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Champions City have chance to pull away from title challengers

The Premier League continues to ebb and flow as we near the halfway point of the season. The title race is still intriguing, while both the top-four and survival races continue to catch the eye.

The Fantasy landscape is showing more promising key assets. Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa is a strong option between the sticks, having kept four clean sheets in his last six games. Up front, young Southampton striker Armando Broja has shown himself as a strong budget attacker.

Tomorrow

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion

8.30am

Manchester United had their midweek visit to Brentford postponed due to a rise in coronavirus cases, but they are unbeaten under new boss Ralf Rangnick. Their last match was a narrow 1-0 away win over Norwich City last Saturday.

Brighton, once again, were made to pay for a lack of clinical edge during their 1-0 home loss to Wolves on Wednesday. The Seagulls are winless in their last five games.

United have had the better of this fixture, winning six of the last eight meetings. They won 2-1 in this fixture back in April.

Prediction: 3-1

Aston Villa v Burnley

11am

Aston Villa cruised past Norwich in a 2-0 away win, their fourth in six games under Steven Gerrard. The West Midlands side are up to tenth, just three points behind the European places.

Burnley had their home match with Watford postponed, after the Hornets have suffered a spike in Covid-19 cases. They held West Ham to a 0-0 draw at home last Sunday, but are one of four sides without a win in their last five.

This match up is quite even historically, with both sides winning two of the eight meetings. The teams played out a a goalless draw in the same fixture last season.

Prediction: 2-0

Southampton v Brentford

11am

Southampton earned a valuable 2-2 away draw with Crystal Palace on Wednesday, with midfielder James Ward-Prowse scoring a beautiful free-kick midway through the first half.

Brentford’s home match with Manchester United will be played at a later date due to a surge in virus cases within the Manchester club. In their previous game, Brentford came from behind to beat Watford 2-1, with Bryan Mbeumo scoring the winner from the spot in the sixth minute of stoppage-time.

These sides have never met in the top-flight, but the Bees beat the Saints 2-0 in the League Cup last September.

Prediction: 2-2

Watford v Crystal Palace

11am

Watford continue to struggle under Claudio Ranieri, suffering their seventh defeat in nine games under the Italian, most recently a 2-1 away loss to Brentford.

Crystal Palace have just one win in their last five, but stumbled to a 2-2 home draw with Southampton on Wednesday. The Eagles have taken eight draws in their first 17 games, the joint-most in the division.

This fixture is tight, with the South London side edging it on four wins from ten meetings. Their last match at Vicarage Road ended in a 0-0 draw.

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham United v Norwich City

11am

West Ham continued their recent struggles midweek, falling to a 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal. The East London side have just one victory in their last five league games.

Norwich were comfortably beaten 2-0 at home by Aston Villa on Tuesday. The Canaries are winless in their last five, after going unbeaten in their first three since the appointment of current boss Dean Smith.

The Hammers cruised to a 2-0 home win over the East Anglia side when these teams met in August 2019.

Prediction: 2-0

Leeds United v Arsenal

1.30pm

Leeds were punished for a naïve approach to their humiliating 7-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad. Prior to this, however, the Yorkshire side fought hard in vain during their 3-2 defeat away to Chelsea.

Arsenal controlled the ball for large periods of their 2-0 home win over West Ham, moving into fourth with their victory.

The Gunners have won 13 of 26 previous meetings, but were held to a goalless draw in their last visit to Elland Road.

Prediction: 1-2

Sunday

Everton v Leicester City

8am

Everton would have played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before this goes to press. However, they fell 3-1 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last Sunday.

Leicester would have hosted Tottenham before time of print, but the Foxes thumped Newcastle 4-0 in their last match at King Power Stadium.

These sides played to a 1-1 draw on their last meeting in January, but the Toffees have historically edged this fixture with ten wins from their 30 matches.

Prediction: 2-2

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

10am

Wolves edged Brighton 1-0 at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday, with defender Romain Saiss scoring just his second goal for the club in first-half stoppage time.

Chelsea held on for a 3-2 home win over Leeds United last weekend, and would host Everton prior to printing. Jorginho scored a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage-time after Antonio Rudiger was taken down by Mateusz Klich.

Wolves defeated Chelsea 2-1 on the West London side’s last visit to Molineux, but the Blues have largely controlled this battle, winning nine of 14 meetings.

Prediction: 1-2

Newcastle United v Manchester City

10.15am

Newcastle would have visited Liverpool prior to time of print, but they lost heavily 4-0 away to Leicester in their last match.

Manchester City smashed a depleted Leeds side 7-0 at the Etihad on Tuesday, and have now won seven straight league games. Are the defending champions pulling away from the title challengers having opened up a 4-point lead?

The Magpies pushed the Sky Blues all the way, but fell short to a thrilling 4-3 defeat in their last meeting in May.

Prediction: 1-3

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool

12.30pm

Spurs have had their last two Premier League games postponed due to a spike in virus cases within the staff. They dominated Norwich 3-0 in their last game on December 5th, and were controversially knocked out of Europe after their final Conference League game against Rennes was postponed.

Liverpool edged Aston Villa 1-0 on former legend Steven Gerrard’s return to Anfield as Clarets’ manager. They would have hosted Newcastle prior to printing, and drew Inter Milan in the Champions League Round of 16.

The Merseyside team won 3-1 on their last visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in January.

Prediction: 1-3

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Published December 17, 2021 at 7:46 am (Updated December 17, 2021 at 7:46 am)

Champions City have chance to pull away from title challengers

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