Spurs’ chance to apply pressure ahead of Liverpool vs. Man City – Premier League Preview

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The Premier League‘s busy festive period moves into 2019 this week, with 10 more important games to look forward to in the coming days.

Liverpool are seven points clear of Man City, with the Reds making the trip to the Etihad on Thursday evening.

It is comfortably the most important match of the season so far, with victory for either side proving crucial in the title race.

Although Liverpool’s heavyweight clash is the undisputed main event of these opening fixtures of 2019, there is plenty of other action to enjoy.

Here’s a look at what is on offer.

 

Everton vs. Leicester – New Year’s Day, 12.30pm – Sky Sports Main Event

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 28, 2018: Everton's Theo Walcott during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Everton haven’t been the same since Divock Origi broke their hearts at the beginning of December.

They have won just one of their last six games and now sit 10th in the table, having previously looked like a shoo-in to finish in the top seven.

The Blues host Leicester on New Year’s Day, with the Foxes also a strange team, having beaten Chelsea and City, then losing at home to Cardiff.

Prediction: Everton 1-1 Leicester

 

Arsenal vs. Fulham – New Year’s Day, 3pm

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 25, 2018: Arsenal's manager Unai Emery reacts during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arsenal‘s long unbeaten run is long over now and their 5-1 mauling at the hands of Liverpool outlined their limitations.

A top-four finish is the absolute best Unai Emery’s side can hope for this season, but even that looks a tough task currently.

The Gunners now welcome struggling Fulham to the Emirates, for another London derby.

The west Londoners will be buoyed by their late 1-0 victory over Huddersfield, but they won’t have the quality to trouble Arsenal.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Fulham

 

Cardiff vs. Tottenham – New Year’s Day, 5.30pm – Sky Sports Main Event

CARDIFF, WALES - Sunday, September 2, 2018: Cardiff City's Joe Bennett during the FA Premier League match between Cardiff City FC and Arsenal FC at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tottenham‘s title challenge lasted about three days, having been beaten 3-1 at home to Wolves on Saturday.

It was a result nobody saw coming and Mauricio Pochettino will know his team simply must beat Cardiff to have any chance of challenging Liverpool and City.

Defeat for the Reds at the Etihad, coupled with a Spurs victory, would reduce the gap to six points again.

Spurs should be too good for their opponents, but there remain question marks over their soft underbelly, while the Bluebirds have bags of fighting spirit.

Pochettino’s men won’t have it all their own way, but they will get the job done.

Prediction: Cardiff 0-2 Tottenham

 

Bournemouth vs. Watford – Wednesday, 7.45pm

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 25, 2018: AFC Bournemouth's David Brooks during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bournemouth and Watford are two sides who will not be remotely relegation threatened this season, with an outside chance of Europa League qualification.

The meeting between the pair on Wednesday has the potential to be entertaining contest, with both sides playing an attractive brand of football.

The pair have both wobbled a little of late, however, and they will want to stop the rot at Dean Court and begin 2019 in style.

Bournemouth may edge it, with home advantage proving key.

Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Watford

 

Chelsea vs. Southampton – Wednesday, 7.45pm

Southampton's Danny Ings during the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images)

Chelsea have become a curious team, with their performances not wholly impressive of late, despite back-to-back wins away to Watford and Crystal Palace.

Their title hopes have faded significantly, with a place in the top four now their primary aim.

The Blues should make it three victories on the bounce on Wednesday when Southampton come to town, with Saints still very much in the relegation fight.

Can Danny Ings help spring a surprise? It’s unlikely.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

 

Huddersfield vs. Burnley – Wednesday, 7.45pm

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Thursday, August 16, 2018: Burnley's Jack Cork celebrates scoring the only goal to seal a 1-0 extra-time victory during the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Burnley FC and ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Neither Burnley or Huddersfield are famed for their entertainment value, although this is a huge game at the bottom of the table.

The Terriers sit rock-bottom with just 10 points to their name, while the Clarets’ 2-0 win over West Ham on Sunday lifted them to 18th.

This is a particularly crucial match for Huddersfield—a draw wouldn’t be good, while a defeat would be disastrous.

Prediction: Huddersfield 0-0 Burnley

 

West Ham vs. Brighton – Wednesday, 7.45pm

Brighton & Hove Albion's Pascal Gross (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images)

West Ham have disappointed this season, following a summer of spending and genuine talk of a top-six challenge.

The Hammers lost at Burnley in limp fashion at the weekend and they are 11th in the table, which is well below their pre-season expectations.

The east Londoners host Brighton on Wednesday night, with Chris Hughton continuing to do a superb work with the 13th-placed Seagulls.

This is a tough one to predict, but West Ham might just nick it.

Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Brighton

 

Wolves vs. Crystal Palace – Wednesday, 7.45pm

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, December 21, 2018: Wolverhampton Wanderers' captain Conor Coady during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wolves did Liverpool an almighty favour by beating Spurs, meaning they have now taken points off Liverpool’s five ‘Big Six’ rivals this season.

It is in the more low-key games where they have often struggled, however, with the visit of Palace a possible banana skin.

The Eagles are too good to go down, even though they only sit four points above the relegation zone, and it is easy to envisage them getting something at Molineux.

Score draw.

Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Crystal Palace

 

Newcastle vs. Man United – Wednesday, 8pm – Sky Sports Main Event

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26, 2018: Newcastle United's manager Rafael Benitez waves as the Liverpool supporters sing his name after during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wednesday’s action concludes with Newcastle’s clash with Man United, in a fixture that always has a heavyweight feel to it, regardless of league standings.

Rafa Benitez is still doing excellently at St James’ Park, steering them clear of the drop zone impressively, with their 1-1 draw at Watford another good result.

United, meanwhile, have been given a new lease of life under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning three matches in a row and looking a far more potent force.

Benitez teams are never easy to beat, and while United will see plenty of the ball, Solksjaer could drop his first points in the United hot-seat.

Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Man United

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