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Leicester City

Leicester were convincing 3-0 winners away at Newcastle in late December in their last Premier League match which maintains their lofty second place position, although they trail champions-elect Liverpool by thirteen points still.

The Foxes are still involved in both domestic cups having seen off Wigan 2-0 in the FA Cup and will go to Midlands rivals Aston Villa for the second leg of their League Cup semi-final with the tie nicely poised following a 1-1 draw at the King Power.

Jamie Vardy returned in midweek and will be crucial if City are to press ahead and remain in the fight on all three fronts. They are on home soil this Saturday when they face a Southampton outfit who were embarrassed 9-0 when the teams last met on the South Coast and who travel north looking for revenge.

Since that horror show, the Saints have hit form and moved away from the relegation zone. They currently occupy 12th place and a five-point cushion from safety.

Striker Danny Ings has netted thirteen top-flight goals and is currently second in the race for the golden boot award.

However, their recent away form still makes them vulnerable on the road and Leicester will be confident of completing the double over them. They have remained pretty much injury-free and playing a settled eleven has certainly reaped benefits this term.

Three more points will help their quest to finish in the top four and a runners-up berth would be seen as a fantastic achievement too.

Liverpool

Liverpool, despite rotating and resting many of their main stars, still came out victorious in last weekend’s FA Cup Merseyside derby as they narrowly overcame rivals Everton 1-0 at Anfield.

They have had to contend with injuries but the squad depth goes deep and will be needed for the second half of the season.

They face a tough test in the late Saturday tea-time game as they travel to the capital to face Tottenham. The arrival of Jose Mourinho has sparked new life into Spurs but the blow of losing star marksman Harry Kane to injury until April has somewhat deflated the party atmosphere, and the club may well have to dip into the transfer market to stay competitive.

However, there won’t be any new faces before the weekend and Liverpool must be pleased to face the hosts missing such an important figurehead. The Reds will welcome a host of key men back and an exciting front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino should ensure another win.

Wolves

Wolves have hopes of breaking into the top six this season and are well placed to keep up the challenge.

They were disappointed not to beat Manchester United at home in last week’s FA Cup but have another chance to progress with a replay at Old Trafford. Back to back PL losses have slightly hammered them following a run which had seen them defeat Manchester City 3-2 in a thriller at Molineux over Christmas.

They will be seen as many peoples banker next when they face Newcastle, who arrive on the back of three straight league defeats.

The Toon were also nearly on the end of a cup shock in Rochdale with the League One outfit missing many late chances to secure a famous scalp, and a replay at St James will not appeal to United.

With tricky games ahead in the Premier League and for a team who find it tough scoring goals, the next month will be crucial. However, I just can’t see them having joy in the Midlands and the hosts should be celebrating this weekend.

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough had dropped into the Championship relegation zone and looked to be facing a tough battle to preserve their second flight status until a tremendous run has seen under-fire boss Jonathan Woodgate pick up the manager of the month award.

Boro now sit ten points above the drop and will be looking at moving into the top half if they maintain this impressive current form.

Four league wins on the spin, including an eye-catching 2-0 success at title contenders West Brom, has breathed fresh hope into the club and they also have an FA Cup replay at Tottenham to look forward to, following a 1-1 draw in North Yorkshire.

Ashley Fletcher netted last week and has been amongst the goals recently helping this upturn in fortunes. The defence has looked solid and organised with only two conceded in five recent games, and there should be a good crowd for the visit of Derby to the Riverside.

County are another team eagerly looking forward to 2020 with recent recruit Wayne Rooney added to their ranks.

They have a virtual identical record to Boro in the championship with only a slightly worse goal difference keeping them a place below. Admittedly they have not been beating the same calibre of opposition and despite an equally good period for the Rams, I still believe the hosts are playing to a better level and can continue that top half push.

Leeds United

Leeds United have been a popular selection on many occasions this season for me and I have to continue supporting them.

The Whites were very unlucky not to at least have picked up a draw on Monday when they were narrowly beaten 1-0 at Arsenal in the cup. A tremendous first-half performance should have seen them ahead but they were left to rue these missed chances after the break.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa will not need telling that the clinical finishing by the PL side was the difference, but the exciting brand of football on show at Elland Road is still appreciated by their big fan base.

Another sellout is assured when Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday make the short trip up the M1 – and this promises to be a thriller.

The Owls have promotion hopes of their own and sitting eighth are only two points outside of the playoffs. However, they have lost their last three in the league and despite a great 1-0 win at Brighton in the cup, have been dealt a blow with star forward Steven Fletcher ruled out for around ten weeks with a knee injury.

They do have replacements but the loss of Fletcher, who had been in a rich vein of form, will be huge and United can stay top of the division with derby success.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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