Pearson Previews the Premier League as United travel to managerless Middlesbrough

Manchester United will be aiming to keep their unbeaten league run going this weekend as they travel to struggling, and now managerless, Middlesbrough. The home side are without a win since Christmas and have fallen to 19th in the Premier League. After scoring just three goals in their last 10 games are looking unlikely to climb to safety. United however still have not lost in the league since the October defeat at Stamford Bridge. If they want to improve on their 6th position in the league however they need to start winning games when they are on top.

Chelsea travel to Stoke on Saturday afternoon with the chance to extend their lead at the top to 13 points. They are looking the most likely to take the title this season but there is still some distance to run and Stoke is not an easy place to travel to. The home side have not lost in the last five at the Bet365 Stadium and conceded just two goals. Chelsea on the other hand have failed to win three of their last five away from Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham are looking to continue their excellent home form on Sunday as they host Southampton at White Hart Lane. Second place Spurs have not failed to win at home since October and are yet to lose this season. Southampton however have played just three league games since the end of January, winning their last two on the road. They have scored four times in both of their last two away games but face a Spurs defence which has kept nine clean sheets at home this season.

Manchester City have the league’s best form over the last five games with four wins and a draw. After their mid week exit from the Champions League they will be looking to push for qualification next season as they host Liverpool at the Etihad. Liverpool are fourth in the league and could go as high as second with a win in this game. In their last five home games City have won three by just a one goal margin and drawn the other two. Given Liverpool’s performances this season against the sides from the top seven, they could end the weekend higher in the table.

Arsenal are now five points behind Liverpool in fourth and although they have two games in hand, they need to keep winning to keep pace. They have won just once away from home in the last five attempts but they face a West Brom side who look to be lacking motivation. After reaching the 40 point mark Tony Pulis’ side have lost the last two games 2-0 and 3-0.

Everton have a chance to move up to 6th with a victory in their game against Hull City. With just one defeat since the end of December they have kept pace with the teams above but they need to continue this run if they are to mount a real challenge on the top four. Following their win over Swansea last week, Hull have a chance to move out of the bottom three with victory at Goodison Park.

West Ham go into their game at home to Leicester on the back of four games without a win. A good run in January elevated the Hammers into mid table but following recent defeats they could see them miss out on a top half finish. Before their last two wins Leicester were in serious danger of relegation but since then they have climbed to 15th in the league and into the Champions League last eight. The reigning champions still do not have enough points to be safe yet and so keeping league momentum will be key in this game.

Burnley have just two points from their last five games and have a similar form to relegation candidates Middlesbrough. Despite some frustrating results of late the side have played well and have not lost by more than one goal since December. This weekend they continue their search for a first away win of the season as they visit Sunderland. The leagues bottom side have just one win in 2017 but have not scored in their last three games. Sunderland are now 6 points from safety and are running short on time to mount a bid for survival.

Crystal Palace are one point above the relegation places following two successive wins. They will be aiming to continue this run when they host Watford on Saturday. Watford have not won in the league since they beat Arsenal and then Burnley at the start of February. A win for the away side would move them closer to a top half finish. Watford have scored 10 goals in the last six games but come up against a Palace defence which has two clean sheets in a row.

The Saturday evening fixture sees 14th place Bournemouth face 16th place Swansea City. Bournemouth got their first win of the year last time out thanks to a last minute winner against West Ham. Swansea however will be looking for their third win in five games. They have not registered a point away from home since January’s win at Anfield however. Both teams remain in danger of relegation and need to pick up points until the end of the season.

Man United have had some frustrating draws recently and if they have aspirations of moving up the league they need wins, starting at the Riverside. With the club still fighting in two competitions it will be a difficult run until the end of the season. With qualification to the Champions League possible through both of them, prioritising will be hard. The side need to maintain momentum and a winning mentality as they aim to return to Europe’s elite competition.