Pearson Previews the Premier League

Three points at home for Manchester United against would see them move above either Liverpool or Arsenal into 5th place. The two teams have very contrasting form at the moment, United are unbeaten in 16 where as Bournemouth have just one win in 10. Bournemouth need to get something from this game to stop their slide down the table, they currently sit in 14th place, four points above the relegation places.

Chelsea travel to the Olympic Stadium on Monday night to play West Ham. They face a Hammers side which has lost just once in their last five Premier League games. West Ham have however secured just two points against teams from the top six so far this season and will have to be at their best to do so here. Chelsea have picked up 53 points out of the last 60 on offer and have only conceded more than two goals once this season. West Ham cannot improve on their current 9th place but a win would help secure a top half finish, where as a win for Chelsea could see them increase their 10 point lead at the top.

Tottenham face Everton this weekend aiming to make a big step towards securing Champions League football next season. Having kept four clean sheets in a row, they will be looking for another shut out against high scoring Everton. Everton have scored 21 goals in their previous nine games and are unbeaten over that time. Despite not losing since December, Everton are still in 7th place but need to keep picking up points to maintain their push for European football next season. Spurs however have won eight of their last 11 games and are unbeaten at home this season.

Manchester City have an opportunity to make some ground up on the teams above them as they play twice this week. They face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in their scheduled game on Sunday, but the game at home to Stoke has been moved to midweek to accommodate the FA Cup game next weekend. Points in both of these games could be enough to move City up to second, but two wins will be needed to keep the pressure on those around them. Sunderland sit bottom and even a win against Man City will not be enough to move them out of the relegation zone. Following just one win in nine however they need to pick up points at every opportunity to avoid being cut adrift.

Arsenal have possibly the most difficult game of the teams in the top four this week as they travel to Anfield to face 5th place Liverpool. The Gunners have had a difficult time away from home of late with the 4-0 win against Swansea their only victory in the last five on the road. Liverpool have just one win in their last 7 in the league, but are unbeaten at home against the top four this season. A win for Liverpool will move them above Arsenal into 4th.

West Brom go into their game against Crystal Palace looking for their ninth home win of the season. They are currently four points behind a European place in the table and could move closer to the teams above this weekend. Palace won for only the second time in 12 last week to move level with 17th in the league and a point at the Hawthorns may be enough to move them into safety.

Like Man City, Stoke in 10th play twice this week, first at home to Middlesbrough before travelling to Manchester midweek. After a convincing defeat at the hands of Spurs last time out, Stoke will be looking to record only their second win in the last five games. Stoke have not lost at the Bet365 Stadium since mid November and could keep that run going this weekend. Middlesbrough have quietly slipped into trouble this season and now find themselves outside of the bottom three on goal difference alone. Only four teams in the league have conceded fewer goals than Middlesbrough this season but the issue lies at the other end of the pitch. Their bluntness in attack means that they are the side who have scored the least so far this season, and have failed to score seven times away from home this season.

Burnley will travel to Swansea on Saturday having picked up their second away point of the season last weekend. They have scored a goal in each league game since mid December and currently sit just one point off a position in the top half. Swansea have picked up nine points in their last five games and moved themselves clear of the relegation zone. If they can continue this run of form with a win in this game they could move as high at 14th.

Leicester rediscovered their title winning form last time out with a 3-1 win at home, scoring for the first time since December. That win moved them out of the relegation zone and up to 15th. They face a Hull side that have put in some good performances of late to give themselves a chance of survival. Despite this change in form they still have just one win in their last five league games and remain inside the bottom three.

The weekend’s final game sees a mid table clash between Watford and Southampton at Vicarage Road. Watford have collected points in five of their last six and moved into 12th place in the league. Their point last time out meant that they moved above Southampton but Saints have a game in hand. Southampton have won just two of their last eight games but a good run of form from now on could see them challenge for a top half position.

If United can keep up their impressive run of form of late they may finally be able to break into the top four. Having been undefeated since October has seen the gap close on those above but left them frustratingly stuck in 6th. Victory over struggling Bournemouth will keep the winning mentality around Old Trafford, helping the team push on to join Europe’s elite competition.