With no Premier League fixture this weekend due to the League Cup Final against Southampton, Manchester United could lose ground on the top of the table. With fourth place Arsenal also not playing however, United will remain two points behind them. It was due to be the Manchester derby this weekend and so second place City will not have a game either. Let’s take a look at how the games being played will affect their chances.
League leaders Chelsea play host to Swansea on Saturday afternoon in a game which would have been a certain home win a few weeks ago. Swansea are on a revival at the moment and have two away wins in their last four. After a narrow loss to Man City in their last away game, Paul Clement’s side will be looking to improve their league position further. Chelsea however will be a different task as they have won every league home game since September and conceded just four goals in nine at Stamford Bridge. With Man City not playing this weekend, Chelsea could extend their eight point lead at the top of the league. Swansea however will be looking to improve on 15th and trying to pull further away from the relegation places.
Tottenham will be looking to regain second spot which the lost after the previous league defeat to Liverpool. A win against 9th place Stoke City will elevate Spurs above Man City who miss their game. Tottenham have not been on good form of late with just two wins in their last five league games. It is five wins from their last five home fixtures however, conceding just the once. Stoke have scored just three goals in their last four games against teams above them and have just the one win away at Sunderland recently.
Liverpool turned around their dismal start the year last time out with a 2-0 win at home to Tottenham and they will be looking to continue that form against Leicester City. The Foxes are still without a league goal since New Year’s Eve but Liverpool have not kept a clean sheet in their last three away from Anfield. A win for Liverpool will see them move back into the top four and they could go as high as second. Leicester on the other hand could find themselves in the bottom three if they do not start picking up points soon.
Everton are one of the league’s in form teams at the moment and they welcome bottom side Sunderland to Goodison Park. Everton sit in 7th place in the table but with three teams above them not playing this week it is a perfect time to cement a challenge for Europe. They have not lost a game so far in 2017 and have won four of their last five at home. Sunderland however sit bottom, two points from safety. A win in this game could see them climb out of the relegation zone but it will be a win against form. Sunderland have just four points from a possible 15 in the last five games. Their only win away from home recently being the 4-0 win against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace.
West Brom are four points behind Everton in 8th and are having their best league performance so far. Whatever happens this weekend they will remain in the same position but they need to keep picking up wins if they are to continue to be best of the rest. Two straight clean sheets at home have kept up their form and another this weekend against struggling Bournemouth should bring a victory. Bournemouth are without a win since December and their slid down the table could end in a relegation battle. They are currently 14th, six points ahead of Hull, but they really need a turn in fortunes.
Watford have picked up eight points from their previous five games and are in 13th place in the league. They face a resurgent West Ham side who have won their last two away games 3-1. In fact the Hammers have scored 12 goals in their last 5 games away from the Olympic Stadium, losing only once. This recent run of form has seen them move into the top half of the table. A home win for Watford however will see them climb above West Ham and onto 33 points.
Hull City head into the weekend in the bottom three but a win at home to Burnley will surely see them break out of the drop zone. Hull’s turn in form has been largely down to new manager Marco Silva and despite difficult fixtures they have picked up points. This game against Burnley starts a run of winnable games against those teams around them. Burnley are safely in mid table this season, a place they will likely remain but it has been largely down to their home form. Just one of their 30 points has come away from Turf Moor and they will be looking to add to that figure this weekend.
Crystal Palace are one place and point below Hull in 19th but have picked up just four points in their last 10 Premier League games. In their last five games at home Palace have scored just twice and conceded 10. They face a Middlesbrough team who are finding league goals hard to come by at the moment, scoring just one in their last five on the road. Both teams have a poor recent record coming into this game but a heavy win for Palace could see them draw level with Middlesbrough in the league.
Arsenal v Southampton is also a postponed fixture due to the League Cup Final.
United can go into the Cup Final this weekend knowing that anything but wins for the teams above them in the league will surely give them the advantage going forward. Although the fixtures may get congested towards the end of the season, United will only be a handful of points away from the Champions League places but with a game in hand.