Saturday 1/21/17 (4:30 AM PT)
Liverpool vs. Swansea City (2)
Even with Liverpool entering on wavering form and Swansea recently recording a with against Crystal Palace, it is very hard to think the Swans have a real chance to put up a fight at Anfield. Swansea simply don’t have the squad ability or belief to match the Reds, and with Jurgen Klopp’s side needing a win to get back on track, expect a high-energy performance. Most importantly for Liverpool,
(7:00 AM PT)
West Brom vs. Sunderland (2)
The Baggies were brought back to earth last weekend with a big loss to Tottenham, but they have an excellent chance to capture three points this weekend as their sights turn to the bottom of the table. Sunderland have done well over the past few months to claw their way towards safety, but West Brom have been solid all year against bottom-half opposition, and at home, they will look to smother the Black Cats. Sunderland have the tools to make life difficult for the Baggies, but there should only be one winner at the Hawthorns.
Crystal Palace vs. Everton (2)
Everton are on fire of late with their last two wins — including last week’s blowout of Manchester City — having a combined 7-0 scoreline, and there is no reason why they cannot continue that run this weekend. Palace are teetering on dropping into the relegation zone — which they are only out of on goal differential — and haven’t won in their last seven Premier League fixtures, with only two draws during that run as well. Palace also have to play on less than a week’s rest after their midweek FA Cup replay against Bolton, in which Sam Allardyce put a number of first-team regulars in the starting XI. The deck is certainly stacked against the desperate Eagles, who will need quite a performance to get anything against the Toffees.
Middlesbrough vs. West Ham (3)
Apparently, the absence of Dimitri Payet is exactly what West Ham needed to play their best game of the season last weekend against Palace, and for once they enter a fixture riding some real momentum. The Hammers have won four of their last six in the league, and while this season will ultimately go down as a bust, they are well on their way to saving face in the second half. Boro, meanwhile, need exactly what the Hammers are experiencing, a stretch of good form that can take them clear of the relegation scrap. This
Stoke City vs. Manchester United (3)
Stoke might just be finding their stride after two wins that have propelled them into the top half, but running into the buzz saw that is Manchester United might halt that progress. The Red Devils are on fire having not lost since November, and while they did only manage a tie last weekend, it was a gritty come-from-behind point against an equally talented Liverpool outfit. While being in front of their crowd at the bet365 Stadium will give Stoke an advantage, the Potters have been below par this year at home, with just 15 points from 10 games (13th in the league), so that might not play as big of a factor as one might think. Regardless, this is the best matchup in the timeslot.
Bournemouth vs. Watford (2)
While neither of these teams is in sparkling form of late, Bournemouth certainly have a bit more momentum than Watford and are undoubtedly the favorites to get the points at Dean Court. The Hornets haven’t won a Premier League game since December 10, and they haven’t won a road game since mid-October. Bournemouth lost to Hull last weekend, but the Cherries have plenty of quality in their squad and have a far more dangerous attack than Watford. This probably won’t be the most interesting game in the timeslot, and with both teams currently resting fairly comfortably in the mid-table, this is a pretty easy pass.
(9:30 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. Tottenham (5)
After getting drubbed last weekend by Everton, Manchester City would probably rather not have to face red-hot Spurs in a massive clash at the Etihad. Tottenham have won six games in a row and outscored their opponents 19-3 over that stretch, while City have tumbled out of the top four with two losses in three games. Spurs will be without Jan Vertonghen after the center back suffered an ankle injury last weekend against West Brom, but there are ready-made replacements in the squad, even if neither Kevin Wimmer or Ben Davies is quite as good as the Belgian. That will give Pep Guardiola’s side a bit of a boost, but with the form Spurs are in, it’ll take quite a performance from City if they are to stop their slide. No matter what happens, this has all the makings of a phenomenal contest.
Sunday 1/22/17 (4:00 AM PT)
Southampton vs. Leicester (2)
Both of these teams are struggling pretty severely after their excellent campaigns in 2015-16, and each
(6:15 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. Burnley (2)
Arsenal have 10 points in their last four games after a sudden skid in December, and now they’ll take a good deal of momentum into their contest with Burnley at the Emirates. The Clarets got a late winner last weekend from Joey Barton, but that was at home, where they’ve earned 25 of their 26 points so far this season. On the road, Burnley have scored three goals, conceded 20, and lost eight of nine games. Arsenal are seemingly in a state of turmoil with rumors about the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil circling, but that shouldn’t affect their ability to get all three points this weekend.
(8:30 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Hull City (1)
This is about the biggest mismatch the Premier League can offer this season. Each of Chelsea’s three losses has come against their top-four counterparts, while their only dropped points against the other 16 teams in the league came in a draw with Swansea in September. Hull have earned just two points so far against teams in the top half, both of which came in home draws against West Brom and Everton. With the Tigers on the road at Stamford Bridge, it will take something close to a miracle for Hull to get a positive result against the league leaders.
Bonus European Game of the Week: RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, Saturday 1/21/17, 9:30 AM PT
The Bundesliga is back with a bang as two of the league’s first-half surprises meet in Leipzig. RB’s story so far has been well-documented, and while they lost their final game of 2016 to Bayern Munich, they’ve still been exceptional during their maiden top-flight journey and have scored the third-most goals in the league. They’ll go up against an Eintracht side that has been almost as good, as Frankfurt sit in a Champions League place and have allowed just 12 goals, fewer than anyone other than Bayern. This could be a tight fixture, but there will be plenty of energy with a pair of teams exceeding expectations raring to start the second half in style and prove that they have the staying power to compete for a UCL spot until the end of the season.