English Premier League action continues on Friday night with this round going through to Tuesday. The pick of the ties look to be the Merseyside derby, the London derby at West Ham and the Manchester City juggernaut visiting Arsenal. City have built up a 10-point lead at the top and the race is now on for second.
There’s an important six-pointer at Craven Cottage and it’s a game that Newcastle will be nervously looking at, given their recent slide down the table and the fact they’ve got a trip to Old Trafford this weekend.
Most common results so far this season:
1-0: 46 times
2-1: 32 times
2-0: 28 times
1-1: 27 times
0-0: 19 times
3-0: 19 times
3-2: 8 times
3-1: 8 times
Wolves 2 Leeds 1: After 8 winless games, Wolves have won 2 of their last 3 and seems to be rediscovering from at the right time. They haven’t won back-to-back in the League since October though, but they did beat Leeds 1-0 in the season’s reverse fixture. Leeds have only draw 2 of their 23 games, so for them it’s either win or bust!
Southampton 0 Chelsea 2: Injury-struck Southampton have lost their last 6 and have shipped 20 goals in the process. By contrast, a rejuvenated Chelsea have won 4 of their last 5 since Thomas Tuchel has arrived and they’ve only conceded 1 goals in their last 6.
Burnley 1 West Brom 0: Burnley have put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone and it’s the Baggies who are firmly in the relegation mix, as they’ve been all season. West Brom got a well-eared draw against man United last time, but Turf Moor is a hard place to come and win, especially for teams in the bottom half.
Liverpool 2 Everton 1: In the first round this Merseyside derby ended 2-2 but only after Jordan Henderson’s stoppage time “winner” was cruelly ruled offsides by VAR. Everton have lost their last 2 while Liverpool have lost their last 3 and have slipped to sixth on the table. Both sides will be nervy here but I’m going for the hosts to stop the bleeding.
Fulham 2 Sheff United 1: The visitors are going back to the Championship and unless Fulham start turning draws – 9 in their last 13 games – they’re joining them. No doubt this will be a deperate affair and yet another draw seems the most likely result, like it was in the reverse fixture. But I’m going for Fulham to find a winner somewhere.
West Ham 1 Tottenham 1: The Hammers have climbed to 5th on the table, a sandwich between Chelsea and Liverpool after 24 games. They’re proving to be both resilient and effective and the players look happy. Although Tottenham won well in the Europa League, they will be the more tired of the teams here. The spoils were shared 3-3 in the reverse fixture.
Aston Villa 1 Leicester 1: Leicester beat Liverpool 3-1 last time and are joint second on poiints with Man United. They’ve actually been better away from home, winning 8 of their 12 games but Villa are a useful side and won the reverse fixture 1-0.
Arsenal 1 Man City 2: Man City simply go marching on and moved 10 points clear at the top with their 12th straight League win, at Everton. They simply look unstoppable and even though the law of averages says their 100% winning run has come to an end soon it will take a brave punter to back against them.
Man United 2 Newcastle 0: The visitors are as wide as 10-1 outsiders to win this and defeat at Chelsea last time saw them slip to fourth from the bottom. Should Fulham beat Sheffield United and Man United beat Newcastle, the Toon Army will be getting restless as the’ll only be three points above the drop zone.
Brighton 1 Crystal Palace 0: Three points separate these sides after 24 matches and there might be little to choose between them here. But Palace are starting to look like they’re not playing for Roy Hodgson any more and he’s out of contract at the end of the season. They’ve been poor in their last 2 games, but Brighton’s problems are up front where they’ve scored just 4 times in their last 6 games.
Leeds TBC Southampton TBC: For this match, on Tuesday, I’ll wait until their weekend results before making a call.
Best treble: wins for Chelsea, Burnley and Liverpool 4-1