MANCHESTER CITY VS LEICESTER CITY
December 29, 2015 (King Power Stadium)
Man City: WDWDW
- On the day of this match, Leicester City will have spent 47 days on top of the Barclays Premier League in 2015/16 – only opponents Manchester City have spent longer in first place this season (100 days)
- Man City have won the most points at home this season in the Barclays Premier League (28), while Leicester have won the most away from home (25)
- The Citizens have won 16 of the last 19 Barclays Premier League matches at Etihad Stadium (W16 D1 L2)
- Leicester have lost only one of their last 15 Barclays Premier League away encounters (W9 D5 L1)
- Sergio Aguero has scored 12 goals in his last 10 PL appearances for Manchester City
Man City could welcome back Fabian Delph (calf) and Eliaquim Mangala (hamstring) from injury, while Daniel Amartey could make his debut for Leicester.
Man City XI: Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Fernando; Silva, Toure, Sterling; Aguero
Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Albrighton, Drinkwater, Kante, Mahrez; Vardy, Okazaki
PREDICTION: Manchester City WIN
SWANSEA CITY VS CRYSTAL PALACE
December 28, 2015 (Selhurst Park): Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea
Crystal Palace: LLLLL
- Swansea City have kept three clean sheets in their last four Barclays Premier League fixtures at Liberty Stadium
- The Swans have netted 57% of their goals in the first half of matches this season, the highest proportion in the top flight
- Crystal Palace are the only team in the top four tiers of English football yet to register a single point in 2016
- Emmanuel Adebayor has scored on his first Barclays Premier League start for all three of his previous clubs (Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur)
- Swansea are unbeaten in three PL games (W2 D1); they haven’t gone four games without a defeat in a row since their opening four games of the season
Swansea could hand a full debut to new striker Alberto Paloschi, while Leroy Fer, on loan from Queens Park Rangers, could also feature in the absence of Ki Sung-yueng, who is sidelined with concussion.
Palace were dealt a blow this week when James McArthur (ankle) and Jason Puncheon (hamstring) were ruled out for “a long period”, although Yohan Cabaye (ankle) is expected to be fit.
Emmanuel Adebayor is not yet ready is not yet ready to start for Palace, but could well make another appearance from the bench this weekend.
Swansea XI: Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Britton, Fer, Cork; Sigurdsson, Paloschi, Ayew
Palace XI: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Cabaye, Jedinak; Zaha, Mutch, Lee; Adebayor
PREDICTION: Swansea WIN
STOKE CITY VS EVERTON
December 28, 2015 (Goodison Park): Everton 3-4 Stoke
- The last goal of the match in three of the last four Barclays Premier League meetings between Stoke City and Everton has been a penalty and on all three occasions changed the result
- Peter Crouch could make his 400th Premier League appearance in this match and will become the 25th different Englishman to reach this landmark
- Stoke have won five and lost just two of their last nine Barclays Premier League fixtures at home (W5 D2 L2)
- Everton have lost only one of their last 12 Barclays Premier League away matches, but seven of these have ended in a draw (W4 D7 L1)
- Ross Barkley has now scored eight league goals this season, more than he has managed in any PL campaign in his career
Philipp Wollscheid (calf), Ryan Shawcross (back), Geoff Cameron (ankle) could all be absent for the hosts, while long-term knee injury victim Marc Wilson and Charlie Adam (calf) are certain to miss out.
Everton are not without fitness problems of their own, as they wait on the availability of striker Romelu Lukaku (knock) and defender John Stones (hamstring). Joel Robles could deputise again for goalkeeper Tim Howard, who missed the Newcastle match with a knee problem.
Stoke XI: Butland; Pieters, Muniesa, Bardsley,Johnson; Afellay, Walters, Whelan; Arnautovic, Bojan; Joselu
Everton XI: Robles; Oviedo, Funes Mori, Jagielka, Coleman; Lennon, Barry, McCarthy;Cleverley, Barkely; Lukaku
ASTON VILLA VS NORWICH CITY
December 28, 2015 (Carrow Road): Norwich 2-0 Aston Villa
Aston Villa: LWDDL
Norwich City: WLLLL
- Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last six competitive home fixtures against Norwich City (W3 D3) and defeated them 4-1 at Villa Park in their last meeting there
- Norwich will be looking to win both home and away in a single Barclays Premier League season against Aston Villa for the first time since 1992/93
- Remi Garde’s side have claimed just seven points at home this season, at least five fewer than any other side in the Barclays Premier League
- The Canaries have won only one of their last 11 Barclays Premier League away matches (W1 D2 L8)
- Robbie Brady has created more chances than any other Norwich player this season (33) but has only assisted one goal
Norwich travel to Villa Park with a clean bill of health, but the same cannot be said of the home side. Ashley Westwood (calf), Libor Kozak (knock), Alan Hutton, Carlos Sanchez and Rudy Gestede (all hamstring) missed the defeat at West Ham, with Garde unsure if any will return on Saturday.
Gary O’Neil is available again for Norwich after serving a three-match ban but Alexander Tettey is suspended after receiving his 10th booking of the season, while Graham Dorrans and Robbie Brady missed that match through illness, but could return.
Villa XI: Bunn; Richards, Okore, Lescott, Cissokho; Bacuna, Gueye, Gil, Veretout; Agbonlahor, Sinclair
Norwich XI: Rudd; Ivo Pinto, Klose, Bassong, Brady; Howson, Hoolahan, Mulumbu, Redmond; Naismith; Mbokani
PREDICTION: Aston Villa WIN
LIVERPOOL VS SUNDERLAND
December 30, 2015 (Stadium of Light): Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool
- Liverpool have won five of their last six Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland, drawing the other in this run
- James Milner has scored five Barclays Premier League goals against Sunderland, more than versus any other opponent in the competition
- Sam Allardyce’s men have scored in each of their last seven Barclays Premier League away matches; their best run in the competition since April 2013
- Sunderland have the worst points per match average of any current Barclays Premier League side in the month of February (0.63)
- Liverpool averaged more points under Brendan Rodgers in the PL this season (1.5) than they have under Jurgen Klopp (1.4)
Daniel Sturridge’s return to training this week serves as a timely boost for the club, even though he remains short of match fitness. Philippe Coutinho (hamstring), Divock Origi (knee) and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) were all due to resume training this week and have a slight chance of making returns to Klopp’s side.
Yann M’Vila (foot) is a slight doubt and Sebastian Larsson (knee) remains sidelined, but Allardyce was buoyed by his new recruits in midweek.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Can, Lucas, Henderson; Milner, Firmino, Lallana
Sunderland XI: Mannone; Jones, Kone, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Khazri, M’Vila, Kirchhoff, Cattermole, Borini; Defoe
PREDICTION: Liverpool WIN
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS WATFORD
December 28, 2015 (Vicarage Road): Watford 1-2 Tottenham
- Tottenham Hotspur have lost just four of their last 25 Barclays Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W14 D7 L4), but two of these have come since the start of December
- Watford have recovered just two points from losing positions this season, which is fewer than any other side
- Spurs have recovered more points than any other team in the Barclays Premier League from losing positions this season (14)
- The Hornets have not won any of their last eight meetings with Spurs in all competitions (W0 D2 L6)
- Mauricio Pochettino’s side have allowed fewer shots on target against them in 2016 than any other team in the Premier League (13 in five games)
Both teams have relatively few injury problems to contend with. Miguel Britos missed Watford’s last match due to illness but could return, while Ryan Mason is nearing a Spurs comeback after being sidelined since November with an ankle problem. Clinton N’Jie is not due to recover fully from a knee issue until March.
Spurs XI: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies; Dembele, Dier; Chadli, Eriksen, Alli; Kane
Watford XI: Gomes; Holebas, Cathcart, Prodl, Nyom; Behrami, Watson, Capoue; Jurado; Ighalo, Denney
PREDICTION: Spurs WIN
NEWCASTLE UNITED VS WEST BROMWICH ALBION
December 28, 2015 (The Hawthorns): West brom 1-0 Newcastle
West Brom: WDLDD
- Newcastle United have gone nine Barclays Premier League encounters without a clean sheet (9), only North East rivals Sunderland are on a longer wait for a shutout than them in the top-flight (10 matches)
- Georginio Wijnaldum has scored nine goals and assisted one more in 12 Barclays Premier League appearances at St James’ Park
- West Bromwich Albion have had more possession than their opponent in just three of their 24 Barclays Premier League fixtures so far this season, but one of these was against Newcastle
- Victor Anichebe has netted five Barclays Premier League goals against Newcastle, more than against any other team in the competition
- West Brom have scored 39% of their goals from headers this season, a PL high proportion
Newcastle boss Steven McClaren lost Chancel Mbemba and Paul Dummett to injury at Everton, while Jamaal Lascelles was sent off, leaving the Magpies short of defensive options coming into this fixture.
Tony Pulis faces his own defensive headache after Jonny Evans picked up a hamstring injury in the draw with Swansea, with Sebastien Pocognoli among the contenders to step in.
Newcastle XI: Elliot; Taylor, Mbabu, Coloccini, Janmaat; Sissoko, Shelvey, Saviet; Townsend, Wijnaldum; Mitrovic
West Brom XI: Foster; Evans, Olsson, McAuley, Dawson; Sessegnon, Sandro, Yacob; McClean, Fletcher; Rondon
PREDICTION: Newcastle WIN
SOUTHAMPTON VS WEST HAM UNITED
December 28, 2015 (Boleyn Ground): West Ham 2-1 Southampton
West Ham: WWLDW
- The last four Barclays Premier League fixtures between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary’s Stadium have ended as draws
- Southampton have won only one of the last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with West Ham (W1 D4 L3)
- Fraser Forster has saved all 12 shots that he’s faced in his four Barclays Premier League appearances since his comeback from injury and is yet to concede a goal in these matches
- West Ham have not won both home and away against Southampton in the same league season since 2000/01
- The Hammers have lost one of their last 11 PL games (W4 D6 L1)
Bilic could welcome back Andy Carroll from a hamstring injury and hand new striker Emmanuel Emenike a debut but remains without Diafra Sakho (thigh) and Manuel Lanzini (groin).
Charlie Austin, the Southampton striker bought from Queens Park Rangers in January, is set to return from a minor knock after marking his Saints debut with the winner against Manchester United and Bilic rates the player.
Southampton XI: Forster; Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Wanyama, Clasie; Tadic, Austin, Mane
West Ham XI: Adrian; Tomkins, Reid, Collins, Cresswell; Song, Kouyate, Noble; Antonio, Payet; Valencia
PREDICTION: West Ham WIN
AFC BOURNEMOUTH VS ARSENAL
December 28, 2015 (Emirates Stadium): Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth
- AFC Bournemouth have only played Arsenal twice before losing both meetings and failing to score in either (conceding five)
- Eddie Howe’s side have scored a league-high tally (8) and proportion (28%) of their goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season
- Arsenal have won only one of their last six Barclays Premier League away fixtures (W1 D3 L2)
- The Gunners have not gone five Barclays Premier League encounters without a win since August 2011
- Former Arsenal striker Benik Afobe has scored in each of his last three PL appearances for Bournemouth
Howe will make a late call on winger Junior Stanislas (knee), while Arsenal are without Thomas Rosicky. The midfielder has picked up a thigh injury which is set to keep him sidelined for three months. Danny Welbeck returned to action for Arsenal’s Under-21 side on Friday but will not be risked at the Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth XI: Boruc; Daniels, Cook, Francis, Smith; Surman, Pugh, Arter, Gosling, Ritchie; Afobe
Arsenal XI: Cech; Monreal, Koscielny, Paulista, Bellerin; Campbell, Ramsey, Coquelin; Sanchez, Ozil; Giroud
PREDICTION: Arsenal WIN
CHELSEA VS MANCHESTER UNITED
December 28, 2015 (Old Trafford): Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six Barclays Premier League meetings with Manchester United (W3 D3)
- United have lost more often to Chelsea than any other opponent in the Barclays Premier League era (16 times)
- Man Utd have won only one of their last 13 Barclays Premier League trips to Stamford Bridge (W1 D4 L8)
- Guus Hiddink is unbeaten in his last five competitive contests with Dutch compatriot Louis Van Gaal, winning four and drawing one
- Juan Mata has gone 12 games without registering a goal or assist, his longest spell without a goal involvement in his PL career
Chelsea’s only injury concerns are for their attacking players as Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao remain out, while new signing Alexandre Pato is not yet match fit. Eden Hazard will hope to start after having to settle for a place on the bench on Wednesday night.
Manchester United are still sweating over the fitness of Phil Jones and Bastian Schweinsteiger and are unlikely to be involved, though Louis Van Gaal could name an unchanged side to the team that beat Stoke 3-0 on Tuesday. Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young remain out.
Chelsea XI: Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Zouma, Azpiliceuta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa
Man Utd XI: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Martial, Mata, Lingard; Rooney