Premier League Preview: Match Day 26 – Part 2

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Thanks to Storm Ciara, only three of last weekend’s four scheduled games took place, with Manchester City’s game against West Ham United falling foul of the weather.

Of the three to survive, there were big wins for Everton and Sheffield United to remain very much in hunt for European football next season, while Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford played out a 1-1 draw to benefit neither side as they look to avoid the drop.

Attention now turns however to the second half of the winter break and it’s fixtures, with the vast majority taking place this weekend and beyond.

Game of the Round – Chelsea vs Manchester United

The standout fixture for this round, Chelsea hosting Manchester United on Monday night has a lot riding on it as both sides look to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.

Frank Lampard’s side are currently in the driving seat as they sit in fourth, but only hold a two-point advantage over Sheffield United in fifth, while the gap between themselves and Manchester United in eighth is just six points.

Consistency has been a problem for Chelsea’s young side this season. They’ve won just one of their last five league games (D1 L3) while they’ve only kept one clean sheet in their last six league games, which is something Lampard will be desperate to put right.

There is some positive news ahead of the game however following the announcement that Hakim Ziyech will be joining in the summer, and he’ll be hoping it’s for a side playing in the Champions League.

For Manchester United, their 4-0 opening day win over Chelsea feels like a lifetime ago now.

Since then there’s been plenty of false dawns regarding a side that looks to be heading in the right direction, before a string of poor results brings them crashing back down.

Like Chelsea, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side have also won just one of their last five league games (D1 L3), although unlike Chelsea they’re not in the position to afford a stutter, which is why Monday’s game is so crucial in bridging the gap between themselves and the top four.

Rest of the Round

The action commences on Friday, and there will be no love lost on Valentine’s Day in the Midlands when Wolverhampton Wanderers host Leicester City.

Saturday lunchtime sees Burnley welcome Southampton up to Turf Moor.

That day’s evening offering sees bottom hosting top when Norwich City face runaway leaders Liverpool.

Sunday begins with Aston Villa against Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park.

Then Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal take to the field later in the day to face Newcastle United.

Having seen their game postponed last time out, Manchester City’s game with West Ham has been rescheduled this coming Wednesday.

Premier League Player to Watch: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool – £1.99

With Liverpool facing the league’s bottom club this weekend, it makes sense to look towards their forward line.

It’s a game that pits the second-best forward line in terms of league goals this season (60) and the league’s joint-worst defence (47), so Roberto Firmino could be a great acquisition.

He recorded a hat-trick of assists last time out against Southampton, while representing a significantly cheaper alternative than the rest of the Reds’ strike force.

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Social Media Executive @ Football Index - Liverpool fan at just about the right time

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