Premier League Preview: Big Games At The Top And Bottom

It's set to be another exciting weekend of action

Football Whispers

Saturday brings with it another crucial set of fixtures in the Premier League. There are, for sides at the top and the bottom, important points to be won.

The late kick off, Arsenal vs Chelsea, stands out of course, but there are plenty of other games to keep an eye on. Liverpool are in action as they look to maintain their title challenge, Manchester United are searching for a seventh successive win under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while Newcastle and Cardiff face off in the battle for survival.

Kevin Campbell And Frank Sinclair Preview Arsenal v Chelsea

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Wolves vs Leicester

Saturday’s early kick off is a clash between two sides enjoying largely successful seasons. Wolves, newly promoted but with high expectations, sit in 11th after defeat at Manchester City on Monday. Leicester, meanwhile, are in eighth following a disappointing home defeat against Southampton.

Claude Puel’s side will be hopeful of rectifying that, particularly given their league form leading up to the loss. Leicester had won three of their previous four, including victories over Chelsea and Manchester City.

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The Foxes will be boosted by the knowledge that they have one of the best away records in the division. Wolves’ home form has been inconsistent of late, too. But they remain difficult opposition at Molineux. A victory for the hosts would see them leapfrog Leicester and climb into the top half.

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

A trip to Anfield is a daunting prospect for most teams, although Crystal Palace may be feeling quietly confident. They have already pulled off the seemingly impossible: beating Manchester City at the Etihad.

They will, once again, be huge underdogs, but it suits them better. Palace are at their best when counter attacking, when soaking up pressure and capitalising on any defensive lapses from the opposition.

The problem for them might be that Liverpool are almost impermeable defensively, particularly at home. Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded just three goals in ten home games so far this season and scored 27.

The Reds will expect another victory and an extension – at least temporarily – of their lead over Manchester City.

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Manchester United vs Brighton

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s brilliant start as Manchester United manager continued last weekend as his reinvigorated side beat Tottenham at Wembley. If they secure another victory at home against Brighton, it will be seven wins from seven for the Norwegian.

It is an impressive turnaround given the atmosphere around the club following Jose Mourinho’s dismissal. Solskjaer has injected energy and enthusiasm and reverted to the United principles of old.

Brighton come into the game in reasonable form. They are comfortably in mid-table and relegation, at this point, seems highly unlikely. But that is largely because of their home form. Chris Hughton’s side have won just twice on the road this season and face an uphill battle to get anything at Old Trafford.

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Newcastle vs Cardiff

The relegation six-pointer cliché has perhaps never been more apt. Newcastle, in 18th, host Cardiff, in 17th, with just a point currently separating the sides.

A win for either would be hugely significant in the battle to avoid the drop, given how close it is at the bottom. But for Newcastle, the pressure is palpable.

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They have been poor at home this season: just two victories from 11 games. The fans, though, will expect a win against Cardiff. If Newcastle do not, it will feel like a wasted opportunity. And if they lose, they will be left in an even more precarious position ahead of difficult away games against Tottenham and Wolves.

Watford vs Burnley

Watford and Burnley have headed in opposite directions after last season. The former, under Javi Gracia, have climbed into the top half and now sit comfortably in seventh.

Burnley, meanwhile, have been struggling in the bottom three for much of the campaign, a far cry from their surge into seventh place last season. Sean Dyche’s side have pulled themselves away from the relegation zone with three successive wins, but they remain in a battle to avoid the drop.

They face a tough test against a Watford side on the back of a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. A result here for Burnley, though, would be confirmation that they have turned a corner.

 

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