After a disappointing defeat in their last game against Tottenham, Manchester United now face a run of three games out of four against sides from the bottom half. They start against out of form Huddersfield who they will be aiming to condemn to a fifth straight defeat. Three points separate United and the sides directly below them but they are now 15 points behind City at the top. Huddersfield have slipped to 17th in the table and are now looking to be one of the most likely relegation candidates from the sides down the bottom. They did, however, beat United earlier in the season so know what it takes to pull off a shock victory. Given the sides poor away form this season though it would be quite a turn up for the books.
Manchester City scored three goals for the fourth game running in midweek and will be aiming to repeat that as they travel to Burnley on Saturday. Burnley have only conceded five goals over the last five league games though so it could be a tougher ask than usual. Despite their stubborn defence Burnley have not picked up enough points of late and are relying on their early season form to keep them out of danger. No win in eight has seen them fall away from the sides above but they still remain in an impressive 7th. City’s lead at the top of the table was extended to 15 points in midweek but with games against their rivals coming they will want to maintain as much of an advantage as possible.
Liverpool nipped into 3rd due to goal difference following the midweek round of games but face a tough home tie against Tottenham this weekend. A win for the home side will extend their advantage over 5th place Spurs to five points, but a defeat will see them leapfrogged by their opponents. The win against Huddersfield on Tuesday was a welcome return to winning ways after back to back defeats. Tottenham extended their unbeaten run to seven games in midweek and will have to keep that form going to position themselves strongly for a top-four finish.
Chelsea’s midweek defeat at home to Bournemouth could have been punished more but the effects were lessened by others around them also losing. The downside was that the sides below them won and they now sit 4th in the table, two points ahead of Spurs. They need to recover their form as they travel to Watford this weekend as they face their first of three away league games. Monday nights’ game gives Chelsea a chance to win their fourth successive game against Watford. The hosts have won just once in their last 12 league games and are now close to being pulled into a relegation fight.
Arsenal’s sixth defeat of the season did little to change their league standing at this point in the season and they look destined to finish 6th unless they can turn the form around. In the next three games, they face two of the top five and need to put a run of wins together to hold any chance of making the top four. They face Everton this weekend and could close the gap to 5th place Spurs with a win given their rivals more difficult fixture. This would leave Arsenal three points behind Tottenham with the derby coming the following week. Everton won in midweek ending a run of six games without a win. They find themselves in 9th in the table, three points away from the side above and below.
Swansea’s resurgence seems to be well timed as they moved off the bottom of the table in midweek. They have now picked up ten points from the last five league games since their change in manager and could move out of the bottom three with another positive result this weekend. They travel to Leicester who’s recent good form came to an end with defeat on Wednesday. They may be able to move back into 7th with a win and continue their outside chance of Europe.
Bournemouth have now gone six games without defeat as they have surged back up the table and away from danger. One thing about the current league though is you’re never more than a few defeats away from trouble again. They face fellow one time strugglers Stoke this weekend who are also looking to distance themselves from the bottom three. Four points from their last two games has helped relieve the pressure but they will be hoping to avenge the 1-2 home defeat handed to them but Bournemouth earlier in the season.
One win in their last 14 games means that Brighton are in the mix for relegation this season. They have kept their heads above water with several draws over that time but they could do with a win to really push on. They face an injury-ravaged West Ham this weekend aiming to repeat their win from earlier this season and pick up a vital three points. West Ham have not lost for six games which has helped move them up the table but, much like Brighton, several draws has stunted their rise. They currently hold a four-point advantage over 18th but defeat at Brighton would move them below the south coast side in the table.
West Brom’s small upturn in form has actually coincided with them hitting the foot of the table this week. Three draws and a win over their last six has not been enough to prevent them falling behind the rest of the league but a home game against 18th place Southampton would be an ideal place to find only their second league win since August. Four draws from five means that Southampton have kept pace with those around them but they remain in the relegation zone. A much needed three points this weekend would go a long way to easing their worries but it will not be a simple task.
Despite being in 14th place Newcastle are still very much in a fight for survival. They are just one point above the red line and would need to turn some of their recent draws into wins to calm the nerves of their fans. They travel to Crystal Palace who sit just one place, and two points, above their opponents. A win for Palace would put them amongst the favourites to avoid relegation from the sides around.
Man United could do with some routine league wins over the coming weeks to keep their momentum rolling on for when the Champions League restarts. They have a small cushion on the sides below so need to be mindful not to be wasteful with their chances to win games, but they can afford to focus on the bigger games to come a little.