By Niall Clarke
- Five questions on our minds ahead of match-week 13 of the Premier League season
- Predictions for all 10 of the weekend’s games.
Will match-week 13 prove to be lucky or unlucky for the 20 teams involved in Premier League action this weekend? Here are five burning questions ahead of the next round of fixtures.
What will give when Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur?
Undoubtedly the biggest match of the weekend will take place at Stamford bridge as table toppers Chelsea host the unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur. Both come into match-week 13 riding undefeated streaks, but one thing is or certain, something must give on Saturday.
Chelsea’s transformation since going to three at the back has been incredible. Since Antonio Conte decided to make the change against Hull City, the Blues have gone six games without conceding a goal or a single point. It is that form that has propelled them to the top of the Premier League.
Spurs put an end to a four match drawing streak by narrowly defeating West Ham last week. They may sit in fifth place, but Tottenham are the only side in the division who have not tasted defeat this season. They put an end to Manchester City’s winning streak earlier in the season, can they do the same to Chelsea?
It is a wonder how Mauricio Pochettino’s men will respond after being outclassed by Monaco in mid-week. It was a defeat that saw them crash out of the Champions League whilst Chelsea were able to rest and look ahead to this fixture. It will all come ahead this Saturday tea time where one streak will be ended.
Can Pep Guardiola handle a cold Saturday afternoon in Burnley?
We all remember when Pep Guardiola was making history with Barcelona and people would remark ‘Can he do it on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke?’. Well we will see if the Spaniard can handle a cold Saturday lunch time in Burnley which is close enough isn’t it?
Yes Manchester City travel to Burnley in Saturday’s early kick off looking to keep in touch with the League’s leaders. Last week we saw the return of Yaya Toure to the starting 11 and boy did he come back in style. Two goals from the Ivorian midfielder helped the Citizens to a 2-1 win away at Crystal Palace. Will Toure feature again this weekend?
Turf Moor is a bit of a fortress for Burnley. They defeated Liverpool here earlier in the season and came close to holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw too. They have a habit of being hard to break down and tough to beat in front of their home fans, something City may find out themselves on Saturday.
Burnley were a thorn in Manchester City’s side the last time the Clarets hosted this fixture in 2015. A 1-0 win earned Sean Dyche one of the best wins in his managerial career. This is a newer and perhaps better Manchester City however, and we will see how they handle this situation.
Will Bob Bradley earn his first win as Swansea boss?
The American takeover at Swansea City has not gone to quite to plan yet. The new owners looked close to home when they brought in ex USA manager Bob Bradley to the Liberty Stadium in order to lift the Welsh club from the relegation zone- they are now bottom.
There were positive signs last week as the Swans managed to hold Everton to a 1-1 draw, so there will be hopes they can translate that form into a win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Alan Pardew’s side have lost their last five matches which is odd because their performances have not been that bad, it is just a case of turning them into results.
Something needs to happen for both sides and fast. Swansea can ill afford to slip further behind the safety line, Palace can not afford to fall any closer to it. Both sides could do with a win, so it will probably be draw.
Will Liverpool and Arsenal take advantage of their home fixtures?
Whilst Chelsea and Spurs tussle at Stamford Bridge and Man City travel to Burnley, Liverpool and Arsenal have home games in which they will be expected to win. It seems like the perfect time for them to re-discover winning form after their draws in match-week 11.
Liverpool may have lost top spot last week but they should not have lost much confidence. They are still only a point behind Chelsea and a win at home to Sunderland will temporarily see them return to the summit, even if it is just for a few hours. The Black Cats have actually found some form though, winning their last two games so this fixture has become a little more difficult than it was looking a month ago.
Olivier Giroud rescued Arsenal a point away at Man United last weekend and kept Arsenal’s unbeaten streak going, they have not lost since the opening day of the season. The Gunners welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates on Sunday in a match they will be expected to win and keep the pressure on the three sides ahead of them in the table.
What else is happening?
There is plenty going on towards the foot of the table. Hull will host West Brom as they look to bounce back from that crushing defeat to Sunderland. Leicester may be through in the Champions League, but their domestic form is a drastic need of change. The Foxes welcome Middlesbrough to the King Power on Saturday.
Watford and Stoke will kick off ‘Super Sunday’ at dinner time. Later on that evening there is a double header of 4:30PM kick offs. Manchester United host West Ham whilst Everton travel to Southampton in two fixtures that could have bearings on Europa League qualification come the end of the season.
Burnley 1-1 Man City
Hull 0-0 West Brom
Leicester 2-0 Middlesbrough
Liverpool 4-1 Sunderland
Swansea 1-1 Crystal Palace
Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham
Watford 2-1 Stoke
Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth
Man United 2-0 West Ham
Southampton 2-1 Everton
The Premier League continues on the weekend of the 26th-27th November
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