Due to Watford vs Tottenham and Arsenal vs Crystal Palace being on New Year Day, there are four matches being played across 3-4th January.
Tuesday sees Arsenal head to Bournemouth whilst Crystal Palace face Swansea in a six pointer. Stoke are at home to Watford so will we see any surprises?
Bournemouth vs Arsenal
Bournemouth come into this meeting with six points from their last five games to Arsenal’s nine. A win is vital if they want to do battle with Everton and West Bromwich Albion for seventh place.
The Cherries will be elated to have Benik Afobe available after he declined the opportunity to represent DR Congo in the African Cup of Nations (ACoN). In form Jack Wilshire is ineligible to face his parent club and this could hurt what has been a fantastic midfield for the Cherries.
Arsenal are set to be without Mesut Ozil (illness), Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs for the trip to the Vitaly Stadium. Mohamed Elneny is away on international duty meaning that midfield could be where the game is won or lost for either side.
The Gunners have won every meeting with the South Coast opposition but Bournemouth have scored in all but one home game this season. With the way, Eddie Howe’s side are playing, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them rock Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger will be out to avoid three consecutive away defeats and with Oliver Giroud back to his best, Bournemouth’s defence are going to have to be rock solid to keep him or Aleix Sanchez out.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal
Result: Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal
Crystal Palace vs Swansea
This is a must win match for both teams in their relegation battle. Sam Allardyce will be looking to move the Eagles above Middlesbrough with victory whereas the Swans are looking to move off the foot of the table.
Damian Delaney is back to hopefully help a shaky defence and Wilfried Zaha is playing his final game before joining up with Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Swansea are without Jefferson Montero and possibly Fernando Llorente. Wayne Routledge will face a late fitness test after suffering a mouth abscess.
The match could well be open if anything like the 5-4 thriller in late November. The defences of both clubs are all over the place and it could be a case of tightest defence earning their team a win.
Allardyce will view this as must win if he is to impress the Selhurst Park faithful but Alan Curtis will look to end his caretaker spell with on a high with a decent performance and base for Paul Clement to build on.
Prediction Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea
Result: Crystal Palace 1-2 Swansea
Stoke vs Watford
This match is critical for both clubs as they look to push on and up the table.
Walter Mazzarri will expect a reaction from his Watford team following New Year Day’s 4-1 humbling by Spurs. He will have to make do without Juan Zuniga and Nordin Amrabat, who are both out injured alongside numerous other players.
Stoke City will be looking to push on from Saturday’s performance despite suffering a 4-2 defeat at Chelsea. Marko Arnautovic is back from suspension and has returned at the right time with Wilfried Bony and Ramadan Sobhi heading off to the ACoN. Jonathan Walters is likely to feature after picking up an knee injury.
These sides have met just three times in the Premier League with the away side collecting the three points on each occasion. With the contrasting performances of both teams since meeting at the end of November, a home win won’t be out of the question.
Prediction: Stoke 1-0 Watford
Result: Stoke 2-0 Watford
If enjoyed this, checkout what each club needs to stay up or to get an European spot for next season. https://jamestgregoryblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/what-do-premier-league-teams-need-to-do-in-january/