Liverpool target double over Leicester
By Ryan Moran
- The Reds are one of two teams to have beaten the Foxes this season.
- Arsenal hope to avoid another 4-0 defeat against Southampton.
- Stoke go in search of the double over Manchester United.
Liverpool hope to be the first side to complete the double over Leicester City this season. Stoke City go in search of the double at Old Trafford while Arsenal hope to avoid another rout at the hands of Southampton.
Leicester City vs Liverpool
Leicester hope to avenge their Boxing Day defeat when they host Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday evening. Christian Benteke scored the goal at Anfield that condemned the Foxes to only their second loss of the season.
The home side have had a whole week more to prepare for the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s side because of FA Cup commitments. Liverpool rested key players with the league in mind with Claudio Ranieri’s side three points clear at the top.
Leicester’s last competitive match ended in a 3-0 victory with Jamie Vardy returning to the scoresheet. Adam Lallana rescued a late victory in a nine goal thriller with Norwich at Carrow Road with Klopp’s side coming out on top at 5-4.
The last time the sides met at the King Power, Liverpool defeated Leicester 3-1 as Nigel Pearson’s side sat at the foot of the table. 19 places and 37 points better off, the hosts lie 14 points and six places ahead of the Merseyside outfit. Coming in on a five game unbeaten run, Ranieri will hope to overcome the Reds this time round.
Arsenal vs Southampton
Arsenal hope to beat their demons as the Saints go marching to the Emirates. A shock 4-0 victory on Boxing Day left the majority dumbfounded as Cuco Martina rocked St Mary’s with a superb long range strike.
Now with Charlie Austin leading the line and already off the mark after one game, Southampton will hope to record a famous double. Three consecutive victories bring Ronald Koeman’s side into the game in fine form.
The Gunners are without a league win in three games and will hope the return of Alexis Sanchez will help turn their fortunes. The Chilean netted the only goal when the sides last met at the Emirates. Having scored in the FA Cup on Saturday, Sanchez has a scent for goal and will want another in midweek. His 16 goal debut season was outdone by Austin’s 18 goal debut season with both hoping to push their team to victory on Tuesday.
Sunderland vs Manchester City
Sunderland will hope the extra seven days of preparation will prove worthwhile with the visit of second placed Manchester City. The last four encounters have seen five goals scored in favour of City on the score line.
Having beaten the Black Cats 4-1 twice already this season, they will hope to emulate the same on Tuesday. The last meeting at the Stadium of Light ended 4-1, a Sergio Aguero brace gave the Citizens victory. Sam Allardyce will target less goals conceded and hope to score more.
The home side face a hard task with their visitors unbeaten in their last six games. Two wins, two draws and a defeat is a step in the right direction for Allardyce’s side but City come into the game on the back of a 4-0 FA Cup victory over Aston Villa. Kelechi Iheanacho will want more goals after his hat trick with European football in his sights.
Manchester United vs Stoke City
A frustrating boxing day for Manchester United delighted Mark Hughes and his Stoke side. Louis Van Gaal looked beaten as the Potters defended deep and hit United on the counter attack with great effect.
Hughes’ side go in search of the double at Old Trafford as every game is the equivalent of a cup final for Van Gaal, supposedly. The Dutchman’s position is always in question and if Stoke manage to do the double, the questions about his job security will continue to be asked.
The away side spent big on transfer deadline day, bringing in Giannelli Imbula for £18.3 million, a new club record.
Anthony Martial gave Cyrus Christie a torrid time on Friday night, assisting Juan Mata’s third goal. This level of performance is needed against a Premier League side rather than a Championship side.
The top four is still in sight for Van Gaal’s side but victories are needed with Tottenham gaining momentum to break the top three. Consistent results have been a problem this season for every side, therefore if United can string results together, the Red Devils can knock on the door of the top four.
Norwich City vs Tottenham
The last time the two sides met at Carrow Road, Chris Hughton was in charge of Norwich. Mauricio Pochettino was at the helm on the South Coast. Robert Snodgrass scored the only goal of the game as the Canaries were victorious, even though they went on to get relegated that season.
Earlier this season two goals from Harry Kane and a late third from Tom Carroll condemned Norwich to defeat. The home side come into the game on the back of three straight league defeats with Spurs claiming victory in their last two league games.
Alex Neil’s side were robbed of a point when Liverpool travelled to East Anglia last weekend. Lallana’s late winner muted the home fans at Carrow Road in the nine goal thriller.
New signing Patrick Bamford will hope his second loan spell this season will be more successful than the first, at Crystal Palace. The striker found game time limit and goals non-existent.
Fourth placed Tottenham will be targeting a third consecutive victory against a bottom half side in Norwich, Tuesday’s encounter holds all the answers.
Watford vs Chelsea
Chelsea won convincingly on Sunday with a 5-1 drubbing of MK Dons. Watford ended Nottingham Forest’s 13 game unbeaten run to also progress in the FA Cup. A 2-2 draw between the two sides in December leaves the tie finely poised.
The Hornets’ deadly duo of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney were on target that day to hold the current Champions at Stamford Bridge. With Guus Hiddink still unbeaten on his return to the Blues, Watford face a difficult task to take all three points. Alexandre Pato, on loan from Corinthians, adds strength up front with Diego Costa still struggling for goals.
Nordin Amrabat nearly scored on debut with a dangerous drive, needing to be tipped round the corner by Dorus De Vries, his inclusion is anticipated. Mario Suarez was part of the Atletico Madrid side that beat Chelsea in the Champion’s League semi-final two seasons ago, now at Watford he will hope to defeat the Blues for a second time.
West Ham United vs Aston Villa
Remi Garde was left frustrated at the lack of signings his struggling side made during the January transfer window. West Ham brought in Emmanuel Emenike on loan but is likely to miss Tuesdays encounter because of international clearance.
Having won more cup games than league games Aston Villa are in real trouble to avoid relegation. Things are looking up for the Villans as they are unbeaten in three games, one win and two draws, and hope to continue that trend at Upton Park.
Enner Valencia has four goals in his last three games and with only one defeat in their last ten games, the Hammers will prove a tough side to beat. With Dimitri Payet back in the mix, the home side are a force to be reckoned with.
West Ham will hope to keep the pressure on United with victory over Aston Villa. The away side will want to close the 10-point deficit between themselves and safety.
Completing the round of fixtures:
Everton vs Newcastle United
Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth
West Bromwich Albion vs Swansea City
The King Power Stadium hosts Liverpool against Leicester City as the Reds go in search of the double over the Foxes on Tuesday 2nd February.
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