Friday, January 15, 2021

Matchweek 19 Preview: Showdown at Anfield as City Lurks; Blades Put Winning Streak On Line; Black Country Derby

This is AnfieldHeadlining this weekend is a battle between historic rivals, now 1 and 2 in the table, as league leader Manchester United makes the short trip to Liverpool’s Anfield fortress.  The surging Red Devils, who leapfrogged Liverpool in the table this past week, are in first place this late into a Premier League season for the first time since Alex Ferguson was their manager.  Liverpool will be looking to reenergize its attack after being held scoreless in its last two matches.  

Manchester City will look to close the gap on the top two sides when the Citizens play host to Crystal Palace.  Surprisingly, the Eagles are unbeaten in their last two visits to the Etihad and if they extend that streak on Sunday it will mark the first time in Pep Guardiola’s managerial career that he would have failed to defeat an opponent in three consecutive home matches.  

Fourth place Leicester, one of three teams sitting on 32 points, faces seventh place Southampton which defeated Liverpool in its last match.  Leicester front man Jamie Vardy is expected fit for the match while Saints striker Danny Ings is out due to COVID.  

Spurs will look to put an abrupt end to Sheffield United’s one match winning run.  Spurs are currently struggling, winning but once in their last six matches.  

Seemingly unthinkable earlier in the season, the London derby this weekend between Chelsea and Fulham could prove interesting.  Chelsea has lost four of six matches in falling to ninth in the table entering the weekend.  The Cottagers have been quietly improving and are unbeaten in five matches. 

A West Ham attack which has notably cooled in recent matches will face a defensively solid Burnley side.  The Hammers have scored seven goals in the past seven matches during which they have dropped in the table from fifth to tenth.  David Moyes’ squad had scored seventeen goals in their first ten matches.  

Arsenal will host struggling Newcastle at the Emirates on Monday.  Newcastle has failed to score in its last three league matches against the Gunners. 

Wolves will play host to West Brom in a “Black Country” derby which dates back 140 years.  The two clubs, situated eleven miles from each other, will be facing each other for the first time in nine years.  Wolves are winless in five matches.  West Brom are winless in their last seven.  A Wolves attack which has sorely missed injured striker Raul Jimenez, may gain some confidence against a West Brom defense which has allowed ten more goals than any other club in the league this season. 

Brighton will look to end a nine-match winless run when it visits Leeds.  Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side will likely be anxious to erase the memory of their embarrassing FA Cup loss to Crawley Town last weekend.

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