Manchester United lost second place in the league at the weekend and have won only once in their previous five trips to Everton. They are on their worst run of the season so far and have dropped points in each of their last three games, falling to 3rd in the league. Everton, on the other hand, suffered their first defeat in eight games with the 2-1 loss at Bournemouth on Saturday. Last season saw a 1-1 draw in this fixture and a similar result may please Everton, but United could do with a much more positive result.
Arsenal were denied a win on Sunday thanks to a late West Brom penalty and, although the 1-1 draw moved them back to 5th, they are now three points outside the top four. They now host Chelsea on Wednesday looking to close the gap between themselves and the rest of the Champions League hopefuls. Last season was a 3-0 win for the home side, but Arsenal have now beaten Chelsea in the two games since. Chelsea climbed up into 2nd place in the table courtesy of their fourth win in five games with the 5-0 win over a much-changed Stoke side.
Liverpool’s unbeaten run was extended to 12 league games as they came from behind to beat Leicester. They now travel to Burnley who’s excellent start to the season is just starting to slip a little. They have lost only once in their last five games but three draws over that time have caused them to lose some ground on the sides above. Liverpool can maintain their claim for a top-four place with a win at Turf Moor but they lost in their last visit there in August 2016.
Manchester City dropped points for the first time in 19 games last time out as they could only draw 0-0 at Crystal Palace. Their lead at the top of the table is still out to 14 points however and face Watford at home. Having already beaten Watford 6-0 this season, and given the Hornets poor form of late many expect a home win. The last three games between the two have yielded a 13-0 aggregate score in City’s favour. Watford have just the one win in their last eight league games and could drop from the top half this week.
Bournemouth’s four points in their last two games have helped to move them clear of the relegation zone. If they want to continue that run though they will have to do so at a Brighton side who have lost only two home games all season. Brighton’s meagre two goals scored in their last nine league games may give Bournemouth hope heading into the game, especially after they beat Everton on Saturday.
Leicester’s poor run over Christmas continued as they lost an early lead at Anfield on Saturday and slipped to their third defeat in four games. They will be hoping for a better start to 2018 as they take on Huddersfield at home. Huddersfield have picked up three consecutive draws and remain around mid-table. After drawing 1-1 earlier in the season, a similar result may be ok the cards.
A much-changed Stoke side received some criticism as they were comfortably beaten by Chelsea on Saturday. The rotation of their squad will be justified, however, if they can take all three points at home to Newcastle. The away side have lost ten of their previous 13 league games going into this one. A goalless draw at home to Brighton last time moved them to within a point of Stoke. Both sides are in relegation trouble at the moment but would move away by stringing a few wins together.
Tottenham take on Swansea tomorrow in the first of their two league games this week. Having missed a fixture at the weekend they will play this game and against West Ham on Thursday. A win in both games will be needed to keep up their challenge for a place in the top four. They are currently four points behind Liverpool but with a game in hand. Swansea picked up only their second win since September by beating Watford late in the game on Saturday. That win moves them off the bottom of the league and they will be keen to kick on and move away from trouble.
Both Southampton and Crystal Palace achieved credible goalless draws against a top side last time out and the pair face off at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday. Southampton won the corresponding fixture in September but that was when Palace were on a poor run of form. Now the away side are much improved, losing only once in 10 league games. Southampton have been on a worse run of late and have failed to win in each of their last eight games.
West Ham, like Spurs, will face two games this week starting on Tuesday before facing Tottenham later in the week. They host West Brom in the Tuesday evening kick-off having picked up points in four of their last five games. They slipped back into the relegation zone this week but a win will surely move them clear. West Brom still are without a win since August, a fact we have covered a number of times of late. They are only off the bottom of the table due to goal difference but a win will move them above their opponents, at least briefly.
Given the fact that Arsenal and Chelsea face each other this week a win for United over Everton would be timed perfectly. Three much-needed points could move them into second or failing that, increase the gap to a major rival for a top-four finish at the end of the season. There are still some difficult away fixtures in January and so stopping the poor run now will be crucial before it becomes a habit.