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Arsenal have endured a rollercoaster ride during the last few weeks as they prepare to host London rivals West Ham at the Emirates stadium. They are looking to make it a hat trick of Premier League wins on home soil as they try to make a late bid for a top-four berth.
With three straight top-flight fixtures away from home on the bounce after this weekend, it’s imperative that three more points are secured and the Hammers arrive only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They were thankful to new signing Jarrod Bowen, who opened the scoring in a crucial 3-1 home success over Southampton last week, which ended a seven-match winless run.
I don’t think West Ham will be able to follow up last week’s victory against far stronger opponents and Arsenal can maintain their chase on the clubs above them.
Southampton were disappointed to lose 3-1 at West Ham as they looked to follow up a 2-0 defeat of Aston Villa previously. They now face three of the bottom seven teams in three of their next four outings and hope to force themselves into the top half of the table.
First up, they entertain Newcastle at St Mary’s who are just two points behind in 14th position. The Magpies will be buoyed by an excellent 3-2 win at West Brom in the FA Cp on Tuesday which was more comfortable than the scoreline indicates having led 3-0 at one time. I suspect the distraction of a home tie with Manchester City may prove too much this weekend, however.
The Toon fans don’t often get to celebrate on the road and with nine defeats, the Saints will look to make that double figures in top-flight action this term.
Wolves are enjoying a great season and after a memorable 3-2 win at Tottenham last Sunday, hopes are improving they could actually break into the top four. They had to show great resolve to battle back from 2-1 down and close to with three points of Chelsea, who currently occupy fourth spot.
Wanderers are also enjoying great success in Europe and a comfortable 6-3 aggregate victory over Espanyol saw then move into the last 16 where Olympiakos, the conquers of Arsenal, await. Before a trip to Greece they host Brighton at Molineux with the visitors just a point from safety towards the drop zone.
Albion have yet to record a win in the PL in 2020; a run which now stretches to eight matches, and they face a difficult-looking spell in the final third of the season to secure survival. Providing Wolves can handle their workload, there appears no reason to desert them here and it looks like an exciting finish to their campaign.
United are still in the race to make the top four and only champions Manchester City have beaten them in all competitions in their last ten outings. Success has been built on a solid rearguard and only table-toppers Liverpool have conceded less than the 25 recorded by the South Yorkshire club.
They entertain bottom side Norwich at Bramall Lane with the visitors in the last-chance saloon as they face a huge task to retain their place in the top flight. They produced one of their best efforts of the season to beat Leicester 1-0 on their last league outing but it’s looking unlikely they can bridge a six-point deficit with games starting to run out.
They have leaked an alarming 51 goals in the PL, which is double United’s, and the Blades can put them another step closer to the Championship with victory in front of their growing faithful.
West Brom might not be too concerned they were knocked out of the cup against Newcastle as the Baggies’ main focus is promotion from the Championship this term.
Despite a shock 1-0 home reverse against lowly Wigan, they still sit one point clear at the summit and have a six-point cushion over Fulham in third. They do face a test of their title credentials when they travel over the border to face Swansea with the Welsh club still hopeful of making the playoffs themselves.
The Swans have been defeated six times on home soil in the second tier and consistency has been sadly lacking. I have a feeling they will ultimately just miss out on the end of season playoff party and West Brom can maintain their hold on the lead for at least another week with maximum points here.