There are only two Premier League games taking place on Sunday this week but both stand to have implications for an increasingly tight title race.
In the early kick-off, third-placed Tottenham Hotspur hope to keep within touching distance of the top of the table when they take on Leicester City.
Then, in the big one, Manchester City host Chelsea. Pep Guardiola’s men regained top spot – albeit having played a game more than Liverpool – with their midweek win over Everton. Depending on how the Reds fare against Bournemouth on Saturday, might well need three points to stay ahead in the title race.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City
Mauricio Pochettino’s men may have exited the Carabao Cup and FA Cup within the space of three days in January but that has only allowed Spurs to focus more intently on their Premier League performances.
Since defeat to Manchester United at Wembley last month the north London side have won three league games on the bounce, and all despite the absence of star striker Harry Kane.
Kane will still be missing for the visit of Leicester to the national stadium but, just five points behind Manchester City and Liverpool, Tottenham will fancy their chances of securing another three points to keep their title bid intact.
Interestingly, Spurs’ last three victories have all come by just a single goal, seeing off Fulham and Watford 2-1 and Newcastle United 1-0 – evidence, perhaps, that even without several star players Tottenham that the ability to grind out results, a hallmark of champions.
Leicester won’t be easy opponents to overcome, though. Claude Puel’s men lost to Manchester United last weekend but acquitted themselves well and were unlucky not to at least get a point. The Foxes have been painfully inconsistent this term but they are still capable of upsetting the big boys on their day, as they showed in wins over Manchester City and Chelsea in December.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
With their 2-0 midweek win over Everton, champions Manchester City climbed back to the top of the Premier League table, leapfrogging Liverpool on goal difference, who, admittedly, hold a game in hand over Pep Guardiola’s side.
Liverpool may well be back on top of the pile by the time City’s clash with Chelsea at the Etihad kicks off on Sunday afternoon, with the Reds hosting Bournemouth on Saturday and expected to pick up a victory.
City haven’t been at their spectacular best of late, but they have shown they can respond when challenged, something that remained a question mark after they romped to the title with ease last season.
The only blemish on City’s recent record is a 2-1 reverse against Newcastle at St James’ Park last month, the only time they haven’t won in their last 11 outings.
Chelsea aren’t in the title picture this season but they have a battle of their own to fight in the final 13 games of the campaign. Currently fourth, a win for Manchester United away to Fulham on Saturday could see the Blues slip out of the Champions League qualification places and needing at least a point against City to get back in.
Maurizio Sarri’s men bounced back from a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth by thrashing basement club Huddersfield Town 5-0 last weekend; they won’t have it nearly as easy on Sunday.
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