Premier League preview: Manchester United v Cardiff City; Southampton v Arsenal; Liverpool v Everton; Chelsea v West Ham; Tottenham v Manchester City
Ali Tweedale of whoscored.com takes a look ahead to the midweek games
Tuesday 28 January 2014
After a break for the FA Cup fourth round this weekend, the Premier League returns in midweek and here, WhoScored.com give a statistical run down on the next set of matches.
Manchester United have so far in January crashed out of both domestic cups and lost two out of three Premier League matches, but will hope to bounce back in their next game, against the side currently bottom of the table. Ole Gunner Solskjaer returns to Old Trafford with Cardiff having picked up just 1 win on the road all season, so their run of poor form could well be set to continue.
Newcastle ended a run of 3 Premier League games without a goal with a resounding 3-1 win at West Ham last week and will look to go embark on a run of form at Norwich here. Having attempted a higher proportion of their shots from outside the box (58%) than any other team in the Premier League season, Newcastle will look to pepper the opposition goal once again.
Southampton's slide down the table has seen them move into a relative 'no man's land' between the sides chasing Champions League football and those chasing relegation. Against table-toppers Arsenal this week they face a huge challenge, and would be happy with repeat of the 1-1 draws they have recorded in their last two games at home to the Gunners.
Swansea's current 8 game winless streak is the longest they have ever recorded in the Premier League, and they will be desperate for a win as they host Fulham. Only 2 points separate the sides so even with 16 games to play this could be described as a 6-pointer.
Crystal Palace looked doomed for relegation with only 3 points from their first 10 games of the season, but with 19 from their subsequent 12 they are now only 3 points off their next opponents Hull, in 11th place.
The Merseyside clubs are as close as ever in terms of ability, with only a single point between the two in the table, so this meeting is huge for both teams. Goals are all but a given; Liverpool have scored at least twice in each of their last 8 home matches, while Romelu Lukaku has 4 goals in 4 appearances against the Reds, so he and that man Luis Suárez will be key.
On Wednesday, there is a midlands derby with Aston Villa hosting West Brom. Villa have lost only 2 of their 15 Premier League clashes against the Baggies, but have failed to win any of the last 6. That spells lots of draws; each of the last 4 meetings have resulted in stalemates.
Sunderland vs Stoke does not on paper look the most exciting of fixtures, and predictably, goals have not been rare in recent meetings, with only 5 netted in the last 4 meetings between the sides. That is not to say there hasn't been drama, though, with 3 straight reds shown in those clashes.
Chelsea host West Ham in the top flight's latest London derby, and Jose Mourinho faces a selection dilemma up front. Fernando Torres has 6 goals in 7 Premier League appearances against the Hammers, but Samuel Eto'o has 6 goals from 18 shots at Stamford Bridge, compared to 0 goals from 16 shots on the road.
The biggest and most enticing game of the week is arguably Manchester City's trip to White Hart Lane, for the return fixture against a side they beat 6-0 earlier in the campaign. Spurs did, though, win this game last season in another high-scoring affair. There have been 25 goals in the last 5 games between the teams, and with both teams playing attack-minded football, there could be another goal-fest here.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.
Follow Alistair Tweedale https://twitter.com/alitweedale
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