Liverpool march on at the top of the Premier League and they begin the midweek Premier League program 16 points clear at the top of the table – with a game in hand – following their 2-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
Game to finish in a draw
Bournemouth v Brighton
Bournemouth have lost ten of their last 12 league games after their defeat at Carrow Road at the weekend and they have now failed to score in their last four league games. I have always felt they would struggle this term and you feel they must get a positive result against fellow strugglers Brighton back at the Vitality Stadium.
Brighton have dropped 14 points from winning positions – second only to West Ham (17) – so far this season having lost the lead to Aston Villa at the Amex at the weekend.
A win for the Cherries would see them get within two points of the Seagulls in the table, but I don’t think Graham Potter’s side will come away empty-handed from this south coast derby.
Watford to win
Aston Villa vs Watford
Troy Deeney has missed three of his last six penalties after the striker again failed to convert from the spot against Spurs at Vicarage Road on Saturday. That said, the goalless draw means that Watford are now unbeaten in their last seven league games and I believe they will take maximum points against Aston Villa midweek.
Villa once again had to thank their talismanic skipper Jack Grealish for their point at Brighton at the weekend, but I think the Hornets will extend their excellent recent run and take all three points at what looks sure to be a tense and nervous Villa Park.
Southampton to win
Crystal Palace vs Southampton
Southampton lost a two-goal lead at home to Wolves on Saturday, but they are a better side on their travels, and I think they will bounce back against a Crystal Palace side who got a fantastic point at the Etihad at the weekend but are without a win in any competition in 2020.
The Saints have dropped 42 points from winning positions since the start of last season, but they have won their last three league games on the road and I think they will take all three points from a low-scoring affair.
City to win and both teams to score
Sheffield United vs Man City
City’s defensive frailties resurfaced against Crystal Palace at the Etihad on Saturday and their grip on the Premier League crown is getting more and more fragile.
Sheffield United picked up another terrific point on the road at the weekend – at the Emirates – but I think City will have too much quality on the break for the Blades, although I don’t expect the hosts to play too expansive a game even though they are playing in front of their home supporters.
Everton to win
Everton vs Newcastle
Everton have kept 14 clean sheets at home in the Premier League since the start of last season with only neighbours Liverpool (16) having kept more.
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last four games, but Everton were good value for their win at St James’ Park in the reverse fixture over Christmas and Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping to have striker Richarlison back from the injury which prevented the Brazilian making the trip to West Ham on Saturday.
I would be surprised if we saw many goals, but I think the hosts will keep the points on Merseyside.
Chelsea to win
Chelsea vs Arsenal
Chelsea came from behind to win the reverse fixture at the Emirates over the Festive period, and I think the Blues will bounce back from their defeat at Newcastle on Saturday evening when they had plenty of possession and enough opportunities to have come away with all three points.
Arsenal are 10 points away from a Champions League spot and they have drawn 11 of their league games so far this term.
I feel Mikel Arteta would take a share of the spoils at Stamford Bridge, but I think the Blues will edge a tight, possibly feisty London derby.
Leicester to win
Leicester vs West Ham
Leicester have lost four of their last six league games after their 2-1 defeat at Burnley on Sunday.
Jamie Vardy has only scored once in his last seven games in all competitions and his tame missed penalty at Turf Moor on Sunday was, arguably, the turning point in the game.
West Ham have lost more points (17) from winning positions than any other team in the league this season and I don’t think they will get anything out of their trip to the east midlands. Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes side need three points to cement their place in the top four.
Spurs -1 handicap
Tottenham vs Norwich
Spurs have failed to score in three league games for the first time in over six years, and they had to thank Troy Deeney’s missed penalty at Vicarage Road at the weekend for their first clean sheet on the road in the league since winning 3-0 at Cardiff on New Year’s Day 2019!
Norwich had to beat Bournemouth at Carrow Road on Saturday to keep in touch with the clubs around them at the foot of the league, but I would be surprised if Spurs did not take all three points although they are without a win in their last six league games without striker Harry Kane.
United to lead at halftime/fulltime
Man Utd vs Burnley
United looked like getting steamrollered by Liverpool for much of the first half at Anfield on Sunday, but they improved as the game progressed and had their opportunities to equalise in the second half against the runaway league leaders.
Burnley have failed to score in the first 45 minutes of their last 11 league games, but they came from behind to pick up maximum points against Leicester at Turf Moor on Sunday in a second-half performance which was characteristic of the side that Sean Dyche has built – honest, energetic and passionate.
We now know Marcus Rashford will be out for a long period. It is for others to stand up and be counted in a United shirt.
Liverpool to win and both teams to score
Wolves vs Liverpool
Wolves came from two goals down to win at St Mary’s on Saturday, but they have now conceded the first goal in their last seven league games and I’m not convinced they can give Liverpool a goal start at Molineux on Thursday.
The reverse fixture between the sides at Anfield over Christmas was a cracker, with the visitors arguably unfortunate not to pick up a point.
But Liverpool are in such irresistible form at present that they cannot be opposed.