Harry’s Picks: Week 179 min read
Home form can keep Gunners in the hunt
Arsenal face a crucial home fixture with Southampton knowing only victory will keep them in the chase for a top-four finish. The Gunners find themselves eight points adrift in sixth position and with title hopes almost extinguished will hope to remain in the chasing pack.
Saints themselves are desperate for points at the other end, of course, after losing three PL games on the bounce and collecting just the solitary point from their last twenty one available.
Confidence must be extremely low at St Marys and Arsenal will fancy their chances to inflict further pain. They are unbeaten on home soil and Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang are still the envy of many of their rivals, offering a solid goalscoring partnership.
There can be no excuses and Arsenal can celebrate the return from the international break with success.
Reigning #ImACeleb champion @Redknapp has been on the “dog and bone” and provided his picks from this weekend's footy:
✅ Man City
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Reds to ease past low-flying Eagles
Liverpool have put themselves firmly in the driving seat to secure the title after a fabulous 3-1 victory over last season’s champions Manchester City at Anfield during their last outing.
A nine-point cushion looks extremely useful and with eleven wins from twelve, it will need a big collapse from the Reds, despite two thirds of their campaign remaining.
Their title credentials will be tested on the road in London this Saturday when they visit Crystal Palace despite the Eagles only accumulating one point from a possible last twelve. They have endured a tough fixture list which gets no easier here but a welcome break may well have the hosts recharged.
Like any team on a long unbeaten run, the pressure can mount to sustain it, but Liverpool can utilise their deep squad to maintain the gap at the summit. They may have to be patient but have finished well, nicking late winners in many games recently and three more points look assured in the capital.
Blues’ improvement to continue
Everton have hit form to move away from the relegation zone, taking seven points from their last twelve. A 2-1 win on the South coast at Southampton was ever so important and they can continue to keep climbing and start threatening a top-half berth.
Visitors to Goodison, Norwich, have plenty of work if they are to move away from bottom position and it’s incredible to think their last victory in the top flight was way back in September when they defeated champions Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road.
It’s been downhill ever since and with a leaky rearguard shipping 28 goals, it’s easy to see why they are in difficulty. The early season enthusiasm is starting to wane and despite hitting the net for Finland on the international stage, forward Teemu Pukki has drawn a blank domestically since that win against the Citizens.
It will be a real surprise therefore if Everton don’t keep their recent improvement going and begin to show the form and style of football the home faithful demand.
Foxes can hold onto second
Leicester City are showing no signs of stopping and are now in second spot and very much in the title hunt.
They have the best defensive record in the section with a miserly eight conceded, and with 29 netted have the second-best goal difference – only bettered by the champions Manchester City.
They slipped under the radar during the early part of the season but an astonishing 9-0 win at Southampton had tongues wagging and they followed up with two further victories in the league to show they are here for the long run. It will be interesting to see how they fair this weekend when they are back on the South Coast, this time at Brighton.
Albion will be happy with their mid-table opening and although beaten 3-1 at Old Trafford last time out, had previously won three in a row on home soil. This therefore offers Leicester a real challenge but one I expect them to pass.
Jamie Vardy and James Maddison have been excellent and they can keep their super form going by collecting another three points.
City shouldn’t be written off yet
Manchester City have now suffered three PL reverses and have slipped to fourth. They never recovered from a slow start at Liverpool and now face a Chelsea team playing some inspired football under former player and legend Frank Lampard.
This should be a real tea-time treat for Skysports followers and is undoubtedly the match of the weekend. The Pensioners are a point and place above the Citizens and despite some eye-catching results and performances, are still vulnerable when pitched against the better teams.
City will be determined to get back to winning ways and close the gap on the leading clubs. They are used to coming from behind and will feel confident all is not lost as far as retaining their crown.
This should be an entertaining affair with the hosts having too much firepower and overall quality to ensure success.
Leeds visit a leaky Luton
The Championship never fails to disappoint when it comes to producing tight promotion battles and this season is no different with the top ten separated by just nine points.
Leeds United are still the team most expect to finish at the summit and they are handily placed in third position, just two points behind leaders West Brom who suffered their only Championship loss at Elland Road.
The Whites looked set for a big win when taking a 2-0 lead over Blackburn but ultimately had to work hard to secure the points following a narrow 2-1 victory. Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison were on target there and the pair are crucial to the success Leeds hope to have this campaign.
They travel South down the M1 to last seasons League One champions Luton, who are starting to feel the pinch after back to back promotions.
Hovering just below the drop zone, Town are enduring an alarming run which has seen them lose four straight games. Many fans were hoping the club would significantly improve the squad in the summer but the lack of recruits, especially in the forward department, is now starting to show up and explains why they are finding life quite difficult.
It won’t be any easier against free-flowing Leeds who can condemn the hosts to a fifth straight loss whilst keeping themselves right in the thick of an intriguing promotion race at the top.
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