Premier League preview: A statistical look at this weekend's games including Liverpool v Cardiff, Manchester United v West Ham and Arsenal v Chelsea
Ali Tweedale of whoscored.com takes a look ahead to this weekend's games
Friday 20 December 2013
The packed Christmas schedule kicks off this weekend with Liverpool hosting Cardiff as they look to build on last week's 5-0 thumping of Tottenham and - for a couple of days at least - go top of the Premier League. Luis Suárez will look to continue the goalscoring form that has seen him net an incredible 27 goals in 25 league appearances in 2013 and 17 in 11 this season, a tally that means he has netted more times in 2013/14 than 10 of the top flight's 20 teams overall.
West Brom begin life after Steve Clarke hoping to put an end to their worst streak of successive Premier League defeats since midway through the 2010/11 season. That run currently stands at 4 matches, but the Baggies should be confident of putting an end to it at home to a Hull side who have picked up just 4 points on the road all season.
Sunderland boast the worst home record in the Premier League this season, but given that they have already hosted 7 of the current top 8 teams, their return of 6 points is relatively impressive. They have though, conceded more goals at home (16) than any other team, while their visitors this weekend, Norwich, have conceded the most on the road (21). Goals may be expected, but both sides have meagre 'goals for' tallies, so may see this as an opportunity to improve their defensive records.
Aston Villa will be glad to be on the road again this weekend, having gained nearly twice as many points away (12) as they have at home (7) and having avoided defeat in their last 5 meetings against Stoke, they could add to that. However, four of those meetings have ended in stalemates - all either 1-1 or 0-0 - with the sides tending to cancel each other out. This season, no team has drawn more home games than the Potters (4) so another one could be on the cards.
Manchester United stopped the rot with a 3-0 win at Villa last week, and will hope that back at Old Trafford, where they have lost their last 2 matches without scoring, they can build on their last result. The Hammers haven't even scored in any of their last 5 trips to United and have been behind by half time in each of those games, and Wayne Rooney has been their nemesis, scoring 7 times in his last 6 Premier League appearances against West Ham.
Fulham have scored 9 goals in their last 6 home games against Manchester City, but have failed to win any of those games. Having avoided defeat in only 1 of their last 8 matches, the Cottagers will do well to get anything from this match, against the most deadly strikeforce in the league. City have netted an incredible 47 league goals already this season; most teams in the Premier League haven't even scored that many in the whole of 2013, but Fulham will take heart from the fact that 35 of them came at the Etihad.
A Crystal Palace side resurgent under Tony Pulis have adhered to his mantra, playing a higher proportion of passes long (19.3%) than any other team since he was installed as manager towards the end of November. They host Newcastle, who won at Old Trafford in their last away game but have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season.
Managerless Tottenham will be hoping to avoid a third consecutive defeat at Southampton this weekend, who themselves have gone 5 Premier League games without a win after beginning the season with only 1 loss in their first 11 games. Tottenham won both meetings last season but star man Gareth Bale scored in each clash and won't be here to save them this time.
Swansea have never scored a Premier League goal against Everton, and will have to be at their best if they are to break down the best defence in the league this season (15 goals conceded). Swansea have had more possession than any other team this season (59.9%) so may see plenty of the ball, but the question will be whether they can turn it into goals.
On Monday night, Arsenal face their latest test with fellow title challengers Chelsea coming to the Emirates. Given Arsenal's form, manager Arsene Wenger will hope that he can end his hoodoo against José Mourinho, who he has failed to beat in any of their 9 meetings.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.
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