Manchester City are eighth in the Premier League six match form table and have failed to win three of their last six home matches. They cannot afford to slip up against Newcastle on their own patch live on television on Saturday as Chelsea are the home bankers of the weekend. Burnley are their opponents at Stamford Bridge in a fixture that brings together the richest and poorest clubs in the league.
Tottenham Hotspur play West Ham at home the following day in a vital match in the context of which side will finish fourth in the league and qualify for the Champions League. Tottenham are looking to get their season back on track after losing away to Liverpool. West Ham travel across London on the back of being outplayed by West Brom in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The match in which Southampton host Liverpool is also a key clash with regards the sides that are contenders to finish fourth in the league behind Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. The Saints are four points ahead of their opponents in this match so the gap could be one or seven depending on the outcome. Each side has won 5 of the last 10 meetings, there have been no draws in the last 11 meetings and Liverpool have won 3 of their last 10 trips to Southampton.
Leicester are four points adrift at the bottom of the table but could make ground on Burnley and Aston Villa this weekend. They would have to beat Everton at Goodison Park and that is not out of the question as Everton have won just one of their last six leagues at their own stadium. Everton will wish to confirm safety from the nightmare scenario of relegation and a home win in this fixture would settle the nerves and help the in the quest to stay in the division.
The gap between Manchester City and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League is now seven points and some bookies have already paid out on Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s team have won 11 of 12 fixture at home in the league this season and the other match was drawn. Burnley are run on a shoestring compared to the London outfit. Disparity in income is not always reflected on the field but in this case class can tell with a victory for Chelsea with a margin of at least two goals.
Chelsea have scored 26 goals in a dozen league fixtures at home while City have scored 5 less and conceded 8 more. Letting in on average a goal a game at home is not title winning form. That area of the field must be improved upon if City are to win the league for the third time in four years. Newcastle are in mid-table without worries about relegation but won’t qualify for Europe. They have won once in six matches and are unlikely to improve that record at City.
The key fixtures in the Premier League take place this weekend after a programme of matches in the last 16 of the Champions League. City play Barcelona in the first leg of their tie at home next Tuesday while Chelsea are short priced to qualify for the quarter finals after drawing at PSG. Two winnable home matches should see both sides pick up three points so the gap at the top will remain unaltered. If Newcastle spoil the party at the Etihad and Chelsea win the league is just about decided for this season. Burnley have not won once in six matches on their travels so avoiding defeat Chelsea looks beyond them.
Spurs have won four and drawn two of their last six matches at home and the visit of West Ham will not impact on that run. Harry Kane is a leading contender to be player of the season and when playing Tottenham can beat just about anyone. He scored against Liverpool at Anfield in a game lost by the odd goal in five with Mario Balotelli scoring the decider with his first goal in the Premier League this season. Liverpool have the fourth best six match home form so losing to Tottenham was not really an option in the context of playing in the Champions League.
After a promising start to the season West Ham are in decline and there is talk that Sam Allardyce’s job is on the line. His players were outfought by West Brom in the Cup last week and the four goal margin of defeat was a fair reflection of the balance of the play. Tottenham have lost 3 of last 4 meetings with the Hammers, won 1 of the last 4 at home and there has been just 1 draw in the last 13 fixtures. They should win this game by two goals or more and continue to push for Champions League qualification.
Southampton and Liverpool will have their say regarding the sides that play in the Holy Grail of European football next season. Liverpool have dropped just four points in their last six matches and are at the top of the Premier League recent form table. They have lost just one of their last six on the road and two matches from 18 fixtures in all competitions. Southampton have lost two of their last six home matches but only three in total. They average almost two goals per match at home and have conceded 8 goals at home in 13 matches. A scoring draw is expected which means the gap between the sides stays at four points in favour of Southampton.
Leicester must start winning soon or they will be relegated. All is not well because their manager Nigel Pearson is acting strangely. The pressure of survival in the top division has been intensified by the vast sums soon to be going to the elite clubs from the latest television deal. Ticket prices are unlikely to fall but player’s wages will continue to escalate. Leicester will not be able to feed from the honey pot if they keep losing. Everton should beat them this weekend to bring the club closer to the nightmare conclusion. Burnley are also in trouble and will lose to Chelsea barring a freak result as that team progress to their first title since 2010.