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More twists in the top-four battle? – Premier League Preview

Following some very interesting midweek action, the Premier League again takes centre stage over the next three days.

Liverpool’s inability to beat lesser teams once again reared its ugly head on Wednesday night, as the Reds could only draw 2-2 with Bournemouth at Anfield.

Attention now turns to Saturday’s clash away to Stoke City, with another negative result having the potential to sabotage Liverpool’s top-four hopes.

Elsewhere, Chelsea beat Man City 2-1 – a good result for Liverpool – while Tottenham‘s last-gasp comeback against Swansea City saw them pull clear in second place.

Man United drew with Everton and Arsenal saw off West Ham, as the battle among the top six teams continues to be fascinatingly unpredictable.

At the bottom, Hull City‘s win over Middlesbrough felt huge, while Leicester City and Burnley both picked up three points to pull clear. Defeats for Crystal Palace and West Ham leave them teetering above the relegation zone.

There are 10 matches to look forward to in the coming days – here is a look at the best of the action to keep an eye on.

 

Can Spurs crank up the pressure on Chelsea?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 11, 2017: Tottenham Hotspur's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When did Tottenham become so mentally resolute?

They have been ridiculed over the years for having a soft underbelly, but Wednesday’s impressive late 3-1 win at Swansea showed them in a new light.

The victory kept them seven points behind leaders Chelsea, and while that gap remains significant, they have a chance to heap pressure on the Blues this weekend.

Spurs host Watford on Saturday lunchtime, and it would be an almighty shock if they didn’t get the win. It would put them four points behind Chelsea, who play later in the day.

Mauricio Pochettino and his players will still be smarting from falling short in last season’s title race, but it may stand them in good stead between now and May.

You just never know.

 

Bournemouth out to thwart champions-in-waiting

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bournemouth showed character to nick a draw at Anfield on Wednesday, and the tough fixtures keep coming for them this weekend.

The Cherries welcome Chelsea to Dean Court for the 5:30pm game, as Antonio Conte’s side look to take another step towards glory.

Their midweek win over Man City was vital, especially with Spurs’ late show, but failure to back it up this weekend could leave them only four or five points clear at the top.

You would expect Chelsea to come through the game without too much hassle, but Bournemouth have done well at home this season, and always give their all.

A Spurs victory earlier in the day would give this match some added spice – Eddie Howe’s side are not totally safe from relegation yet, so they will be up for it.

 

Are Arsenal set for their annual late surge?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil in action against Liverpool during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Write Arsenal off at your peril.

We all know how poor the Gunners have been of late, but they are also known for enjoying imperious finishes to the season.

Admittedly, it is always too late to win the title, but history suggests they always manage sneak into one of the top-four places.

Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace is a big test of their credentials, and three points at a hostile ground would suggest we should be concerned about Arsenal going on a run.

That said, they only beat a woefully out-of-form West Ham outfit on Wednesday, and Sam Allardyce’s Eagles should give them a far tougher game.

Palace are desperate for the points, following their 3-1 defeat at Southampton, so this should be a good watch.

 

Easy three points for Manchester duo?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 2, 2017: Manchester City players look dejected after their 2-2 draw with Arsenal during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Predicting results in the Premier League it almost impossible at times, but it is very difficult not to see both Man City and Man United winning this weekend.

City are at home to Hull, and although Marco Silva continues to do a tremendous job in steering the Tigers away from survival, the hosts should have too much.

Their attacking quality is arguably the best in the league, and Hull will find it too hard to keep them at bay for an entire 90 minutes.

United, meanwhile, take on under-fire former manager David Moyes, whose Sunderland side are now all but resigned to relegation.

The Black Cats have been so poor throughout the season, and for all United’s constant drawing of matches, they should breeze past their Championship opponents on Sunday.

 

Defeat for Hammers could spell trouble

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 28, 2016: West Ham United's manager Slaven Bilic during the FA Premier League match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For so long, it looked as though West Ham‘s season was petering out. A mid-table finish appeared a given, with very little to play for between March and May.

Slaven Bilic’s side have lost their last five matches, however, and it is now seven games without their last win, which came at Southampton on February 4.

On Saturday, the Hammers entertain Swansea, on an afternoon that could see the hosts get dragged even further into the relegation scrap.

Paul Clement is doing a good job with the Swans, despite their heartbreaking defeat to Spurs, and they will fancy their chances of sneaking a draw, at worst.

There are five points separating West Ham (15th) and Swansea (18th), so the result at London Stadium could be absolutely vital. A home win feels the least likely of the three possible outcomes.

 

Fixtures, UK TV Info & Predictions

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 25, 2016: Tottenham Hotspur's manager Mauricio Pochettino during the Football League Cup 4th Round match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday

Tottenham vs. Watford – 12:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 2-0

Man City vs. Hull – 3pm
Prediction: 3-1

Middlesbrough vs. Burnley – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

Stoke vs. Liverpool – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

West Brom vs. Southampton – 3pm
Prediction: 0-0

West Ham vs. Swansea – 3pm
Prediction: 1-2

Bournemouth vs. Chelsea – 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Prediction: 0-2

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 26, 2016: Sunderland's manager David Moyes during the FA Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunday

Sunderland vs. Man United – 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 0-2

Everton vs. Leicester – 4pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 2-2

Monday

Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal – 8pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 1-1

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