MANCHESTER CITY VS STOKE CITY
December 5, 2016 (Britannia Stadium): Stoke 2-0 Man City
Man City: LWWWD
- Stoke City won this fixture last season after having lost the previous six Barclays Premier League trips to the Etihad Stadium without scoring a goal
- Sergio Aguero has scored five goals in five league appearances against Stoke.
- Aguero has scored 14 goals in his last 13 BPL matches for Manchester City and netted his 100th in the competition in their midweek draw with Newcastle United
- Mark Hughes was never on the losing side with Blackburn Rovers against Man City before joining the Citizens as coach (W4 D4). His record with Stoke is W2 L2 D1
- Man City have kept just three clean sheets in their last 15 Premier League home matches
Shay Given is set to continue in goal, with Jack Butland (ankle) out for the season, while his Ireland team-mate Jon Walters is targeting next weekend’s match against Sunderland for his comeback from routine knee surgery.
Hughes will be without Xherdan Shaqiri after the Switzerland star was substituted at half-time with a tight hamstring against Spurs, while Glen Johnson and Marc Wilson (both knee) remain absent alongside suspended fellow defender Erik Pieters.
As for City, Samir Nasri is expected to come back into the reckoning for Saturday’s lunchtime match after suffering a muscular tweak during last weekend’s 3-0 win at Chelsea.
David Silva continues to manage ankle pain and could rest up for Stoke’s visit to Manchester, along with first-choice full-backs Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy (both back), although Pellegrini will be wary of ceding ground to Arsenal and Manchester United in the battle for a top-four spot.
Man City XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Fernando, Delph; Toure, Nasri, Silva; Aguero
Stoke XI: Haugaard; Cameron, Shawcross, Wollschied, Muniesa; Whelan, Imbula; Shaqiri, Afellay Arnautovic; Bojan
PREDICTION: Man City 3-1 Stoke
ASTON VILLA VS SOUTHAMPTON
December 5, 2015 (St. Marys’Stadium): Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa: LLLLL
- Aston Villa have won just one of their last seven Barclays Premier League matches against Southampton (W1 D3 L3)
- Last season, Sadio Mane scored the fastest hat-trick in BPL history when they played against Aston Villa at St Mary’s Stadium (two minutes 56 seconds)
- Mane has scored three goals in his last four league matches games for Southampton; this after a run of 19 appearances without scoring
- Shane Long has scored five goals in his last six BPL appearances against Aston Villa, and his total of five his best versus any single opponent in the competition
- Aston Villa have spent a league-low 184 minutes in the lead in Premier League matches this season
Southampton, held to a 1-1 draw in December’s reverse fixture, remain without the services of Charlie Austin (knee), while Gabriel Agbonlahor looks set to be Villa’s only absentee of note after being suspended by the club.
Aston Villa XI: Guzan; Hutton, Clark, Lescott, Cissokho; Bacuna, Westwood, Gana, Richardson; Sinclair; Ayew
Southampton XI: Forster; Martina, Van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand; Wanyama, Clasie; Mane, Tadic, Long; Pelle
PREDICTION: Aston Villa 0-4 Southampton
AFC BOURNEMOUTH VS CHELSEA
December 5, 2015 (Stamford Bridge): Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth
- AFC Bournemouth have won just two of their previous six meetings with Chelsea across all competitions (L4)
- The Cherries have failed to score in three of their last five matches against the Blues, scoring three goals in total
- Chelsea have not lost both home and away against a newly-promoted side in a single Barclays Premier League season since 2000/01 (vs Charlton Athletic)
- Joshua King has scored in four of his last six BPL appearances for AFC Bournemouth, after netting just two goals in his previous 21 matches this season
- Chelsea have conceded just three goals in eight Premier League away games under Guus Hiddink
The Blues will be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was sent off in the defeat to City, with Asmir Begovic expected to start in his place.
Chelsea have had to cope with a lengthy injury list in recent weeks and could welcome back Eden Hazard following a hip injury but John Terry (Achilles), Kurt Zouma (knee) and Loic Remy (groin) are all out.
Callum Wilson could make his first start since September having come off the bench in Bournemouth’s last two fixtures, with Benik Afobe (hamstring), Harry Arter (Achilles), Tyrone Mings (knee) and Adam Smith (hernia) all still sidelined.
Bournemouth XI: Boruc; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Surman, Gosling, Gradel; King; Wilson
Chelsea XI: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Baba; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro; Costa
PREDICTION: Bournemouth 1-1 Chelsea
LIVERPOOL VS SOUTHAMPTON
December 6, 2015 (St. James’ Park): Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool
- Daniel Sturridge has netted six goals in six Barclays Premier League starts against Newcastle United
- Liverpool have won 17 and lost none of their last 20 home league matches against Newcastle
- Newcastle have scored just three goals in their last nine BPL trips to Anfield
- The Magpies have won three of their last 30 top-flight away matches (W3 D3 L24), losing the last nine in a row
- Divock Origi has scored five goals in his last five games for Liverpool in all competitions
Newcastle are still without injured goalkeepers Tim Krul and Rob Elliott (both knee), while Massadio Haidara (knee), Daryl Janmaat (groin) and Steven Taylor (muscular problem) are all unlikely to feature, too.
Klopp will have to make do without the services of Divock Origi (ankle), Martin Skrtel (groin), Emre Can (ankle), Jordan Henderson (knee), Christian Benteke (knee), Danny Ings (knee) and Joe Gomez (knee) due to injury.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Lallana, Milner, Lucas, Coutinho; Firmino; Sturridge
Newcastle XI: Darlow; Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett; Tioté, Colback; Townsend, Sissoko, Perez; Cissé
PREDICTION: Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle
SUNDERLAND VS ARSENAL
January 9, 2016 (Emirates Stadium): Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
- Sunderland have won none of their last 12 Barclays Premier League matches against Arsenal (L8 D4)
- The Gunners are unbeaten in their last five league trips to the Stadium of Light, winning the last four in a row (D1)
- Olivier Giroud made his BPL debut against Sunderland and has scored four goals in his last four appearances against them
- Aaron Ramsey has scored three goals in his last four BPL visits to the Stadium of Light
- Sunderland have won just four of their last 17 Premier League matches at the Stadium of Light (W4 D6 L7)
Arsenal could welcome long-term absentee Jack Wilshere back to the squad, with the midfielder yet to make an appearance this season after breaking his leg in August. Kieran Gibbs missed the victory over West Brom, but manager Arsene Wenger says he too should be available for their trip to the Stadium of Light. Santi Cazorla (Achilles) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) are back in training but unlikely to feature, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) remains sidelined.
For Sunderland, Jack Rodwell and Jeremain Lens return after missing the Norwich game through illness and injury respectively, and Duncan Watmore will be in contention for a starting place after his scoring cameo from the bench.
Sunderland XI: Mannone; Yedlin, Koné, Kaboul, van Aanholt; Kirchhoff; Borini, Cattermole, M’Vila, Khazri; Defoe
Arsenal XI: Cech; Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Ramsey; Sanchez, Özil, Iwobi; Giroud
PREDICTION: Sunderland 1-2 Arsenal
LEICESTER CITY VS SWANSEA CITY
December 5, 2016 (Liberty Stadium): Swansea 0-3 Leicester
- Leicester City’s win over Swansea City this season ended a run of eight consecutive home victories in this fixture
- The Swans have won none of their last 11 trips to Leicester in all competitions (D3 L8)
- On home soil, the Foxes have won each of their last five against the Swans across all competitions, and are unbeaten in the last 11 (W8 D3)
- The Foxes are unbeaten in eight Barclays Premier League matches, winning six and drawing two
- Gylfi Sigurdsson is Swansea’s joint-top scorer in the Premier League, along with Wilfried Bony (both 25), while the Icelandic schemer has racked up an outright high 15 PL assists
Leonardo Ulloa is the most likely player to be drafted into Ranieri’s starting XI in place of Vardy but Nathan Dyer – on loan from Swansea – is ineligible to face his parent club.
Swansea have no injury concerns to contend with.
Leicester XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez, Drinkwater, Kanté, Albrighton; Okazaki, Ulloa
Swansea XI: Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Cork, Fer; Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero; Paloschi
PREDICTION: Leicester 2-0 Swansea