Tuesday 1/30/18 (11:45 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Arsenal (2)
A bit more intrigue has been added to this fixture after Swansea’s stunning victory over Liverpool in their last Premier League outing. They will try and repeat the feat in the midweek against Arsenal in what should be an equally difficult task. The Gunners haven’t been fantastic of late, but after bowing out early in the FA Cup, they had the weekend to rest, recuperate, and get their top-four ambitions back on
West Ham vs. Crystal Palace (3)
With just six points separating 10th place from 20th at the moment, every matchup between bottom-half teams is absolutely critical (at least for now). The Hammers are currently riding one of their best runs of form all year with a five-game league unbeaten run, but Palace too come in with two wins in their last four. On top of the points, it’s a London derby, so there will be bragging rights to play for as well. A win for either team would provide a big step away from the dangers that could come further down the road.
Huddersfield vs. Liverpool (3)
What in the world happened to Liverpool last week? After beating Manchester City, the Reds lost to last-place Swansea and followed that up by being dumped out of the FA Cup by a second-to-last-place West Brom side at Anfield. However, Huddersfield have been awful as of late; the Terriers have lost three straight EPL fixtures and haven’t won in six. If Liverpool can get back close to where they were before the two-game skid, they should have no issue dispatching of their hosts, but at the moment, that seems much easier said than done.
Wednesday 1/31/18 (11:45 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Bournemouth (2)
Of all the teams in the bottom half, Bournemouth are in just about the best form, with two wins and three draws in their last five games. Those aren’t necessarily stellar results, but they are encouraging enough for the Cherries to think they might be able to make Chelsea’s life tough this weekend. The Blues’ personnel advantage should alleviate most reasons to worry, but fitness could be a question mark after a
Everton vs. Leicester (2)
It is nearly impossible to tell which Everton team will come to play Wednesday against Leicester. After an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions, Everton had lost four straight before drawing a struggling West Brom side last time out. Sam Allardyce mended the squad when he originally came in, but the Toffees have since regressed to their early-season form, and though they sit in ninth, they are only six points clear of the relegation zone. Seventh-place Leicester, meanwhile, have escaped the drama at the bottom this year and can play freely for the second half of the year with no real shot of relegation or of catching sixth-place Arsenal. The side looks deadly as ever, too, after a 5-1 smacking of League 1 Peterborough in the FA Cup with a squad that didn’t have Riyad Mahrez or Jamie Vardy included.
Newcastle United vs. Burnley (2)
After starting the season in impressive fashion, Newcastle have since fallen off and are now well and truly in a relegation battle, sitting just a point above the drop zone. Similarly, Burnley have cooled after a lightning-fast start to the campaign, but the Clarets remain comfortably in the top half of the table, 12 points from the bottom three. With Burnley sitting pretty and seemingly safe from relegation, the impetus will be on Newcastle to go out and earn the three points, especially at home. Newcastle need to get to winning ways consistently over the coming weeks, and this game provides as good a place to start as any.
Southampton vs. Brighton (4)
This South Coast derby should have quite a lot of intensity. Southampton currently sit in 18th place, just two places and one point behind Brighton. The Saints haven’t won in 11 Premier League games; Brighton haven’t won in five and have just one league victory in 13. Southampton have a slightly more dangerous attack; the Seagulls are more sound defensively. With the stakes on the line and the relative similarity between the two teams, anything could happen in this critical relegation six-pointer.
Manchester City vs. West Brom (1)
Conversely, there’s probably only one result that will happen from this game. Manchester City may not be quite as dominant as they looked a month ago, especially without the injured Leroy Sane, but that shouldn’t affect them too much against visiting West Brom. Alan Pardew has the Baggies improving rapidly, and the injection of new loan signing Daniel Sturridge gives them that much more of a cutting edge. Still, at the Etihad against the runaway leaders, West Brom aren’t likely to maintain the momentum they’ve started to gather.
Stoke vs. Watford (2)
Getting a win in Paul Lambert’s debut game was a huge first step in Stoke’s bid for survival. The Potters have been porous all season, especially defensively, but they showed a renewed sharpness at both ends of the pitch in their 2-0 win over Huddersfield prior to last weekend’s FA Cup break. Now, with another side in miserable form (and another breaking in a new manager) visiting the bet365 Stadium in Watford, Stoke will feel confident of continuing their turnaround. The Hornets have been much better away from home than at Vicarage Road this year, but they’ve lost five in a row on their league travels; in Javi Gracia’s first match as boss, they’ll need to find the scoring touch that’s deserted them of late, or else the bottom three will creep closer.
Tottenham vs. Manchester United (5)
This game promises a little bit of everything. Manchester United enter in better form, with an eight-game league unbeaten run and no goals conceded in their last six in all competitions; Spurs are nursing a six-game unbeaten EPL stretch but have drawn consecutive contests and three of five in all competitions. There’s plenty on the line: Spurs can close the gap on second-place United to five points, while the Red Devils can extend their buffer on fifth place to 11. Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino are two of the best in the business, and there’s tons of talent on both sides of the ledger on the pitch as well. Spurs will feel optimistic of getting all three points at home, which they’ve done in each of the past two seasons against United, but this game certainly has all the ingredients to be a doozy.