The biggest Premier League day of the year is almost upon us and with 10 games on the Horizon we take a look at which games you should be watching and why.
Stoke v. Manchester United
Louis Van Gaal will be under a lot of pressure on Saturday as the Manchester United board appears to be losing patience with the Dutchman’s philosophy. With that in mind, we may see United play a more offensive game than we’ve seen in recent weeks. The Red Devils recently got undone at home by relegation candidates Norwich losing 2-1 last weekend and nothing less than a win will do if Van Gaal is to keep his job.
Stoke have been impressing us at home this season with some very respectable results including wins versus Chelsea, Manchester City and a draw against league leaders Leicester. This Saturday we may see them take another high profile scalp.
Key Stat: No team has seen Under 2.5 Goals more than Stoke (14 of their last 20 games). Current odds have the Over priced at -159.
Injuries and suspensions
• Manchester United: Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended, Matteo Darmian and Rojo are both out with injuries and Morgan Schneiderlin has been listed as doubtful.
• Stoke: Notable absentees for Stoke are Muniesa and Geoff Cameron in defense.
Verdict: Manchester United look to be in real trouble coming into this game and with all the pressure on them we think they might crack. If Van Gaal decides to play a dangerous attacking game, we could be in for a real goal fest.
Chelsea v. Watford
After sacking Jose Mourinho last week, Chelsea’s new coach Guus Hiddink will take control of the team once again in a hope of turning their fortunes around. The Dutchman’s last job was coaching the Dutch national team and that didn’t end very well. He could be blamed for their failure to get the national team to the Euro 2016 finals but we won’t go into that now.
Chelsea are still languishing in 15th position but confidence will be higher after beating Sunderland convincingly 3-1 last weekend.
Watford, as we previously mentioned, have been a real surprise package this year, the newly promoted club dismantled Liverpool last weekend and are currently lying in a very respectable seventh.
Key Stat: Chelsea have scored in eight of nine home games this season and have kept just three clean sheets (Aston Villa, Norwich and Arsenal).
Injuries and suspensions
• Watford: Nathan Ake (Watford Left-back) will be unavailable for this game as he’s currently on loan from Chelsea
• Chelsea: Falcao and Eden Hazard are both doubts for this game
Verdict: Guus Hiddink likes to play attacking football, so expect a very attacking set up from Chelsea as they attempt to climb their way back to the top half of the table.
Liverpool v. Leicester
Leicester continues to prove everyone wrong each week (including us) as they continue to hold onto 1st place in the Premier League. This time last year the Foxes were rooted to the bottom of the table and faced almost certain relegation. Since April of last year, they have been on an unbelievable streak winning 18 of their last 26 Premier League games.
Things were looking good for Liverpool under new coach Jurgen Klopp but their fortunes have begun to decline lately with unexpected losses to Watford and Newcastle in recent weeks.
Key Stat: There have been Over 2.5 goals in eight of Liverpool's last 10 home games against "Top 6" teams and in nine of Leicester's last 10 away games against "middle-third" teams.
Injuries and suspensions
• Liverpool: Sturridge, Lovern, Milner, Skrtel, Gomez and Ings are all injured for Liverpool
• Leicester: Schlupp and Drinkwater will be missing for Leicester
Verdict: This game has goals written all over it and should be one of the more entertaining games this weekend. Leicester priced at +300 may well be worth taking considering the notable absentee’s for Liverpool along with the Foxes blistering form.
Southampton v. Arsenal
Arsenal are coming off a huge victory against Manchester city and are now favorites to win the title at +115 with some books. Arsenal’s strength in defense has been a contributing factor to their success this year as well as keeping all the talent going forward as they’ve had the past few seasons.
Southampton have disappointed this season as many expected the Saints to be at least in the Top 6/7 at this stage as the club seemed to be going from strength to strength since hiring Koeman.
Key Stat: There have been Over 2.5 goals in 11 of Southampton's last 16 home games against "Top 6" teams and in 11 of Arsenal's last 12 away games against "middle-third" teams.
Injuries and suspension
• Arsenal: Wilshere, Welbeck, Coquelin, Cazorla and Arteta are all missing through injury. Alexis Sanchez is expected to return
• Southampton: James Ward-Prowse, Fraser Foster(GK) and Jay Rodriguez will all be missing for this game
Verdict: Arsenal are renowned for being consistent on their travels to the lower sides, If they manage another win, they could see themselves in 1st position by Sunday.
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