This weeked in the premier league, the focus will tilt away from Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Manchester City team after galloping away towards the Premier League title to the hustle for Champions League positions.
Many presume Manchester United, 11 points below City in second place, and third-place Chelsea are well placed, but behind there is congestion. Just a point separates fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur and seventh-place Arsenal, and Burnley and Leicester City are aiming to break into the ‘Big Six’.
Chelsea and Manchester United bow
Manchested United and defending champions Chelsea both 11 and 14 points behind city respectively have openly lowered their aim despite their successful seasons. Jose Mourinho’s United had gone 40 home games without defeat prior to last Sunday’s stormy 2-1 loss to City in the derby, while Chelsea have taken 22 points from a possible 27.
Chelsea host Southampton on Saturday after bouncing back from their shock 1-0 loss at West Ham United with a one-sided 3-1 victory at Huddersfield Town.
Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal hustle
Tottenham appear to have rediscovered form having ended a four-game winless run with back-to-back victories over Stoke City and Brighton and Hove Albion.
Spurs beat Brighton 2-0 on Wednesday and with Liverpool and Arsenal both drawing 0-0 — at home to West Brom and away to West Ham respectively — it lifted Mauricio Pochettino’s men up to fourth.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are without a win in two games, courtesy of Wayne Rooney’s late penalty in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Everton.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are yet to win a league game in December, their stalemate at West Ham following a 3-1 home defeat against Manchester United and a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Arsenal trail Spurs and Liverpool by only a point and they will expect to get back on track on Saturday against free-falling Newcastle United.
It’s not a concern. The manager and the boys have a plan, so we’re just trying to get back to winning ways
We’ve got our home crowd behind us (on Saturday) and I think that could be what we’re missing in terms of getting that finishing touch on a goal
, 20-year-old winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who made his league debut in mid-week told the Arsenal website.
Burnley and Leicester plotting top 4
Burnley who were briefly in fourth after defeating Stoke 1 - 0 on Tuesday — their highest position since March 1975 sit between Liverpool and Arsenal in sixth place. Sean Dyche’s drilled side have won six of their last eight league games and on Saturday travel to Brighton, who are without a win in six.
Leicester under new manager Claude Puel, who has lost just once in eight league games since succeeding Craig Shakespeare. They sit four points below Arsenal ahead of Saturday’s home game with Crystal Palace, who are six games unbeaten in the league.
(3:00 pm nigerian time unless otherwise stated)
Arsenal v Newcastle,
Brighton v Burnley,
Chelsea v Southampton,
Leicester v Crystal Palace (1:30 pm),
Man City v Tottenham (6:30 pm ),
Stoke v West Ham,
Watford v Huddersfield
Bournemouth v Liverpool (5:30pm),
West Brom v Man United (3:15pm)
Monday (9:00 pm)
Everton v Swansea