After a week’s break to make way for FA Cup action, the Premier League is back with a massive day of fixtures.
West Ham kick the weekend off at home to Arsenal in a London derby before four members of the bottom five collide as Burnley meet Fulham whilst Huddersfield head to Cardiff amongst the mid afternoon fixtures.
Chelsea then wrap up the day as they welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge in a pivotal match for their top four hopes.
West Ham United vs Arsenal (12:30pm)Embed from Getty Images
Both teams have had a decent festive period but really need to kick on from now if are to achieve success.
For West Ham, inconsistency is something which seems to straggle them a bit at times with only three proper decent runs of form so far but at separate times. They however showed great spirt in immediately bouncing back from the halt of their second run but since Xmas, its been four points from their last four league games.
Over at Arsenal, they are losing pace on Chelsea whilst Manchester United are rapidly catching them up from behind.
Throw in three away league games without a win then they really need a win here because come next month, they are going to be distracted by Europa League action so need as many points over the next month as they can get.
Realistically this could go either way in my opinion but Arsenal have won five of last seven meetings which wouldn’t be a surprise here.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal
Jake predicts: West Ham United 0-2 Arsenal
Result: West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool
Brighton should be hopeful of a result here, given their home record against the ‘Big Six’ this season.
Only Tottenham and Chelsea have managed to come away from here with three points, underlining how difficult this fixture will be and Liverpool’s poor January record under Jurgen Klopp could well rear its head here.
You could well say its already in full swing but Klopp did rest majority of first team against Wolves in FA Cup, which sort of invalidates that argument a bit even if he now has a defensive crisis.
Brighton meanwhile have put in a solid shift taking five points from their last three league games and battered Bournemouth last weekend in the cup. That shows just how solid this side are and I fancy them to somehow take a point here.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Liverpool
Jake predicts: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Liverpool
Result: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Liverpool
Burnley vs FulhamEmbed from Getty Images
With just four points between these teams, this is a must win for both sides as far as their survival hopes are concerned.
Burnley could of gone to shreds after their Boxing Day demolishing by Everton but they have produced two solid attacking displays in last two league outings. One particular star is Dwight McNeil who has produced strong performances over festive period, and isn’t afraid to get stuck in when defending.
Fulham meanwhile aren’t showing much if any defensive progress at all, especially a fortnight on from their win over Huddersfield.
This therefore should be a comfortable victory for Burnley.
Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Fulham
Jake predicts: Burnley 2-0 Fulham
Result: Burnley 2-1 Fulham
Cardiff vs Huddersfield Town
After crashing out of FA Cup last weekend, this is an absolute must win for Huddersfield, who are already eight points from safety.
Cardiff meanwhile are strong at home against those outside the ‘Big Six’, taking 12 points from their last five home games against those ranked seventh or below.
They however have the joint third worst goal tally but have six more goals to their name than Huddersfield, who have only 13 but eight of their goals have come away from home.
It therefore wouldn’t be a surprise if we get a quiet battle with both sides dominating at times. Cardiff ultimately have that extra finishing edge though so am going for a home win.
Prediction: Cardiff City 1-0 Huddersfield Town
Jake predicts: Cardiff City 2-0 Huddersfield Town
Result: Cardiff City 0-0 Huddersfield Town
Crystal Palace vs WatfordEmbed from Getty Images
With only seven points separating Crystal Palace from eighth placed Watford, victory here coupled with results elsewhere will shake up what is an already unpredictable midfield battle.
Palace however have struggled at home this season with only nine of their 22 points coming at Selhurst Park. If they can improve that form and maintain their momentum of one loss in last five league games then perhaps this could turn out to be a slow burner of a season which picks up from now.
Watford however were fantastic going forward against Bournemouth in that crazy New Year match, which saw both sides play out a 3-3 draw. Repeat that here but play tighter at back then they should be favourites for the win.
Results in this fixture have although proven to be unpredictable in recent years with 2-1 the favoured outcome on four of last eight occasions. On that note, I wouldn’t be surprised if see another repeat here but Watford have plenty about them to get the three points.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
Jake predicts: Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
Result: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
Leicester City vs Southampton
Leicester can be very inconsistent at times because they managed two wins over sides above them during festive period, yet managed to lose here to Cardiff then away to Newport in FA Cup.
Fans therefore deserve a reaction, especially after their Cup performance last weekend and they do have the opportunity here to pull away in battle for seventh.
Southampton meanwhile have admittedly had some tough fixtures over the festive period but have shown improvement when attacking even if defence can still be suspect at times. That is a huge positive for a side who were struggling for goals until Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived and more here can only strengthen their survival hopes.
Prediction wise, I can see Southampton ending Leicester’s recent domination of only one defeat in last nine meetings. That depends on the Foxes failing to turn up and deliver though.
Prediction: Leicester City 1-2 Southampton
Jake predicts: Leicester City 2-1 Southampton
Result: Leicester City 1-2 Southampton
Chelsea vs Newcastle United (5:30pm)Embed from Getty Images
With questions surrounding their firepower in terms of goals, Chelsea need to put their home woes behind them after failing to score in their last two league matches at Stamford Bridge.
Early November meanwhile was the last time that Newcastle beat a team above them in the table, taking hard earned 1-1 draws at Everton and Watford since then whilst losing to Liverpool, Manchester United and Wolves amongst others in past couple of months.
Both teams therefore need to start answering questions and based on the fact that Newcastle have only ever won once here in Premier League era, I can see the Blues just edging this.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United
Jake predicts: Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle United
Result: Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle United