to continue their form here against a Liverpool side who have only won 2 of their last 8, remarkably.
Sheffield United 0 Chelsea 1: Thomas Tuchel has picked up 7 out of 9 points and overseen 3 clean sheets since he’s taken over from Frank Lampard. However, Chelsea still haven’t clicked in the final third and the hosts, who have won 3 of their last 5 in their attempt to claw their way up the table, will be dogged opponents. This is by no means a gimme for the visitors.
Leeds 1 Crystal Palace 1: Leeds have lost 3 of their last 5 and don’t really do draws (only 2 in 21 games). The reverse fixture in London saw Palace win 4-1, which is worrying for the hosts. Palace also arrive in good form, having won their last 2 games and they’re as wide as 4/1 to win here. It’s a tough match to call.