For Manchester United, their warm-weather training in Dubai has worked wonders. After a 10-day break, they returned to Premier League football in a convincing 3-0 win at home to Stoke on Monday night. Now, Jose Mourinho’s men look to this Saturday’s fixture away to Burnley.
Sean Dyche will manage his 100th Premier League game this weekend, aiming to put an end to Burnley’s 7-game win drought in all competitions. Meanwhile, United look to extend their 2018 win streak to 4. In the match against Stoke, United managed to close the gap between them and City to 12 points as Pep Guardiola’s men lost 4-3 to Liverpool.
Paul Pogba earned himself Man-of-the-Match against the Potters following a commanding performance in midfield, setting up scorchers for both Valencia and Martial. Midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick may well make appearances against the Clarets, Fellaini came on as a sub against Stoke and Carrick re-joined his fellow team-mates in Dubai.
Ashley Young is expected to make his return to action after serving his 3-match suspension following an incident with Southampton’s Dusan Tadic. Whether he’ll break into the first-team squad over an in-form Luke Shaw will be a major topic of debate.
Despite a recent slope in form, Burnley have still managed to keep hold of 7th place in the league, and the absence of Tom Heaton, Scott Arfield, and Robbie Brady have added to the side’s recent struggles.
Elsewhere in the top 6, Arsenal host Crystal Palace as the Gunners will hope to bounce back from their disappointing 2-1 loss away to Bournemouth last week. Headlines during the pre-match build-up have been swamped by the recent transfer news around Arsene Wenger’s side, with rumours of the arrival of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and a swap deal involving Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez populating a lot of paper’s back pages.
After losing 8 consecutive matches away in the Premier League, Palace have been unbeaten in their last 5 on the road and even triumphed over Sean Dyche’s Burnley in a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park. In Manchester, league leaders City host Newcastle United.
Pep Guardiola’s men saw their hopes of an invincible season die following a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool last week. Until then, City were undefeated in 22 league games, many labelling them the best side to ever grace the Prem. Newcastle have the opportunity to win 3 back-to-back away matches in the league for the first time since December 2001. In their last game, Newcastle failed to conquer Carlos Carvalhal’s Swansea City at home as the two sides drew 1-1.
Next up, 4th place Chelsea visit a Brighton side who are unbeaten in their last 4 Premier League matches at home. Antonio Conte’s men have drawn their last 5 games in the league, and have failed to win since their 5-0 thrashing of Stoke in mid-December.
Both sides are coming off the back of disappointing results, Chelsea drawing 0-0 to Leicester and Brighton losing 2-1 away to West Brom. However, Chelsea still remain favourites to come out on top, as only Manchester City have accumulated more points on the road this season. In Sunday’s only game, Southampton host a Spurs team who are coming off the back of a 4-0 thumping of Sam Allardyce’s Everton.
The league’s top-scorer, Harry Kane, added 2 to his tally for the season, and is now just 2 more away from being the 27th player to score 100 goals in the Premier League, still at the ripe old age of 24. Southampton are winless in 5 home games against Tottenham since returning to the Premier League in 2012, and Mauricio Pochettino is yet to lose a Premier League match at St Mary’s since leaving the club in 2014.
Southampton have found themselves struggling in recent weeks, as they still sit just above the relegation zone. However, Mauricio Pellegrino will hope he can turn his side’s fortunes around following their 2-2 draw at Watford last week.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will venture all the way down to South Wales as they’re welcomed by bottom of the league, Swansea City, on Monday evening. Following an impressive run of form, Klopp will hope to keep his team ticking, last week becoming the first to dethrone the mighty Manchester City.
Liverpool have won their last 5 league games, leapfrogging Chelsea into 3rd on goal difference. Meanwhile, Swansea City have scored the fewest goals at home this season (6), with Liverpool scoring the most away from home (29).
However, coming off the back of a well-fought point against Newcastle, and with Tammy Abraham and Renato Sanches potentially returning to the squad, Swansea will hope they can pull off a major upset. In the rest of Saturday’s games, firstly, Everton play host to Alan Pardew’s West Brom. Sam Allardyce’s men go into the game having lost just 1 of their last 10 matches against the Baggies.
West Brom have the opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time since matchweek 2 of the season. They won 2-0 against Brighton in their last game, and with Everton’s recent 4-0 embarrassment at the hands of by Spurs, this game will surely be entertaining to watch. One side that has managed to turn their fortunes around this season is Claude Puel’s Leicester City.
The Foxes have won 7 of their last 9 home league matches and have managed to keep a clean sheet in their last 2 Premier League matches, their latest coming in a 0-0 draw against last season’s champions, Chelsea. Leicester’s man in form, Riyad Mahrez, has scored in each of his last 4 league matches against Watford. From Watford’s perspective, Troy Deeney has managed 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 starts against Leicester, including the two sides’ meeting in the Championship play-offs. But with just two league positions separating the sides, and Leicester winning just 1 more game than Marco Silva’s men, this game is another that promises to thrill.
At the Olympic Stadium, West Ham host a Bournemouth side who in the week saw themselves shockingly knocked out of the FA Cup at the hands of Wigan Athletic. The Hammers have miraculously turned their season around following a disappointing start, the most notable improvement coming through Marko Arnautovic’s recent renaissance in form. The Austrian has scored 6 goals and assisted 3 in his last 7 Premier League matches, as he helped his team to a 4-1 win at Huddersfield in their last game.
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe’s side will hope to keep their momentum alive after an impressive 2-1 win against Arsenal, coming back from 1-0 down as Jordan Ibe and Callum Wilson scored in the 70th and 74th minute to finish the comeback.
Finally, the last of Saturday’s clashes sees two strugglers in Stoke and Huddersfield meet it what could be a crucial moment for both teams in their attempts turn their seasons around. While David Wagner’s men started this season’s campaign in impressive fashion, they have recently found themselves in a slump, only winning 2 games away from home all season.
However, things are even worse for Stoke, as newly appointed manager, Paul Lambert, looks to inject life into his underperforming squad.
Stoke currently hold one of the worst defensive records in the league, conceding 8 goals in their last 3 games thanks to the recent 3-0 defeat to United. The Potters have conceded a whopping 50 goals in total this season, and have slid down the table all the way into the relegation zone.