There’s been midweek European action that one needs to factor in for this round, which sees the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham as the highlight.
Both were in action in Thursday night Europa League matches and both came through their games on the winning side. While I’m tempted to go for the draw, the fact that Arsenal had to travel for their Thursday match and Tottenham didn’t, plus Spurs winning the reverse fixture 2-0, I’m picking Jose Mourinho’s side to earn bragging rights again.
Here’s a rundown of this weekend’s round and how I see things going. It’s a round that’s tougher than it initially looks with the trickiest matches being Newcastle vs Aston Villa, Southampton vs Brighton, Arsenal vs Tottenham and Man United vs West Ham.
Newcastle 0 Aston Villa 1: Only Manchester City and Chelsea have conceded fewer goals than Aston Villa this season although the visitors have been goal shy since putting 7 past Liverpool earlier in the season. Newcastle are starting to get into dangerous ground on the table and might be pushed closer to the trap here.
Leeds 1 Chelsea 2: Chelsea have only conceded 2 goals in the League under Thomas Tuchel but they haven’t scored more than 3 in a game either. The visitors should have too much here for a Leeds side that is mid-table but have lost 5 of their last 7.
Crystal Palace 2 West Brom 0: The visitors have actual staged a mini fight with 6 points from their last 5 games, which is actually better form than Palace! However, back to south London and against struggling opponents, the hosts should win this. They won the reverse fixture 5-1.
Everton 2 Burnley 1: Everton’s winning streak was halted by Chelsea but they’re up against a Burnley team whose blueprint is simple. Plenty long balls, lots of aerial battles and throwing around of big bodies. It’s the artists against the artisans here.
Fulham 1 Man City 3: Fulham have actually done well to climb to 26 points and giving themselves a shot at survival. They are playing with conviction and belief and joined the growing list of sides to beat Liverpool at Anfield last time. But City, despite losing their Manchester derby to United, should be too strong over the 90 minutes.
Southampton 1 Brighton 1: The visitors are back in a slump coming off 3 straight defeats. Southhampton meanwhile have lost 9 of their last 11 and kept one clean sheet in the process. They have also not scored in 5 of their last 11. One goal either way could nick this but I’ll go for the draw instead.
Leicester 2 Sheffield United 0: The visitors are resigned to going down to the Championship while Leicester still have strong Champions League top four aspirations. Combine their fortunes and Leicester should be able to repeat the 2-1 win they recorded in the first round.
Arsenal 1 Tottenham 2: North London bragging rights up fro grabs. Tottenham could have Harry Kane back and Gareth Bale seems to be over all his sulks for the moment. Both sides were in Europa League action on Thursday so there could be tired legs. I’m tempted to go for the draw here but feel that if Kane plays he can be the difference.
Man United 2 West Ham 1: The hosts have actually performed better away from Old Trafford this season and beat the Hammers 3-1 in the reverse fixture. Man United weren’t overly impressive in drawing with AC Milan on Thursday night and West Ham have nothing to fear from this visit. A draw wouldn’t be surprising at all.
Wolves 1 Liverpool 2: Had Wolves been playing to their level of last season I’d fancy them here. But they’ve dropped off in form despite some fairly decent recent results. Liverpool however have dropped like a stone in recent weeks and are down to 8th on the table. But for this game, I keep looking at the reverse fixture, which Liverpool won 4-0. They should have the mental edge here.