Premier League statistical preview, including Stoke vs Manchester United; Southampton vs Arsenal and Tottenham vs Chelsea

WhoScored.com, who offer the largest online database for detailed football statistics, preview the top matches the Premier League this weekend

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The Independent Online

Stoke vs Manchester United

An away point at Spurs was certainly not a bad result for Louis van Gaal's United, stretching their unbeaten run to nine league matches, but with Chelsea and City also dropping points it represented an opportunity squandered in the Red Devils' unlikely bid for the title. They face another tough away trip on New Year's Day as they travel to face a Stoke side that, with victories over Everton and West Brom, have just secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

At what Juan Mata recently described as a 'cold and windy' place to play Stoke can put up a stern test for any of the league's big hitters and got the better of United in this fixture last season. Indeed, the Manchester giants have won just one of their last three league matches at the Britannia Stadium and they will need their strikers to improve on a disappointing showing at White Hart Lane to improve on that.

Robin van Persie was particularly ineffective at Spurs, picking up his lowest rating from WhoScored.com all season (5.68), but he has an exceptional record against the Potters. The Dutchman has scored more goals against Stoke than any other current Premier League side (11), including 10 in his last 9 league appearances against them, and in what is likely to be a tight game the odd goal may well prove the difference.

Southampton vs Arsenal

Level on points in fourth and fifth respectively, Southampton host Arsenal on Thursday having returned to form after a dismal run of results, most recently to secure a point against league leaders Chelsea. The result followed up impressive wins over Everton and Palace, while the Gunners have managed to string some results together themselves, with Santi Cazorla playing a key role.

The Spaniard netted for the fourth time in five matches last time out and earned a higher rating than any other Premier League player in December from WhoScored (8.21). The fact, then, that Cazorla scored on his last visit to St Mary's, with his strike cancelled out by an Adam Lallana equaliser minutes later in an entertaining 2-2 draw last season, bodes well for the visitors - with Alexis Sanchez having also already netted on two separate occasions against the Saints this season.

For the hosts Sadio Mane is in impressive form having struck in back-to-back games, while each of top scorer Graziano Pelle's last seven league goals for the club have all come at home. With so many goal threats on display there should really be plenty of chances in this one, as both sides look to steal a march in the race for a Champions League berth next season.

Tottenham vs Chelsea

Spurs and Chelsea round off the New Year's Day fixture list with arguably the showpiece event as the two sides reignite their local rivalry. Having not been defeated by Tottenham in well over four years it's certainly been the Blues who've enjoyed the capital city bragging rights and Jose Mourinho will be desperate for his side to bounce back to winning ways after they were let off the hook by closest challengers Manchester City last time out.

It's Tottenham who are actually on the longer unbeaten run at present though, last tasting defeat at the hands of Chelsea this season having avoided as much in the five games thereafter. Harry Kane ended a run of four consecutive matches on the scoresheet against United and he and Christian Eriksen have been on hand to dig Spurs out of a number of holes this season, with the Dane's goals having directly handed Tottenham 11 points already, with eight of Tottenham's nine league wins having come by a single goal.

They'll do well to extend that record against a Chelsea side who have lost just once in the league all season but the Blues have begun to suffer a little bit with their familiar starting XI having been effected by injury and suspension in recent weeks, with Oscar the latest to miss out. Tottenham, however, have only netted 11 league goals at White Hart Lane - only five teams have scored fewer at home this season - so the top-flight's meanest defence may well remain that way beyond New Year's Day.

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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